Sunday, July 28, 2013


Most students of Bible prophecy have some familiarity with the Greek word, ἁρπάζω (harpazō); that is mainly because it appears in 1 Thessalonians 4:17, where it has to do with the Church being "caught up" to meet Jesus in the air.  We call the event, the Rapture, because the Latin Vulgate translates the Greek ἁρπαγησόμεθα as "rapiemur" from the verb "rapio" meaning "to catch up" or "take away".  But did you know that the same Greek word appears a total of seventeen times in thirteen verses in the Bible?  I certainly did not.  In my studies today, I also discovered the reason for my ignorance:  it is translated differently in most other places:

"take" - Mt. 11:12; Jn. 6:15; Acts 23:10.
"by force" - Mt. 11:12; Jn. 6:15; Acts 23:10.
"catch away" - Mt. 13:19.
"catcheth" - Jn. 10:12.
"shall" - Jn. 10:28.
"pluck" - Jn. 10:28; 10:29.
"caught away" - Acts 8:39.
"caught up" - 2 Cor. 12:2; 2 Cor. 12:4; 1 Thes. 4:17; Rev. 12:5.
"pulling" - Jude 1:23.

What do these nine different translations of ἁρπάζω (harpazō) have in common?  Well, it is clear that the person or persons changing location are not acting on their own, but that the action is that of some other person or persons.  In the case of the Rapture, "the dead in Christ shall rise first:  then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them" (1 Thes. 4:16-17).

Although it is not clearly stated in most of the examples where the word is used, there appears to be a connotation of resistance on the part of those being taken (with the exception of the dead, of course).  Could it be that the true Church will be reluctant to be removed from this world?  I have heard born again believers say something like, "I want to go to heaven, but I just don't want to go today."  To be quite honest, I cannot comprehend why that is true.  Why would anyone in their right mind want to stay in a world filled with hate, violence, disease, poverty, etc.?  There are no pot-holes in the streets of gold!  The Apostle Paul made it clear what he would choose if he had a choice as to whether to go to heaven, or remain here in this world (2 Cor. 5:1-8; Phil. 1:21-23)! 

This world is not my home, and I do so want to go home to my Father! 


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