True or False?

Review of Jacob Prasch Session 2 Columbus Ohio 01/23/2015

The numbers (eg. 7:06) refer to the minutes and seconds into the above video for easy reference. The timing may not be the same for other copies of the video since the above one contains a rather lengthy introduction before Mr Prasch speaks.

6:00 Mr. Prasch: “Extrapolation = Eisegesis = opinion.”  Central to his argument is that the pre-tribulation rapture is “extrapolated” from Scripture in the absence of a clearly stated doctrine on the timing of the rapture. There are problems with his logic at several levels:

1.       His “intra-seal” rapture is also arrived at by deduction and he does not have a clear overt text for his opinion. If the Bible does contain clear overt teaching on the exact timing of the rapture, there would be no debate.

2.       Extrapolation is not a hermeneutical technique. It is used in Mathematics and has nothing to do with theology. None of the views on the tribulation are based on “extrapolation” but all are based on “deduction” and “induction”.

3.       If he means to say that “deduction” is equal to Eisegesis then he is still wrong. Both induction and deduction seek to draw the meaning from Scripture and are, by definition, exegetical and not eisegetical.

4.       Several important doctrines are either deduced or induced from Scripture. On the same video Mr. Prasch states that the doctrine of the Trinity is an essential over which we must divide (28:47). He is right. But the doctrine of the Trinity is arrived at by induction in exactly the same way as we arrive at the pre-tribulation rapture. Since he rejects the use of induction for the rapture, then he must of necessity reject the doctrine of the Trinity – he cannot have it both ways. This is what Martyn Lloyd-Jones says about the use of deduction and induction:

“Sometimes it is quite a simple matter to deduce the doctrine from the statements. You just look at the statements, and you say, ‘That quite inevitably means so and so.’ That is deduction – you draw out the meaning.
But there is another method, and that is called ‘induction’. Take for an example of induction the doctrine of the Trinity. You will not find the doctrine of the Trinity stated either implicitly or explicitly anywhere in the Bible. But you will find that there are references to ‘God the Father’,— ‘God the Son’, and ‘God the Holy Spirit’ — and, having come across these statements, you say to yourself, ‘Now I adduce the doctrine of the Trinity, that God is one and three Persons. That is not deduction it is induction. You are building up the doctrine from certain statements. So you arrive at your doctrine by the two processes of deduction and induction.”[1]

Either Mr Prasch is ignorant of how the doctrine of the Trinity is arrived at or he is blatantly lying when he says that the Pre-tribulation rapture teaching is arrived at by unorthodox means.

7:06. Mr. Prasch refers to “sensationalism” but we assume he actually means “cessationism”. He makes this mistake frequently in his writing and preaching. These two ideas are clearly very different.

8:08 Mr. Prasch says “you would be hard pressed to find any of the church fathers who taught a pre-tribulation rapture”. While there are very few direct references to a pre-tribulation rapture, the Church Fathers were unanimous about the imminence (nearness) of Christ’s return. Imminence only holds true if you believe in a pre-tribulation rapture[2].  Mr. Prasch rejects imminence and is therefore in fundamental disagreement with the very men he calls to his defense![3]

But irrespective of what the Church fathers believed, we do not base our doctrine on them but on the Bible and the idea of imminence was central to the New Testament. They all expected the Lord to return at any time – contrary to Mr. Prasch’s notion that He cannot, and will not, return shortly since we have not yet entered the Great Tribulation, nor seen the Anti-Christ.

8:35ff. Mr. Prasch devotes about 12 minutes (1/4 of his message) to ranting against Darby. But in the process makes a number of fundamental mistakes and propagates a number of falsehoods. His argument can be summed up as: “Darby was the ‘primary architect of pre-tribulationism’, Darby was the founder of a cult, Spurgeon and George Mueller opposed Darby, therefore Darby and consequently pre-tribulationism is wrong” There are many problems with these “facts” as well as with the logic:

1.       Contrary to Mr. Prasch (and others’) claim that Darby was the “primary architect of pre-tribulationism”, he was not. From the 17th century, improved scholarship began to “rediscover” premillennialism and subsequently pre-tribulationism:

Peter Jurieu in his book Approaching Deliverance of the Church (1687) taught that Christ would come in the air to rapture the saints and return to heaven before the battle of Armageddon. He spoke of a secret Rapture prior to His coming in glory and judgment at Armageddon. Philip Doddridge's commentary on the New Testament (1738) and John Gill's commentary on the New Testament (1748) both use the term rapture and speak of it as imminent. It is clear that these men believed that this coming will precede Christ's descent to the earth and the time of judgment. The purpose was to preserve believers from the time of judgment. James Macknight (1763) and Thomas Scott (1792) taught that the righteous will be carried to heaven, where they will be secure until the time of judgment is over.[4]
Frank Marotta, a brethren researcher, believes that Thomas Collier in 1674 makes reference to a pretribulational rapture, but rejects the view,
[5]  thus showing his awareness that such a view was being taught. Perhaps the clearest reference to a pretrib rapture before Darby comes from Baptist Morgan Edwards (founder of Brown University) in 1742-44 who saw a distinct rapture three and a half years before the start of the millennium.[6]

