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An Introduction to The Parousia: A Careful Look at the New Testament Doctrine of the Lord's Second Coming
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 The Real Manuel Lacunza

By Dave MacPherson

Dave MacPherson Study Archive | The Real Manuel Lacunza | Deceiving and Being Deceived | Thomas Ice - Hired Gun | Scholars Weigh My Research | Margaret MacDonald's Originial Pretribulational Vision | Pre-Trib Rapture Die-hards | Revisers of Pre-Trib Rapture History

     A few of my acquaintances, especially John Bray, have claimed that a Catholic priest named Manuel de Lacunza (using the pen name "Ben-Ezra") originated the pretribulation rapture belief and introduced it in his notable work "The Coming of Messiah in Glory and Majesty" (1812). Well, now is the right time to tell you that I am forced to kindly disagree with the Lacunza claim. Here's why:

     Bray, in his 1982 booklet "The Origin of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture Teaching," admitted that he'd been influenced by an early 20th century pastor, Rev. Duncan McDougall of the Free Church of Scotland, who wrote the booklet "The Rapture of the Saints." McDougall, copied by Bray, was inspired by "much before" speculation in a Lacunza quote (Vol. I, p. 99) which declared that "much before" Christ's "arrival at the earth" He "will give his orders" involving a shout, the archangel's voice, and the trumpet of God (I Thess. 4:16).

     But both McDougall and Bray were evidently unaware that a few paragraphs after the "much before" quote (and in the same context), Lacunza reveals that other writers of his time commonly believe that "a few minutes will suffice----five or six" between the catching up and the touchdown at Jerusalem. Although Lacunza doesn't explain his "much before," a day----or even an hour----would be "much before" when compared with only five or six minutes.

     Lacunza speculates (Vol. II, p. 250) that the "wrath" and "commotion" of the "day of the Lord's coming" (that is, the second advent) will last at least "forty-five natural days." Bray somehow sees these days as part of "the tribulation period" and claims that in Lacunza's view the raptured saints are up in the air with Christ throughout the same 45-day period.

     Even though Lacunza places a rapture before this period, he repeatedly notes that this period is "after the entire ruin of Antichrist," "after the coming of Christ in glory and majesty," "in the age to come," etc.!

     After the meeting in the air, Lacunza even has the raptured saints back on earth during the 45 days! In Vol. II (pp. 262-3) he declares that they will immediately become Christ's messengers; he quotes Isa. 18:2: "Go, ye swift messengers, to a nation scattered and peeled"----in other words, to "the relics of all nations which shall survive" Antichrist's reign.

     Does Lacunza teach a rapture occurring 45 days before the coming to earth, as Bray claims? Let's look at Vol. I.

     On p. 83 Lacunza refers to the book of Revelation and writes that "the nineteenth chapter speaks of the coming of the Lord in glory and majesty, which Christians with one consent do wait for." Pages 99-100: after quoting I Thess. 4:13-18 Lacunza quotes Matt. 24:30 and then comments: "If you compare this text with that of St. Paul, you shall find no other difference than this, that those who are to arise on the coming of the Lord, the apostle nameth those who are dead in Christ, who sleep in Jesus; and the Lord nameth them his elect."

     Lacunza (p. 113) again quotes I Thess. 4 and Matt. 24 in this manner:

"...He shall descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we who are alive, &c. and it appears to me, that you will find St. Paul and the Gospel speaking one and the same thing: He shall send his angels and they shall gather his elect from the four winds; who can be no other than those very ones who are in Christ, who sleep in Jesus."

     For years I sent Lacunza quotes like the ones above to Bray and urged him to abandon that Catholic priest. Finally, in a letter dated Oct. 17, 1990 (still in my files), Bray wrote: "I don't even know what all Lacunza was talking about."

     (He's the same Bray who's been promoting 18th century pastor Morgan Edwards as a pretrib. But I've been telling Bray that Edwards believed that "Antichrist" was the Catholic papacy which had already been on earth for 1200 years before Edwards wrote his book! I've also told Bray that Edwards viewed the Ottoman Empire as Rev. 13's second beast----a beast that was already four centuries old in Edwards' day! It would have been impossible for Edwards to expect an event which logically should have happened centuries earlier!)

