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Harpazo or Rapture meaning



“Harpazo” is a Greek word which means to be caught up, or snatched away, into the air.


The popular term “rapture”, which we tend to use in our English, comes from the Latin verb “rapio” and the past participle “rapt.” It is still used in the Latin Vulgate, which can be found in the Catholic Church today.

HARPAZO in Greek, English and Latin
HARPAZO in Greek, English and Latin


“Harpazo” or rapture is the any moment return of Jesus’ for his bride, the Church, to bring her to her new home. See more Ancient Jewish Wedding. John wrote about this home that Jesus is preparing in Heaven.

John 14: 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 

3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”



Is “harpazo” or rapture Biblical, and what is the evidence for such an event?


Paul speaks of this one event, the “harpazo” or rapture of Christians, as our comfort in his letter to the Thessalonians.

1 Thessalonians 4:17 “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. Therefore comfort one another with these words.”  



And in Titus, we read about our blessed hope, the moment Jesus appears, and Christians will disappear from the earth.

Titus 2:13 “Looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.”



The one thing the Church does agree about is that Jesus Christ will come again, also known as His second coming. So, what is the divide about?


Some believe the Church endure seven years of difficulty, including the 3.5 years of Tribulation. Chuck Missler famously said: “That is to believe that Jesus will beat up His bride and then marry her.”

Others believe, according to the Bible, Jesus will bring His bride out before the wrath of God is unleashed on earth. See more Revelation 4.

Rapture Timeline
Rapture Timeline


The disciples asked Jesus about His second coming and the “end of the age,” we read in Matthew 24. Jesus spoke about the time before His coming as the “end of the age.” What age? The age of grace and the time of the Church. After this age, it reaches another age of 1000 years, the Millennium.

Jesus compares the end of the Church age with the birth pains of a woman before her child is born, a painful time. Though we do not know the day or the hour of birth, we can anticipate the birth around nine months. Similarly, we can understand and grasp the end of the age.

Matthew 24:3-4 what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” Jesus answered…. 8All these are the beginning of birth pains.



The next question arises from the above discussion: ” Does “harpazo” happen at the beginning, halfway or at the end of the seven years?

Dr Charles Ryrie gives a good illustration:
“As a teacher, I give exams. Suppose I announce an exam on such and such a day. Then, I promise the students who average a throughout the semester an A that I will keep them from the exam. 

I could keep my promise in two ways. Either they attended, and I gave them a sheet containing all the answers. They would live through the exam but not suffer the trial. It explains post-tribulation protection while enduring.
Otherwise, they do not need to attend the exam and are exempt from being present during the trial. It explains pre-tribulation. We read about this promise here:

Revelation 3:10 Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world”




The Old Testament prophecies are filled with the words “the day of the Lord” or “that day.” It always refers to events that occur after the end of this age and during the seven years.

God will intervene in history to accomplish His will and purpose for humanity and the world. He had done this before when He sent the flood in Noah’s time and when He sent Brimstone to burn down Sodom and Gomorrah.

But, like before, God warns, sending prophets and preachers to keep calling the people to turn from their sins before He steps in.

Romans 5:9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through Him!



We live in the age of grace, which started two thousand years ago when God sent His Son to die for our sins. By His blood, we can escape the wrath of God. Judgement is for those who willfully refuse God’s offer of a free pardon.

The Church comprises individuals who accepted this offer and received Jesus as their personal Savior. There is a covenant in place. Believers will be saved from God’s wrath.

Church is the bride of Christ
Church is the bride of Christ

We live in the age of grace, which started two thousand years ago when God sent His Son to die for our sins. By His blood, we can escape the wrath of God. Judgement is for those who willfully refuse God’s offer of a free pardon.

The Church comprises individuals who accepted this offer and received Jesus as their personal Savior. There is a covenant in place. Believers will be saved from God’s wrath.


The law of double jeopardy applies. Therefore, judging and punishing the same crime would be a sin. That is to say, once in the body of my substitute, Jesus Christ, and then again in my body. It cannot be.

Romans 8:1 Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.



The Church is the bride of Christ waiting for the glorious wedding banquet. The Rapture is the Church with Jesus forever, the consummation of the marriage. 

Revelation 19:7 Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and His bride has made herself ready.


The Rapture is the one event that will bring God’s children behind Heaven’s doors. Isaiah wrote a prophecy about a time when God will hide His own before He punishes the people of the earth. 

Isaiah 26 Go, my people, enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until his wrath has passed by. See, the Lord is coming out of his dwelling to punish the people of the earth for their sins.



Every Jew and Gentile believing in Christ becomes part of the Church that will be raptured.

But God is not done with unbelieving Israel as a nation. Christians have no place in the calamity that will bring Israel to repent.


Psalm 89:30: “If his sons forsake My law
And do not walk in My judgments,
31If they break My statutes
And do not keep My commandments,
32Then I will punish their transgression with the rod,
And their iniquity with stripes.
33Nevertheless My lovingkindness I will not utterly take from him,
Nor allow My faithfulness to fail.
34My covenant I will not break,
Nor alter the word that has gone out of My lips.



At His first coming, Jesus did the work of redemption and left without ever sitting on the throne of David, as promised. God did not cancel the works of His hand; He postponed them.

Acts 1:6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.



Israel rejected their Messiah 2000 years ago, but the Bible tells us of a day of repentance, “the day of the Lord.”

Zechariah 12:10 They will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.



Noah versus the Bride
Noah versus the Bride

Throughout the pages of the Bible, God had physically removed His own before He poured out His wrath. 


 Noah, and his family, were saved from the flood. Lot, and his family, were protected from brimstone at Sodom and Gomorrah. And Rahab, and her family, were saved when the walls of Jericho fell.

Saving His people is at the heart of God, and He has not changed.


If you do happen to wonder, yes, I, too, believe in “harpazo” of the Church. The Bible tells us so, and there is some interesting evidence about the beliefs of early Christians on this matter. See more The Rapture Controversy, New Insights.




Books about the “harpazo” or rapture:

The Rapture: Christianity’s Most Preposterous Belief by Chuck Missler

The Rapture: Don’t be Deceived by Billy Crone

Can we still believe in the Rapture by Mark Hitchcock and Ed Hindson


More sources for “harpazo” or rapture: – online bible and commentaries – online bible and commentaries

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