(These are just a few thoughts. I will keep revisiting this in the future.)
The Greek word that is used in 1st Thessalonians 4:17 for the catching away is ‘αρπαγησομεθα’, harpagēsometha. We all know this as the catching away but in some circles, people prefer the Latin term “rapture” over something that is Biblical. Harpazo is the root word that Strong’s gives you when looking at the numbering system. Most people don’t know but Strong’s just gives you the roots of words and there is nothing wrong with that. But in order to actually get to the “root” of the Greek or Hebrew word then you need to have a few more reliable resources available.
I thought I would look at the Hebrew translation of the New Testament to see what word they had used for this catching away. Now if we look at this same verse in Hebrew this is how it would look. It is read from right to left. “1Th 4:17 אחרי־כן אנחנו החיים הנותרים נלקח אתם יחדו בעננים לקראת האדון לאויר ובכן נהיה תמיד עם־האדון׃” This word in Hebrew is נִלְקָ֑ח nilqah (and is the Hebrew translation from the Greek word ‘αρπαγησομεθα’, harpagēsometha) and the root of this word in Hebrew is ‘lakad or laqach (transliteration)’. The spelling is נלקח but the root word is לקח – H3947 which means “to take, lay hold of, receive, acquire, buy, marry, take a wife, snatch, take away”.
So as you can see there is a wide range for what this word can actually mean. I do like that it means to marry or take a wife which brings us to what harpagēsometha really represents. The bridegroom coming for His bride on the last day and having to pluck her from the fire. Its not the “rapture” in a modern evangelical prophetic sense.
Obviously this word in a Greek translation means “snatch off or away or carry by force”. When looking it up in Strong’s take a look at definition “e. 2.” in light of the normal definitions.
The Hebrew word nilqah can mean a flash of lightning. Now consider this. Some scholars believe that at the time of the Resurrection of Jesus, the glory of God that had rose Jesus from the dead was similiar to a flash of lightning. Do you get my point? This violent snatching away used in 1st Thessalonians 4:17 makes me think back to the Resurrection of Jesus (which by the way, the variation of the root word ‘harpazo’ – ἡρπάγη ērpagē is used in Revelation 12:5 and 2nd Corinthians 12:4). Now ‘ἡρπάγη’ ērpagē is very interesting in this context of Scriptures because Revelation refers to Jesus’ Resurrection and Corinthians refers to Paul being taken to the 3rd Heaven. Revelation 12:5 and Paul being taken to the 3rd Heaven are good examples of the catching away of those who are still alive at the time of Jesus’ second coming. This is the resurrection of the living and of those who sleep.
Now let’s get back to the Hebrew word נִלְקָ֑ח nilqah for a second. Here is what is interesting about the verse I found in the Old Testament with this same word ‘nilkákh or nilqah’ (נלקח). This word can be found in 1st Samuel 4:22 and is also found in 1st Samuel 4:11 and Ezekiel 33:6. When you go to 1st Samuel 4:21,22 it says this. “:the ark of God is taken (נלקח).” This is alluding to Phineas’ wife who was pregnant and near delivery when she heard that the ark of God was taken from Israel. This happened because of her father in law and husband. Now it’s also interesting because the way this word is used in three times in the Old Testament is in a negative connotation.
When you look at Ezekiel 33:6 it is referencing the watchman that doesn’t sound the trumpet to warn others that the sword is coming and he will be taken away in his iniquity. So we have a watchman who is supposed to be watching for a calamity that will come upon the people. As he warns the people, this allows those people who have watched or have been watching for the wrong things to take notice. And if they have been watching in the wrong direction than this gives them time to repent. Those watchman who don’t sound the trumpet will be taken away in their iniquity.
All of this just made me think about this false birthing sign of this “rapture” that these people have been anticipating. I have been ridiculed for warning people and showing them in Scripture that this Revelation 12:1 sign in the heavens was in fact Jesus being born and was something that happened in the past. These people refuse to listen to what is being said and would rather mock someone than look honestly at Scripture. It is very reminiscent of a watchman sounding the trumpet of warning in Ezekiel (and I’m not claiming that I’m some Biblical watchman either).
Ironically these 2 words (harpagēsometha and nilqah) are representing the same thing that is surrounded by the catching away of Jesus (resurrection) of Revelation 12:5, the resurrection of those who are alive (and those asleep) of 1st Thessalonians 4:17, a pregnant woman seeing the glory of God and the ark being taken away in 1st Samuel and Ezekiel 33:6’s watchman failing at what he is supposed to do…warn others. These people who really believe Rev. 12 is some future sign want to consider themselves watchman by their own admission and they are failing at telling Christians what is really going on. It is really frustrating to see this happening.
The Old Testament Hebrew translation of this word for a New Testament catching away is almost like the other side of this harpagēsometha coin. What will happen with those who have been proclaiming that Rev. 12 is the future sign of the church being “raptured” when that is further from the truth. The “rapture” isn’t a secret event like they have taught over all these years. And it isn’t going to happen on September 23rd like they are teaching now. But I do suspect that something very bad will come out of this whole thing. The trumpet has been blown and those reject it will suffer repercussions. And check this out, if Paul wanted to use a word that was meaning something was “taken in secret” then he would’ve used the word ‘klepto’. But he didn’t. He used harpagēsometha. Our bodily resurrection.