We’ve come full circle.
Of the twelve constellations that coincide with our twelve-month calendar, there is only one that depicts a woman in labor. And there is only one time of year when the sun spotlights this stellar configuration of the child-bearing virgin (Isa. 7:14; Rev. 12:1–2).
On the Hebrew calendar, it’s both an end and a beginning. In ancient Rome, it was the seventh month, a time of fulfillment and completion. For the Western world today, it’s the ninth month—a time of closure and judgment. At summer’s end, we find ourselves once again in a season of reckoning and reaping. And come harvest time, there will be one of two reactions: either rejoicing or weeping (Prov. 10:5; Jer. 8:20).
Around this time five years ago (September 7, 2017), we published an article here at Unsealed called “Birthday Break-away: The Perez Prophecy and the Male-Child of Revelation 12:5.” The discovery of the Genesis 38 prefiguring of the Resurrection/Rapture of the Church came about as a result of my interaction with another brother in Christ (Brad of Rev12 Daily); I was inspired to pursue uncharted territory based on our previous collaboration. Likewise, the latest discovery unveiled in this current post has come about as the result of prior fellowship—it started as a thought planted in the mind that germinated and blossomed into significant revelation after further prayer and research (I can testify to the importance of Prov. 27:17)!
In short, back on July 17, 2022, Gary and I were having an in-person, lengthy discussion about Bible prophecy (ha, imagine that). As I typically do when I’m able to chat one-on-one with my brother from another mother (our Heavenly Zion mother, to be precise; Gal. 4:26), I was bouncing off ideas for future articles and/or videos. I don’t recall all the details, but at one point we were talking about the benefits of Bible software. I had been gifted with specialized Bible software upon graduating from Dallas Seminary back in 2015, and it has definitely been put to good use.
For example, Gary and I recorded a video recently on Rapture typology in the Old Testament, and I used Bible software to dig deeper into Judges 21. In the Greek translation of the last chapter of Judges, the word harpazo (Strong’s 726) is used in reference to the act of “snatching away” brides (Jdg. 21:21, LXX). Thus, the idea of a “bride” being harpazoed (i.e. “raptured”) is not a novel concept when we arrive at New Testament revelation. There is already typology, a precedent, and a pattern established in the Old Testament that undergirds the biblical doctrine of the Pretribulation Resurrection/Rapture of Christ’s Bride (the Church). Moreover, this momentous mystery and climactic harpazo event at the end of the age is further disclosed and developed in the New Testament by apostles such as Paul and John.
Somewhere in our discussion about Bible software, Gary planted a seed. At the time, it was more of a suggestion: Hey, Jeff, why don’t you look up all of the uses of harpazo in the Greek Old Testament?
Now there’s a thought. Ok, thanks Gary!
After a couple of months have passed and with a sprained ankle to boot, I’m finally ready to present another compelling discovery that upholds our strong conviction that the promise of Revelation 12:5 refers to the Pretribulation Resurrection and Rapture of Christ and His Body.
Snatching Away and Seizing Prey
The verb harpazo (“to seize by force, snatch away, pluck, etc.”) is found a total of 33 times in the Greek Old Testament. However, there are 37 total occurrences, if you include a section of 1 Esdras (i.e. Ezra) not found in the Masoretic text and the non-canonical books of Judith, Baruch, and Wisdom of Solomon (for the use of harpazo in these texts, see 1 Esdras 4:24; Judith 16:9; Baruch 4:26; and Wisdom of Solomon 4:11).
In several instances, harpazo has the nuanced meaning of robbery or theft (i.e. “a snatching away”). For example, see Lev. 5:23; 19:13; Deut. 28:31; Jdgs. 21:21; Ps. 69:4; Job 20:19; 24:2, 9, 19; Isa. 10:2; and Ezek. 18:7, 12, 16, 18.
However, the lion’s share (pun intended) of harpazo in the Greek Old Testament occurs in contexts where a lion or wolf is described as “seizing” its prey and taking it away by force (used often as a figure of speech depicting the actions of both God and man). For example, see Ps. 7:2; Ps. 10:9 (x2); Ps. 22:13; Ps. 50:22; Ps. 104:21; Hos. 5:14; 6:1; Amos 3:4; Mic. 5:8; Nah. 2:13; Ezek. 19:3, 6; 22:25, 27.
