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JENNIFER - Many of my friends are Baptist and are constantly
talking about the rapture - saying that they will be
taken before the final war starts. what can I say
to them as to what our beliefs are - I thought I
understood the LDS position until I tried to explain
it and got hopelessly bogged down. Please help me
know how to share our views.
JOEL - According to many traditional Christian beliefs the
word "Rapture" refers to a supernatural event where
many born again Christians will suddenly disappear
from the earth and be taken by Jesus to heaven.
The apostle Paul wrote to the Thessalonian Saints that
those living on the earth at the time of Christ's
appearing would be "caught up" to meet him (1 Thess.
4:16-17, Mat. 24:40-41).
Our Doctrine and Covenants, using similar language,
adds that these righteous saints will be "quickened"
and will join those "who have slept in their graves,"
who will also "be caught up to meet him in the midst
of the pillar of heaven" (D&C 88:96-97).
The term "Rapture" is translated from the Greek
(harpazo) and Latin (Rapere) bible texts meaning "to
snatch" or "take away".
Of course the word "Rapture" is nowhere to be found in
the Bible, but this is what a large part of the
Christian world calls this second comming event.
Elder James E. Talmage taught: "With Christ shall come
those who have already been resurrected; and His
approach shall be the means of inaugurating a general
resurrection of the righteous dead, while the pure and
just who are still in the flesh shall be
instantaneously changed from the mortal to the
immortal state(quickened) and shall be caught up with
the newly resurrected to meet the Lord and His
celestial company, and shall descend with Him." (Jesus
the Christ, p. 787)
Being "quickened" can mean being changed to a
resurrected(immortal) state or it can also mean a
temporary spiritual change that happens to mortal
bodies so they can withstand the presence of God.
So at the second coming:
1. Some older righteous living people who are at "the
age of man"(D&C 63:50), will be quickened to an
immortal state(resurrected state),
2. Some will be spiritually quickened(including
righteous children). These will continue to live and
grow on the new earth, until they are old and will
then be changed to a resurrected immortal state.
3. The righteous dead people will be resurrected.
All three of these types of people will rise to meet
Jesus at His coming.
One major difference between the LDS concept of the
"Rapture" and other Christian religions, is that we
belive that only those who are destined for the
Celestial Kingdom will be caught up to meet the
Those destined for the Terrestrial world(your Baptist
friends) and Telestial world (wicked people) will
remain on the earth, but only the Telestial souls will
be consumed by the cleansing fire at Christ's
coming.(D&C 101:24-25). The burning that will occur
is simply the effects of a person of Celestial glory(Jesus)
appearing to a mortal world.
The Terrestrial souls will somehow be spared this and
will remain on earth to witness the coming of the Lord
with His angels and those who were caught up to meet
Another small differnece from what your Baptist
friends said, is that we believe that everyone will
still be on the earth during the final battle of
Armagedon just prior to Christ's coming.