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Darby’s Rapture Theory

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Issue #396July 2021

Darby’s Rapture Theory

Popular Christian teaching about the second coming of Christ took a major turn in the 1850’s when a new view was introduced by John Nelson Darby.

Prior to this time, the Historicist view had dominated the thinking in Protestant churches, because they had come out of the Roman church and believed that Rome was the great harlot of Revelation 17.

Darby’s “Dispensationalist” view of prophecy, along with his pre-tribulation rapture theory, was later popularized by Cyrus Scofield, whose dubious moral character was overlooked when men studied the Scofield Reference Bible.

We might forgive Scofield’s forgeries and confidence games as a lawyer and shyster, because he did these things prior to his professed conversion. But after leaving his wife and two children, he never contributed anything to their support, not even after his professed conversion. His wife, Leontine, was finally granted a divorce in 1883.

More of a problem, in my view, was his connection to Samuel Untermyer and the Lotos Club, which supported him for nearly 20 years while he put together his Reference Bible. Untermyer was not a Christian but a Jewish lawyer who helped frame the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 that put America and the world into bondage to the big bankers.

Untermyer’s influence induced the Oxford University Press to publish Scofield’s Reference Bible, even though Scofield had never written a book, with the possible exception of his Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth, which he himself described as a pamphlet. Oxford had never agreed to publish a book that was yet to be written, especially by an unproven author with no academic background. Scofield’s Bible was the exception. Why?

One of the Reference Bible’s Consulting Editors was Arno Gaebelein, the publisher of a Zionist magazine called Our Hope in New York’s Jewish section on the Lower East Side. It was reported in Les Standiford’s book, Desperate Sons, page 220-221, that “Gaebelein’s son Frank eventually revealed that his father, not Scofield, wrote the reference Bible’s prophetic notes.” If that is the case, we can see who was really behind Scofield’s Christian Zionism that was taught in this Reference Bible.

Though Scofield’s Reference Bible was first published in 1909, it was the 1917 edition that was mass-marketed with unlimited advertising by Oxford University Press. This is the edition that transformed the church world through the Rapture teaching and Christian Zionism.

The Importance of 1917 in Prophecy

In prophecy, of course, 1917 was a very important year, known among Zionists and others as 2,520 years after the fall of Jerusalem in 604 B.C.

Of course, they did not think of this “seven times” cycle as a judgment cycle, wherein Jerusalem (and the world at large) was put under the rule of the world empires. They saw it as a simple cycle of chronological time that began in 604 B.C. and ended in 1917. But it was actually a time of dominion allotted to these empires (Jer. 27:6).

So when Jerusalem gained its independence from 163-63 B.C. under Maccabean rule, these “beast” empires (lion, bear, leopard, and nameless iron-toothed beast) were deprived of their 2,520-year contract to rule. Hence, this century had to be accounted for (1917-2017).

But no one thought of that in 1917. They only saw that General Allenby had taken Jerusalem from the Ottoman Empire, putting Palestine under British rule. The long captivity (“tribulation”) of Jerusalem seemed to end, but it was soon apparent that a new form of captivity had just begun, extending the time for another century.

A few weeks before Allenby walked into Jerusalem, the Communist Revolution took place in Russia. Its first 256 Commissars were shipped to Russia from the Lower East Side of New York City. All but a few were Jews. Among them was a brilliant rabbi named Lev Bronstein, who took for himself the name Leon Trotsky.

The US Senate, led by Democratic Senator Lee Overman, investigated these things thoroughly in 1919, and these are part of the public record known as The Overman Report. https://archive.org/details/cu31924030480051

The Balfour Declaration of 1917

In a letter to Lord Rothschild dated Nov. 2, 1917, Lord Balfour penned the Balfour Declaration, stating Britain’s intent to create a “national home” for Jews in Palestine. This letter was written when it became clear that General Allenby was soon to be successful in taking Palestine from the Ottoman Turks.

Allenby took Jerusalem on Dec. 19, 1917, which was the 24th day of the ninth month on the Hebrew calendar. It was a date that H. Gratton Guiness had pinpointed decades earlier to be the day when Jerusalem would be set free from the Turks.

