The Rapture is an eschatological term used by certain Christians, particularly within branches of American Evangelicalism, referring to a purported end time event when all elect Christian believers—living and resurrected dead— will rise into the sky and join Christ for eternity. Some adherents believe this event is predicted and described in Paul's First Epistle to the Thessalonians in the Bible, where he uses the Greek "harpazo" (ἁρπάζω), meaning to snatch away or seize. Though it has been used differently in the past, the term is now often used by certain believers to distinguish this particular event from the "Second Coming" of Jesus Christ to Earth mentioned in Second Thessalonians, Gospel of Matthew, First Corinthians, and Revelation, usually viewing it as preceding the Second Coming and followed by a thousand year millennial kingdom. Adherents of this perspective are sometimes referred to as premillenialist dispensationalists, but amongst them there are differing viewpoints about the exact timing of the purported event.
The term "rapture" is especially useful in discussing or disputing the exact timing or the scope of the event, particularly when asserting the "pre-tribulation" view that the rapture will occur before, not during, the Second Coming, with or without an extended Tribulation period. The term is most frequently used among Christian theologians and fundamentalist Christians in the United States of America Other, older uses of "rapture" were simply as a term for any mystical union with God or for eternal life in Heaven with God.
There are differing views among Christians regarding the timing of Christ's return, such as whether it will occur in one event or two, and the meaning of the aerial gathering described in 1 Thessalonians 4. Many Christians do not subscribe rapture-oriented theological views. Though the term "rapture" is derived from the text of the Latin Vulgate of 1 Thess. 4:17—"we will be caught up", [Latin: rapiemur]), Catholics, like Eastern Orthodox, Anglicans, and Lutherans, and most Reformed Christians do not generally use "rapture" as a specific theological term, nor do any of these bodies subscribe to the premillennialist dispensationalist theological views associated with its use, but do believe in the phenomenon—primarily in the sense of the elect's gathering with Christ in Heaven after his Second Coming. These denominations do not believe that a group of people is left behind on earth for an extended Tribulation period after the events of 1 Thessalonians 4:17.
Pre-tribulation rapture theology originated in the eighteenth century, with the Puritan preachers Increase and Cotton Mather, and was popularized extensively in the 1830s by John Nelson Darby and the Plymouth Brethren, and further in the United States by the wide circulation of the Scofield Reference Bible in the early 20th century. Some, including Grant Jeffrey, maintain that an earlier document called Ephraem or Pseudo-Ephraem already supported a pre-tribulation rapture.
The Koine Greek of 1 Thessalonians 4:17 uses the verb form ἁρπαγησόμεθα (harpagisometha), which means "we shall be caught up" or "taken away", with the connotation that this is a sudden event. The dictionary form of this Greek verb is harpazō (ἁρπάζω). This use is also seen in such texts as Acts 8:39, 2Corinthians 12:2-4 and Revelation 12:5.
English Bible translationsEdit
English versions of the Bible have expressed the concept of rapiemur in various ways:
- The Wycliffe Bible (1395), translated from the Latin Vulgate, uses "rushed".
- The Tyndale New Testament (1525), the Bishop's Bible (1568), the Geneva Bible (1587) and the King James Version (1611) use "caught up".
- The on-line 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."
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"—the idea that most of Revelation is about the imminent future (rather than containing certain prophecies that were already fulfilled in the early years of the church). 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 Homes, 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.
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.
Dr. Samuel Prideaux Tregelles (1813-1875), a prominent English theologian and biblical scholar, wrote a pamphlet in 1866 tracing the concept of the rapture through the works of John Darby back to Edward Irving.
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."
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.
The Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, the Anglican Communion, Lutheranism and many Protestant Calvinist denominations, have no tradition of a preliminary return of Christ. The Orthodox Church, for example, rejects a preliminary return because it depends on a millennial interpretation of prophetic scriptures, rather than an amillennial or postmillennial fashion.
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 Ephraem 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."
