The rapture is an eschatological position held by some Christians, particularly those of American evangelicalism, consisting of an end-time event when all Christian believers who are alive, along with resurrected believers, will rise "in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air." The origin of the term extends from Paul the Apostle's First Epistle to the Thessalonians in the Bible, in which he uses the Greek word harpazo (Ancient Greek: ἁρπάζω), meaning "to snatch away" or "to seize," and explains that believers in Jesus Christ would be snatched away from earth into the air.
The idea of a rapture as it is currently defined is not found in historic Christianity, and is a relatively recent doctrine. The term is used frequently among fundamentalist theologians in the United States. Rapture has also been used for a mystical union with God or for eternal life in Heaven.
Differing viewpoints exist about the exact timing of the rapture and whether Christ's return would occur in one event or two. Pretribulationism distinguishes the rapture from the second coming of Jesus Christ mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew, 2 Thessalonians, and Revelation. This view holds that the rapture would precede the seven-year Tribulation, which would culminate in Christ's second coming and be followed by a thousand-year Messianic Kingdom. This theory grew out of the translations of the Bible that John Nelson Darby analyzed in 1833. Pretribulationism is the most widely held view among Christians believing in the rapture today, although this view is disputed within evangelicalism. Some assert a post-tribulational rapture.
Most Christian denominations do not subscribe to rapture theology and have a different interpretation of the aerial gathering described in 1 Thessalonians 4. Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Lutherans, Anglicans, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, the United Church of Christ, most Methodist and Reformed Christians, Unity Church, Latter-day Saints, etc. do not generally use rapture as a specific theological term, nor do they generally subscribe to the premillennial dispensational views associated with its use. Instead these groups typically interpret rapture in the sense of the elect gathering with Christ in Heaven after his second coming and reject the idea that a large segment of humanity will be left behind on earth for an extended tribulation period after the events of 1 Thessalonians 4:17.
The Koine Greek of 1 Thessalonians 4:17 uses the verb form ἁρπαγησόμεθα (harpagēsometha), which means "we shall be caught up" or "we shall be taken away". The dictionary form of this Greek verb is harpazō (ἁρπάζω). This use is also seen in such texts as Acts 8:39, 2 Corinthians 12:2–4, and Revelation 12:5. Linguist, Dr. Douglas Hamp, notes that Greek scholar Spiros Zodhiates lists harpagēsometha as the first-person plural future passive indicative of the Greek stem, harpagē (har-pag-ay), “the act of plundering, plunder, spoil.” The future passive indicative of harpázō (although not used by Paul in 1 Thess. 4:17) can be viewed at verbix.com: αρπασθησόμεθα (harpasthesometha). GS724 harpagē means: 1. the act of plundering, robbery; 2. plunder, spoil. When the rapture and the "restoration of all things" (Acts 3:20-21) are viewed as simultaneous events (according to Romans 8:19-21) then it makes sense why Paul would use "shall be plundered" to match the verbiage of the distortion of the Earth described in Isaiah 24:3, "The land shall be entirely emptied and utterly plundered...".
English Bible translations
English versions of the Bible have expressed the concept of the Latin term rapiemur in various ways:
- The Wycliffe Bible (1395), translated from the Latin Vulgate, uses "rushed".[b]
- The Tyndale New Testament (1525), the Bishop's Bible (1568), the Geneva Bible (1587) and the King James Version (1611) use "caught up".[c] This is carried over to the American Standard Version (1901) and the Revised Standard Version (1946, 1952).
- The online NET Bible (1995–2005) translates the Greek of 1 Thessalonians 4:17 using the phrase "suddenly caught up" with the footnote: "Or 'snatched up.' The Greek verb ἁρπάζω implies that the action is quick or forceful, so the translation supplied the adverb 'suddenly' to make this implicit notion clear."
The Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, the Lutheran Churches, the Anglican Communion, and Reformed denominations have no tradition of a preliminary return of Christ. The Eastern Orthodox Church, for example, favors amillennial or postmillennial interpretation of prophetic Scriptures and thus rejects a preliminary, premillennial return. Most Methodists do not adhere to the dispensationalist view of the rapture.
Fundamentalist Baptists, Bible churches, Brethren churches, certain Methodist denominations, Pentecostals, non-denominational evangelicals, and various other evangelical groups typically adhere to the pretribulational Rapture. As dispensationalism began to rise in America during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, pretribulationism became common among many Episcopalians, Congregationalists, and Presbyterians. Today, Episcopalians, Congregationalists, and Presbyterians rarely hold to pretribulationism.
- Those who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not precede those who are dead (1 Thessalonians 4:15)
- The dead in Christ will resurrect first (1 Thessalonians 4:16).
- The living and the resurrected dead will be caught up together in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:17).
- It occurs in the parousia: "those who are alive and remain unto the coming (παρουσία) of the Lord, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air" (1 Thessalonians 4:15–17, KJV).
- The meeting with the Lord will be permanent: "And so shall we ever be with the Lord" (1 Thessalonians 4:17, KJV).
One or two events
Most premillennialists distinguish the Rapture and the Second Coming as separate events. Some dispensational premillennialists (including many evangelicals) hold the return of Christ to be two distinct events (i.e., Christ's second coming in two stages). According to this view, 1 Thessalonians 4:15–17 is a description of a preliminary event to the return described in Matthew 24:29–31. Although both describe a coming of Jesus, these are seen to be different events. The first event is a coming where the saved are to be 'caught up,' whence the term "rapture" is taken. The second event is described as the second coming. The majority of dispensationalists hold that the first event precedes the period of tribulation, even if not immediately (see chart for additional dispensationalist timing views). Dispensationalists distinguish these events as a result of own literal understanding of Paul's words.
