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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Do Catholics believe in the Rapture?

“Love the Lord with all your heart, and with all your soul,
and with all your MIND”--Matt 22:37

Question:  Do Catholics believe in the Rapture?
The Rapture is the false belief that a period of time is close at hand in which Christians will be gathered together to secretly and silently vanish, meeting Christ "in the air' (i.e. be "raptured") before His Second Coming.  Those who are unbelievers will be left behind to suffer violently in a time of Tribulation. Christ will then return, a third time, years later (some say after seven years, some say after a thousand) in order to slay the anti-Christ.  These verses in Scripture are used to support the Rapture:

For the Lord himself, with a word of command, with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God, will come down from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first.
Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Thus we shall always be with the Lord.--1 Thess 4:16-17
For as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.
In (those) days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day that Noah entered the ark.
They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away. So will it be (also) at the coming of the Son of Man.
Two men will be out in the field; one will be taken, and one will be left.--Matt 24:37-40
as well as a multitude of verses in Revelation.
Prior to the 19th century, this question (do we believe in The Rapture?) would have puzzled Christians, for the idea of "The Rapture" was non-existent. Historically, you will not find any church father, theologian, pope, saint or ecumenical council mention The Rapture.   It became a novelty in the 19th century. 

(Note:  this should be contrasted with the objection posed to Catholics that, like the Rapture, the Immaculate Conception was only proclaimed in 1854
(see previous discussion on this here).  These are 2 very different ideas:  the IC was believed from the time of the Apostles--and mentioned by church fathers, theologians, saints, popes, etc throughout history, but only formally defined in 1854.  The idea of the Rapture was virtually non-existent until the 19th century.)
 
That people are making "end time speculations" is not new.  This, of course, has been going on for millenia.   However, the concept that we will be caught up in the air or left behind is a new innovation. 
In the 1990's the wildly popular (and very anti-Catholic) series of books called the "Left Behind" series re-vitalized this concept, selling over 10 million books.  It received more legitimacy when actor and Christian evangelist Kirk Cameron became a convert to this belief and starred in a series of movies proclaiming that Christians will be Raptured.

Catholicism rejects this interpretation of Scripture.  There will be no Rapture as understood by Evangelicals and Fundamentalists.  "Though it does not use the term rapture, the Church does acknowledge that there will be an event where the elect are gathered to be with Christ.  The point of contention is the timing of this event: It occurs at the Second Coming, not several years before it. This is indicated by Paul’s reference to it taking place when Christ descends from heaven: the Second Coming. Scripture does not envision the Second Coming accomplishing the Rapture, followed by a "Third Coming" inaugurating the eternal order or the Millennium." source.  In other words, the Church proclaims that Scripture tells us that Christians who are alive at the parousia (the end of the world) and who are living in the state of grace will witness the Second Coming and will live eternally with Jesus in His kingdom. 

Incidentally, the Left Behind series posits that those who are "left behind" are the un-saved.  However, if one looks at the verse in Matthew cited above we see that, as in the days of Noah, the ones who were "left behind" were the good guys, not the bad guys!  That is, during the flood, Noah and his family (the good guys) were left behind, not raptured.

Finally, I'd like to point out this irony: Evangelical supporters of The Rapture object, in different discussions, to the Catholic Church's teaching on Mary's Assumption.  I find this ironic, as is it not essentially a "Rapture" that is happening to Mary?  Why do Evangelical Christians believe in The Rapture for every other Christian, except for Jesus' mother?  Just sayin'.

For more in-depth study visit these websites:





"Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect" - 1 Peter 3:15

114 comments:

  1. I love your example of Noah and Mary - excellent points!

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    1. I was raised Pentecostal and my dad was a minister in the faith. when grown I began to question the "RAPTURE" and realized it is NON-existant. I am now go to a full gospel undemonational church. I agree with this and am actually shocked to find out this is what Catholics believe too! Thank you for sharing!

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    2. God used Noah and his family to populate the earth along with the animals. They did not go to heaven, they remained on the earth.

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    3. That's right, Anonymous. The Good Guys remained on earth.

      So how is it that during the Rapture the Bad Guys remain on earth?

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    4. if you believe that the bible is the literal word of god then the rapture is definate.Behold I come as a theif in the night.most people believe that when jesus returns to set up his kingdom on earth it will be at a time of great tribulation such as the world had never seen.does not seem to be as a theif in the night unexpectedly.two men will be working one will be taken the other left.this descibes the rapture perfectly.As in the days of noah.this catholic believes in the rapture.

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    5. If you mean that at the end of time Jesus will come to deliver the elect to heaven, then you are espousing a very Catholic view of the end times.

      However, to believe in a time of great tribulation where the bad people are left on earth is NOT Scriptural.

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    6. I am not Catholic. Growing up protestant, I always wondered so many believe in the rapture. There is clearly no scriptural support for a pretribulation rapture. Too much voodoo has been mixed into Christ's real message.

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    7. Thanks for your comment. You are absolutely correct here.

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  2. Whether the rcc likes it or not, Jesus is returning in the clouds for His Church. This is not the rcc, it is every person who has ever acknowledged their sins and come to Him for forgiveness. It doesn't matter who you are, if Jesus is the most important Person in your life, if you center your worship and praise on Him and acknowledge His Godhood, you are a part of His Church, the True Church, and you will be caught up at the rapture. You will be changed, your body will be glorified, will never sin again and He will then take you along with the rest to His Fathers House where there are many mansions. He promised to return to receive the faithful so that where He is, they may also be, not where we are, He will also be.

    Salvation does not involve Mary or any person touted to be a saint, it involves your personal relationship to the Son of God! No one can pray you into heaven, but the Lord Jesus promises heaven to all who place their faith in Him. Peter and Paul both agree with Him.