The rise in belief in the pre-tribulation rapture is often wrongly attributed to a 15-year-old Scottish-Irish girl named Margaret McDonald who was of the first to receive a spiritual baptism under a Pentecostal awakening in Scotland. In 1830, she supposedly had a vision of the end times which describes a post-tribulation view of the rapture that was first published in 1840. It was published again in 1861, but two important passages demonstrating a post-tribulation view were removed to encourage confusion concerning the timing of the rapture. The two removed segments were, "This is the fiery trial which is to try us. - It will be for the purging and purifying of the real members of the body of Jesus" and "The trial of the Church is from Antichrist. It is by being filled with the Spirit that we shall be kept".
In 1957, John Walvoord, a theologian at Dallas Theological Seminary, authored a book, The Rapture Question, that gave theological support to the pre-tribulation rapture; this book eventually sold over 65,000 copies. In 1958, J. Dwight Pentecost authored another book supporting the pre-tribulation rapture, Things to Come: A Study in Biblical Eschatology, which sold 215,000 copies.
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 tens of millions of copies and was made into several movies and four real-time strategy video games.
- Those who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not precede those who are dead.
- The dead in Christ will resurrect first. (1 Thess 4:16)
- The living and the resurrected dead will be caught up together in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.
- The rapture will occur during the Parousia. "those who are alive and remain unto the coming (Parousia in greek) of the Lord, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air" (1 Thess 4:17)
- The meeting with the Lord will be permanent. "And so shall we ever be with the Lord" (1 Thess 4:17)
One or two eventsEdit
Most premillennialists divide the rapture and second coming into two events. Some dispensationalist premillennialists (including many Evangelicals) hold the return of Christ to be two distinct events, or one second coming in two stages. 1 Thessalonians 4:15–17 is seen to be 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). However, there is a lesser-held view that there are three events, comprising the 2nd Coming of Christ and do so in this way: First, Jesus Christ’s initial appearing (Matthew 24:30; Revelation 6:14-17); Second, the Rapture Gathering (Matthew 24:31, I Corinthians 15:51, 52, I Thessalonians 4:13-17, Revelation 11:15ff & 14:14-16); and, Third, the 2nd Advent of Christ to the earth (Matthew 25:31; Revelation 19).
Amillennialists deny the interpretation of a literal 1,000-year rule of Christ, and as such amillennialism does not necessarily imply much difference between itself and other forms of millennialism besides that denial. However, there is considerable overlap in the beliefs of Amillennialists (including most Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Anglicans, and Lutherans), postmillennialists (including Presbyterians), and historic premillennialists (including some Calvinistic Baptists, among others) with those who hold that the return of Christ will be a single, public event. Those who identify the rapture with the second coming are likely to emphasize mutual similarities between passages of scripture where clouds, trumpets, angels or the archangel, resurrection, and gathering are mentioned. Although some (particularly some amillennialists) may take the rapture to be figurative, rather than literal, these three groups are likely to maintain that the passages regarding the return of Christ describe a single event.
Dispensationalists see the immediate destination of the raptured Christians as being Heaven. Roman 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 timingEdit
According to 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 and Matthew 24:37-40 the rapture would occur in the Parousia of the Lord where the Greek "Parousia" is used to describe the events:
|1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 ASV||Matthew 24:37-40 NIV|
|15 According 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. 16 For 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. 17 After 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.||37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming (παρουσία Parousia) of the Son of Man. 38For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming (παρουσία Parousia) of the Son of Man. 40Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left.|
In the amillennial and postmillennial views there are no distinctions in the timing of the rapture. These views regard the rapture, as it is described in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 would be either identical to the second coming of Jesus as described in Matthew 24:29-31, or as a meeting in the air with Jesus that immediately precedes his return to the Earth after a symbolic millennium.
In the premillennial view, the rapture would be before a literal millennium. Within the premillennialism the pre-tribulation position is the predominant view that distinguishes between the rapture and second coming as two events. There are also other positions within premillennialism that differ with regard to the timing of the rapture.
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, 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.
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. 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.
The partial or selective rapture theory holds that all obedient Christians will be raptured before, in the midst of, or after the tribulation depending on one's personal fellowship with God and the faith. Therefore, the rapture of a believer is determined by the timing of his conversion during the 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 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."
