Friday August 14th 2020

What Do Catholics Believe About the Rapture?


Misconception: Catholics will be “left behind” when Jesus comes in the Rapture.

True Catholic Teaching: The Catholic Church believes that the world will undergo a final trial and that an Anti-Christ will appear before Christ returns in His Second Coming (Article 7, Catechism of the Catholic Church). During this second coming Christ will gather all people to Him and separate those going to heaven from those being sent to hell (Matthew 25:31-46). The Catholic Church does not believe in a “Rapture” where some will be taken and some will be left behind.
An area of Catholic theology that is often misunderstood by non-Catholics and Catholics alike is that of the end times and the rapture. The concepts of the end of the world and death are very dramatized and in many ways mysterious in our current society. Because of this, much fiction has been mixed in with truth, blurring the lines between what has been revealed in scripture, and what are simply fanatical ideas.

When many people, Protestant and Catholic alike, think of the end times, they automatically think of the rapture, a type of “Left Behind” event. In this event, those who are right with God are mysteriously taken up into heaven, and those who are living in sin, remain on Earth during a time of tribulation and chaos. The Catholic teaching on the end times however, does not support this type of event.

The word “rapture” comes from the Latin word meaning “to be caught up” or “taken up”. This refers to the passage in St. Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians 4:17 which states, “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.” The Catholic understanding of this passage is that those believers who are alive during Christ’s second coming will not experience death, but rather, will be gloriously transformed and join the saints already with Christ. Nowhere in 1 Thessalonians does St. Paul teach a secret coming of Christ. Furthermore, St. Paul states that Christ’s coming will be announced by the cry of an archangel and by a trumpet blast. St. Paul is describing the resurrection of the dead that will take place at Christ’s second coming. It appears, when reading 1 Thessalonians that Christians at the time were worried that those who died before Christ’s second coming would not share in His triumphant return. Paul assures them that when the time comes, they will join the resurrected to meet the Lord and will share in Christ’s triumphant descent from heaven to earth.

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50 Responses to “What Do Catholics Believe About the Rapture?”

  1. Maryann D. says:

    Thank you for your clear and concise answer on this subject. Your answer is the clearest answer that I have read do far. It is an important subject to me because my husband and I are both converts to Catholicism. My husband was raised Presbyterian, and I was raised Assembly of God. We both take our Catholicism very seriously. “No”, we don’t wear hair shirts of live in a cave, but we have relatives, friends, and associates that we want to tell of our of beliefs!

  2. Linda says:

    I was watching The Left behind today, and wanted answers about the rapture. I wanted an answer my heart could believe and this article came up. This is how I’ve always believed would happen and dreamed, and my heart feels fulfilled reading this.
    I keep forgetting that what is inside you is true, and everything around you can make you confused.
    Thanks =)

  3. jacob says:

    The rapture is very real,, why does it say in Mathew– one will be taken and the other left? Also, the parable of the virgins in Mathew 25 shows that Christians will go be with the Lord till the tribulation is over. Luke 21:36– pray to Jesus that you are worthy to escape these things(God’s wrath which is the tribulation when the antichrist will reign on earth)

  4. Sean says:

    We Catholics so not believe in “rapture”, because the idea rapture was created by Nelson Darby in 1700+. It was never mention in the catholic bible or even king james version, which is why most mainstream christian like; Anglicans, Lutherans, Methodist and Presbyterians don’t believe in rapture.
    However, the Catholic Church instead believe in “Ressurection”, which is mentioned in the bible since 399AD, when St. Jerome translated (from Greek to Latin), and compiled the books canon by Pope St. Damacus.