    I'm looking for the moment of the rapture, the harpazo, the time I and all those faithful to Him will be caught up, to escape the coming tribulation as well as to celebrate the marriage supper of the Lamb, as a part of His Bride.

    Noah and his family were raised up on the flood while all those below died. Lot and his family had to go up into a cave before the cities below them were destroyed. We who belong to the Lord Jesus will also go up and escape while those below will suffer tribulation.

    Believe the things He told us. Believe Peter and Paul. There's great news for all who follow Him and have made Him Lord of their lives, we who were made righteous by His sacrifice on the cross, who know there is nothing we can do to get to heaven, who have no condemnation because we are in Christ, are going up. Just as Noah went up, and Lot went up, we too are going up, but we are going all the way to the Fathers house.

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    1. Thanks for your comments, Micki.

      Firstly, everything you proclaim in your first paragraph is Catholic teaching. Jesus will indeed come at the end of time to judge the living and the dead.

      Secondly, what you posit in your second paragraph is also Catholic teaching. Salvation does not "involve Mary." And, indeed, no one can pray us into heaven, (although prayer for those poor souls in purgatory is indeed meritorious.)

      Thirdly, in the OT, who was "left behind" after the tribulation--the good guys, right? How is it that your tradition claims that, following the example of Noah, the bad guys are left behind?

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    2. Very well said.

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    3. Noah was not left behind but saved by Christ which is represented by the ark.

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    4. I think it's really hard to look at the Bible and NOT see that Noah was indeed left behind. He and his family were the good guys, but were indeed left.

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  3. When Jesus referenced the days of Noah in Mathew chapter 24 verses 37 – 39 he’s saying that just like in the days of Noah, people will be living as if nothing is about to happen. They’re drinking, eating, giving in marriage, etc. They didn’t realize the flood came until it was too late. They refused to accept Noah’s preaching and the salvation that God had provided in the Ark, and as a result they all perished.

    The eight that headed to God’s call were saved. Just as in those days, Jesus said he’ll come as a thief in the night. “Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left (40).” Also, “But know this, that if the good-man of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up (43).” Those that were saved by God during the flood did not have to suffer in the flood. God saved them from it.

    So shall it be as in Revelation chapter 4 when the rapture occurs. In the first verse of Chapter 4 in Revelation, John said, “I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said “Come up hither, and I will show thee things which must be hereafter (4:1).” After what? Answer: The church age of the first three chapters in Revelation. We are now living in the age of grace, the church age, in the first three chapters, before the Rapture and the Seven Years of Tribulation.

    There are 19 references to the church before chapter 4. From chapter 4 to the end of Revelation the church is never mentioned in connection with the world. After John was caught up to heaven immediately in the Spirit (4:2), he saw twenty four elders clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns (4:4). The twenty four elders are the Christians clothed in the righteousness of Christ. The crowns denote that they are judged and rewarded. In the Old Testament there were many priests, but only twenty four represented all of them at a time. This reference is used here for every Christian.

    Remember “The dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17),” Once the Christians are caught up to be with the Lord in a twinkling of an eye, they receive their crowns, and then as in (Rev. 4:10) they cast their crowns before Jesus’ throne, worshiping him forever. They’re referenced again in such places as (Revelation 11:16) where the Christians in heaven sat before God, fell upon their faces, and worshiped.

    Once the church is removed in Revelation chapter 4, there will be no hindrance for the Antichrist to rise to power as in the first seal in Revelation Chapter 6 verse 2.

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    1. Do you know that the Antichrist is not mentioned at all in the book of Revelation?

      Nor is the word "rapture" mentioned in Revelation.

      Your interpretation of Revelation, esp. with regard to the Antichrist and the rapture, is therefore a man-made tradition that you have been duped by. You heard a pastor proclaim it, who heard another pastor proclaim it, perhaps. But you never read about the Antichrist or the rapture in a single page of the apocalypse.

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    2. haha...no he is just referred to as the Beast and the Dragon. Just like the Rapture if referred to the " Listen, Itell you a mystery; We will not all sleep,but we will all be changed - in a flash in the twinkling of an eye,at the last trumpet. Come on...

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    3. It does appear, then, that you have added to Scripture? Saying that there is an anti-Christ, when it is never mentioned, is, indeed, adding to Scripture, is it not?

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    4. Umm...No I havent added to scripture sir.I dont know what Bible you are reading out of ,but 1 John 2:18 and 2:22 speak it loud and clear.There are also 49 other names in the Bible that he is also called.

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    5. Can you show me then what verse in Revelation mentions the Anti-Christ?

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  4. The word "rapture" means to be caught up. Rapture comes from the latin "rapiemur" found in the Vulgate. The Latin comes from the Greek "harpazo". The Bible mentions 7 raptures or instances where someone is being "caught up". Enoch, Elijah, Jesus, Philip, Paul, the Body of Christ, and John in Revelation. Also, the concept of the rapture can be found in the writings prior to the 119th Century, for example in Cotton Mather a Puritan and Emmanuel Lacunza a Catholic and the rapture was thought of as a Jesuit false belief.

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    1. All you say above is not contradictory to Catholic teaching.

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  5. Very well, but the point was that dwelling on the word "rapture" and not considering it's cognates will get you to accept your position and no other. Sorry, I meant 19th Century and not 119th Century-- obviously. Thanks for not making feel like a blind fool. God bless.

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    1. I don't believe that my argument has dwelt in any detail at all on the word "rapture".

      Rather, the argument is this: the concept of a Rapture, a rather innovative doctrine that gained impetus in the 19th century, is un-biblical.

