By Nathan Jones
Can the word "Rapture" be found in the Bible?
Jesus Christ could be coming back this very year! To ring in this new year, Dr. David Reagan, Dennis Pollock of Spirit of Grace Ministries and I discussed on television's Christ in Prophecy why you should be yearning for the return of Jesus Christ.
Finding "Rapture" in the Scriptures
Dr. Reagan: Quite often people who don't believe in the Rapture will tell me that the word "Rapture" is not even in the Bible. They believe it's an unbiblical concept. How do they come to that conclusion?
Dennis Pollock: The word is not going to be in most English Bibles, but the concept clearly is. It comes from the words in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 where Paul says that we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with the dead who have been raised to meet Christ in the air. The word for "caught up" come from the Greek word harpazo and the word harpazo means "to grab something, to take something forcefully and almost violently."
An illustration would be like Nathan handing me his Bible. Just handing it to me, that Bible wasn't raptured because number one you can see it, but number two he handed it to me. The Rapture is not somebody handing anybody anything. It won't be a gentle handing away.
But, if that very same Bible was raptured that would mean it was violently grabbed away, and that's why the word "snatched" is probably the best English word used for the Rapture. In fact, that same word harpazo which means "caught up" is used by Jesus when He said, "I give my sheep eternal life, they will never perish, neither shall anyone snatch them out of my hand." Rapture then means "to forcefully grab." Jesus said that's not going to happen by anyone else, for He's got His sheep held tightly in his hand and they will not be snatched away, which is the same exact word in the Greek.
Dr. Reagan: Actually, the word "Rapture" really is in the Bible, isn't it, Nathan?
Nathan Jones: Yes, harpazo being Greek was translated into Latin which is rapio, and from that word we get the term "Rapture." So, if you read the Latin Bible which was the only Bible the Church had for 1,100 years, people knew that the term "Rapture" was right there in 1 Thessalonians 4:17. It's just that in our English version we don't have the word "Rapture," we have something more easily described which is "caught up." For me, it isn't easier to say "the great snatching up" or "the great catching up," but rather easier just to say "Rapture."
Dennis Pollock: Yes, and if you don't like to say "I'm looking forward to the Rapture," you can just say "I'm so thrilled about the great 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17," though that might be a little long.
Dr. Reagan: I think I will stick with "Rapture." You know that I grew up in a church that never taught Bible prophecy, so if you had asked me at the age of 35 what the Rapture was, I would have said, "It's a sensation you feel when your girlfriend kisses you," because that's all I knew about the Rapture.
In the next part of this series on yearning for Jesus' return, we'll look at the Bible's teaching on the timing of the Rapture.