Amillennialists deny the interpretation of a literal thousand-year earthly rule of Christ. There is considerable overlap in the beliefs of amillennialists (including most Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Anglicans, and Lutherans), postmillennialists (including Presbyterians), and historic premillennialists (including some Calvinistic Baptists) with those who hold that the return of Christ will be a single, public event.
Dispensationalists see the immediate destination of the raptured Christians as being Heaven. Catholic commentators, such as Walter Drum (1912), identify the destination of the 1 Thessalonians 4:17 gathering as Heaven.
While Anglicans have many views, some Anglican commentators, such as N. T. Wright, identify the destination as a specific place on Earth. This interpretation may sometimes be connected to Christian environmentalist concerns.
Views of eschatological timing
There are numerous views regarding the timing of the Rapture. Some maintain that Matthew 24:37–40 refers to the Rapture, pointing out similarities between the two texts, indicating that the Rapture would occur at the parousia of the Lord. Others point out that neither church nor rapture occur in Matthew 24 and there are significant differences between Matthew 24:37–40 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18. As a result, these two texts receive the overwhelming focus within discussions about the Rapture's timing. The two texts are as follows:
|1 Thessalonians 4:15–17 ASV||Matthew 24:37–40 ASV|
|15According to the Lord's word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord (παρουσίαν, parousia), will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.||37And as were the days of Noah, so shall be the coming (παρουσία, parousia) of the Son of man. 38For as in those days which were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, 39and they knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall be the coming (παρουσία parousia) of the Son of man. 40Then shall two men be in the field; one is taken, and one is left.|
In the amillennial and postmillennial views there are no distinctions in the timing of the Rapture. These views regard that the Rapture, as it is described in 1 Thessalonians 4:15–17, would be identical to the Second Coming of Jesus as described in Matthew 24:29–31 after the spiritual/symbolic millennium.
In the premillennial view, the Rapture would be before a literal, earthly millennium. Within premillennialism, the pretribulation position distinguishes between the Rapture and the Second Coming as two different events. There are also other positions within premillennialism that differ with regard to the timing of the Rapture.
In the earliest days of the church, chiliastic teaching (i.e., early premillennialism) was the dominant view. Eusebius wrote, "To these [written accounts] belong his [Papias of Hierapolis] statement that there will be a period of some thousand years after the resurrection of the dead, and that the kingdom of Christ will be set up in the material form on this very earth. [...] But it was due to him that so many of the Church Fathers after him adopted a like opinion, urging in their own support the antiquity of the man; as for instance Irenaeus and anyone else that may have proclaimed similar views."
Schaff further confirms this by stating, "The most striking point in the eschatology of the ante-Nicene age is the prominent chiliasm, or millennarianism, that is the belief of a visible reign of Christ in glory on earth with the risen saints for a thousand years, before the general resurrection and judgment."
Over time, however, a clash surfaced between two schools of interpretation, the Antiochene and Alexandrian schools. The Alexandrian school's roots can be traced back to the influence of Philo, a Hellenized Jew who sought to reconcile God's veracity with what he thought were errors in the Tanakh. Alexandrian theologians viewed the Millennium as a symbolic reign of Christ from Heaven. Through the influence of Origen and Augustine—students of the Alexandrian school—allegorical interpretation rose to prominence, and its eschatology became the majority view for more than a thousand years. As a reaction to the rise of allegorical interpretation the Antiochene school insisted on a literal hermeneutic. but did little to counter the Alexandrian's symbolic Millennium.
In the twelfth century futurism became prominent again when Joachim of Fiore (1130–1202) wrote a commentary on Revelation and insisted that the end was near and taught that God would restore the earth, the Jews would be converted, and the Millennium would take place on earth. His teaching influenced much of Europe.
Though the Catholic Church does not generally regard Biblical prophecy in texts such as Daniel and Revelation as strictly future-based (when viewed from the standpoint of our present time), in 1590 Francisco Ribera, a Catholic Jesuit, taught futurism. He also taught that a gathering-of-the-elect event (similar to what is now called the rapture) would happen 45 days before the end of a 3.5-year tribulation.
The concept of the rapture, in connection with premillennialism, was expressed by the 17th-century American Puritans Increase and Cotton Mather. They held to the idea that believers would be caught up in the air, followed by judgments on earth, and then the millennium. Other 17th-century expressions of the rapture are found in the works of: Robert Maton, Nathaniel Holmes, John Browne, Thomas Vincent, Henry Danvers, and William Sherwin.
The term rapture was used by Philip Doddridge and John Gill in their New Testament commentaries, with the idea that believers would be caught up prior to judgment on earth and Jesus' second coming.
Although not using the term "rapture", the idea was more fully developed by Edward Irving (1792–1834). In 1825, Irving directed his attention to the study of prophecy and eventually accepted the one-man Antichrist idea of James Henthorn Todd, Samuel Roffey Maitland, Robert Bellarmine, and Francisco Ribera, yet he went a step further. Irving began to teach the idea of a two-phase return of Christ, the first phase being a secret rapture prior to the rise of the Antichrist. Edward Miller described Irving's teaching like this: "There are three gatherings: – First, of the first-fruits of the harvest, the wise virgins who follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth; next, the abundant harvest gathered afterwards by God; and lastly, the assembling of the wicked for punishment."
