What is the "Rapture" and is it true?

What exactly is the “Rapture”? Is it biblical? If so, where is it in the Bible?

If not, who came up with this idea, and what would I tell my Protestant friends who believe it to be true?

The Rature as most Protestants use it is a false, man-made doctrine invented in the 1830’s by some Protestants. It is based on a twisted misinterpretation of the True Biblical Doctrine of the Parousia which refers to the Second Coming of Christ. See Parousia in the Catechism of The Catholic Church.



I’ve thought that Mt. 13:30 and 13:41-43 indicated that the common view of the rapture was not correct. In both cases, Jesus talks about the bad being removed first, rather than the good being taken away and leaving the rest on Earth. I understand that proof-texting isn’t a great idea, but it might be convincing in the circumstances.

I believe what the Church teaches (as far as I understand it), which is that there is only one Second Coming, and that Jesus will deal with both the sheep and the goats in one go.

(Of course, if I am misunderstanding what the Church teaches, I am happy to be corrected.)


The “Rapture” is just one of many false and heretical interpretations of the “Millenium.”

The Church has no problem with a genuine, unmodified notion of the “Millennium.” The Chuch has told us what this Millennium is NOT. But she has not yet ruled definitively on what this Millennium exactly IS. Then Cardinal Ratzinger has stated that the matter is still open to discussion and that “the Holy See has not yet made any definitive pronouncement in this regard.” What the Holy See has definitively pronounced is an anathema against a “false” millennium, known as millenarianism: a heresy accepted by some who professed a belief in a carnal and visible reign of Christ for a period lasting *literally *1000 years.

However, never has the Holy See condemned the Apostolic Father’s Tradition in this regard. Indeed, the Apostolic Fathers themselves - Papias and St. Justin Martyr, for instance - bear witness to the orthodoxy of their unmodified doctrines handed on to them from the Apostles.

In The Dialogue with Tryhpo, St. Justin Martyr says:

These are the words of Isaiah concerning the millennium: “For there shall be a new heaven and a new earth, and the former shall not be remembered…but they shall be glad and rejoice in these things, which I create. For, behold, I make Jerusalem a rejoicing, and my people a joy; and I shall rejoice over Jerusalem, and be glad over My people. And the voice of weeping shall no more be heard in her, nor the voice of crying. There shall no more be an infant of days there, nor an old man that shall not fill up his days; for the child shall die a hundred years old…And they shall build houses and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruits of them, and drink the wine…For as the days of the tree of life, so shall be the days of My people, and the works of their hands shall be multiplied. My elect shall not labor in vain, nor bring forth children for a curse; for they shall be a righteous seed blessed by the Lord, and their posterity with them. And it shall come to pass that before they call, I will hear…Then the wolves and lambs shall feed together, and the lion shall eat like the ox, and the serpent shall eat earth like bread. They shall not hurt nor destroy on my holy mountain, saith the Lord…” (cf. Is. 65:17-25). Now…we understand that a period of one thousand years is indicated in symbolic language. When it was said of Adam that “in the day that he eateth of the tree, in that he shall die,” we knew he was not a thousand years old [Adam lived to be 963]. We also believe that the words, “The day of the Lord is a thousand years,” also led some to the same conclusion. Moreover, a man among us named John, one of Christ’s Apostles, received and foretold that the followers of Christ would dwell in Jerusalem for a thousand years, and that afterwards the universal and, in short, everlasting resurrection and judgement would take place. To this our Lord himself testified when He said: “They shall neither marry, nor be given in marriage, but shall be equal to the angels, being sons of God, that is of the resurrection.” [Note: Justin Martyr’s language following the word “afterwards” refers to the New Jerusalem, and not to the millennium.]

As St. Justin Martyr was born just one generation after the Apostles, his testimony, like that of Papias (the disciple of St. John), is significant for its orthodoxy and unmodified influence. This apostolic witness and doctrinal orthodoxy is further exemplified in the writings of St. Irenaeus. Irenaeus was schooled in his youth by St. Polycarp, the Apostolic Father who saw and listened to the Apostle John, and was later consecrated Bishop of Smyrna by St. John. The same truths pronounced by his predecessors come to light as he comments, in the Adversus Haereses, on Sacred Scripture:

So, the blessing foretold undoubtedly refers to the time of His Kingdom, when the just will rule on rising from the dead; when creation, reborn and freed from bondage, will yield an abundance of food of all kinds from the heaven’s dew and the fertility of the earth, just as the seniors recall. Those who saw John, the Lord’s disciple, [tell us] that they heard from him how the Lord taught and spoke about these times…Days will come when vines will grow each with ten thousand shoots, and on each shoot ten thousand branches, and on each branch ten thousand twigs…then thousand clusters…ten thousand grains…And other fruits and seeds, and grass…And all the animals who use the products of the soil will be at peace and in harmony with one another, completely at man’s beck and call.

