Our American Pretrib doctrine started with a Jesuit Priest, writing under Jewish pen name, through the founder of the Plymouth Brethren in England to Dwight L. Moody, a shoe salesman turned Sunday School Teacher, turned Evangelist.

“The Coming of Messiah in Glory and Majesty” by Ben Ezra, is the origin of the Pretribulational doctrine in the modern church. ‘Ben Ezra’ is the pseudonym for a Roman Jesuit priest named Manuel (sometimes Emmanuel) de Lacunza (1731 – 1801). The pseudonym may have been a way of making the work acceptable to Jewish readers and diverting attention from the station of the author.

This is the first mention of the doctrine, outside of a few obscure references from the writings of the Church Fathers. Prior to this book, there was a brief introduction to the subject by another Jesuit, a man named Rivera, who was heavily involved in the Spanish Inquisition. Prior to that, there is no reference to the Rapture being before the Tribulation in either Catholic or Protestant literature. Some will object that it was taught by the Church Fathers but Lacunza took a collection of less than ten sentences, from as many authors, and developed it into a six hundred page book.

The book was taken to England, where it was translated by a man named Edward Irving, a minister of the Church of Scotland. It was Irving’s translation, available here, that fell into the hands of John Nelson Darby, the founder of a sect called the Plymouth Brethren. Darby was fascinated by this book, originally believing that it was written by a converted Jew. The ideas overtook him and consumed his life. His doctrine was changed forever and his writings are the foundation of Dispensationalism and the Pretrib Rapture in the English speaking world.

From a different angle, a young girl from Scotland, Margaret MacDonald, a very early Pentecostal and follower of Irving, had a vision of a secret rapture where those “Baptized in the Spirit” were taken out of the world prior to the Tribulation. This vision established the Pre-Trib Rapture as a solid doctrine in Pentecostal Churches. John Darby would later meet Ms. MacDonald and they would compare notes. There is no doubt that her vision served to cement the doctrine in the mind and heart of John Nelson Darby.

In 1867, an American Evangelist by the name of Dwight L. Moody visited England. It was there that he met Darby, who taught him the basics of dispensationalism, including the idea of a Pretribulational Rapture. Moody came home, thrilled with his newfound doctrine. He did not have the theological background to understand all of the implications of Dispensationalism, but as an Evangelist, he could not miss the implications of the teaching that Jesus could return at any time.

Soon after, Darby made a trip to the United States. While in the States, he met a theologian named C. I. Scofield. Scofield went on to publish his annotated Bible, which became the standard for American Protestants and Evangelicals for  a hundred years. In the Scofield Reference Bible, the Jesuit doctrine of Rivera, Lacunza, Darby, McDonald, Moody and Scofield is presented as Gospel Truth and established fact. This despite the fact that Scofield’s fellow theologians begged him not to do it and at least one member of his editorial staff resigned over the issue.

The Doctrine was almost instantly picked up by every evangelist in America… The idea that Jesus could return at any minute, scared the Hell out of sinners who flooded the altars and the offering plates. It was about to die out, having lost its shock value in a world that did not believe in God anyway. Then came the Left Behind books and movies. Suddenly, the Christian world was on fire with the doctrine of a Pre Tribulation Rapture… Suddenly, the whole world was staring at the clouds.

Our American Pretrib doctrine started with a Jesuit Priest, writing under Jewish pen name, through the founder of the Plymouth Brethren in England to Dwight L. Moody, a shoe salesman turned Sunday School Teacher, turned Evangelist. (Moody had no formal Bible training.) Moody brought it back to the United States… From there, it was spread by the graduates of Moody Bible Institute and throughout the Evangelical Churches. It was reinforced by the notes in the Scofield Bible, which many preachers considered to be almost as inspired as the Scriptures themselves. After that, it got picked up by the writers of a series of novels that became movies… and the rest is history.