Pre-tribulational premillennialism traces its roots in the post-apostolic era as far back as The Shepherd of Hermas (ca. A.D. 140), which alludes to the idea that some believers in Christ will escape the tribulation. Other antecedents of pre-tribulational premillennialism can be found in The Apocalypse of Elijah, The Apocalypse of Pseudo-Ephraem, and The History of Brother Dolcino which present early, less refined forms of pre-tribulational premillennialism. Modern pre-tribulational premillennialism gained rise in the seventeenth century with the Puritan preachers Increase Mather and Cotton Mather. It was popularized extensively in the 1830s by John Nelson Darby and the Plymouth Brethren and was further promoted in the United States through the wide circulation of the Scofield Reference Bible in the early 20th century.
The pre-tribulation position advocates that the rapture will occur before the beginning of a seven-year tribulation period, while the second coming will occur at the end of it. Pre-tribulationists often describe the rapture as Jesus coming for the church and the second coming as Jesus coming with the church. Pre-tribulation educators and preachers include Jimmy Swaggart, Robert Jeffress, J. Dwight Pentecost, Tim LaHaye, J. Vernon McGee, Perry Stone, Chuck Smith, Hal Lindsey, Jack Van Impe, Chuck Missler, Grant Jeffrey, Thomas Ice, David Jeremiah, John F. MacArthur, and John Hagee. While many pre-tribulationists are also dispensationalists, not all pre-tribulationists are dispensationalists.
John Nelson Darby first proposed and popularized the pre-tribulation rapture in 1827. This view was accepted among many other Plymouth Brethren movements in England. Darby and other prominent Brethren were part of the Brethren movement which impacted American Christianity, especially with movements and teachings associated with Christian eschatology and fundamentalism, primarily through their writings. Influences included the Bible Conference Movement, starting in 1878 with the Niagara Bible Conference. These conferences, which were initially inclusive of historicist and futurist premillennialism, led to an increasing acceptance of futurist premillennial views and the pre-tribulation rapture especially among Presbyterian, Baptist, and Congregational members. Popular books also contributed to acceptance of the pre-tribulation rapture, including William E. Blackstone's book Jesus is Coming, published in 1878, which sold more than 1.3 million copies, and the Scofield Reference Bible, published in 1909 and 1919 and revised in 1967.
Some pre-tribulation proponents, such as Grant Jeffrey, maintain that the earliest known extra-Biblical reference to the pre-tribulation rapture is from a 7th-century tract known as the Apocalypse of Pseudo-Ephraem the Syrian. Different authors have proposed several different versions of the text as authentic and there are differing opinions as to whether it supports belief in a pre-tribulation rapture. One version of the text reads, "For all the saints and Elect of God are gathered, prior to the tribulation that is to come, and are taken to the Lord lest they see the confusion that is to overwhelm the world because of our sins." In addition, The Apocalypse of Elijah and The History of Brother Dolcino both state that believers will be removed prior to the Tribulation.
There exists at least one 18th-century and two 19th-century pre-tribulation references: in an essay published in 1788 in Philadelphia by the Baptist Morgan Edwards which articulated the concept of a pre-tribulation rapture, in the writings of Catholic priest Manuel Lacunza in 1812, and by John Nelson Darby in 1827. Manuel Lacunza (1731–1801), a Jesuit priest (under the pseudonym Juan Josafat Ben Ezra), wrote an apocalyptic work entitled La venida del Mesías en gloria y majestad (The Coming of the Messiah in Glory and Majesty). The book appeared first in 1811, 10 years after his death. In 1827, it was translated into English by the Scottish minister Edward Irving.
During the 1970s, belief in the rapture became popular in wider circles, in part because of the books of Hal Lindsey, including The Late Great Planet Earth, which has reportedly sold between 15 million and 35 million copies, and the movie A Thief in the Night, which based its title on the scriptural reference 1 Thessalonians 5:2. Lindsey proclaimed that the rapture was imminent, based on world conditions at the time.
In 1995, the doctrine of the pre-tribulation rapture was further popularized by Tim LaHaye's Left Behind series of books, which sold close to 80 million copies and was made into several movies and four real-time strategy video games.
The mid-tribulation position espouses that the rapture will occur at some point in the middle of what is popularly called the tribulation period, or during Daniel's 70th Week. The tribulation is typically divided into two periods of 3.5 years each. Mid-tribulationists hold that the saints will go through the first period (Beginning of Travail), but will be raptured into Heaven before the severe outpouring of God's wrath in the second half of what is popularly called the Great Tribulation. Mid-tribulationists appeal to Daniel 7:25 which says the saints will be given over to tribulation for "time, times, and half a time," – interpreted to mean 3.5 years. At the halfway point of the tribulation, the Antichrist will commit the "abomination of desolation" by desecrating the Jerusalem temple. Mid-tribulationist teachers include Harold Ockenga, James O. Buswell (a reformed, Calvinistic Presbyterian), and Norman Harrison. This position is a minority view among premillennialists.
