-2

The brilliant, learned and compassionate Goethe and Nobel Prize winning Dr. Albert Schweitzer, in his book "The Search for the Historical Jesus" concluded that Jesus' prophecies concerning his visible return during his own generation did not happen, making Jesus a failed prophet. In describing/summarizing his position Wikipedia says:

"...The concept that Christianity started as a Jewish apocalyptic movement is evidenced by the teachings of the historical Jesus concerning the end of days. Not only did he preach he would rise from the grave, but that he would also ascend to heaven and one day return to judge and rule over the world, saying that no one, including himself, knew the exact time of his return, but it would be before the end of his generation. Schweitzer verified the many New Testament references clearly explaining that 1st-century Christians believed in the imminent fulfillment of the promise of the World's ending within the lifetime of Jesus' original followers.[37] He noted that in the gospel of Mark, Jesus speaks of a "tribulation", with his "coming in the clouds with great power and glory" (St Mark), and states when it will happen: "This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled" (St Matthew, 24:34) (or, "have taken place" (Luke 21:32))

In The Quest of the Historical Jesus, Schweitzer observes the Bible contradicting the possibility of important events that never took place and never can take place as they are described; Jesus specifically states that we are to "not seal up the words of the prophecy" and promises that some of his listeners as well as the high priest at his trial would be alive to see him return to the Earth. "Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near" (Revelation 1:3). Saint Paul spoke of the "last times": "Brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none" (1 Corinthians 7:29); "God hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son" (Hebrews 1:2); "There be some standing here which shall not taste of death till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom" (Matthew 16:28) (or, "until they see that the kingdom of God has come with power" (Mark 9:1); or, "till they see the kingdom of God" (Luke 9:27).)

Schweitzer continues writing in The Quest of the Historical Jesus that it is totally unreasonable to think that "coming quickly", "near", and "soon" could mean hundreds, much less thousands, of years in the future. "Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near." (Revelation 1:3) "And he said to me, 'These words are faithful and true'; and the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent His angel to show to His bond-servants the things which must soon take place." "And behold, I am coming quickly. Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book." And he said to me, "Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near" (Revelation 22:6, 7, 10, 12). "All these things shall come upon this generation" (Matthew 23:36). Schweitzer concludes that 1st-century theology, originating in the lifetimes of those who first followed Jesus, is totally incompatible with modern Christian belief.

In The Quest of the Historical Jesus, Schweitzer notes the passage "Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near." (Revelation 1:3) Similarly in St Peter: "Christ .. Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you" (1 Peter 1:20), and "But the end of all things is at hand" (1 Peter 4:7). "Surely I come quickly" (Revelation 22:20). Schweitzer felt that St. Paul clearly believed in the immediacy of the Second Coming of Jesus, in stark contrast to modern organized Christianity.

I find his exegesis very cogent. The whole of the NT is saying, "This is it folks! Jesus is coming back in our lifetime! Better get ready!":

[Mat 3:10 NKJV] 10 "And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

It is reasonable to suggest that if he had taken all of the saints, dead and living there would be no ongoing anything.

However, what if only the new covenant Jews/the "Israel of God" (including the apostles) were raptured as predicted and the gentile believers would not follow at this time? Paul seems to say that he was already raptured:

[Col 1:13 KJV] 13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated [us] into the kingdom of his dear Son:

[Eph 1:3 NLT] 3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ.

Is it possible that Jesus did come back and did in fact gather into the air the righteous dead and the living new covenant Jews?

Or does Ephesians satisfactorily explain the rapture passages?

Or are Colossians and Ephesians both counterfeit?

Or was it a failed prophecy?

Notes:

The most ancient versions extant do not reference Ephesus in verse 1. Perhaps it was modified because all of Paul's other letters were written to "assemblies" while this letter was written to the cosmic/universal Assembly.

