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Prophetic Observer

Is the Word “Rapture” in the Bible?

James Collins
June 24, 2021

I recently spoke at a church in Kansas. After the service, an upset woman walked up to me. She had a frown on her face. With an angry tone, she said, “I didn’t like what you said in the sermon.” I replied, “Which part did you not like?” “That part about the Rapture,” she snorted. “Oh, why didn’t you like that part?” I asked. “Because it is unbiblical,” she said, “Don’t you know the word ‘rapture’ is not even in the Bible.”

The upset woman was only half right. She was wrong about the Rapture being unbiblical, but she was right about the word “rapture” not being in the English translation of the Bible. However, just because a word is not in the Bible does not mean that those things are not real. The word “Bible” is not in the Bible either. Is your Bible not real?

It is true that if you were to search all the 783,137 words in the King James Bible, you would not find the word “rapture.” However, you would find the doctrine of the Rapture. The event is described in Paul’s first letter to the church in Thessalonica: “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 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. Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:16–18).

The Christians in Thessalonica were troubled that those believers who had died might miss out on Christ’s Second Coming. So, the Apostle Paul wrote to assure them that they should not be concerned about the departed believers because they will experience the Rapture together with God’s people who are still alive when Christ returns. Paul reveals the “dead in Christ shall rise first” (1 Thess. 4:16) to receive their resurrection bodies a moment before living believers are transformed into their new glorified bodies.

Paul uses the expression “caught up” (1 Thess. 4:17) to describe the catching up of both the dead and living Christians. The Greek word for “caught up” is harpazo (which means to snatch, seize, or take away). Harpazo was translated in Latin versions of the Bible with the word rapturo, which is the English word rapture. So, while it is true that the word “rapture” is not in the Bible, the doctrine of the catching away of believers is definitely presented (1 Thess. 4:17; 1 Cor. 15:51–55).

The doctrine of the Rapture is found throughout the Bible, even in the Old Testament. The first recorded rapture was Enoch. The Bible says, “And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him” (Gen. 5:24). Enoch is an exception to all the other patriarchs who died. Instead of letting him die, “God took him.” Enoch was caught up and went directly to heaven without dying.

The prophet Elijah was also raptured. Second Kings 2 begins, “And it came to pass, when the Lord would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal” (2 Kings 2:1). The Bible uses the expression “take up” to describe the Lord’s rapture of Elijah. The event is expounded upon a few verses later. The Bible says, “And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven” (2 Kings 2:11). Thus, Elijah was caught up and went directly to heaven without dying.

In the New Testament, after finishing all that the Father had given Him to do, the Lord Jesus Christ was raptured: “And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:9-11).

Jesus was raptured to heaven forty days after His resurrection. While the disciples stood and watched (probably with their mouths hanging open in amazement), two messengers from God appeared. God’s messengers said that Jesus would return one day in the same way. Jesus left by being “taken up” and was “received” by a cloud. Someday, Jesus will return to take up His bride into the clouds (1 Thess. 4:17) for their marriage in heaven (Rev. 19:11–16). Seven years later, Jesus will return to the Mount of Olives (Zech. 14:4) to set up His Millennial Kingdom.

Philip was raptured after his encounter with the Ethiopian eunuch. The experience is detailed in the Book of Acts (Acts 8:25–40). Philip was led by an angel to meet with the Ethiopian eunuch. After the eunuch was baptized, God snatched Philip away (Acts 8:39). The Bible does not say whether Philip went up into Heaven and came back. It just says that he was snatched away and later found himself at Azotus.

The Book of Revelation details the future rapture of the two witnesses. At the midpoint of the Tribulation, the Antichrist will kill the two witnesses. He will leave their dead bodies in the streets of Jerusalem for three-and-a-half days, in which time all the population of the world will celebrate. The celebrations will stop when the two witnesses suddenly come back to life. Then they will follow the Lord’s command to “come up hither,” and they will be raptured to heaven (Rev. 11:3–12).

