The “Rapture” is one of the simplest concepts found in the Holy Bible. So mote a point was it that the Apostles, who walked with our Risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, didn’t even bother to make it a doctrine. Nor should it be! It’s only when we add our own opinions and perspectives into it, does the Rapture become a confusing issue.
Before we begin looking at the scriptures which will prove the Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the Church, 2 points need to be explained:
1) Has God ever “punished the righteous with the unrighteous?” The answer is a very simple…no! Tear through the scriptures if you will and try to find just one righteous person who was punished along with the unrighteous. You will be wasting your time because no such event has ever occurred. And when we apply a little bit of common sense, then it wouldn’t make sense for such an event to occur. Who would want to worship a God who would unjustifiably punish a righteous person with unrighteous people who have earned such punishments?!
2) The next point I will make is through a question: “What is an appointment?” By definition, an appointment is a time and a place someone is supposed to be for something to happen. One very quick and easy example: you have an appointment made with your doctor which means that “appointment” commits you to be “at a time and a place” to see him. Simple enough!
In I Thess. 5:9 it reads: “For God hath not appointed us to wrath…” In other words, we are not designated to have “a time or a place” where we will have to face the wrath of God. There will be those times where God will punish us for something we’ve done but, facing the whole of the wrath of God is something else.
Why aren’t we appointed to face the wrath of God? What makes us (Born-Again Christians) so special that we avoid such an event? The answer is found in Jn. 3:36. It reads: “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”
Because we are saved we do not face the “wrath of God” nor have “an appointment to face His wrath.” Those who are not saved not only have “the wrath of God” abiding on them, but many will also “drink of the wine of the wrath of God” (Rev. 14:10).
We also find out “…the wrath of God…” is going to be poured out “…upon the earth...” (Rev. 16:1 – 17). Since the Bible already clearly pointed out that “God hath not appointed us unto wrath” then we cannot be present during the Tribulation Period since His wrath is going to be poured out upon the whole of the earth. It’s that straightforward; it’s that clear cut:
1) We do not have an appointment to face the wrath of God.
2) Which means we cannot be here during the Tribulation Period,
3) Because the wrath of God is going to be poured out upon the whole of the earth.
Only when we begin to put in “our opinions” or “our perspective” does the Rapture, which is so straightforward, become unclear. Quite frankly, “If God wanted our opinion He would’ve asked for it!”
The Definition of the word Rapture
The word Rapture is derived from the Greek word harpazo. This word, harpazo, has many meanings to it but each of them has a similar definition. This word is used 17 times and in 13 verses in the Greek New Testament, and you’re about to see that they’re used in a number of different ways, yet, they each hold to a very similar definition:
1) In Mt. 13:19 and Jn. 10:12 the word “catcheth” is the Greek word “harpazo” which, in those two cases means “carry off”.
2) In Mt. 11:12 where the words read “take” and “by force” the Greek word “harpazo” is literally (verbatim) translated to mean “take” (for the word “take”) and “by force” (for the words “by force”). This occurs once again, with the same words “take” and “by force” in Jn. 6:15 and the Greek word “harpazo” is once again applied for both words (“take” and “by force”).
3) In Acts 23:10, where is reads “take him” and “by force”, the Greek word “harpazo” is first defined as “to take” and then next defined as “forcibly”.
3) In Jn. 10: 28 and Jn. 10:29 the word “pluck” is the Greek word “harpazo” which means, in those two verses, “to take”.
4) In Jude 23 the word “pulling” is the Greek word “harpazo” which is translated to mean “to lead away”.
5) In Acts 8:39 the words “caught away” is the Greek word “harpazo” which means“carry(ied) caught away”.
6) In I Thes. 4:17 and Rev. 12:5 when the words “caught up” are being used, they’re the Greek word “harpazo” which means “caught up”. That was an easy one to translate.
7) In II Cor. 12:2 and II Cor. 12:4 where it reads “caught up”; they too are the Greek word“harpazo” which means “caught up”.
8) In Jn. 10:12 where the word “catcheth” is used, it’s the Greek word “harpazo” which means“catch”.
I’m sure by now you can easily see that the Greek word “harpazo” has several different words used to translate it into English, however the definition revolves around the same meaning:“something or someone that is being physically removed or relocated”. This is the essence of the word “harpazo” and is applicable to all 17 examples in those 13 verses. And we shall be using the words “physically removed” as our general definition for the word Rapture. If we were to try and use all the various different words for Rapture, such as: catch up, take by force, catch away, pluck, catch, pull, to seize, carry off by force, to seize on, to snatch out, to snatch away, etc. we’d all be crazy by the time we were finished with this study. Suffice it to say, we shall use the general term to “physically remove” for this study.
