The Christ in Prophecy Journal

Rapture Reference


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 Skekinah 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!

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ABOUT AUTHOR View all posts Author Website

Dr. Nathan E. Jones

As the Internet Evangelist at Lamb & Lion Ministries, Nathan reaches out to the over 4.5 billion people accessible over the Internet with the Good News of Jesus Christ. He also co-hosts the ministry's television program Christ in Prophecy and podcast The Truth Will Set You Free.

16 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Nathan,

    Will this interview be available to purchase on DVD? (Please say yes!)

    Even if it is available online I would still rather purchase it and add it to my collection of about 35 Lamb & Lion programs


  • 35 – wow! I don't see the Thanksgiving 1 & 2 interviews airing this week on the album production list, but if you call the nice ladies at (800) 705-8316 during business hours I'm sure they will take care of you.

  • I got told that in the line at a grocery store when a lady saw I was buying one of the novels in the Left Behind series! Gutsy stranger! I just smiled and said I guess you will see if you don't believe it. I didn't have the reference to 1 Thessalonians at the tip of my tongue. I wish I would see that same woman again, because she would not catch me so off guard this time. It is sad how they will grasp at straws to explain it away and not believe.

  • It seems to me that to use the word Rapture to refer to the Harpadzo experience that the Lord promises is to beg the question and to read into the text a concept that may not necessarily be there. Certainly, the Lord promised to come to receives us to himself. Certainly, He promised to 'catch us away'. But, it is not necessarily true that He meant for us to believe that this catching away would be pre-trib and meet the criterion used to devine a 'rapture'. The timing of the catching away is inferential. So, to be fair and true to the text, wouldn't it be better to just say that Christ is coming for us and he tells us about this so that we will do what is necessary to ready? Maranatha!

  • An early hint of the rapture of the church was in Zephaniah 2:1-3 "Gather together, gather together, O shameful nation, before the appointed time arrives and that day sweeps on like chaff, before the fierce anger of the Lord comes upon you, before the day of the Lord's wrath comes upon you. Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, you who do what he commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the Lord's anger." This is a clear indication of the sheltering of His people, those that seek the Lord, righteousness and humility. Just as the same happened before the angel of death went through Egypt killing all the first born of anyone who was not sheltering under the blood of the lamb on the door posts on the first Passover. Enoch, who walked with God, was raptured before the first judgement by water, the flood. The church will likewise be ratured before the second judgement by fire.
    Anyone who doesn't believe the rapture will happen is clearly ignorant about scripture.

  • I believe you will be “Raptured” or “Caught-up” with Christ at the 7th Triumph (i.e. at Christ return). This is the time your body will be transformed and is the major way we will know that its Christ’s return and not the “anti-christ” playing Christ. Tony

  • Tony it sounds like the trumpet heard at the rapture couldn't be the seventh trumpet of judgment but rather the last of the feast of trumpets trumpet during the church age. Can't figure why God would possibly put his children trhough half the horrors of the tribulation. Why not all or none?

  • Nathan,
    The Bible speaks of an Harpadzo (catching away) of the church. There is no question that there will indeed be an Harpadzo experience. But, the contemporary use of the word Rapture implies a pre-trib Harpadzo. That may be. Or it may not be. The text of Scripture doesn't absolutely affirm such. Dave has recoginzed this in articles on the rapture. So, I think it would be better to just stick with the text. Yes, we will be caught up at the end of this age. But, God has left the exact timing of the harpadzo open. We shouldn't elevate the timing of the harpadzo to a position that the Holy Spirit doesn't give it.

  • Nathan says, "Bible does provide a lot of time indicators to know it will be before the Tribulation."

    I see a lot of indicators as well, but all of them poin to a post-trib rapture. Here are three examples …

    1. The Dead in Christ Rise First

    We all know and agree that the dead in Christ rise first before the rapture, and then we who are alive and remain will be caught up with them. But, when does this resurrection take place? This is an extremely important question, and it is what turned the light switch on for me.

    Revelation 20 is clear to show us that this resurrection happens after the tribulation. Rev 20:4,5b reads "And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and [I saw] the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received [his] mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years… This [is] the first resurrection."