The prewrath rapture view also places the rapture at some point during the tribulation period before the second coming. This view holds that the tribulation of the church begins toward the latter part of a seven-year period, being Daniel's 70th week, when the Antichrist is revealed in the temple. This latter half of a seven-year period [i.e. 3+1⁄2 years] is defined as the great tribulation, although the exact duration is not known. References from Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21 are used as evidence that this tribulation will be cut short by the coming of Christ to deliver the righteous by means of the rapture, which will occur after specific events in Revelation, in particular after the sixth seal is opened and the sun is darkened and the moon is turned to blood. However, by this point many Christians will have been slaughtered as martyrs by the Antichrist. After the rapture will come God's seventh-seal wrath of trumpets and bowls (a.k.a. "the Day of the Lord"). The Day of the Lord's wrath against the ungodly will follow for the remainder of seven years.
Partial pre-tribulation premillennialism
The partial, conditional or selective rapture theory holds that all obedient Christians will be raptured before the great tribulation depending on ones personal fellowship (or closeness) between she or he and God, which is not to be confused with the relationship between the same and God (which is believer, regardless of fellowship.)  Therefore, it is believed by some that the rapture of a believer is determined by the timing of his conversion before the great tribulation. Other proponents of this theory hold that only those who are faithful in their relationship with God (having true fellowship with him) will be raptured, and the rest resurrected during the great tribulation, between the 5th and 6th seals of Revelation, having lost their lives during. Still others hold the rest will either be raptured during the tribulation or at its end. As stated by Ira David (a proponent of this view): “The saints will be raptured in groups during the tribulation as they are prepared to go.” Some notable proponents of this theory are G. H. Lang, Robert Chapman, G. H. Pember, Robert Govett, D. M. Panton, Watchman Nee, Ira E. David, J. A. Seiss, Hudson Taylor, Anthony Norris Groves, John Wilkinson, G. Campbell Morgan, Otto Stockmayer and Rev. J. W. (Chip) White Jr.
In the post-tribulation premillennial position, the rapture would be identical to the second coming of Jesus or as a meeting in the air with Jesus that immediately precedes his return to the Earth before a literal millennium. The post-tribulation position places the rapture at the end of the tribulation period. Post-tribulation writers define the tribulation period in a generic sense as the entire present age, or in a specific sense of a period of time preceding the second coming of Christ. The emphasis in this view is that the church will undergo the tribulation. Matthew 24:29–31 – "Immediately after the Tribulation of those days...they shall gather together his elect..." – is cited as a foundational scripture for this view. Post-tribulationists perceive the rapture as occurring simultaneously with the second coming of Christ. Upon Jesus' return, believers will meet him in the air and will then accompany him in his return to the Earth. In the Epistles of Paul, most notably in 1 Thessalonians 4:16–17 ("the dead in Christ shall rise first") and 1 Corinthians 15:51–52, a trumpet is described as blowing at the end of the tribulation to herald the return of Christ; Revelation 11:15 further supports this view. Moreover, after chapters 6–19, and after 20:1–3 when Satan is bound, Revelation 20:4–6 says, "and they lived, and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection."
In the postmillennialist view the millennium is seen as an indefinitely long time thus precluding literal interpretation of a thousand-year period. According to Loraine Boettner "the world will be Christianized, and the return of Christ will occur at the close of a long period of righteousness and peace, commonly called the millennium." Postmillennialists commonly view the rapture of the Church as one and the same event as the second coming of Christ. According to them the great tribulation was already fulfilled in the Jewish-Roman War of 66–73 AD that involved the destruction of Jerusalem. Authors who have expressed support for this view include the Puritan author of Pilgrim's Progress, John Bunyan, Jonathan Edwards and Charles Finney.
Amillennialists view the millennial rule of Christ as the current, but indefinite period that began with the foundation of the church and that will end with the Second Coming—a period where Christ already reigns with his saints through the Eucharist and his church. They view the life of the church as Christ's kingdom already established (inaugurated on the day of the Pentecost described in the first chapter of Acts), but not to be made complete until his second coming. This framework precludes a literal interpretation of the thousand-year period mentioned in chapter twenty of Revelation, viewing the number "thousand" as numerologically symbolic and pertaining to the current age of the church. Amillennialists generally do not use "rapture" as a theological term, but they do view a similar event coinciding with the second coming—primarily as a mystical gathering with Christ. To amillennialists the final days already began on the day of the Pentecost, but that the great tribulation will occur during the final phase or conclusion of the millennium, with Christ then returning as the alpha and omega at the end of time. Unlike premillennialists who predict the millennium as a literal thousand-year reign by Christ after his return, amillennialists emphasize the continuity and permanency of his reign throughout all periods of the New Covenant, past, present and future. They do not regard mentions of Jerusalem in the chapter twenty-one of Revelation as pertaining to the present geographical city, but to a future new Jerusalem or "new heaven and new earth", for which the church through the twelve apostles (representing of the twelve tribes of Israel) currently lays the foundation in the messianic kingdom already present. Unlike certain premillennial dispensationalists, they do not view the rebuilding of the temple of Jerusalem as either necessary or legitimate, because the practice of animal sacrifices has now been fulfilled in the life of the church through Christ's ultimate sacrifice on the cross. Authors who have expressed support for the amillenialist view include St. Augustine. The amillennialist viewpoint is the position held by the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Anglican churches, as well as mainline Protestant bodies, such as Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians and many Reformed congregations.
Since the origin of the concept, some believers have made predictions regarding the date of the event. All have failed in their attempt to set a date.
Some predictions of the date of the Second Coming of Jesus (which may or may not refer to the rapture) include the following:
- 1843-44: William Miller predicted that Christ would return between 21 March 1843 and 21 March 1844, then revised his prediction, claiming to have miscalculated the Bible, to 22 October 1844. The realization that the predictions were incorrect resulted in the Great Disappointment. Miller's theology gave rise to the Advent movement. Followers of the Baháʼí Faith believe that Christ did return as Miller predicted in 1844, with the advent of the Báb, and numerous Miller-like prophetic predictions from many religions are given in William Sears' book, Thief in The Night.