For our present purposes, we see that 1917 was a very monumental prophetic year. It was no coincidence that the second edition of Scofield’s Reference Bible was published that year with great fanfare. It altered the church’s view of prophecy and eschatology, preparing the way for the church’s acceptance of a Zionist Jewish state in 1948.

Note that the Balfour Declaration did not support a Jewish state; it supported a Jewish homeland, where Jews could live alongside of the existing Palestinian population as equal citizens. Of course, that was ignored as soon as they came to power.

The new Israeli state adopted as its flag a design with two bars representing the Euphrates and the Nile, as if to claim these rivers as the boundaries of “Greater Israel.” In the center was a hexagram having six triangles, six points, and a six-sided figure in the center, which sent a clear message to all who had eyes to see that this state was a manifestation of 666.

As the so-called “Star of David” was already part of the Zionist plan, perhaps they felt it was necessary to present an alternative view of 666 through Scofield and his doctrine of the Antichrist. By diverting attention from the “Star of David” to an Antichrist man who was yet to come, the church was blinded to what was in plain sight.

Knowing History

History is prophecy fulfilled. One cannot understand Bible prophecy without knowing history. I believe that this is why history books have been altered or banned outright. History classes have been dumbed down to the point of irrelevancy. Many students have slept through history class through sheer boredom.

I dreaded history classes for years, believing that it was totally useless for daily life—until I discovered that knowing history was vital to understanding Bible prophecy. How can one understand the prophecies of Daniel if one is ignorant of the four main empires of the western world?

Additionally, how can one understand the Israeli state without knowing the history of Edom? Few Bible teachers know anything about the history of Edom. They have missed the glaring fact that Edom was conquered and absorbed into Jewry in 126 B.C. when John Hyrcanus of Judah conquered Idumea (the Greek word for Edom).

It is hardly possible to understand the reason for the Israeli state today without knowing the prophecy that Isaac gave to Esau-Edom in Gen. 27:40 (KJV).

40 And by thy sword shalt thou live, and shalt serve thy brother [Jacob]; and it shall come to pass when thou shalt have the dominion, that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck.

 Although God had determined that Jacob was called to receive the birthright, Jacob took it in an unlawful manner. He lied to his father and stole Esau’s identity (Gen. 27:19). So although Isaac knew that he could not take back the blessing (dominion), he also knew that someday God would reverse the situation and that Esau-Edom would “have the dominion” and break Jacob’s yoke (rule).

In his Reference Bible, Scofield had no comment on this situation. Obviously, he knew nothing about it, except to draw our attention to Esau’s tears (Heb. 12:17).

Esau did not obtain the dominion during the time of biblical history, at least not where the birthright was returned to him. In fact, the opposite occurred in 126 B.C., when Edom as a nation was destroyed, and the surviving Edomites were forced to convert to Judaism, as historians tell us. The Jewish historian from the first century, Josephus, tells us in his Antiquities of the Jews, XIII, ix, 1,

“Hyrcanus took also Dora and Marissa, cities of Idumea, and subdued all the Idumeans; and permitted them to stay in that country, if they would be circumcised and make use of the laws of the Jews; and they were so desirous of living in the country of their forefathers, that they submitted to the use of circumcision and the rest of the Jews’ ways of living; at which time therefore, this befell them, that they were hereafter no other than Jews.”

The Jewish Encyclopedia (1903 edition) agrees with this, saying,

“They were again subdued by John Hyrcanus (c. 125 B.C.), by whom they were forced to observe Jewish rites and laws (ib. 9, par. 1; xiv. 4, par. 4). They were then incorporated with the Jewish nationFrom this time the Idumeans ceased to be a separate people…”

So it is clear that since the days of John Hyrcanus, the prophecies about Esau-Edom and Idumea must be fulfilled in world Jewry. Edom ceased to be a separate people who could fulfill the biblical prophecies about themselves.