Before moving on any further, allow me to explain something to you. In our normal, everyday conversation, we never use the word “harpazo” unless we’re having a Greek conversation. Instead, we will use the word “Rapture”. Now, the word “Rapture” is the Latin word for the Greek word “harpazo” and it carries with it the same meaning. This is simply a transliteration, which means translating the spelling of a word into another language. In other words:
1) “harpazo” is a Greek word (which when we transliterate it into Latin becomes the word“rapio”)
2) “rapio” is a Latin word (which when we transliterate it into English becomes the word“rapture”)
3) “rapture” is an English word (All 3 words, “harpazo”, “rapio”, and “rapture” have the same meaning). They just have a different origin in a different language. And that’s it! The meaning remains unchanged.
There are those people who will say (and I’ve heard this one plenty of times over decades) that the word “Rapture” doesn’t appear in the Bible. First of all, the word “Bible” doesn’t appear in the Bible. Yet, I still know I’m reading a “Bible”. So that excuse is foolish and juvenile at best.
The word “Rapio”, which is where we derive the English word “Rapture” from, is found in the Bible; the Latin Vulgate translation of the Bible to be precise.
Another group of people out there have told me that the word “Rapture” is a word that has only been recently used and applied in any Biblical sense; such as the Church is going to be raptured before the Tribulation Period, or in any Biblical meaning of the word. And this is one of those times when my Christian feathers really begin to get ruffled because those people have either: not studied the literary applications of the word Rapture, or they’re just lying to you, knowingly or unknowingly. In either case, they would be lying to you. And they have quite a number of reasons to lie to you, and none of them are good reasons.
If you want to immediately get into the heart of this study, please scroll down to where it reads“What Constitutes a Rapture”. For everyone else, I’m going to reveal to you how those people who say the Rapture is a new concept are either lying to you or, have never studied the word Rapture before.
The reason so many people are saying that the word Rapture is only a recent term for certain Biblical events, is mainly due to an event that happened back in 1830.
Back in 1830 a 15 year old girl of Irish/Scottish decent named Margaret McDonald, had a vision of a “Post-Tribulation” Rapture. Notice carefully, her vision was a “Post-Tribulation” vision and not a “Pre-Tribulation” Rapture. She said:
1) “This is the fiery trial which is to try us – It will be for the purging and purifying of the real members of the body of Jesus.”
2) “The trial of the Church is from Antichrist. It is by being filled with the Spirit that we shall be kept.”
Notice carefully how Margaret stated that this fiery trial (the Tribulation Period) is meant to try the real members of the body of Jesus. And, note especially, Margaret tells us this trying comes from the Antichrist. Well, no matter which perspective you come from, this so-called trying of the members of the body of Jesus, could only happen during, or shortly after the Tribulation Period and “not” before it. In other words, Margaret McDonald’s so-called vision was “not” a “Pre-Tribulation Rapture” vision. Yet, so many people, False Apostles and False Teachers don’t tell you that. All they’ll usually tell you is that the Rapture of the Church teachings began with Margaret McDonald. They purposely leave out the part that hers’ was a Post-Tribulation perspective as she claims it to have been and “not” a Pre-Tribulation Rapture perspective.
It is from the vision of Margaret McDonald, that John Nelson Darby, in 1861, supposedly used the word “Rapture” to describe what Margaret had seen once he had heard of her so-called vision. This would mean that the word Rapture (as a Biblical application) originated back in 1861 and no sooner. That is utter and complete nonsense, and I am going to prove it! I am going to start in the 20th century and work myself all the way back to the 4th century and show all of you good folks, who are reading this article, that the Biblical applications for the wordRapture is much older than 1861.
Historical usages of the word “Rapture”
The following is only a partial list of literary works that contain a Biblical application of the word Rapture. I used some examples after 1861 to show that the true understanding and application of the word Rapture was not changed, but still cherished and being held onto despite how desperately hard Satan has tried to destroy it.
1) 1909 – Scofield Reference Bible
2) 1878 – “Jesus is Coming” – William Eugene Blackstone
3) 1866 – “Hereward the Wake” – Charles Kinglsey (He was “rapt” up on high and saw Saint Peter).
4) 1748 – “New Testament Commentary” – John Gill
5) 1738 – “New Testament Commentary” – Philip Doddridge
6) 1667 – “Paradise Lost” – John Milton (“Rapt” in a Chariot drawn by fiery Steeds).
7) 1610 – “Display of Heraldry” – John Guillim (To this place…were Enoch, Elias and Paul “rapt” up fore their deaths).
8) 1526 – “Pilgrim of Perfection” – William Bond (When he was “rapt” & taken up in to the thryde heuen) Note* - from the Middle English, thryde heuen is rendered to be…”third heaven”
9) 1432 – 1450 – “Polychronicon” – Ranulf Higden (Helyas was “rapte” in this tyme).
10) 1412 – 1420 – “Chronicle of Troy” – John Lydgate (in this wyse were the brethren twayne To heauen “rapt”, as these poetes fayne). Note* - from the Middle English this sentence would read as: “in this wise were the two brothers to Heaven raptured,” into our Modern Day English.
