By Nathan Jones
In December 2009 I was interviewed by Bill Salus, author of the popular Psalm 83-themed book Isralestine, host of the radio program "Prophecy Update," and evangelist on the end times website Prophecy Depot. Bill and I spent much of the interview discussing the Rapture, Middle East politics and my "left behind" video "Jesus Came. What's Next?"
Bill has been kind enough to allow The Christ in Prophecy Journal to reproduce the "Caught Up in the Pre-Trib Rapture" interview in transcript form, edited into an article series. To listen to the original radio program in mp3 format, I invite you to visit Prophecy Depot or KWBB.
In this segment, Bill and I will be discussing the word "rapture" in the Bible.
The Elusive Rapture Word
Bill Salus: In 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18 it says, "According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever."
The conclusion to this passage doesn't seem to get a lot of emphasis, but I think it's critical. "Therefore with all that said" (now I am paraphrasing), "Therefore comfort one another with these words."
How do you interpret this passage, and where is the Rapture inside of that verse?
Nathan Jones: That is probably the strongest verse section in the Bible that teaches the Rapture. Now, when I heard you read I didn't hear you say the word "Rapture." And so, why do we say there's something called "the Rapture" in this verse?
Well, when we read "caught up" or "snatched up" or "take away," we have to go back to the original Greek. The original Greek for "caught up," or "snatched up" or "take away" is harpazo. But, for 1500 years the only Bible the Europeans had was the Latin Vulgate. The Latin Vulgate is where we have the word harpazo as rapio, and rapio means "to be caught up, snatched up, taken away."
It is kind of like if I go to get a pizza. I run to Papa John's and they've got that pizza ready, and I grab it, I snatch it up, and I take it with me back home. That concept of the Rapture is certainly there... if we are reading Latin, but of course we read English.
Instead of saying "The Great Caught Up," or "The Great Snatching Away," it is easier to just say "The Rapture." It is kind of like the word "Bible" isn't in the Bible or the word "Trinity" isn't in the Bible, but those words help us with these concepts.
Bill Salus: So, technically, it could have been translated rather than "caught up" as "rapture" because that is really what the word is.
Nathan Jones: Exactly! It is kind of a shame our English versions didn't keep the word "Rapture." They do have the wording "caught up" or "snatch away," but we lose the word "rapture." This omission I think confuses many people who declare, "The Rapture isn't in the Bible. I don't see the word 'rapture' at all." When I'm confronted by that statement I just turn around and reply, "Well, do you see the word 'trinity' in the Bible?" And, it is clear that the Trinity is a concept that is definitely in the Bible.
You can find more on the Rapture in 1 Corinthians 15:51-58 and John 14:1-14, so it is definitely a biblical concept and a biblical teaching that Jesus is promising the Church that He will take us away one day.