Wednesday, March 8, 2023

The Rapture in the Bible


Is The Word Rapture Mentioned in the Bible?

 Where is the Rapture Mentioned in the Bible? 

Is the Rapture Mentioned in the KJV Bible?

A lot of Christians are hearing from other Christians that the Rapture is Not in the Bible. Sadly, a growing number of Christians today are being taught that the Rapture is nowhere mentioned in the Bible. But it is! At the very least, in concept. But also as a Biblical term. It's just not in the English version of the Bible. The Rapture is definitely presented as an important event when our Lord Messiah Jesus comes back for His Bride.


But even if a definite term for the rapture were not at all in the Bible, I want to state that just because a term does not appear in the English Bible explicitly, does not necessarily mean that the concept is unbiblical or unsupported by the holy scriptures. And understanding this is very important because words may change in meaning over time, but concepts seldom will.

There are a few terms that don’t appear even once in Scripture, that believers in Christ have long been using as a common way of referring to certain clearly presented and understood Biblical concepts, for example:

  1. "The Bible," is nowhere mentioned in the Bible, but we use it everyday to refer to the compilation of the Judeo-Christian Holy Scriptures.
  2. "The Millennium," is also not mentioned anywhere in the Bible, but we all use it to refer to the concept of the future 1000 year reign of Messiah on earth, when (according to the Bible) the saints who are part of the first resurrection (Rev 20:6) and the martyrs coming in from the tribulation (Rev 20:4) "...shall reign with him a thousand years..."
  3. The term "Bible-Believing Christian," is also never mentioned in the Bible. But we all know that these were the only type of Christians that existed when the Church began, because Jesus and the apostles quite often referred to, and quoted, the Hebrew Scriptures. In those days, every Christian believed that the written Scripture was the authoratative Word of God: "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.2 Tim 3:16-17
  4. The Word "Hanukkah" or the phrase "Feast of Lights," (which is the celebration of the miracle of the temple lampstand) is also nowhere mentioned in the Bible. But the concept of Hanukkah is definitely presented! The term used in scripture is: "the Feast of Dedication" ~ John 10:22

No one would doubt that when a bible-believing Christian talks about "the Bible" that they're talking about the compilation of Judeo-Christian holy scriptures. Nor would anyone doubt that when a believer is talking about "the Millennium", they're actually referring to the future 1000-year rule of Christ on earth. Nor would it occur to any true believer in Jesus Christ, to doubt that the "Christians" mentioned in the New Testament, were true bible-believing Christians. But, sadly, most Christians have no idea that Jesus was attending the "Hanukkah" celebration at the temple in Jerusalem when disagreement broke out and the Judean religious leaders picked up stones to kill him for blasphemy. During this Feast of Lights, they literally wanted to extinguish the One who truly Is the Light of the World!!


"The Rapture" qualifies as one of those terms that bear a Biblical concept. So, let's take a look at one of the passages in scripture where the concept of the Rapture is presented.

The Rapture Concept


The concept of the Rapture event is presented to us in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18:

"15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep [dead]. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words." (NKJV)

We can all agree that Nowhere in this New Testament text do we find the word "rapture" mentioned. But we do see the concept. Further below, I'll show you how the word "rapture" actually comes from a classical Bible translation. For now, let's stay focused just on the concept.

Rapture Bible Verse KJV

"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." ~ 1 Thes 4:17 (KJV)

Now we've seen where the concept of the Rapture is presented in the English Bible. But, as I mentioned earlier, the fact that the English Bible does not use the word 'rapture' is merely a matter of the text's language source. People seem to forget that the Bible was first written in older, ancient languages that were only quite some time later, finally translated into English. So we are not done yet. 


I will now take you along to show you how the verb used in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 is indeed linked to the word Rapture. We won't find the word rapture in the English translation of the Bible, but we will find it in a classical translation of the Bible. So, lets get started with the classical Bible translations.


A Brief Overview of Classical Bible Translations: From the Ancient Original Scrolls to the First Two Complete English Bibles.


