What is the Rapture? A Simple Definition

This is the fourth in what will be a collection of seven Credo Clips about Revelation and eschatology.

In this short video, Dr. Mark Hitchcock (of Faith Bible Church) gives us his definition for the concept of the rapture.

You can catch up on the other videos in this series:

Video Transcript

Yea, the rapture is a word that is not found in the Bible, it’s that english word. And that bothers a lot of people who say, “The word rapture isn’t even in the Bible.” And of course the word Bible’s not in the Bible.

The word trinity’s not in the Bible. The word trinity, obviously is a theological term.

But the word rapture comes from the greek word in 2nd Thessalonians chapter four and verse seventeen (Editor’s Note: 1st Thessalonians) where it says there that, “[…]we who are alive and remain will be caught up[…]” to meet those who’ve died, and their bodies are being raised, to meet them in the air.

And it means to be snatched or to be seized. It’s the greek word harpadzo (ἁρπάζω).

Dr. Mark Hitchcock Lectures on the Rapture

So I always tell people if you don’t like the word rapture call it the harpadzo of the church. You can call it whatever.

But, it’s an event in the future when those who are alive on the earth at the coming of Jesus Christ, are going to be caught up.

They’re going to be transformed immediately, in the twinkling of an eye. We’re not going to die.

There’s going to be a whole generation of believers who are going to do an “end run” on the grave.

So we’ll be caught up. We’ll receive immediately an immortal, imperishable, incorruptible body.

We’ll be caught up to be with the Lord. At the same time those who’ve died, who are dead in the Lord, their bodies will be raised, and the Lord will bring their perfected spirits with Him and they’ll be reunited and their bodies will be changed.

We’ll be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.

And I believe the rapture is the next event on God’s prophetic calendar. It’s something that can happen at any time. It should be a motivating factor in each of our lives.

Disclaimer: The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of Credo House, Credo Courses, or any of our sponsors.

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    4 replies to "What is the Rapture? A Simple Definition"

    • ian banks

      Why does there need to be a resurrection if as you say Jesus brings the spirits of the dead with Him, why would they want to be put back into a body, were they not in bliss already before the presence of God..or were they miserable in heaven in an underdeveloped state and not content , and longed to be back in a body. Or perhaps they were not there at all…perhaps they were sleeping or sleeping in the dust (as the bible says)….and therefore eternally grateful when their “standing again” happens. This rapture has been a long time coming..the early Christians even Jesus thought it was imminent….no not Jesus I hear you say..well doesn’t He say He doesn’t know the time of the end (Mt: 24:36)..He said “many of you will not taste death before you see the coming of Kingdom of God ” (LK9:27) link this to Mt 10:23 & Lk 21:31 Imagine His surprise and Pauls to see the world still here 2000 years later. Perhaps the rapture , if there is to be one , will be another 2000 years away..who knows. It certainly has been desperately misunderstood and reported on even by our spiritual giants, even by Jesus Himself! So what chance us mere mortals getting it right!

    • david

      Isn’t Ted Paul not being misleading? In evangelical circles rapture commonly doesn’t merely mean a resurrection from the grave and and ascension into heaven. “Rapture” is used to describe an event which occurs as a means of escaping the “great tribulation” i.e to protect christians from severe persecution and martyrdom. Thus the rapture is seen by many evangelicals as separate and distinct from and a precursor to the resurrection at final coming of Jesus as described in 1 Cor 15. I see this as being unscriptural and a relatively recent doctrine.

      • Dave

        RE: ““Rapture” is used to describe an event which occurs as a means of escaping the “great tribulation” i.e to protect christians from severe persecution and martyrdom.”

        I can’t find any scriptural support for that. Can you? I bet Christians in Iraq would love to know this.

        • david

          of course there isn’t any such scripture but that is how many evangelicals/pentecostal think about the rapture.

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