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  6. Sorry for getting back to you so late. Ok, so it seems to me that the problem lies with the timing of the concept. Was it not in 1834 that Pope Pius IX who proclaimed the Immaculate Conception and in 1870 he proclaimed papal infallibility? The doctrine that Mary is the Mother of God-- which to many of non-Catholic Christians seems like heresy or worse-- was affirmed by the Council of Ephesus in 431 AD and reaffirmed in 1931 by Pius XI. Pope Pius XII proclaimed the Assumption in 1950. Again, to many there is very little or no scriptural basis for any of these dogmas and yet Catholics accept them. The rapture is found in the bible as established before and was first used by St. Jerome. This is coming from the Bible and is evidenced in the Scripture. It has been discovered that St. Ephrem the Syrian in 373 AD wrote about the pre-tribulation rapture. So, I am not understanding your anathema to its possibility, especially when considering 2 Peter 3:3-4. Could it be that you have fell in to this category? Consider Corinthians 15:51-52. I'm skeptical, but the evidence in the Bible is clear and to just say its not Biblical is not true. I know that the evangelicals who accept this "Left Behind" scenario seem nuts, but not all of them are. Also, remember what Paul said in 1 Corinthians about the message of the Cross being absurd to those who are perishing. I mention because I want you to consider a possibility that scoffers of these people do not consider-- that they are right. Maybe those who think they are crazy are in the Strong Delusion and they are in the great falling away that will occur in the lasts days. This is all possible and it is Biblical. Just saying.

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    1. No, it was not in 1834, but, as I stated earlier, in 1854 that the dogma of the Immaculate Conception was formally defined. Everything else that you proffer about dates seems correct.

      As far as no Scriptural basis for these dogmas...the fact that you believe that we must support our views with Scripture also has no Scriptural basis.

      In other words, that is a man-made tradition to which you have succumbed. You heard a pastor say it, who heard another pastor say it...but no one ever read "all teachings on God must be found in Scripture" in a single page of the Bible.

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    2. Regarding "St. Ephrem the Syrian" proclaiming the Rapture, could you please cite your sources for this?

      As far as the message of Christ being absurd to some, that is absolutely true.

      But that does not discount the fact that there are truly some absurd things being proclaimed in his name. To wit: there are some who say that God has proclaimed that their 64 year old pastor wants him to marry a 14 year old girl.

      Do you not agree that this is, indeed, absurd?

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  7. So far what i have understood here is that rapture will save the true christians from tribulation. this reminds me of the transfiguation of christ. Christ wanted to teach his apostles that troubles and pain are necessary before glory. further, if God really want to save us from tribulation, then why did Paul and Peter and other apostles suffered alot and why they all were martyred?

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    1. Thanks for your comments, Shahid. I think you are correct. The current evangelical notion of a "rapture" does seem to be borne out of a wish-fulfillment fantasy that if you are loyal to God, he will prevent you from suffering.

      That, sadly, is a very un-Scriptural paradigm.

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  8. In the big scheme of things, you are not saved by either believing or not believing in a rapture; but by repentance and faith and trust alone in Christ our Savior. As long as you have that doctrine down, it does not really matter if you interpret scripture as either a pre-trib rapture, mid-trib repture, post-trib rapture, or no rapture at all. Those beliefs are all secondary to the firm belief and trust in Jesus alone!

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    1. Thanks for your comment.

      However, I believe that saying a particular belief is "essential" and another belief is "secondary" is not Biblical.

      There is nothing in the Scriptures which tell us of essential vs secondary beliefs.

      One needs to rely on something outside of Scripture (that is, the Church) to determine what's an essential or secondary belief.

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    2. I disagree, there is one essential belief for anyone who proclaims to be a Christian, and that is Jesus died for our sins, is the Son of God, and we must repent and put our trust and faith into him alone. If you can agree with me that should be the core belief and front and center of how we should live, teach and preach, then individual or Church interpretations on other points of scripture are secondary.

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    3. I find this "essential" to be lacking in so many things. It does not claim a belief in the Trinity. Do you not believe that this is something all Christians must believe?

      And what about belief in One God? Can one believe in many gods and still be saved?

      And what about belief in the Resurrection? Curiously, that is not mentioned as "essential" either.

      Or that there is life everlasting? Do you not believe this to be essential? Or can we believe that our soul dies when the body dies?

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    4. You are correct, and I also agree with your other points as being firm sound doctrine. However, my point was that what the Apostles taught (the points both you and I mention above for faith)is the common ground Christians should focus on for fellowship and spreading the gospel. All other points, like a rapture, are seconday and do not save you from God's judgment.

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    5. The Apostles taught the entirety of the Catholic faith, and thus all points of doctrine would be included in your criteria.

      You cannot use the Bible to discern what's an essential doctrine and what's a secondary doctrine....for the Bible does not tell us.

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  9. Hi, just to add to the previous discussion, I agree with the previous commentator. In the Bible, as clearly preached by John the Baptist and Jesus, the gospel they preached was repent for the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand; sinners are saved through their faith and trust in Jesus' death on the cross; and justified through His resurrection. God made the gospel easy for eveyone to understand and follow. Anything else after that is dogma, tradition, or bibilical interpretation. I am not saved on if a rapture happens or doesn't happen, I am saved by faith in Jesus as my savior alone. Amen!

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    1. Thanks for your comments. However, I think it is a fatal mistake to proclaim that we are saved through our faith and trust in Jesus' death on the cross ONLY. To proclaim this is to ignore all of the other Scriptures that reveal to us how we are saved.

