July 24, 2024

The Rapture, or the rapture of the faithful, will be the physical movement to heaven, in a process of ontological and spiritual transformation, of those in a state of sanctity and faithful to Christ at the moment of the Great Tribulation. The Rapture will happen immediately after the “First Resurrection”, that of the saints of the New Testament, and before the Great Day of the wrath of the Lord commences, a period of purification which precedes the glorious return of Christ to reign on Earth.

At the Rapture, the faithful will be taken into glory without passing through death, as happened to the two saints who were taken away in the Old Testament: Enoch (Gen 5,24; Heb 11,5) and Elijah ( 2 Kings 2, 1-11). The Rapture is a reward and a rescue so as not to pass through the trial of the Divine punishments which will be inflicted on the apostates and obstinate sinners who oppose the Reign of Christ.

The Rapture of the faithful-also called the Rapture of “The Saints” or “Of the Church”-is the result of a selective Divine intervention: “Then there will be two in the field, one will be taken, and the other left behind. Two women will be grinding at the mill, one will be taken, and the other left” (Matt 24, 40)

It was Saint Paul who made known the details of the mystery of the Rapture: “…And the dead in Christ shall rise first, then we who are alive and who have remained, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds…”(I Thess 4,16). Once the Rapture of the Church has been brought about, the wrath of God against the ungodly will be unleashed, and the plan of salvation with respect to the Jews will be concluded.

Saint Paul insists that the Rapture will not be only physical, but that it will involve a process of transformation which leads to Resurrection: “We shall not all die, but we shall all be transformed. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, when the last note of the trumpet sounds, because the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be resurrected never to die again and we will be transformed” (1 Cor 15, 51). All of them, the resurrected and the raptured will return on the day of the Parousia accompanying Christ in His glorious return, at the end of the Great Tribulation, and representing Him, they will continue to reign during the millennium of the Kingdom of God.

The Rapture has the double finality of rewarding the virtue of the faithful and help them avoid the suffering that will come upon the world with the plagues and trials which God will allow to fall on the operators of iniquity and the followers of the Antichrist when the “ Day of the Lord occurs”.

The promise of Heaven offered undeservingly to the followers of Christ, constitutes a source of hope, assuring us if we are faithful to His teachings, we will obtain a glorious reward in a certain and inescapable manner.

But with the Rapture, in the vision of the middle Parousia held by the Fathers of the Church and the Martyrs of the first four centuries, this hope is even greater because it is not only about a far-off expectation of Heaven, but also of the establishment of the Kingdom of Christ in this world.

The certainty of the Rapture, the first resurrection and the Divine intra historical Reign on earth gives us the conviction of the victory of God over evil here and now, and of the restoration of humanity and of all creation in the present order: “Creation itself shall be freed from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God; for we know that all of creation groans as one and is with birth pangs until now” (Rom 8, 21-22)

The anti millennial evolutionists who do not accept Divine intervention and the intra historical fulfilment of the Kingdom of Jesus have only the perspective of a final heaven outside our present reality imagining, either a failed humanity by the progressive triumph of evil, or a victory of the faith based Church which, besides not knowing how to explain it, situates them in a belief explicitly condemned by the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

The antimillennialists, who unconsciously go hand in hand with the modern reprinting of Gnosticism which is the New Age, cannot accept the principal crown of Christ the King: His glorious Kingdom on earth, salvation for some and a scandal for others. From here the confrontation between Christ and the Antichrist, the Church and the Anti-Church, the Gospel and the Anti-Gospel, fidelity and betrayal (Like that of Judas and his followers). From here the infernal hatred to which Fr. Alcaniz refers: “The mysterious hatred of hell. This is the most profound reason of all. That earthly Kingdom is the kingdom of the Heart of Jesus, here is the real key to the hatred in history against the Millennial Reign, it is the hatred for the Kingdom of the Heart of Jesus” (Ultimos Tiempos P 120).

On the other hand, those who do accept the Rapture, but situate it prior to the Great Tribulation, will find themselves with a series of exegetical contradictions and great disillusionment as the unequivocal teachings of the Scriptures make it clear that we will have to bear persecution and trials. Rescue will come only after this crucible.

Perhaps knowing that we will have to suffer and give our life for Christ makes us afraid and doubt if we will have the strength to resist. The answer is that God our Lord gives us the graces we need day by day. He gives us the strength we require at every moment. When the time of trial approaches, He will strengthen those who are weak because at the moment of Tribulation it will not be us but the Holy Spirit who acts in us. The weaker we are the stronger is God.

On the other hand, we need to keep before our eyes a great hope that can fill us with courage and optimism. Not only will we enjoy a born again world full of light in which there will be true Peace, Justice and Holiness but all created order will be restored.

The interior change which the Parousia will bring is the fruit of a spiritual transformation comparable to a second Pentecost. The Prophet Ezequiel says: “I will sprinkle you with pure water and you will be purified; from all stains and from all your idols I will purify you. And I will give you a new heart, I will infuse in you a new spirit, I will take from your flesh a heart of stone and I will give you a heart of flesh”(Ezeq 36, 25).

Saint Peter describes the global effect of this transformation: “As also according to His promise, we look for new heavens and a new earth, in which Justice lives” (2 Pet 3, 13).

