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John Akin wrote:

Hi guys,

  • Is there any basis for belief in the Protestant teaching on the rapture?

    • If so, what is the basis?
    • If not, how do the Sola Scriptura churches justify it?

John Akin

  { Is there any basis for belief in the Protestant rapture and, if not, how do they justify their belief? }

Eric replied:

Hi John,

This is rooted in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17:

16 "For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever."

The word rapture comes from the Latin rapturus which is the Vulgate translation here rendered caught up. Indeed, it is true that there will come a time when living believers in Christ will be taken up into clouds.

What Protestants miss is that this coincides with the Second Coming ("For the Lord himself will come down from heaven . . . and the dead in Christ will rise first").

They appeal to various prophecies in Daniel and Revelation to justify the idea that there will be a period of time between this event and the end of the world, but fundamentally, this happens at the end of time.

For more information you might check out <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rapture>.

Eric

John replied:

Hi John,

Just to add to what Eric has said.

There are various views within Protestantism on the rapture.

  • Some believe that it will happen before a 7-year period of tribulation
  • Others believe it happens during the 7-year period of tribulation
  • Some believe it will happen at the end.

    Most all believe that this tribulation will be followed by a 1,000 period (which they extract from Revelation) in which Christ rules the earth from Jerusalem. At the end of that period, there will supposedly be another battle with Satan and then comes the final Judgment.

The fact is: they have so many theories that you can't pin it down.

The Church rejects the idea of a future millennium. When Christ returns that is it. It's all over; there is a final judgment. The 1,000-year period discussed in Revelation is most likely figurative speech for the Church Age.

Some (a clear minority of) Catholic Scholars believe that it does not refer to a future or present time period, rather, they believe it refers to the period in Israel's history, prior to Christ's first coming.

As Eric said, as Catholic's we do believe in a rapture, although we don't often call it that. We certainly don't believe that the Church will be taken out of the world prior to the Anti-Christ or the last Tribulation. Even the year period is on shaky ground. In many ways, that period described in Revelation and Daniel parallels what happened in the 7 years prior to destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D., so much of that prophecy may have been fulfilled.

Nevertheless, we do believe those Christians who are still alive when Christ returns will be transformed by the Cloud of His Glory at the resurrection of the dead.

John

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