      Here's how Catholics profess we are saved:

      By believing in Christ (Jn 3:16; Acts 16:31)

      By repentance (Acts 2:38; 2 Pet 3:9)

      By baptism (Jn 3:5; 1 Pet 3:21; Titus 3:5)

      By eating his flesh and drinking his blood (Jn 6)

      By the work of the Spirit (Jn 3:5; 2 Cor 3:6)

      By declaring with our mouths (Lk 12:8; Rom 10:9)

      By coming to a knowledge of the truth (1 Tim 2:4; Heb 10:26)

      By works (Rom 2:6-7; James 2:24)

      By grace (Acts 15:11; Eph 2:8)

      By his blood (Rom 5:9; Heb 9:22)

      By his righteousness (Rom 5:17; 2 Pet 1:1)

      By keeping the commandments (Matt 19:17)

      By our words (Matt 12:37)

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    2. The Bible is clear that we are not saved by works. It's only through the blood of Jesus. Someone could be baptized as a child, then live a life not pleasing to God. They are not saved. Being baptized won't get them into heaven like many believe. It's sad because the Catholics twist many things.

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    3. Everything you said above, (with the exception of your last sentence :-)
      is quite Catholic!

      It is indeed true that being baptized won't get them into heaven. But baptism is the normative way for us to become children of God. No one can enter heaven without baptism--either by water, blood or desire.

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  10. very interesting topic , Am Catholic and i attend Mass once or twice a week . But i do believe am Born Again , Unlike some Catholics I do believe only Jesus will save you No Church and not even the Bible will save you .
    Only Jesus will save you ! My reason for remaining Catholic is the above statement , I visited two, three, Pentecostal churches and i must admit i do Question some of the Pastors and their so-called visions ???
    Paul tells us to Test the Spirit and believe me' I have with a number of sects ....Jehovah Witnesses , Mormons , Seventh day Adventists all have the same spirit but not the Spirit of Christ our Lord . As for the Rapture the Word Rapture is not even in the Bible .

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    1. Gary, I am not sure why you put a "but" with "I do believe I am Born Again."

      Catholics are indeed Born Again. We are Born Again through our Baptism.

      And the Catholic Church states that ONLY JESUS saves us. And we receive this salvation through His Body, the Catholic Church.

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    2. That's interesting because many Catholics who have left the church have gone to non-denominational or Pentecostal churches. I attend a large mega non-denominational church and at least half of the congregation has come out of Catholicism.

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    3. The word rapture is not in the Bible but in the book of Thessalonians, it talks about Jesus coming in the clouds and gathering His people. If you read the book of Revelation, it talks about a 7 year Tribulation period in which God will pour out His Wrath. I can understand that you don't believe in the rapture because the church does not teach that. That's why I say, you have to read the Bible for yourself.

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    4. Of course there is nothing contrary to Catholic teaching regarding reading the Bible. We must indeed read the Bible for ourselves!

      However, like the Ethiopian eunuch, we need people to guide us to the correct understanding of what the Scriptures mean.

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  11. Just because the Catholics do not believe in a rapture, does not mean that it's not going to happen. Catholics make up a lot of their own rules and regulations that are not Biblical, such as purgatory, which was made up by some woman. Sadly enough, people are simple to believe what a person says instead of the Bible. The Bible talks about a rapture and I believe it. The Bible is the true, inspired Word of God. The sad part is that people interpret Scriptures the way they want. The Catholics believe that Jesus will set up His Kingdom on earth eventually, but they skip right over the rapture part which is so important.

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    1. Thanks for your comments.

      I want to point out to you, however, that you are also in the category of believing what a person says. In fact, you believe what the Catholic Church says each and every time you quote from the Bible. For the ONLY way you know that, say, the Gospel of Mark is the inspired word of God is because you accept that the Catholic Church told you it was the word of God.

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  12. 1 Corinthians 4 verse six
    now brothers and sisters i have applied this things to me and Apollos for your benefit.so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying DO NOT GO BEYOND WHAT IS WRITTEN then you will not be puffed up in being a follower of one of us against the other.
    fellow believers you realize that we are undergoing what Paul and Apollos underwent and as much as we are seeking the truth lets keep this scripture in mind.

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    1. Amen to 1 Corinthians 4:6!

      However, when you added to the Old Testament, you yourself went BEYOND WHAT IS WRITTEN, did you not? For, of course, what was written when St. Paul proclaimed this was ONLY the OT.

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    2. Interesting point. However, that would then put New Testament believers in a very bad position as it too (most of it anyway) was not written at the time of Paul's statement. Are we then to look back and rely on the Old Testament? I am not a scholar as it sounds you might be, however, if there is no rapture, what do these words spoken by Jesus mean? "In my Father's house there are many rooms" and "I go to prepare a place so that where I am you may be also". Thanks for the response :)

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    3. Thanks for your comments. What we understand "do not go beyond what is written" to mean is that Christians do not have the authority to edit the Word of God.

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    4. Regarding Jesus' words about preparing a place--not sure what that has to do with the rapture? It is a statement about heaven as our final destination.

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    5. Agreed. We cannot edit the scriptures. Please help me with the 2nd part of my question as it relates to a rapture or 'no rapture'. thx in advance :)

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    6. Could you be more specific about your question? How does Jesus preparing a place for us indicate that we will be raptured?

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    7. I've always been taught that the rapture represented Christ 'taking up' the church into heaven at the end of the age. It has always been taught to me that this event is equated with the Jewish wedding whereby Christ's first appearance on earth represented the invitation and engagement of the believers (complete with a high bride price- crucifixion of the Lamb) while Christ's return would be the wedding of the Groom and Bride. The place that the Bride will forever dwell with the Groom is the Father's house (in heaven).

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    8. What you have described is very Catholic. That is indeed what happens at the Second Coming.

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    9. you have been very patient.thank you. one last question. what becomes of the earth at the end of the age?

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    10. Revelation hasn't disclosed this to us.

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  13. I believe you overlooked the "Tribulation Saints", those who were unbelievers at the time of the rapture who repented during the Tribulation.