Also, in the Book of Revelation, the Apostle John describes his own personal rapture. The Bible says, “After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter” (Rev. 4:1). Here, John is a type of church. He was told to “come up hither” just as the church will be called up to Heaven at the Rapture.

It is worth noting that the focus of the Book of Revelation changes after Revelation 4:1. Up to that point, Revelation was focused on the church, but there is no mention of the church again until the end of the book (Rev. 22:16). The prophecies of Revelation 4–19 concern them that dwell on the earth (Rev. 6:10). There is only mention of “saints,” who are those who hear the Gospel and accept Christ during the Tribulation. The church is not on the earth during this period which is in line with the doctrine of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture. John, who was one of the first true members of the church of Jesus Christ, is a fitting symbol of the church being taken out of the world before the Tribulation begins.

Like John, the Apostle Paul describes a personal rapture in his second letter to believers in Corinth. He refers to “a man” who was caught up into Heaven. He writes, “I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven” (2 Cor. 12:2). Even though he does not directly identify himself as “the man” in this passage, it is clear from the context that he is speaking of himself. Paul says that he was not sure if he was “in the body” or “out of the body.” However, he did know that he was “caught up” into the third heaven either physically or spiritually. Second Corinthians was written after 1 Thessalonians. Paul had already used the word harpazo (caught up) to describe the Rapture of believers. He uses the same word to describe what happened to him here.

I would like to point out that Paul says this rapture happened to “a man in Christ.” According to 1 Thessalonians 4:14–16, only those “in Christ” will be caught up in the Rapture. Only those who have trusted Jesus as Lord and Savior will be taken up. The lost will stay behind. If you are not a Christian, you need to get ready or get left.

So, while the word “rapture” may not be in the Bible, the concept is clearly a biblical concept. However, if you don’t like using the word “rapture” just because it is not in the Bible, you can just say, “I am looking forward to 1 Thessalonians 4:16–17.” Or “I am excited about the day when we will be caught up.” Or “I can’t wait for the translation of the church.” Or “I am anticipating the snatching away of the saints.”

I think I will stick with Rapture if you don’t mind.


That is all.....

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WRITER: John the apostle
DATE: About A.D. 95
THEORIES OF INTERPRETATION: There have been many approaches
to this book, but these can be divided into four major systems (Broadus lists
seven theories of interpretation; Tragelles lists three):
1. Preterist theory: All of Revelation has been fulfilled in the past.
It had to do with local references in John’s day. It had to do with
the days of either Nero or Domitian. The view was held by Renan
and most German scholars, also by Elliott.
2. Historical theory: Fulfillment of Revelation is going on in histo-
ry, and Revelation is the prophetic history of the church, accord-
ing to this theory.
3. Historical-spiritual theory: This theory is a refinement of the
historical theory and was advanced by Sir William Ramsay. It
states that the two beasts are Imperial and Provincial Rome. The
point of the book is to encourage Christians. According to this
theory, Revelation has been largely fulfilled and there are spiritual
lessons for the church today. Amillennialism, for the most part,
has adopted this view. It dissipates and defeats the purpose of the
4. Futurist theory: This theory holds that the Book of Revelation is
primarily prophetic and yet future, especially from Revelation 4
on to the end of the book. This is the view of all premillennialists
and is the view which we accept and present.
• It is the only prophetic book in the New Testament (in contrast to
seventeen prophetic books in the Old Testament).
• John, the writer, reaches farther back into eternity past than any
other writer in Scripture (John 1:1-3). He reaches farther on into
eternity future in the Book of Revelation.
• Special blessing is promised the readers of this book (Revelation 1:3).
Likewise, a warning is issued to those who tamper with its contents
(Revelation 22:18, 19).
• Revelation is not a sealed book (Revelation 22:10). Contrast Daniel
12:9. It is a revelation (apocalypse), which is an unveiling.
• It is a series of visions, expressed in symbols.
• This book is like a great Union Station where the great trunk lines of