Many scholars hold the authorship of both letters seems to be the same person but Pauline authorship is unsettled because of apparent differences in style and content.

closed as primarily opinion-based by Bʀɪᴀɴ, enegue, Keelan, user2910, curiousdannii Jan 14 at 21:24

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • If Paul was in heaven and the Church is raptured, what purpose would a letter to the Church have? They are already in heaven. I don’t see the logic. Paul never claimed to have gone to heaven, we imply it but he doesn’t say it. Also consider John 3:13 Jesus says the Son of Man who IS in heaven and yet was on earth talking to Nicodemus. This happened all through the OT Elijah, the G-d before whom I stand and yet he was in front of Ahab. Christians are on earth but also have access to the heavenly divine council. He said He would prepare a place for us not after we died. Read it carefully John 14 – Autodidact Jan 14 at 17:53
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    As can be seen in Revelation 14, the 144000 are one group of believers (the elect Jews, forgiven and baptized in the holy breath and power) and there is another, larger group, from the gentiles who are not saved by the new covenant but by faith alone: [Rev 14:6 KJV] 6 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,... I'm proposing that the 144,000 were the ones "redeemed/released from the earth". IE: they met the Lord in the air and are ever with him. – Ruminator Jan 14 at 23:14
  • Paul specifically said that the dead in Christ and he (and others) would be "caught up to meet the Lord in the air". I don't think this can be interpreted to mean that he comes down to the ground and they meet him there. – Ruminator Jan 14 at 23:20
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    I don’t want to be rude or put you in a box but I think it would help me to see where you are coming from if you told me a little about your creed. Are you a Christian? If yes you sound Unitarian and preterist. I am a Christian, I believe the Bible is inspired in the original languages, also I generally don’t discuss end times. I believe that everything in the New Covenant writings can be found and sourced in the OT; without an OT connection the NT interpretation is predisposed to erroneous non contextual conclusions. I believe Trinity is an OT concept based on numerous texts and G-d is echâd – Autodidact Jan 14 at 23:54
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    I am a believer and I believe that it is not my job to treat the scriptures with kid gloves. I attempt to knock down every idea that pops up and if it falls, then good riddance because the one can't accomplish anything against the Truth: [Heb 12:27 KJV] 27 And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. And if I can't knock it down I'm satisfied that I have found "the Rock" within. I'm on the same page as you with regard to OT types, etc. Everything is a hyperlink. – Ruminator Jan 15 at 0:41
1

I would suggest that the well-known phenomenon of the immanent return of Jesus in the first century is a perfect example of the inductively deduced principle of "Conditional Prophecy". The question quote numerous examples in the NT of the expected soon return of Jesus, however, Rev 1:3 is NOT one of them as will be explained later.

The general principle of conditional prophecy is explicitly stated in Jer 18:7-10 and illustrated in the dual prophecy of the permanence (Jer 17:24 – 26) or eternal destruction (Jer 17:27) of Jerusalem. The outcome is dependent not only on the sure word of the prophet but also the fidelity of the people. There are numerous examples in Scripture of how this works.

  • Ex 3:8, 15:17, 23:23 – God promised to give the land of Canaan to the Israelites who left Egypt. But the adverse report by the spies caused them to rebel, so God said, “not one of you will enter the land I swore with uplifted hand to make your home.” (Num 14:30) God even called this, “my breach of promise” (Num 14:34 KJV).
  • 2 Kings 20:1 – Hezekiah’s sickness resulted in a prophecy from Isaiah that he would not recover. However, in 2 Kings 20:2-6 Hezekiah pleads with the Lord who decides to reverse the prophecy and adds another 15 years to his life.
  • Jonah 3:3, 4 – Jonah prophesied that Nineveh would be destroyed in 40 days. Yet when the people repented, the prophecy was reversed (Jonah 3:5-10).
  • 1 Kings 21:20–26 – Elijah prophesied that Ahab would be destroyed. But when he repented the outcome was reversed (1 Kings 21:27, 28).
  • 2 Sam 7:16, 16, Ps 132:11 – God promised David (and confirmed it to Solomon in 2 Chron 7:18) that his throne would last forever. That David’s royal throne was destroyed about 500 years later, in 586 BC, is a historical fact. However, the prophecy was no less certain because it, as with all such prophecies was conditional as recorded in 1 Kings 6:11, 12, 8:25, Ps 132:12, 2 Chron 7:17, 18.
  • In Jer 17:4, God’s anger is kindled against wicked Judah and will burn forever. Later in the same chapter (v25) He promises to love them forever.
  • Perhaps the most famous (and in some circles the most contentious) example of conditional prophecy are those to the chosen nation of Israel including: (a)their status as the chosen people, Ex 19:5,6; Deut 28:9, (b) a great nation, Deut 28:1 ,7, 9, 10, 13, (c) a holy nation, Deut 7:9-14; 28:1-14; 30:16,19, (d) the land, Deut 8:1, 7-9; 30:19, 20, (e) the “forever” Davidic line of kings, l Kings 2:3, 4; 8:25, 9:4,5; l Chron 28:4-9; 2 Chron 6:16; 7:17-22, (f) blessing to the nations, Eze 36:23, 33-36; 37:23, 28, etc. Again, it is a sad fact of History that all these prophecies ceased to be fulfilled around the time of Jesus who was the “seed” of David and the blessing to the nations. Some, such as the Davidic line of Kings ceased in 586 BC when the last Jewish King was captured.

