The Biblical ‘Rapture’ consisted of Jesus manifesting himself to his disciples, yet not to the world
The modern Christian doctrine of the ‘Rapture’ teaches that sometime future to the 21st Century, at the Second Coming of Christ, the believers would instantly vanish from the face of the earth, to be with the Lord forever.
What the Bible actually teaches, using figurative and symbolic language however, is that the Lord would manifest himself to His people in the spirit realm, giving them a personal, internal, revelation of Himself.
Jesus’ teaching was that he would manifest himself to his disciples, yet not to the world
Take note of a very significant question that Judas Thaddeus asked Jesus. “Judas (not Iscariot) says to Him, ‘Lord, then what has occurred, that You are about to manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?’” John 14:22 BLB
Notice, the disciples understood that the ‘Rapture’ would be Jesus’ revealing himself to them individually (manifest yourself to us), while at the same time being invisible to the world (and not to the world). They also understood this revelation was imminent within their lifetime (you are about to), not thousands of years later.
How was he to manifest himself to the disciples and not to the world? This was what the ‘Rapture’ was about! A spiritual coming to the disciples, within their lifetime!
Jesus promised to manifest himself to his disciples through the Holy Spirit
Look at what he said to them: “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” John 14:18. Remember the promise Jesus had made to them? “There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.” (Matt 16:28)
Notice, Jesus was making his promise to those who were standing there with him, not with us who were not standing there with him! Some of them would be alive, remaining unto the coming of the Lord. This is once more, clear evidence that the ‘Rapture’ was to be within their lifetime, 2000 years ago, and not ours!
Jesus was the Comforter to his disciples through the Holy Spirit
In John 16, Jesus was recorded as promising his disciples, that he was sending the comforter to them. Yet, just moments before in chapter 14, in the same conversation, he had told them, “I will come to you.”
It is clear that Jesus meant that he would come to his disciples in the realm of the spirit. Most importantly, he would come to them during their lifetime, before they tasted death. He was the comforter that was to come to them. He is the Comforter to all those who receive the Gospel of the Kingdom of the Heavens.
Jesus promised his manifestation would have been in a little while from his departure
Pay attention to what Jesus said to the disciples: “A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father.” John 16:16
Notice the duration of time that Jesus was purposefully specifying from his departure to his reappearance to the disciples – a little while. Did he mean this, or did he mean thousands of years?
Did he mean he was returning to the first Christians in their lifetime, or to us 2000 years later?
Certainly, if they were not to taste death before he came into his kingdom, then he must have really meant ‘a little while’ as men count time.
Jesus’ teaching that his Kingdom was not a visible literal one, but instead a spiritual reality of God dwelling within. For behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
The coming of Jesus as the Comforter to each of his disciples was to be in the invisible spirit realm, to all those who receive the Gospel. This is why Jesus said: “The kingdom of God is not coming with observation; nor will they say, Behold, here! Or, behold there! For behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” Luke 17:20-21 MLV
Thus I am understanding that when Jesus promised to come into his kingdom, he was promising to come into his people, beginning with the early church, so that where he was [in the spirit realm], they may be also.
Jesus did not promise to ‘Rapture’ his believers bodily from the earth. Instead he promised to ‘Rapture’ them into the realm of the Spirit. He came to them in the spirit realm, and dwelling in them.
Christ was glorified at his ascension into heaven in 31AD. He then was able to come to his people individually as often as he wished via the Holy Spirit.
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