- 1914, 1918, and 1925: Various dates predicted for the Second Coming of Jesus by the Jehovah's Witnesses.
Some predictions of the date of the rapture include the following:
- 1981: Chuck Smith predicted that Jesus would probably return by 1981.
- 1988: Edgar C. Whisenant published a book called "88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988".
- 1994 September 6: Radio evangelist Harold Camping predicted 6 September 1994.
- 2011 May 21: Harold Camping's revised prediction put 21 May 2011 as the date of the rapture. After this date passed without apparent incident, Camping made a radio broadcast stating that a non-visible "spiritual judgement" had indeed taken place, and that the physical rapture would occur on 21 October 2011. On that date, according to Camping, the "whole world will be destroyed."
- 2017 September 23: Christian numerologist David Meade motivated this date with astrological theories.
- Bible prophecy
- Eschatology of Jehovah's Witnesses
- Number of the beast
- Unfulfilled Christian religious predictions
- 1 Thessalonians 4:17: "deinde nos qui vivimus qui relinquimur simul rapiemur cum illis in nubibus obviam Domino in aera et sic semper cum Domino erimus" (Latin Vulgate).
- 1 Thessalonians 4:16: "Afterward we that lyuen, that ben left, schulen be rauyschid togidere with hem in cloudis, metinge Crist'in to the eir; and so euere more we schulen be with the Lord."
- Bishop's Bible 17 "Than we which lyue, which remaine, shalbe caught up together with them in the cloudes, to meete the Lorde in the ayre: And so shall we euer be with the Lorde."
- Benware, Paul N. (2006). Understanding End Times Prophecy: A Comprehensive Approach. Chicago: Moody. p. 208. ISBN 978-0-8024-9079-7.
- 1 Thessalonians 4:17
- 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.
- Hays, J. Daniel; Duvall, J. Scott; Pate, C. Marvin (2009). Dictionary of Biblical Prophecy and End Times. Zondervan. pp. 692–. ISBN 978-0310571049. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
- Mills, Watson E.; Bullard, Roger Aubrey (1990). Mercer Dictionary of the Bible. Mercer University Press. pp. 736–. ISBN 978-0865543737. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
- Ice, Thomas. "Myths of the Origin of Pretribulationism (Part 1)". Pre-Trib Research Center. Retrieved 6 December 2019.
- "Free Methodist, For Jesus' Sake". Stanwood Free Methodist Church. Retrieved 9 July 2022.
Like the early Methodists, the Free Methodist Church is non-dispensational. We reject the new theology born in the late 1800s that society can only get worse, and that Jesus must return to "rapture" His people from earth to heaven. Instead, Free Methodists pray and believe that by His Spirit, God's will shall indeed "be done on earth as it is in heaven" (Matthew 6:10 NRSV).
- 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 21 October 2011.
- Anthony M. Coniaris, "The Rapture: Why the Orthodox don't preach it," Light & Life Publishing, Life Line, 12 September 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 27 January 2012.
- "Where does the Rapture fit into UM beliefs?". The United Methodist Church.
- 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 27 January 2012.
- 1 Thessalonians 4:17
- See notes above for specific denominations (Catechism – Catholic, Light & Life Newsletter – Orthodox, Lutheran Witness – Lutheran, Reformed Online – Reformed).
-  c. 1600, "act of carrying off," from M.Fr. rapture, from M.L. raptura "seizure, rape, kidnapping," from L. raptus "a carrying off" (see rapt). Originally of women and cognate with rape.
- ἁρπάζω is root of strongs G726 and has the following meanings: (1) to seize, carry off by force; (2) to seize on, claim for one's self eagerly; (3) to snatch out or take away.
- Acts 8:39
- 2 Corinthians 12:2–4
- Revelation 12:5
- Zodhiates, Spiros (1992). The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament. Chattanooga: AMG Publishers. p. 256. ISBN 978-0899576633.
- "Greek, Ancient verb 'αρπάζω' conjugated". www.verbix.com. Retrieved 2022-09-10.
- "Strong's Greek: 724. ἁρπαγή (harpagé) -- pillage, plundering". biblehub.com. Retrieved 2022-09-10.
- "Bible Gateway passage: Acts 3:20-21 - New King James Version". Bible Gateway. Retrieved 2022-09-10.
- "Bible Gateway passage: Romans 8:19-21 - New King James Version". Bible Gateway. Retrieved 2022-09-10.
- "Bible Gateway passage: Isaiah 24:3 - New King James Version". Bible Gateway. Retrieved 2022-09-10.
- Hamp, Douglas (2017). Reclaiming the Rapture: Restoring the Doctrine of the Gathering of the Commonwealth of Israel. Phoenix, USA: Memorial Crown Press. pp. 151–158. ISBN 978-0999204801.
- Elwell, Walter A., ed. (2001) . Evangelical Dictionary of Theology (2nd ed.). Baker Academic. p. 908. ISBN 978-1441200303. Book preview
- NETBible. Bible.org, 2005. Retrieved 6 February 2012.
- "About the Supposed Rapture". Omaha, Nebraska: Greek Orthodox Church of Greater Omaha. Archived from the original on 2 April 2014. Retrieved 23 January 2011.
