If you will check the counter reformation move of Papal Rome in the 16th century after Martin Luther nailed his 95 thesis to the church door in Wittenberg on October 31, 1517. You will find that Pope Leo X authorized three Jesuit Priests to reinterpret Daniel’s 70 weeks of prophecy; the Book of Revelation; and Ezekiel. The goal of these Jesuits was to take the heat of the Protestant Reformation away from the papacy. The three Jesuits were:
- Francisco Ribera (1537-1591) of Salamanca – futurism/rapturists
- Luis de Alcazar (1554-1621) of Seville – praeterism
- Cardinal Roberto Bellarmine (1542-1621) – followed Ribera’s school of thought.
The futurists rapture doctrine originated and was submitted by Francisco Ribera in 1585. His Apocalyptic Commentary was on the grand points of Babylon and Anti-christ which we now call the futurists or rapture doctrine. Ribera’s published work was called “In Sacram Beati Ionnis Apostoli ” Evangelistate Apocoalypsin Commentari (Lugduni 1593). You can still find these writings in the Bodleian Library in Oxford England.
Ribera’s futurist interpretation rocked not only the Protestant church , but also the Catholic church so the Pope ordered it buried in the archives out of sight. Unfortunately, over 200 years later a librarian to the Archbishop of Canterbury by the name of S. R. Maitland (1792-1866) was appointed to be the Keeper of the Manuscripts at Lambeth Palace, in London, England. In his duties, Dr. Maitland came across Francisco Ribera’s futurists/rapture teaching and he had it republished for the sake of interest in early 1826 with follow ups in 1829 and 1830. This was spurred along with the Oxford Tracts that were published in 1833 to try and deprotestantize the Church of England.
John Nelson Darby (1800-1882) (A Leader of the Plymouth Brethren) became a follower of S.R. Maitland’s prophetic endeavors and was persuaded. Darby’s influence in the seminaries of Europe combined with 7 tours of the United States changed the eschatological view of the ministers which had the trickle down effect into the churches. Darby’s/Ribera’s teachings were embraced radically by Cyrus Ingerson Scofield (1843-1921). Scofield adopted Darby’s/Ribera’s school of prophetic thought into the Scofield Reference Bible of 1909 which was heralded as the “book of books”.
Another contributor to the rapturist’s chaotic prophetic line of thought came through Emmanuel Lacunza (1731-1801), a Jesuit priest from Chile. Lacunza wrote the “Coming of Messiah in Glory and Majesty” around 1791. It was later published in London in 1827. The book was attributed to a fictitious author name Rabbi Juan Josafat BenEzra. Reverend Edward Irving (1792-1834) contended that it was the work of a converted Jew and proved that even the Jewish scholars embraced a pre-tribulation rapture line of thought. It wasn’t long until he had persuaded others to follow his line of thought which gave birth to the Irvingites (per your reference to Margaret McDonald).
In March 1830, in Port Glasgow, Scotland, 15 year old Margaret McDonald made claim of her visions. Robert Norton published Margaret’s visions and prophecies in a book entitled, “The Restoration of Apostles and Prophets in the Catholic Apostolic Church” (London, 1861). Although the modern day view of every believer being taken away in a rapture is different from all of the thoughts that came before it, there is little doubt to it’s error.
Lacunza casserted that only those believers that partake of the sacrament of the Eucharist would be raptured; while Margaret McDonald said the rapture would only take those that were filled with the Holy Spirit; and Norton claimed that only those that had been sealed with the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands would be raptured. Definitely confusion ensued. John Darby, an ordained deacon in the Church of England, was acquainted with Edward Irving and had visited Margaret McDonald during the time of her visions. Combined with the knowledge he had gained from S.R. Maitland/Ribera’s teachings and the new push from Irving/McDonald/Lucunza’s teachings, Darby used the rapture theory to bring a clean break from the lethargic Church of England.
Ribera and Lucunza’s teachings find a meeting point in John Nelson Darby. The effects of this purported lie against the truth are still dominant today in Christian churches world-wide.
(Copied and edited from http://www.demonbuster.com/rapture.html)