"Everyone who belongs to the Truth hears my voice…" (John 18:37)

What is “the rapture”? Will some Christians be taken up to heaven before the end of the world?

rapturebomb2Q. What is “the rapture”? Will some Christians be taken up to heaven before the end of the world?

A. Sometimes the difference between Catholics and other Christian denominations is just a matter of semantics.  However, that is not the case with this question – our beliefs and teachings are, in fact, very different.  Belief in the rapture is not new and, though many variations of this idea have been taught, all stem from essentially one verse from the New Testament.  This passage from 1 Thessalonians has given the greatest cause for believing in this supposed future event: “Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord for ever” (1 Thess 4:17). The word “rapture” itself comes from the Latin rapiemur – the word used by St. Jerome in the Latin Vulgate translation, meaning “to be caught up” or “taken up.”

Over the centuries, this passage has been interpreted literally to suggest a different experience than the Resurrection of the body at the final judgment, which we await in faith.  Though no one can seem to agree when or exactly how this event will take place, many fundamentalist and evangelical Christians believe that prior to the end of the world, “righteous Christians” are going to be spared the calamitous end and be whisked up into the sky with Jesus. The Catholic Church definitely rejects such a position by maintaining that the only route to a glorious end is by faithful passage through whatever tribulation awaits us (cf. CCC #677). We will one day be gathered together to be with Christ, but not as a special reward for good behaviour and bypassing end times.  Rather, after all have been restored to the newness of life in their resurrected body at the end of time, those who are deemed worthy will “be taken up with the Lord” to the glory of heavenly paradise.  For a more thorough explanation, check out this link .