Should I believe in The Rapture?

Do Catholics believe in The Rapture?

No. That is a recent protestant innovation. (less than 150 years old, as I recall) It is not biblically sound theology.

I understand. But not to be argumentative, what are we to do with this amazing scripture verse?

1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 (KJV)

For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:


I suppose it’s the interpretation of this verse. This can be about the Second Coming at the end of the world.

No, you should not. There is no such thing as the Rapture. Jesus will return at the end of time and then there will be the Final Judgement.

It kinda depends on what you mean by the rapture. If you mean the popular version in fundamentalist circles where the faithful will be taken to heaven and times of tribulation will follow, then no. The main issue is that concept requires Christ to come three times. First at the incarnation, second to take the faithful to heaven, and a third and final time after the tribulation to establish the kingdom on earth. That view breaks the return of Christ into two events and is contrary to scripture and Church teaching.

On the other hand if you mean rapture as part of the second comming and the general resurrection that is in accordance with 2000 years of Church teaching. We just don’t call it the rapture.

I’m sure some do, Hal Lindsey’s books have sold millions of copies and Pat Robertson has been on TV since I was a kid.

But it really not the understanding nor the doctrine of the Catholic Church- nothing in any of the Catholic catechisms that have been written over the ages says anything about this.

An evangelist by the name of Darby popularized this understanding of the rapture beginning about 1830

Not the one that so many n-Cs preach about. I have an article on my blog that explains why. The Rapture?

Other excellent Catholic resources are listed below.:
What Jesus Really Said About The End Of The World

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Beginning Apologetics 8: What Catholics Believe about the Second Coming, the Rapture, Heaven, Hell, Purgatory, and Indulgences

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I highly suggest you listen to this Tim Staples’s “Rapture Files” talk:

I know it is two hours long but it is very interesting. It helped me when I was wondering about these beliefs. Tim is now a Catholic apologist. He came from what could be called an extreme rapture background before converting. He goes through all the different views on this and show’s why the Catholic view is correct.



When I was a Pentecostal the rapture was a great talking point as we expected at any time we would be raptured to avoid the persecution that would happen during the tribulation period…now that I am a Catholic I wonder why I presumed that I was worthy to not have to go through any persecution when even now Christians are being imprisoned…tortured…and killed for their faith…is this not their tribulation period…yet Pentecostals (and other Christians who follow this false doctrine) think they will be saved from all that…Jesus said in part at the last judgment that the first shall be last…that is a poignant point to consider for those rapture believers who consider themselves among the more privileged.

I don’t think so. The “Rapture” is a modernist Evangelical man-made doctrine because
some people are either too proud to believe that they should be subjected to the Tribu-
lation and/or people are too scared to face the horrors of it all. It’s the for the faithful to
bear the sufferings in the Great Tribulation, not simply be spared of it.

The rapture has it 100% backwards from what the Bible actually says.

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 Thessalonians 4:16-17 RSV)

The phrase “meet the Lord in the air” references the ancient custom of “going out to meet” a visiting dignitary, honored guest or enemy.

*Moses went out to meet his father-in-law, and did obeisance and kissed him; and they asked each other of their welfare, and went into the tent. (Exodus 18:7)

And Asa went out to meet him, and they drew up their lines of battle in the valley of Zeph’athah at Mare’shah. (2 Chronicles 14:10)

But at midnight there was a cry, `Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ (Matthew 25:6)

So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” (John 12:13)*

People would leave the safety of their walled city and go out to meet their enemy or visiting dignitary. If the person they were meeting were an important dignitary, military leader or beloved family member then they would be escorted back to the city as an honored guest.

The rapture has it exactly backward. The rapture says that we will “go out to meet” Jesus and go with him to heaven. But that is not what Paul meant when he wrote that we will go out to meet Jesus. Paul meant that Jesus would be escorted back to earth and welcomed as an honored guest and beloved family member - exactly like it says in the Book of Revelation.

***And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband; and I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them; *(Revelation 21:2-3)

For Jesus to have come 2000 years ago, to come again at the rapture, and yet again at the end of time, means that Jesus would come three times. There is no third coming of Christ but only two.

That is what 1 Thessalonians 4 actually says - meet the Lord in the air is a turn of phrase which means that Jesus will come and we will honor him and he will dwell with us, just like it says in the Book of Revelation. That’s how Jews would have understood Paul, because they were used to the terminology and were educated in the Old Testament.

To believe in the rapture is ignorance of the Old Testament.


Informative post TimothyH. Thanks for putting this up.

TimothyH: Sometime ago I read the book The Rapture trap in which your thoughts mirror what the book said concerning the rapture. I agree with what you said. Also no one will have to say there he is or he is over there. All will know when Jesus comes, returns. To believe in the protestant notion of rapture is unsound understanding of what St. Paul was saying in his Epistle.

Thank you Timothy H for an excellent response. I really appreciate it.

Very informative thread! I won’t be watching the Left Behind movies again.

It is surprising, and sad, I think, that we have 224 threads at Ccom which involve misconceptions of these twisted concepts of rapture–maybe at least partially because the term rapture has been twisted (or spun) from its original Latin meaning of “carried away” (similar in origin to raptor being the class of birds which sieze and carry off their prey).
Blessings to Kielbasi in the post above identifying an evangelist named Darby popularizing the term rapture in about 1830. I’m now off to Google/Bing to see what else I can learn. Can anyone else comment further on other originators/developers/distorters who have subsequently spun this concept?
My greatest concern and objection is that every time a new End of World prediction arises, many well-intentioned people seem to basically give up (temporarily at least) their earthly dreams, hopes, and plans.

Hi eschator83, I think the book The Rapture trap by Paul Thigpen is a good place to start as it has the history of what the Rapture is and how it started. There has throughout history those who believe that the end Is near, yet in the end nothing happens as to the predictions they make. no matter what when the end does come that is when Christ returns everyone will know and no one will have to tell you because all will see Christ and those who refuse Him well we know what happens to them and those who rejoice to see Christ will be with Him along with those who have died. there is no need to worry about when the world ends it will end when it is time for it to end.

Hmm, thanks Spina, I’ll check Thigpen. I’ve been Googling John Darby (1800-1882), smirking sadly to myself in reading about his participation in leading a group in schism from the Anglican church of Ireland, which took the name Plymouth Brethren, and then separated again as the Exclusive Brethren vs the Congregational (Open) Brethren. So much, I thought, for his concepts of rapture, which of course is not mentioned in the Catechism, nor my Concordance, nor my Fr Hardon Dictionary.
But then the term parousia popped into my mind–also not mentioned in the index of the Catechism, but 16 references are reported in the NT. So, I’m working on these, wondering if we narrowed our understanding of parousia to the New Age of Jesus’ Kingdom, wouldn’t we be quite close to what the protestants (or some of them) call rapture?

Hi eschator83, Thigpen is a convert so I think his information is a good one. Thanks for the info on what you wrote concerning the Brethren and the Plymouth brethren etc. that was good. As for the parousia, I am thinking that is the same as rapture but not the same thinking that Protestants have, just as the rapture thinking of Protestants have is not the same as what St. Paul was saying to those he wrote to. As you may know, the people St. Paul spoke to would have understood what he was saying, which is far different than what so many think in our day and age. hope that helps. I think that rapture and parousia that St. Paul used are the same meaning and he used them interchangeably when he spoke to those he was preaching to.

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