“The Dallas Rapture” Mystery Solved!

Thanks to a helpful hand from investigative reporter Laray Polk, I have located the owners of the painting. I have been wrong in referring to it as “The Dallas Rapture,” btw. It is simply “The Rapture” — the old Southland building logo was wiped off so that the painting could represent Anycity, USA.

The painting was commissioned in 1973 by Leon and Ruth Bates, who now run a ministry called the Bible Believers Evangelistic Association (if you’re a Bible-believing evangelical, check it out here). In fact, if you scroll back down to the painting I point your attention to a yellow van: those are Leon and Ruth themselves zappinig up to heaven. (At first, Leon tells me, artist Charles Anderson only painted in Leon, but Leon insisted that he and Ruth are always together — which I thought was sweet.)  Charles the painter is now retired east of McKinney.

You can order your own copy of this classic here. I did, and Leon called me back to tell me he got the order, which was nice.


  • Much obliged, Wick. That’s solid work right there.

  • Brad

    My favorite “Interesting Point” about the painting from the site:

    “Leon says he’d heard a rumor that a major airline had established a policy to not schedule a Christian pilot and a Christian Co-pilot on the same flights. He tried to
    confirm the rumor, but could not.” “Leon says that IF SO, it’s a wise policy. And if any listener (or reader of this) is not saved, they should trust Christ for their salvation BEFORE they fly.”

    Because if both pilot and co-pilot are saved at that instant and fly up to heaven through the glass, how will the other passengers get into the cockpit to take over the flight now that post 9/11 regulations require it to be locked from the inside and inaccessible to all other personel?

    Ok, their agenda worked – I’m scared enough to go to church now….

  • Some Guy

    I’m glad that Leon and Ruth had the presence of mind to pull their car over to the side of the road prior to getting raptured. All Christians should take head, lest the rest of us endure massive pile-ups on 635.

  • Bob

    I agree–“all Christians should take head”.

  • Jackson

    To clarify Brad’s comment above, the bizarre painting actually depicts an airplane crashing into the upper floors of a highrise office building.

    Granted, the painting is now 37 years old, but creepy is as creepy does. There’s no doubt in my mind this work found a new life in the post 9/11 world. I first saw it being hyped on the internet about five years ago.

    In essence, it plays up the whole Armageddon belief system. More specifically, and more troubling, it plays up the whole Armageddon-has-already-begun belief system.

    You know, some folks actually want Armageddon to happen, and the sooner the better.

  • Daniel

    Gotta love this site’s autobowdlerizer. I’ll never think of the word cockpit the same way again. Not the intended effect, I’m sure.

  • Mike

    They’ve had that thing out at the fair for years, it used to creep me out as a kid 30 years ago. I saw it again this year in the Womans’ building or whatever they call it now. I’m not sure if it’s the original but I think it’s the same group you mention.

  • They look like those inflatable things at car dealerships. Ever since that picture went up originally, I have to fight the urge to yell, “RAPTURE!” when I drive past one.

  • LakeWWWooder

    I used to see this at the Exposition Building (north side of Esplanade) or whatever they call it now.

    Did you ever see the “rapture” death intro to “Six Feet Under” ?

  • Clint West

    Thanks for this information. We had a copy of this painting while growing up and I’ve always loved it.
    Unfortunately, the link no longer works to purchase a print.
    I have a couple of questions.
    1) were there any other duplicate paintings made; or was it just one original?
    2) is it representative of the Dallas skyline in 73?