This is one of the most important keys to understanding how prophecy is being fulfilled today. The Jews have two sets of prophecy to fulfill: (1) the remnant of Judah, and (2) Edom. The law of tribulation in Lev. 26:41-43 forbade the Israelite tribes, including Judah, to return to their land from captivity until they repented of their hostility (to Christ).

But they were allowed to return and claim the old land under the banner of Esau-Edom, because only in this way could Jacob’s sin against Esau be rectified. This is how Isaac’s prophecy was fulfilled. Jacob was forced to give the dominion back to Esau in 1948, and God blinded the people in order to induce them to recognize Esau as Israel. Israel is the birthright name, that is, the sign of the birthright.

Because Jacob stole Esau’s identity to deceive his blind father, Esau today has stolen Jacob’s identity to deceive the blind church. This has been accomplished according to the law, which demands that the judgment must fit the crime (Exodus 21:23-25).

Without knowing the history of Edom, one can hardly understand the biblical prophecies about Edom in the latter days. Why? Because there is no nation today called Edom or Idumea. Many preachers assume that the Arabs are the Edomites, when, in fact, they are of Ishmael, not Esau.

Palestine is the modern name of Philistia, the land of the Philistines. Palestinians are not necessarily descendants of the Philistines, of course, because many different people have moved in and out of Palestine over the centuries. But there is no justification in calling them Edomites. The Philistines were not Edomites.

When one studies history, it becomes clear that the present conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is largely a conflict between Esau and Ishmael, not Jacob and Esau. Ishmael claims the land on the grounds that he was the firstborn son of Abram. Esau claims the land on the grounds that he was the firstborn son of Isaac.

The resolution of these claims depends first on whether or not one believes the Bible or the Koran. The Koran makes Ishmael the inheritor of the birthright; the Bible makes Isaac the inheritor. But both sides fight from the standpoint of the Old Covenant, so they both miss the point. They want the land but know little or nothing about inheriting a glorified body—which is the New Covenant view of the “land.”

The dispute between Jacob and Esau is more complex than that of Esau and Ishmael, because of Jacob’s fraud that must be rectified before (true) Israel can inherit what was promised. At the present time (2021), Esau has been given the land temporarily, according to Isaac’s word, but this must end at some point, because “the older shall serve the younger” (Gen. 25:23).

Once Esau has been found unworthy of the birthright, he will be stripped of it. The birthright will be given to the saints of the Most High, according to Daniel 7:22. These are the overcomers, the seed of Abraham according to Paul’s definition in Gal. 3:7. Abraham’s children are those who share his New Covenant faith as described in Rom. 4:20-22.

Scofield’s Ignorance

Whether Scofield or Frank Gaebelein wrote the Zionist notes in the Scofield Reference Bible, it is clear that neither of them acknowledged the true history of Edom. Gaebelein may have known the history of Edom, choosing to deceive the church, but it is clear that Scofield did not understand.

Either way, the Reference Bible has deceived a multitude of Christians for more than a century. Perhaps if the church had been taught the law of God, they might have seen how God was judging Jacob in the matter of the birthright. If the church had been taught the law, they may have seen the error of Christian Zionism.

But God had blinded the church, even as He had blinded Isaac. God told Moses in Exodus 4:11,

11 … Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes him mute or deaf, seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord?

If God is ultimately responsible for making people blind, then we know that God blinded Isaac (Gen. 27:1) in order to allow Jacob to deceive his father. After all, Jacob’s name means “deceiver, supplanter.” He was named prophetically at birth to reveal how he would deceive his father in order to supplant Esau. This was part of the divine plan.

God also blinded the church—largely through Darby and Scofield—in order to allow Esau to do what Jacob had done many years earlier. The blindness allowed the descendants of Esau to induce Jacob (Britain, “Union Jack”) to return the birthright and its name, Israel, to the new Zionist state.

Although the Zionist state has been granted the birthright by divine decision, it is clear that Esau will not hold the birthright in the long-term. Neither will the children of the flesh inherit the birthright, regardless of their genealogy.

