Sublime indeed is the song that is sung by those in Heaven, and by those who receive the Kingdom of Heaven within their very being, as a taste of that which is to come.
And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and with golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints; and they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy art thou to take the scroll and to open its seals, for thou wast slain and by thy blood didst ransom men for God from every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and hast made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on earth.” (Revelation 5:8-10)
O sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things! His right hand and his holy arm have gotten him victory. (Psalm 98:1)
He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.hearts of men, (Psalm 40:3)
And they sing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the hundred and forty-four thousand who had been redeemed from the earth. (Revelation 14:3)
Praise the Lord! Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise in the assembly of the faithful! (Psalm 149:1)
Those who have received the joy of salvation have a new song in their heart, even if they cannot sing in tune. Unfortunately, even those declared to possess angelic voices will not be able to sing if they reject the Heavenly gift.
The term “rapture” is not really a biblical term but the word captures the meaning of what is expressed in the book of First Thessalonians and First Corinthians.
For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first; then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17)
Lo! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. (1 Corinthians 15:51-52)
We who are alive shall be caught up together in the clouds to meet the Lord; this is called “the rapture”.
The Bible in Basic English (BBE) uses the word “rapture” to express a state of ecstatic joy, which removes one from being consciously aware of one’s immediate surrounds into a surreal realm of sublime happiness that is rather difficult to describe. In particular, Psalm 51:8 gives the impression that methoxyflurane is being used—which is rather difficult to describe, unless experienced to instantly alleviate excruciating pain, such as just having bones broken in both legs. The other verses do not express quite the same thought but encapsulate the general idea of being relieved of present concerns.
The Lord is my strength and my breastplate, my heart had faith in him and I am helped; for this cause my heart is full of rapture, and I will give him praise in my song. (Psalm 28:7 )
With joy and rapture will they come; they will go into the king's house. (Psalm 45:15)
Make me full of joy and rapture; so that the bones which have been broken may be glad. (Psalm 51:8)
As a loving hind and a gentle doe, let her breasts ever give you rapture; let your passion at all times be moved by her love. (Proverbs 5:19)
Because of the legitimacy of the term “rapture” within a theological context, one dictionary also defines rapture as: An event in the eschatology of certain Christian groups in which believers in Christ will be taken up to heaven either prior to or at the Second Coming.
The idea of being transported into another realm is what rapture means. The idea of being raised out of the doom and gloom of this world and being bodily transformed from a biologically mortal being to possess immortality, as a physical entity, is resident in the concept of rapture. Hence, we could say that being raised (i.e. caught up) to meet the Lord in the air is tantamount to being raptured to meet Lord Jesus Christ at His return.
Two sides of the coin, having to do with the forgiveness of sins, needs to be understood. One has to do with the violation of faith between Man and God, and the other has to do with ignorance—although, ignorance resides at the basis of the first sin and probably is what the coin of sin is made from, as far as we, being mere mortals, are concerned.
The first toss comes us heads and informs us that when Jesus died, He died for the sin of Adam and his progeny.
The sin of Adam is really the sin of Adam and Eve, because when God created man, He made them in His image: male and female He made them. The image of God is man.
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:26-27)
Man is Adam and Eve, not Adam alone, or even Adam and Steve. Both Adam and Eve together contributed to the violation of faith that handed over the right to subdue the Earth and its inhabitants to the Serpent. We learn who that Serpent happens to be in the book of Revelation,
And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. (Revelation 12:8-10)
What many people refer to as the reptilians who control the world today, attempted to take control of the world by causing Adam and Eve to forsake their rightful authority and position of power. The ancient serpent was a reptile after all.
And God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” (Genesis 1:28)
This violation of faith between man and God was only part of the legal issue that had been violated at this juncture in time. Nevertheless, God’s righteousness had to be demonstrated to be exactly that —flawless—without any deviation. For this issue to be rectified, where Man (Adam and Eve)—for it is only when a man and a woman come together in sexual union is Man actually complete, this is why two becoming one is a heralded as major mystery in the Bible.
“For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is a profound one, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church; however, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. (Ephesians 5:31-33)
The sin that occurred in the Garden of Eden had to be dealt with before any other sins could be addressed. This was done when the Righteous One was crucified on a cross in place of a murderer, so that He could reclaim what was lost. This was the ransom of the Righteous One for the murdered ones, who consist of Adam and Eve, including their progeny, who had been given authority to reign in life upon the Earth.
For the Son of man also came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)
Then as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s obediencemany will be made righteous. (Romans 5:18-19)
What is important to note is that when Jesus gave His life for many, this means the many descendants of Adam and Eve. Nobody had asked to be born into sin and this needed to be addressed. Therefore Jesus’ act of righteousness—His death on the cross—leads to acquittal of condemnation for sin and life for all men—not just some, or a certain select group. Whether all men take up the offer of eternal life and freedom from sin is another matter.
