In “The Rapture: A Catholic’s Perspective” I wrote that far from something frightening, the coming of the Lord should be — as the Advent Liturgy tells us — a source of joy and consolation. I wrote the article upon the request of a religion teacher I was working with about eight years ago at the University of San Agustin-Iloilo. She asked me to write it because some students were troubled by non-Catholics talking about the matter. I wrote the article with the hope of drawing attention to the Catholic teaching on the Coming of the Lord. Looking back at that time when I was asked the question, I must admit that I didn’t fully understand the concern over “the rapture.” All I knew was that it was the idea of a sect calling itself Christian. I didn’t know that some sects have built the justification of their existence over this one idea that Paul didn’t even intend to be the central focus of his doctrine.
The fact is, the word “rapture” is not to be found anywhere in the Bible. The basis for the “doctrine of the rapture” is a text in one of the letters of St. Paul. Below is my explanation of the origin of the word “rapture.”
The main biblical text comes from 1 Thess. 4:16-17 which describes the moment when the Lord will descend from the heavens in order to “fetch” the faithful who will be awaiting his coming. The text goes: 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first; 17 then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord. In verse 17, the phrase “we shall be caught up” translates the Greek verb, ‘ harpagesometha (passive, future, first person plural of `arpazw harpazw, to seize, take suddenly). In Latin, this same verb is translated as RAPIEMUR (see the Latin Vulgate in loco,) from which the archaic English word “to rape” derives (meaning “to snatch, take away by force.” Note: This is the third meaning of the verb “to rape;” the meaning “an act of sexual aggression” belongs to the fourth meaning. Cf. Webster’s Third International Dictionary) . Hence the word “Rapture” used by some apocalyptic fundamentalistic sects.
The idea of the “rapture” is not even a central doctrine of the Christian faith. Unfortunately, there are a lot of Catholics who have joined these “rapture” sects (and there are many of them) in the hope of escaping “the wrath to come.” By doing so, however, they have exchanged their own salvation for a lie.
Originally posted 2005-05-25 21:32:34. Republished by Blog Post Promoter
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