Five Myths about the Rapture

With all of this eschatological excitement in the pop culture air, it’s not surprising that I’ve received e-mails and questions about the newest round of Rapture roulette. The biggest question is simply, “Are the ‘Left Behind’ books and movies compatible with Catholicism?” Others follow. I addressed those and many, many other questions several years ago in my first book, Will Catholics Be Left Behind? A Catholic Critique of the Rapture and Today’s Prophecy Preachers (Ignatius Press, 2003; e-book). I also write a number of articles about the “Left Behind” phenomenon, including pieces about the unoriginal nature of the Tim LaHaye/Jerry B. Jenkins novels, a short history of the “left behind” theology, a comparison of dispensationalism and Catholicism, and a rather scathing review of the Glorious Appearing, the twelfth Left Behind novel.

With that in mind, I am reposting an article I wrote in late 2003 for Crisis magazine, which examines five of the central myths, or misunderstandings, about the Rapture and related matters. I’ve not updated it (for example, there are a total of sixteen Left Behind novels, and they have sold around 65 million copies in all), but the main points are still just as good today as they were then.

I am convinced that the ‘Beast’ is a reference to Nero, not some great red devil.

But I saw the movie (don’t go unless you like bad movies), and it is still a good dramatic device even if poorly done at times.

I think the beast is truly a future political authority that will persecute the church, but i loved that book, Will Catholics be Left Behind! It was amazing. And it proves how the rapture is a hoax. The way left behind storyline is pathetic, and i dont claim to know that much of the future, but im convinced that an actual great antichrist will arise someday before the second coming.

The A-C is a matter of prophecy; he will happen.

The rapture is a matter of interpretation.

As such, it is subject to mistake.


there are two very good books that delve into the rapture/dispensationalism.
“Will Catholics be left behind?” and “the Rapture Trap” both books go into the roots and history of this nonsense. To understand rapture thinking, one must understand dispensationalism which is its mother. This is not Catholic theology or thinking and even not historical Protestant either.

I don’t think rapture is a Catholic term. I’ve never heard it in the church that is. I think it’s protestant misunderstanding.

Well it is historically Protestant, but that is a fairly mixed bag of nuts, metaphorically speaking of course.


Dispensationalism was a Scofield invention, as far as I know, and it was based on the idea that we have a 6000 year old Earth and the Sabbath millennial period to 7000 years after Noah will be the Reign of Christ on Earth and a Utopia.

So I guess it fits into the ‘Protestant Reform’ branch of Protestantism along with the Campbellites, Mormons, Baptists, Evangelicals, fundamentalists and Pentecostal movements.

But I would say it is still Protestant just not Main Stream Protestant.

But the thing that theology gets correct is the slow decline of civilization until they accept the antichrist, and the great tribulation begins.

Which might not happen for tens of thousands of years, or might have already happened if the AC is seen as a metaphor for an anti-God world view becoming predominate.

What was the sin that led King David to set the location of the Temple in Jerusalem? It wasn’t his adultery and murder.

King David was punished by a plague sent on the people of Isreal and David implored God to forgive him and God appeared to David at the threshing floor of Arau′nah the Jeb′usite.
2 Samuel 24:18

2 Chorinicles 3:1
“Then Solomon began to build the house of the Lord in Jerusalem on Mount Mori′ah, where the Lord had appeared to David his father, at the place that David had appointed, on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jeb′usite.”

This sin that caused God to send a plague and the forgiveness of which was the very foundation of the Temple and of all temples since was a CENSUS. Now I don’t think that a census in and of itself was the problem, but it is the hubris that it implied that offended God.

We do not succeed due solely to our own efforts, as we plant, till and plow and hoe, but God sends the rain and God gives the bounty for all of our deeds.

So I am kind of thinking, what if the AC is this spirit of hubris that pervades our modern world and not some single individual and this spirit of the AC has already manifested itself in great tyrants who have shed countless lives and gallons of innocent blood? From Nero to Napoleon to Hitler and Stalin, maybe they were all manifestations of the Anti-Christ?

The Rapture is mentioned in 1 Thessolonians 4:16 and refers to the second coming.
Popular theories of the Rapture are based on dreams of a Scottish woman which were popularized because people like to think of Heaven on Earth.
There is a delightful song about the Rapture on Youtube

I think your correct. I think the AC means many things, one of those things is the lack of God, metaphorically, but also I think it might mean a future person, group, nation, time, whatever, because 2 Thess. refers to the “man of sin”.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

The Coming of the Lord

13 But we would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.[e] 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first; 17 then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord.[f] 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.

This is not the ‘rapture’ that is portrayed in most pretribulation dispensationalist writings.

Pre-conversion I was a campbellite myself. They do not believe in a ‘rapture’.

YEE HAW! But ‘rapture’ theology is very popular in the American Sowyuth. :smiley:

We are taking the class on the book of Revelation. It’s by Jeff Cavins. You can get the books on a Catholic web site.

Cavins said all those things have already happened with the destruction of Jerusalem. It gives the meaning of the all the terms that are used.

I heard the current. “Left Behind” movie is really bad and getting horrible reviews. I’ll save my money. That is just too creepy for me anyway.

I was Church of Christ myself and no, they do not believe in the Rapture, but that was not my point. I was trying to delineate this subcategory of Protestantism that is not main stream and in which various theological speculation has flourished outside the domain of more traditional forms of Protestantism.

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