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Christopher Bowen wrote:

Mike,

God bless you, and thank you for all you do to share the beauty of the Catholic faith.

I have just one comment, and a small correction, regarding your explanation of Jesus' final return, and the rapture of the faithful.

In your Holy Quotes "Holy Scriptures Verse-Finder for Catholic Doctrines" explanation, on Thursday, February 28, (which was excellent by the way), you write:

"At Christ's Second Coming, living Christians will be raptured (caught up to join in Christ's triumphant procession, the dead will be resurrected, and all shall be judged at the final judgment."

According to 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17:

15 For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel's call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first; 17 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.

So, according to the Scriptures, the dead will rise first and then we, who are left, will join with them in the clouds to meet the Lord. I think it is this one small, overlooked fact that proves how unbiblical the modern rapture theory is.

Anyway, I appreciate the daily e-mails and I will send more financial support when I am able.

God bless you,

Christopher

  { I have a correction regarding your comment of Jesus' final return, and the rapture of the faithful. }

Mike replied:

Hi Chris,

Thank-you for the very kind words. They are appreciated.

That quote you signed up for was taken from my Scripture Passages page:

http://www.AskACatholic.com/ScripturePassages

I'm not an expert on the Rapture, but I believe we would all agree with your conclusion:

So, according to the Scriptures, the dead will rise first and then we, who are left, will join with them in the clouds to meet the Lord. I think it is this one small, overlooked fact that proves how unbiblical the modern rapture theory is.

For other readers of this web posting, this is what Chris was commenting on:

Catholic beliefs and practices: The Second Coming of Jesus

Catholic Note:

A common misconception about the end times is the secret Rapture theory, popularized by the 1909 Schofield Study Bible and the more recent Left Behind books. According to this theory, Jesus will return secretly and invisibly to snatch away (rapture) all true Christians from the earth into Heaven. This will allow them to escape a vicious 7-year persecution, known as the Tribulation, when the Devil will take control of the world through his human puppet, the Antichrist. After the Tribulation, Jesus will visibly return again to destroy Satan's kingdom and reign on earth for 1000 years (the Millennium).

The Church has rejected this notion of a literal 1000-year earthly reign of Christ (See CCC 676). The 1000-year reign mentioned in Revelation 20:1-10 is usually interpreted as referring to the long period between Christ's First and Second Comings, when Jesus reigns imperfectly through his kingdom on earth, the Church.

The Catholic and scriptural view is quite different from the secret rapture: there will be a Tribulation and the rise of the Antichrist. However, true Christians will not escape this persecution. Jesus will return once and visibly, gloriously triumphing over evil and bringing an end to history. At Christ's Second Coming, living Christians will be raptured (caught up to join in Christ's triumphant procession), the dead will be resurrected, and all shall be judged at the final judgment.

Thanks again for the kind words.

Mike

John replied:

Hi, Chris —

Mike has done a pretty good job, however his information on the history of modern rapture theory is not exactly correct.

It actually dates back to a systematic theology known as Dispensationalism which was concocted by John Nelson Darby around 1830. Darby divides history in to ages which he calls dispensations. During these dispensations God deals differently with man.

Now it is true that throughout Salvation History we see that God reveals Himself progressively — He establishes covenants and gives laws. For instance to Adam and Eve, He only gave two commands:

  1. Be fruitful and multiply, and
  2. Don't eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

Later with Noah, God gives some other laws. Further covenants were made with Abraham, Moses, and David.

The problem with Darby's theology is that it implies that Salvation works differently in these dispensations, so we now get to a rapture. According to Darby, the dispensation for Israel was interrupted by the dispensation for the Church. So when the Church dispensation is over, the Church will be raptured, and God can resume dealing with Israel.

Now there is some truth to this. In Romans 9, 10, and 11 St. Paul talks about this. He mentions that when the day of the Gentiles is fulfilled, Israel will accept the Lord Jesus as Messiah and even the Catholic Catechism says that the Lord's return is suspended in time until the Jews come to Him. (CCC 674)

That said, no where does it say that in order for that to happen, the Church must be removed. Darby and his followers, like Schofield, invent various elaborate time lines based on his interpretation of Revelation and a seven-year missing period from Daniel.

In these scenarios the Temple is rebuilt so that the Biblical practice of Judaism can be reinstated. Actually, he means the Religion of the Israelites because the Jews aren't all of Israel. There is the tribe of Judah and there are eleven other tribes that were scattered hundreds of years before Christ by the Assyrians. So according to Dispensationalists, these other eleven tribes are found and return to Israel. The Temple is rebuilt where eventually the Anti-Christ eventually will declare himself God.

  • Now could some of these things happen?

It's possible. Scripture is unclear. We know much of Revelation was fulfilled in 70 A.D. and the book is primarily liturgical and not prophetic. Nevertheless the Rapture of the Church, prior to this happening is taught nowhere in the Scriptures.

John

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