It's true that Margaret was first when she said "the one taken and the other left" happens BEFORE "THE WICKED" (Antichrist) is revealed. To try to claim that their hero Darby should get credit for pretrib, Darby idolizers like LaHaye, Ice, Lindsey (and more recently British scholar Paul Wilkinson) either distort what Margaret was saying or (much worse) deliberately omit quoting either the first (rapture) half of her main point or the last (tribulation) half.
But pretrib muddying up of Margaret hasn't kept many top scholars from endorsing my research "kernel." Here are just two examples: My first book "The Unbelievable Pre-Trib Origin" (1973) received undeserved kudos from "The Witness" (the oldest and largest Darbyist Brethren magazine in England) in April 1974:
"What [MacPherson] succeeds in establishing is that the [pretrib] view outlined was first stated by a certain Margaret Macdonald...early in 1830."
Later on world-class Australian scholar Dr. F. Nigel Lee (with 9 earned doctorates!) stated: "Dave MacPherson, in his various books, has made a major contribution toward vindicating Historic Christian Eschatology. The 1830 innovations of the disturbed Margaret Macdonald documented by MacPherson - in part or in whole - immediately spread to Edward Irving and his followers, then to J. N. Darby and Plymouth Brethrenism, and were later popularized by the dispensationalistic Scofield Reference Bible, by Classic Pentecostalism, and by latter-day pretribulationists like J. F. Walvoord and Hal Lindsey."
True, Margaret's short 117-line "revelation" account is confessedly not as clear as Irving's quarterly journal "The Morning Watch" (hereafter "TMW," published from 1829-1833, a total of 3993 pages), so for the sake of argument: LET'S FORGET MARGARET MACDONALD!
Let's forget Margaret for a while and see if at least Irving and his group taught pretrib before "father" Darby did. Right now let's look briefly at the earliest "rapture" development of the Irvingites and the Darbyist Brethren during the contested period stretching from 1827 to 1839:
1827: A few, including John Bray, have claimed that Darby believed in pretrib this early. But Darby's first two papers (1827 and 1828) discussed only the "heavenly church" and the "church's unity" - and Darby then looked for only the posttrib "restitution" and "refreshing" in Acts 3. (I invite all to Google "Is John Bray a PINO?")
1829: Darby's first paper focusing on prophecy. He expected only the Rev. 19 coming. And he showed Irvingite influence. He mentioned "Mr. Irving" five times, "Ben-Ezra" (Lacunza) once, and "Morning Watch" twice. Darby said he was an avid reader of Irving's works and journal and heard Irving preach. (My "Rapture Plot" discusses Darby on 145 pages.)
1830: Margaret had her pretrib revelation in the spring. TMW (Sep.) reflected her pretrib partial rapturism (church/church dichotomy) and saw worthy "Philadelphia" raptured before "the great tribulation" and less worthy "Laodicea" left behind. Darby was still defending posttrib historicism in Dec. in the "Christian Herald" and waiting for only Matt. 25's "judging of the nations." (Darby discusses TMW four times in his 1830 paper and five times in an 1831 letter. And from 1830 to 1833 TMW repeatedly taught pretrib and any-moment imminence while Darby was still defending the posttrib view, as my "Rapture Plot" book portrays.)
1832: Darby still doesn't believe in a future Antichrist but only in "present antichristian principles."
1834: We find Darby and the Jews waiting for the same day (Heb. 10:37).
1837: Darby saw the church "going in with Him to the marriage [Rev. 19], to wit, with Jerusalem and the Jews"!
1839: Darby's first clear pretrib teaching. His pretrib symbol was Rev. 12:5's "man child" caught up before a 3.5-year tribulation - but Darby didn't admit that it had been Irving's pretrib symbol in 1831 in TMW!
If you'd like to see 300 pages of documented evidence for all of the above and many more shocks, found while my wife and I were snooping inside libraries throughout Scotland and England, you can obtain my most important book "The Rapture Plot" by calling 800.643.4645. (Tell 'em Dave and Joe sent you.) The Joe I just mentioned is our good friend Joe Ortiz. If you want to see his "out of this world" refutation of Pre-Tribulation Rapture to Heaven books and blogs, Google "Joe Ortiz Associates."
Dave MacPherson. What People are saying
What They Are Saying About ... THE RAPTURE PLOT!
Gary DeMar (President American Vision): "A majority of prophecy writers and speakers teach that the church will be raptured before a future tribulational period. But did you know that prior to about 1830 no such doctrine existed. No one in all of church history ever taught pretribulational rapture. Dave MacPherson does the work of a journalistic private investigator to uncover the truth....The Rapture Plot is the never-before-told true story of the plot - how plagiarism and subtle document changes created the 'mother of all revisionisms.' A fascinating piece of detective work." Robert H. Gundry (Professor Westmont College): "As usual MacPherson out hustles his opponents in research on primary sources. C. S. Lovett (President Personal Christianity): You don't read very much of Dave MacPherson's work before you realize he is a dedicated researcher. Because his work has been so honest and open his latest work The Rapture Plot has produced many red faces among some of the most recognized rapture writers of our time. When their work is compared to his it is embarrassing for them to see how shallow their research is." R. J. Rushdoony (President Chalcedon): "Dave MacPherson has been responsible for major change in the eschatology of evangelical churches by his devastating studies of some of the central aspects thereof. In The Rapture Plot MacPherson tells us of the strange tale of 'rapture' writings, revisions, cover-ups, alterations and confusions. No one has equaled MacPherson in his research on the 'pretrib rapture.' Attempts to discredit his work have failed...."
About the Author: Born 1932 of Scotch/English descent Dave MacPherson is a natural for British historical research. His calling was journalism. Receiving a BA in English in 1955 he spent 26 years as a newsman reporting and filming many notable events persons presidents and dignitaries.