The Translation from Hebrew to Greek: The Septuagint (ca. 250 BC)

The ancient Old Testament scrolls were mostly written in Hebrew, with some sections in Aramaic. The Greeks' rise to power over the ancient world, gave them control over Israel. Many Jewish families lived outside of Israel in various cities of the Greek empire. Over time, they no longer spoke Hebrew/Aramaic, only Greek. Thus the need arose for a Greek translation of the ancient Hebrew scriptures. At some point, about 70 to 72 Greek-speaking Hebrew scholars were commissioned to translate the Hebrew holy scriptures into Greek. As turned out, the 70+ translations, though done individually, were practically identical. Thus the original Greek translation of the original Hebrew-Aramaic scriptures was born in the 3rd century BC, over two hundred years before the birth of Jesus Christ! This translation is known in English as the 'Septuagint'. The name comes from the Latin word 'septuaginta' or 'LXX', meaning '70'.


The Translation from Greek to Latin: The Vulgate (ca. 380 AD)

About one century after the Greek Septuagint was written, the Romans conquered the Greeks and became the next world power. About two centuries later, after Messiah Yeshua's (Jesus') resurrection, the Romans destroyed Jerusalem, the Christian faith spread across the Roman empire, and Latin was becoming the main world language. In the early 4th century, Constantine the Great converted to Christianity. In the late 4th century, after Constantine's death, Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire, identifying itself as 'catholic' (universal, all-embracing.) Christians were still being taught the Word of God by Christian church leaders of the day, and the gospel letters and messages that had been written earlier by the apostles and historians before the destruction of Jerusalem, were now being hand-copied and circulated. The New Testament did not yet exist and in a world where Latin was becoming the major world language, the need arose for a Latin translation of the Septuagint so that every Latin-speaking believer could hear it and know it. The Roman Catholic priest Jerome of Stridon (aka, St Jerome) translated the holy scriptures from the Greek Septuagint into the Latin Vulgate, the common ("vulgar") Latin of the people, and added a section containing the Latin translation of all the authenticated copies (of confirmed authorship) of the circulating Greek gospels and teachings of Christ and of his apostles. This became the Bible for the Latin world (and consequently for the rest of the known world under its power) for over a millennium!!

It is through this Vulgate translation of the Bible that many Latin terms found their way into what was back in the day, an underdeveloped Old English language (because it was still pretty much a West Germanic language.) Latin is the old world language that Most influenced the development of the English language throughout the centuries. Just to give an idea, here are but a few examples of the enormous amount of words that were adopted into the English language from Latin: Bible, creation, create, alien, election, union, adoption, justice, ability, able, peace, festival, mortify, victory, tradition, spirit, spiritual, mortal, immortal, charity, mortuary, liberty, glory, innocent, patriarch, mortgage, paternal, patriot, and many more. These words and many others, over the course of time, simply became incorporated into the English language, which brings us back to our earlier question... 
So, Where Exactly is the Word 'Rapture' in the Bible?

The word rapture is one such term imported into English from the Latin Vulgate translation of the Bible. In 1 Thessalonians 4:17, the verb used in the Greek Septuagint is 'harpazo', which was correctly translated into the Latin Vulgate as 'rapiemur.' Both words, the Greek 'harpazo' and the Latin 'rapiemur', carry the exact same meaning of suddenly and quickly being seized up, taken away, snatched away, or caught up. Emotionally or spiritually, it means in ecstasy, pleasure, lust, passion, excitement, or great joy. Physically, it means suddenly and by great force (meaning, since we belong to the Kingdom of Heaven, when the time comes, we will be immediately and speedily evacuated from the earth with great force/power, no matter where we are at that time; and no prior request, formality, or even consent will be required.) Note the basic keywords: Taken away, suddenly, quickly, and with force. 


Now, I know what you're thinking, "But Joy, "rapiemur" and "rapture" are two completely different words! I don't see the correlation." Just hold on for a second. Since most Americans tend to have at least a little understanding of Spanish, I will use Spanish to explain what's happening in the Latin. I am fairly confident that most of you will get it. 


NOTE to any readers who may be familiar with Latin: Know that, just to keep things simple when I share my comparison of the two languages, in my explanation I will be minimizing the number of Latin infinitives down to just the one main infinitive. I will be ignoring the other "sub-" infinitives because at this stage understanding all that, is not important for the point I'm going to make. So, please bear with me. Thank you.


Let's continue. You see, Spanish, being a romance language, is very similar to Latin in many ways. This is because Spanish inherited its verb conjugation structure and its modalities from the Latin. In Spanish, just as in Latin, there are a lot of verb conjugations and grammatical declensions that could make a non-native speaker's head spin. This is what can make Spanish a bit challenging to learn for most English speakers. 