It is abundantly clear that by the time Darby came on the scene in 1827, pre-tribulationism was a well-established view within “evangelical” circles. It was the pre-dominant view amongst non-conformists of Darby’s day and Darby was simply one of the more prominent writers and speakers who spread the message of the pre-tribulation rapture.

Any attempt to discredit the doctrine by “blaming” Darby as its architect is clearly disingenuous.

2.       Mr. Prasch then calls Mueller and Spurgeon as witnesses against Darby and hails them as the “greatest Christian luminaries of the time”. While it is true that both Meuller and Spurgeon withstood Darby, it was not for his eschatology but for what Spurgeon called “being a despot”. (See below concerning the cult issue).  In fact, Spurgeon is notorious for not having developed an eschatology. Some scholars view him as pre-millennial and in others see him as post-millennial. Spurgeon was clearly confused and uninformed concerning prophecy and could not be trusted to be a judge of another man’s eschatology.

Furthermore later in the same message Mr. Prasch detours to the subject of the perseverance of the saints of Calvinism (eternal security). Yet the very man (Spurgeon) whom he calls against Darby was a Calvinist and a strong supporter of the notion of eternal security. Therefore if Mr. Prasch’s logic is correct, if we must reject everything Darby believed because he was wrong on some issues, then you cannot accept any of Spurgeon’s testimony because he (according to Mr. Prasch) is wrong when it comes to Calvinism.

Mr. Prasch frequently quotes  others without any citations. This is true of all his books as well as his sermons. It therefore becomes impossible to check his sources. I can however find no reference to either Mueller nor Spurgeon calling Darby a “nut”, “half a wheel” , “not playing with a full deck” or any other reference calling Darby’ s sanity in question. In the light of the cultural norms amongst Christians of the time, it is highly unlikely that either would have used words to that effect.

3.       At the 11:00 mark, Mr. Prasch refers to Harry Ironside opposing Darby. But Ironside was a pre-tribulationist himself[7] and his rebukes, once again, had nothing to do with Darby’s pre-tribulation views.

4.       The accusation that Darby was the founder of a cult is once-again questionable. Yes, the “Exclusive Brethren” were and are indeed a cult. But the far greater part of the Brethren (the so-called “open-brethren”) have, by Mr. Prasch’s own admission, been one of the most powerfully positive forces in Evangelicalism throughout the past 200 years. Many great men of God, wise theologians and thousands of churches sprang from this movement. If Darby (rightly) is to be blamed for the cult, then he also, to some extent, must be credited for his part in founding, arguably, the greatest evangelical movement of all time![8] The bottom line is that Darby’s legacy is a mixed bag which is neither to his credit nor to his discredit.

17:30 Mr. Prasch: Pre-tribulationism “has no heritage in any patristic or apostolic writings”.

Yet, “Expressions of imminency abound in the Apostolic Fathers. Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch, The Didache, The Epistle of Barnabas, and The Shepherd of Hermas all speak of imminency.
Furthermore, The Shepherd of Hermas speaks of the pretribulational concept of escaping the tribulation: “You have escaped from great tribulation on account of your faith, and because you did not doubt in the presence of such a beast. Go, therefore, and tell the elect of the Lord His mighty deeds, and say to them that this beast is a type of the great tribulation that is coming. If then ye prepare yourselves, and repent with all your heart, and turn to the Lord, it will be possible for you to escape it, if your heart be pure and spotless, and ye spend the rest of the days of your life in serving the Lord blamelessly.” [9]

18:30 Mr. Prasch highlights a number of Darby’s teaching that would not be acceptable to orthodox evangelicals. He then creates a caricature of anyone who believes in the pre-tribulation rapture as having, of necessity, to believe all of Darby’s unorthodoxies. This is once again a flawed argument. Mr Prasch, like all evangelicals, has certain teachings in common with Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses etc. All religions that are based on the Bible share some common ground. So if Mr. Prasch’s argument is correct then Evangelicals are all in error since there are some, no matter how small, areas of commonality! The fact that I, as a pre-tribulationist share a common view on the timing of the rapture with Darby or with any of a hundred others, with whom I have major disagreements, does not make me a partaker of their sins.

