Do most Protestants know that the rapture was made in the 18th century?

Based on my observation I notice that most protestants act like the rapture was biblical teaching for many centuries but never note or state that it was taught in the 18th century. Are most of them aware that it was made in that century?

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I am not sure what you mean. Who are “most Protestants” ? In my own neck of the woods, where European historical Protestantism is the majority, the only people I know of who believe in rapture are, unsurprisingly, Darbyists (Darby is the one to whom the origins of the notion of rapture are usually attributed). The rest of us have a traditional eschatology.

Protestantism is a diverse family, and defining what “most Protestants” believe is a tricky thing.


I wonder if most Catholics understand the term is a description of a Biblical event. While the word is not in the Bible, the description of being caught up in the clouds and meeting the Lord in the air is found in 1 Thessalonians 4. I know the whole “Left Behind” view arose a couple hundred years ago, but I do not see how that is an issue. As Catholics we believe that doctrine develops. The assumption of Mary has only been dogma for seventy years, for example.


I would be a bit wary about this comparison.
The assumption of Mary, even if it is a recent dogma, is part of a long-standing tradition going back to the beginnings of the Church.

The rapture has no such standing. Some early Church Fathers were premillennialists, but that is not quite the same thing, and premillennialism was explicitly rejected by the Council of Ephesus.


Lutherans as a whole reject the “rapture” entirely and agree with the Catholic Church on eschatology.

My mother-in-law was not aware that the “rapture” theory is of recent origin several years ago. She was a non-denominational Evangelical Protestant at the time.

As a rule, if something is in the theological air, so to speak, it isn’t going to be noticed or questioned by regular church-goers.


The historicists are quite aware, as may be seen here - Link

Based on my observation, I notice that most Protestants don’t believe in the “rapture”.


Ancient doctrine, recent dogma. Both eastern and oriental Orthodox also believe the Assumption.


There are premillennists, ammillenists, midmillennists but I favor panmillennialism (it will all pan out in the end! )


From a Catholic point of view, I get it. But we really need to look at non-Catholics from their point of view, if we expect them to do the same for us.

I would counter, that since there is a scripture that addresses this, from one who believes in scripture alone, then that makes the idea 2000 years old. The heresies of the past do nothing but support that this was some suppressed idea years ago. I guess I just don’t get the point in the OP. I assume it is not intended to put down what others believe, but it doesn’t seem to take the totality of that sort of believer seriously either.

Perhaps if we consider that the word is really just a colloquialism for harpagisometha it makes it look less provincial.

I am a Reformed pastor :wink:
And although I’m slowly coming home, I can say that the historical branches of Protestantism I know here, and in particular the Reformed Protestants I meet in our communities, think that the idea of a rapture is neither serious nor biblical.
In my tradition, 1 Thess 4:17 isn’t read as referring to rapture. It is often mentioned that it is similar to Mark’s Little Apocalypse (Mk 13.24:27) and describes the beginnings of the Parousia.

Well, me neither. But I think that what I am trying to stress is that the point of view of non-Catholics is a diverse one. It is difficult (and often unwise) to make sweeping generalizations about what Protestants believe, and in my tradition, the rapture is seen as a theological oddity which I wouldn’t know how (nor want) to defend.

We also recognize as authoritative the ecumenical councils, and most serious theologians would be wary of an eschatology which goes against Ephesus’ amillennialism.


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As a former Baptist, I definitely was surprised. I remember asking my pastor if he could teach on this topic. He said he wouldn’t because there was too much disagreement - pre, mid, post tribulation.

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Do you mean those 18th century Christians re-discovered what the 1st. century Church knew all along?

I believe in biblical " rapture". Not sure of its history.

But interesting in that I have not seen many threads dealing with end
times. The little I know of Catholic views on the matter seem as archaic as the vestments priests wear…that is unchanged since early church times. Now granted on most doctrine and practice that is a good thing, but not eschatology.

I am wondering what others make of the biblical texts dealing with issue.

Ummm, no, the assumption of Mary has been proclaimed by the Pope as dogma in written form in 1950, but the dogma itself has been there ‘from the beginning’. It isn’t a 70 year old 'new teaching out of the blue.

After all, the Immaculate Conception didn’t suddenly become a new dogma in 1854 after not having existed until then, right?

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Isn’t the ‘Left Behind’ series based on the premise of the Rapture? I’m not a follower of the series or adherent of the rapture, but there are a lot of people who place a great deal of stock in it.

I’m trying to focus my energy on living a life that is pleasing to the Lord (with God’s help) so that I can be with Him however and whenever He decides to return.

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Red flags go up for me when doctrine is “re-discovered” after 1700 years. I thought the Holy Spirit was supposed to lead us (his body, the church) into all truth. And Jesus also said, “Lo, I will be with you always, even unto the end of the age”. I just can’t see God abandoning the church to great error for that long. It just doesn’t seem like him to do such a thing. Too many people lived then, people who deserved to have their chance to know the truth.


Wow, you give the Church a lot of credit to bear and sustain truth. The nation of Israel suffered without a prophet in the land for over 400 years until John the Baptist finally showed up. The same could be said of Israel in Egypt until Moses showed up. In both cases the truth spoken centuries earlier got buried and God had to send new troops into the land with shovels.

Paul and others were constantly speaking to the New Testament church reiterating the truth over and over again. Why? because the tendency was to lose it, … or reinvent it … or re-shape it … or outright deny it… It wasn’t that the Holy Spirit stopped leading… no… sinning Christians stopped listening…

Well, it’s more that I give Jesus and the Holy Spirit a lot of credit to bear and sustain truth. Surely there was ebb and flow of faith during the OT, but never a centuries-long age where a saving faith was unattainable. Faith may have been at a low ebb in those two 400 year periods you mentioned, but I cannot believe that there was nobody who had a valid faith in those 400 year periods. Granted, the point can’t be proven either way. But I stick to my original point – I can’t see God allowing valid faith to be out of reach for that many people over that long a period of time.

As for Paul’s warnings that you mentioned, I take them very much to heart, and heed those warnings to not go astray.

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