Rapture and the History Channel


So, I was watching something last night on the History Channel about the Anti-Christ. As expected, it started presenting an end times view according to popular Rapture theory. It went into great detail of what would happen, how, etc. Then, it finish that part of the program by saying… but this isn’t a 21st century creation. However, ti isn’t even a 1 century creation. It then went into a long section about how rapture theory, and its accompanied dispensationalism didn’t develop until John Darby. At which I applauded it for.

However, the question remains…

If the origins are traced back Darby, and Darby is the first to really teach this. (though I know there were some minor characters 50 years proceeding) Why is Rapture theory as espoused by the Left Behind books so supported by what is now a vast majority of Protestantism. (not all, but at this point, most)

If you believe it why?

The best answer I have gotten was by a pastor that said. "Well, no, it didn’t exist prior to Darby, and no there aren’t any early writings, but why would you want to believe the same church that had things like Purgatory, Indulgences, etc. Rapture theory took so long to develop because it took that long to get out from under the ‘wing’ of the Catholic church’

Personally, I think this answer is a cop out diversion. but what do you think. If you believe this, despite there being NO evidence… why? If you think there is ECF evidence, what evidence?

In Christ


Sure, trace it back only to Darby.

Now lets trace how far back the teachings and writings go that teach Israel is forever “cursed”.


I don’t accept the Rapture view, but I have a theory about why it’s so popular. Those who do accept it preach on it often and extensively. Those who don’t accept it just never preach on New Testament prophecy. So there are many, many Christians who accept the Rapture-oriented view just because they have never heard any other view mentioned, let alone taught.

P.S. I have studied the Bible and attended church all of my life, and I was in my 40s before I ever heard of any other view of prophecy besides the Rapture view.


**consider the following… **

The studies of Mrs. MacPherson show that her sickness during which she received her visions and revelations occurred sometime between February 1 and April 14, 1830. And by late spring and early summer of 1830, her belief in the two phases of Christ’s coming was being mentioned in praise and prayer meetings in several towns of western Scotland. In these meetings some people were speaking in “tongues” and other charismatic occurrences were in evidence. These extraordinary and strange events in western Scotland so attracted John Darby that he made a trip to the area to witness himself what was going on. Though he did not approve of the ecstatic episodes that he witnessed. it is nonetheless significant that Darby, after returning from Scotland, began to teach that Christ’s second coming would occur in two phases. MacPherson shows good evidence that Darby had even visited Miss Macdonald in her home. There can hardly he any doubt that the visions of Miss Macdonald are the source of the modern doctrine.
Visions and Dreams

While it is possible that visionary revelations can come from God, it is always prudent to be cautious in such matters. Near the same time that Miss Macdonald was receiving her visions, Joseph Smith in America was experiencing his apparitions which brought Mormon doctrines to the world. John Wilson also had his dreams which were the spark that started the false teaching of British realism. Not long afterwards Ellen G. White received her visions that resulted in many Seventh Day Adventist teachings. And remarkably, all these individuals received revelations of doctrines which were much at variance with one another. Such incidents bring to mind the warning that God gave to Moses.
**“If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or wonder, and the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spoke unto thee, saying, let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the Lord proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” **
*][RIGHT]Deuteronomy 13: 1-3[/RIGHT]
[/LIST]The teachings of visionaries also recall to mind what the apostle John tells Christians.
**“Beloved. believe not every spirit. but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” **
*][RIGHT]I John 4:1[/RIGHT]
[/LIST]And though some point to the prophecy of Daniel that “knowledge shall be increased” (Daniel 12:4) a proof that the revival of doctrinal truths will occur at the end of the age, this is not what Daniel meant. If one reads the prophet carefully. he will find that Daniel is speaking about the knowledge of his prophecies which will be increased. not the revival of general doctrines. In the original text of Daniel the definite article occurs before the word “knowledge.” Daniel actually said “THE knowledge will be increased” and the text shows he means “the knowledge of his prophecies.” Daniel is in no way speaking about renewing of doctrines at the time of the end. A further admonition is necessary concerning the origins of teachings which might happen near our own time. It is by the apostle Paul.
**“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” **
*][RIGHT]I Timothy 4:1[/RIGHT]
[/LIST]These warnings from God’s word are given as a reminder that we ought to exercise caution in accepting the truthfulness of visionary revelations especially those that happen near the end of the age and are contradictory to themselves or the Bible.



First of all, I don’t think a majority of Protestants (in the world) buy into it, but it is extremely popular with American fundamentalists and those they have influenced, including those who have been proselytized by them in other countries, some Evangelicals, and even a few poorly catechized Catholics. But it is mostly a fundamentalist phenomena.

