1. to seize, carry off by force
2. to seize on, claim for one’s self eagerly
3. to snatch out or away
~ from Thayer’s (New Testament Greek-English Lexicon)
In the Greek New Testament, the word harpazo is found a total of 17 times in 13 different verses. Each time harpazo is used this verb refers to a quick or sudden often violently physical “snatching away” or “catching away” of a person, a thing, or an idea. More important is the fact that in 5 of these 17 times harpazo is used in the New Testament harpazo ALWAYS refers to the literal physical (bodily) removal of a faithfully righteous human being from one place to another, or from one sphere of existence to another. The 5 times harpazo is used involving faithfully righteous people are when:
1. Philip is harpazo’d from the presence of the Ethiopian eunuch to a different location miles away (see Acts 8:39, AKJV)
2. Paul is harpazo’d from the Earth to the Third Heaven (see 2 Corinthians 12:2, AKJV)
3. Paul is harpazo’d from the Earth to the Third Heaven; second reference (see 2 Corinthians 12:4, AKJV)
4. Bride of Christ is harpazo’d from the Earth to the clouds to meet Her Groom (Christ Jesus) in the air (see 1 Thessalonians 4:17, AKJV); the understanding here is that the Bride will be taken to Heaven to be with Her Groom
5. Christ Jesus is harpazo’d from Bethany near the Mount of Olives to His Throne in Heaven (see Revelation 12:5; cf. Luke 24:50-51; Acts 1:9; AKJV)
Each one of the above five supernaturally powerful acts of the Holy Spirit by which literal bodily removals of humans either from one place to another on Earth or from off of this Earth to Heaven proves that the Rapture is a biblically sound doctrine. In fact, the English words Rapture and Raptured actually are derived from the Latin verb rapio (catch up or take away), and rapio is used in the Latin Vulgate Bible (also referred to as The Vulgate).
The point here is that many of America’s English words, like Rapture and Raptured, and etc., are derived from words found in the Latin Vulgate Bible—the most commonly used translation of the Holy Bible. St Jerome’s late 4th-century A.D. revised Latin translation of the old Latin Biblical Texts became The Vulgate, and The Vulgate was used over 1,000 years before the Protestant Reformation started! In essence, no other Holy Bible translation has been used longer than the Latin Vulgate Bible, and that includes the highly promoted Authorized King James Version (AKJV)!
So then, believers who doubt that the idea of a Rapture is in their English translations of the Holy Bible need to understand that it is from the Greek New Testament manuscripts that St. Jerome, scholar/translator, originally renders the Latin rapiemur (the first person plural future passive indicative tense of rapio) from the Greek harpagesometha (the first person plural future passive indicative tense of harpazo). Furthermore, in the English versions of 1 Thessalonians 4:17, rapiemur has been translated from Latin into English as either “we shall be snatched,” or “we shall be grabbed,” or “we shall be carried off,” and so forth. Similarly, harpagesometha has been translated from Greek into English as “we shall be caught up” or “we shall be taken away,” and etc. Moreover, as already mentioned, with every Latin and English translation of harpagesometha the meaning of this Greek verb always connotes a catching or taking that will be a violent, sudden event!
The point to this brief grammar lesson is that, as far as the meaning and tense of the Latin word rapiemur are concerned, this word is in agreement with the Greek word harpagesometha, since rapiemur and harpagesometha are the same tense and they both mean the same thing—a sudden and physical withdrawal; a seizing; a snatching, and so forth. So then, there can be no denying that English words like rapt, raptly, raptness, rapture, raptured, rapturous, rapturously, rapturousness, raptor, and so on, undisputedly are derived from rapio’s verb forms such as rapere, rapui, raptus, rapiemur, rapturo, and etc. Moreover, since rapio’s verb forms are accurate translations of the Greek harpazo’s verb forms, then it doesn’t matter if someone uses the AKJV’s “caught away” or “caught up” or if he/she uses the word “raptured,” or “snatched away,” or “taken up,” or “plucked,” or “taken by force,” and so forth, because they all mean the same thing—a very sudden nonconsensual seizure.
Thus, language in this case shouldn’t be used as a barrier to understanding a concept that most definitely is found in the Word of God—that concept being the Rapture. Put differently, the Greek, Latin, and English words used in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 all describe exactly how quickly the living Bride of Christ’s fleshly Body will be removed from this Earth and how fast that fleshly Body will be changed into a spirit Body, so it doesn’t matter if one particular English word is or isn’t in the English version of the Holy Bible someone is using. What should matter most is whether the concept of a Rapture is in the Word of God. Based on the words used in the ORIGINAL language of the New Testament, which is Greek, the concept of a Rapture most definitely is in the Word of God.
Below are all of the New Testament verses in which the Greek verb harpazo is used. The blue text is this blogger’s emphasis. These blue words are the AKJV English translations of the Greek harpazo.
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. ~ John 10:28-29, AKJV
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 8:39, AKJV
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. ~ Revelation 12:5, AKJV
These verses are interesting in that, first off, Jesus Christ is saying that He is the ONE who will “pluck” (pull, take by force, or snatch/catch up) His Body of Believers or Bride out of harm’s way (the Tribulation Period) so that His Bride will be with Him in Heaven. The Power (force) He will use to “pluck” (pull, take, snatch, or catch up) His Body of Believers or Bride is the Power of Almighty God, which means the Power of God’s Holy Spirit.