For example, just as in Spanish "haremos," "hicieron", "haga", "hecho" "hizo" and more, are all different conjugations of the exact same Spanish verb infinitive "Hacer" (meaning: To Do); in the same manner, in Latin, "rapiemur", "raptum", "rapturo", "rapio". "rapiebar", "rapitor", "rapturae" and more, are different conjugations or forms of the exact same Latin main infinitive "Rapere" (meaning: to rapture, to snatch up, to carry away). The various words I just listed above, are all different conjugations of the exact same verb or main infinitive. Therefore, in reality, they all mean the exact same thing; only, adjusted for person, gender, number, mood, voice, and tense. In other words, they are simply a conjugation or declension format of the infinitive. 'Rapiemur' is the "we"-form, passive, indicative future conjugation of the main infinitive "Rapere" meaning, "we will be raptured." So, the noun, "the rapture" simply means, "the sudden snatching up" or "the sudden taking away," The implication is that there's nothing anyone will be able to do to stop it, delay it, or avoid it, because the feeling of this word is that of being kidnapped! In Spanish, the verb ‘raptar' (also from the Latin 'rapere') means both to rapture (by God, good people, or good emotiones) and to kidnap or abduct (by people bent on evil.) The main point this verb makes is that these events will happen without prior notice or warning, quickly, and will overtake or overpower a person. So, it's not like we'll have a choice. (Not that we would want to stay here, anyway.)  

The sudden, unexpected, and diligent nature of "being snatched away" or of "being raptured", is described in another passage in the New Testament as: "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye." 1 Corinthians 15:31-52 explains how the transformation will happen at the time of this rapture, suggesting that it will be so sudden and quick that there will be no more time left to prepare. Verses 51-52 repeat and expand on what we've already read in 1 Thessalonians 4:17, and we see the exact same pattern: that God's trumpet will sound, that First the dead in Christ will be raised, then we who are still alive and on earth, will be changed to be caught up with them in the clouds--because our current physical bodies can't defy gravity and fly through the air. 

 " 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery [a hidden truth]: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed." ~ 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 

The Translation from Latin to English: Wycliff's Bible (ca. 1380 AD)

John Wycliff lived just before the start of the Protestant reformation. He was a Catholic priest but did not like what was happening in the Roman Catholic church. He believed that Christians should be able to read the Scriptures in their own language. He had come to believe that the scriptures were the only truly reliable guide to the truths of God and of life. So against the rules and the wishes of the corrupted leadership within the Roman Catholic Church at the time, he translated most of the Latin Vulgate Holy Bible into Middle English, for the common people. Here's the Rapture Bible Verse as it was translated directly from Latin into English by John Wycliff:

 "16 For the Lord himself shall come down from heaven, in the commandment, and in the voice of an archangel [in the commanding, and in the voice of the archangel], and in the trump of God; and the dead men that be in Christ, shall rise again first. 17 Afterward we that live, that be left, shall be snatched (up) together with them in clouds, meeting Christ in the air; and so evermore we shall be with the Lord." ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17.

The First Print of the Latin Vulgate: The Guttenberg Bible (ca. 1450 AD)

The Gutenberg Bible is the first printed edition of the Latin Vulgate Sacred Bible. This first print was published over 1000 years after Jerome of Stridon, the Roman Catholic priest known as St Jerome, had completed his handwritten translation of the Greek Septuagint and of the Greek New Testament writings, into the Latin Vulgate. This printed edition is called The Guttenberg Bible because it was printed in Germany by Johannes Guttenberg.

The Translation from Classical Hebrew and Greek to English: Tyndale's Bible (ca. 1525-1530 AD) 

This is finally the first translation of the holy scriptures into Middle English from the original Old Testament Hebrew scrolls, the Greek Septuagint, and the original writings of the Greek New Testament. Yet, it still relied heavily on the Latin Vulgate as well. This translation was done mostly by William Tyndale, it was the first Bible to be published for the masses, thanks to the development of the printing press. Here's Tyndale's Rapture Bible Verse:

"16 For the Lorde him selfe shall descende fro heve with a showte and the voyce of the archangell and trompe of God. And the deed in Christe shall aryse fyrst: 17 then shall we which live and remayne be caught vp with them also in the cloudes to mete the Lorde in ye ayer. And so shall we ever be with the Lorde." ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
In their 'A Brief History of Bible Translation', Wycliff Bible Translators state regarding Tyndale:

"His use of the archery term for missing the mark, ‘to sin’, was masterful. So was his ingenious invention ‘at-one-ment’. Many other phrases, such as ‘land of the living’, ‘the parting of the ways’, ‘apple of my eye’ are so familiar that we forget their biblical origin. The King James Version, published in 1611, retained much of Tyndale’s groundbreaking work."


