How to Find the Rapture in the New Testament

I was told that the Rapture is not in the Bible.

In fact, more than one person has repeated this refutation of the glorious hope of the Church.

My answer is that this event is found in Paul’s Second Epistle to the Church at Thessalonica. The negative rebuttal is that the word “rapture” is not in the Bible. This is simply answered by reading the passage in a Latin translation. Take a look:

Greek text:

τοῦτο γὰρ ὑμῖν λέγομεν ἐν λόγῳ κυρίου, ὅτι ἡμεῖς οἱ ζῶντες οἱ περιλειπόμενοι εἰς τὴν παρουσίαν τοῦ κυρίου οὐ μὴ φθάσωμεν τοὺς κοιμηθέντας· ὅτι αὐτὸς ὁ κύριος ἐν κελεύσματι, ἐν φωνῇ ἀρχαγγέλου καὶ ἐν σάλπιγγι θεοῦ, καταβήσεται ἀπʼ οὐρανοῦ, καὶ οἱ νεκροὶ ἐν Χριστῷ ἀναστήσονται πρῶτον, ἔπειτα ἡμεῖς οἱ ζῶντες οἱ περιλειπόμενοι ἅμα σὺν αὐτοῖς ἁρπαγησόμεθα ἐν νεφέλαις εἰς ἀπάντησιν τοῦ κυρίου εἰς ἀέρα· καὶ οὕτως πάντοτε σὺν κυρίῳ ἐσόμεθα. ὥστε παρακαλεῖτε ἀλλήλους ἐν τοῖς λόγοις τούτοις.1

English translation:

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.2

Latin translation:

hoc enim vobis dicimus in verbo Domini quia nos qui vivimus qui residui sumus in adventum Domini non praeveniemus eos qui dormierunt quoniam ipse Dominus in iussu et in voce archangeli et in tuba Dei descendet de caelo et mortui qui in Christo sunt resurgent primi deinde nos qui vivimus qui relinquimur simul rapiemur cum illis in nubibus obviam Domino in aera et sic semper cum Domino erimus3

The original word ἁρπαγησόμεθα  is translated rapiemur in Latin and is translated caught up in English.

Rapiemur and rapturo are two forms of the same verb, viz: rapio, rapere, rapui, raptus – “to catch or seize” (among other definitions).

  • Rapiemur is the first person, plural, future, indicative, passive.
  • Rapturo is the future active participle. (It is like asking if “caught” is a form of “catch” or if “catching” is a form of “catch”? — They are both forms of “catch”.)

English dictionaries tell us that the etymology of “rapture”* is from rapere, more likely through the perfect passive participle (raptus) than the future active participle.

The Rapture is in the Bible.

1Michael W. Holmes, The Greek New Testament: SBL Edition (Lexham Press; Society of Biblical Literature, 2011–2013), 1 Th 4:15–18.

2New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), 1 Th 4:16–18.

3Latin Vulgate

Islam Is Not a Cult

A cult1 is a group that departs from the basic beliefs of Christianity yet claims to be Christian. The Jehovah’s Witnesses are a fine example of a cult. They claim to honor the God of the Bible and to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, yet they have re-written the Bible to fit their own teachings, that is, the teachings of Charles Taze Russell, including Russell’s idea that Jesus was not God. Yet, in spite of all these fundamental changes, Jehovah’s Witnesses think they are Christians. They are not.

Islam is a major world religion, not a group claiming to be Christian. Therefore, Islam is not a cult… in the Christian sense of the word.

islamprayer

Sacred Books

Christianity and Islam own very different sets of scriptures.

Christianity is based upon the Holy Bible, especially the 27 books of the New Testament. The New Testament books were completed between 40 A.D. and 96 A.D. The authors were inspired by God to create a written record of His revelation. Those original manuscripts have been copied and circulated and translated into other languages with great accuracy.

Islam is based upon the Koran, a collection of revelations given by Allah to his archangel then given to Mohammed. Allah passed on his revelations in oral form. After his death, Islamic leaders sorted through the oral verses and chose which ones would be included in written form in the Koran.

