The Harpazo (Catching Away) of the Bride of Christ
This is a Bible Study of the catching away of the bride of Christ, the harpazo. In short, it is a supernatural event that comes directly after the resurrection of the dead in Christ in the near future. After their resurrection, those who are still alive and in Christ are changed in the blink of an eye and are given their immortal bodies. Then both the resurrected and the changed are caught up together to meet the Lord in the air. The resurrection of the dead is central to the Christian faith as Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 15:12-24.
There are many different perspectives in the church regarding this topic from the denial of it to the belief that it can come at any second. Understanding of the Word of the Lord will not come by quoting one or two verses, but by building on a solid foundation of the Word, taking God for what He says and in context. It is also interspersed throughout the text of the Bible, here a little and there a little. Isaiah 28:9-13 I interpret the Bible with the Bible so that I leave as much of my own errors out of the equation and rather trust in the Word to define for me what must be understood. In this way, symbology is not randomly assigned from a 21st century English perspective, but from a Biblical perspective. The Bible was written by Hebrews for the Hebrews until the work of Christ on the cross brought that Truth to the Gentiles and all with ears to hear. This causes one to view the Bible from a more Hebrew perspective and define words from the Hebrew and Greek for deeper meaning as well as seeing a broader picture of God’s plans for the future.
I would also like to say before beginning that I understand this is a very divisive subject for some and much passion is displayed regarding this teaching because of perceived deceptions we are warned about and concern for a falling away from God resulting from things not turning out as expected. As true believers, absolutely nothing can separate us from God. It shows an extreme selfishness and pride for one to turn from God because their perceptions of reality limited by their lack of knowledge not coming to pass as desired. Job was answered by God as to how little we know of the whole picture in Job 38-40. There is One Truth and history will unfold in one way, that which God has laid out for those that love Him to understand from His Word, the Holy Bible. Only He knows the end from the beginning and He has shared the future with us. That is the focus of this Bible study on the harpazo. I believe that if we all trust the Word of God we will be on the same page, speaking the same language as the words haven’t changed nor what the words mean. Do not take my word for this or any other study presented. Rather search the scriptures daily to see whether these things are so. Acts 17:11
What is the “harpazo?”
The term “rapture” is more commonly used than harpazo and is not found in the Bible. While you will not find that exact word through a word search, the meaning of the words that are written remains the same and conveys the same idea. The term “rapture” comes from the Latin verb rapiemur which means “to seize, snatch, carry away.” This is the same meaning behind the Greek word that is found in the Bible, harpazo. It is found in the following scripture, which is the “harpazo” passage.
1 Thessalonians 4:15-18
So while the word rapture is technically not in the Bible, the idea behind that Latin word represents the same idea of being caught up together to meet the Lord in the air as stated in scripture. I have decided to move away from using the term rapture in exchange for sticking with the original Greek word spelled out in English as “shall be caught up.”
So what could this “changing” be like? Here’s an interesting show from Coast to Coast AM with Barrie Schwortz & Jerome Corsi on the Shroud of Turin. (2 hours long below) Barrie is a Jew and one of the scientists of the only scientific study ever done on the shroud of Turin. It is fascinating to hear his description of the details of this shroud and some of the things science can’t explain. One day we will be changed as Yeshua was and from what I heard of this scientist, the shroud of Turin is the real deal and what science cannot explain, the reality of the resurrection and our future changing is an exciting thing to think about in our anticipation of the future.
Also included is an interview by Michael Boehm of the Youth Apologetics Training Podcast with Russ Breault of Shroud Encounter. This interview ends in a decidedly more Christian perspective of the Shroud of Turin that I really like. Who’s to say if the shroud is the real deal, but the message of the shroud if you believe the Gospel is still represented. The linen lying in the tomb was the first evidence of the resurrection. If Yeshua is not risen, he’s dead and a dead Yeshua can offer us nothing after life. In the cloth, we can see the price that was paid. So Russ suggests there are four words that describe the Shroud of Turin. Bought, purchased, redeemed and ransom.
