A friend of mine has been reading the “Left Behind” series with all this stuff about the ‘Rapture’ in them…is there really going to be a ‘Rapture’ like these books talk about?
No, there’s not. The “Rapture” refers to a passage in First Thessalonians, chapter 4, which talks about Christians being “caught up” in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Many Christians believe, and the “Left Behind” books promote, that this being “caught up” to meet the Lord will occur before the Great Tribulation which is headed our way in the near future. Christians will simply vanish, meet Jesus somewhere in the air, and then return with Him to Heaven to await the end of time.But notice, in verse 17, Paul says that “…we who are alive, who are left,” shall be caught up. Remember that…those who are “left” get caught up to meet the Lord.
The “Left Behind” books get their name from a passage in Luke 17 and a similar passage in Matthew 24 which talk about the coming of the Lord being like the days of Noah and the days of Lot. Matthew 24 puts it this way: “As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of man…they ate, they drank, they married and they did not know until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of man. Then two men will be in the field, one is taken and one is left. Two women grinding at the mill, one is taken one is left.”
“See,” Rapture enthusiasts say, “One is taken, one is left…the Rapture! Jesus takes the Christians and leaves behind non-Christians!” Two problems with that interpretation: First, Jesus’ coming is being compared to the days of Noah and the days of Lot. After the flood, who was left? Noah and his family…the good guys…the bad guys were taken! After Sodom and Gomorrah went up in smoke, who was left? Lot and his daughters…the good guys…the bad guys were taken! Second, remember 1 Thessalonians? It says that those who are “left” get to meet Jesus in the air. The good guys are left behind to meet Jesus.
In other words, you want to be left behind so that you can get caught up in the clouds to meet Jesus in the air and accompany Him back to earth at His 2nd and final coming. There will be no Rapture like the one the Left Behind books talk about…that view is not scriptural.12-rapture.mp3
What do Catholics believe happens after death?
The Church believes that a person faces the particular judgment at death. God judges our souls and finds us either able to enter heaven immediately, needing to go through further purification in purgatory or capable of hell because of our refusal to detach ourselves from sin and our unwillingness to repent.At the end of time, there will be a general judgment, at which time our bodies will be resurrected to join our souls in our eternal life, whether that be in heaven or hell.
What happens to us after death is an indication of our own personal, free choice to choose God and the path to holiness or to turn against Him. What happens after death also indicates who our God is—a God of both justice and mercy.
As Christians, we should not fear death, but rather ready ourselves for it, by growing in holiness and striving for eternal life.
Why does the Catholic Church believe in Purgatory?
The Catholic Church’s belief in the existence of purgatory is indeed scriptural! First of all, it is important to understand what the Church believes purgatory is. The Catechism describes purgatory like this: “All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven” (CCC 1030).
Note that the Church believes that purgatory is not an eternal state, but rather a state of purification before entering eternal life with God in heaven.
Scripture teaches us that nothing unclean can enter heaven (Revelation 21:27). Scripture also describes a place where a man goes and suffers loss, yet is still saved, but only through fire (1 Corinthians 3:13-15). Purgatory is this place that cleanses us of whatever impurity we have when we die, allowing us to enter into God’s presence without the stain of sin.
More on the Particular Judgment
The General Judgment
More on the General Judgment
Heaven: Fullness of Communion with God
Teaching on Heaven
Purgatory Necessary for Purification
Teaching on Purgatory
Hell: For Those Who Reject God
Teaching on Hell
More on the Last Things
- Biblical Passages
- Catechism of the Catholic Church
- Church Fathers
A Pocket Guide to Purgatory
By Patrick Madrid
Certain beliefs make us uniquely Catholic one of which is purgatory. In this quick and insightful guide, discover the important role of purgatory in your personal faith journey as well as those who have gone before you. Best-selling author, noted defender of the Faith, and EWTN host Patrick Madrid, uses an easy Q & A format to clear up common misconceptions about the doctrine of purgatory.
Love is Stronger than Death
By Peter J. Kreeft
Heaven: The Heart’s Deepest Longing
By Peter Kreeft
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Heaven, but Never Dreamed of Asking
By Peter Kreeft
“Standing on the shoulders of C.S. Lewis,” Kreeft provides a look at the nature of heaven. A refreshingly clear, theologically sound glimpse of the “undiscovered country.” Kreeft speaks to the heart and the mind for an unexcelled look at one of the most popular, yet least understood, subjects in religion.
The Rapture Trap: A Catholic Response to End Times Fever Study Guide
By Paul Thigpen
In this companion book, The Rapture Trap Study Guide, Dr. Thigpen helps you unpack the rich treasury of insights, Bible references, and theological truths found in The Rapture Trap. This guide provides you with the most complete and useable Bible study information on eschatology (the study of the “last things”) available.
The Four Last Things: Death, Judgment, Hell, Heaven
By O.S.F.C. Fr. Martin von Cochem
It has ever been the practice of the Catholic Church to recommend to her spiritual children the meditation on man’s Four Last Things – death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell. Keeping these sobering aspects of human destiny ever before our eyes, we will be that much less likely to fall into mortal sin and be lost eternally. Gives many facts we should meditate on as we contemplate death. This book has converted numerous Protestants in our day because of its cogent reasons for rectifying our lives. Impr.
Catholic Christianity: A Complete Catechism of Catholic Beliefs Based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church
By Peter Kreeft
For the first time in 400 years the Catholic Church has authorized an official universal catechism which instantly became an international best-seller, the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Using this official Catechism, the highly-regarded author and professor Peter Kreeft presents a complete compendium of all the major beliefs of Catholicism written in his readable and concise style. Since the Catechism of the Catholic Church was written for the express purpose of grounding and fostering catechisms based on it for local needs and ordinary readers, Kreeft does just that, offering a thorough summary of Catholic doctrine, morality, and worship in a popular format with less technical language. He presents a systematic, organic synthesis of the essential and fundamental Catholic teachings in the light of the Second Vatican Council and the whole of the Church’s Tradition. This book is the most thorough, complete and popular catechetical summary of Catholic belief in print that is based on the universal Catechism.
Handbook of Catholic Apologetics: Reasoned Answers to Questions of Faith
By Peter Kreeft, Ronald Tracelli
Unbelievers, doubters and skeptics continue to attack the truths of Christianity. Handbook of Catholic Apologetics is the only book that categorizes and summarizes all the major arguments in support of the main Christian beliefs. Also included is a Protestant-friendly treatment of Catholic- Protestant issues. The Catholic answers to Protestant questions show how Catholicism is the fullness of the Christian faith. Handbook of Catholic Apologetics is full of the wisdom and wit, clarity and insight of philosophers Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli. This is an informative and valuable guidebook for anyone looking for answers to questions of faith and reason. Whether you are asking the questions yourself or want to respond to others who are, here is the resource you have been waiting for. Topics include: faith and reason, the existence of God, God’s nature, creation and evolution, providence and free will, miracles, problem of evil, Bible’s historical reliability, divinity of Chris, Christ’s resurrection, life after death, salvation, the Eucharist, Catholic hierarchy and more.
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