The prophecy of Jesus' soon return in the 1st century was not fulfilled simply because the task of evangelising the world was not complete. (This is a wonderful example of the grace and mercy of God who delayed so that more could hear.)

Despite all the above, there are several hints in the prophecies that there would be a delay such as the delay in the parable of the 10 virgins (Matt 25); see also Rev 10:6, 7, 2 Peter 3:4, 5, etc.

Rev 1:3 is not a prophecy of the soon return of Jesus. The book of Revelation can be divided into two broad sections:

  1. Messages to the seven churches (Rev 1:9-3:21) which time was soon because it was immediately relevant to the 7 churches; and:
  2. Messages to the rest of humanity in the rest of the book.
  3. Some would add a third section, Rev 12-22 being the especially eschatological section but this is a matter of taste.
  • I'm not sure what you are saying. Are you saying that the Revelation was a conditional prophecy and the Jews of the 1st century failed to respond properly (understatement in that they killed their LORD's Anointed) so Christ's return was delayed by thousands of years? – Ruminator Jan 14 at 12:14
  • My thought is that if Revelation was put off, most of the scriptures also had to be put off also, no? – Ruminator Jan 14 at 14:48
  • I am not sure what you mean by "put off". I am saying that if the first century Christians had completed the task of taking the Gospel to the whole world, then Jesus would have returned as promised in the first century. However, neither occurred and so the book of Revelation was given at the end of the first century as an encouragement to Christians. Jesus is still coming. Even Paul says that Jesus would not return until after there was a "falling away" (2 Thess 2:1-6). – Mac's Musings Jan 14 at 21:09
  • Okay, I see. I don't have room to reproduce it here but Paul, in Romans 10 (the whole chapter) says that the gentiles heard and responded while the Jews heard the gospel but instead of acknowledging their king they crucified him: [Rom 10:18-19 KJV] 18 But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. 19 But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you. – Ruminator Jan 14 at 22:02
  • [Rom 10:18-21 KJV] 18 But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. 19 But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you. 20 But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me. 21 But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people. – Ruminator Jan 14 at 22:02
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Delayed return

I guess instead of assuming let’s see what Jesus actually is quoted saying

“As they heard these things, he proceeded to tell a parable, because he was near to Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the kingdom of God was to appear immediately. He said therefore, "A nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and then return.” ‭‭Luke‬ ‭19:11-12‬ ‭

Far, implied back then a longer time period and the purpose of this parable was to illustrate that it wasn’t as they supposed immediately, eminently, or soon.

Very similar happens when He speaks of the larger quantity of unevenly distributed talents but a common thread starts to appear.

“Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh. For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭25:13-14‬ ‭

Consider also the concept of delay, or going past the expected arrival time.

“Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

But if that wicked servant says to himself, 'My master is delayed,'” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭24:44, 48‬ ‭

I think we are observing a pattern concerning His coming. Not to mention that it’s not a secret coming, it certainly has not happened yet. Also while I cannot go into explanations the New Israel is the Church so that doesn’t hold up because the Church is still here. He has returned yet.