There are lesser-held premillennialist views such as the final trumpet position that celebrates I Corinthians 15:51, 52, which reads, "...we shall not all sleep, but we shall be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed."(NKJV) The "last trumpet" is understood to be the 7th trumpet of Revelation 11:15ff. According to this view, after the tribulation of Matthew 24:9-22, the heavenly signs of Matthew 24:29 take place. The event of the "sign of the Son of Man" (of Matthew 24:30) follows the astronomical signs of verse 29. “Then” (Mark 13:27; Matthew 24:31) the επισυναγω (gathering together) occurs—at the 7th and final trumpet of Revelation 11. The final trumpet rapture gathering view is a different from the other timing premillennial perspectives in that it does not define Daniel’s 70th Week as the "tribulation period" but defines the tribulation in light of Matthew 24:9-22, and it features a three-part second Coming of Jesus Christ in, A) His initial appearing, B) the Rapture of the Church, and C) His return to the earth. This view teaches the rapture gathering occurs before God’s bowls of wrath are poured out on the earth.) and contemporary expressions of end-time Bible themes (for example, endurance)
In the Post-Millennialism 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." Post-Millennialists 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 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 the event as 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 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 necessary, because it has already been established in the life of the church through Christ's ultimate sacrifice on the cross. Authors who have expressed support for this view include St. Augustine. The amillennialist viewpoint is the position held by the Roman 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, many believers in the rapture have made predictions regarding the date of the event. The primary Biblical reference cited against this position is Matthew 24:36-37, where Jesus is quoted as saying about his Parousia; "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming (Parousia) of the Son of man be." (RSV). Also in 2Peter 3:10, it says “The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up” (see also 1 Thessalonians 5:2). Another potential problem for those attempting to set a date for the rapture arises from Matthew 24:34, where Jesus is quoted as saying "Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled" (KJV).
Any individual or religious group that has dogmatically predicted the day of the rapture, a practise referred to as "date setting", has been thoroughly embarrassed and discredited, as the predicted date of fulfillment has invariably come and gone without event. Some of these individuals and groups have offered "correct" target dates, while others have offered excuses and have tried to "correct" their target dates, while simply releasing a reinterpretation of the meaning of the scripture to fit their current predicament, and then explain that although the prediction appeared to have not come true, in reality it had been completely accurate and fulfilled, albeit in a different way than many had expected.
Conversely, many of those who believe that the precise date of the rapture cannot be known, do affirm that the specific time frame that immediately precedes the rapture event can be known. This time frame is often referred to as "the season". The primary section of scripture cited for this position is Matthew 24:32–35; where Jesus is quoted teaching the parable of the fig tree, which is proposed as the key that unlocks the understanding of the general timing of the rapture, as well as the surrounding prophecies listed in the sections of scripture that precede and follow this parable.
Some notable predictions of the date of the second Coming of Jesus include the following:
- 1844: William Miller predicted that Christ would return between March 21, 1843 and March 21, 1844, then revised his prediction, claiming to have miscalculated the Bible, to October 22, 1844. The realization that the predictions were incorrect resulted in the Great Disappointment. Miller's theology gave rise to the Advent movement. The Baha'is 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.[non-primary source needed]
- 1914, 1918, and 1925: Various dates predicted for the Second Coming of Jesus by the Jehovah's Witnesses.
Some notable predictions of the date of the rapture include the following:
- 1978: 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: Radio evangelist Harold Camping predicted September 6, 1994.
- 2011: Harold Camping's revised prediction put May 21, 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 October 21, 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.
- McKim, Donald K (2014-04-09). The Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms, Second Edition: Revised and Expanded. Presbyterian Publishing Corporation. pp. 261–. ISBN 9781611643862. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
- Chopra, editor, Ramesh (2005). Encyclopaedic dictionary of religion: Q-Z. Delhi: Isha Books. p. 638. ISBN 81-8205-203-3. Retrieved 6 April 2015.
- 1 Thessalonians 4:17
- Hays, J. Daniel; Duvall, J. Scott; Pate, C. Marvin (2009-05-26). Dictionary of Biblical Prophecy and End Times. Zondervan. pp. 692–. ISBN 9780310571049. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
- Mills, Watson E.; Bullard, Roger Aubrey (1990). Mercer Dictionary of the Bible. Mercer University Press. pp. 736–. ISBN 9780865543737. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
- 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.
