BEHOLD THE BEAST
AN END TIME MYTH
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The following is pasted with permission of the Author Ellis
Skolfield and is available in printer friendly PDF here.
(Bolding and underlining below by webmaster)
An End-Time Myth
A widely held end-time view is that a seven-year time of
trouble will take place at the end of this age. Few know the
origin of the doctrine and the Great Tribulation (as it is called)
is generally accepted as an established fact. But just having an
explanation for a few puzzling Bible verses doesn't mean the
explanation is true.
As popular as the Seven-Year Tribulation view might be, it
might also be wrong because there is no direct scriptural
support for it. Oh, there are verses we interpret as a sevenyear-
tribulation, but not one verse in the Bible says we are
going to have such a time at the end of the age. Few question
the origin of the view, but it had a most dubious beginning . .
. and here's the story.
From the early Church fathers until the Reformation, the
generally accepted view of Bible prophecy was "linear historic,"
that Revelation was in the process of being fulfilled
throughout the Christian Era. But in the 16th century, a new
view of Bible prophecy was devised by a Jesuit priest to stop
the Reformers from teaching that the Catholic Church was
probably the "whore of Babylon" of Revelation 17:3-6.
In 1591AD, the Jesuit Ribera invented a "futurist" view. He
claimed that Revelation would not be fulfilled until the end of
the Christian Era. Ribera taught a rebuilt Babylon, a rebuilt
temple in Jerusalem and an end-time Antichrist, etc., etc.
Sound familiar? It should, Ribera is the father of the prophetic
views taught by many major denominations today.
But Ribera is only part of the story. In 1731, there was a
Spanish family living in Chili named the de Lacunzas, who had
a boy named Manuel. After fifteen years at home, young
Manuel decided to become a Catholic priest so he boarded a
ship to Spain. Thirty-six years later (when the Jesuits were
expelled from that country because of their brutality) the now
"Father" Manuel de Lacunza y Diaz had to move to Imola, Italy,
where he remained for the rest of his life.
In Imola, de Lacunza claimed to be a converted Jew named
Rabbi Juan Jushafat Ben-Ezra. Under that alias, he wrote a 900
page book titled The Coming of Messiah in Glory and Majesty. In
it, Lacunza theorized that the Church would be taken to be
with the Lord some 45 days before Jesus' final return to Earth.
During that 45 days (while the Church was in heaven), God
was supposedly going to pour out His wrath upon the wicked
remaining on Earth.1 Believe it or not, a Chilean Jesuit, a.k.a.
a Jewish Rabbi, theorized the earliest mini-trib, pre-trib-rapture
view on record!2 But to continue on . . .
De Lacunza died in Imola in 1801 and that should have been
the end of it. But after his death, Lacunza's views were taught
in Spain. In 1812 his book was published in Spanish. Fourteen
years later, it was translated into English by a radical cultist
named Edward Irving. Lacunza's views could have died there,
too, for most in England saw Irving as a heretic.
But now the plot thickens. About the same time, an Irvingite
evangelist named Robert Norton met a little Scottish girl
named Margaret Macdonald who supposedly had a vision of
the church being secretly raptured. Norton was so charmed by
the idea that he preached her "vision" all over England.
1 De Lacunza derived his view from a premature interpretation of the 1290 and the 1335
days of Dan 12:11-12. We now know his view to be faulty because we now have the true
fulfillment of those prophecies in the new nation of Israel and can prove with certainty
what those "days" really mean. You can read the details in Skolfield's book The False
Prophet, also downloadable from this site.
2 Though not so well known, an 18th century American pastor, Morgan Edwards,
may have published a pre-trib rapture paper slightly earlier than de Lacunza. But
when one looks at the tremendous impact the Scofield Bible had on the western
church, it appears that Ribera-Lacunza-Macdonald-Darby-Scofield is the route
through which this view gained wide acceptance. A copy of Irving's translation of
Lacunza's work is archived in Oxford University Library, Oxford, England. (John
Brey, The Origin of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture Teaching, pp1-12)
John Darby, founder of the Plymouth Brethren, became
interested in this new doctrine so he attended several Irvingite
meetings. In his letters Darby states that he had "come to an
understanding of this new truth" and made no secret of the fact
that he had been influenced by de Lacunza's writings.
