Rapture Defined

Is there any truth to the use of the word Rapture as a biblical term? I was a arrogant man at one time who opened my mouth long before investigating to see if there was any truth to the matter. I overlooked that people of other nations would like to read the Word of God in a language they understand. Latin speaking people uses the root word equivalent to the English word Rapture.

I found several Latin Dictionaries on the web that as can be used as a source of information on the Latin word “Rapiemur” to confirm the truth that you hear on the way the word rapture is used. (google Latin Dictionary) Each of the four Latin Dictionary web sites were unanimous and the fifth went into greater detail with a wider definition.

After about an hour of investigation I found that the Greek word “Harpazo” and the latin word "rapiemur" are identical in their definitions.  Both mean means to seize, snatch catch up, carry off by force, snatch out or away, tear away; to hurry along a person or thing.  The catholic definition of “Harpazo" means a sudden and physical withdrawal, a snatching away in essence. However, in this and other investigations I found no verifiable definitions about being carried away with feelings of ecstasy outside of theology.

At times it is a good idea to place the word being discussion side by side as a means to compare their use. Below is a word chart to compare the Greek word “Harpazo” to the Latin and English translations.  This chart lists the fourteen locations you can find derivatives of the word harpazo and the words used in the Greek, Latin, and English language.


Greek word 

 Latin word  

 English word

Matthew 11:12 



 take by force

Matthew 12:29  



 carry off

Matthew 13:19



 snatches away

John 6:15   



 take by force

John 10:12




John 10:28




John 10:29




Acts 8:39



caught away

Acts 23:10 



take by force

2 Corinthians 12:2  



caught up

2 Corinthians 12:4



he was caught up

1 Thessalonians 4:17  



shall be caught up

Jude 23




Revelation 12:5



 was caught up

You hardly hear a sermon on the rapture without hearing that you will be taken away in ecstasy. The theological definition departs from the use of rapture in scripture and the definitions that were in use at the time of the prophets.  You may be in ecstasy, but that may not be true for everyone. Most if not all of the sermons on the resurrection is pointed at believers and since we are ready to go we seldom look at the resurrection of the sinner. The angels God is sending to gather the elect have been assigned a task to do and they are going to do it with diligence and efficiently. I doubt if the angels are going to give you a choice in the matter. Christians may jump into the arms of the angel that will take them to meet the Lord in the air while others may fight tooth and nail to get away.

The rapture is also closely associated with the pre-tribulational rapture which is a revelation of a two-stage return of Christ. This doctrine states that Christ will come before the tribulation period and again after the tribulation. The one associated with the pre-tribulational rapture is called the secret rapture. The rapture is so secret that God never spoke about a secret rapture within the Bible. What I don’t understand is how so many Christians are able to expound on the secret rapture from the scriptures. The secretiveness of the rapture appears to be contrary to the forthrightness of God’s character and his open willingness to give you the wisdom you lack without finding fault. When Jesus concluded his answer to the question “tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?" Mark 13:4. Jesus said how secret God’s plan was.

So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time. Mark 13:23

In my investigation of harpazo I found an interesting definition of harpazo.

harpazô  I. to snatch away, carry off  to steal, be a thief, to seize hastily, snatch up From Root arp, come also harpê  from Latin root. rapio

 This definition describes the actions of a thief at work who in a hurry quickly snatches things of value and then takes them with him as he leaves. This definition reminded me of two passages in God’s word.

  In fact, no one can enter a strong man's house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can rob his house. Mark 3:27
You know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 1 Thessalonians 5:2

Christians will be elated that when Christ comes how quickly he will bring justice on the one who has incited us to sin and intimidated during our lifetime. Satan will be overthrown by the breath of his mouth and destroyed by the splendor of Christ’s coming.  Satan will be imprisoned for a thousand years while Jesus Christ carries off the victims of Satan and his elect.

