Mary's assumption into Heaven and the Rapture

Greetings! In trying to think of how to explain the Assumption to some Protestant friends, it occurred to me to wonder if I could explain it as a type of Rapture.

Well, it’s a thought.

But it’s dangerous because it entails

  1. a denial of Our Blessed Mother’s unique position (to Protestants, all “saved” are raptured)

  2. a tacit assent to the false notion of a Rapture.

You could do it, but it would be tricky. :wink:

It’s a foretaste argument. Nothing wrong with that.

But our Catholic understanding of the rapture bit is not about us being stuck in a safe place to avoid tribulation; it’s us meeting up with Jesus at the Second Coming, when tribulations end forever. So that might cause confusion.

She was born without original sin, of course she was treated differently by God! The assumption being part of that. That is how I look at it anyway…

I don’t think explaining it and alluding to the rapture is a bad idea at all.

Also like Elijah being taken up into heaven might be another idea.

"As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind. Elisha saw this and cried out, “My father!” (2nd Kings 2:11&12)

Mother Angelica used to that Mary was raptured ahead of time. :wink:

I would avoid using the rapture in any analogous way with the Assumption. The rapture is an erroneous, non-biblical proposition and is not part of our Catholic faith. Why would you use something that isn’t taught or believed by the Catholic Church as a way to try to explain our Catholic faith.

There has to be a better way to teach the Assumption rather than relying on a protestant belief system.


This is a very good idea. The assumptions of Elijah (and Enoch in Genesis) can be used to explain the Assumption of Mary, and since they are completely Scriptural, they might carry weight with a Protestant. :slight_smile:

I think this is the best because I avoides the Rapture discussion. If your goal is the address the Assumption, you don’t want the Protestant to move the conversation to the false theology of rapture.

That’s kinda what I’m thinking. Mary was the first to have accepted Jesus into her heart (literally, with the Incarnation); she should be the first after the Resurrection to taste the fruits of that acceptance.

Excellent Idea! I had forgotten about possibly treating Elijah (and possibly Enoch) as “types” of Assumption/Rapture.

If I was being a missionary to some tribe or culture that had no previous experience with or exposure to Christianity, then no, I wouldn’t mention this at all. But I’m “missioning” to people who have been taught all their lives that Catholics don’t believe in the Bible at all and have no problem with adding things to it, yada, yada, yada. (BTW, my spell-checker just “fixed” “missioning” to “misinforming”! :eek: ) I see my task as using their current language and beliefs to show the logic and truth of Catholic teaching, leading them from “Well, maybe Catholics DO believe in the Bible, just with wrong interpretations” to “Well, maybe the Catholic interpretation has some truth to it” to “Maybe Catholicism is right after all.” I’ve learned from my years of training computer users that a little misinformation at the beginning saves a LOT of explaining. When they’re comfortable with the concepts, that’s when you start modifying the analogies, moving them towards a fuller understanding of the subject.

Honestly, my biggest problem is not breaking out with laughter when hearing their responses. After hearing all this stuff about how Catholics don’t believe in the Bible, it is so funny to me when I point out how a Catholic belief they disregard is fully rooted in Scripture. Their faces get all scrunched up and they go, “Well … yeah … but … well, it doesn’t mean THAT!”

ON second thought I suppose that if your protestant audience already accepts a belief in the rapture as being Biblical and they have no problem accepting Elijah as taken into heaven before his death then moving into the Assumption of the BVM would just take a little bit of work. However, I suppose you would have to be careful not to offend them that you would equate their Biblical belief in the rapture with something they do not believe ever happened.

At any rate good luck, it seems you have more of a stomach for this than I would.


THe problem with this approach is manifold.

  1. comparing the Assumption to the Rapture, or Elijah, Enoch etc. is wrong. If you were trying to explain it to a toddler, then OK. But adults should be able to understand actual truth not whimsical ideas that bear some shallow similarities. Maybe I’ve lived too long and don’t understand how truly idiotic people really are now, I don’t know… :shrug:

  2. Understand that Protestant friends that believe in the Rapture are Evangelicals that have NO special regard for the Virgin Mary. IN fact they believe she and Joseph went on to have more children. They are a matter of fact humdrum couple that God used as tools in his secret plan. It would be FAR more helpful to help your friends understand that the Rapture is unbiblical and wrong before giving them the pearls of Catholic mysteries.

  3. Elijah and Enoch did NOT ascend to the Kingdom of Heaven in their bodies, the way the BVM did. It is unbiblical and contrary to Catholic Church dogma regarding original sin and Redemption.

So from just about every angle the idea is a bad one.

I would beg to differ. It is a matter of Catholic doctrine that both Elijah and Enoch were taken into heaven in their bodies. You can find here on Catholic Answers a blog by Jimmy Aiken which goes into this question in some detail.

Some of the Evangelicals I’ve spoken with view this as a “type” of Rapture, a foreshadowing. Therefore it should not be a great leap to think that this same thing happened to Mary. Remember: respect your audience and use THEIR language in order to introduce them to the new concepts. St. Patrick didn’t beat the Celts about the ears until they understood the concept of the Trinity; instead, he used a local plant, the shamrock, to model the idea of Three-in-One.

Despite finding it here, that does not make it Catholic Doctrine. Sometimes it represents Catholic opinion as in this case. I don’t share Aiken’s opinion, nor does his slight evidence outweigh several other more probable explanations for those Biblical passages IMHO. :wink:

Greetings! Just ask your friends whether they would do for their mothers what Jesus did for his if they had the power. If they’re honest, they should answer, Yes. But if they still refuse to believe in the Assumption, then let them know that they must love their mothers far more than Jesus loves his. And if that’s the case, he can’t be the Son of God. I’m sure Jesus was as eager to physically embrace his mother as I am to hug mine who passed away in 1982.Please see my blog on this topic for some helpful ideas.



I think this response makes much sense. It would be a firm and honest presentation of Catholic doctrine without bowing down to any of the errors taught by Protestants in their doctrine of the rapture.

Well put!


I honestly think the vast majority of Protestants would still say No, even if it were in their power. As AmbroseSJ mentioned the vast majority of Protestants, not to mention their denominations, have a strong aversion to anything remotely related to anything Marian. Anything that looks like veneration or favoring her in some form sends them running for the hills.


I always wondered why Luke says John the Baptist came in the spirit and power of Elijah.

Both of them were prophets.

Elijah, Enoch, and Moses exist in some form of transfigured state, but they do not gloriously exist body and soul in Heaven (Mt.17:1-13). They couldn’t possibly, because Jesus is the first-fruit of the resurrection. Also, the gates of Heaven were closed until our Lord opened them. All the other saints, except Mary, must wait until the Last Day for the redemption of their bodies now that our Lord has been raised from the dead and ascended into Heaven.

For by a man came death, and by a man the resurrection of the dead. And as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive. But each in turn: Christ, the first-fruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.
1 Corinthians 15, 21-23



If they climb Jacob’s ladder and look up, they just might see Mary for who and what she is in the order of grace.



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