First, let's dispense with the erroneous idea that the concept of "rapture" is nowhere found in Scripture. This is a charge frequently made by people who know little or nothing of the Bible. They almost always pick up this argument from someone on TV, a book, etc. They are seekers just by engaging in a conversation about it, though, and Christians should welcome this interest and never belittle any one's comments or questions. None of us knows it all, either.
"Harpazo" is the Greek word which the New Testament translators have often rendered as "caught up." The Greek Lexicon gives three definitions: 1) to seize, carry off by force 2) to seize on, eagerly claim for oneself 3) to snatch out, or away. The word is used 13 times in the New Testament (KJV).
There appear to be seven (7) specific harpazo's (raptures) in the Bible. They are:
- Enoch (Genesis 5:24, Hebrews 11:25)
- Elijah (2 Kings 2:1,11)
- Philip (Acts 8:39)*
- Paul (2 Cor 12:2-4)*
- John (Rev. 4:1)
- Jesus (Mark 16:19, Acts 1:9-11, Rev. 12:5)*
- the Church (1 Thess. 4:17)*
* The actual term 'harpazo' is used
The privilege was give to Paul to reveal this particular mystery in Ephesians 3:3-6. You might not therefore expect to see it in the Old Testament. However, there are a couple of provocative passages which may hint at it. Compare Isaiah 26:19-21 to John 14:1-3 (who are to enter which chambers - and how long are they to be hidden?). There might be allusions to it in Zephaniah 2:3 and Psalm 27:5.
Enoch is particularly enlightening since some of his writings have been preserved. They were considered to be sacred texts in the early church, and are quoted several times in the Bible. His own writings (which were written to the saints in the end times) seem to have references to a harpazo in the end times. Interesting, too, is that according to Jewish rabbinical tradition Enoch was 'caught up' on his birthday, Hag Shavout - the day of Pentecost - which is also the birthday of the Church. That is a tantalizing bit of information. Is it a clue?
The Bible is full of many 'other-dimensional' incidents where people appear and disappear, as did Christ himself; or where impossible occurrences occur, such as the stone being rolled away at Christ's tomb, the prison doors being opened for Paul, Daniel in the lion's den, the shepherds seeing and hearing angels, and many others.
All of these concepts may seem wild to us because we 'see through a glass darkly' because our dimensional comprehension is limited to four dimensions. All of these incidents are really God's method of doing what He wants done, and He has many more dimensions with which to work.
Isn't it interesting that we find these things so hard to accept, and yet we watch the deceptive accounts on TV of spirits, orbs, things moving, psychic children, etc., and we have no trouble at all believing these works of the Satanic forces. Think about it. It's all about faith - and, in whom?
All of these things are child's play for the Creator of the cosmos. Is your God too small?!