1 Corinthians 6:19,20
All four words are words of transaction, a payment has been made on our behalf. When you go to the store and buy something, the cashier always gives you a proof of purchase, a reciept. And on that receipt is the price that was paid. When Peter and John ran to the tomb and saw the linen there? The saw the proof of purchase, the receipt. And when they opened it up, they saw the price that was paid. The shroud is a receipt, a proof of purchase.
So salvation is a free gift. Yeshua met the terms of the ransom and He paid the price that was required, His own life, the life of the Son of God. Because He was obedient unto death, He purchased salvation for us and then presents it to us as a free gift. And if anyone questions this gift, here’s a receipt.
You can’t buy a gift, you can’t earn it. All you can do is receive it.
Yeshua is the gift. God the Father is the giver of the gift. The Shroud is a receipt that a gift has been given. We don’t “worship” the receipt, we “worship” the gift and the giver of the gift. Whether or not the Shroud of Turin is THE burial shroud, the linen left after the resurrection is the first evidence of the resurrection, and what would that shroud look like? Whether or not this is the shroud of Christ, the message is still the same. We were bought with a price paid for us as a free gift.
Who is the harpazo for?
The harpazo is the catching away of those who have a personal relationship with Yeshua the Christ, those who call themselves by His title/name, Christians. The catching away to meet the Lord in the air is our blessed hope to anyone who has accepted Christ as their savior. Titus 2:13 Sin is transgression of God’s ways, His Law, and as a righteous God, He cannot exist with sin and we are therefore separated from Him. Yeshua died for all of our sins and rose again, offering Himself as the perfect sacrifice for remission of all sins for those who accept Christ and follow His Commandments to love God and love each other to the end that we would be in God’s presence with Him for eternity.
The kingdom parable of Matthew 25:1-13 explains this time in more detail and coincides with ancient Jewish wedding tradition. In this parable, only five of the ten virgins actually go to meet the bridegroom when He comes. The others are unprepared and without oil, which is the Holy Spirit. This oil gives them the fuel for the flame, which lights the path.
In the parable, only 50% of those who were virgins waiting for the bridegroom actually had oil, the wise virgins. The foolish virgins had the door to the marriage shut on them and the Lord says He doesn’t know them. This sobering division of those who call Yeshua Lord reveals that a true Christian doesn’t just accept Christ, they repent (change mind) and obey God’s Word. Then they can have communion with the Lord and receive the Holy Spirit, the oil that we are anointed with which reveals the Word of God to us so that we are not in darkness! And the first comment the Lord makes after He says He knows them not?
It is at His coming that we are removed, or caught up, to meet Him in the air. It’s interesting because there are many scriptures about Christ coming “like a thief in the night.” When a thief comes, he takes something he deems valuable. If the Lord is coming like a thief, what is it that He finds valuable? His bride! And it is His bride that is going out to meet Him in the air as He steals them from the earth because we are not of this earth but chosen out of it. John 15:17-19 This will also fulfill the promised escape from the destruction of the day of the Lord as well. Luke 21:34-36
All we have to do to be a part of this group, is to believe that Yeshua is God in the flesh (1 John 4:1-3) who died and rose again (1 Corinthians 15:1-11) so that we could be forgiven our sins and be with Him forever. Our resurrection to eternal life is central to the belief of a Christian. (1 Corinthians 15:12-30) The harpazo is that point of resurrection for the Christian. The dead believers will be resurrected, part of the first resurrection. We must also remain obedient to God’s Word. There is no condemnation for them in Christ, yet to remain in Christ we must be obedient and repent of our sins. John 14:21 Let us walk after the spirit and not the flesh. Romans 8:1-8
Why is there a harpazo?
The reason for the harpazo is to catch up the church, Christ’s bride, (Ephesians 5:23) to the marriage that takes place while God’s wrath is poured out on the children of disobedience. (Ephesians 5:1-20) This hints to the timing which will be covered in greater depth later.
