1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 “16For 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:
17Then 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.”
Greek Harpazo, to carry off; grasp hastily; snatch up; to seize and overpower; to plunder. From this we get our word rapture, meaning the act of transporting, as harpazo is used in Matthew 13:19 “catcheth”; Acts 8:39 “caught away”; Matthew 11:12 “take it by force”; 2 Corinthians 12:2-4 “caught up”, verse 4 “caught up”; 1 Thessalonians 4:17 “caught up”; Revelations 12:5 “caught up”; John 10:28 “pluck”; Jude 23 “pull.”
If you look up the last 8 Scriptures, you will see they are examples of words that are included in the definition of ‘harpazo’.
According to my bible reference the word “clouds” in 1 Th. 4:17 above, refers to literal clouds.
In the reference for “and so shall we ever be with the Lord” it says the saints (that’s us!) will be with Christ in heaven during the tribulation based on 2 Thessalonians 2:7 “7For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way”; and Revelations 4:1 “1After 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.”
The note on 2 Thessalonians 2:7 states that some argue that the Holy Spirit is the hinderer of this passage, but the pronoun he is used. It is believed that the church could not be referred to as he, because it is the bride of Christ; that the church is spoken of as a virgin, a woman, and that it is referred to by feminine pronouns. On the contrary, the church is not referred to by feminine pronouns; and is never symbolized by a woman; nor is it called the bride of Christ (see Rev. 21:9-10).
Here I’d like to comment that I was taught that we are the bride! And that may be because one version (the New Living Translation) does use “her” when referring to the church in Ephesians 5:27-27 “25 For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her 26 to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. 27 He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault.” NLT
But, compare the same scripture with the King James Version “25Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
26That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
27That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” Ephesians 5:25-27 KJV
So, perhaps I was wrong to believe we are the bride, especially when we read Revelations 21:9-10 below!
Revelations 21:9-14 “ 9And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife.
10And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,
11Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal;
12And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel:
13On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates.
14And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.”
Paul said Christ is the head of the church in Ephesians 5:23 “23For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.”
Jesus was the Son of man and the Son of God.
The church is called a man in Ephesians 2:15; 4:13 and the body of Christ in 1 Cor. 12:12-13, 12:27 and in Eph. 1:22-23; and in Colossians 1:18, and 1:24. Because Christ is a MAN, it would not be proper to compare His body to that of a woman or to use feminine pronouns in referring to the church. Since the church is not a woman, a lady, a virgin, or a bride, and is not referred to by feminine pronouns; and since the church is called a man and the body of Christ who is a man, the church can be referred to by the pronoun he.
Well, that’s more to think on, isn’t it. More to study, too! See you next week!