The Catholic Defender get's caught up in the "Rapture"
It was the winter of 1987, I was stationed at Schwienfurt Germany based on Conn Barracks with a Forward Support Infantry unit. I was assigned with the Ambulance Platoon under the "track pack" squad. I was responsible for an M113 A-2 track vehicle. One day, my Platoon Sergeant instructed me to take out my track with my crew and train up a new Soldier coming into the section. There was a field not far from the motor pool that we would train where we could cut loose. That's the best way to learn how to maneuver these tracks. We were well known for working in the motor pool often conducting PMCS, annual services, and there was always a track needing work done. We were called "medichanics" because we were there so much. I assembled my crew and with the new recruit, off we went. We drove down the road to where the field was and from there, we began going all over the field. We were cutting donuts, running from one end to the other until after about 15 minutes, as we were turning around, an MP Car was parked in our path about 50 yards ahead. We stopped to study the situation. There was an MP, standing next to the car with his arms folded, he had on a pair of sun glasses, his hat covered the top part of his forehead. I was TC of the vehicle and instructed the driver to pull up slowly to see what was going on. As we got closer, the look on the face of the MP was not pleasant. I stopped the vehicle and asked if I could be of assistance to him. He fired back at us to shut off the engine and get out of the vehicle. By this point we knew this didn't look good. He ordered us to get in the back seat of his patrol car. I had never been in the back of a patrol car before but this was interesting. After learning what unit we belonged to, our Command was called to come get us. I learned from the MP station that the field we were training on had been designated for laser training costing millions of dollars spent on the project. My Platoon Sergeant did not know this nor did we. Our Commander and First Sergeant both must have been chewed out for that. It was always a sore subject for them when the subject of cutting donuts in the snow in the field ever came up. We did have to go back out there with shovels to repair any damage we did to the ground. The new Soldier would soon become a great friend as we became known as "Batman and Robin" within the unit for our shoulder to shoulder defense of Christ in the unit. He would ultimately convert to the Catholic Faith as we discussed his questions. A major issue he had with the Catholic Church was his perception that the Catholic Church did not believe in the "Rapture". I agreed with him, but I wanted to reveal to him why. I was able to reach him through the following argument: I am familiar with the Rapture from the "Left Behind" series and the Jack Van Impe movies "Apocalypse, Caught In The Eye Of The Storm, Revelation, Tribulation, and Judgement (staring Mr. T). Also, if you have had the chance to go to a "Judgement House", a very powerful play held during the week of Halloween, depicts the Rapture. The whole presentation is to get you to recognize your need to accept Christ and get ready for the Rapture because you do not want to be left behind. The "Rapturist" often quote Matthew 24:40-44 which states, "Two men will be out in the field; one will be taken, and one will be left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken, and one will be left. Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which the day your Lord will come. Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come". The principle scripture most quoted to support the doctrine of the Rapture comes from 1 Thess 4:16-17 which states, "For the Lord himself, with the word of command, with the voice of an archangel and with the TRUMPET of God, will come down from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the CLOUDS to meet the Lord in the air. Thus we shall always be with the Lord". Verse 17, St. Jerome called "will be caught up together" rapiemur, a Latin verb meaning to be "snatched up". The Ana-Baptist movement from Holland, developed the doctrine of the Rapture beginning in the 1830-40's. The Early Church Fathers to include St. Jerome never envisioned a Rapture to take the Christians out before the "Great Tribulation". Consider the "Trumpet of God" in verse 16. Matthew 24:30-31 clarifies this stating, "And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming upon the CLOUDS (1 Thess 4:17) of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a TRUMPET blast, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other". Taking a look at the angels, consider Matthew 13:41-42? It states, "The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all who cause others to sin and all evildoers. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears ought to hear". The more you read into the return of Christ, the more I would prefer to be "left behind"! The first taken would be thrown into the fire. Those remaining will be taken to heaven. Consider Matthew 24:22, Jesus says, "And if those days had not been shortened, no one would be saved; but for the sake of the elect (the Church) they will be shortened". If the Church was taken, there would be no need to shorten the days. When you look at all of the scripture, the Catholic Church becomes more and more solid. The Church proclaims the "Parousia", He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead! Revelation 22:20 says, "The one who gives this testimony says, 'Yes, I am coming soon' Amen! Come, Lord Jesus"! You should look at the whole text. I recommend David Currie's book, "Rapture, End Times Error that Leaves The Bible behind". Mr. Currie is a Catholic Convert formerly a Baptist. He has another well known book "Born Fundelmentalist, Born Again Catholic". Also Paul Thigpen's book "The Rapture Trap" is very good on the subject.