Rapture is a popular term among some Protestant sects for the raising of the faithful from the dead....The belief in rapture tends to be what is called 'pre-tribulation'.
- Cozby, Dimitri (September 1998). "What is 'The Rapture'?". Rollinsford, New Hampshire: Orthodox Research Institute. Retrieved 22 March 2015.
- Smietana, Bob (26 April 2016). "Pastors: The End of the World is Complicated". LifeWay Research. Retrieved 12 December 2019.
- Dearing, Karen Lynn (2001). "A History of the Independent Bible Church". Ouachita Baptist University. p. 20. Retrieved 12 December 2019.
- "Our Identity". Charis Fellowship. 2017. Retrieved 12 December 2019.
- Guidebook of the Emmanuel Association of Churches. Logansport: Emmanuel Association. 2002. p. 11.
- "The Rapture of the Church". Assemblies of God. 4 August 1979. Retrieved 12 December 2019.
- Decker, Rodney J. (2004). "Religion—Dispensationalism". In Wishart, David J. (ed.). Encyclopedia of the Great Plains. Lincoln, NE: Center for Great Plains Studies. p. 741. ISBN 0-8032-4787-7.
- 1 Thessalonians 4:15
- 1 Thessalonians 4:16
- 1 Thessalonians 4:17
- 1 Thessalonians 4:15–17
- 1 Thessalonians 4:17
- 1 Thessalonians 4:15–17
- Matthew 24:29–31
- Thiessen, Henry C. (1979). Lectures in Systematic Theology. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans. pp. 355–356. ISBN 0-8028-3529-5.
- McAvoy, Steven (12 December 1995). "Some Problems with Posttribulationism". Pre-Trib Research Center. p. 16. Retrieved 6 December 2019.
- Ice, Thomas D. (May 2009). "Myths of the Origin of Pretribulationism (Part 1)" (PDF). Liberty University Article Archives. p. 3. Retrieved 11 December 2019.
- Benware, Paul N. (2006). Understanding End Times Prophecy: A Comprehensive Approach. Chicago: Moody. pp. 215, 224. ISBN 978-0-8024-9079-7.
- Lindsey, Hal (1 June 1989). The Road to Holocaust. Bantam Books. p. 77. ISBN 978-0-553-05724-9.
- Keeley, Robin, ed. (1982). Eerdmans' Handbook to Christian Belief. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. p. 415. ISBN 978-0-8028-3577-2.
- Drum, Walter (1 July 1912). "Epistles to the Thessalonians". Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 14. New York City: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved 12 December 2010.
- Wright, N. T. (2008). Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church. HarperOne. p. 133. ISBN 978-0061551826.
When Paul speaks of 'meeting' the Lord 'in the air,' the point is precisely not—as in the popular rapture theology—that the saved believers would then stay up in the air somewhere, The point is that, having gone out to meet their returning Lord, they will escort him royally into his domain, that is, back to the place they have come from. Even when we realize that this is highly charged metaphor, not literal description, the meaning is the same as in the parallel in Philippians 3:20. Being citizens of heaven, as the Philippians would know, doesn't mean that one is expecting go back to the mother city but rather means that one is expecting the emperor to come from the mother city to give the colony its full dignity, to rescue it if need he, to subdue local enemies and put everything to rights.
- Holding, James Patrick, ed. (2010). Defending the Resurrection. Xulon Press. p. 25. ISBN 978-1609576547. Foreword by Gary Habermas.
- Bouma-Prediger, Steven (2010) . For the Beauty of the Earth: A Christian Vision for Creation Care. Engaging Culture (2nd ed.). Baker Academic. ISBN 978-0801036958.
- Matthew 24:37–40
- 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18
- "1 Thessalonians 4:15 Greek Text Analysis". biblehub.com.
- "Matthew 24:37 Greek Text Analysis". biblehub.com.
- "Matthew 24:39 Greek Text Analysis". biblehub.com.
- 1 Thessalonians 4:15–17
- Matthew 24:29–31
- Elwell, Walter A., ed. (1 May 2001) . Evangelical Dictionary of Theology (2nd ed.). Baker Academic. p. 910. ISBN 978-1441200303. Book preview
- Schaff, Philip (1976). History of the Christian Churches. Vol. 2: Ante-Nicene Christianity. Grand Rapids: WM. B. Eerdmans. p. 614. ISBN 0-8028-8048-7.
- of Caesarea, Eusebius (313). The History of the Church. pp. Book 3:39:11–13.
- Schaff, Philip (1976). History of the Christian Churches. Vol. 2: Ante-Nicene Christianity. Grand Rapids: WM. B. Eerdmans. p. 482. ISBN 0-8028-8048-7.
- Radmacher, Earl. "The Nature and Result of Literal Interpretation". Pre-Trib Research Center. Retrieved 5 December 2019.
- Couch, Mal (2000). An Introduction to Classical Evangelical Hermeneutics: A Guide to the History and Practice of Biblical Interpretation. Grand Rapids: Kregel. pp. 97–98. ISBN 978-0-8254-2367-3.
- Couch, Mal (2000). An Introduction to Classical Evangelical Hermeneutics: A Guide to the History and Practice of Biblical Interpretation. Grand Rapids: Kregel. p. 99. ISBN 978-0-8254-2367-3.
- Schaff, Philip (1976). History of the Christian Church. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans. pp. 618–620. ISBN 0-8028-8048-7.