11) 1400 – “Vernon Manuscript” – “By visions of seynt poul when he was “rapt” into paradys) Note * - from the Middle English it would read into our Modern Day American English as: “By visions of Saint Paul when he was ‘rapt’ (raptured) into Paradise.”
12) 325 – Latin Vulgate – “rapio” (I Thes. 4:17)
The reason there are a number of various ways to spell “rapture” over the centuries of English speaking nations is based on linguistic evolution. In other words, as languages change, so do the spelling of certain words. In the case of the word “rapture”:
1) The Ancient Latin is “rapio/rapere” and other such usages
2) In the Early English Period (1066 – 1154) “rapture” was spelled “rapt”
3) In the Middle English Period (1154 – 1485) “rapt” would be spelled as “rapte”
4) And, nowadays, we would spell the word as “rapture”
There is nothing more to it than that! It is simply a matter of linguistic evolution or change.
The Historical Concept of “Pre-Tribulation Rapture”
The blatant lie (knowingly or unknowingly) that the “Pre-Tribulation Rapture” of the Church is a new concept that can only be traced back to 1830 is simply that…a lie! I shall now present to you good people another literary list and, this one will prove, once and for all, that the “Pre-Tribulation Rapture” of the Church if “not” a new concept, but was a teaching that came directly from the Apostles themselves. This list will begin “before” 1830” and turn all the way back to the 1st Century A.D.
1) 1792 – Thomas Scott – he taught that the righteous will be carried to Heaven where they will be secure until the time of the judgment is over.
2) 1763 – James Macknight – he also taught that the righteous will be carried to heaven until the judgment is over with.
3) 1748 – John Gill (Commentary on the New Testament) – teaches of the imminent return of Christ, firstly in Rapture, and then He will return again to judge the earth (Armageddon).
4) 1744 – Morgan Edwards (founder of the Ivy League School, Brown University) wrote of his “Pre-Tribulation Rapture” beliefs.
5) 1738 – Phillip Doddrige (Commentary on the New Testament) teaches along the same lines of John Gill; a “Pre-Tribulation Rapture” perspective.
6) 1687 – Peter Jurieu – (“Approaching Deliverance of the Church”) Christ would return during the Rapture and take His saints to Heaven and later return at the Battle of Armageddon.
7) 1674 – 1748 – Isaac Watts (known as the Father of the English Hymn) wrote of his “Pre-Tribulation Rapture” belief. (As a side note, Isaac Watts was solely responsible for writing over 1,000 Christian hymns if I recall the numbers correctly. Study his life because it was truly a miraculous one by all definitions of the word).
8) 1674 – Thomas Collier – makes reference in the belief to the “Pre-Tribulation Rapture”.
9) 1532 – 1591 – Francisco Rivera wrote of his “Pre-Tribulation Rapture” of the Church beliefs
10) 431 – 1500 – Any mention of Pre-Tribulation (Millennial) Rapture of the Church perspectives are outlawed by the Catholic Church and deemed heretical and punishable by death!!!
11) 431 – The Council of Ephesus; the Catholic Church decrees and condemns Pre-Millennial views as heresy. Books and such are destroyed or altered.
The following all wrote of the “Pre-Tribulation Rapture” of the Church:
12) 354 – 430 – Augustine, Bishop of North Africa
13) 306 – 373 – Ephraem of Nisibus
14) ? - 204 – Victorinus, Bishop of Petau
15) 200 – 258 - Cyrian
16) 170 – 236 – Hippolytus of Rome
17) 150 – 272 – Apocalypse of Elijah (an Extra-Biblical book)
18) 120 – 202 – Ireaneus (“Against Heresies”)
19) 36 – 108 – Ignatius of Antioch, the Third Bishop and Patriarch of Antioch (who as a student of John the Apostle) – His “Letters of Extra-Biblical works are:
a. Letter to the Ephesians
b. Letter to the Magnesians
c. Letter to the Trallians
d. Letter to the Romans
e. Letter to the Philadelphians
f. Letter to the Smyrnaeans
g. Letter to Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna
20. ? – 99 A.D. – Clement of Rome, “Letter to the Corinthians” also known as “I Clement” (an Extra-Biblical book).
And let me say for the record: “I personally challenge those of the Mid-Tribulation perspective or Post-Tribulation perspective to come up with a literary list, such as I had just presented, that will demonstrate their belief.” This is my personal challenge!
Even though the Catholic Church tried to destroy and suppress any writings or teachings on the “Pre-Tribulation Rapture” of the Church, which is easily dated all the way back to the Apostles themselves, they had failed. The “Pre-Tribulation Rapture” of the Church, which is the “oldest”of all the Biblical perspectives, could not be stopped. It originates with the Apostles of Jesus Christ during the first century, taught to their students, and continues on to this very day. The Mid-Tribulation and Post-Tribulation teachings (which are grossly false ones) are the new teachings and not the original teaching of Jesus Christ, nor of His chosen Apostles or their students. Those are teachings and creations of man and not of God.
Now, let’s move on to those events which we understand to be “Raptures”.