Darby, however, wasn't satisfied with the rather simplistic
Lacunza-Irving 45-day tribulation idea, so he devised a more
complex scheme. Darby thought the last week of Daniel's 70
weeks (Dan 9:24-27) was still unfulfilled so he theorized that
the 70th week might actually be a future seven-year-tribulation
that would take place at the end of the Christian Era. To make
his idea fit world history, he also invented a 2000 year gap
between Daniel's 69th and 70th weeks. It was all guesswork
theology, but there you have it, the true origin of the seven-year
tribulation and pre-trib rapture doctrines! Upon that
dubious foundation, Darby and his associates then added a few
of Jesuit Ribera's wrinkles:
1. That a Jewish temple would be rebuilt and animal
2. That Antichrist would appear and rule the world for
3. That after 3½ years of good rule, this supposed
Antichrist would turn against the Jews, stop the sacrifices,
and start the battle of Armageddon.
Whew, it went on and on in a dizzying profusion of unsupportable
conjectures, all based upon Darby's imaginary 2000
year gap theory and the seven-year-tribulation he conjured up
from Daniel's 70th week.
If Darby hadn't visited the United States, his seven-year idea
could have died right then, too. After all, there weren't many
Darbyites around. But while visiting the United States, Darby
met C. I. Scofield.
C. I. was so taken by the Ribera-Lacunza-Macdonald-Darby
ideas that he decided to include them in the annotated Bible he
was working on. Sound Bible scholars of the day like A. J.
Gordon, Charles R. Erdman and W.G. Moorhead tried to
dissuade him. Three members of Scofield's revision committee
even resigned because of his unswerving support for the view,
but their voices were not heard. The seven-year-tribulation
doctrine remained . . . and that's how a Jesuit's imaginative
creation - which grew like a poisonous mushroom - was
incorporated into the now-famous notes of the Scofield
Since the Protestant Church held the Jesuits and Irvingites
to be heretical, everyone involved tried to hide the origin of the
doctrine and by almost unbelievable deception claimed to be
the originators of the creed themselves. They were generally
successful, for most pastors and theologians believe John Darby
and C. I. Scofield to be the fathers of what is known today as
In the following decades, the Scofield Bible became the most
widely read Bible in the English language so that annotated
Bible is the primary vehicle by which the seven-year-tribulation
view was spread throughout American churches. Scathing
reviews have been written against Scofield's views by various
respected scholars, but others presume Scofield's notes to be all
but inspired. Even today, some folks think a commentator's
notes below the line are as valid as the text above it.4
Dr. Ironside of Moody Bible Institute fully supported Darby-
Scofield, but later in life admitted that it was "full of holes."
Dallas Theological Seminary, Biola University and other centers
of dispensational thinking also support Darby's views. There
have been a host of rebuttals by conservative theologians, but
few have bothered to refute the Ribera-Lacunza-Mcdonald-
Darby-Scofield view in a language that the everyday saint can
3 Albertus Pieters wrote, "From start to finish it [the Scofield Bible] is a partisan
book, definitely, both openly and under cover, an instrument of propaganda in
favor of an exceedingly doubtful eschatology . . . [u]If Darby and his school are
right, the entire Christian church, for eighteen-hundred years, was wrong[/u] on a
vital part of the Christian faith" Candid Examination of the Scofield Bible, Albertus
Pieters, (Union City, PA, Bible Truth Depot, 1932) pp25, 27.
4 Dr. T. T. Shields humorously commented: "From a position of entire ignorance
of the Scripture to a position of oracular religious certainty -- especially in
eschatological matters -- for some people requires but from three to six months
with a Scofield Bible" The Gospel Witness (Toronto Canada, April 7th, 1932).
It is almost impossible to believe that major end-time
doctrines of the Protestant church began in the minds of a
couple of Jesuit priests, one of which wrote under an assumed
name . . . and even more unbelievable, that those views were
amplified by the supposed vision of a fifteen year old girl who
had only been a Christian for a year, dabbled in the occult and
had a documented levitation.5 But the historic record of the
origin of Dispensational Eschatology is unassailable.6
Many seminary students have tried to reconcile the plain
assertions of Scripture with the dispensational position, but to
no avail. Eventually, the future pastors just accept Ribera-
Lacunza-Macdonald-Darby-Scofield and after being ordained
go forth and happily teach this false doctrine to their flocks.
Rarely do they question the quivering foundation upon which
they are trying to build: the questionable opinions of the Jesuits
who started it all.7
Many evangelical churches still champion the seven-year
view, but it is so counter to the plain statements of the Bible
itself - particularly the last trumpet - that one wonders how it
has managed to command so many ardent supporters . . .
2Ti 4:3-4 For the time will come when they will not endure
sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to
themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn
away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
5 Levitation is recognized by most churches as a sign of demonic activity.
6 The Church is indebted to Dave MacPherson, The Rapture Plot, (Simpsonville,
SC, Millennium III Publishers) for 23 years of researching source documents to
uncover the true origin of present-day dispensational eschatology.