In many relevant harpazo texts, the God of Israel (YHWH) is portrayed as a lion who comes out of His den to seize His prey. Gulp! And in a couple of significant end-time passages, God is hunting down His own people in judgment. Thus, for many of us (i.e. believers in the Pretribulation Harpazo of the Church), the term harpazo takes us to a happy place. Conversely, for the wayward and hardened remnant of Israel, the idea of an end-of-days harpazo has an altogether different ring to it. It sounds utterly terrifying:
For I [am] as a lion to Ephraim, || And as a young lion to the house of Judah, I tear [harpazo] and go, || I carry away, and there is no deliverer. I go—I return to My place, || Until they are desolate and have sought My face. In their distress they seek Me speedily! (Hos. 5:14–15, LSV).
The very next chapter of Hosea confirms that, for Israel, harpazo means harsh judgment. However, after the 7-year Tribulation has run its course, the harm of God’s harpazo turns into healing and restoration:
In their affliction they will seek me early, saying: Let us go, and return to the Lord our God; for he has torn [harpazoed] and will heal us; he will smite and bind us up. After two days he will heal us: in the third day we shall arise, and live before him, and shall know him (Hos. 6:1–2, Brenton Septuagint Translation).
A brief survey of the usage of harpazo in the Greek Old Testament shows that the term broadly represents a violent snatching away and seizure of both people and property. It is often used negatively in contexts of judgment against Israel. Therefore, we can infer based on Old Testament usage that “the Rapture”(God’s harpazo) is a form of judgment against His own people. However, when we get to New Testament revelation, the term takes on a whole new meaning:
…[T]he LORD Himself, with a shout, with the voice of a chief-messenger, and with the trumpet of God, will come down from Heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first; then we who are living, who are remaining over, will be snatched up [harpazoed] together with them in [the] clouds to meet the LORD in [the] air, and so we will always be with the LORD; so, then, comfort one another with these words (1 Thess. 4:16–18, LSV).
Instead of evoking terror and dread, Paul reveals that God’s harpazo has now turned into a means of comfort. In fact, the Lord Jesus, God-in-the-flesh and the Lion of the tribe of Judah (Gen. 49:9; Rev. 5:5) gives an emphatic promise to His sheep that no one will be able to harpazo them out of his hand orthe Father’s hand:
…[T]he hired worker, and not being a shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, beholds the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep, and flees; and the wolf snatches [harpazoes] them, and scatters the sheep…My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me, and I give continuous life to them, and they will not perish—throughout the age, and no one will snatch [harpazo] them out of My hand; My Father, who has given to Me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch [harpazo] out of the hand of My Father (Jn. 10:12, 28–29, LSV).
In addition to this three-fold occurrence in chapter 10 of his gospel, the apostle John uses harpazo one last time in the last book of the Bible. In fact, it is the last mention of harpazo in all of Scripture:
…[T]he dragon stood before the woman who is about to bring forth, that when she may bring forth, he may devour her child; and she brought forth a male son, who is about to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, and her child was snatched up [harpazoed] to God and to His throne (Rev. 12:4–5, LSV).
The drastic turn from an overly negative connotation in the Old Testament to an overly positive association in the New suggests that “the Rapture” (God’s harpazo) affects Israel and the Church in different ways. However, for this to hold true, the Rapture of the Church would have to take place prior to and/or be a sudden removal from the horrific search, seizure, and ravaging of Jacob during his time of trouble.
Hold that thought. As we dig deeper, I think you’ll appreciate the big reveal of this article. And while you might be familiar with the last use of harpazo in Scripture, have you ever heard of the first?
I hear Gary’s voice echo again: Hey, Jeff, why don’t you look up all the uses of harpazo in the Old Testament?
All right, get ready for this one. Let’s head on back to the beginning…
Rapture Deception or Rapture Revelation?
As many of you know, it’s common for study Bibles and commentaries to cite Genesis 37 as a cross-reference to John’s vision of the sun, moon, and twelve stars in Revelation 12:1–2. This is reasonable, because the only other mention of the precise number of heavenly luminaries (sun, moon, and an implied twelve stars) occurs in Genesis 37:9. Additionally, many of you already know that Joseph is a major type of Jesus, especially his rejection by his brothers, his “resurrection” from the pit, and his exaltation to the right hand of the supreme ruler of the most powerful kingdom at the time.
Yes, Genesis 37 provides the thematic backdrop to the opening scenes of Revelation 12. However, Revelation 12 is not a mere retelling of events in the life of Joseph or Jesus. No, as we’ve shown in a number of Unsealed studies, Revelation 12:1–5 speaks of events leading up to the Resurrection and Rapture of the Completed Christ (Head + Body).
