It is commonly asserted that the word rapture doesn’t appear in the Bible, and this absence is held forth as evidence that the teaching of the rapture is a falsehood. But this claim is untrue. The word rapture does appear in the Bible. It appears in the exact same way that words like angel and apostle appear in the Bible. Τhe word rapture is simply the anglicized form of the Greek word ̔αρπαζω (harpazō) that appears in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 in the original text.
To begin with, the English word rapture is derived from the Latin participle raptus from the verb rapio. And Latin rapio and Greek ̔αρπαζω (harpazō) are cognates — they are the same word. Don’t be fooled by the superficial differences between Latin rapio and Greek harpazō. The -αζω (-azō) on the end of ̔αρπαζω (harpazō) is not part of the shared stem but a common Koine Greek verb ending. And the rough breather, the “h”, at the beginning, is not part of the shared stem either. The shared stem is simply “rap” — rap in Latin and ρ-π (r-p) in Greek.
The fact is, harpazō and rapio belong to a class of Greek and Latin cognates where Greek adds an “h” to the shared stem. Another example from this class is Greek ̔ιστημι (histēmi) and Latin sto. Here again, neither the “h” at the beginning nor the -μι (-mi) verb ending are part of the shared stem. The stem is stē in Greek and sto in Latin. And it is sta in English, from whence we get words like stand and standard.
So we see that English rapture, Latin rapio, and Greek harpazō are cognates — they are the same word in different languages. But not only are they the same word, they have the same meaning. Anyone who has done a little reading from extra-biblical Greek and Latin, or has at least enough familiarity with those languages to use the classical Greek and Latin lexicons, is well aware of the fact that Greek ̔αρπαζω (harpazō) and Latin rapio regularly bore the same sense of “remove from harm’s way” that pretribulationists claim for the English word rapture. It was regularly used by the mythologists of the gods snatching their favorites out of harm’s way. And it was regularly used in similar senses by the historical authors. I recently noted that Josephus used it of parents snatching their children up and running for cover when Titus sacked Jerusalem in 70 AD.
So the next time someone tries to educate you with the fictional-factoid that the word rapture doesn’t appear in the Bible, just smile and point out that word rapture does appear in the Bible in the exact same way that words like angel, apostle, Messiah, Christ, Jesus, baptism, and apocalypse appear in the Bible. The English word rapture is the Greek word ̔αρπαζω (harpazō) in its anglicized form. And it would be just as legitimate to translate harpazō in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 by rapture as it is to translate αγγελος (aggelos) by angel. “Then we who are alive and remain shall be raptured together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.”
“Eyes wide open, brain engaged, heart on fire.”
Lee W. Brainard