Jan Luyken's three-part illustration of the rapture described in Matthew 24, verse 40, from the 1795 Bowyer Bible
- Prewrath Rapture
- Posttribulation Rapture
- Synoptic Gospels
- Olivet Discourse
- Sheep and Goats
- Book of Revelation
- Book of Daniel
- 2 Esdras (Apocrypha)
- Abomination of desolation
- The Beast
- Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
- New Jerusalem
- Kingdom of God
- Lake of fire
- Last Judgment
- Man of sin
- Resurrection of the dead
- Second Coming
- Seven bowls
- Seven seals
- Son of perdition
- Great Tribulation
- Two witnesses
- War in Heaven
- Whore of Babylon
- World to come
The Rapture is an eschatological term used by certain Christians, particularly within branches of American Evangelicalism, referring to a purported end time event when all elect Christian believers—living and resurrected dead— will rise into the sky and join Christ for eternity. Some adherents believe this event is predicted and described in Paul's First Epistle to the Thessalonians in the Bible, where he uses the Greek "harpazo" (ἁρπάζω), meaning to snatch away or seize. Though it has been used differently in the past, the term is now often used by certain believers to distinguish this particular event from the "Second Coming" of Jesus Christ to Earth mentioned in Second Thessalonians, Gospel of Matthew, First Corinthians, and Revelation, usually viewing it as preceding the Second Coming and followed by a thousand year millennial kingdom. Adherents of this perspective are sometimes referred to as premillenialist dispensationalists, but amongst them there are differing viewpoints about the exact timing of the purported event.
The term "rapture" is especially useful in discussing or disputing the exact timing or the scope of the event, particularly when asserting the "pre-tribulation" view that the rapture will occur before, not during, the Second Coming, with or without an extended Tribulation period. The term is most frequently used among Christian theologians and fundamentalist Christians in the United States of America Other, older uses of "rapture" were simply as a term for any mystical union with God or for eternal life in Heaven with God.
There are differing views among Christians regarding the timing of Christ's return, such as whether it will occur in one event or two, and the meaning of the aerial gathering described in 1 Thessalonians 4. Many Christians do not subscribe rapture-oriented theological views. Though the term "rapture" is derived from the text of the Latin Vulgate of 1 Thess. 4:17—"we will be caught up", [Latin: rapiemur]), Catholics, like Eastern Orthodox, Anglicans, and Lutherans, and most Reformed Christians do not generally use "rapture" as a specific theological term, nor do any of these bodies subscribe to the premillennialist dispensationalist theological views associated with its use, but do believe in the phenomenon—primarily in the sense of the elect's gathering with Christ in Heaven after his Second Coming. These denominations do not believe that a group of people is left behind on earth for an extended Tribulation period after the events of 1 Thessalonians 4:17.
Pre-tribulation rapture theology originated in the eighteenth century, with the Puritan preachers Increase and Cotton Mather, and was popularized extensively in the 1830s by John Nelson Darby and the Plymouth Brethren, and further in the United States by the wide circulation of the Scofield Reference Bible in the early 20th century. Some, including Grant Jeffrey, maintain that an earlier document called Ephraem or Pseudo-Ephraem already supported a pre-tribulation rapture.
- ^ McKim, Donald K (2014-04-09). The Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms, Second Edition: Revised and Expanded. Presbyterian Publishing Corporation. pp. 261–. ISBN 9781611643862. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
- ^ Chopra, editor, Ramesh (2005). Encyclopaedic dictionary of religion: Q-Z. Delhi: Isha Books. p. 638. ISBN 81-8205-203-3. Retrieved 6 April 2015.
- ^ 1 Thessalonians 4:17
- ^ Hays, J. Daniel; Duvall, J. Scott; Pate, C. Marvin (2009-05-26). Dictionary of Biblical Prophecy and End Times. Zondervan. pp. 692–. ISBN 9780310571049. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
- ^ Mills, Watson E.; Bullard, Roger Aubrey (1990). Mercer Dictionary of the Bible. Mercer University Press. pp. 736–. ISBN 9780865543737. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
- ^ Cf. Michael D. Guinan, "Raptured or Not? A Catholic Understanding", Catholic Update, October 2005, https://web.archive.org/web/20140404105238/http://www.americancatholic.org/Newsletters/CU/ac1005.asp ("For many American fundamentalist Christians, the Rapture forms part of the scenario of events that will happen at the end of the world....[T]he more common view is [the pre-tribulation view].") (emphasis added); (American Anglican commentary), Comment of Jon Edwards ("[T]he word 'rapture' can be found before 1830. But before 1830 it always referred to a POST-TRIB rapture....").