- 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 2011-10-21.
- Anthony M. Coniaris, "The Rapture: Why the Orthodox don't preach it," Light & Life Publishing, Life Line, September 12, 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 January 27, 2012.
- 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 January 27, 2012.
- See notes above for specific denominations (Catechism - Catholic, Light & Life Newsletter - Orthodox, Lutheran Witness - Lutheran, Reformed Online - Reformed).
- Cf. Ian S. Markham, "John Darby", The Student's Companion to the Theologians, p.263-64 (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 p. 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 pretribulation 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. (November 1993). Progressive Dispensationalism. Wheaton, IL: Bridgepoint Books. ISBN 9781441205124.
- The Scofield Bible: Its History and Impact on the Evangelical Church, Magnum & Sweetnam. Pages 188-195, 218.
- Ephraem the Syrian, JoshuaNet, 27 Jul. 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
-  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.
- 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).
- Elwell, Walter A., ed. (2001-05-01) . Evangelical Dictionary of Theology (2nd ed.). Baker Academic. p. 908. ISBN 9781441200303. Book preview
- 1Thess 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 vp together with them in the cloudes, to meete the Lorde in the ayre: And so shall we euer be with the Lorde."
- NETBible. Bible.org, 2005. Retrieved 2012-02-06.
- Kyle, Richard G (May 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 (September 1992). When Time Shall Be No More: Prophecy Belief in Modern American Culture. Cambridge, Mass: 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 (March 9, 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 2015-03-13.
- Gill, John (1748). An Exposition of the Revelation of St. John the Divine. London: Printed for John Ward. OCLC 49243272. Retrieved 17 May 2011.
- 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.
- Strandberg, Todd. "Margaret MacDonald Who?". Rapture Ready. Archived from the original on 11 January 2011. Retrieved 22 January 2011.
Darby reported that he discovered the rapture teaching in 1827
- 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 (2006-04-01). The Hope of Christ's Second Coming. Milesburg, PA: Strong Tower Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9772883-0-4.
- Henry, Matthew (1828). An Exposition of the Old and New Testament. Volume 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.
- Oliphant, Margaret (1862). The life of Edward Irving, minister of the National Scotch Church, London. First volume. London: Hurst and Blackett. pp. 220–223. Retrieved 2015-03-17.
- Miller, Edward (1878). The history and doctrines of Irvingism. Vol II. London: C. Kegan Paul & Co. p. 8. Retrieved 2015-03-16.
- 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.
- "About the Supposed Rapture". Omaha, Nebraska: Greek Orthodox Church of Greater Omaha. Archived from the original on 2014-04-02. 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 2015-03-22.
- Ephraem the Syrian, JoshuaNet, 27 Jul. 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 2005-02-18.
- 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 2015-03-22.
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 2015-03-22.
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. "Margaret MacDonald's Vision". Jason Hommel's Bible Prophecy Study on the Pre Tribulation Rapture. Grass Valley, California. Archived from the original on 15 January 2003. Retrieved 14 November 2016. Quotes the account in The Restoration of Apostles and Prophets In the Catholic Apostolic Church (1861).
- Wilkinson, Paul Richard (1 December 2008). "Appendix: Margaret McDonald's Utterances". For Zion's Sake: Christian Zionism and the Role of John Nelson Darby. Wipf and Stock Publishers. pp. 262–263. ISBN 1556358075. A more complete version, combining the text in Norton's Memoirs and that in The Restoration of Apostles and Prophets In the Catholic Apostolic Church (1861), all cited secondary from Macpherson, The Incredible Coverup.
- Walvoord, John F. (1979-08-12) . The Rapture Question (Revised and enlarged ed.). Zondervan. ISBN 978-0-310-34151-2.
- Pentecost, J. Dwight (2010-05-11) . Things to Come: A Study in Biblical Eschatology. Zondervan. ISBN 9780310873952. Introduction by John F. Walvoord.
- Balnius, Nicole. "Hal Lindsey". Rapture Ready. Archived from the original on 5 February 2007. Retrieved 23 January 2011.
- "Left Behind Series - Official Website of the Book Series". Tyndale House. Retrieved 2015-03-23.
