Ever hear of the “rapture”? Basically, it’s a misguided theology, fairly recent (1830-ish), that teaches that Jesus will secretly return to rescue His true followers from the earth prior to the period of tribulation predicted in the Bible. It is not historical Christianity. In spite of its surprising popularity, it is also not Biblical. Let's consider a couple of verses often quoted to support it.
1 Cor. 15:51-52 “…we will all be changed, in an instant, in the blink of an eye.” and 1 Thess 4:15-17 “…we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord … will be caught up … to meet the Lord in the air.” Careful reading indicates that this event is accompanied by the sound of the last trumpet and the rising of the dead made incorruptible. Along with those still alive whose bodies will be changed “in an instant” from mortal to immortal, these verses outline the traditional teaching of the end of the world and the resurrection. It’s not a secret event, and no one is rescued early or left behind. In fact, the Bible says quite the opposite.
Look at 2 Thess. 2:1-3 “Let no one deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the apostasy comes first and the lawless one is revealed.” Clearly the tribulation comes before the return of Jesus. Also, read the parable of the wheat and the weeds in Matt. 13:24-30 and 36-43 and heed the words of Jesus that the faithful and the unfaithful will exist together until the end of the world. The parable of the net in Matt. 13:47-50 concludes the same way.
Whenever new or unique theories such as the rapture are proposed, recall the words of St. Paul: “For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine, but following their own desires, will surround themselves with teachers who tickle their ears. They will stop listening to the truth and will wander off to fables” (2 Tim 4:3-4). Remain faithful to the sound doctrine and truth of the Catholic Church. Don’t wander off.
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