The Essene Calendar

When He says soon He may be referencing the one day equals a thousand years. And ~2days is pretty soon 2 Peter 3:8,9 context is His return.

If you study the Essenes they had a calendar year that was 360 days long. They predicted the coming of the Messiah to be on the 100th Jubilee year from the day of Creation and estimated it to fall within a twelve year window decades prior to the event. Estimate: 10BC-2AD. They actually got it right based on Scripture and math.

That would make it the 4900th year from Creation. Add 2019 years. That makes it the year 6919. Plus the 6BC to 3BC disputed birth year. Factor in the addition 5 days per 2,019 years and the additional 1 day every leap year because they believe that 360 was the original number of days per year that’s about 30 years extra. Year 6949 plus let’s say 3 years for the birth of the Messiah at least that’s year 6952.

We are getting awfully close to the year 7,000 or the seventh day or seven thousandth year.

I’m not saying that this is accurate, I’m merely showing you other interpretations and I can’t even go into too much details because I risk being too lengthy and no one read it anyway.

If you start with the assumption that the Bible is not sacred and not inspired then one needs to recognize their own biases and realize they are intending to reinforce it. In doing so one can blind themselves from details and be satisfied with what they want to conclude and hear anyway, overlooking key details which can skew the whole conclusion, entirely.

Dôr/Genea: Generation or Age

When you read generation in Hebrew dôr, you can read it generation if you wish but I think that more accurate it should read age (period of time, or people within a period of time). In the Greek genea is the same situation, age is an appropriate definition. And so when He says this AGE will not pass away before the Son of Man will return in His glory, I can confidently tell you this age has not ceased. This is the age of the Church. The Church or the New Israel is still here. Unfortunately the Older Brother Judah from the prodigal son story the Jews (Judah and Benjamin) have refused their own Messiah but we Efraim (the ten divorced tribes mixed in with the gentiles) the younger brother born again by the will of G-d by the incorruptible seed of the Word, ask our older brother that never left and squandered his inheritance to come inside and rejoice and all of Israel will be saved, all twelve tribes.

There is so much to discover in the Scriptures that to have concluded what this person you quoted claims is questionable as to his motives and his relationship with the Creator. But I can’t speak to motivation.

  • While Jesus' return was not in his own lifetime because he died his parable shows that he intended to come back in the lifetime of at least some of those "standing there": [Luk 19:15 KJV] 15 And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. [Mat 25:19 KJV] 19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth [IE: "does the math"] with them. – Ruminator Jan 14 at 15:33
  • [Mat 21:45 KJV] 45 And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them. See also Mat 23:33- Mat 23:39. – Ruminator Jan 14 at 15:34
  • And after a long time at the end of the age all will stand before him and give an account. It’s the same people giving an account. Since He can resurrect people what does it matter? The virgins all fell asleep in the parable earlier, referencing death. And since the bridegroom delayed they ALL fell asleep. It’s the same picture. – Autodidact Jan 14 at 15:58
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    I’m not a preterist, but I agree with some things as already having happened. The concept “already and not yet”. It’s neither one or the other it’s both. I ascribe to that school of thought. I find it to be Biblical and consistent with historical accounts. Some things have already occurred and others that are mentioned are still to come. Appreciate the link. I’ll be sure to check it out, it’s right up my alley concerning subjects of interests. – Autodidact Jan 14 at 16:46
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    Could the person who downvoted please explain what they didn’t agree with? I don’t mind the downvote but I’m really interested in why, as in what did I get wrong Scripturally? (Also there is no point in doing textual criticism and repeating the same points already mentioned by previous users, which is why I prefer to explore things the way I do.) Looking forward to your critique. – Autodidact Jan 15 at 0:01
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Authorship of Ephesians

Q Did Paul write Ephesians and Colossians from Heaven?

Historians and theologians alike have to conclude that not a single person ever wrote anything 'home' from heaven. A Christian might believe that. A nice way out for this problem then is looking at the authorship of the letter? But this outworld place of writing is certainly not the topic for hermeneutics. Only the authorship is.

For that authorship the assumption of writing in heaven would be the most important indicator of non-authenticity.

