The rapture: Hoax or Hope?
The rapture is Christian belief that forms a major part of the
current teaching and expectations of fundamentalist and other evangelical
denominations. In its most popular current form, the doctrine involves Jesus Christ
returning from Heaven towards earth. In violation of
the law of gravity, saved individuals -- both dead
and alive -- will rise up in the air and join Jesus in the sky:
Needless to say, the above image is not of a past event.
It is a simulation, with photographs of
individuals superimposed on a picture of the sky.
A very brief description of the rapture is found in the Bible -- 1
Thessalonians 4 -- and is supported in other passages. Unfortunately, the Bible
is ambiguous about exactly when the rapture will occur. Most believers in the
rapture suggest that it will happen just before the expected seven-year
Tribulation -- a time of great suffering, instability, the devastating War of
Armageddon, and the largest genocide that the world has ever seen. Some suggest
that it will happen just after the Tribulation when Jesus finally returns
The doctrine of the "post-tribulation rapture" was taught by
Christianity starting in the first century CE and was popular until the 19th
century. It is still held by some Christians. It teaches that when Jesus Christ
returns to earth after the tribulation, believers who are alive at the time will
be changed into immortal glorified bodies.
A relatively new competing belief promoting a "pre-tribulation
rapture" was developed during the 19th century and has become a near universal
belief among fundamentalist and other evangelical Christians. This belief has
Jesus returning towards the Earth before the tribulation. Christian believers --
both dead and alive -- will rise in the air to meet him in the sky. It will
occur without warning. Believers in the pre-tribulation rapture have eagerly
anticipated the event since the 1840s and have never given up the hope that it
will occur in their very near future.
Harold Camping, founder of Family Radio, once predicted that the Rapture would occur on 2011-MAY-21. It didn't.
Topics covered in this section:
The following essays discuss the pre-tribulation rapture. This
section is currently being edited to add information about the post-tribulation
Related essays on this web site:
Copyright © 1998 to 2015 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Latest update: 2015-MAY-07
Author: B.A. Robinson