My understanding of the rapture is very different from yours. “Rapture” is the expansion of awareness until it reaches the superconscious level and merges with the Divine. Is that what the Bible is talking about?

With all respect, I have to disagree with you. The term “rapture” is simply a technical term used as a short cut to describe a Biblical event. The term “rapture” is a old French word that correctly translates the actual Greek word used in the text. The French word means “abduction or carrying off.” The Greek word it translates is harpadzo which means “to seize, carry off by force, to snatch out or away.” The French word rapture has simply been borrowed by the English because it is an accurate translation. In English theological usage it refers to the catching up or snatching away of the church, by Christ, prior to the Great Tribulation (the Time of Jacob’s Trouble).

In colloquial English, usage the word rapture can refer to ecstatic emotions, but that is not the Biblical usage of the word harpadzo. The Biblical usage does not indicate an expansion of awareness until it reaches the superconscious level and merges into the Divine. The Bible teaches that the whole Church, past and present, dead or alive, mature and immature, will be caught up an out of the way of God’s judgment on this world. We do not know when this will happen, nor do we have any control over the event. Please read 1 Thessalonians chapter 4:13ff. In fact, the term rapture does not even appear in the Bible. As I said, it is only a theological, technical term, a short cut describing a literal event.

There will be “Divine bliss” in the presence of the Lord, but it will not come about by expanding awareness and merging into the Divine. It is God’s great and wonderful promise to all who trust in Him. It is not a product of works. It is a free gift, but we have to trust God that His way is right and proper. After all, He is God, and He knows what He’s doing. His way is to trust in the work of the Messiah, on our behalf, on the cross, exclusively. We are not to trust in ourselves or anything else. This runs counter to mankind’s expectations and desires. The truth is that trust is the way, not any kind of expanding awareness. Trust in Jesus and His great, amazing love. His love makes the offer of salvation available to everyone. At the same time, His love constrains Him from forcing the gift of eternal life on anyone. It is freely offered. It must be freely received.

Some statements from the Brit Chadashah (New Testament) supporting my comments are:

  • John 1:11-13
  • He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe (trust) in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

  • John 14:6
  • Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”

  • John 6:28-29
  • Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe (trust) in Him whom He has sent.”

  • Romans 6:23
  • For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

  • Ephesians 2:4-9
  • But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

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