In Closing

As a speaker and translator of three romance languages, myself, I can say that it has been a pleasure putting this information together for you. Know that it was done with a lot of love. So, I hope it s helpful to you.

Now that you know that the word ‘Rapture’ came into the English language from the Latin Vulgate translation of the Bible, and that this word is the exact Latin translation of the Greek word 'harpazo', let me know in the comments below if/how this insight has helped or will help you in the future. And please feel free to ask, in the comments section below, any questions you may have.


I appreciate your visit with me, today. Stay Blessed.


Thursday, March 2, 2023

Salvation and Transformation


How Do I Know I Am Saved?” 

I Mean—Truly Know, Without Any Doubt”


A dearly loved sister in Messiah asked me this question one day. She had already been a believer for a few years, but she was still learning and growing. Then she said...

I want to always do what's right in God's eyes but sometimes I still mess up in spite of my best intentions. Then I feel like a failure. Do you think God still loves me? Have I displeased or disappointed God? Will He turn His back on me? Sometimes I wonder.” 

Three Important Points About Salvation and Transformation

Here's what I shared with her, that I believe every believer needs to understand and remember:

  1. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is also called “The Gospel of the Grace of God” (Acts 20:24.) This is because When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior by faith, God's grace (His favor, goodwill, kindness that we did not earn, merit, or deserve) is poured out on us (Romans 5:15; 1 Corinthians 1:14,) and we are then saved by grace, not by our own "good works" or efforts, not by anything we could possibly do—or not do. We are saved Only because God's grace is immediately released over us from the moment we decided to put our trust in Jesus Christ for our salvation (Ephesians 2:1-9.)

  2. The “Good Works” (Matthew 5:16, Romans 2:10, Titus 2:6-8, Titus 3:8, aka: “works of righteousness”, “works of God”, “God's works”,) refer to actions that are pleasing in God's eyes. They are given to us to perform, not for us to get saved through them, but (a) so that we can start our lifelong practice/training in the Process of Transformation (2 Corinthians 3:18,)—of being transformed every day, more and more, into the image of Christ, (b) so that we can spend our lives no longer in service of the Power of Darkness, but in service of the Kingdom of the Son of His Love (Colossians 1:13.) (c) so that we can become servants of the Most High God proclaiming the way of salvation (Acts 16:17,) and (d) become servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God (1Cor4:1,) and (e) become fellow workers with God to establish His Kingdom in the earth (1Cor3:9.)

  3. God's transforming grace is with people who have a humble and contrite spirit, and a repentant heart (Psa 34:18, 51:3,17, Isa 57:15, Ezk 14:6, 18:30.) A humble spirit before God is one that has been broken. It has no pride or arrogance. It does not embrace, flaunt, hold on to, justify or seeks support for its sin. A contrite spirit is one that has been crushed, or that trembles at God's word (it is sincerely remorseful, conscious of guilt and of falling short, and wanting to make amends or corrections.) A repentant heart acknowledges its sin, and that sin is sin—no matter how much it wants it. And it makes every effort to turn away from what displeases God. It makes the decision and takes the hard, difficult steps towards making different choices--choices that truly honor God. This is the Big difference between the saved and the unsaved. Scripture says that God gives grace to the humble (Jam4:6, 1Pet5:5.) I believe that this is a different aspect of grace than the grace that is extended to every human being on earth today because of Messiah's sacrifice for us. Today, every single person on the planet enjoys the grace of God's patience--a postponement of judgement and execution for their sin (2Pet3:9.) But from the moment our heart and will are desperately hungry and thirsty for transformation in Christ, and we ask God to deliver us from sinning, He will also give us the grace that we need to achieve transformation and to have victory over the sin in our lives. This usually happens over time; but I've also seen transformation in certain instances happen suddenly—in just one moment. Either way, we will experience transformation.