7 Dr. Harry Ironside of Moody Bible Institute, himself an ardent supporter of the
Ribera-Lacunza-Macdonald-Darby-Scofield eschatological scheme, admitted in his
Mysteries of God, p.50: ". . . until brought to the fore through the writings of . . .
Mr. J. N. Darby, the doctrine taught by Dr. Scofield [i.e., the Seven-Year Tribulation
theory] is scarcely to be found in a single book throughout a period of 1600 years.
If any doubt this statement, let them search, as the writer has in measure done,
the remarks of the so-called Fathers, both pre- and post-Nicene, the theological
treatises of the scholastic divines . . . the literature of the reformation . . . the
Puritans. He will find the 'mystery' conspicuous by its absence."
Yes indeed, that so-called "mystery is absent," because the Bible doesn't teach
We are very near the end of all things. The Jews are home
in Israel now, just as the Lord predicted they would be in
countless Scriptures. Because of the many prophecies that have
been fulfilled in the last sixty years, we can now state
conclusively that all Scriptures used to formulate the sevenyear-
tribulation view, including Daniel's 70th week, have been
fulfilled. The Ribera-Lacunza-Irving-Macdonald-Darby-Scofield
dispensational end-time scheme just isn't true. And since it isn't,
maybe we should look at Daniel's prophecies again to see if we
can find out what they are really all about.8
You can download an explanation of Daniel's 70th Week from
this site, but to get the complete picture, you should also
download Skolfield's latest book on Bible prophecy, The False
God is truth, so how well a person serves the Lord is not
based on how good he is at defending his doctrine, but on
how willing he is to seek out and follow the truth.
8 The futurist view, contrived by the Jesuit priest Ribera in 1591AD, was the
foundation for Lacunza's "tribulation" musings. Ribera theorized a future
antichrist, a rebuilt Babylon and a Jewish temple in Jerusalem at the end of this
age. The Praeterist view, conceived by the Jesuit priest Alcazar in 1614AD,
claimed just the opposite - that the book of Revelation was fulfilled by the fall of
Jerusalem in 70AD. Both views were in opposition to the linear historic view that
until then had been the generally accepted position of the true church. Those two
innovative Jesuit positions succeeded in excluding fifteen centuries of unsavory
Roman Church history from the scrutiny the Bible prophecies that showed the
Roman Church hierarchy to be at least one face of Rev 17's "whore of Babylon."
For documentation, read Michael de Semlyen, All Roads Lead To Rome? (Gerrards
Cross, Bucks, UK, Dorchester House Publications, 1991) p. 202.
Mr. Skolfield attended Columbia Bible college in the early 1950s where he specialized
in eschatology and Biblical archeology. He pastored a church and taught dispensational
eschatology for many years before he felt a need to shore up the foundations of that doctrine.
This isn't the only such evaluation of futurism or preterism and partial preterism.
Yahoo - alcazar ribera darby - and you will be treated to hundreds of sites to review.
Or Yahoo - futurism preterism -
If you attend a futurist Church simply ask your pastor, or the guy in charge of doctrine:
"How many Churches held futurist doctrine prior to the Darby's Plymouth Bretheren"
I asked this of pastors for months. Not a single one can cite a single church that
held futurist doctrine prior to a portion of the Plymouth Bretheren, and then not until
the late 1800s and on into the 20th century protestant church, thanks to C.I. Scofield.
THE GREAT MYSTERY OF CHRIST AND THE CHURCH
Throughout the writings of the apostle Paul he again and again refers to a wondrous secret, which he designates in a special way as "the mystery," or "the great mystery." Other mysteries he treats of, as we have seen, and shall notice later; but there is one that is preeminently such. It occupies much of his ministry, and is clearly the chief gem in the diadem of the truth of Christianity; yet for centuries it was almost entirely lost sight of. In fact, until brought to the fore through the writings and the preaching and teaching of a distinguished ex-clergyman, Mr. J. N. Darby, in the early part of the last century, it is scarcely to be found in a single book or sermon throughout a period of sixteen hundred years! If any doubt this statement, let them search, as the writer has in measure done, the remarks of the so-called Fathers, both pre- and post-Nicene; the theological treatises of the scholastic divines; Roman Catholic writers of all shades of thought; the literature of the Reformation; the sermons and expositions of the Puritans; and the general theological works of the day. He will find "the mystery" conspicuous by its absence. Of ordinances exalted to the place of mysteries, as in heathen rites, he will find much; but as to the mystery, which to the apostle was so unspeakably precious, rarely a reference!"
Dr. Harry Ironside. "The Mysteries Of God" page 50-51
Last listed is the "6th Edition, August, 1938 .........1,500"