Much credit goes to Dr. Michael Svigel of Dallas Seminary. Though I did not have him as a professor, I stumbled upon his article “What Child is This?” during my final semester before graduation (it was posted on a bulletin board outside the Systematic Theology office). Through his careful research, he successfully explains why Revelation 12:5, the primary proof-text for the Pre-Trib Rapture, fell out of favor with modern evangelicals (see also Gary’s, “Conservative Scholars Agree: The Male Child is the Church“).
Also, in a previous study, Svigel provides the lexical basis for the Pretribulation Rapture in Revelation 12. The birth of the son, a male, in Rev. 12:5 connects directly to Isaiah 66:7 via the Greek hyperlink, arsen (neuter form of the Greek word arren). A closer inspection of Isaiah 66:7 shows that this miraculous “birth” takes place before the woman goes into labor (i.e. the future 7-year Tribulation period). Isaiah 66:8 further confirms that “the male” is not one man (i.e. Jesus), but one nation born suddenly in a single day. When you compare Isa. 65:1, Deut. 32:21, and Rom. 10:20, the “male” (arsen) and “nation” (ethnos) born miraculously all at once before the woman goes into labor is none other than the Gentile-dominant body of Christ (i.e. the Church).
Now then, what about that first mention of harpazo in Scripture? Well, it may come as no surprise, but the first mention of harpazo in the Greek Old Testament is found in Genesis 37:
And they sent off the many-colored tunic, and they brought it in to their father and said, “We found this. Observe if it is the tunic of your son or not.” And he observed it and said, “It is the tunic of my son; an evil beast devoured him; a beast carried off [harpazoed] Joseph.” Jacob tore his garments and put sackcloth around his waist, and he was mourning his son [a number of days]. All his sons and daughters gathered together and came to comfort him, and he did not wish to be comforted, saying, “I will go down to my son mourning into Hades.” And his father mourned him (Gen. 37:32–35, The Lexham English Septuagint).
And get this: Just as Revelation 12:5 connects directly to Isaiah 66:7 via the Greek hyperlink arsen (“a male”), so also Revelation 12:4–5 connects directly to Genesis 37:33 by way of not one, but a total of THREE Greek hyperlinks: huios (“son”); katesthio (“to eat up, devour”); and harpazo (“to seize, snatch away, rapture”).
Look at the Greek translation of Genesis 37:33 again:
And he observed it and said, “It is the tunic of my son [huios]; an evil beast devoured [katesthio] him; a beast carried off [harpazo] Joseph.”
Now compare it with the Greek translation of Revelation 12:4–5:
…[A]nd the dragon stood before the woman who is about to bring forth, that when she may bring forth, he may devour [katesthio] her child; and she brought forth a male son [huios], who is about to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, and her child was snatched up [harpazoed] to God and to His throne (LSV).
It may take a while for the significance of this connection to sink in…but, by all means, let it sink in!
Perhaps a recap of the Genesis 37 storyline will help: Joseph, the favored son and firstborn of Rachel (Jacob’s favored wife), is first described as tending sheep. Moreover, he is a shepherd (compare with Revelation 12:5, “…he will rule [literally, in Greek, poimaino, “to shepherd”] all nations…”), and the text of Genesis 37:2 specifically mentions that he is “17” years of age (17 represents victory, or resurrection).
We are informed that Joseph is favored by his father, because he was born later in his father’s life (Gen. 37:3). Jacob shows his love for Joseph by giving him a special tunic, which likely signifies his royal status or possibly his future role as the leader of his family. Consequently, Joseph’s brothers hate him and will not make peace with him (Gen. 37:4). Next, Joseph has two dreams about ruling over his family, which surprisingly includes Jacob/Israel (Gen. 37:5–10). Note: the stellar alignment of Rev 12:1–2 corresponds to Joseph’s dream and subsequent struggle to eventually become the ruler over Jacob and his brothers. The apostle Paul applies the same Genesis 37 template in Rom. 10:17–19, where he writes about signs in the heavens (cf. Ps. 19:1–2) in conjunction with Israel’s jealousy of the Church.
Genesis 37:12–28 details the drama, deception, and conspiracy to get rid of Joseph once and for all. The father sends his favored son to bring back a report on his brothers (remind you of anyone? see Mk. 12:1–12). The brothers have finally had enough of their brother, the dreamer, and so they plot to kill him. Reuben tries to intercede to save Joseph and return him to Jacob, but to no avail. Joseph is thrown into a pit, and apart from Reuben’s knowledge, Judah sells Joseph to Midianite traders headed for Egypt.