     Interestingly, even Tim LaHaye's 1992 book "No Fear of the Storm" (alias "Rapture Under Attack," alias "The Rapture"), p. 169, admits that "Lacunza never taught a pre-Trib Rapture!"

     If Lacunza's 1812 book contains pretrib, as McDougall and Bray have claimed, why was such doctrine unknown before 1830? It wasn't that John Darby and Edward Irving were unaware of Lacunza's work, for both discussed it in their pre-1830 writings. And it wasn't that Darby and Irving were opposed to novel ideas, for both began to embrace pretrib after it emerged in 1830.

     One final thought: why did the world have to wait until McDougall's time to hear something about Lacunza that it had never heard before?

What do YOU think ?

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17 Aug 2003


Duh! So what? What contribution does this whining make to an understanding of the "end times?"

01 Nov 2003


Thanks for this. My understanding of what he taught was a partial rapture only of the victorious believers  just before the rapture. Similar to what Watchman Nee teaches.  Ed

05 Jan 2004


Dear Mr. MacPherson My concern is that many otherwise sound Bible Scholars and Christian make the tribulational view and test of fellowship. I find this unfortunate because I do not Believe that it is a fundamental (essential) of the Faith. Personally, I take a practical view of the matter. If the "rapture" is Pre-Tribulational good. Even if I didn't believe the "Pre-Tribulational" Viewpoint, I would be "raptured" with all those who do believe it to be correct. Being "Raptured" has no conditions other than being a "born again" believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. However, If a person that holds the "Pre-tribulational" viewpoint is incorrect, he may be greatly unprepared for the suffering that may come. As I see Holy Scripture we are to be prepared to suffer with and for Christ no matter what circumstance comes. My concern is that I live a godly life so that no matter what comes, I will be honoring to God and will receive His "Well Done, Faithful servant" Someone ask the famous Greek Scholar, A.T. Robertson, what his view was on the Millennian. Dr. Robertson said, "I am a Pro-Millennialist". If there is one, I am for it. Likewise, If the "rapture" is "Pre-Tribulational" I am Pro-Pre-Tribulational. What I believe does not change the fact of what it will be. Jesus said, "Occupy until I come" Thus His command is to be obedient to His business of Winning the Lord and strengthing the Saints. Rev. Thomas L.Clark

Date: 21 Dec 2007
Time: 11:26:26


You write " wasn't that John Darby and Edward Irving were unaware of Lacunza's work, for both discussed it in their pre-1830 writings". are you unaware that it was Irving who translated Lacunza's book!

Date: 13 May 2010
Time: 05:02:02

Your Comments:

Even if you proved that Margaret McDonald came up with the pretrib rapture doctrine, and I'll assume for the sake of argument you have, dispensationalists will just deny it and lie about it like they have already, and most people just won't care. It's better to disprove Darby's theology from Scripture. Also, since you obviously like to do historical research, why not follow the undeniable Jesuit connections?

Date: 17 Jul 2013
Time: 01:35:46

Your Comments:

I would suggest that we in the church need to review the account of the Lord's return or coming (parousia) and come to an agreement on what the scripture does and doesn't say about the matter. In my personal study, I have come to realize that the word rapture and Second Coming are not found anywhere in scripture. This means that those who define these matters for the church can offer their own subject analysis on the definition.

I have a sense if the church at large were to start again at the teaching of the Lord in Matthew 24 on HIs coming and then simply follow the scriptural pathway where it leeds that some of the compelling questions on the destiny of the church at the end of the age and its role would be answered.

Great web site.

Date: 17 Jul 2013
Time: 01:57:55

Your Comments:

I wanted to follow up with a comment on the matter of Manuel Lacunza . In going through his book rather quickly, I noticed that He seems to teach that Revelation 19:11-16 is the Second Coming (as Scofield has done also) without providing a scriptural connection with Matthew 24. I think that is where the issue is for the church as well, the assumption that Revelation 19:11-16 is indicative of the Second Coming without proving it. If the Revelation 19:11-16 appearing of Jesus on a horse with out mentioning HIm being in the clouds is not a Second Coming scripture, then the need for an event like the rapture vanishes in thin air.

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