Tertullian, in his treatise* Against Marcion *,comments on this coming Millennium, also called the temporal kingdom or, in more recent language, the Era of Peace:

We do confess that a kingdom is promised to us upon the earth, although before heaven, only in another state of existence; inasmuch as it will be after the resurrection for a thousand years in the divinely-built city of Jerusalem…We say that* this city has been provided by God for receiving the saints on their resurrection, and refreshing them with the abundance of all really spiritual blessings*, as a recompense for those which in the world we have either despised or lost…Of the heavenly kingdom this is the process. * After its thousand years are over, within which period is completed the resurrection of the saints, who rise sooner or later according to their deserts [merits], there will ensue the destruction of the world* and the conflagration of all things at the judgement: we shall then be changed in a moment into the substance of angels, even by the investiture of an incorruptible nature, and so be removed to that kingdom in Heaven [the New Jerusalem].

The Rapture in Protestant terms is the belief that before the Second Coming of Jesus, He will come and take the true Christians away before a 7 year tribulation period for those who will remain on earth (those Left Behind - which is the title of a book series and movie). It is based on VERY bad reading and understanding of the Bible. The Bible actually explicitly contradicts their interpretation.

The Rapture in Catholic terms relates to the Second Coming of Christ, when all Christians will be caught up on Judgment Day to meet Christ.

Maybe they get it from Paul

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

King James Version (KJV)

13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.

14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

15 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.

16 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:

17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

My mother is from a Southern Baptist family and my father from a Pentecostal family. In the circles I grew up in, this passage was the chief basis for their belief in the Rapture.

I wonder where Paul got that from? I don’t think I believe in the rapture.

Here is the Catholic teaching…and explains the differences:scripturecatholic.com/second_coming.html

Here is what a protetant minister says…and is in line with Catholic teaching…the-highway.com/rapture_Woodrow.html

Catholics - and most Protestants too - do believe in this event, however we believe it occurs during the second coming of Christ. Note in this passage that the Lord descends here. We don’t feel much need to name it The Rapture, because it happens at the same time as something much more important - the second coming. So we just say it’s part of the second coming.

The problem is if you think the Rapture occurs prior to the second coming. The notion of a “Rapture” today typically teaches it will occur several years before the Second Coming. However, this is problematic for two reasons:

  1. The Bible never treats the Rapture and Second Coming as separate events, years apart.

  2. The Bible never says Jesus will return twice.

I challenge any believer in a pre-tribulation rapture to show me a bible passage indicating either of those things.

Repentance is possible up to the Christ comming. Without the Church on earth there can be no repentance because there is nobody to baptize and to guide them…

I think you are :thumbsup:absolutely correct, Jen.
I grew up in the Methodist tradition & I never heard of such a thing as the “Rapture” until I was very nearly an adult, & then I heard it from other Protestant teachers, not in my own tradition.
It was a Baptist/Calvinist teaching that had no part in the thinking of anyone I knew of, until the hugely popular (& greatly sensationist) prophecy teaching that seemed to spring up during the '60s & '70s.

I believe what the Church teaches (as far as I understand it), which is that there is only one Second Coming, and that Jesus will deal with both the sheep and the goats in one go.

(Of course, if I am misunderstanding what the Church teaches, I am happy to be corrected.)


Obviiously, I know a:o lot less than you all do about Catholic teaching on this subject, but in other discussions of this topic, I have rediscovered a very familiar thought: That if we look to the teaching of Jesus Christ, we find that He did not teach a “Rapture”.
I also know that the original source of this strain of thought arose from the ecstatic utterances of a teenager in Scotland or England in the late 18th and/or early 19th Century. (This alone makes me suspicious. If all those teachers & preachers & scholars for all the centuries before never came up with this, why were people listening to a young woman with** no training in Scripture whatsoever**??:shrug:).

yes it doesn’t make sense, one has seven years to repent, well if one sees everyone around him lifted into the clouds with Jesus, who would not repent.


Whenever anyone brings up the rapture (always a non-Catholic), I’m reminded of this video:

RD25 - Catholic vs. Protestant

To my “knowledge” no one but Jews can or will repent during the seven years because God is torturing the non beleivers prior to throwing them into Hell.
There is also some who hold to the idea that many would repent during the seven years.
I do agree with you Luvtosew who wouldn’t repent,

The devil’s strategy could be to make the world believe that those caught up in the rapture
were abducted by aliens.
I also believe that the thousand years is a real event where Jesus reigns from Jerusalem with a rod of iron this time. Isaiah prophecies on this "where the lion lies down with the lamb and a man one hundred years old is considered young.
At the end of the 1000 years reign a new heaven and earth is created after the final rebellion
of mankind against The Lord. When the rapture will happen nobody knows except God.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
16 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:

17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

The End

Premillennialists use the passage to support the rapture and the second coming 7 years later. Anyone who claims that the passage doesn’t clearly say that we who are alive being caught up and Christ’s second coming are a simultaneous event are surely faining illiteracy.

See Your spiritual health may be at risk


By Kevin Hilferty

at jloughnan/tripod.com/rapture.htm


The modern flight into the irrational


By Francis Leicester

at jloughnan.tripod.com/risesects.htm

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