Isiah graphically illustrated the situation of this new goodness of the Kingdom, which is spiritual and material: “Behold I create new heavens and a new earth, the first will not be remembered nor will they come to mind; but there will be joy and rejoicing forever in that which I will create. I will rejoice for Jerusalem and I will be delighted for my people, no more will there be heard in it crying or distress. No more shall there be in it an infant who lives but a few days or an old man who does not fill his days, for to die young will be to die a hundred years old and he who doesn’t reach a hundred years shall be accursed. They will build houses and live in them, they will plant vines and eat their fruits. They shall not build and another inhabit, they shall not plant and another eat, for my people shall live as long as a tree and my chosen ones will enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labour in vain nor bear children for calamity, for they shall be the blessed race of Yahweh, they and their descendants with them…” (Isiah 65, 17-24).

Some think that these “New heavens and new earth” of which the Prophet Isiah and the Apostle Saint Peter speak, must take place after the universal resurrection at the end of the world. Nevertheless this interpretation is mistaken as in heaven there will no longer be administration of Justice, nor the begetting of children, nor death. Neither will there be a need to build houses, or to plant vines, nor will animals live as is expressly mentioned in this promise.

Neither can we accept a metaphorical interpretation of these new heavens and new earth, because these, as the Apostle Saint Peter says, will come after the present heavens and earth perish “By the word of God and by fire”. And like the present heavens and earth which came after the diluvian heavens and earth have not perished in this manner, we can deduce that these predictions have not yet been fulfilled.

This transformation, which is comparable to a second Pentecost, although universal, was revealed to Fr. Stefano Gobbi, mystic and Founder of the priestly Marian movement: “These are the times of the Great Return. Yes, after the time of the great suffering there will come a time of great rebirth and everything will flourish. Jesus will bring His glorious Reign. The Holy Spirit will descend like fire, but in a different way to His first coming: it will be a fire that burns and transforms everything, and it will sanctify and renovate the earth from its foundations. It will open hearts to a new reality of life and It will guide souls to a love so great and to a Holiness so perfect, the likes of which has never before been seen. Then the Spirit will be glorified, lifting everyone towards the greatest love towards the Father and the Son” (3 July 1987).

As regards the transformation and elevation of human nature one must avoid the belief that it will remain totally free of the influence of evil during the millennium, and that it will no longer be possible to sin. This will be the condition of the resurrected Saints and Raptured only who will be governing the world. For the rest, the influence of evil will be drastically diminished but not supressed.

The Rapture of the faithful is the feasible realization that God’s promises are fulfilled for those who keep His Commandments and do not allow themselves to be contaminated by Apostasy or ungodliness.

The Rapture has to do with Heaven, our eternal destiny, and with the global realisation of the plan that God traced for humanity from the beginning. Our first parents were created in integrity, in complete Holiness and in a direct and intimate relationship of communication with God.

Adam and Eve enjoyed the fullness of paradise in all the supernatural and preternatural gifts. This was God’s plan for all of us and it should have been so for all ages, but with Satan’s deceit, man lost friendship with God and all these gifts. The Rapture and the Parousia, bring about the restoration of human nature, the reestablishment of Divine gifts, and the concrete realisation of the promise that one day we will again recover incorruptible indemnity and happiness.

From the beginning, God put enmity between the serpent and the woman that He wished to design as His own Mother. And He established the final triumph of the descendants of who would be the Mother of the Divine Word (And of the Creator Himself) crushing and defeating the descendants of the serpent and the fallen angels. He called this woman Mary.

From the very instant of original sin, God established the Incarnation of his Son Jesus Christ in the virginal womb of Mary, just as her triumph in the End Times. With her approaching new victory, God will restore total Holiness to man, full integrity and all the gifts of indemnity, establishing His universal Kingdom in the world as He always wished it would be.

This is the sense of the Great tribulation and the height of purification prior to the glorious return of Christ and the definitive splendour of God in the world. We can bear persecution and martyrdom if we have this hope.

The Rapture assures us a glorious transformation, both in the life of man and in the whole world. The certainty of triumph and the greatness of the reward is such that Saint Luke insists “When you see that these things are about to happen, stand up and lift up your head, because your liberation is at hand” (LK 21, 28)

God knew how to free Noah from the anger that destroyed the first humanity under the waters, and He knew how to preserve lot from the destruction of Sodom, and He knew how to rescue the Jews from slavery in Egypt. So also will God know how to preserve His Church when He comes to rescue us from the persecution of the Antichrist, and especially from the terrible day of the wrath of the Lord which will fall on the ungodly in the whole world.

And because the Rapture is a “Mystery”, we need not only to read and study about it, but especially to meditate and contemplate it in prayer, asking God that He help us to penetrate such an unfathomable and marvellous mystery established by Him. This is one of the most ineffable Divine prodigies which he has decreed for each one of us.

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José Alberto Villasana Munguía

José Alberto Villasana Munguía is a Writer and analyst of political, economic and religious international affairs.

He studied Theology in the Gregorian University in Rome, Philosophy in the Angelicum University in Rome, Classical Humanities in the Centre for Higher Studies in Salamanca, Spain and International Communications in the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico (ITAM), specialising in Eschatology since 1995.

He is Academic Adviser to the International Institute of Human Rights.

He is a director member of the Journalist’s Club of Mexico.

He is President of the pro life civil association “Life to be Born” (Vida para Nacer).

He has received the National Award for Journalism on three occasions in the categories of in-depth investigation.