Will children be in the tribulation?


The 'Rapture' and the 'Tribulation are both theological inventions of John Nelson Darby, founder of the Plymouth Brethren, in the nineteenth-century. Barbara R. Rossing (The Rapture Exposed) says that Darby's new teaching was that Christ would return twice, first in secret to "Rapture" Christians out of the world and up to heaven, then a second time after seven years of global tribulation for non-believers, to establish a Jerusalem-based kingdom on earth. The usual position of proponents of the Rapture is that children below the age of accountability will be taken up in the rapture. However, some of these proponents, finding what they felt were flaws in his scheme, opted for a post-tribulation Rapture, in which case children will experience the Tribulation.

When defining his theology of the rapture, Darby avoided predicting a specific date for Christ's return, instead inventing "dispensations" - intervals of time ordering God's grand timetable for world events. The children alive in 1830, when the Rapture theology was created, or at any time up to the present, were not taken up simply because the Rapture has not yet happened. It may not happen for centuries or even thousands of years to come. More realistically, it will never happen.

Rossing says that according to one critic, the Rapture has its origins with a young girl's vision. In 1830, in Port Glasgow, Scotland, fifteen-year-old Margaret MacDonald attended a healing service, where she was said to have seen a vision of a two-stage return of Jesus Christ. The story of her vision was adopted and amplified by Darby. There is no good reason to believe there will ever be a Tribulation as described by Darby and his followers or that the events he portrayed will ever occur. John Nelson Darby has sunk into obscurity, apart from his followers in the Plymouth Brethren, and so should his theology.