But apart from speculative questions centred on belief, a look at the theology and language in that letter is sufficient to call it at the least "disputed" if not "pseudonymous" or "forged".

Internal, external evidence as well as language and themes all point into that direction. This letter was probably "inspired", most probably by knowledge of Paul in person or his letters. But they were not written by Paul.

The following quotes and references present the range from 'balanced' analysis to 'radical':

The Epistle to the Ephesians is a masterpiece of Pauline theology and the cap- stone of the Pauline perspective. Ephesians, as much as, or perhaps more than, Romans has a claim to be the most developed statement of Paul’s theology. It is a kind of distillation of the basic themes of Paul’s theology presented now in the greatest depth and the widest possible scope.

It seems natural and obvious to conclude that this glorious letter-treatise was written by Paul—indeed, could only have been written by Paul, unless there was in the early church a greater writer and theologian than Paul himself. Yet there are a number of reasons why a majority of NT scholars have come to doubt, if not outright deny, the Pauline authorship of Ephesians.

We can at least conclude that the author was a Paulinist—that is, a member of the Pauline circle or school. Several suggestions have been made. One may think of Timothy, whose name, although found at the beginning of Colossians, is lacking at the beginning of Ephesians.

We are forced to admit that if Ephesians was not by Paul, we do not know the gifted author of this remarkable book. He probably was a Hellenistic Jewish Christian and a co-worker or disciple of Paul. It is probable, but not necessary, that the author is someone whose name appears in the Pauline Letters. There are also some interesting similarities between Ephesians and the thought world of Qumran that have led to the bold conjecture that the author was a converted scribe of the Qumran community. That Ephesians was written as an introduction to the Pauline corpus, whether by Onesimus or someone else, remains an unprovable but intriguing hypothesis.

Donald A. Hagner: "The New Testament. A Historical and Theological Introduction", Baker Academic: Grand Rapids, 2012.

Peter T. O'Brien: "The Letter to the Ephesians", Eerdmans: Grand Rapids, Cambridge, 1999. (p37–44)

William J. Larkin: "Ephesians: A Handbook on the Greek Text", Baylor Handbook on the Greek New Testament, Baylor University Press: Waco, 2009.

On the basis of contradictions in content and theology, the letter to the Ephesians, the letter to the Colossians, and the second letter to the Thessalonians are also regarded as inauthentic by most scholars today. In the same way as the Pastoral Epistles, in reading Ephesians and Colossians linguistic and stylistic differences first catch the eye. While Colossians contains 34 words that appear nowhere else in the New Testament, and 15 that appear elsewhere only in Ephesians, the letter to the Ephesians itself contains some 39 hepaxlegomena and 90 words that do not appear in the Pauline letters designated as authentic.

Although, from a literary perspective, the results of the whole stylistic process might provide little edification, for many readers it produces the impression of great theological significance: what is obscure must also be profound. Whether this is true cannot be investigated here. The stylistic peculiarities of Colossians and Ephesians, which some would also explain by appeal to liturgical influences, decisively diverge from the presumably authentic letters of Paul, and indeed to such an extent that even the Einleitung by Wikenhauser-Schmidt calls it an ”evasion” if one speaks here of Paul’s ”late style” or appeals once more to the secretary-hypothesis in order to save their Pauline origin.

Hermann Detering & Darrell Doughty: "The Fabricated Paul. Early Christianity in the Twilight", 2012.

David Trobisch: "Paul's Letter Collection: Tracing the Origins", Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1994.

Conclusion

No Paul did not write from heaven. Paul did not write the letter in question.

Meaning of Ephesians 3:1

The language used in Eph 1:3 is as difficult in the 'original' as in the translations.

Ephesians 1:3-14 is one long sentence (of 202 words) marked by an accumulation of relative clauses and phrases whose relation to one another is often difficult to determine. It has occasioned different, indeed contradictory, comments from scholars, from E. Norden’s oft-quoted caustic comment, ’the most monstrous sentence conglomeration that I have ever found in the Greek language’[…]
O'Brian, p90.

Only one specific variant reads:

[Eph 1:3 NLT] 3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ.

This is not the only possible translation.