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  14. The rapture doctrine, It began as a Roman Catholic invention. The Jesuit priest Ribera's writings influenced the Jesuit priest Lacunza, Lacunza influenced Irving,Irving influenced Darby, Darby influenced Scofield,Scofield and Darby influenced D. L. Moody, and Moody influenced the Pentecostal Movement. When the Pentecostal movement began at the turn of the century, and the Assemblies of God held their first general council in 1914 in Hot Springs, Arkansas, they were a small movement and didn't have their own publishing house. They needed Sunday School and study materials for their churches so where do you suppose they got it? They bought it from Moody Press and had their own cover stitched on it! So what do you think the Assemblies of God people believed? They believed what Moody Bible Institute taught! This had its impact on Pentecostal theology, because in the early years there were practically no pre-millenialists in the Pentecostal movement. Most of the ministers in those early days came from Presbyterian, Methodist, or other historic denominations men who, being baptized in the Holy Spirit and leaving their denominations, joined themselves to the Assemblies of God or one of the other emerging Pentecostal denominations. That is how the Pentecostal movement became influenced and saturated with the 'Secret Rapture' doctrine by a direct chain right back to THE ROMAN CHURCH."

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    1. Could you please cite your sources for the above? It sounds, frankly, made up.

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    2. Incidentally, in order to back up your assertion that the Catholic Church started Rapture theology, you'd need to offer a citation from the Church magisterium.

      Writings of a particular priest ought not be confused with what the Catholic Church teaches. Sometimes what a priest writes is indeed consonant with the Church. But sometimes it isn't.

      After all, we all know of some priest who has written something contrary to Church teaching. No one would, for example, believe that the Church teaches that abortion is a moral option, even if she had read somewhere that a Catholic priest wrote that it was. It's pretty clear what the Church teaches.

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  15. http://www.israelitesunite.com/the-rapture-deception.html. there are plenty of places to go, here's where I cited.

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    1. Thank you for the source.

      However, this is, again, not a Catholic teaching. Rather, it is something that a Catholic priest may have believed.

      One ought not confuse the writings of a particular priest as a teaching of the Catholic Church.

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  16. I was letting you know the way it got started. It was a Catholic origin, and made popular by Schofield, and Darby. It's the original reason why modern Christianity broke away from the Catholic Church.

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    1. No, it is not Catholic in origin. (At least as the Rapture theology is presented today. Catholicism does proclaim the Second Coming of Christ, and if folks want to view this as a "rapture", then that is quite Catholic.)

      Again,that a priest preaches something ought not be confused as being authoritative.

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  17. Thank you for the interesting dialogue. I am a Pentecostal minister but have always had a check in my spirit about the rapture like we hear it preached today. It seems to be more of an entitlement mindset that would say because of who we are we don't have to suffer, or shouldn't suffer like our forefathers did. I have been reading the Bible for myself (wonderful when you do). In Matthew 13 in the Parable of the Tares of the field, I find it rather interesting that here, Jesus indicates the possibility that the wicked will be removed first: then shall the righteous shine like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father (13:43). Thoughts?

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    1. Thanks for your thoughtful comments, Reverend Copeland. And I agree with you that the Rapture paradigm does indeed seem to be borne out of an entitlement mindset.

      Regarding reading the Bible for oneself, I give that a hearty amen! However, I am sure you would agree that one cannot read the Bible and come to one's own conclusions, if these conclusions have diverged from the teachings of the Apostles.

      Thus, one must always read the Bible through the lens of the Faith of the Church.

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    2. As far as the Parable of the Tares, you are correct--it does indeed appear to contradict the Rapture theology in which the righteous are removed first, and the wicked are left to the earth. The Parable of the Tares seems to indicate, as you say, that the righteous remain, while the wicked are removed.

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  18. I really dont understand how you can misinterpret what the bible says ...Thessalonians 4 verses 13 thru 18 and 5 verses 1 thru 13.Also read Revelations 7 verse 13 thru 17, and 8 verse 1 and lastly Revelations 19 verse 1 thru 10. Those that are raptured will be the ones that will be attending the marriage supper of the lamb. Then the saints....those of old and that are raptured (his armies) will come with Christ when he returns the second time.

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    1. Are you of the belief that we are permitted to read the Bible and come to our own understanding of what it means? Or are you, like the Catholic Church professes, of the belief that there is an infallible interpreter of Scripture and that all of our interpretations must conform to this correct interpretation?

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    2. First of all I am not Catholic. Secondly, I believe if there is something in scripture that isnt understood we ask God to help us understand what he is trying to say to us.

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    3. Can you cite what Bible verse tell us that when we don't understand Scripture we ask God to help us understand?

      Also, if 2 Christians read the same Bible verse, and both ask God to help them interpret it, but come to completely differing opinions, how do we discern who has the correct interpretation?

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    4. Yes sir I can and will if you dont mind.James 1;5,Romans 8;26,John 16;13,14;26,Luke 24;45,Pv 1;23,Jere 24;7 and Acts 16;14. So I suppose then if 2 or maybe 100 people read the same Bible verse I guess that would depend then on how their heart responds to scripture.

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    5. James does not mention Scripture at all in this verse. It simply says: "But if any of you lacks wisdom,* he should ask God who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and he will be given it". Nothing at all about what to do when we are reading Scripture.

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    6. And Romans: "In the same way, the Spirit too comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit itself intercedes with inexpressible groanings."...where is Scripture mentioned?

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    7. And John? Not a word about reading Scripture and God will help us understand: "But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth.h He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming."

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    8. Regarding "how their heart responds to Scripture"...do you believe that there is a correct interpretation of Scripture? If so, how do you know that yours is the correct one, esp. if you deny (which I am assuming you do) that there is an infallible interpreter of Scripture?

