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       "Rapture--Rapturus--Harpazo--Caught Up--Catch Away--Translated"

                                                          What does it all mean?

Here is the history that we find for the word "Rapture" and how it applies to the Church:

  It's true that the English word "rapture" is not in the Bible, but it comes to us through the writings of William Shakespeare from the Latin "raptus or rapturus", meaning to seize or transport.

raptūrus m (feminine raptūraneuter raptūrum); 

  1. about to snatch, about to grab, about to carry off

    According to W.W. Skeat’s "Etymology of the English Language, 1879", the word "rapture" was coined by William Shakespeare. The English word "rapture" that he coined means "to be transported".

    In 1 Thes 4:17, the Church is said to be "caught up" to meet Christ in the air, at the last trump. The Greek word there is "harpazo" meaning to remove, seize, or take away.

    So, to us, the English "Caught up"and Latin "Rapture", as well as the Greek word "Removal" in the Bible text, are all three very good descriptions of the removal of the Church from earth by Jesus in 1 Thes 4:17.

    We do not find where the early Church Fathers used the word "Rapture" in their writings. The "Text Book of the History of Doctrines" by Reinhold Seeburg, 1952, quotes the doctrinal position of virtually all the early Church Fathers and commentators:

    The common word used in the early writings was "resurrection" of the dead and "translation" of the living saints. "Translation", of course, they took from Heb 11:5, where Enoch, the seventh from Adam, was "translated" that he should not see death.

     Enoch is a strong Old Testament type of the New Testament Rapture of the Church.

Noah's Ark is also a major type of the Rapture of the Church. The Lord gave us these types for a reason.  Please think on that.

The difference between the Rapture and 2nd Coming: 

The rapture is when Jesus Christ returns to remove the church (all believers in Christ) from the earth.        The rapture is described in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 1 Corinthians 15:50-54. Believers who have died will have their bodies resurrected and, along with believers who are still living, will meet the Lord in the air. This will all occur in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.

The second coming is when Jesus returns to defeat the Antichrist, destroy evil, and establish His millennial kingdom. The second coming is described in Revelation 19:11-16.  

The important differences between the rapture and second coming are as follows: 

  • 1) At the rapture, believers meet the Lord in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:17). At the second coming, believers return with the Lord to the earth (Revelation 19:14).

  • 2) The second coming occurs after the great and terrible tribulation (Revelation chapters 6–19). The rapture occurs before the tribulation (1 Thessalonians 5:9; Revelation 3:10).

  • 3) The rapture is the removal of believers from the earth as an act of deliverance (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17, 5:9). The second coming includes the removal of unbelievers as an act of judgment (Matthew 24:40-41).

  • 4) The rapture will be secret and instant (1 Corinthians 15:50-54). The second coming will be visible to all (Revelation 1:7; Matthew 24:29-30).

  • 5) The second coming of Christ will not occur until after certain other end-times events take place(2 Thessalonians 2:4; Matthew 24:15-30;  Revelation chapters 6–18).The rapture is imminent; it could take place at any moment (Titus 2:13; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Corinthians 15:50-54).

The rapture and second coming are similar but separate events. Both involve Jesus returning. Both are end-times events. However, it is crucially important to recognize the differences. In summary, the rapture is the return of Christ in the clouds to remove all believers from the earth before the time of God’s wrath. The second coming is the return of Christ to the earth to bring the tribulation to an end, to defeat the Antichrist and to usher in the 1000 year millennial reign of our Lord.


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