The Rapture


#1

I watched the History Channel a couple of nites ago and they had a program on the AntiChrist. They talked about how Evangelicals are pretty convinced we are near the end of the world. They are excited and upbeat because they are “saved” and will be included in the Rapture. Why don’t Catholics believe in the Rapture? As a side note, I was a little disappointed that there was not one mention of the Catholic point of view during the entire 2 hours of programing.


#2

[quote=Holland]I watched the History Channel a couple of nites ago and they had a program on the AntiChrist. They talked about how Evangelicals are pretty convinced we are near the end of the world. They are excited and upbeat because they are “saved” and will be included in the Rapture. Why don’t Catholics believe in the Rapture? As a side note, I was a little disappointed that there was not one mention of the Catholic point of view during the entire 2 hours of programing.
[/quote]

Catholics don’t assent to a pre-tribulation rapture because it has no biblical foundation. Simply put, because the idea is not a part of Scripture or Tradition it has no place in Christian beliefs.


#3

It isn’t that Catholics don’t believe in the “rapture,” per se, but only in the erroneous “Left Behind” scenario so popular with many Protestants these days. The Catholic Church has condemned this view in no uncertain terms:

**Decree of the Holy Office dated July 21, 1944: **
"In recent times on several occasions, this Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office has been asked what must be thought of the system of mitigated Millenarianism, which teaches, for example, that Christ the Lord before the final judgment, whether or not preceded by the resurrection of the many just, will come visibly to rule over this world.

**“The answer is: The system of mitigated Millenarianism cannot be taught safely.” **

So what is the Catholic view?

When each of us dies, our souls are immediately taken to the presence of God and judged. This is called the Particular Judgment. At this point we begin our eternal destiny. If we are going to hell, our souls go directly there. If we are deemed worthy of heaven, our souls will go directly to heaven, or if we are going to heaven but are in need of purification, we may go to Purgatory first (everyone in Purgatory will eventually go to heaven). Whatever our fate, our souls will stay there until the end of time.

At the Second Coming at the end of time, those Christians still alive will be taken to heaven (what some Protestants think of as of the rapture). Then will occur the General Judgment. At that time the living and the dead will be reunited with their bodies and brought together in God’s presence and judged before all. Those who have already been judged in the Particular Judgment will be brought from wherever their souls were -heaven, hell or Purgatory-- and have their judgment confirmed before all.

After this, time and Purgatory will be no more and all will enter with their souls and bodies into their eternal destiny, either hell or heaven.

This is an extremely bare-bones sketch, so if you want to get the details, see the five articles I linked below:

rosary-center.org/ll57n1.htm
rosary-center.org/ll57n2.htm
rosary-center.org/ll57n3.htm
rosary-center.org/ll57n4.htm
rosary-center.org/ll49n6.htm

For more info on the errors of the “Rapture” theology, see this Catholic Answers tract:

The Rapture
catholic.com/library/Rapture.asp

Or visit Carl Olsen’s site:

The Rapture And Related Articles
carl-olson.com/rapture_articles.html

Everything you need to know, guarenteed. :smiley:


#4

The idea of a pre-tribulation “Rapture” is very recent—early 1800s. This fascination with “end times” stuff is typical with Evangelicals and fundamentalists. I listened to a fascinating talk given by Fr. Mitch Pacwa, and he touched on this briefly: basically, the Puritans who came to this country saw the New World as the literal Promised Land, complete with natives who had to be conquered (the Indians were the equivalent of the tribes that Israel had to conquer in the Promised Land, etc). America was the dreamed-of Promised Land for Protestants, and so as America becomes more and more corrupt, the Protestants realized that the dream was over. This leaves them simply waiting for the End Times. I know I’m giving these ideas short shrift, but you get the idea…this jibes with Fr. Neuhaus’ observation that without a Church structure, Protestant Americans have tended to make their " visible church" the American state and American dream. Again, as America crumbles, it leaves an insecurity and instability that leads to a “let’s just get out of here” attitude. But since the idea of a Tribulation is unappealing (to say the least) the “Rapture” concept is popular (suffering is not popular!). There’s a good article “Our American Babylon” in the December 2005 issue of First Things that explores this topic, though I don’t think it’s available online yet.


#5

Thanks! I will read all the articles. One last question. If we are in Purgatory will we have to stay there till the end of time? I always had this view of a slow flow of souls out of Purgatory into Heaven as their souls became purified.


#6

Nope, once youve been cleaned, you get your “Get out of Jail Free” card and go straight to heaven, no waiting required thereafter


#7

[quote=jax8686]Nope, once youve been cleaned, you get your “Get out of Jail Free” card and go straight to heaven, no waiting required thereafter
[/quote]

Correct. We don’t know how “long” the souls in Purgatory will be there, since there is no linear time as we know it in the afterlife. As soon as the cleansing process is over, they will go to heaven.

I suppose if one happens to be in Purgatory when the Second Coming occurs (or if one is still alive and is in need of cleansing before going to heaven) one will finish up their cleansing and go to heaven at that point. But, since we have no real way of knowing, this part is all speculation. :hmmm:


#8

Hi Holland, the rapture theory is not only a recent teaching, it is primary an american teaching too.