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    9. Regarding your newest comment, I, sadly, cannot post it as it does nothing to further charitable dialogue. It does make it appear as though you are unable to refute the Catholic position that there is indeed an infallible interpreter of Scripture, and that is the Catholic Church, given to us by Christ Himself.

      POINT: either everyone can read the Bible and come to her own interpretations....which means that no one can tell another person that she is wrong about her interpretation...

      OR...

      There are indeed correct interpretations of Scripture...and for that to happen that means there must be an interpretation which is infallible. And this means that you agree with the Catholic position that we cannot read the Scriptures and come to an interpretation that is contrary to the Church's position.

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    10. "Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. 2 One man has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only. 3 Let not him who eats regard with contempt him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats, for God has accepted him. 4 Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and stand he will, for the Lord is able to make him stand. 5 One man regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Let each man be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God." (Romans 14:1-6).


      Does the phrase "let each man be convinced in his own mind" mean that a person is able to look at the Scriptures and be fully convinced according to what he sees it says? If not, why not?

      If the phrase "let each man be convinced in his own mind" means that he is able to interpret Scripture on his own, what does he do if he believes that what he sees in Scripture contradicts the Roman Catholic Church's teaching?

      If the phrase "let each man be convinced in his own mind" means that he is able to interpret Scripture on his own, then doesn't that contradict the official teaching of the Roman Catholic Church which denies you the right to interpret God's word regarding faith, morals, and doctrine in a manner inconsistent with what it proclaims?

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    11. Thanks for your comments, Dana. Good thoughts. Here's my response:

      "Does the phrase "let each man be convinced in his own mind" mean that a person is able to look at the Scriptures and be fully convinced according to what he sees it says? If not, why not?"

      No man should read Scripture and come to a conclusion that is contrary to that which the inspired writer intended. So, even if a man is "convinced in his own mind" that, say, God hates women (and he'll show you the Scriptures that convinced him of this)...he may not read the Scripture and conclude that this is a correct interpretation.

      I'm sure you agree on this point.

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    12. "If the phrase "let each man be convinced in his own mind" means that he is able to interpret Scripture on his own, what does he do if he believes that what he sees in Scripture contradicts the Roman Catholic Church's teaching?"

      He does the same thing that YOUR pastor would tell a man who reads the Scriptures and is "convinced in his own mind" that, say, God is a Quadrinity, Father, Son, Holy Spirit and Mother.

      What would you tell a man who believes in a Quadrinity, contrary to your personal interpretation of Scripture?

      I imagine that whatever you would tell him is pretty much what the Church would tell you when you come to a conclusion in Scripture that is contrary to the faith which gave you this Scripture.

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    13. Finally, you asked: "If the phrase "let each man be convinced in his own mind" means that he is able to interpret Scripture on his own, then doesn't that contradict the official teaching of the Roman Catholic Church which denies you the right to interpret God's word regarding faith, morals, and doctrine in a manner inconsistent with what it proclaims?"...Firstly, the Catholic Church proclaims that all of us MUST interpret the Scriptures. The CC just says: interpret it correctly.

      Just like, I'm sure, your pastor does.

      We are all called to personally interpret the Scriptures. But do it with right judgement.

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  19. My grandson Andy is in prison in Oklahoma and is requesting Apologetics (phamplets or little brochures) that he can pass out in the prison yards and in general to the inmates who have no faith. Do you know of a source where I could obtain these? Thank you and my email address is dixiegardenself@yahoo.com if anyone else reading has ideas. Thanks Mollye

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    1. The best source is to go to www.catholic.com and go to the tracts they have. They are short summaries of Catholic apologetics that can be printed and distributed.

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  20. WOW! I've learned a lot reading this about the rapture and especially about the infallibility of the church. That's why I'm a Catholic.

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  21. I didn't know until now there is no mention of the anti-Christ in the bible. so although I'm Catholic I have been under a wrong impression. I'm really enjoying reading this information. There is so much to learn that we really need teachers beyond going to mass. That's what I'm learning from this posting.

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    1. Thanks for your comments, Jean Maria. I do think that the treasures of our faith have indeed been hidden from us by our teachers, who haven't given us nourishing food. Our Faith is reasonable, logical and can be defended! We just need to read and learn how to do this!

      My favorite place to read and learn is on Catholic Answers: www.catholic.com. Join the Forums and discuss!!

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  22. I am Catholic. However, i don't understand why there are no Bibles in the pews for the congregation to read. if they were there, we could follow the 1st and 2nd readings & put them in context to the readings. Not to mention the homily. I bring my own Bible to church every Mass(Jerusalem Bible) No wonder Catholics are perceived as not knowing what scripture actually says. The Bible isn't a coffee table book, it is meant to be read and understood through study and reflection, both at home and in Church

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    1. I think the main reason there are no Bibles in the pews is because the time for Bible study is not the Mass. The readings are already provided for us in the missal.

