Now, perhaps you've just moused over the Bible reference above, or you've looked in your own Bible (in print or on your phone or computer), and you're saying, "Um, I don't see the word 'rapture' anywhere in that verse." Well, let's look at the passage in the Latin Vulgate, and you'll start to see it take shape:
"deinde nos qui vivimus qui relinquimur simul rapiemur cum illis in nubibus obviam Domino in aera et sic semper cum Domino erimus." The word I've put in bold is from the Latin verb raptio, which means "to take away, to catch up." Filter that through some medieval French, and bingo! you've got our modern English word "rapture."Comm
OK, now that we've got the etymology out of the way, let's take a look at how this key verse in Rapture theory is translated in some popular versions (with a little of my commentary)...
- "Then, we who are living and still around will be taken up together with them in the clouds to meet with the Lord in the air. That way we will always be with the Lord."
- "Then we who are still alive will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and so we will always be with the Lord."
- "Then the rest of us who are still alive at the time will be caught up with them into the clouds to meet the Master. Oh, we’ll be walking on air! And then there will be one huge family reunion with the Master."
- "Then we who are alive and left behind will be snatched up together with them into the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. This is how we, the resurrected and the living, will be with Him forever."
- "After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them. We will be taken up in the clouds. We will meet the Lord in the air. And we will be with him forever."
I apologize if I appear flippant about this doctrine. I realize some readers may be more literal minded than myself when it comes to passages that are supposed to be about the "End Times." I happen to believe that Christian faith is traditionally more concerned about how we live in the here and now than it is about decoding what is going to happen at the end of the world. Much of the premillenial dispensationalist theology out there reads like an attempt to "decode Scripture," and has little application to everyday life. I know there are many folks who disagree vehemently with me on that. As I said above, my intention is not to get into a discussion about eschatology. What is interesting to me, for the purposes of this blog, is how similar most of the versions are in their handling of this passage. Other than The Message, they are all pretty much the same. The same could be said of hundreds of other core doctrinal passages. The complaint one hears from time to time that "modern versions" are missing central theology doesn't hold much water. More on that, though, in future posts, perhaps.
If you do want to comment on my handling of this admittedly controversial subject, you may feel free to do so. Just understand, I have a threshold for long comment threads, and I reserve the right to delete any comments that I consider inflammatory. As always, thanks for reading.
P.S. If you are interested in seeing a truly bizarre "Christian comic book" about the End Times, you can read the entire Hal Lindsey comic book There's a New World Coming here. Trippy!