prophecy come in from other portions of Scripture. Revelation does
not originate but consummates. It is imperative to a right understand-
ing of the book to be able to trace each great subject of prophecy
from the first reference to the terminal. At least ten great subjects of
prophecy find their consummation here:
1. The Lord Jesus Christ (Genesis 3:15)
2. The church (Matthew 16:18)
3. The resurrection and translation of saints (1 Thessalonians 4:13-
18; 1 Corinthians 15:51, 52)
4. The Great Tribulation (Deuteronomy 4:30, 31)
5. Satan and evil (Ezekiel 28:11-18)
6. The “man of sin” (Ezekiel 28:1-10)
7. The course and end of apostate Christendom (Daniel 2:31-45;
Matthew 13)
8. The beginning, course, and end of the “times of the Gentiles”
(Daniel 2:37; Luke 21:24)
9. The second coming of Christ (Jude 14, 15)
10. Israel’s covenants (Genesis 12:1-3), five things promised Israel
KEY VERSES: Revelation 1:18, 19
I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for
evermore, Amen, and have the keys of hades [hell] and of
death. Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things
which are, and the things which shall be hereafter.
I. The PERSON of Jesus Christ — Christ in glory, Chapter 1
A. Title of the Book, v. 1
B. Method of revelation, v. 2
C. Beatitude of Bible study, v. 3
D. Greetings from John the writer, and from Jesus Christ in
heaven, vv. 4-8
E. The post-incarnate Christ in a glorified body, judging His
church (the great High Priest in the Holy of Holies), vv. 9-18
F. Time division of the contents of the apocalypse, v. 19
G. Interpretation of the seven stars and seven lampstands, v. 20
II. The POSSESSION of Jesus Christ — the church in the world,
Chapters 2, 3
A. Letter of Christ to the church in Ephesus, Chapter 2:1-7
B. Letter of Christ to the church in Smyrna, Chapter 2:8-11
C. Letter of Christ to the church in Pergamum, Chapter 2:12-17
D. Letter of Christ to the church in Thyatira, Chapter 2:18-29
E. Letter of Christ to the church in Sardis, Chapter 3:1-6
F. Letter of Christ to the church in Philadelphia, Chapter 3:7-13
G. Letter of Christ to the church in Laodicea, Chapter 3:14-22
III. The PROGRAM of Jesus Christ — the scene in heaven,
Chapters 4 — 22
A. The church in heaven with Christ, Chapters 4, 5
...I will come again, and receive you unto myself, that
where I am, there ye may be also. (John 14:3)
1. Throne of God, 4:1-3
2. Twenty-four elders, 4:4, 5
3. Four living creatures, 4:6-11
4. Book with seven seals, 5:1-4
5. Christ: the Lion of the tribe of Judah and the Lamb that has
been slain, 5:5-10
6. A myriad of angels of heaven joins the song of praise and
redemption, 5:11, 12
7. Universal worship of the Savior and Sovereign of the uni-
verse, 5:13, 14
B. The Great Tribulation in the world, Chapters 6 — 18
1. Opening of the seven-sealed book, Chapters 6 — 8:1
a. Opening of the first seal, 6:1, 2
(Rider on a white horse)
b. Opening of the second seal, 6:3, 4
(Rider on a red horse)
c. Opening of the third seal, 6:5, 6
(Rider on a black horse)
d. Opening of the fourth seal, 6:7, 8
(Rider on a pale horse)
e. Opening of the fifth seal, 6:9-11
(Prayer of the martyred remnant)
f. Opening of the sixth seal, 6:12-17
(The Day of Wrath has come — beginning of the last
half of the Great Tribulation)
g. Interlude, Chapter 7
(1) Reason for the interlude between the 6th and 7th
seals, vv. 1-3
(2) Remnant of Israel sealed, vv. 4-8
(3) Redeemed multitude of Gentiles, vv. 9-17
h. Opening of the seventh seal, 8:1
(Introduction of seven trumpets)
2. Blowing of the seven trumpets, Chapters 8:2 — 11:19
a. Angel at the altar with censer of incense, 8:2-6

