A popular Louisiana televangelist, Pastor Jesse Duplantis of the Covenant Church, stated during a Sunday broadcast this weekend that even aborted fetuses will be "raptured" to heaven at the Second Coming of Jesus.
According to Duplantis, aborted fetuses will go to heaven to meet and "hug Jesus."
Pastor Duplantis, who heads the Covenant Church in Destrehan, Louisiana, made the statement in response to a question from a viewer during a televangelism broadcast on Sunday. The viewer, a lady named Sheila, wanted to know whether very young children and infants would be "raptured" at the Second Coming of Christ.Duplantis answered the eschatological riddle, saying, "All children, all babies, all people not of the age of accountability [will be raptured]. God don't lose babies, even aborted babies -- if the world don't accept them, God accepts them and brings them in the very presence of who he is. It's going to be a wonderful time [in heaven]."
Believers had several other eschatological riddles for Duplantis. Another viewer wanted to know whether "raptured" Christians would be able to touch Jesus physically at the Second Coming.
Duplantis answered cheerfully, "Yes! And can we speak to him? Yes! That's what's so wonderful about Heaven. We can't do that now in what I call these Adam-like bodies here, these natural bodies, but you will be able to come up to him and hug him and just bless him."
The video above, recorded on March 20, 2016, shows Duplantis giving believers reassuring answers to anxious questions about the heavenly afterlife.
In Christian eschatology -- doctrine of the end times -- rapture refers to the belief, held mostly by evangelical Christians, that when Jesus appears in the clouds at the Second Coming, believers who have died and those who are still living will be "caught up" to the clouds to meet Jesus in the air.
According to the teaching, Christians who have died over the ages will be resurrected with new bodies, and together with those still living at the moment of the Second Coming, will go to meet Jesus in the clouds.
Christians quote passages of the New Testament, including the Gospel of Mathew, First Thessalonians, First Corinthians, and the Book of Revelation to defend the teaching rejected by some Christian sects.
Christians who accept the teaching also disagree about the timing of the event. Christians who believe the rapture will happen before a seven-year period called the "Great Tribulation," during which the world comes under the power of an evil personality called the Anti-Christ, are called pre-tribulationists. But Christians who believe that the rapture will occur after the seven-year period of the Anti-Christ's rule are called "post-tribulationists."
Regardless of views held about the timing of the rapture, one of the biblical passages that Christians quote most often to defend the rapture teaching is I Thessalonians 4:16-17.
"For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout... and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord."Some viewers speculated that Duplantis' intimate knowledge of conditions in heaven could be because he has been to heaven before. He claims that Jesus took him to heaven decades ago and showed him what life was like in heaven.
"I saw children run up to Jesus and just grab him [in heaven]," he explained at the time. "Isn't that nice? It was so wonderful."
Jesse Duplantis, born on July 9, 1949, is the founder of the Jesse Duplantis Ministries. He enjoys the loyal support of thousands of evangelical Christians around the world. But he is a highly controversial figure outside the circle of his followers. He is widely criticized for his ministry's alleged emphasis on what critics term derisively, "prosperity gospel."
[Image via Wikimedia/Public Domain]