Mohammed’s revelations started five centuries after the New Testament was completed. He died in 632 A.D. before making a written copy of his revelations but a few of his followers had memorized his recitations. Unfortunately, those followers were also vulnerable to death during battle and by natural causes. An influential Muslim named Umar realized that the original Qu’ran was being lost piece by piece. He insisted that whatever fragments existed should be collected into one book. A man named Zaid bin Thabit collected fragments and memorized recitations into a single collection. He decided what to include and exclude. This book was kept by the caliph Abu Bakr until his death and he was succeeded by Umar. Eventually, Zaid’s book was copied and distributed accompanied by an order to burn all other versions of the Qu’ran including the version by Abdullah bin Masud and another version by Ubayy bin Ka’b. In 1972, the remodeling of an ancient mosque in Yemen turned up a hidden collection of ancient variant manuscripts that had not been destroyed.

Jesus

In 2004, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) advertised,

“Like Christians, Muslims respect and revere Jesus. Islam teaches that Jesus is one of the greatest of God’s prophets and messengers to humankind.”
“Like Christians, every day, over 1.3 billion Muslims strive to live by his teachings of love, peace and forgiveness. Those teachings, which have become universal values, remind us that all of us, Christians, Muslims, Jews, and all other have more in common than we think.”

The “Jesus” revered in the Koran is not the same Jesus of the New Testament. The Koran does borrow from the New Testament. It teaches that Jesus (Isa) was born of a virgin named Mary (Maryam2). It borrows from the Christian doctrine from John 1,  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God,” and describes Isa as the word of Allah, but the word is not Allah. The Koran even borrows from I Corinthians 15 where Jesus Christ is called Adam because of His antithetical position to the original Adam.

Islam teaches that Isa is merely one of many great prophets. The Islamic Jesus had a book, the Injeel. Muslims believe that this book was the original revelation from God which was altered and adulterated until it became the New Testament. (…but the manuscripts for the New Testament pre-date Islam!)

The Islamic Jesus did not die for anyone’s sins. Islam teaches that God placed the likeness of Isa upon another man who was then crucified through mistaken identity.

The Koran says that Allah has no son… twelve times.

The Koran denies the possibility of the deity of Jesus Christ. Therefore:

Christians and Muslims do not worship the same God.

Mohammed was a false prophet.

The Koran is not from God.

Allah of the Koran is a false god.


 

1Some people confuse the word “cult” and “occult”. The occult is stuff like black magic. It means stuff that is secret, mystical, magical, supernatural. Just to make it blurrier, a cult may practice the occult.

2The Koran gets confused over the person of Mary. It says she is the wife of Imram (Amram, the father of Moses and Aaron). It also calls her the sister of Aaron… and that her special child is a girl, not a boy. There is also a story of three-year-old Mary being fed by angels in the Temple. This story was borrowed from the Protoevangelium (Infancy Gospel) of James, an gnostic book written in the second century. Mohammed may have mistakenly believed this non-biblical storybook contained historical facts.

How I Met Jesus

My earliest memories include full participation in the Covington Indiana Fifth Street First Church of Christ. I learned about Jesus and the Scriptures in Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, Sunday Morning and Sunday Evening sermons. I wanted to follow Jesus Christ and asked to be baptized when I was very young, I think about six years old. I did not know much about doctrine, but I was eager to know the Bible. My parents and members of that church provided examples of what a mature Christian is like. I told people that I wanted to be a missionary when I grew up.

However, when I started high school, my family left that congregation. I took this as an opportunity to slip into an un-Christ-like lifestyle for a couple of years. I was disobedient to my parents and disobedient to God. If I had any Christian testimony, I am sure that it was stained at that time. I had friends that encouraged me to do as I wished and disregard the consequences. By then, we were attending church at the Covington First Assembly of God. The Word of God was preached. The Holy Spirit was present. I felt like I got saved every Sunday and backslid every Monday because I returned to my wishy-washiness.

I feel like I woke up. I didn’t want to be the person that I was going to become by following my own desires. I wanted to know Jesus. I wanted to be able to talk to Him without the shame of my own selfish disobedience. I committed my life to Jesus Christ. I asked Him to lead me and promised to follow. I also made a commitment that if I should stumble that I would get back up and keep following. I felt like the stains were all washed away through my Savior, Jesus Christ, who died for me. I was baptized in water. I began to believe that God was asking me to become a minister of the Gospel. My parents helped me to find an appropriate Bible school. The summer before I started college, my church sponsored a short-term missions trip. God worked through so many people to set me in the right direction.

Since then, I have listened to God and followed where He took me. And each time that I stumbled, the Holy Spirit picked me back up so that I could continue following Jesus.