  5. Maria says:

    Catholics know that the bestselling “Left Behind” books and movies have grossly perverted Catholicism’s biblical “rapture” doctrine – the only “rapture” view before 1830.
    The 2000-year-old Catholic “rapture” (the “caught up” in I Thess. 4:17) occurs AFTER the final “tribulation” (post-tribulation) while the 185-year-old evangelical Protestant “rapture” supposedly occurs BEFORE it (pre-tribulation) and is said to be “imminent.”
    All Catholics should read journalist Dave MacPherson’s “The Rapture Plot” (available by calling 800.643.4645) – the most accurate documentation on the history of the pretrib rapture which began in British cultic circles in 1830. By twisting Scripture, this new doctrine gave folks the (false) hope of being evacuated from earth before the chaos found in the book of Revelation.
    “The Rapture Plot” reveals, for the first time, how a Plymouth Brethren historian, after John Darby’s death, secretly and dishonestly changed the earliest “rapture” writings of the Irvingites (the first group publicly teaching a pretrib rapture) so that he could wrongfully credit P.B. leader Darby with “dispensationalism” as well as with that rapture view! (Some still view Darby as the “father of dispensationalism” even though MacPherson’s book amply proves that Darby wasn’t first or original with any crucial aspect of that system but subtly plagiarized others!)
    The leading pretrib rapture merchandisers (Scofield, Lindsey, LaHaye etc.) are openly anti-Catholic and believe that the Antichrist during the coming tribulation will be headquartered in Rome (and you can guess where!).
    For more shocks Google “Catholics Did NOT Invent the Rapture,” “The Real Manuel Lacunza,” “Pseudo-Ephraem Taught Pretrib – NOT!,” “John Darby Did NOT Invent the Rapture,” “Margaret Macdonald’s Rapture Chart” (she originated the pretrib rapture!), “Edward Irving is Unnerving,” “Famous Rapture Watchers,” “Evangelicals Use Occult Deception,” “Pretrib Hypocrisy,” and “Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty.”

  6. Paul says:

    @Sean….Catholic Bible? I always believed by reading Scripture that their is only one Bible, the Bible of God TRUE Words written by the men through the Power of the Holy Spirit. Maybe that is why Catholics don’t know the truth. Lack in truth. very few Catholics read the Bible to even understand its true meaning. Priest lack the ability to preach the Gospel during Homily or know its meaning of the Scripture they just read, instead they will speak about something that has nothing to do with Scripture or God’s Words. The Rapture is true, maybe Catholics and Priest should try reading the Gospel and not just a verse….read the Book of Revelation… the main book in the Bible… the one where God says ” Blessed are those who read out loud the word of the Prophecy, and blessed are those who hear and keep what is written in it; for the time is near.” Not only does Paul mention the rapture, but GOD through John speaks about the rapture. You say Sean Darby created the rapture, but the truth is he had a vision… the same way Catholics believe 3 kids saw a vision of the Virgin Mary, not to mention others who claim to have seen a vision of Mary… You can’t discredit one vision of a non-Catholic and then expect that the Catholic’s vision are true. That’s sounds like a hypocrite Catholic. Bible also states that you should test an angel(visions)to see if they are from God or Satan, yet the visions of the Virgin Mary were never tested but only questions if she was the Mother of Jesus and then accepted as truth. Even the devil knows the Bible, since he is a fallen Archangel and once a member of God’s court alongside of Michael the Archangel.

    Read the Bible and ask the Holy Spirit for guidance, as stated before Priest know very little of Scripture, they are drilled more into Catholicism and Canon Laws. And this is coming from a former Catholic who found the TRUTH in the Bible through the power of the Holy Spirit. Once I was unwise, but know Christ has granted me the wisdom of his words and ability to teach the truth. I do not need to confess to a man but only as God for forgiveness of my sin in order to gain his merit of GRACE and SALVATION! Read the Bible and you will be amazed at the truth verses Canon Laws!

  7. joy says:

    Read 7 church ages by William Marrion Branham

  8. tammy says:

    Jacob…i thank you for given an answer that shows faith in the word. If you look up how many verses on the bible that speak about rapture. it is repeated over and over in detail more than 50 times. The idea existed before Nelson Darby. I grew up catholic and it created my foundation but I could never get answers to questions. Not until I learned to trust in the word. Some of you answer as if we should believe some things that are written and others not so literal. If it was not his word then it is not his will and he wouldn’t have it written in this holy book. The bible clearly states that those who are his, in his sight and warns you to be prepared and promises there is a way to escape tribulation with the rapture of his church. It also says clearly that the tribulation cannot take place until the church is out of the way by his deliverance of his church to meet him in the sky when the first trumpet blows. That is the only way Satan gets control over the world for those 7 years. If you are seeking truth research every verse in bible that speaks of rapture and none are conflicting. Once you read them all pray on it. If it seems too unbelievable out is because you are making God limited and smaller than his own words. Can you also point out one single truth in his word that has not come true? I challenge anyone to point out one promise or prophecy that he had not fulfilled just as he said…. And then try to convince yourself that this one prophetic promise is not going to happen.

  9. Cara says:

    @Paul. I can tell you are not a Catholic. People should look into a faith before they start ridiculing it.

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