    Now consider the logical implications of what John is telling us: If the First Resurrection is after the tribulation as Rev 20 clearly states, then there is no resurrection before it, and if there is no resurrection before the tribulation then there is therefore no rapture before the tribulation. It is impossible. (Also, why would the text in 1 Thess 4:17 say those who are "alive and remain" if the rapture was pre-trib? It wouldn't make much sense.) The only way for the pre-trib position to get around this dilemma that I can see is to separate the First Resurrection into "phases", which is not supported in Scripture at all. In fact, due to the "phases" contention, the pre-trib position is essentially stating that the rapture takes place before the First Resurrection is even fully completed, yet Scripture is clear that the dead in Christ rise FIRST, and THEN we who are alive and remain will be caught up. According to Rev 20:4 there are obviously still those who are dead in Christ at the end of the tribulation who will be raised in the First Resurrection. From what I see directly in Scripture, the Second Coming of Christ immediately after the tribulation is when the rapture takes place, not before it.

  • 2. Day of the Lord

    The pre-trib teaching says that the Day of the Lord is the 7 year tribulation, this is found nowhere at all in Scripture. I challenge anyone to show me otherwise. When is the Day of the Lord? I believe that the prophet Joel gives us a very significant clue:

    Joel 2:31, "The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come."

    Jesus gives us a second very significant clue regarding when these cosmic signs take place:

    Matthew 24:29, "Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken"

    Therefore, if the cosmic signs happen before the Day of the Lord, and these same cosmic signs happen immediately after the tribulation, the Day of the Lord cannot be the tribulation itself. There is only one Day of the Lord that Scripture speaks of in the eschaton, and it is the definitive article: The Day of the Lord.

    So, what is significant about this day?

    In Isaiah 13:9, Joel 2:1 and Zech 14:1 we read in each of these verses that "the Day of the Lord COMETH", and in each verse the text immediately begins to describe the battle of Armageddon. The word "cometh" is the Hebrew word "bow" and it means to come or arrive, and it implies the beginning of the Day of the Lord. In each case the arrival of the Day of the Lord brings about the battle of Armageddon.

    The Apostle Paul even ties in the gathering of the elect — the Rapture — with the arrival of the Day of the Lord. They cannot be separated. Therefore, Paul is teaching a post-trib rapture.

  • 3. Escape These Things – Luke 21:36

    Many have used Luke 21:36 to support a pre-trib rapture, which says, "Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man." I've read the pre-trib position argue that this is referring to a pre-trib rapture, but is that what the text is saying? Let's look at it in its context and examine the words of Christ in the Gospel of Luke:

    Luke 21:25-28, "There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars… At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near."

    Many often point to "begin" and say it only means the first few signs, but Jesus says "When these things begin to take place" AFTER describing the cosmic signs that we are told happens immediately after the tribulation in Matt 24:29-31. Why did He not say "when these things begin to take place" before mentioning those post-trib events? I think that this should be a significant clue for us.

    A couple of verses later, in Luke 21:31, Jesus says "when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand", and again these things INCLUDE the cosmic signs and the coming of the Son of Man mentioned a few verses earlier.

    Now let's look at Luke 21:34-36, "Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the whole earth. Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, [referring to "that day"] and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man."

    What day is "that day"? Jesus just gave us cosmic signs that Joel 2:31 tells us happens just BEFORE the Day of the Lord, but immediately AFTER the tribulation according to His own words in Matt 24:29. "That day" is the Day of the Lord. It is the day of Christ's judgment, of His Divine Wrath – the "orge" that we as believers are not appointed to suffer (1 Thess 5:9). The Greek for "escape" in Luke 21:36 is ekpheugō (G1628) and is used elsewhere to refer to escaping the judgment of God (Rom 2:3). So how do we escape? Since Paul ties in the Day of the Lord with the gathering (rapture) in 1 and 2 Thess, and tells us to watch for that day just as Jesus does in Luke 21:36. Since we know that the Day of the Lord takes place after the tribulation, the escape — and therefore the rapture — is post-trib as well.


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