The second matter that needs to be understood is our sins are forgiven because of ignorance.
And now, brethren, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ should suffer, he thus fulfilled. Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.
The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all men everywhere to repent, (Acts 17:30)
As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, (1 Peter 1:14)
Willful sin that has no mitigating circumstances, due to any ignorance on the part of the perpetrator, does not receive that same grace.
For if we sin deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, (Hebrews 10:26)
How much worse punishment do you think will be deserved by the man who has spurned the Son of God, and profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and outraged the Spirit of grace? (Hebrews 10:29)
For it is impossible to restore again to repentance those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they then commit apostasy, since they crucify the Son of God on their own account and hold him up to contempt. (Hebrews 6:4-6)
God forgives us of all sin. God forgives everybody of sin. But we have to repent before we can begin to taste the forgiveness of our sin.
Having tasted the forgiveness of sin, it is not until such time that we have been totally enlightened, and have meet the qualifications enumerated in the above Scripture, that we are capable of being forsaken by God—but more because we have forsaken our salvation rather than our Heavenly Father forsaking us.
Ignorance will provisionally shield us to some extent and permit us not to be judged harshly as Christians for sins committed.
When we willfully sin, as long as there are mitigating circumstances—such as not having gotten the victory over a particular sin, because of weak faith—then the grace of God covers us as Lord Jesus Christ goes into our corner to bat for us.
My little children, I am writing this to you so that you may not sin; but if any one does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the expiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
The criteria by which God forgives sin is actually His own righteousness. This forgiveness, God has accounted for in Lord Jesus Christ, through whom He has chosen to reconcile (2 Corinthians 5:19) every person to Himself—providing each one is willing to repent of sin.
For how could God unjustly create humans, place them in an evil world, then cast them into eternal punishment, because He refuses to forgive sin done in ignorance. Nobody asked to be born and we are all ignorant until we have been fully enlightened as to what the truth may be.
However, if we willfully reject Lord Jesus Christ, we are lost because their no longer is any means for salvation. For while our ignorance is overlooked, those who hate the light do flee from its presence.
Why would a person be rejected by God? God even hates the death of the wicked, so He simply says, “Repent, so you may have live!” If people do not have eternal life, they do not have life. It is really an oxymoron to say that having a temporary life is being alive. One may as well be a mournful optimist or an optimist who mourns. Nevertheless, the God of happiness grieves for those who reject life.
Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, says the Lord God, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live? (Ezekiel 18:23)
As for Esau, the New Testament teaches us that he preferred the ways of the flesh rather than seek the ways of God.
See to it that no one fail to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” spring up and cause trouble, and by it the many become defiled; that no one be immoral or irreligious like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears. (Hebrews 12:15-17)
Notice how a root of bitterness can cause people to become defiled and separate themselves from God; not to mention immorality and being irreligious. Those who are bitter become unforgiving. Immorality is lusting after the flesh and giving no heed to the value of relationships in accord to the Ten Commandments. The irreligious disregard the value of what belongs to them as an inheritance, which is found in the first commandment with a promise from God (Ephesians 6:1-3).
Esau was rejected only when it came to receiving the inheritance that he forsook and devalued. For the Christian, this means not truly seeking to understand the will of God for one’s own life, but disregarding bearing fruit to the glory of God for personal pursuits. Think about the gospel messages known as “blab and grab”, “name and claim”, and, of course, “deceive and receive”.
The good news is that if we are to find favor with God, we are told that we need to forgive others so that our Heavenly Father can forgive us.
For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you. (Matthew 6:14)
When Jacob returned to meet up with His brother Esau who had sought to kill him, he was ever so surprised. For Jacob had discovered that his brother had forgiven him. Naturally, Jacob was relieved.
But Esau said, “I have enough, my brother; keep what you have for yourself.” Jacob said, “No, I pray you, if I have found favor in your sight, then accept my present from my hand; for truly to see your face is like seeing the face of God, with such favor have you received me. Accept, I pray you, my gift that is brought to you, because God has dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough.” Thus he urged him, and he took it.(Genesis 33:9-11)
And Isaac breathed his last; and he died and was gathered to his people, old and full of days; and his sons Esau and Jacob buried him. (Genesis 35:29)
If Esau had not forgiven Jacob it is doubtful that they would have reconciled. Those who promote the evil gospel of Calvinism which supplants the true Gospel of Lord Jesus Christ, do not believe Esau and Jacob reconciled. The evil gospel of Calvinism (NB Galatians 1:7-8) which teaches that we have no freewill, and do not have to forgive others, so that God can forgive us, because this is a work of righteousness, leads many away from the securing their salvation through faith in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 3:15). The evil Calvinists preach that the Creator God hated Esau before he was even born. These people do not understand the truth because if they did, they would know that God is love.
