The Rapture Plot
1. The Irvingites publicly taught a pretribulation rapture long before Darby did.
"2. The underlying "truths" (such as the church/Israel "dichotomy") that supposedly led Darby to pretrib were taught earlier by others, one of whom was led to pretrib by these "truths." The same "truths" were used for support only after pretrib was established. The Irvingites were led to pretrib by Old Testament and New Testament symbols including the Jewish feasts, the two witnesses, and the man child -- symbols adopted by Darby latter on.
"3. If Darby had been the first to clearly teach pretrib or "truths" leading to it, he would have had no need to overstate his earliest development when reminiscing in later years. Later 19th century scholars, aware that Irvingism never needed later reminiscences to "clarify" its own early development, uniformly credited the Irvingites with dispensationalism's chief features including the pretrib rapture.
"4. Twentieth century Darby defenders, evidently dissatisfied with Darby's attempts to embellish and exaggerate his own earliest words, have overstated even what he overstated."[Plot, 136.]
"... It was at Powerscourt that the teaching of a pretribulation rapture of the Church took shape. Tregelles, a member of the Brethren in these early days, tells us that the idea of a secret rapture at a secret coming of Christ had its origin in an "utterance" in Edward Irving's church, and that this was taken to be the voice of the Spirit. Tregelles says, "It was from that supposed revelation that the modern doctrine and the modern phraseology respecting it arose. It came not from Holy Scripture, but from that which falsely pretended to be the Spirit of God." This doctrine together with other important modifications of the traditional futuristic view were vigorously promoted by Darby, and they have been popularized by the writings of William Kelly." [Hope, 40, 41. Ladd footnotes his quote from Tregelles, "S.P. Tregelles, The Hope of Christ's Second Coming, first published in 1864, and now available at Ambassadors for Christ, Los Angeles, California."]
"... Set in impiety, the doctrine of the Lord's secret Coming, before the manifestation of the Man of Sin and before the Great Tribulation, was then first openly promulgated in England. It was adopted by the late J.N. Darby, and was caught up far and near, and hailed as enchanted teaching." ["E.P. Cachemaille, The Prophetic Outlook To-day (London: Morgan & Scott, 1918), pp. 19, 20." Quoted by MacPherson, Plot, 189.]
"The real test is ahead. If pretrib promoters ignore or twist this book's documentation, and if their only bottom line is a continuing flow of funds, then I won't be surprised if God views them collectively as an "Achan" (Josh. 7) and allows a national or even international money collapse!
"I'm not expressing any particular end-time view by saying this. I'm only stating the principle Jesus gave when He said that we can't put money on an equal level with serving God..."
The spirit of William Kelly lives on to defend the "Plot!"
[The Rapture Plot, by Dave MacPherson, Millennium III Publishers, Simpsonville, South Carolina, 1995. It can be ordered from: Central Christian Bookstore, 3131 S Archer Ave, Chicago, IL, 60608--$14.95. Many of the documents referred to by MacPherson are originals found only in Britain. Note that we are not refering to Chilasm; we will develop that doctrine at a latter time.]