"Rapture" Defined

The word "rapture" was first used by Jerome in his Fourth Century Latin Vulgate translation of the Bible. The word comes from the Latin verb raptare, the root of which is rapto - meaning to seize and carry off, or snatch. This Latin word was transliterated into English as "rapture", just as the Greek word baptizo is transliterated into English as "baptize." In Greek the word is harpazo, meaning to be caught up, or to be snatched up. In the Old Testament the Hebrew words laqach and nacah are used. According to Strong's Exhaustive Concordance they have the meaning of lifting up, or taking or carrying away.

Although the word "rapture" is not found in most Bible translations today, it has become the generic term for the event described by Paul in First Thessalonians 4:17, "After (the dead in Christ are risen) we who are still alive and are left will be caught up (harpazo) together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air."

The concept of a person, usually a prophet, being lifted up by the Spirit of God and carried away is found several times in the Old Testament:

The concept is also found in the New Testament:

This last event is fascinating! Jesus was "raptured" to be with the Lord. He is the Firstfruits and we will follow Him. (I Corinthians 15:23) I believe we will also be "snatched up" to be with the Lord. What a promise!

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