THERE ARE some who teach emphatically that the pre-tribulation Rapture of the Church is a new doctrine. “It was conceived in the minds of modern believers, particularly John Darby, they argue. History does not support this viewpoint.
The Bible is filled with references concerning the Personal Return of Christ and it is a major theme of Scripture. Evidence for the Rapture of the Church is also very clear.
Christians have believed and taught the Rapture of the Church for over two thousand years according to historical evidence. It is not a new viewpoint in any way.
The Early Church Fathers wrote about their expectation of Christ’s Return and the Rapture of the Church as early as the second century AD.
Historical Evidence for Teaching on the Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the Church.
Early Historical Evidence
- Irenaeus, for example, wrote at length on the coming Tribulation and Millennium in his famous work Against Heresies published during the second century AD. He believed in and taught the Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the Church. He was not the only one.
- The Montanists – an early Christian movement of the mid-second century AD – taught the Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the Church.
- There is the famous Sermon on the End of the World written in the 4th Century AD by an author designated as “Pseudo-Ephrem” which clearly teaches the Rapture of the Church. Copies are available in libraries.
Later Historical Evidence. Download an English translation HERE.
- Rev. Morgan Edwards, a Baptist pastor in Philadelphia, wrote extensively about the Pre-Tribulation Rapture and Return of Christ for His Church in 1742 and 1788.
- Isaac Newton taught about the Rapture in 1826.
- S.R. Maitland, a famous writer, and preacher, in 1826, also taught on this topic.
- John Darby was not the first to preach and teach about the Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the Church, as we have seen. He strongly believed in the Rapture and as early as 1840 taught this truth in Great Britain, the United States and Canada.
- Some modern scholars who teach the Rapture of the Church include John Walvoord (a famous Bible expositor), Grant Jeffrey (author), Tim LaHaye (Author), Hal Lindsay (Author), Dr. David Jeremiah, and many others.
Historical Evidence deserves consideration
It is very encouraging to know Christians throughout the ages believed in the Pre-Tribulation Rapture. Historical evidence documents it from the days of the Apostles until the present time. It is difficult to understand how modern believers can ignore that. Historical evidence deserves due consideration.
It is even more difficult to understand why some actively hate this doctrine and even call it heresy. No one has all the facts about the End Times. Even John, who gave us the Book of Revelation, was prohibited from writing down some of the things the Lord showed him (John 10:4).
The bottom line is to be ready at all times. Be encouraged, believer, and keep looking up! Jesus is returning sooner than we think and we shall be “caught up” to meet Him in the clouds!
Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.
1 Thessalonians 4:17-18
Even So, Come, Lord Jesus!