Going from the Interlinear version:

Εὐλογητὸς    ὁ   Θεὸς καὶ Πατὴρ  τοῦ    Κυρίου ἡμῶν  Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, 
Blessed [be] the God  and father of the lord   of us Jesus Christ

ὁ        εὐλογήσας      ἡμᾶς ἐν   πάσῃ  εὐλογίᾳ  πνευματικῇ ἐν τοῖς 
the[one] having blessed us   with every blessing spiritual  in the  

ἐπουρανίοις     ἐν Χριστῷ 
heavenly realms in Christ

This construction offers quite a few possibilities to translate:

Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms in Christ (NET)

Blessed [is] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who did bless us in every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. (YLT)

Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ for the spiritual blessings that Christ has brought us from heaven! (CEV)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He has blessed us with all the blessings of His Spirit through our fellowship with Christ in heaven. (EU2016, re-translated into English by the author)

Praise be to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave us through Him all the spiritual blessings from the heavenly world. (NeÜ, re-translated into English by the author)

Praise be to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heaven through Christ. (LUT2017, re-translated into English by the author, emphasis added for clarity.

Give praise to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing. Those blessings come from the heavenly world. They belong to us because we belong to Christ. (NIRV)

This offers the conclusion that not it is not Paul who went to heaven and was blessed there. It is alos unlikely to mean that Jesus or anyone went back and forth to bless or be blessed. The most fitting translation is the mundane one:

The blessings received for those on Earth are like those in heaven. Or the blessings originate there. The unity in Christ is transcendental, not like physical proximity.

God is the origin and source of salvation as well as its goal. As we have seen, his initiative is evident throughout the eulogy. His gracious electing plan shapes past, present, and future. The ultimate goal is that God himself may be glorified — hence the refrain ’to the praise of his glory’ (vv. 6, 12, 14). There is an important christological dimension to the paragraph as well. Christ, who is the mediator and ’sphere’ of divine blessing, has the Father’s glory as his goal. Finally, there is a stress on believers as undeserving beneficiaries of God’s gracious saving work. Again and again Paul speaks of ’us’ and ’we’ as the people of God who have been ’blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ’(v.3).
In vv.4-14 the same people are in view. Paul includes himself along with his readers within the first person plurals. At the same time, the apostle has all of God’s people in mind, both corporately and individually (see below). ’God as the origin and goal of salvation, Christ as its mediator, and believers as its recipients — these themes give the passage a threefold theocentric, christological, and ecclesiological focus'.
O'Brien, p 92

Conclusion

This passage alone in Ephesians and in isolation satisfactorily does not contain a real contradiction. A close reading can dismiss a real rapture having taken place.

Summary

Q Did Paul indicate in Ephesians 1:3 […] that he was writing from Heaven?

The author of Ephesians was very probably not Paul himself, but the pauline theology in that passage talks about heaven, its connection to believers on Earth and the promises awaiting believers. In that way, may phrase that answer as "he was indicating that he was writing for heaven".

  • Perhaps I should have said "ostensibly written from heaven". – Ruminator Jan 14 at 14:13
  • @Ruminator I am unsure whether I just put the wrong emphasis on the wrog part of the question? My reading of Q: authorship is prime issue. Maybe it's just what exactly means Eph 1:3? The latter would be quite unconnected to authorship (in my eyes at least) and yield quite a different answer! (Would that be another Q here? If 'no dupe' I'd like to encourage you to go for that as well.) – LangLangC Jan 14 at 14:26
  • I note the issues connected with authorship but am exploring an approach that assumes Pauline authorship. I up voted your answer (+1) but I'm not prepared just yet to accept it as the answer. – Ruminator Jan 14 at 14:47
  • @Ruminator Well, if you do not like to ask another Q, I might add another 'chapter' to the single line Eph 1:3, if you'd like that? (But be patient, my NA is not with me right now.) – LangLangC Jan 14 at 15:24
  • Yes, I think so. Yours is a legitimate answer and I up voted it but I'm holding out for something that maybe supports or rejects the heavenly origin idea more from internal evidence. But again, it's all good. The more light we can throw on the problem from any angle is appreciate. – Ruminator Jan 14 at 15:49

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