We must realize that Full and Complete Transformation is Gradual—One step at a time. It's a Life-long Process and a Life-long Pursuit. It is Heaven's Pathway for Spiritual Growth.

Salvation is God's Amazing Gift to Us, Not Something We Could Possibly Earn

For by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.~ Eph. 2:8-10.

The Complete Jewish Bible (CJB) by Messianic Jew David H. Stern, puts it this way:

For you have been delivered by grace through trusting, and even this is not your accomplishment but God’s gift.You were not delivered by your own actions; therefore no one should boast. 10 For we are of God’s making, created in union with the Messiah Yeshua for a life of good actions already prepared by God for us to do.

God is focused on the following attitudes of our hearts: humility, contrition, and repentance. And He will evaluate our actions based on these heart attitudes. 

'But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”' ~1 Sam 16:7 (NKJV) 

This is because God knows that: 

...all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, ~ Rom 3:23 (NKJV)

We will never be complete on our own in this life. We are now only complete in Messiah Jesus. So, when Father God looks at us, all He sees is Christ in us, and whether or not our hearts are humble, contrite, and repentant before Him, thirsting for transformation. So, God is never displeased or disappointed in us. He does not see us as failures and He will never turn His back on us. He will never leave us or forsake us (Heb 13:5,) and He will never forget us (Isa 49:15) because He sees our hearts, and our desire and efforts for transformation.

The Five Steps to Transformation

Our Part:

Step 1 – Believing and Trusting in Messiah. We are doing what pleases God, when we believe (trust) in Messiah as the One sent by God to deliver us from sin. 

'Then they asked him, “What must we do to perform God’s works?”Jesus answered them, “This is God’s work: to believe in the one whom he has sent.”' ~John 6:28-29 (ISV)

Step 2 – To come before God with a humble, remorseful, and repentant heart (Psa 34:18, 51:17, Isa 57:15, Ezk 14:6, 18:30.), whenever we have fallen short of God's standards; and to ask Him for—and be open to—transformation. Then give God time to bring about this transformation in us by His Holy Spirit. It will happen sooner or later; either all at once, or gradually. In His time and in His way, not in ours. We must remember that we are precious in His sight—our humble, contrite, and repentant heart is priceless to Him. We are His special treasure. In Christ, we are loved and holy unto Him. And since we all have our shortcomings, we must also be patient with others who are also looking forward to transformation, praying for them and allowing God to be the judge, because we can only see the external behavior--the flaws and failures. But only God truly knows every person's heart. 

God's Part:

Step 3 – God has woven Christ's spirit into our spirit. Now, we are God's brand new creation, created (transformed by God) into one-being with Christ, who equips and empowers us through the Holy Spirit, to live the life of righteousness God had already planned for us. By God uniting Messiah and us spiritually into one body/being, He gave us access to the full state of obedience of Christ (by grace, not earned ourselves,) and to the full power of the transformation God started in us, that we may continue growing, from glory to glory, into ever greater levels of understanding and obedience, in the righteousness of Christ: For we are God’s masterpiece, created in the Messiah Jesus to perform good actions that God prepared long ago to be our way of life.~ Eph 2:10 (ISV)

Step 4 – God is continually working in us, to make us willing and able to obey Him (Php 2:13)

Step 5 – We who believe can be confident of this: That God will keep us all growing in the transformation process, until the day Jesus Christ returns, when we all will be finally made complete.

...He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. ~ Php 1:6 (NKJV)

By God's grace, we are only responsible for steps 1 and 2. And God Himself is responsible for steps 3, 4, and 5, We are spiritual beings being transformed by God Himself into the image of Christ, therefore He will complete the good work He started in each of us who are in Christ.

This is Why we can encourage ourselves with this powerful verse from scripture, Philippians 4:13:

...we can do all things through Christ who strengthens/empowers us.

The Living Bible puts it this way:

...for I can do everything God asks me to, with the help of Christ who gives me the strength and power.

This is such a beautiful encouragement to us. We are not helpless or hopeless. We are not gloomed into discouragement or doomed to failure. We are being transformed by Him, and have been strengthened and empowered in Christ!

Prayer for God to Make Us Complete

20 Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21 make us complete in every good work to do His will, working in us what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.~ Hebrews 13:20-21.


Isa 26:12Lord, You will establish peace for us, for You have also done all our works in us.