I’ve come across many people who try to attach guilt regarding a Christian’s desire to be caught up while people left behind go through the great tribulation on earth. I address that further here. I believe this view comes from a lack of understanding on what the harpazo is all about, the why. There is nothing unfair about it because the free gift of salvation and relationship with Christ is ours if we want it. We all have the choice to do our own things or listen to God through His Word, the Bible. He is coming for those who are watching and who take His Word seriously, loving Him with all their hearts and following His ways, which requires obedience to His Word. He has warned us to watch and that the destruction would come suddenly like a thief in the night. He is our Creator and Savior, able to keep us from eternal separation from God’s love. Accepting Christ is not just about saying a prayer, but about obedience, living God’s ways of love toward Him and each other.
I believe the above speaks to the importance of developing a personal relationship with Christ. How do we “know” someone? We must communicate with them, learning more about them with every encounter. God has given us His Word to understand history and the future, but He has also given us the Ruach Hakadosh (Holy Spirit), our Comforter who teaches us all things. John 14:15-29; John 15:14-27; John 16:4-11
One of those things learned through the Word of God revealed by the Holy Spirit is that the church is the bride of Christ. This is a special breed of people to God that live now by faith in Yeshua the Christ and His promises for them. They are not special because they’re so good and religious, they are special because the Creator of the universe wants to become one in spirit with them as symbolized through the marriage of a man and woman. It is this bride that Yeshua is coming for, to take her to the marriage of the Lamb. Revelation 19:7-8
They aren’t defined by belonging to a church, but their church is defined by belonging to Christ, members of His body whereas He is the head and directs the body. They give their lives over to His control, letting go of their own desires to submit to His will for their lives, trusting Him in all things. They will be the ones looking for Christ’s return and they will be the ones taken in it unto salvation upon His sudden return. We are being taken out of this world before God’s wrath is poured out on it because we are not appointed to wrath. 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
When does the harpazo happen? And can we know exactly when?
Quick Overview of What I believe
I believe the Lord is coming to take His church into the clouds (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18) at the same time changing us from mortal to immortal. (1 Corinthians 15:50-54) It will be fast and we will be taken away from this earth to New Jerusalem as best as I can read. (John 14:1-4) At some point prior to His return, we will be married to Christ. (Revelation 19:7-8) We will become one, us the body and He the head. (Ephesians 5:23) We will be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white, and then we will be gathered from one end of heaven to the other (Matthew 24:31) and follow Christ when He returns at the end of the 70th week. (Revelation 19:11-14) Prophecy will be fulfilled when every eye sees Him coming in great glory. (Revelation 1:1-8) Some will see Him from below, and His wife, the church, from behind when He destroys the gathered armies (Revelation 16:13-14) at Armageddon and takes the kingdoms (Revelation 11:15) to rule with a rod of iron (Revelation 19:15) for 1,000 years (Revelation 20:4-7)
However there are many different perspectives in the Christian community regarding the answer to this question. I have researched this topic myself extensively and I have documented what I have found in my research. I’m not asking anyone to agree with my perspective, but rather ask that you take the Word of God for what it says and then the answer will be revealed from the text itself.
This tells us in that while we don’t know exactly when, day or hour, God has not left us in the dark.
harpazo can’t come before...
So when does it happen according to scripture? We don’t know the day or the hour, but this first passage tells us that the harpazo cannot come before two events happen.
The church of Thessalonica was concerned that the day of Christ was at hand, the day of the Lord. I’ll get to that in a moment. Paul writes to alleviate their fears by telling them that that day would not come until two things had come to pass, the apostasy and the revealing of the man of sin at the abomination of desolation. According to Christ, Matthew 24:14-22, the abomination of desolation marks the beginning of the 3½ year reign of the antichrist and the 3½ year time of great tribulation. For a further defining of the timing according to scripture, this is “in the midst of” the 70th week of Daniel, the last seven years God appointed to Israel. It is also the beginning of a 1290-day period of time.
harpazo can’t come after...
