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Sunday, 30 July 2017


     Many assert that the "rapture" promoted by evangelicals was first taught, at least seminally, by some Jesuit Catholic priest of the past. They usually name either Francisco Ribera of the 16th century or Manuel Lacunza of the 18th century. First, let's look at Ribera.
     To see what is claimed, Google "Francisco Ribera taught a rapture 45 days before the end of Antichrist's future reign." (Oddly, many claimants are anti-Catholic and merely use Ribera in order to "find" much earlier support for their rapture which actually isn't found in any official Christian theology or organized church before 1830!)
     After seeing this claim repeated endlessly without even one sentence from Ribera offered as proof, I decided to go over every page in Ribera's 640-page commentary on the book of Revelation published in Latin in 1593.
     After laboriously searching for the Latin equivalent of "45 days" ("quadraginta quinque dies"), "rapture" ("raptu," "raptio," "rapiemur," etc.) and other related expressions, I couldn't find anything in Ribera's work even remotely resembling a prior rapture!
     While Ribera can be claimed as the pretrib rapture originator, more pretrib defenders seem to pinpoint Manuel Lacunza and point to his lengthy work "The Coming of Messiah in Glory and Majesty," a work that was translated from Spanish to English under the direction of Edward Irving who, by the way, did not obtain his pretrib view from Lacunza, as has been claimed.
     (The late Southern Baptist evangelist John Bray claimed to find pretrib teaching in Lacunza before he changed his mind and later on gave that "honor" to a Baptist named Morgan Edwards! For the real skinny on Edwards, Google "Morgan Edwards' Rapture View.")
      Does Lacunza teach a rapture 45 days before the coming to earth, as Bray claims? Let's look at Vol. I.
     On p. 83 Lacunza refers to the book of Revelation and says that "the nineteenth chapter speaks of the coming of the Lord in glory and majesty, which Christians with one consent do wait for."
     On pp. 99-100 after quoting I Thess. 4:13-18  Lacunza quotes Matt. 24:30 and then writes: "If you compare this text with that of St. Paul, you shall find no other difference than this, that those who are to arise on the coming of the Lord, the apostle nameth those who are dead in Christ, who sleep in Jesus; and the Lord nameth them his elect."
     Lacunza (p. 113) quotes I Thess. 4 and Matt. 24 in this manner: "...He shall descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we who are alive, &c and it appears to me, that you will find St. Paul and the Gospel speaking one and the same thing: He shall send his angels and they shall gather his elect from the four winds; who can be no other than those very ones who are in Christ, who sleep in Jesus."
     Lacunza's monumental work, which helped to revive futurism, was distributed widely in manuscript form as early as 1791 - so widely, in fact, that Pope Leo XII later placed it on the official list of prohibited books. (Lacunza says in his first volume, p. 220, the "our priesthood" will eventually become the two-horned beast of Rev. 13!)
     If Lacunza's book contains a pretrib coming, why was such doctrine unknown before 1830? It wasn't that John Darby and Edward Irving were unaware of Lacunza's work, for both discussed it in their pre-1830 writings. And it wasn't that Darby and Irving were opposed to novel ideas, for both began to embrace pretribulationism after it emerged in early 1830!
     Are you curious about the real beginnings of this evangelical belief (a.k.a. the "pre-tribulation rapture") merchandised by Darby, Scofield, Lindsey, Falwell, LaHaye, Ice, Van Impe, Hagee and many others?
     Google "Famous Rapture Watchers," "Pretrib Rapture Diehards," and "Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty," for starters.
     I will end this by saying it's a distinct honor to have these and other articles of mine on this excellent and much needed blog hosted by my friend and Bible expert Treena Gisborn!


Treena Gisborn said...

Catholic Answers at Catholic.com corroborates Dave MacPherson's research. No mention at all of Ribera, Lacunza or anyone else pre-1830s.


"But in the 1800s, some began to claim that the rapture would occur before the period of persecution. This position, now known as the "pre-tribulational" view, also was embraced by John Nelson Darby, an early leader of a Fundamentalist movement that became known as Dispensationalism. Darby’s pre-tribulational view of the rapture was then picked up by a man named C.I. Scofield, who taught the view in the footnotes of his Scofield Reference Bible, which was widely distributed in England and America. Many Protestants who read the Scofield Reference Bibleuncritically accepted what its footnotes said and adopted the pre-tribulational view, even though no Christian had heard of it in the previous 1800 years of Church history." 

Treena Gisborn said...

The Roman Catholic view of the rapture:

"As far as the millennium goes, we tend to agree with Augustine and, derivatively, with the amillennialists. The Catholic position has thus historically been "amillennial" (as has been the majority Christian position in general, including that of the Protestant Reformers), though Catholics do not typically use this term. The Church has rejected the premillennial position, sometimes called "millenarianism" (see the Catechism of the Catholic Church 676). In the 1940s the Holy Office judged that premillennialism "cannot safely be taught," though the Church has not dogmatically defined this issue."


colin said...

"If Lacunza's book contains a pre-trib coming, why was such doctrine unknown before 1830?"


Many mistakenly think that all pre-mills are pre-trib, however all pre-trib are pre-mill, and others don't know the difference!

Anonymous said...

I'm looking for a quote or quotes from Ribera's book on Revelation confirming that he espoused a futurized antichrist. If he did, that might also explain the presumption, however erroneous, that he espoused a futurized pretrib rapture, inasmuch as that rapture would immediately precede the appearance of the futurized antichrist.

I'm in debate with an individual who disbelieves Ribera's futurized antichrist, and I need some ammo in the form of actual quotes.

Has or will Ribera's book ever be translated into English?

Whoever can help, thanks a bunch.

Treena Gisborn said...

As far as I am aware "In Sacram B Ioannis Apostoli, & Euangelistae Apocalypsin Commentarii" has never been translated into English Anonymous. As far as I can ascertain, there is no mention in Latin of the 45 days and "rapture" (and related terms), and there is nothing to back what some have claimed about him. It would be good if it were translated at some future point but I have no information that it will be.
God bless

Irv said...

Treena, I have checked out the source you just listed at the end of your comment above and find that it is an excellent one on Francisco Ribera. It's nice that the internet lists sources that will enable a person to translate Latin into English and vice versa (which, conveniently enough, is a Latin phrase!). Catholic experts agree that before 1830 Catholicism never "saw" a pretrib rapture in the Bible and hasn't adopted the same fly-away concept since then (see "Left Behind" on Wikipedia for reasons why Catholic writers label "Left Behind" books and films as anti-Catholic as well as anti-Biblical). Thanks Treena for providing in your unique way important facts for thinking Christians!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Treena. Apparently Thomas Brightman in the 16th century reviewed Ribera's commentary, and confirmed that he did espouse a futurized antichrist. However, without someone to translate Latin, I guess there's no way to obtain actual quotes.