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Is the Pre-Trib Rapture a Recent Teaching?

Is the Pre-Trib Rapture a Recent Teaching?

To answer this question we must study the development of church doctrine down through the centuries.

The History of Church Doctrine:
The Apostles and the early Church Fathers had a handle on correct church doctrine. But as they passed from the scene, others came in that did not think the same way and started to re-interpret the scriptures. We had the mystics early on promoting allegorizing of the scriptures and by the fifth century A.D. we had Origin and Augustine also promoting amillennialism. But before that period of miss-handling of the scriptures, we do see a quotation about the pre-trib rapture view in 350 A.D.

In recent years, many opponents of the pre-tribulation rapture view have made dogmatic assertions that this view was never taught before 1820 A.D.

1. There have been attempts to attribute the origin of this view to John N. Darby. Grant Jeffrey has found an ancient citation from a sermon ascribed to Ephraem of Nisibis (306-373 a.d.), which clearly teaches that believers will be raptured and taken to Heaven before The Tribulation.

2. Ephraem of Nisibis was the most important and prolific of the Syrian church fathers and a witness to early Christianity on the fringes of the Roman Empire in the late fourth century. He was well-known for his poetry, exegetical and theological writings, and many of the hymns of the early Byzantine church. So popular were his works that in the fifth and sixth centuries he was adopted by several Christian communities as a spiritual leader and role model. This sermon is deemed to be one of the most interesting apocalyptic texts of the early Middle Ages. The translation of the sermon includes the following segment:

3. "For all the saints and Elect of God are gathered, prior to the tribulation that is to come, and are taken to the Lord lest they see the confusion that is to overwhelm the world because of our sins."

This excerpt was taken from an article by Chuck Missler entitled "Byzantine Text Discovery: Ephraem the Syrian". I ran across this same quote and others in research for a book I published myself a few years later.

We need to remember that during the dark ages (476 to 800 A.D.) the church lost all knowledge of all scripture doctrines. It wasn't until the Reformation (1517) with the publication of the "Ninety Five Theses" by Luther that the church learned about salvation by faith once again. And there were many other scriptural truths that were slowly revealed over the next centuries.

Over time, all the scripture truths were slowly revealed to man once again as the church theologians developed their systematic theology, which includes the doctrine of God; Anthropology, or the doctrine of man; Christology, or the doctrine of the person of Christ, Objective Soteriology, or the doctrine of the work of Christ and the atonement; Subjective Soteriology, or the doctrine of redemption, and finally Eschatology, or the doctrine of last things.

As you can see, there was a lot of knowledge for the church theologians to regain concerning knowledge of the scriptures. Even with that, we didn't regain knowledge of the work of the Holy Spirit for the common man until 1906 with the Azusa street revival and the revelation that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and tongues were still for today.

We didn't regain the knowledge of Divine Healing until the early 1900's. Most of the church still hasn't found out that the gifts of the Holy Spirit don't come with salvation, but with the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and tongues.

Unfortunately, most of the church is still stuck in their historical unsubstantiated understanding of the scriptures and are not willing to search the scriptures or to make changes. They are stuck in a time-warp called tradition, and this is part of why they have no spiritual power.


I took the long way around to give you an overall perspective on church doctrine in general and to let you know that the Pre-Trib rapture teaching is not of a recent origin. It is just that we have only recently [since the 1800's] regained this knowledge that was common knowledge to the church fathers of the first and second centuries and also clearly spelled out in the scriptures, which we will cover in other articles on this subject.