Rapture of Christ

by W. John Walsh

The Evangelical Dictionary of Theology defines Rapture of the Church as:

"a phrase used by premillennialists to refer to the Church being united with Christ at his second coming..."

Latter-day Saints do not use this term in their theology (See Latter-day Saint Vocabulary) However, Latter-day Saints affirm that there is an actual Messiah, that he will come at some future time to the earth, and that only through his coming and the events associated therewith will a millennial age of peace, harmony, and joy begin.  We believe faithful Latter-day Saints, both living and dead, will be caught up to meet Christ at His second coming.  The Doctrine and Covenants teaches:

"And the Saints that are upon the earth, who are alive, shall be quickened and be caught up to meet him.  And they who have slept in their graves shall come forth, for their graves shall be opened; and they also shall be caught up to meet him in the midst of the pillar of heaven—They are Christ's, the first fruits, they who shall descend with him first, and they who are on the earth and in their graves, who are first caught up to meet him; and all this by the voice of the sounding of the trump of the angel of God." (D&C 88:96-98)

"But before the arm of the Lord shall fall, an angel shall sound his trump, and the saints that have slept shall come forth to meet me in the cloud.  Wherefore, if ye have slept in peace blessed are you; for as you now behold me and know that I am, even so shall ye come unto me and your souls shall live, and your redemption shall be perfected; and the saints shall come forth from the four quarters of the earth." (D&C 45:45-6)

The Bible teaches:

"For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:   Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." (1 Thess. 4:16-17)

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 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)

Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught:

"Christ's, the first fruits—who are they? They are all those who were with him in his resurrection. They are all those of Enoch's city, a righteous people who were translated and who then gained full immortality when Christ rose from his tomb. They are all those of ages past who have burst the bands of death. They are the living saints who are quickened by the power of God and are caught up to meet their Lord in the air. . . ." (The Millennial Messiah, p. 636)

(See Basic Beliefs; Teachings About Jesus Christ home page; The Second Coming of Jesus Christ home page; The Last Days home page)