b. First trumpet — trees burnt, 8:7
c. Second trumpet — seas become blood, 8:8, 9
d. Third trumpet — fresh water becomes bitter, 8:10, 11
e. Fourth trumpet — sun, moon, stars smitten, 8:12, 13
f. Fifth trumpet — fallen star and plague of locusts, 9:1-12
g. Sixth trumpet — angels loosed at river Euphrates, 9:13-21
h. Interlude between the sixth and seventh trumpets, 10:1
— 11:14
(1) The strong angel with the little book, 10:1-7
(2) John eats the little book, 10:8-11
(3) Date for the ending of “the times of the Gentiles,”
11:1, 2
(4) Duration of the prophesying of the two witnesses,
(5) Doom of the second woe — great earthquake, 11:13, 14
i. Seventh trumpet — end of Great Tribulation and opening
of temple in heaven, 11:15-19
3. Seven performers during the Great Tribulation, Chapters 12, 13
a. The woman — Israel, 12:1, 2
b. The red dragon — Satan, 12:3, 4
c. The child of the woman — Jesus Christ, 12:5, 6
d. Michael, the archangel, wars with the dragon, 12:7-12
e. The dragon persecutes the woman, 12:13-16
f. Remnant of Israel, 12:17
g. Wild beast out of the sea — a political power and a person,
(1) Wild beast, description, vv. 1, 2
(2) Wild beast, death-dealing stroke, v. 3
(3) Wild beast, deity assumed, vv. 4, 5
(4) Wild beast, defying God, vv. 6-8
(5) Wild beast, defiance denied to anyone, vv. 9, 10
h. Wild beast out of the earth — a religious leader, 13:11-18
(1) Wild beast, description, v. 11
(2) Wild beast, delegated authority, vv. 12-14
(3) Wild beast, delusion perpetrated on the world, vv. 15-17
(4) Wild beast, designation, v. 18
4. Looking to the end of the Great Tribulation, Chapter 14
a. Picture of the lamb with the 144,000, vv. 1-5
b. Proclamation of the everlasting gospel, vv. 6, 7
c. Pronouncement of judgment on Babylon, v. 8
d. Pronouncement of judgment on those who received mark
of the beast, vv. 9-12

e. Praise for those who die in the Lord, v. 13
f. Preview of Armageddon, vv. 14-20
5. Pouring out of the seven mixing bowls of wrath, Chapters
15, 16
a. Preparation for final judgment of the Great Tribulation,
15:1 — 16:1
(1) Tribulation saints in heaven worship God because
He is holy and just, 15:1-4
(2) Temple of the tabernacle opened in heaven that
seven angels, having seven golden bowls, might
proceed forth, 15:5 — 16:1
b. Pouring out of the first bowl, 16:2
c. Pouring out of the second bowl, 16:3
d. Pouring out of the third bowl, 16:4-7
e. Pouring out of the fourth bowl, 16:8, 9
f. Pouring out of the fifth bowl, 16:10, 11
g. Pouring out of the sixth bowl, 16:12
h. Interlude: kings of inhabited earth proceed to Har-
Magedon, 16:13-16
i. Pouring out of the seventh bowl, 16:17-21
6. The two Babylons judged, Chapters 17, 18
a. The apostate church in the Great Tribulation, Chapter 17
(1) Great harlot riding the wild beast, vv. 1-7
(2) Wild beast destroys the great harlot, vv. 8-18
b. Political and commercial Babylon judged, Chapter 18
(1) Announcement of fall of commercial and political
Babylon, vv. 1-8
(2) Anguish in the world because of Babylon’s judg-
ment, vv. 9-19
(3) Anticipation of joy in heaven because of judgment
on Babylon, vv. 20-24
C. Marriage of the Lamb and return of Christ in judgment,
Chapter 19
1. Four hallelujahs, vv. 1-6
2. Bride of the Lamb and marriage supper, vv. 7-10
3. Return of Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords, vv. 11-16
4. War of Armageddon, vv. 17, 18
5. Hell opened, vv. 19-21
D. Millennium, Chapter 20
1. Satan bound 1000 years, vv. 1-3
2. Saints of the Great Tribulation reign with Christ 1000 years,
vv. 4-6

