Nov 23, 2009

Rapture Reference

Nathan JonesBy Nathan Jones

Dr. David Reagan and myself recently got together for a Christ in Prophecy TV interview to talk about how some people don't believe the word "Rapture" can be found in the Bible. If you were wondering yourself just where one can find the exact reference — read on!

Dr. Reagan: When I think of the promises of God, I always think of something the Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 2:9, he wrote, "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, nor has the mind of man conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him." But, the next verse says, "God has revealed those things to us through His Holy Spirit." That revelation is, of course, contained in the Bible.

One of the greatest promises of God's Word is that one day soon He will send His Son for His Church. Jesus will appear in the heavens. His appearance will be heralded by the shout of an archangel and the blowing of a trumpet. The dead in Christ will be resurrected and those living who have put their faith in Jesus will be caught up to meet Him in the sky, being translated in route from mortal to immortal. This promise is called the Rapture.

I have found that the moment you start talking about the Rapture people always seem to jump down your throat and say, "Ah, come on, that is a concept that is not even in the Bible. You can't find it anywhere in the Bible." What about it?

Nathan Jones: They haven't read 1 Thessalonians 4:17. Now, in our modern English versions the verse will say "caught up." The Bible wasn't written in English, though, it was written in Hebrew and Aramaic and Greek. In the original Greek 1 Thessalonians 4:17's "caught up" is harpazo. For 1500 years we had the Latin Vulgate translation of the Scriptures before the English version, and that version has the Latin word for harpazo as rapio (or rapiemur or raptus depending on the declension), where we get the word "rapture."

The idea behind the reference to the Rapture in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 is to be caught up, snatched up, taken away. The act is similar to me going to Papa John's and snatching up that pizza and taking it away home — same meaning.

Dr. Reagan: Well, you are so exactly right, the concept is certainly there. I mean, you could talk about the fact that the word "trinity" is not in the Bible.

Nathan Jones: Well, the word "Bible" is not in the Bible.

Dr. Reagan: The word's "Shekinah Glory" of God is not there in our English translations. But, those are terms that we have developed to express a truth that is in there. Clearly the Trinity is a truth that is in the Bible. The Shekinah is a truth that is in the Bible. The Rapture is a truth that is in the Bible. But, in this case of the Rapture, the word really is in there, it's just been translated.

Nathan Jones: It is so much easier to say "Rapture" than "The Great Catching Up" or "The Great Taking Away."

Dr. Reagan: In English we have to use a term like "taking out, snatching away, catching up," and we all like to talk in shorthand. So, what we have done is just go back and pick up the Latin word rapio, put it into English as "rapture," and that word is actually there in 1 Thessalonians 4 using the only translation we had for 1,500 years, which was the Latin Vulgate. That was the translation that says the Rapture. So, that is what we use.

"Rapture" is a biblical term and it is a biblical concept. People who say it is not just simply do not understand what's going on in the text.

Nathan Jones: Exactly!

Related Links

The Rapture: What is it? Who will it affect? When is it most likely to take place? - Lamb & Lion Ministries
What is the difference between the Rapture and the Second Coming? -
Is Christ’s Return Imminent? - Grace to You (John MacArthur)
Vanished into Thin Air: The Hope of Every Believer - Hal Lindsey (Book)
Maranatha Our Lord, Come!: A Definitive Study of the Rapture of the Church - Renald E. Showers (Book)