Thus, the word “pluck”, which in John 10:28-29 has been translated from the Greek word harpazo, should remind believers in Christ Jesus that, while Jesus Christ eventually will “pluck” them out of this world, He also has promised to keep them secure while they are in this world. The Lord has said that while His disciples/believers/followers are on this Earth NO ONE would be able to “pluck” them out of His hands nor out of the Father’s hands.
Secondly, the phrase “caught away,” in Acts 8:39, also has been translated from the Greek word harpazo. In this case, “caught away” refers to what happened to Philip, an evangelist. He is raptured from the southern desert surrounding Samaria to Azotus (Ashdod), after salvation had come to the Ethiopian eunuch. This Philip is one of the seven men who, because they were of honest report, full of the Holy Spirit, and wisdom, initially were selected to serve tables and superintend the distribution of food (see Acts 6:3). Therefore, the interesting thing here is that Jesus Christ has said ONLY He would do the plucking (harpazo’ing or rapturing), so it is ONLY the Lord via the Holy Spirit who has harpazo’d Philip from one place in Israel to another location.
Then too, in Revelation 12:5, the phrase “caught up” also has been translated from the Greek word harpazo. Here “caught up” refers to Christ Jesus’ Ascension, which takes place 40 days after His resurrection and 10 days before the Day of Pentecost, when for the very first time in Christ-followers’ history the Holy Spirit is poured out on the 120 Upper Room Jewish disciples. This verse is a symbolic presentation of what actually happened in Acts 1:9, when while the Lord is blessing His disciples He suddenly is taken up or carried up (cf. Luke 24:50-51). So then, the interesting thing here is that since NO ONE can “pluck” any of the Lord’s followers out of His hand or out of the Father’s hand, then the ONLY ONE who is catching up (harpazo’ing or rapturing) the Lord is the Father via the Holy Spirit.
Other Harpazo verses:
And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. ~ Matthew 11:12, AKJV
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. ~ Matthew 13:19, AKJV
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 6:15, AKJV
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 10:12, AKJV
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. ~ Acts 23:10, AKJV
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. ~ 2 Corinthians 12:2, AKJV
How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. ~ 2 Corinthians 12:4, AKJV
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. ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:17, AKJV
and others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh. ~ Jude v. 23, AKJV
Each one of these above verses proves that being harpazo’d is indeed a quick or sudden often violently physical “plucking,” “pulling,” “taking,” “snatching away,” “catching away,” or rapturing of a person, a thing, or an idea. It should be evident now how the connotation (meaning) of harpazo remains consistently the same!
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. ~ 1 Corinthians 15:52, AKJV
Although there is no form of harpazo in 1 Corinthians 15:52, based on the meaning of harpazo the apostle Paul no doubt is telling the Corinthians, and all members in the Body of Christ, that just as supernaturally, suddenly, and forcibly the individual bodies of the dead in Christ will be “raised” from their graves this too will be exactly how supernaturally, suddenly, and forcibly the alive Bride of Christ, at the time the Lord comes on a cloud to meet Her in the air, will be Raptured. Everyone will be harpazo’d in “a moment, in the twinkling of an eye” speed. In other words, the apostle Paul is NOT saying that the we “shall not all sleep” Rapture reference in 1 Corinthians 15:51 and the we “shall be caught up” together Rapture reference in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 will happen at the same time as the Bride’s miraculous glorification or the “changing” of Her Body as a whole from mortal to immortal, but he definitely is saying that both events (the Bride’s Rapture and Her Body’s glorification) supernaturally will happen unimaginably fast!
In summary, harpazo is in 13 New Testament verses for a total of 17 times, and this verb’s connotation always is understood to mean a catching up/catching away or taking up/taking away or snatching up/snatching away, and so forth, that ALWAYS is violent, sudden, nonconsensual yet supernatural! In other words, the Divine Truth is that God has more than established the concept of being suddenly, forcibly, and supernaturally “caught up” or “taken away” (Raptured), and this concept pertains to people, things, and other related ideas. Thus, just because the English word Rapture is not in any particular English translation of the Holy Bible that doesn’t mean that the concept of a Rapture is not in the Holy Bible, because it most definitely is there, and this concept begins with Enoch’s Translation.
Therefore, those people who argue that neither the word Rapture nor the concept of a Rapture is in the Word of God have to remember that the ORIGINAL texts of the New Testament, in which the Rapture concept is found, are Greek NOT English. These same people also have to remember that the Latin Vulgate Bible, which is St. Jerome’s Latin translation of both the Hebrew Tanakh and the Greek New Testament manuscripts, has been around and read way longer than any American English versions of the New Testament Scriptures. Additionally, these same people need to remember that in The Vulgate is the Latin equivalent of the Greek word harpagesometha, which is a form of the Greek verb harpazo. That Latin equivalent is rapiemur, which is a form of the Latin verb rapio, from which Americans get the word Rapture!
A word to the wise should be sufficient. Amen.