2 Corinthians Chapter 12 - The Third Time (3rd Heaven; 3rd Prayer; 3rd Trip)
1 Boasting is necessary, though it is not profitable; but I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. 2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a man was caught up to the third heaven. 3 And I know how such a man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows— 4 was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak. 5 On behalf of such a man I will boast; but on my own behalf I will not boast, except in regard to my weaknesses. 6 For if I do wish to boast I will not be foolish, for I will be speaking the truth; but I refrain from this, so that no one will credit me with more than he sees in me or hears from me.
Boasting is necessary, thought it is not profitable (Paul was boasting about the church in Achaia through the eyes of faith that they would send the money to the poor in Jerusalem as they had promised a year earlier. Paul was making a confession of faith that these Christian brothers and sisters would follow through)…
I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. Now Paul is going to talk about something far more intriguing. “visions and revelations” of the Lord.
“visions and revelations” were not new in the new testament:
· Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, had a vision of an angel (Luke 1:8-23).
· Jesus’ transfiguration is described as a vision for the disciples (Matthew 17:9).
· The women who came to visit Jesus’ tomb had a vision of angels (Luke 24:22-24).
· Stephen saw a vision of Jesus at his death (Acts 7:55-56).
· Ananias experienced a vision telling him to go to Saul (Acts 9:10).
· Peter had a vision of the clean and unclean animals (Acts 10:17-19 and 11:5).
· Peter had a vision of an angel at his release from prison (Acts 12:9).
· John had many visions on Patmos (Revelation 1:1).
· Paul had a revelation of Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 22:6-11 and 26:12-20).
· Paul had a vision of a man from Macedonia, asking him to come to that region to help (Acts 16:9-10).
· Paul had an encouraging vision while in Corinth (Acts 18:9-11).
· Paul had a vision of an angel on the ship that was about to be wrecked (Acts 27:23-25)
I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago (Paul is about to share a vision and revelation from the Lord that he had but it so amazing he doesn’t want to reduce the story to include himself. He wants the Lord to be in center focus)
Such a man was caught up into the 3rd heaven. The Jewish teaching was that the first heaven was earths atmosphere; the second heaven where home to the stars and moon; the third heaven was where the thrown of God was… Think high, higher, highest.
Paul heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak (He was speechless)
… so that no one will credit me with more than he sees in me or hears from me (Paul is explaining that he doesn’t want people to think more highly of himself because of the vision and revelation God gave to him. Paul did not want be like the false super-apostles trying to fleece the sheep.
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