3. Satan loosed after 1000 years, vv. 7-9
4. Satan cast into lake of fire and brimstone, v. 10
5. Setting of Great White Throne where lost are judged and fol-
low Satan into lake of fire and brimstone, vv. 11-15
E. Entrance into eternity; eternity unveiled, Chapters 21, 22
1. New heaven, new earth, New Jerusalem, 21:1, 2
2. New era, 21:3-8
3. New Jerusalem, description of the eternal abode of the bride,
4. New relationship — God dwelling with man, 21:22, 23
5. New center of the new creation, 21:24-27
6. River of the water of life and tree of life, 22:1-5
7. Promise of return of Christ, 22:6-16
8. Final invitation and warning, 22:17-19
9. Final promise and prayer, 22:20, 21
“Alpha — Omega” “Things...seen” “Beginning — End”
Revelation 1 Revelation 2, 3 Revelation 4 — 22
Christ in Glory Church in the World Crisis in the Future
Son of Man in Heaven
“I am he that liveth”
“the things which thou
hast seen”
The 7 Churches
“I was dead”
“Behold, I am alive”
“the things which are”
The Cosmic Crisis
(After removal of true church and before the comingof Christ to creation)
“I have the keys of hell and of death”“the things about to be afterthese things [meta tauta]”
Ch. 1
Chs. 4, 5
Chs. 6 — 18
Chs. 2, 3
Ch. 19
1000 years
Ch. 20 Chs. 21, 22
Barnhouse, Donald Grey. Revelation, an Expository Commentary. Grand
Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1971.
Gaebelein, Arno C. The Revelation. Neptune, New Jersey: Loizeaux
Brothers, 1915.
Hoyt, Herman A. The Revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ. Winona Lake,
Indiana: Brethren Missionary Herald, 1966.
Ironside, H. A. Lectures on the Book of Revelation. Neptune, New Jersey:
Loizeaux Brothers, Inc., 1960. (Especially good for young converts)
Larkin, Clarence. The Book of Revelation. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania:
Published by the author, 1919. (Includes fine charts)
Lindsey, Hal. There’s a New World Coming. Santa Ana, California: Vision
House Publishers, 1973.
McGee, J. Vernon. Reveling Through Revelation. 2 vols. Pasadena,
California: Thru the Bible Radio Network, 1979.
Newell, William R. The Book of Revelation. Chicago, Illinois: Moody Press,
Ryrie, Charles C. Revelation. Chicago, Illinois: Moody Press, 1968. (A fine,
inexpensive survey)
Seiss, J. A. The Apocalypse, Lectures on the Book of Revelation. Grand
Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1957.
Strauss, Lehman. The Book of Revelation. Neptune, New Jersey: Loizeaux
Brothers, 1964.
Walvoord, John F. The Revelation of Jesus Christ. Chicago, Illinois: Moody
Press, 1966. (Excellent comprehensive treatment)
These notes, prepared by J. Vernon McGee, are for the purpose of giving
assistance to the listeners of the THRU THE BIBLE RADIO program.
They are to be used with the Bible and will be more meaningful as you
look up all the Scripture references. Due to the necessary brevity of both
notes and broadcasts, a list of recommended books is included for those
wanting a more detailed study. These books may be obtained from a
Christian library or bookstore or ordered from the publishers.
Taking the whole Word to the whole world for over 60 years!
U.S. Address: Box 7100, Pasadena, California 91109-7100
Phone: (800) 65-BIBLE Fax: (626) 449-4430
Website: www.ttb.org https://www.ttb.org/docs/default-source/notes-outlines/no49_revelation.pdf?sfvrsn=2

That is all.....

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