He who does not love does not know God; for God is love. (1 John 4:8)
In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10)
Of course, only the god of this world would insist that God hated Esau before He was born and would always hate the man. For the god of the Calvinists delights in people being punished for eternity, and deceives people to believe they were chosen before they were born. Only the god of the Calvinists is not Lord Jesus Christ. Their god is the god of this world. The god of this world is the liar (John 8:44) who would deceive people into believing that people are predestined before they are born to be punished for eternity in hell. Those who follow the god of this world, even though they falsely claim to be Christians, do what he did. The crypto-Jew John Calvin justified killing his theological opponents using texts from the Bible. Yet the Bible states:
Any one who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. (1 John 3:15)
The Good News is the Bible teaches that whosoever believes in the name of Lord Jesus Christ has eternal life.
Every one who believes that Jesus is the Christ is a child of God, and every one who loves the parent loves the child. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that overcomes the world, our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (1 John 5:1-5)
If we believe Jesus is the Son of God and that He died to pay the price for the sin of the world, before rising from the dead, we overcome the world. However, we also have an inheritance that is ours, which we claim by faith, after having repented of our dead works (Hebrews 6:1).
When making a reference to Christians, please note, not all batteries are batteries, some are fakes, even though they may look like a battery. For to be a Christian one has to be born from above, and this is not something that happens automatically, as one slips out of a womb or is pulled out of a stomach on an operating table. The idea that one has to be born a second time puzzles Jews, as is evidenced in the account of Nicodemus.
Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.
2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do, unless God is with him.”
3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born from above he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
4 Nicode′mus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”
5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’
8 The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes or whither it goes; so it is with every one who is born of the Spirit.”
9 Nicodemus said to him, “How can this be?”
10 Jesus answered him, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand this?
11 Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen; but you do not receive our testimony.
Speaking as a person who has been born from above and understands the Scriptures, in that I have sought to be taught of God by the Holy Spirit, the New Testament informs us that everything was created and exists through the Son of God, Lord Jesus Christ.
He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:15-17)
Moreover the Old Testament tells us that God has a Son who carries the same name as Himself.
Surely I am too stupid to be a man. I have not the understanding of a man.I have not learned wisdom, nor have I knowledge of the Holy One. Who has ascended to heaven and come down? Who has gathered the wind in his fists? Who has wrapped up the waters in a garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is his son’s name? Surely you know! (Proverbs 30:2-4)
The same God who created the Heavens and the Earth is the same God who became manifest as Jesus of Nazareth and died for the sin of the world.
Why did Jesus of Nazareth die for the sin of the world?
Nobody asked to be born. Nobody asked to be born only to die. Worse still, nobody asked to be subject to suffering. Even Buddha recognized that living on Earth was a crap gig. Notice how intelligent the Buddha becomes one day when he found a solution:
The Buddha's most important teachings were focused on a way to end the suffering he had experienced and had seen in other people. His discovery of the solution began with the recognition that life is suffering. —Buddhist Studies: The First Noble Truth
When reading the Old Testament, we see how evil men were inclined to be and the Creator would point this out. The Old Testament is really about how the nations of the Earth corrupted truth, justice, mercy and faith. Has anything changed today?
The nation Israel was created to bring about God’s plan and purpose, but in doing so, everything was presented within the framework and terms of the world. Would you blame the God of Israel for the heinous crimes of butchery and genocide executed by the likes of the Roman Emperor Nero, or Genghis Khan (loved by Greenies), or the Aztecs? There were many more like them. There are many like them today, who delight in “We came. We saw. He died.”
But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses. (Acts 3:14-15 )
If you read the Old Testament with an open, meditative heart, with a desire to understand the truth, you will come across Scripture that demonstrates that God is good and delights in righteousness and mercy and loving kindness. God does not even rejoice at the death of the wicked.
Say to them, As I live, says the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways; for why will you die, O house of Israel? (Ezekiel 33:11)
Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, says the Lord God, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live? (Ezekiel 18:23)
God created everything good. He does not want anyone to suffer eternal punishment. What people seem to believe is a different God in the Old Testament to Lord Jesus Christ in the New Testament is a matter of misconception. God does not change and has not changed. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Unfortunately, people do not like the truth—it hurts!
The good news is those who admit the truth about themselves and acknowledge the truth about God, have their hurts when having to face their wrongdoings wiped away (Matthew 5:4).