Words Not Found in the Bible

Critics say, “That word is not in the Bible!” Then they try to tell you that you have been misled to believe unbiblical teachings.

No, not THOSE words. I mean the words you may have heard in church over the years, or in the media, and critics say, “That word is not in the Bible!” Then they try to tell you that you have been misled to believe unbiblical teachings.

One popular word heard today is “Rapture.” Much has been made of it in movies and books from the Left Behind series. After the recent release of the remake of the movie, several articles appeared claiming that the doctrine was false because the word “rapture” was not in the Bible.

To understand why, you need to know a little about Bible translations. The problem with many critics of the Bible is that they do not know anything about the Bible, or how we got it. Some people even believe that Jesus spoke in perfect Elizabethan English.

Biblical writers used three languages to record God’s message to mankind. The Old Testament used ancient Hebrew. Later books used Aramaic, a derivative of Hebrew, much as Italian is a derivative of Latin. The New Testament writers used the Koine Greek language, which was the common language of the day, much as English is today. There never was a written language known as Reformed Egyptian hieroglyphics.

The etymology of “rapture” shows that it comes from Latin. The word origin according to dictionary.com is “’act of carrying off,’ from Middle French rapture, from Medieval Latin raptura ‘seizure, rape, kidnapping,’ from Latin raptus “a carrying off, abduction, snatching away; rape’” (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/rapture?s=t). So basically the word means a snatching or carrying away. Jerome translated the Bible into Latin in the late fourth century. It became the official translation of the Roman Catholic Church in sixteenth century. As a result, many theological terms come from Latin-based words. Keep this in mind for future articles.

Where does the Bible teach the rapture, if at all? In First Thessalonians 4: 16-17 Paul writes: “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.” Notice the phrase “caught up” in that last verse. Paul used the Greek word “harpazo” here. A Greek Lexicon reveals that this word comes from a root that means “to take for oneself” and the verb means “to seize, pluck, pull, or take by force” (QuickVerse 3). This would be like a vinedresser walking through the vineyard and plucking up the grapes for the harvest. This is the idea that Paul is trying to convey, that the Rapture, (The Latin-based word used here from the Vulgate) is a plucking up, a “catching up,” or a harvesting of the believers who are alive at Christ’s return.

Next we must ask ourselves, “Do other verses teach this same idea?” Matthew 24:30-31 says, “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.” So when Christ returns, He will gather believers to Himself.

Paul is teaching that at Christ’s return, Christians who have died (fallen asleep) will be raised immortal and imperishable, and living Christians will be transformed “in the twinkling of an eye” (First Corinthians 15:51-52). Then all who are so changed by resurrection or transformation, will be caught up to meet Christ in the air (First Thessalonians 4:17). That is what “the Rapture” means.

It is beyond the scope of this article to deal with the details as many books have undertaken such challenges. I would simply encourage you to research and study on your own. You can reach your own conclusions. Just do not let someone unnerve you by saying “That word is not in the Bible.”


Author: mikemcg58

Ordained Minister, author, and speaker available for pulpit supply, interim pastorates, and training conferences. I recently received my PhD and D. Div. degrees. I live in Odessa, TX

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