I defy anyone to find even the words Pretribulational Rapture in the writings of any American church or denomination, prior to Moody’s return from England…

This is the real, historical history of the doctrine. It may be fully researched. I have made available here, the entire six hundred plus page book that started it all… Welcome to Jesuit Land!


Author: davidrice1951

I am a vile sinner. I have been a soldier and a sailor. I have been a student and a teacher. I taught English in Mexico. I started and taught in a Bible College in Venezuela. I am married to Cathy, a beautiful lady from Guyana. We have two children, Christopher and Amanda. I am saved by Grace, washed in the Blood and filled with the Spirit. I love Jesus, my wife, my kids and you...


  1. Thank God! People are finally seeing the truth about the rapture.. I never could believe it. Saved 41 years and I never saw it in the Word. I couldn’t figure out how so many preachers could preach on it, it just didn’t make sense. The scriptures just did not come together. Ervin Baxter at ministries seems to have it right on.. Check him out


  2. So the Bride of Christ is going to be totally beat up before the Second Coming then? If you study the Scriptures from a Jewish Perspective which they are written by Jewish writers then you will appreciate the Jewish Wedding system, when the Bride is snatched away and she does not know when, but they both go away for a period of seven days.
    Not that all of this fanfare about pre/mid/post trib and a/pre/postmill should really destroy fellowship between believers unless they have believed in ‘another Jesus’.


    1. The Jesus of the New Testament and the God of the Bible are foreign to the wimpy American Church. The Bride of Christ consists of the faithful believers of the last two thousand years… the last generation will be no different. How does Jesus treat his Bride? Stephen was stoned, James and Paul beheaded, Peter crucified upside down… Church history is full of martyrs and countless thousands and tens of thousands have suffered and died for Jesus. I read of a man in Syria who was forced to watch his wife and daughters raped and killed and his sons crucified… when they were finished, they poured gasoline on him and burned him alive… He praised Jesus to the very end.

      That is how Jesus has always treated his Bride. What do you think that you could suffer in the Tribulation that no Christian has ever suffered before? Paul called it a privilege to suffer and die for Jesus… Christians have always identified with the cross and the sufferings of Jesus. Yet you are such a wimp that you invent a Jesus who will not let you suffer. Unfortunately, that is not the Jesus of the Bible and that Jesus cannot save…


  3. Whelp bout time people are waking up to this poop, if only they would read just what Jesus says and nothing else, they would be set free. I like to ask all the pre-tribs a few question. What happens after you have strained your necks for years looking for him to come and he doesn’t? Will that cause you to turn away from him? What about all those new Christians you converted by telling them of his soon return and that they won’t go through the tribulation, than they find out you mislead them, will you pay with your soul or will they? I would rather face a death squad for Jesus than having to explain to Him, how I lead so many people to hell with my false doctrine. When I was a child I spoke as a child with no understanding, no knowledge, no wisdom, no discernment, no fear of the Lord.. But as I grew I put away my childish ways and read the Word for myself, and I gather the Lords wisdom to my heart. I no long follow after the preachers who are of the 501(c3) they can only preach what they let them preach. All feel good sermons for a price.


  4. 2 Thessalonians 2:1 NOW CONCERNING the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and OUR BEING GATHERED TO HIM: We ask you, brothers, 2 not to be easily upset in mind or troubled, either by a spirit or by a message or by a letter as if from us, alleging that the Day of the Lord has come. 3 DON’T LET ANYONE DECEIVE YOU in any way. FOR THAT DAY WILL NOT COME UNLESS the apostasy comes first and THE MAN OF LAWLESSNESS IS REVEALED, the son of destruction. 4 He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he sits in God’s sanctuary, publicizing that he himself is God.



  5. Teaching pre-trib has become a litmus test for me. For example, initially I liked what John MacArthur had to say. Then, I found out not only was he a Calvinist, but he was a staunch pre-tribber. At least Moody had the excuse of being theologically unsophisticated. MacArthur has no such excuse.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: