How can I argue against the "rapture"?


#1

I have been recently discussing the rapture with an evangelical protestant friend. She gave me a long list of bible verses which are supposed to support it - the ones about Jesus coming like a “thief in the night”, or of him returning with a crowd of people in white, etc. - not convincing to me, because these verses don’t* have* to refer to any “rapture”, but on the other hand I couldn’t point to anything and say “this shows there won’t be a rapture”, only “this doesn’t prove there will be”. For me, the fact that the Catholic Church doesn’t teach it is reason enough not to believe in it, but obviously that means nothing to her. Please help me come up with a good response that will show her the Church has a good reason for teaching as it does.


#2

The Rapture

1 Thess. 4:16-17 - Paul writes that “we will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.” Many Protestants call this experience the “rapture” (even though the word “rapture” is not found in the Bible, although is derived from the Latin vulgate of this verse – “rapiemur”). John 14:3; 1 Cor. 15:52 - these are other passages that Protestants use to support the rapture experience. The question Protestantism has raised is “when will the rapture occur?” They have developed three theories – (1) post-tribulation; (2) pre-tribulation; and, (3) mid-tribulation. We address these theories later on. But first, here is some more background. Rev. 20:2-3; 7-8 – John sees the vision of an angel who seizes satan and binds him for a period of a thousand years. Protestants generally call this period of a thousand years the “millennium.” The “millennium” is a harbinger of the end of the world, and the theories of when the “rapture” will occur center around this period of time. We should also note that the “thousand years” language is part of apocalyptic literature and should not be interpreted literally. For example, in Psalm 50:10, we see the cattle on a “thousand hills.” The word “thousand” here obviously means a lot of hills. In Dan. 7:10, a “thousand thousands” served him. Again, “thousand” means a lot. In 2 Peter 3:8, with God one day is a “thousand” years and a “thousand” years is one day. “Thousand” is symbolic for a long time. It is not to be taken literally. Thess. 2:1-4 – concerning the Second Coming of Christ, Scripture teaches (and most Protestants believe) that Christ’s coming will be preceded by a time of rebellion, lawlessness and persecution. Protestants often refer to this period as the “tribulation” (although the word “tribulation” cannot be found in the Scripture passages Protestants use to support the “rapture”). 2 Peter 3:8-15 – instead of worrying about when the rapture will occur, Christians should follow Peter’s instruction to repent of their sins, live lives of holiness and godliness, be zealous and at peace, and wait for the Lord’s coming with forbearance and joy! :blessyou:


#3

catholic.com/library/Rapture.asp Here’s some things that may help.

ALSO, I know it was first invented in the mid-1800s, but, I cannot find that right now. But, I’ll keep looking…

And, here’s the Catholic possition of the Ressurection of the Dead. catholic.com/library/Resurrection_of_the_Body.asp


#4

Is the rapture a strictly protestant belief?


#5

crisismagazine.com/november2003/olson.htm HAHA! Myth 3 especially.

To Robo_Hobo: Yes…and, not even ALL Protesants believe it…but, lots do.


#6

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. Scripture clearly declares it:

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; 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. (1 Thess. 4:16–17)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: catholic.com/library/false_profit.asp


#7

It may be helpful for you to search on Catholic sites under the keyword “Parousia,” which is the RC word for “rapture.”

DeFide is right, we don’t disbelieve in the parousia, only in the Protestant teaching about its timing. Many Protestants believe that the rapture will occur before a seven-year tribulation on earth, followed by Christ’s Second Coming. The Church teaches that the Parousia and the Second Coming happen at the same time.


#8

In addition to all the excellent answers you’ve received, here is a link to the web page of Carl Olsen who has written the excellent book “Will Catholics Be Left Behind.” There are numerous articles here written by him on this very subject enaling you to be equiped for any question that comes up:

carl-olson.com/rapture_articles.html

Some other books I’d recommend are:

“The Rapture Trap” by Paul Thigpen

“Rapture: The End Times Error That Leaves The Truth Behind” by David Currie


#9

The rapture is not specifically against Catohlic teaching. The problem is pre-trib rapture, i.e. the idea that when the going starts to get tough God is going to bail us out and our car is going to end up parked in the middle of the freeway or perhap careening off in to another vehicle. It’s a denial of the crosses in our life. And it is especially silly that Jesus Apostles had to go through persecution, beatings, and even death, yet somehow in Modern America with our cushy homes and relatively mild persecution that we are going to be raptured.

Post trib rapture is also problematic. In general Catholicism is amillenial, i.e. we are currently in the 1000 year (symbolic) reign of Christ. When he comes again there will a be a new era.

Blessings


#10

[quote=adstrinity]crisismagazine.com/november2003/olson.htm HAHA! Myth 3 especially.

To Robo_Hobo: Yes…and, not even ALL Protesants believe it…but, lots do.
[/quote]

I was recently surprised to find out that popular protestant Hank Hanegraaff, the Bible Answer Man (?) doesn’t subsribe to the “Rapture-Left Behind” theology. To find out more visit the following:

equip.org/abouthank/misc.asp

I’d be interested in your thoughts as well…


#11

I always shut down such rapture discussions like this:

“On a beautiful day like this, I’m more worried about an 18-wheeler truck barreling down the interstate this afternoon with my name pre-written on his front bumper. So, if I’m ready to meet the Lord this afternoon, I’m definitely ready for a rapture that shows no signs of arriving today. Are you?”

This derails the discussion nearly every time.


#12

Jesus will only come one more time. There is mention of only a second coming of Christ, not a third or fourth or whatever. For this “pre-trib rapture” bit to be true, there would have to be more than one more coming of Christ. There’s no way around it. Jesu never said that we wouldn’t go through persecution or other troubles. In fact, He gauranteed that we would!! :wave:


#13

[quote=BlindSheep]I have been recently discussing the rapture with an evangelical protestant friend…
[/quote]

Here’s an article by Patric Madrid.
by Patrick Madrid

[font=Arial Black][size=4]The Rapture[/size][/font]
9/8/04

**[font=Helv][size=2]http://catholicexchange.com/vm/PFarticle.asp?vm_id=91&art_id=25183&sec_id=48203

[/size]**[/font](Copyright 2004, Patrick Madrid, all rights reserved. Patrick Madrid is an author, public speaker, and the publisher of Envoy Magazine.* Visit his website at *[size=2]www.surprisedbytruth.com).

[/size]*


#14

The pre-Tribulation Rapture is not a Catholic doctrine. It is a recent notion, popularised only since the 1840s.

All the evidence suggests that the idea of a rapture of the Faithful **before ** the tribulations of the end-times, originated in Protestantism in the personal “Revelation” supposedly had by a scottish girl, Margaret Macdonald, in Port Glasgow, sometime in the 1830s. She spoke of the “secret return” of Jesus for the faithful. This was taken up by John Darby and found its way into the notes of Schofield reference Bible, which was very influential among Victorian evangelicals.

In fact a pre-tribulation “rapture” of Christians is specifically denied in the Gospels.

Matthew 24.7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places: 8 all this is but the beginning of the birth-pangs. 9 "Then they will deliver you up to tribulation, and put you to death; and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. 10 And then many will fall away, and betray one another, and hate one another. 11 And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12 And because wickedness is multiplied, most men’s love will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, as a testimony to all nations; and then the end will come. 15 "So when you see the desolating sacrilege spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains; 17 let him who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house; 18 and let him who is in the field not turn back to take his mantle. 19 And alas for those who are with child and for those who give suck in those days! 20 Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a sabbath. 21 **For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. 22 And if those days had not been shortened, no human being would be saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. **

In other words, the Tribulation is to be shortened for the sake of Christians. Christians will not be raptured away to escape the Tribulation.

23 Then if any one says to you, ‘Lo, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false Christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. 25 Lo, I have told you beforehand. 26 So, if they say to you, ‘Lo, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out; if they say, ‘Lo, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of man.

Christ will return only in glory, not secretly. There is only **one ** second coming.

28 Wherever the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together. 29 "Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken; 30 then will appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory; 31 and he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

Jesus returns and gathers the elect after the tribulation.


#15

[quote=Nan S]I always shut down such rapture discussions like this:

“On a beautiful day like this, I’m more worried about an 18-wheeler truck barreling down the interstate this afternoon with my name pre-written on his front bumper. So, if I’m ready to meet the Lord this afternoon, I’m definitely ready for a rapture that shows no signs of arriving today. Are you?”

This derails the discussion nearly every time.
[/quote]

:thumbsup: :clapping: :amen:

I would ask to see the doctrine of the pre-trib rapture expressed in the writings of the early church fathers, or in any doctrinal writings prior to the 19th century.

DaveBj


#16

Hello-

The best reply I’ve heard on the rapture theories was the rather arch:

“Christ will not have repeated farewell tours like an aging rock star.”

JXM


#17

[quote=JXM]Hello-

The best reply I’ve heard on the rapture theories was the rather arch:

“Christ will not have repeated farewell tours like an aging rock star.”

JXM
[/quote]

:rotfl:


#18

[quote=Fidelis]In addition to all the excellent answers you’ve received, here is a link to the web page of Carl Olsen who has written the excellent book “Will Catholics Be Left Behind.” There are numerous articles here written by him on this very subject enaling you to be equiped for any question that comes up:

carl-olson.com/rapture_articles.html

Some other books I’d recommend are:

“The Rapture Trap” by Paul Thigpen

“Rapture: The End Times Error That Leaves The Truth Behind” by David Currie
[/quote]

I’ll “second” Fidelis’ recommendation of Carl Olsen’s book. I read “Will Catholics Be Left Behind” and it’s an excellent description of premillenial dispensationalism followed by an excellent rebuttal and a great description of Catholic “end times” theology. Pass the book along to your friend.


#19

Go to www.biblechristiansociety.com

They have a CD on this topic. It gives a brilliant explanation **and uses the bible for support. **


#20

Excellent reasoning.

My argument is that a person’s belief should have psychologically healthy results, and be good for humanity and all of God’s creation. Since pre-trib rapture 1. involves a lot of suffering for those “left behind” (what about a just and loving God?) 2. results in conversion of people by fear, rather than good Christian example and the love of God 3. exempts people from care for the environment because the world is ending/they won’t be here anyway, I cannot accept it.

Ther have been many “apocalypses”, and humanity has survived. Only when people quit working to improve the lives of others do these crises of humanity happen. Mankind brings it upon ourselves, because of selfishness and the other great evils.

Jesus taught repeatedly that the use of religion to justify sin is abhorrent in God’s eyes.


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