The Greek word ἁρπάζω (harpazō), is defined as: to seize, carry off by force; to seize on, claim for one's self eagerly; to snatch out or away." In other words, ἁρπάζω describes a "taking by force." It appears thirteen times in thirteen verses in the New Testament. They are:
* Matthew 11:12 - "And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force."
* Matthew 13:19 - "When any one heareth the Word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side."
* John 6:15 - "When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take Him by force, to make Him a king, He departed again into a mountain Himself alone."
* John 10:12 - "But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep."
* John 10:28-29 - "And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand. My Father, which gave them Me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father's hand."
* Acts 8:39 - "And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing."
* Acts 23:10 - "And when there arose a great dissension, the chief captain, fearing lest Paul should have been pulled in pieces of them, commanded the soldiers to go down, and to take him by force from among them, and to bring him into the castle."
* 2 Corinthians 12:2-4 - "I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter."
* 1 Thessalonians 4:17 - "Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord."
* Jude 1:23 - "And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh."
* Revelation 12:5 - "And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to His throne."
It is because the same word is used in Revelation 12:5, that some have come to the conclusion that the "man child" does not refer to Jesus Christ; Christ ascended - He was not taken by force. Acts 1:9 reads: "And when He had spoken these things, while they beheld, He was taken up; and a cloud received Him out of their sight." The Greek word used here is ἐπαίρω (epairō), and although it is passive action, it is used to describe a willingness to go, rather than to be taken by force. I do not know exactly what takes place in Revelation 12, but it cannot be "the Church," as we are pictured as be taken via the Rapture (Ch. 4:1). What I do know, is that born again believers will soon be leaving this rotten world (Jn. 14:1-3; 1 Cor. 15:50-54; 1 Th. 4:16-17; Rev. 3:10; etc.)!
Today would be just fine with me!