Esau has been given an unknown period of time in which to hold “the dominion.” It seems to me that this could be a 76-year period from 1948-2024. At some point, Esau will tip the scales and prove himself to be unworthy, and then his end will come.

The birthright will not be given to those who are of flesh and blood but only to the overcomers. These are the ones who are able to find a new identity in Christ, those who progress from Jacob to Israel. Jacob was a believer, but Israel was an overcomer. Jacob thought God needed help from the flesh to fulfill His promises; Israel rested in the sovereignty of God.

These are principles that neither Darby nor Scofield understood. For this reason, those in the church who were influenced by them supported the violent takeover of Palestine. The Zionists thought that God needed their fleshly help, so they took the land by force.

Essentially, they were deceivers and usurpers like Jacob prior to his change of identity as Israel. If church leaders had taught the people to identify with the new man and crucify the old man of flesh, they might have learned how to get rid of the Jacob identity and to put on the Israel identity as sons of God.

But because these things are seldom taught in the church, most believers do not really understand what it means to be a new creation. They know the biblical terms, but they do not know how this actually works out in practice.

As a result, they spend a lifetime trying to make their flesh worthy to be saved. They try to make their Ishmael good enough to inherit the promise. They promote the interests of their mother, Hagar-Jerusalem, rather than the interests of the heavenly Jerusalem (Sarah).

Such was the eschatology of Darby and Scofield, which has been passed down to a host of unsuspecting believers in the church today. Their support of Zionism has resulted in untold suffering and countless massacres of Palestinians—even the Christian Palestinians living in the village of Birim, who were also displaced and never allowed to return.

When Palestinians try to fight back, Christians are horrified, thinking that the Zionists have every right to steal land and to kill anyone who gets in their way.

That was the implied doctrine passed down to us from Darby and Scofield. While we certainly must acknowledge the sovereignty of God in all of this, we should also know history and who is who in prophecy.

If we know the laws of tribulation, we can avoid the pitfalls of modern eschatology that theorizes a mere seven-year tribulation that always seems to remain in the future.

The Non-Zionist Jewish View

Not all Jews are Zionists. In fact, most Jews are not Zionists, which is why so many Jews make no attempt to immigrate to the Jewish state. The non-Zionist view is well stated by Rabbi Michael Ber Weissmandel in an article dated May 26, 2000.

“…We should avoid the untenable position of the robber who prays for Divine help in carrying out his crime. We should pray that Zionism and its fruits vanish from the Earth, and that we be redeemed by the Messiah with dispatch.”

Weissmandel acknowledges the fact that God had exiled Judah for its sins. Until recently, Orthodox Judaism had settled on the belief that they must remain in captivity until the Messiah returns to set them free. He continues,

“We have been sentenced to exile by the King of Kings because of our sins. The eternal, blessed be he, has decreed that we accept the exile with humble gratitude until the times comes, or until we merit His pardon through repentance. If we seek to end the exile with force, G-d will catch us, as our sages have forewarned, and our sentence becomes longer and more difficult.”

“Many times in the past have segments of our people been defrauded by false messiahs—but none of the false messiahs has been as fallacious and delusory as the lie of Zionism.”

Weissmandel obviously understood Jeremiah’s call to submit to God’s judgment (Jer. 27:12). Though obviously did not accept Jesus as the Messiah, he nonetheless knew the Scripture well enough to be a non-Zionist.

Samuel Untermyer was a prominent Jewish lawyer who took part in the plot to enslave the world through the Federal Reserve Bank. As a member of the Lotos Club, he gave Scofield a place to stay rent-free while the Scofield Bible was being compiled. As a Jew, Untermyer would have no interest in a Reference Bible unless it served his Zionist purposes. That alone is suspicious.

Secondly, for Oxford University Press to publish the book was unprecedented. Oxford has always been the main university to train leaders for the Babylonian system. Bill Clinton was given a scholarship to Oxford as well and was trained in the principles of Babylonian government.

This is a short history of the men behind the modern Rapture doctrine. Their new eschatology was not based upon a knowledge of the feast days but upon the idea that a Zionist state would make possible the return of Christ.