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  23. I have enjoyed reading this discussion on the pre-tribulation "rapture" theory. I am a follower of Christ and believe every word in the bible to be the infallible word of God. God breathed ....Paul mentions in 2 Timothy 2:15 "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." I believe that many people who read the bible, read the words; however, interpret their meaning.
    I go to a Pentecostal church in Florida where my pastor has preached the pre-tribulation rapture forever. My pastor has changed his mind and now is teaching and preaching on post-trib. That is truly the power of pray. In the latter days people will be searching for the truth and seeking the Lord will all of their heart, God promised that we would find the truth. It is far from the popular view of the Christian world; however, it will help those in being prepared. I guess that is why Jesus, after answering his disciples 3 major questions in Matthew 24, proceeds to tell them the parable of the 10 Wise and 10 Foolish virgins. They were all waiting for the bridegroom; however, the foolish virgins, who did not bring enough oil with them, they were expecting the bridegroom during the first watch of the night (pre-trib rapture). The bridegroom did not appear until the 3rd watch (post-trib) and that is when the shout went out that he was coming, the wise virgins were prepared for the long wait and were assembled at the wedding feast.
    I on the other hand have always believed in the post-tribulation gathering. Matthew 24:29 (words written in red) "after the tribulation the sun, moon, and stars shall be shaken, 30 and then shall appear the Son of Man in heaven .....31 and he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

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    1. If your pastor can change his mind about doctrine, how do you know when he is teaching something today, that it isn't wrong? Esp. since he is fallible, which means, by definition, that he is going to be wrong at some point.

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  24. The doctrine was something that he was taught as a young boy and man, so naturally you teach what you know. As far as being wrong and fallible, well that is where doctrine fails and the Spirit of God does not. When you have the Spirit of God inside teaching you the real truth, doctrine can always be debated and proven wrong. There are never any debates with God, the word says what it means and means what it says. Interpretations of doctrine will always be the tricky part. The bible doesn't misinterpret, we do. As far as my pastor being wrong at some point, well sometimes he is, but that is why it's my responsibility as a disciple of Christ to know the word myself and not be easily swayed. If he ever started preaching on some ungodly heresies I'm out of dodge.

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  25. Yes, indeed, interpretation of the Bible is always the tricky part. And everything that we do, when we read the Bible is interpretation, Teresa, isn't it?

    So that means that each and every time your pastor preaches his interpretation of the Bible, you have to be concerned that what he may be teaching is absolutely wrong...and that he's going to reverse his interpretation at a later date. That's what it means to be fallible, right?

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  26. So man can not interpret scripture...why we need the Catholic church to do it for us...but the catholic "church" are just a bunch of men...so ultimately NO man can interpret scripture correctly?

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  27. I think you have not, er, "interpreted" my position (or the Catholic Chuch's position) correctly.

    Of course man must interpret Scripture--all that means is that we read Scripture and understand what it means. We Catholics are mandated to do this.

    However, we simply cannot interpret Scripture in any way that we personally feel it should be interpreted, contrary to the kerygma.

    Even you believe that, I assume?

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  28. The word Trinity isn't in the Bible, as well as the word homosexual, but the concepts are there so when people say the word Rapture isn't there it drives me nuts.

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    1. Thanks for your comments, but I don't believe I proposed that the word Rapture isn't in the Bible. It's there in the Vulgate.

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  29. "Amateur Apologist" is anything but amateur. Well done! Keep teaching about Jesus and His Church. We need an army of Christian apologists just like you :)

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  30. Catholics know that the bestselling "Left Behind" books and movies have grossly perverted Catholicism's biblical "rapture" doctrine - the only "rapture" view before 1830.
    The 2000-year-old Catholic "rapture" occurs AFTER the final "tribulation" (post-tribulation) while the 185-year-old evangelical Protestant "rapture" supposedly occurs BEFORE it and is said to be "imminent."
    All Catholics should read journalist Dave MacPherson's "The Rapture Plot" (available by calling 800.643.4645) - the most accurate and documented book on pretrib rapture history which began in British cultic circles.
    This book reveals, for the first time, how a Plymouth Brethren historian, after John Darby's death, dishonestly changed the earliest "rapture" writings of the Irvingites (the first group publicly teaching a pretrib rapture) so that he could wrongfully credit P.B. leader Darby with "dispensationalism" as well as with that rapture view!
    The leading pretrib rapture merchandisers (Scofield, Lindsey, LaHaye etc.) are openly anti-Catholic and believe that the Antichrist during the coming tribulation will be headquartered in Rome (and you can guess where!).
    For more shocks Google "Catholics Did NOT Invent the Rapture," "The Real Manuel Lacunza," "Pseudo-Ephraem Taught Pretrib - NOT!," "John Darby Did NOT Invent the Rapture," "Margaret Macdonald's Rapture Chart" (she originated the pretrib rapture!), "Edward Irving is Unnerving," "Famous Rapture Watchers," "Evangelicals Use Occult Deception," "Pretrib Hypocrisy," and "Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty."

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  31. [Just spied this little gem on the web. Interesting!]

    THE REAL MANUEL LACUNZA

    by Dave MacPherson

    John Bray's 1982 booklet "The Origin of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture Teaching" claimed that 18th century Jesuit priest Manuel Lacunza originated the pretrib rapture in his 1812 work "The Coming of Messiah in Glory and Majesty." Bray stated Lacunza saw a 45-day period between a rapture and Christ's touchdown on earth - a 45-day period Bray viewed as "tribulation" days.
    But Lacunza was only saying that the "day of the Lord" would be at least 45 days long - the difference between the 1290 days and the 1335 days in Dan. 12. Somehow Bray failed to note that those 45 days could not begin until the tribulation days were "concluded" (Vol. II, p. 250) - and Bray may have been influenced by those who erroneously believe that the "day of the Lord" INCLUDES the tribulation!
    Not only did Lacunza begin his 45 days AT the joint rapture/second coming, but he even had the raptured ones back on earth DURING those 45 days (Vol. II, pp. 262-3) to minister to "the relics [trib survivors] of all nations" [see Isa. 18:2] during the cleanup of Antichrist's rubble (similar to the cleaning up of New York's Twin Towers' rubble before new buildings could be built)!
    In Vol. I (p. 83) Lacunza writes that "the nineteenth chapter [of Revelation] speaks of the coming of the Lord in glory and majesty, which Christians with one consent do wait for."
    On pp. 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."
    And in Vol. I (p. 113) Lacunza again quotes I Thess. 4 and Matt. 24 like this: "...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."
    Interestingly, even Tim LaHaye's 1992 book "No Fear of the Storm" admits on p. 169 that "Lacunza never taught a pre-Trib Rapture!"
    For more on Bray and his other groundless claims, Google "Is John Bray a PINO?," "Morgan Edwards' Rapture View," "Catholics Did NOT Invent the Rapture," "John Darby Did NOT Invent the Rapture," "Margaret Macdonald's Rapture Chart," "Edward Irving Vs. John Darby," and "Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty."
    Finally, since the earliest pretrib rapture promoters were overwhelmingly anti-Catholic, it's not likely they would have adopted anything from a Catholic!