- Zuck, Roy B. (1991). Basic Bible Interpretation: A Practical Guide to Discovering Bible Truth. Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook. p. 37. ISBN 978-0-7814-3877-3.
- Schaff, Philip (1976). History of the Christian Church. Vol. 2: Ante-Nicene Christianity. Grand Rapids: WM. B. Eerdmans. p. 815. ISBN 0-8028-8048-7.
- Couch, Mal (1996). Dictionary of Premillennial Theology. Grand Rapids: Kregel. p. 258. ISBN 0-8254-2410-0.
- Larsen, David L. "Some Key Issues in the History of Premillennialism" (PDF). Pre-Trib Research Center. p. 5. Retrieved 11 December 2019.
- Negru, Catalin (2018). A History of the Apocalypse. Raleigh, NC: Catalin Negru. p. 186. ISBN 978-1-387-91116-5.
- Kyle, Richard G. (1998). The Last Days Are Here Again: A History of the End Times. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books. pp. 78–79. ISBN 978-0-8010-5809-7.
- Boyer, Paul (1992). When Time Shall Be No More: Prophecy Belief in Modern American Culture. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. p. 75. ISBN 978-0-674-95128-0.
- William Watson (April 2015). Dispensationalism Before Darby: Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century English Apocalypticism (Lampion Press, 2015), ch.7.
- Doddridge, Philip (9 March 1738). Practical Reflections on the Character and Translation of Enoch (sermon). Northampton : Printed by W. Dicey and sold by ...R. Hett ... London, J. Smith in Daventry, Caleb Ratten in Harborough, J. Ratten in Coventry, J. Cook in Uppingham, Tho. Warren in Birmingham, and Matt. Dagnall in Aylesbury. OCLC 30557054. Retrieved 13 March 2015.
- Gill, John (1748). An Exposition of the Revelation of St. John the Divine. London: Printed for John Ward. OCLC 49243272. Retrieved 17 May 2011.
- Henry, Matthew (1828). An Exposition of the Old and New Testament. Vol. 6. Philadelphia: Edward Barrington & George D. Haswell. p. 617.
At, or immediately before, this rapture into the clouds, those who are alive will undergo a mighty change, that will be equivalent to dying.
- Tregelles, Samuel Prideaux (1864). The Hope of Christ's Second Coming: How is it Taught in Scripture? and Why?. London: Houlston and Wright. Reprint: Tregelles, Samuel Prideaux (2006). The Hope of Christ's Second Coming. Milesburg, PA: Strong Tower Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9772883-0-4.
- Oliphant, Margaret (1862). The life of Edward Irving, minister of the National Scotch Church, London. Vol. First volume. London: Hurst and Blackett. pp. 220–223. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
- Miller, Edward (1878). The history and doctrines of Irvingism. Vol. II. London: C. Kegan Paul & Co. p. 8. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
- The Shepherd of Hermas. Translated by Lightfoot, J.B. Pantionos Classics. 1891. pp. 25–28. ISBN 978-1976092169.
- Gunn, David (22 September 2015). "Is the Pre-Trib Rapture a Recent Invention?". Baptist Bulletin. September/October 2015: 17–19.
- Cf. Ian S. Markham, "John Darby", The Student's Companion to the Theologians, pp. 263–264 (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 pp. 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 pre-tribulation 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. (1993). Progressive Dispensationalism. Wheaton, IL: Bridgepoint Books. ISBN 978-1441205124.
- The Scofield Bible: Its History and Impact on the Evangelical Church, Magnum & Sweetnam. pp. 188–195, 218.
- Lindsey, Hal (1983). The Rapture: Truth or Consequences. Bantam Books. p. 25. ISBN 978-0553014112.
- Erickson, Millard J. (1977). Contemporary Options in Eschatology: A Study of the Millennium. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House. p. 125. ISBN 0-8010-3262-8.
- Bray, John L (1982). The origin of the pre-tribulation rapture teaching. Lakeland, Florida: John L. Bray Ministry. pp. 24–25.
- Blaising, Craig A.; Bock, Darrell L. (November 1993). Progressive Dispensationalism. Wheaton, IL: Bridgepoint Books. p. 11. ISBN 978-1-56476-138-5.
- Blackstone, William E. (1908) . Jesus is coming (Third ed.). Fleming H. Revell Company. OCLC 951778.
- Scofield, C. I., ed. (1967) . Scofield Reference Bible. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-527802-6.
- Ephraem the Syrian, JoshuaNet, 27 July 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.
- Warner, Tim (2001). "Pseudo-Pseudo-Ephraem". The Last Trumpet. Tampa, Florida: Post-Trib Research Center. Archived from the original on 18 February 2005.
- See Apocalypse of Pseudo-Ephraem for a detailed explanation of the text and the controversy.
- Missler, Chuck (June 1995). "Byzantine Text Discovery: Ephraem the Syrian". Coeur d'Alene, Idaho: Koinonia House. Retrieved 22 March 2015.
For all the saints and Elect of God are gathered, prior to the tribulation that is to come, and are taken to the Lord lest they see the confusion that is to overwhelm the world because of our sins.
- Hommel, Jason. "A Sermon by Pseudo-Ephraem". Jason Hommel's Bible Prophecy Study on the Pre Tribulation Rapture. Grass Valley, California. Retrieved 22 March 2015.
For all the saints and elect of God are gathered, prior to the tribulation that is to come, and are taken to the Lord lest they see the confusion that is to overwhelm the world because of our sins.
