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Pretrib Rapture & DEMONS
by Dave MacPherson (adapted; emph. added)
WHEN I THINK about pretrib rapture books I often think about demons.
Take John Darby, for example. No one has ever come close to matching his literary “spectrum.” His favorite caustic phrases included “the absence of spiritual intelligence,” “real blasphemies,” “unmingled darkness,” and “unbelief and Satan.” (Darby threw these phrases at those who dared to keep clinging to the only “rapture” view found in all Christian theology books prior to Scottish lassie Margaret Macdonald’s history-making claim in 1830 of finding a pretrib rapture in the Bible.)
The biting language went both ways. Soon after the birth of pretrib, British lawyer Robert Baxter joined the Irvingites (followers of Rev. Edward Irving) and adopted that new prophetic view. He abandoned it in 1833 and concluded that it was “a deceit of Satan” which had “first appeared in Scotland.”
Throughout the following decades both Darby (the master “special effects” man) and his editor, William Kelly, continued to fling such corrosive terminology at their critics.
During 1902 Canadian fundamentalist Robert Cameron, who had been influenced by Baxter, wrote a series of articles that continued to credit the Irvingites (whom Margaret had inspired) as the first public teachers of the new endtimes view. Cameron wrote that “Dr. Tregelles, B.W. Newton and others, say there is not a hint of this [pretrib] doctrine in any writing extant, from the days of Polycarp to the days of Irving.” He asked: “Do you think it wise to exalt into ‘a test of fellowship’ a doctrine...supported by the testimony of demons...?”
In 1973 R.A. Huebner, uber-defender of Darby, added Darby- and Kelly-like revisionism to “demon” lingo. He quoted several writers who supposedly made the “demonic” charge. This is how my book “The Rapture Plot” portrays Huebner’s “straw man” deviousness:
“In 1864 S.P. Tregelles wrote: ‘It came...from that which falsely pretended to be the Spirit of God.’ (Huebner: ‘In 1864, he said it came from a demon.’)
“In 1956 H.A. Baker said that pretrib came from a ‘spirit.’ (Huebner: Baker said it came from a ‘demon.’)
“In 1957 Oswald J. Smith declared that pretrib came from ‘a vision received by a woman’ in Irving’s church. (Huebner: Smith said it came from a ‘demon.’)
“In 1962 J. Barton Payne traced pretrib to ‘a woman...speaking in tongues.’ (Huebner: Payne traced it to a ‘demon.’)”
Huebner, in the same book, asserted that I’m another one who’s been claiming that pretrib sprang from a “demonic source.” For his so-called proof he reproduced a 1971 paper of mine entitled “Who Was Margaret MacDonald?” His conclusion was based on a statement in that paper in which I referred to “the vagaries of a Scottish lassie whose friends, according to A.L. Drummond’s ‘Edward Irving and His Circle’ (pp. 141, 142, 146, 238, 279), included those who practised ecstatic speech, telepathy, and (shades of Satan) automatic writing!”
Note that the occultic items had to do with Margaret’s “friends” and not her! As I see it, pretrib is dangerous no matter how it’s transmitted.
For the record: I have never stated, and have never believed, that Margaret was ever, in any way, influenced by any demonic or Satanic source! Her revelation was merely her view of Scripture.
Huebner (who is now deceased) was a retired electrical engineer who never attended college, seminary, or even a Bible school. Nevertheless Walvoord, Ryrie and some others have been taken in by Huebner’s dishonest revisionism of my research and have repeated it far and wide—the evidence of which is constantly seen on the internet.
For example, there’s what I refer to as Wicked-pedia (a.k.a. Wikipedia)—a site which allows anyone in the public to edit its pages in any fashion! This has given Thomas Ice etc. a green light to constantly replace historical facts with lies including the oft-repeated lie that I have stated that pretrib (including Margaret’s 1830 revelation) sprang from a “demonic” source!