Reuben’s response in Gen. 37:29–30 further contributes to the immense Rapture typology embedded within the Joseph narrative. As the true firstborn and chief representative of the 12 sons of Jacob, Reuben is a type of the future remnant of Israel and foreshadows the reaction of those left behind right after the harpazo of the Church:
Now Reuben returned to the pit, and behold, Joseph was not in the pit; so he tore his garments. He returned to his brothers and said, “The boy is not there; as for me, where am I to go?” (NASB).
The body of Joseph is missing! Did he get harpazoed? Reuben seems to think so. And notice what he and a few of the other sons of Israel do after they can’t find Joseph’s body:
So they took Joseph’s tunic, and slaughtered a male goat [Heb. satyr], and dipped the tunic in the blood. They sent the multicolored tunic and brought it to their father and said, “We found this; please examine it to see whether it is your son’s tunic or not…” (Gen. 37:31-32, NASB).
As a substitute for Joseph’s missing and “raptured” body, a male goat is slain and the royal, blood-stained garment is brought back to the father (see goat sacrifices + atonement in Lev. 16). Likewise, after the Rapture of the Church, Israel will start sacrificing the blood of bulls and goats again (Dan. 9:27; Isa. 66:1–3; Heb. 9:11–14; Rev. 11:1–2). This leads us back to Genesis 37:33, our main text that corresponds to Revelation 12:4–5: The shocked and bewildered patriarch prophesies, “…this is the tunic of my son, an evil beast devoured him, a beast seized him.”
Whatever happened to Harpazo Joe? Where did he go?
Does anybody know?
For Reuben, Jacob, and anyone else who can’t see behind the veil, this Genesis 37 mystery is a Rapture deception. However, for alert believers today who hear what the Spirit is saying, the mystery of Harpazo Joe is a Rapture revelation.
Feast or Famine?
Right after the hidden Rapture verse of Genesis 37:33, we find yet another pattern that reinforces the biblical chronology of end-time events (first, Rapture of the Church, then Jacob’s Trouble):
Then Jacob tore his garments and put sackcloth on his loins and mourned for his son many days. All his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted and said, “No, I shall go down to Sheol to my son, mourning.” Thus his father wept for him (Gen. 37:34–35, ESV).
Genesis 37:34–35 prefigures Jacob’s trouble in literal fashion (cf. Jer. 30:7). Jacob/Israel refuses to be comforted and instead mourns for his beloved son who has been “slain” (cf. Zech. 12:10). The very next chapter, Gen. 38, contains the Judah/Tamar narrative with another direct link to the ultimate Son of promise via the breakaway birthday of Perez (a surprising and sudden birth from the womb that also prefigures the Rapture of the Church).
And here is the dramatic irony in all of the details and clues surrounding the curious case of Harpazo Joe:
We, the readers of the biblical text, know that Joseph, the favored son, does not actually get harpazoed and devoured by an evil beast as depicted by Reuben’s misconception and Jacob’s misguided affirmation. However, the “Rapture deception” in the narrative serves the greater purpose of the Author of Scripture (the Holy Spirit) and supports the true biblical doctrine of a “Rapture revelation,” a.k.a. the Pretribulation Harpazo of the Son, the Male (Child), of Revelation 12:5.
Like Joseph, the Body of Christ will not be devoured by the dragon or even contend with the Beast (Grk. therion) of Revelation 13. Just as Jesus says in John 10, no one will harpazo His sheep out of the Father’s hand. On the contrary, the Father will harpazo the Body of Christ and hide the male (child) away from the eyes of Israel and the rest of the world.
When you hear what the Spirit is saying in Genesis 37 and Revelation 12, other biblical narratives begin to fall into place. For example, note the striking Joseph/Jesus/Body of Christ connections that are distilled into a single verse of Scripture:
Therefore He shall give them up until the time when she who is in labor has given birth; then the rest of his brothers shall return to the people of Israel (Micah 5:3, ESV).
Likewise, in another thematic backdrop to Revelation 12, look at the amazing parallels in Matthew 2:13–15 to the Joseph narrative. Note the “Harpazo Joe” typology of the favored son (a male), who escapes a potential devourer by being taken and hidden away in Egypt:
Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son…” (ESV)
Where will you be on the day of the Rapture, when God raises the dead and harpazoes living believers in the Body of Christ?
Will you be feasting with the greater Joseph and His Gentile Bride high up in the greater “Egypt” of God’s heavenly city? Or, are you currently headed for the coming 7-year famine along with the rest of the wayward sons of Jacob?
If you are uncertain of your destiny in the least, do not delay and be in the dark any longer. Believe the good news today!
As for the rest of my brothers and sisters in Christ, I’ll be seeing you at the banquet real soon!