While the timing of the harpazo isn’t found in relation to the great tribulation, it is found in relationship to God’s wrath and according to the Bible, the harpazo will come before the day of the Lord. I’ll get into the scriptures further down, but several promise that we will not be here for God’s wrath. It is not for them that obey God, but for the children of disobedience. Ephesians 5:1-11
In a show of God’s character towards them that love Him, in Genesis 18:17-33, God told Abraham what He was going to do with Sodom, which prompted Abraham’s questioning about how many righteous would prevent God’s destruction. He got to 10 before stopping. God would not destroy the cities with His wrath if there were 10 righteous in the cities. God’s wrath is coming again and it will arrive suddenly as the world is living life as normal, planning for the future and unaware of the day the Son of man will be revealed.
So according to this passage, the Son of man is revealed at a time of sudden destruction and the story of Lot is also connected to this explanation when the Son of man is revealed. Notice that Lot and his family, the only righteous in the city, were removed before the wrath came, just as Noah was placed above the destruction of the wrath of God’s flood on the earth. So it shall be in the coming of the Son of man. Matthew 24:36-39 This all tells us that in order to be gathered to meet the Lord in the air as explained above in scripture, He must be here, and His coming is connected to the sudden destruction of the day of the Lord.
Now there are several different opinions as to when the catching away of the bride takes place in relationship to the great tribulation. If you have not read that study please do, even if you have studied this before. The full understanding of what is said regarding the great tribulation in scripture changes many aspects of how one interprets other scriptures. It is a precept that must be understood before other precepts are built from it. This short explanation of this perspective is called pre-wrath.
Of the following four main views, three of them center their timing on the 3½ year great tribulation. I list them here in order of timing where the pre-trib harpazo can happen at any moment to a post-trib harpazo where we as the bride of Christ will spend the whole time of the great tribulation here on earth. I will get into my perspectives using the Bible on each of these in the links below and why I hold the pre-wrath viewpoint.
After the harpazo
The answer to this question varies somewhat because of different views on timing of the harpazo. Of course this will be a biased opinion based on my beliefs from study, but it’s what I read from the Word of God regarding Bible prophecy. Don’t just trust what I have to say without searching the scriptures though.
The bride of Christ
This shows our harpazo to heaven before the indignation comes on the children of disobedience who have rejected Christ to follow their own paths.
We’re going to be taken into New Jerusalem, the Father’s house with many mansions, where we will wait a little while while God pours out His wrath on the inhabitants of the earth. It is also at this time that we will be taken to prepare for the marriage of the Lamb.
According to ancient Jewish wedding tradition, the marriage supper was about seven days after the marriage. This is when the groom presented His wife to the gathered guests. So we are being caught away to prepare for the marriage of the Lamb in our Father’s house with many mansions (our new home) while God’s wrath is poured out on the children of disobedience. This is the shaking of the heavens. Isaiah 13:10-13 The following is an article written regarding what Christians should expect after the catching away.
The children of disobedience
For those who have rejected Christ, they will remain on the earth during the remaining almost 3½ years of great tribulation during which God’s wrath is poured out in the sequence of seven trumpets and seven bowls described in the book of Revelation. If you go through those Bible studies, you will get a good perspective on what is coming for those who reject Christ.
Ultimately during this time a spiritual battle will rage as Satan tries to take as many humans down with him in his final time of power on the earth before Christ’s return in glory. The mark of the beast will be implemented, and anyone that takes the mark will have made their choice in whom they put their trust. The choices are men, or the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
How close is the harpazo?
Nobody can know for sure how close it is, but once the abomination of desolation takes place, we should expect it at any moment.
Here are some charts regarding the harpazo in the time line of Bible prophecy. I find that charts help me to view things more clearly using scripture. I pray you find them useful as well.