- ^ Michael D. Guinan, "Raptured or Not? A Catholic Understanding", Catholic Update, October 2005, https://web.archive.org/web/20140404105238/http://www.americancatholic.org/Newsletters/CU/ac1005.asp (According to Guinan, the word "rapture" is used in different ways: "Spiritual writers have used it for mystical union with God, or our final sharing in God’s heavenly life". However, for many American fundamentalist Christians, "the Rapture forms part of the scenario of events that will happen at the end of the world....[T]he more common view is [the pre-tribulation view]".) "It was over 30 years ago that a student in my Scripture class asked me that question. Drawing on all my years of Catholic education (kindergarten through the seminary and doctoral studies), I replied, 'The what?' I had never heard of it.").Michael D. Guinan, "Raptured or Not? A Catholic Understanding", Catholic Update, October 2005.
- ^ Michael D. Guinan, "Raptured or Not? A Catholic Understanding", Catholic Update, October 2005, https://web.archive.org/web/20140404105238/http://www.americancatholic.org/Newsletters/CU/ac1005.asp . Cf. "Catechism of the Catholic Church - The Profession of Faith". Vatican.va. Retrieved 2011-10-21.
- ^ Anthony M. Coniaris, "The Rapture: Why the Orthodox don't preach it," Light & Life Publishing, Life Line, September 12, 2005, Volume 2, Issue 3, available at https://web.archive.org/web/20121109035607/http://www.light-n-life.com/newsletters/09-12-2005.htm accessed January 27, 2012.
- ^ Brian M. Schwertley, "Is the Pretribulation Rapture Biblical?", Reformed Online, https://web.archive.org/web/20130311041013/http://reformedonline.com/view/reformedonline/rapture.htm, last accessed January 27, 2012.
- ^ See notes above for specific denominations (Catechism - Catholic, Light & Life Newsletter - Orthodox, Lutheran Witness - Lutheran, Reformed Online - Reformed).
- ^ Cf. Ian S. Markham, "John Darby", The Student's Companion to the Theologians, p.263-64 (Wiley-Blackwell, 2013) ("[Darby] simultaneously created a theology that holds the popular imagination and was popularized very effectively in the margins of the Schofield Bible."), https://books.google.com/books?id=h6SHSAjeCrYC .
- ^ Carl E. Olson, "Five Myths About the Rapture," Crisis p. 28-33 (Morley Publishing Group, 2003) ("LaHaye declares, in Rapture Under Attack, that “virtually all Christians who take the Bible literally expect to be raptured before the Lord comes in power to this earth.” This would have been news to Christians — both Catholic and Protestant — living prior to the 18th century, since the concept of a pretribulation rapture was unheard of prior to that time. Vague notions had been considered by the Puritan preachers Increase (1639-1723) and Cotton Mather (1663-1728), and the late 18th-century Baptist minister Morgan Edwards, but it was John Nelson Darby who solidified the belief in the 1830s and placed it into a larger theological framework."). Reprinted at http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=5788 .
- ^ Blaising, Craig A.; Bock, Darrell L. (November 1993). Progressive Dispensationalism. Wheaton, IL: Bridgepoint Books. ISBN 9781441205124.
- ^ The Scofield Bible: Its History and Impact on the Evangelical Church, Magnum & Sweetnam. Pages 188-195, 218.
- ^ Ephraem the Syrian, JoshuaNet, 27 Jul. 2010. http://joshuanet.org/articles/ephraem1.htm & © 1995 Grant R. Jeffrey, Final Warning, published by Frontier Research Publications, Inc., Box 120, Station "U", Toronto, Ontario M8Z 5M4