Reasons? In addition to some of them being raised in the belief, there are certain aspects of it some people find attractive:

  1. It seems, on the face, biblical.
  2. It’s fun trying to tie current events to the Bible.
  3. It’s kind of thrilling in a way to think about all the supernatural sequence of events that are supposed to take place as part of these events --kind of like watching a horror or suspense movie.
  4. At the same time, if you believe you are one of the “elect” that’s going to be “raptured away” before any of this stuff happens, you can be rather smug about those jerks that laugh at your religion: “Won’t they be sorry when they’re left behind! That’ll show them!”
  5. You can consider it an act of charity to warn people to “acceptJesusasyourpersonalLordandSavior” right NOW before it is too late.
  6. At the same time, you don’t have to do real acts of charity in this world because – well, why bother? Why polish brass on a sinking ship?

How can they avoid falling for this type of clap-trap?:

“To be deep in history, is to cease to be Protestant.”
–John Cardinal Newman


I reject rapture theory, but have a few thoughts.

Some believe because they have been misled about what the Bible actually teaches. They believe what they’ve been taught and have never objectively examined it. It is appealing for psycological reasons also.

It gives people a positive response to the evil we witness in the world. It’s a simple, comforting way to view life, and lends meaning to current events. When anything bad happens, they can say things will get worse just before Christ raptures us away. The end is near, but at least we won’t be here to suffer through it. So, it is comforting unless they’re the one doing the suffering.

Some of them like to think they have the inside scoop on the future which is a huge ego boost. Which appeals to anyone’s curriosity and makes them feel secure. Our generation is involved in the final battle between good and evil, and no other generation has such an important role. And we know the important events of the next few years before they even happen. This is pridefull of course, but why not feel like the special final generation, at the apex of history.

Some like it because it gets them off the hook for having to be to politically active. This world is irrelevant to the future of commited Christians because they will be raptured out of its problems. Hang on until Christ raptures us, and try to take as many people with us as possible.

It also lends itself to the health and wealth gospel. (which is non-Christian by the way) There is no Cross, except for the ones who continue to hold on to it. Christ suffered on the Cross for us, so we never need to suffer again. No hardship and abundant wealth, and the hope they won’t have to suffer death.

Lastly, its appeal is an extremely effective method of getting converts. Its a great wedge for pulling people out of the Church. And it all adds up to $$$.

Don’t get me wrong, I have friends and in-laws who believe in the rapture. There good people with good intentions. Obviously I don’t think all of this applies to each one of them. I don’t think any of them are trying to bilk anyone out of money, that is the televangalist job. (and its a great way to get money! you won’t be needing that money soon, so give it to me so I can get more people to be raptured) Any way this is more a collection of different reasons IMHO.


Ryan :slight_smile:


Great answer, Ryan. Charitable and incisive. :thumbsup:


Hi :wave:

I can’t never could and never would understand why the History Channel does specials on prophetic stories…:confused:

I would like to explain though, just why I believed in the Rapture for almost 30 years. I guess its because I danced with the one who brought me in, I mean - I was raised that way. Not only raised this way, but raised to believe that everyone else who believed otherwise was wrong. This was usually explained with Jesus’ own words…Straight is the gate and narrow the path that leads to eternal life and few there will be that will enter in…(don’t quote me but its something to that affect). So you see that my church believed that you don’t understand the rapture because you are not on the straight and narrow!

How did I believe this despite NO evidence? The same way that all Christians accept the mysteries of the faith…by faith itself.

If you picked up on the past tense references, then yes you are correct in assuming that I converted to Catholicism - and I gave up my belief in the rapture…or rather I’ve humbled myself to say that I DONT KNOW the answer to this question…Jesus could return for all of us or he just might come for me (death) - I’ve resolved to leave this as a mystery (for now) and just be sure that I am ready for that day. Because one thing that Catholics and those good hearted people from my former church both agree on is that “The King is Coming”. Right?



Israel already paid for her sins for rejecting the Messiah. The Holy Temple was destroyed in 70 AD, which Jesus predicted. Yet, there is still hope for them. In due time, they will be converted.


What intrigues me most about this is that I am currently discussing this with my little sister. She holds strongly to the whole pretrib rapture myth.

Even after showing her this… All she says is, well, it doesn’t matter that it didn’t show up in history until then, It’s still true…

To Lev…

Yes, I can only trace it to Darby… why is that such a shock… The best I can come up with other than that is an obscure letter of sorts about 50 years prior. Still begs the question though… why believe in a doctrine that didnt exist for 1800 years…

In Christ


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.