By Dave MacPherson
Appearing also in 1992 was Grant Jeffrey's Apocalypse, which preceded his 1994 Bantam edition. It, too, discusses the roots of pretrib.
He asserts that posttribs claim that pretrib emerged in 1820. Five pages later this becomes 1830. Three pages later this again becomes 1820 (twice) and is repeated on the following page. (And LaHaye, 1992, p. 168, says that present-day critics of those crediting Darby have never suggested that Darby arrived at pretrib before 1831!)
Why this intentional or careless muddying up of the year 1830? Since my first book (1973) I've emphasized 1830 as pretrib's year of birth. And so have many others, even though there's been a wide range of end-time views among them. Huebner (1973) saw 1830 as the earliest year for a Darby connection with this view, and Darby himself claimed in his 1850 reminiscence that 1830 was when he first understood a prior rapture. The year 1830 is tied to the first public teaching of pretrib by Irvingites as well as to Margaret. And Kelly himself never even questioned Darby's reference to 1830.
I don't know of a single writer (Jeffrey didn't provide even one) who has ever offered evidence that anyone was developing pretrib as early as 1820. Irving, Darby, and their friends certainly weren't developing it then.
Jeffrey also sees pretrib in some pre-1830 writings and quotes a portion of the 2nd century Didache. In the part Jeffrey quotes, the early writer said that the Antichrist "shall appear" and "shall work signs and wonders" during a "fire of trial" (Jeffrey omits this last phrase). In the next sentence that Jeffrey includes, the same early writer wrote: "And then shall the signs of the truth appear, first the sign of a rift in heaven, then the sign of the sound of a trumpet, and thirdly, a resurrection of the dead." (Even though the trumpet-sounding rapture follows the Antichrist's reign, Jeffrey concludes that this early document taught that a rapture will precede the Antichrist!)
Throughout his book Jeffrey confuses Lactantius and Victorinus; when he first quotes Lactantius, all of the lines are really the words of Victorinus and are found in the Victorinus quote that Jeffrey includes two pages earlier! He also quotes The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, apparently unaware that it's another title for the Didache which he'd quoted five pages earlier (which we've just analyzed). This time he chops off quotation after the first two sentences----what Walvoord (1954), Stanton (1956), and Pentecost (1958) did to read pretrib into them and ignore the clear posttrib teaching in the rest of the quotation!
For his clincher, having merely rewritten other pretrib works selectively quoting some early Christians, Jeffrey claims that Pierre (whom he calls Peter) Jurieu (1637-1713) taught pretrib. Jurieu's work, according to Jeffrey, spoke of "a kind of a clandestine coming of Christ." Since "clandestine" means "secret," Jeffrey concludes that this Frenchman was teaching a secret, pretrib rapture! But then he quotes Jurieu's explanation that this coming will occur "at the coming of His Kingdom" and says that Jurieu was actually teaching a coming prior to Armageddon. At this point Jeffrey has apparently confused "tribulation" with "Armageddon," even though he has a chart elsewhere showing Armageddon after the tribulation!
From time to time throughout this century, there have been those who've claimed they've spotted at least a hint of pretrib in some pre-1830 writer. The writers most frequently named include Ribera, Bellarmine, Mede, Bengel, Keach, Gill, Oetinger, and Lacunza.
Whenever one examines the context of these "hints" and also notes that their contemporaries saw nothing significantly new in the same "hints," the conclusion is that a handful of modern writers, for a variety of motives, has simply read into the earlier writers what the modern writers wished to see. We've previously noted that older hymns etc. have even been changed for the same purpose!
After pretrib appeared in 1830, Brethren as well as Irvingites were well aware of the above pre-1830 scholars, occasionally quoted them, but never noticed any of the "hints"some modern writers have claimed to discover. Moreover, Brethren and Irvingites collectively had equally knowledgeable outside critics who could have cited pre-1830 "hints" in order to deflate later claims made by both Brethren and Irvingites----if, in fact, pre-1830 "hints" had existed!
