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Lilly wrote:

Hi, there —

  • Do Catholics believe in the Second Coming of Christ and the Rapture?
    I know Protestant churches believe in both.

  • Can you help clarify this issue?

Thanks,

Lilly

  { Do Catholics believe in the Second Coming of Christ and the Rapture? }

John replied:

Hi Lilly,

The Catholic Church from the very beginning has understood and professed that Jesus Christ will return at the end of time.

As for the "rapture", there is no universal agreement among Protestant Churches on this subject. In fact, they've got so many variations on that issue, that you can't find agreement even amongst those who profess a rapture.

The Catholic Church rejects the heresy that Christ will "rapture" the Church prior to the Second Coming. This doctrine is a relatively new invention that dates back to the early to mid 1800's. It is based on a complete misreading of scripture and has no historical roots in Catholicism or Protestantism.

That said; the Church believes what Scripture actually teaches. That is, at the end of time Christ will return. At that time, the dead in Christ shall be raised and those Christians still living will be transformed in the "twinkling of an eye". Immediately following this event there will be the last judgment. Now if you want to call the transformation of the living, at the time of the resurrection of dead, a rapture, that's fine. But the term isn't found anywhere in Scripture or in the writings of the Early Church.

Will there be a period of tribulation and persecution prior to the end?

Scripture seems to imply it, as does Church teaching, but the seven year period some Protestants get hung up on, may well have already been fulfilled just prior to 70 AD.

The bottom line is this; since the beginning, the Church has faced various times of persecution and tribulation. It is said, in the last century more Christians were put to death for their faith than in the previous 19 centuries put together. So idea that Christ is going to take His Church out of the world to spare them persecution is not only unbiblical, it's unhistoric.

I hope this helps.

John

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