- Swanson, Jonathan P. (2009). The Final Trumpet Rapture Gathering: An Introduction. Endurance Ministries. 260 pp. ISBN 978-0-9819469-8-6.
- Lindsey, Hal (1989-06-01). The Road to Holocaust. Bantam Books. p. 77. ISBN 978-0-553-05724-9.
- Keeley, Robin, ed. (November 1982). Eerdmans’ Handbook to Christian Belief. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. p. 415. ISBN 978-0-8028-3577-2.
- Drum, Walter (1912-07-01). "Epistles to the Thessalonians". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York City: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved 2010-12-12.
- Wright, N. T. (2008-02-05). 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. (2010-08-24). Defending the Resurrection. Xulon Press. p. 25. ISBN 978-1609576547. Foreword by Gary Habermas.
- Bouma-Prediger, Steven (2010-04-01) . For the Beauty of the Earth: A Christian Vision for Creation Care. Engaging Culture (2nd ed.). Baker Academic. ISBN 978-0801036958..
- Elwell, Walter A., ed. (2001-05-01) . Evangelical Dictionary of Theology (2nd ed.). Baker Academic. p. 910. ISBN 9781441200303. Book preview
- Lindsey, Hal (1983-07-01). 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.
- 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. (1994-09-06) . 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 2004-10-20.
- Rosenthal, Marvin J. (1990-06-22). The Pre-Wrath Rapture of the Church. Thomas Nelson. ISBN 978-0840731609.
- LaHaye, Tim; Ice, Thomas (August 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 2015-04-01.
- White, J. W. Jr. (2008-02-28). The Partial Rapture "Theory" Explained: Escaping The Coming Storm. Xulon Press. ISBN 9781604776843.
- David, Ira E. (1935-11-15). "Translation: When Does It Occur?". The Dawn: 358.
- Walvoord, John F. (1979-08-12) . The Rapture Question (Revised and enlarged ed.). Zondervan. p. 128. ISBN 978-0-310-34151-2.
- Erickson, Millard J. (1998-12-01) . 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 (1990-03-20) . The Blessed Hope: A Biblical Study of the Second Advent and the Rapture. Eerdmans. ISBN 978-0802811110.
- Gundry, Robert H. (1999-10-14) . 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.
- "Millennialism". Retrieved 2017-09-19.
- "The Rapture". Retrieved 2017-09-19.
- Garrison, J. Christopher (2014). The Judaism of Jesus: The Messiah's Redemption of the Jews. Bloomington, Idiana: WestBowPress. p. 264. ISBN 978-1-4908-2974-6.
- "What Does the Bible Teach about the Secret Rapture?". Retrieved 2012-04-05.
- Strandberg, Todd. "The Date Setters Diary". Rapture Ready. Retrieved 22 June 2007.
- Nelson, Chris (2011-05-18). "A Brief History of the Apocalypse". Retrieved 2015-04-01.
- Sears, William (1961-06-01). 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. Retrieved 2015-04-03. (See also: Wikipedia's article on Three Worlds (book) )
as cited by:
Penton, M. James (1997-08-09) . Apocalypse Delayed: The Story of Jehovah's Witnesses (2nd ed.). University of Toronto Press. pp. 21–22. ISBN 978-0802079732.
- The Finished Mystery, 1917, p. 485, 258, as cited by Raymond Franz, Crisis of Conscience, pages 206-211.
- The Way to Paradise booklet, Watch Tower Society, 1924, as cited by Raymond Franz, Crisis of Conscience, pages 230–232.
- Smith, Chuck (1978-01-01). 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".
- Nelson, Chris (18 June 2002). "A Brief History of the Apocalypse; 1971–1997: Millennial Madness". Retrieved 23 June 2007.
- "We are Almost There". Retrieved 22 July 2008.
- Ravitz, Jessica (2011-03-06). "Road trip to the end of the world". CNN. Retrieved 2011-03-06.
- LAist Archived 2011-07-20 at the Wayback Machine., 24 May 2011.
- Kettley, Sebastian (2017-09-23). "End of the world 2017: Why American Christians are getting VERY worried about September 23". Express.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-11-06.
- Media related to Prophecy of the Rapture at Wikimedia Commons