Now here is the scary part. Mr Prasch is doing exactly what Darby did. The whole division in the brethren came because some brethren broke bread (communion) with believers of other denominations. Darby insisted that he could not take the Lord’s table with someone who had taken the Lord’s table with an Anglican, because he would, by extension, become party to the sins of Anglicanism. Strangely enough Mr. Prasch’s view here is identical to that of the man he so despises.

At the same time Mr. Prasch showers all sorts of accolades on Spurgeon, a Calvinist. (17:17 Mr. Prasch hails Spurgeon as “a true shepherd of the body of Christ at that time”.) Must we then deduce that Mr. Prasch is a Calvinist? Yes, we must, if his logic about Darby holds true. Yet he vehemently opposes Calvinism!

19:36 – 23:30. Here Mr. Prasch devotes 4 minutes to a misapplication of Matthew 12:25 (A house divided against itself cannot stand). He highlights that there are some amongst pre-tribulationist who read the “great apostasy” of  2Thessalonians 2 as the rapture while others read it as a falling away from the faith. He then uses this disagreement on one point as evidence that the pre-tribulation view is fractured and flawed and will not last. Yet again, his argument is flawed. If his argument is correct, then the whole of the body of Christ is condemned because no two believers, even in the same church, will ever agree 100% on every detail of the Scriptures, let alone on eschatology.

25:30 He refers to Pre-tribulationists who believe in a great revival after the rapture. I am not uninformed, but I have never heard that idea amongst pre-tribulationists. As usual he does not cite his source(s) so we are left wondering if this is true or not. But even if it is true that some believe in a revival after the rapture, it has to be a very small minority view and once-again, no two students of Bible prophecy will agree on every detail. The difference between Mr. Prasch and those that hold the Pre-trib view is that we are many and we are agreed on all the main points of the teaching while Mr. Prasch is a lone-wolf who, of recent times, is finding more in common with some on the fringes of orthodoxy than his erstwhile evangelically conservative friends.

28:20 Mr. Prasch belabors the point that we may not divide on opinion. And he is correct. But once again, his logic fails because he claims that the pre-tribulation view is opinion while his view is doctrine. Therefore he has the right to divide from others, but they have no right to divide from him. The fact is that any, and all, views on the timing of the rapture is opinion. Not one can be elevated to the level of essential doctrine since all (including his view) are based on interpretations of Scripture and not on explicitly stated doctrine in the text. We therefore have no right to make our particular view, whether, pre-trib, mid-trib or post-trib (and variations of those) as a basis of division. But Mr. Prasch is the one who has made it a basis of division. In his book Shadows of the Beast he expressly states:

“What I can guarantee, however, is that those who have not understood it [this book], or who flatly reject it, or even deny the need for it, such as those subscribing to the lies of Satan being propagated in the Church, will most certainly not be in a position to identify the Beast from the earth and the Beast from the sea.” (p478, emphasis his)”

The point he makes in the book is that not recognizing the Antichrist will lead to one taking the mark of the Beast which, he emphasizes on the video damns an individual forever. He furthermore makes it clear in Shadows of the Beast that “those subscribing to the lies of Satan being propagated in the Church” are those who hold and teach a pre-tribulation rapture. (At the 45 minute mark he again refers to the pre-trib view as “error”.  So according to him, if you reject his thesis or teach the pre-tribulation rapture, you will take the mark of the beast and you are condemned! Speak about dividing the Body of Christ!

Dear friend. You must watch this video and then decide for yourself whether the truth is being told and whether the conclusions of Mr Prasch conform to sound principles of logic.


[1] Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Great Doctrines of the Bible (Vols 1-3). p43.

[2] See my forthcoming article on Imminence.

[3] Incidentally, Mr. Prasch never writes that he rejects “Imminence” but is on record, multiple times, to reject  both “Immanence” (God’s presence in the universe) pp15,403,404,467 – (Shadows of the Beast)  and Eminence (importance). I assume he means “Imminence”?

[4] Paul N. Benware, Understanding End Times Prophecy: A Comprehensive Approach (Chicago: Moody Press, 1995), pp. 197-98. As quoted in

[5] Frank Marotta, Morgan Edwards: An Eighteenth Century Pretribulationist (Morganville, N.J.: Present Truth Publishers, 1995), pp. 10-12. . As quoted in

[6] Marotta, Morgan Edwards. As quoted in


[7] Mal Couch, General Editor Dictionary of Premillennial Theology.  1996, Kregal Publications, Grand Rapids, MI  (p. 182-184).

[8] I have studied the Brethren movement at great length, fellowshipped with one of their assemblies for a couple of years and counted their foremost teacher in South Africa as a close friend. I also wrote a post-graduate thesis on this movement.

[9] Thomas Ice. Myths of the Origin of Pretribulationism (Part 1). Liberty University. May 2009.  



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