Biblical Reasoning For:
Biblical Reasoning Against:
Biblical Reasoning For:
Biblical Reasoning Against:
I don’t think it is possible for Christ’s return to be at the 1290-day point because at His return at Armageddon the antichrist and false prophet are cast into the lake of fire. Revelation 19:20 This ends his 1260-day reign that began at the abomination of desolation beginning the 1290-day period. So if he only has power for 1260 of the 1290 days, then that leaves 30 days from Christ’s return at Armageddon until the end of the 1290-day period. Since the AoD is the common beginning for the 1260 day great tribulation and the beginning of the 1290 days, that 30 days exists beyond Christ’s return.
The 1335-day period begins also at the abomination of desolation and has a blessing attached to those who wait and come to this point in time. Now this is hardly definitive, but there is another blessing in...
The marriage supper of the Lamb is on the earth and is where the bride is presented traditionally. There are guests, the bride and the groom. The focus of Daniel 12 is approximately the second half of the 70th week beginning at the abomination of desolation and ending with the 1290/1335-day periods connected to that AoD.
In that one chapter, there are three time periods given 1260 days (Daniel 12:7), 1290 days (Daniel 12:11) and 1335 days (Daniel 12:12). The first is regarding the great tribulation’s length, which begins at the abomination of desolation according to Christ. The second also begins at the abomination of desolation, but extends 30 days past the end of the great tribulation. The final number extends 45 days beyond that. Since we know the antichrist’s reign (the great tribulation) ends 1260 days after it began and Christ’s return in glory marks the destruction of the antichrist, we know that Christ’s return in glory is 30 days before the end of that period of time. The last verse of Daniel 12 states, “But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.”
This speaks to a resurrection after a time of rest to stand in his lot at the end of the days. The blessing attached to the 1335 days is for those who “waiteth,” or “to adhere to.” The dead are asleep until resurrected and cannot adhere to or fall away from a teaching as they are no longer in that capacity in death. So it would seem the end of the days attached to the resurrection is in regards to Daniel 12:11, the end of the 1290 days. I believe this is the resurrection of Revelation 20:4-5 following Christ’s return in glory at Armageddon and the destruction of the antichrist and his kingdom.
In this way, Christ would return in glory with His wife and about a month later the dead in Christ who were not caught up and were martyred during the great tribulation for His namesake will be resurrected. These are the guests at the marriage supper of the Lamb and so must be resurrected before that time. The blessing is attached to those who adhere to God’s ways during this time that ends 1335 days after the abomination of desolation. This is 45 days after the final resurrection of the just following Armageddon. So those resurrected will sit with Christ and the bride at the marriage supper of the Lamb during the millennium after Satan is bound.
This is one of those points that I feel there is a strong logic behind this timing, yet it is admittedly built on assumptions and so I will state it as such. I can’t be dogmatic about this, but it all fits with what I feel I can be dogmatic about and is clear. I believe it also fits with the whys of some things as well.
Also, Israel is protected, Revelation 12:14, for the same time the antichrist has power, Revelation 13:5, yet we know the dragon gets the woman upon being cast from heaven. This is why Christ warned those in Judea to flee at the abomination of desolation, because Satan is come with great wrath knowing his time is short and 2/3 of Israel will be killed during the time of Jacob’s trouble.
So the first <30 days (time cut short) is not the time of Israel’s protection. This places Israel’s protection beyond the time of Christ’s return in glory by about 30 days. Of course she doesn’t need to remain in the wilderness to be protected from the dragon after Armageddon because the dragon will be locked in the bottomless pit, but she will be protected from him nonetheless. That time would then end about the time of the resurrection of Revelation 20:4,5. So in this way, all the just will be resurrected/gathered prior to the end of the 70th week of Daniel such that Israel will be in the Promised Land, probably divided up for the millennium already, standing in their lot after being resurrected. Then after a month and a half, all the just will gather to the marriage supper of the Lamb to meet the bride and dine with the Creator of the universe! I can’t even imagine!
Biblical Reasoning For:
“Be not overcome
of evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21
In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work herein is archived under fair use without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in reviewing the included information for personal use, non-profit research and educational purposes only. Ref.