The Christ in Prophecy Journal

Jones Interview: The Elusive Rapture Word


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 Salus

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.

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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.

15 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Well Nathan, I agree with you, as you know. But what do you do with a person that continually tells you that Paul was speaking directly to the "Thessalonians", and not to anyone in the future past these people???

    I have presented him with a senerio, trying to get him to see what, I believe was, the meaning of "we" when Paul used it.

    My senerio……My ailing grandmother has a piece of jewelry. She gathers her family around her and tells them she wants this piece of jewelry kept in the family. She also writes her wishes for this piece of jewelry on a piece of paper and encloses it in the box that the piece is kept in. The grandmother dies, as do all the family memebers she originally spoke to. At the death of the last original member, a new family member finds the box with the note in it. How is this family member, and all others down through the generations supposed to read this… instructions to the original members, or as instructions to the members, all members of the "family"??

    I believe Paul was referring to "we" as "believers in Christ" up to the point of Christ's return.

    I am currently waiting for his reply. 😉

  • Hmm, I've never had anyone tell me the Rapture was only for the Church of Thessalonica. Guess I'd have to point out that there's no biblical or historical record of the Rapture already happenning, and that the Church continued to grow throughout the Roman Empire to today.

  • It's shameful that the Nazarene denomination I come from no longer even talks about the rapture. In my 46 years, I've seen how avoiding a subject can make it difficult for others ot accept when its doctrine is neglected and not taught.

  • thunder said "…what else ya got?" here`s one, i think ull get a kick outta this one, the word cloud in the thessalonian passage means multitude and the word "air" in the greek means spirit so the passage is saying we`ll be caught up with the dead in our ressurected bodies. we`ll meet the Lord in our ressurrected bodies (air) dont that make you kinda laugh?

  • Anon said "It's shameful that the Nazarene denomination I come from no longer even talks about the rapture."

    NO church I've ever been to has ever talked about it (Baptist, Luthersn, non-denomination evangelical).

    It's a big PART of the reason why I don't go to church. The last church I attended was non-demoninational evangelical. There is a lot of trying to win people over to Jesus but no talk of the rapture, bible prophecy, etc. I think by not talking about those subjects they are not "feeding" the saved.

    Most Christians don't know squat about Bible prophecy and therefore have no true understanding of hope. They believe they'll go to Heaven (I'm sure most do not know we will actually be living eternally on Earth, not in Heaven). But the ONLY way a Christian can have REAL hope in these troubling days is to know of the Rapture and our real future eternal destiny.

    Because the churches don't teach about this I have no desire to go there. That's why I'm drawn to Lamb & Lion.

  • Well, Thunder, then I'd point to the Corinthian Church (1 Cor. 15:51-58), Jesus' teaching (Jn. 14:1-14), John's description of the Church in Heaven (Rev. 4-5), and Isaiah 700 years earlier (Isa. 26:19-31) and ask if they were members of the Chuch of Thessalonica. With the obvious answer of "no" (unless they're wise guys) then the Rapture has a broader scope than one church alone being raptured. It's for the bigger body of believers – the Universal Church.

  • billy
    a few days ago when i posted something you said something to the affect of "i was gonna post something like that" well, now i can say the same about you;) seriousely, people dont even know terms like "rapture" or "Gog/Magog" all alot of people hear is "its just about jesus" personally, i`d rather someone tell me they`re a post-trib or a-mill with scripture than hear "i`m a pan-trib" pan trip is the WORST position. worse than a wrong one cuz at least a wrong one cares enough to study.

  • If you were in the Louisville, KY area, I'd tell you to try Charlestown Independent Church. Pastor Brian is a Bible literalist and teaches the pre-trib Rapture.

    Yeah, it's a shameless plug. I'll try to not make a habit of it 🙂


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