#9

[quote=Holland]I watched the History Channel a couple of nites ago and they had a program on the AntiChrist. They talked about how Evangelicals are pretty convinced we are near the end of the world. They are excited and upbeat because they are “saved” and will be included in the Rapture. Why don’t Catholics believe in the Rapture? As a side note, I was a little disappointed that there was not one mention of the Catholic point of view during the entire 2 hours of programing.
[/quote]

We don’t believe in a Rapture apart from the second coming. One cannot be premillenialist, pretribulationist in the Church. It simply isn’t Biblical.


#10

Not to mention that it has Jesus coming, not a total of two times, but three!


#11

Being from a predominantly Evangelical family, I may have a deeper relationship with this issue of the Rapture. Fundamentalists as a rule purport the pre-tribulation Rapture/Millenial Reign, as fulfillment of New Testament prophecy taken primarily from the Apocalypse of St. John (Revelation) and a smattering of disconnected verses in Thessalonians and the four Gospels.

As Catholics, we believe in the Parousia, the glorious Second Coming of the Christ. But in our particular theology (a.k.a. divine truth), a pre-tribulation Rapture would constitute a third coming of Christ, which cannot be supported either in Tradition or from the Sacred Scripture. As far as the supposed Millenial Reign are concerned, it is considered by Catholic theologians to be the present Church age, as the language translated in English as a thousand years, means in reality “a very long time”.

For more on this, you might want to check out Will Catholics Be Left Behind? by Carl Olson, which will take you through the basics of Catholic theology on the matter, and will also give you a history and refutational commentary on the Rapture theology.

Hope this helps,
John


#12

May I recommend a most excellent book.
Rapture: The End-Times Error That Leaves the Bible Behind

by David Currie ( a catholic convert)

It is by far the best on the topic out there…gives the entire catholic view, much history and writings from the early church fathers…covers all the supposed ‘end-time’ verses.

check out the reviews at amazon


#13

I grew up Dispensationalist Rapture Baptist and there are a number of things about the theory, aside from the total lack of biblical proof, that really bug me.

  1. I have watched it go through a number of transformations. When I was young, the whole tribulation scenario focused tightly around the Cold War and nuclear annihilation. But suddenly the politics shifted when the Cold War ended and all these “prophets” who were so sure suddenly were revealed for the charlatans they are (take note, Tim Lahaye!) Come to find out, every generation since its inception in the late 19th century has had its own tailored “prophecy”.

  2. It is unChristian in its triumphantalism. People who hold to this belief tend to picture themselves all happy and safe looking down on the dumb tormented unbelievers with an “I told ya so!” attitude. In this respect, it takes a heretical view towards suffering. It more like Buddhist Karma than Christian purification.

  3. It gives people an excuse to do nothing. For those who are obsessed with Rapture, they are less inclined to try to win hearts, minds or souls for Christ because they have already mentally pressed the eject button on planet Earth. Some Dispensationalists are indifferent when it comes to protesting abortion or fighting the culture of death. To them, the world is already irredeemable and therefore not worth the trouble.

  4. Because of this, it is a theological pessimism disguised as optimism. Why try to make things better when you could just make a run for the Lord? Trouble is, which really is the will of God: fight to the last, or make a break? St. Paul seems pretty clear on the topic…


#14

Which is why I went to the trouble to write the following parody based on the original song Safety Dance (your life isn’t a musical?):

R-r-r-a-a-p-p-t-t-u-u-r-r-r-e
Rapture, dance!

[Spoken]
You can rapture if you want to
You can leave your friends behind
If you want to fly and leave us to fry
Well you’re no friend of mine
You can rapture when you want to
Make us you “left behind”
Though you can’t tell from the verse which side had it worse
The taken aren’t in the sky

[Sung]
You can rapture if you want to
You can leave your friends behind
If you want to fly and leave us to fry
Well you’re no friend of mine
You can rapture when you want to
Make us you “left behind”
Though you can’t tell from the verse which side had it worse
The taken aren’t in the sky
Sky!

So take off if you want to
Leave the unsaved behind to rot
Is the greater good served by leaving for good
This party’s just getting hot
We’ll stay where you don’t want to
With the three which should remain
We’d feel like such dopes to surrender hope
Faith and love are not in vain

[Refrain]
You can rapture. you can rapture
Soar up into the sky
You can rapture. You can rapture
We’ll stay and make things right.
You can rapture. You can rapture
And eject from God’s creation
You can rapture. You can rapture
Ride on Darby’s Dispensation

Doing the rapture da-a-ance

Rapture dance
Soaring and waving
Soaring and waving

R-r-r-a-a-p-p-t-t-u-u-r-r-r-e
Rapture, dance!

You can’t escape if you want to
Think as you chose a new side
The Antichrist has no mitre you spaz
If he did it’d have a lot more style
Don’t go to the vultures
We’d rather not be feed upon
If you’re really so bored why don’t we draw our swords
and confront this evil head on.

[Refrain]

Then we can dance. Then we can dance [6x]
Having done His will.


#15

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