A parable is a simple story that explains a truth in form of a spiritual lesson that that can be compared to our experiences in life. In Matthew 13 we see such a parable that reflects God’s overall plan for man. It refers to Genesis where God created the environment to support man on earth. When that had been accomplished, God created man and breathed the breath of life into him. Satan came into the garden and deceived the woman first and then the man to disobey God. Once sin had entered the garden it began to affect the growing cycle of man and unknowingly man tried to hide the change sin made in their life. Because they had sinned they were removed from the garden where the tree of life stood. God uprooted Adam and Eve from his garden and allowed them to continue to live outside the Garden.

He answered, "The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. Matthew 13:37-39

Man is presently in the growing cycle that God has planned and the growing season is about to abruptly come to an end. The harvest time of God’s choosing will take place when we least expect it. However, we do know from experience when farmers go into the field to harvest they reap to the four corners of the field. The combines of today harvests the weeds along with the crop, but combines are designed to separate the seed from the chaff and stalk discharging them from the trailing end of the combine. When harvest time comes at the end of the age, don’t expect Christ to leave anyone behind. The weeds were to be gathered along with the crop, but the weeds are uprooted and thrown in the fire while his crop was taken to the barn.

"As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. Matthew 13:40-41

Again the resurrection occurs in the twinkling of an eye and all men will be changed. In that moment of time much will take place especially with the harvesters.

"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Matthew 25:31-33

Everyone who has died in the past will rise from the grave and taken to pass under the shepherd’s rod. Some will be placed on the right and others on the left.  On that day, Christ will make a distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not. The righteous will inherit the kingdom of God, but Christ will punish those who refused to repent with everlasting destruction and remove them from the presence of the Lord on the day he comes to be glorified in his people.  This paragraph is a synthesized summary of Christ’s coming as recorded in John 5:28-29, Matthew 25:31-33, Thessalonians 1:8-10, Malachi 3:17,

The scriptures are very specific that every eye will see him coming in the clouds of glory.

Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him.  So shall it be! Amen. Revelation 1:7

Within this scripture Jesus Christ included the Roman soldier who was ordered to make sure he was dead. One thing is sure, every sin that you or I ever committed pierced his hands and feet with the nails that nailed him to the cross.  That’s why you and I will be there to see him coming in the clouds of glory.

Rapture is found in English versions of the Bible and if you will notice they do not speak of the coming of the lord for the elect, but of intense joy.

 As the apple-tree among the trees of the wood, So is my beloved among the sons: In his shadow have I rapture and sit down; And his fruit is sweet to my taste. Song of Solomon 2:3 Darby Bible
So saying, He showed them His hands and His side. And when the disciples saw the Lord, they were filled with joy (delight, exultation, ecstasy, rapture). John 20:20 Amplified Bible
And Zechariah his father was filled with the Holy Spirit, and spoke in a rapture of praise. Luke 1:67 Weymouth

Ecstasy is an emotion so strong that one is carried beyond rational thought and self-control. We think describe ecstasy as intense joy or delight and the rapture associated with the coming of the Lord. Harpazo is the Greek word that raptio (rapture) is derived from and below are the verses in which the word Harpazo is found. Of the fourteen verses below few speak of the Second Coming, but do they speak of the delight associated with the rapture.

And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. Matthew 11:12
"Or again, how can anyone enter a strong man's house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can rob his house. Matthew 12:29
When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. Matthew 13:19 KJV
When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone. John 6:15 KJV
But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. John 10:12 KJV
And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. John 10:28-29 KJV
And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing. Acts 8:39 KJV
And when there arose a great dissension, the chief captain, fearing lest Paul should have been pulled in pieces of them, commanded the soldiers to go down, and to take him by force from among them, and to bring him into the castle. Acts 23:10 KJV
I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. 2 Corinthians 12:2-4 KJV
Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 4:17 KJV
And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh. Jude 23 KJV
And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. Revelation 12:5 KJV

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