The rapture is a 19th Century invention of a Scottish visionary who misinterpreted several verses from the Bible, esp 1 Thes 4:17, which is the most quoted verse by rapture supporters. This is the verse where the word "rapture" comes from. It reads:
"Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together* with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Thus we shall always be with the Lord."The problem is that St. Paul was talking about the end of the world, which is evident from the context of the rest of the epistle.
Until the 1800s all Christians believed that Christ would not appear again until the end of the world, when Christ would "take up" all the saved left on earth. But, based on a new interpretation of the Bible - taught by a fundamentalist Christian named John Nelson Darby - the teaching of a rapture before the end of the world became more popular, esp. after the publishing of the Scofield Reference Bible, which helped get the teaching out. They taught that Jesus will come secretly and take up all the "saved" into heaven with Him at some time in the future. Those who were not part of the "elect", would be left to suffer on earth.
This belief has become popular in certain Protestant circles (though most Protestants still do not teach rapture theory). Therefore, we get the story of the preachers who try to predict the rapture. But, the rapture is not logical or Biblical and if there is any sort of rapture - you don't want to be taken up.
A good bit of this rapture theory comes from the following verses from Matthew 24:
"Two men will be out in the field; one will be taken, and one will be left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken, and one will be left." - Matt 24: 40-41It seems that this fully supports a secret coming of Jesus where He will take the saved, if you read the verse out of context. But, if you read it in the context of the entire chapter, we see it says nothing close.
First of all there is nothing secret about this coming of Christ:
"And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming upon the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a trumpet blast, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other." - Matt 24: 30-31No secrets there. Not with being able to see and hear His coming.
Furthermore, Christ makes a direct reference to other times people have been saved from death. In this chapter, Noah is directly mentioned, directly before the supposed "rapture verses" appear:
"For as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. In (those) days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day that Noah entered the ark. They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away. So will it be (also) at the coming of the Son of Man." - Matt 24: 37-39Notice that in the Old Testament anybody who was taken out of the world ("raptured") was wicked and damned. The saved are left on the earth. The same is true for Sodom and Gomorrah.
This is exactly what is happening in this passage here and if we aren't all taken at the same time to be judged, then we can assume from the evidence that the wicked will be taken first, to be judged appropriately.
In other words, based on the biblical evidence, when read in context, you don't want to be raptured!!!
Finally, these verses tell us to avoid the people who would ever try to put a timetable on the coming of the Lord. In fact, the warning appears multiple times in this chapter:
- "Jesus said to them in reply, "See that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, saying, 'I am the Messiah,' and they will deceive many."
- verses 4-5
- "If anyone says to you then, 'Look, here is the Messiah!' or, 'There he is!' do not believe it. False messiahs and false prophets will arise, and they will perform signs and wonders so great as to deceive, if that were possible, even the elect. Behold, I have told it to you beforehand. So if they say to you, 'He is in the desert,' do not go out there; if they say, 'He is in the inner rooms,' do not believe it."
- verses 23-26
- "But of that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone."
- Verse 36
- "Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come."
- Verses 42-44
- "the servant's master will come on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour"
- verse 50
**The Rapture and the Catholic Church
**Catholic Answers on the Rapture.
**Raptured or Not?