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  32. Dear TAA

    I have picked up this excellent thread late. Hope my comments make a contribution.
    I have believed in and followed Jesus since I was a boy. I study the scriptures daily, pursue love and covet spiritual gifts. I give thanks and praise to The Lord every day and enjoy fellowship twice a week. My five year old daughter attends a Catholic School but I'm not Catholic. My wife and I pray together every night that I'm home. In Christ Jesus we are all in His Body.
    Not looking for medals but making the point: one can have a Spirit filled life by following The Lord.
    God is not the author of confusion. Anything that causes schism and confusion is not of God's Spirit.
    Jesus says in John 4 that true worshippers of Our Father in Heaven will do so in Truth and in [His] Spirit. Just by quoting words therefore from the Bible to support a view doesn't make it of The Truth. It has to be The Word and [by or from] The Holy Spirit.
    The devil quoted Truth at Jesus in the wilderness but we all know what his ulterior motive was. In Romans 1 Paul says that we must hold the truth righteously and in 2 Tim 2 15 to study and rightly divide the Word of God.
    The modern rapture myth wasn't invented by the Catholic Church however both preterism and futurism were developed by the Jesuits as weapons of counter reformation.
    Interestingly [to me anyway] Hal Lindsey had a co-writer [or ghost writer] CC Larson who apparently is/was a nun and HL himself has [I understand] at least two daughters that attend/attended Jesuit college. If true he can’t be that anti-Catholic.
    Thanks

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    1. Thanks for your comments, Anonymous, and, yes, indeed, your comments are a welcome contribution!

      I will respond as follows: it is truly wonderful to have you be so full of the grace of the Lord! But I think that you stand in the tradition of Apollos--full of vigor and zeal for the Lord, but in need of some gentle re-direction towards the truth of the Gospel.

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    2. Regarding your comment that "God is not the author of confusion. Anything that causes schism and confusion is not of God's Spirit"--we Catholics give a hearty AMEN! to this.

      And you are correct here, too, and Catholicism echoes what you say here:
      "Jesus says in John 4 that true worshippers of Our Father in Heaven will do so in Truth and in [His] Spirit. Just by quoting words therefore from the Bible to support a view doesn't make it of The Truth. It has to be The Word and [by or from] The Holy Spirit."

      Amen to the above!

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    3. Regarding Hal Lindsey being anti-Catholic or not...I wouldn't know. But I will say that having a co-writer who's a nun or ex-nun and sending one's daughters to Jesuit schools are irrelevant. One can certainly be anti-Catholic while doing both of those things.

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    4. Thanks TAA for including my comments and thanks also for your remarks. I agree about the HL point because who really knows.. it merely suggested the opposite of his apparent anti RCC literature.
      Would you also be kind enough to explain what there was in my comments that encouraged you to say that I was in need of some gentle redirection towards the truth of the Gospel. Thanks

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    5. I say you are in need of some gentle redirection because you are like Apollos--full of zeal for the Lord but not fully immersed in the Truth.

      When one is Catholic, one has the fullness of truth.

      All other denominations have partial truths, of course, but have veered off course--some slightly, some greatly.

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  33. Luke17:28 further details the Times when the son of man returns explaining likewise in the days of lot they were eating and drinking living like everthings normal hardly what life will be like when the great tribulation is happening. Well lot was removed from Sodom and the bad people were destroyed... read Luke 17:20-35 and you'll see it paints a complete picture of the rapture... Just quoting the parts of the verse mentioning Noah isn't enough. Besides I think it mentions Noah there to show the disbelief of those around him and the way it was life as usual for people and then suddenly destruction...

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    1. Thanks for your comments, Anonymous. However, I think your interpretations are just wrong.
      Not to mention, no Apostle, early church father or Christian leader taught this until the 19th century.

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  34. What did I miss. I'm seeing several reverences to "antichrist" in 1 John and 2 John. Not in Revelation, although I suppose "the false prophet" could be a parallel reference? What say ye?

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    1. I certainly don't think "false prophet" is synonymous with "antichrist". (If you disagree, can you offer a Scripture verse that says they are synonyms?)

      And the claim was that Revelation contains references to the antichrist. That is simply adding to Scripture.

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  35. Thank you so much for shedding light on this important subject. I grew up in the radical Baptist churches and was exposed to this rapture concept for as long as I can remember. I too have read and studied the bible through and through since a young age as this concept didn't seem to fit with what I was reading. I converted to Catholicism once I got away from my parents as after years of studying found this to be the one true faith!!!!! The rapture concept is fairly new and the back up evidence that they use is rubbish to be honest with you. I seriously think that the majority of these rapture fanatics are re-telling stories that they've heard over and over. I will pray for you all that God will truly lay the truth on your hearts as he has done with me. Also maybe it would help if you would pray that Gods understanding be laid on your heart as you read the Bible and not your own. I agree that the rapture concept comes from self entitlement - if peter, paul and all the great apostles were not spared from suffering we will not be either.

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    1. Thank you for your comments, Anonymous. And welcome home!

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