- Marotta, Frank (1995). Morgan Edwards: An Eighteenth Century Pretribulationist. Jackson Township, New Jersey: Present Truth Publishers. ISBN 978-0-9640037-8-1. OCLC 36897344.
- Hommel, Jason. "The Jesuits and the Rapture: Francisco Ribera & Emmanuel Lacunza". Jason Hommel's Bible Prophecy Study on the Pre Tribulation Rapture. Grass Valley, California. Archived from the original on 9 December 2010. Retrieved 22 January 2011.
- Catalogue of the Theological Library in the University of Edinburgh. Edinburgh: A. Balfour & Co. 1829. p. 113.
- "Tim LaHaye, Evangelical Legend Behind 'Left Behind' Series, Dies At 90". NPR. July 25, 2016. Retrieved April 11, 2021.
- Erickson, Millard J. (1977). Contemporary Options in Eschatology: A Study of the Millennium. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House. p. 164. ISBN 0-8010-3262-8.
- Hoekema, Anthony A. (1994) . The Bible and the Future (revised ed.). Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans. p. 164. ISBN 0-85364-624-4.
- "Welcome to the Pre-Wrath Consortium". Pre-Wrath Consortium. Archived from the original on 20 October 2004.
- Rosenthal, Marvin J. (1990). The Pre-Wrath Rapture of the Church. Thomas Nelson. ISBN 978-0840731609.
- Marvin Rosenthal, author of The Prewrath Rapture of the Church, is a proponent for the prewrath rapture view. His belief is founded on the work of Robert D. Van Kampen (1938–1999); his books The Sign, The Rapture Question Answered and The Fourth Reich detail his pre-wrath rapture doctrine.
- LaHaye, Tim; Ice, Thomas (2001). Charting the End Times: A Visual Guide to Understanding Bible Prophecy. Tim LaHaye Prophecy Library. Harvest House. ISBN 978-0736901383.
- "Overview of the Partial Rapture Theory" (PDF). Valley Bible Church Theology Studies. Lancaster, California. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
- White, J. W. Jr. (2008). The Partial Rapture "Theory" Explained: Escaping The Coming Storm. Xulon Press. ISBN 978-1604776843.
- David, Ira E. (15 November 1935). "Translation: When Does It Occur?". The Dawn: 358.
- Walvoord, John F. (1979) . The Rapture Question (Revised and enlarged ed.). Zondervan. p. 128. ISBN 978-0-310-34151-2.
- Erickson, Millard J. (1998) . A Basic Guide to Eschatology: Making Sense of the Millennium (revised ed.). Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House. p. 152. ISBN 0-8010-5836-8. Originally published in 1977 under the title Contemporary Options in Eschatology: A Study of the Millennium.
- Ladd, George Eldon (1990) . The Blessed Hope: A Biblical Study of the Second Advent and the Rapture. Eerdmans. ISBN 978-0802811110.
- Gundry, Robert H. (1999) . The Church and the Tribulation: A Biblical Examination of Posttribulationism. Zondervan. ISBN 978-0310254010.
- Boettner, Loraine (1984). The millennium ([Rev. ed]. ed.). [Phillipsburg, N.J.]: Presbyterian and Reformed Pub. Co. ISBN 978-0875521138.
- "The Rapture". Retrieved 19 September 2017.
- Garrison, J. Christopher (2014). The Judaism of Jesus: The Messiah's Redemption of the Jews. Bloomington, Indiana: WestBowPress. p. 264. ISBN 978-1-4908-2974-6.
- Nelson, Chris (18 May 2011). "A Brief History of the Apocalypse". Retrieved 1 April 2015.
- Sears, William (1961). Thief in the Night: Or, The Strange Case of the Missing Millennium. Welwyn, England: George Ronald Publishing Ltd. ISBN 978-0853980087.
- Barbour, Nelson H. (1877). Three Worlds, and the Harvest of This World (PDF). Rochester, New York: Nelson H. Barbour and Charles Taze Russell. OCLC 41016956. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 March 2006. Retrieved 3 April 2015. (See also: Wikipedia's article on Three Worlds (book) )
as cited by:
Penton, M. James (9 August 1997) . Apocalypse Delayed: The Story of Jehovah's Witnesses (2nd ed.). University of Toronto Press. pp. 21–22. ISBN 978-0802079732.
- The Finished Mystery, 1917, pp. 258, 485, as cited by Raymond Franz, Crisis of Conscience, pp. 206–211.
- The Way to Paradise booklet, Watch Tower Society, 1924, as cited by Raymond Franz, Crisis of Conscience, pp. 230–232.
- Smith, Chuck (1978). End Times: A Report on Future Survival. Costa Mesa, California: Maranatha House Publishers. p. 17. ISBN 978-0893370114.
- "88 Reasons Why The Rapture Will Be In 1988 and On Borrowed Time". June 15, 1988 – via Internet Archive.
- Nelson, Chris (18 June 2002). "A Brief History of the Apocalypse; 1971–1997: Millennial Madness". Retrieved 23 June 2007.
- "We are Almost There". Archived from the original on 12 June 2008. Retrieved 22 July 2008.
- Ravitz, Jessica (6 March 2011). "Road trip to the end of the world". CNN. Retrieved 6 March 2011.
- LAist Archived 20 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine, 24 May 2011.
- Kettley, Sebastian (23 September 2017). "End of the world 2017: Why American Christians are getting VERY worried about September 23". Express.co.uk. Retrieved 6 November 2017.
- Media related to Prophecy of the Rapture at Wikimedia Commons