Ecstasy is not the same experience as a vision or a dream; it is an awareness of being taken up outside oneself, and there are only a few such mystical moments recorded in the Bible. One is by Paul in 2 Cor. 12: 2, when he mentions ‘a person in Christ’ (presumably himself) being caught up to the third heaven; but he will not boast of such a grace; indeed he was given a ‘thorn in the flesh’ (2 Cor. 12: 7) to forestall any such pride.

Later Christian writers regarded ecstasy as a kind of anticipation on earth of heavenly bliss.