As more and more pretrib origin evidence continues to credit Irvingism and discredit Darbyism, dispensationalists may be under increasing pressure to either credit the Irvingites or find some pre-1830 "hint" that everyone else has overlooked. Or they just may decide to abandon their theological system altogether.
You've just gone over part of the first edition of my 1995 book The Rapture Plot. During that same year Jeffrey came out with his self-published Final Warning book which claimed to discover clear pretrib teaching in an ancient writer known by scholars as Pseudo-Ephraem. In late 1995 an article echoing this "discovery," authored by Timothy Demy and Thomas Ice, appeared in Bibliotheca Sacra, Dallas Seminary's journal.
Staying true to their escapist rapture view, Demy/Ice did a hatchet job on the ancient 10-section sermon composed by Pseudo-Ephraem (hereafter P-E). Their worst revisionism had to do with the final section (10), part of which states:
"...on the day which the enemy or son of perdition does not know, will come the sign of the Son of Man, and coming forward the Lord shall appear with great power and much majesty, with the sign of the word of salvation going before him, and also even with all the powers of the heavens with the whole chorus of the saints, with those who bear the sign of the holy cross upon their shoulders, as the angelic trumpet precedes him, which shall sound and declare: Arise, O sleeping ones, arise, meet Christ, because his hour of judgment has come! Then Christ shall come and the enemy shall be thrown into confusion, and the Lord shall destroy him by the spirit of his mouth."
And how did Demy/Ice summarize "trumpet" in what I just quoted? They misleadingly wrote: "A trumpet will sound, calling forth the dead to judgment."
But it isn't just "a" trumpet or any old trumpet. It's a special trumpet. It's "the trump of God" of I Thess. 4 because its blast precedes the resurrection of the dead in Christ ("Arise, O sleeping ones") and also the rapture ("arise, meet Christ")!
Since no one has ever claimed that P-E saw two raptures, the Demy/Ice goal was to make P-E's rapture "rabbit" disappear from its Matt. 24 setting so that they could make it pop up at the beginning of his sermon----which is what happened when they claimed to find a rapture in "taken to the Lord," a phrase found in the early part of the sermon in a pretrib setting.
Since I've repeatedly shown that P-E promoters have collusively covered up the fact that Dr. Paul Alexander, the world class authority they rest their case on, has declared that this phrase has nothing to do with REMOVAL FROM EARTH, I won't elaborate on this point.
The important thing to remember is that Demy/Ice turned into eschatological abortionists (getting rid off the rapture nestling in P-E's Matt. 24 setting) simply because they were foolishly following an earlier, equally sloppy abortionist who did the same thing with P-E's rapture, an abortionist with the name of Grant Jeffrey!
In his 1995 book while including the P-E section I quoted, Jeffrey deftly put some spaced dots (an ellipsis) between "chorus of the saints" and "Then Christ shall come" in order to sneakily abort the distinctive I Thess. 4 aspects in P-E's posttrib setting!
Since 1995 Jeffrey has seen several widely circulated exposures of his pretrib dishonesty and sloppiness. In addition to extensive coverage of his weaknesses that have been published in both text and appendix in my Plot book, they have also been discussed on not a few worldwide websites and even in a section ably refuting the P-E claim in Bob Gundry's scholarly 1997 book First the Antichrist!
But all of the above hasn't raised the level of Jeffrey's I.Q. (Integrity Quotient) even a little bit. Even after all of the warnings, the new self-published book by "Dr." Grant Jeffrey entitled Triumphant Return again places an ellipsis between "chorus of the saints" and "Then Christ shall come" when airing the very same P-E section so that he can continue to cash in on a pretrib rapture which was unheard of before 1830 and which will be unrealized in the future! You might say that his new book is the triumphant return of the repetition of his pretrib dishonesty!