A Mormon on YouTube said that Paul is referring to the 'Celestial Kingdom'. Is this true, or has this just been brought out of context? Passage: "I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know - God knows."
2 Corinthians 12:2
ESV - 2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven - whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows.
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The "third" heaven is actually God's dwelling place, where He and the angels reside. There are three heavens referenced in scripture: Heavens of earth’s atmosphere. “The heaven(s)” may apply to the full range of earth’s atmosphere which covers the earth (dew and frost) (Ge 27:28; Job 38:29), the birds fly (De 4:17; Pr 30:19; Mt 6:26), the winds blow (Ps 78:26), lightning flashes (Lu 17:24), and the clouds float and drop their rain, snow, or hailstones (Jos 10:11; 1Ki 18:45; Isa 55:10; Ac 14:17). “The sky” is sometimes meant, that is, the apparent or visual dome or vault arching over the earth.—Mt 16:1-3; Ac 1:10, 11. “Heavens of the heavens” (figuratively outer space). The expression “heavens of the heavens” is considered to refer to the highest heavens and would embrace the complete extent of the physical heavens, however vast, since the heavens extend out from the earth in all directions.—De 10:14; Ne 9:6. Spiritual Heavens (abode of God and his angels). The same original-language words used for the physical heavens are also applied to the spiritual heavens. As has been seen, Yahweh does not reside in the physical heavens, being a Spirit. However, since he is “the High and Lofty One” who resides in “the height” (Isa 57:15), the basic sense of that which is “lifted up” or “lofty” expressed in the Hebrew-language word makes it appropriate to describe God’s “lofty abode of holiness and beauty.” A systematic study of scripture will help understand these three... two physical heavens, one spiritual heaven = three heavens. Hope this answer makes sense!
I will tell you what I was taught in bible school. I am not a mormon and do not believe their theology Just sayn First heaven is the sky we see, up in the air, clouds, stars, moon etc Second heaven, or heavenlies where demonic forces and angels operate. Third heaven is where God is located, though I know He is omnipresent, Jesus is sitting at His right hand so He must be there, right. LOL I have no further teaching or understanding on this and do not focus on it much, though from my understanding in the book of Daniel it took the Arch Angel time to get to Daniel because he was fighting against the Prince of Persia, (demon) So when we pray as Daniel it can take time for things to change in the spirit realm before they change here on earth. Not a doctrine but something I live by until I get more revelation or understanding. Though to me it does make sense. Some times when I remember I will ask God why He put a particular scripture there. In this case we can see Paul was saying he would boast in a man like that but not himself. So why not use something else to say the same thing. That is why God is who He is. He may like to see if we are going to get off and start some kind of cult or see if we are willing to seek out His hidden treasures in His Word. Or maybe He is just sayn. Who knows but sometimes it is just fun to think about His vastness and wisdom. I guess it keeps us humble, at least it does me. God is so cool.
Verse 2. - I knew; rather, I know. A man. St. Paul speaks in this indirect way of himself (see vers. 5, 7). In Christ (1 Corinthians 1:30). To St. Paul every true Christian was a man whose personal life was lost in the life of Christ. Above fourteen years ago. The note of time is very vague. If we are at all able to identify the vision alluded to, it must have been the vision in the temple, referred to in Acts 22:17, which was, roughly speaking, "about fourteen years" before this time. The vision on the road to Damascus had occurred about twenty years earlier than the date of this Epistle. Whether in the body, etc. A powerful description of the absorption of all conscious bodily modes of apprehension. In their comments on. These verses, many commentators enter into speculations which seem to me to be so entirely arbitrary and futile that I shall not even allude to them. St. Paul's bodily and mental state during this vision is familiar to all who know the history of Oriental and mediaeval mysticism. Caught up (Ezekiel 11:24; Acts 8:39; Revelation 4:1, 2). Into the third heaven. It is most unlikely that St. Paul is here in any way referring to the Jewish hagadoth about seven heavens. The expression is purely general, and even the rabbis did not expect to be taken au pied de la lettre. Hence all speculations about first, second, and third heavens are idle and useless. Even as late as the Clementine writings in the middle of the second century, an attempt is made, in reference to this passage, to disparage St. Paul by sneering at visions as a medium of revelation, on the ground that they may spring from self-deception; and this rapture of the "bald hook-nosed Galilean" to the third heaven is also sneered at in the 'Philopatris' of the pseudo-Lucian. Yet how modest and simple is St. Paul's awestruck reference to this event, when compared, not only with the lying details of Mohammed's visit to heaven, but even with the visions of St. Theresa or Swedenborg! http://biblehub.com/2_corinthians/12-2.htm
[fourteen years ago] This takes us back to about 46 A.D., some 14 years after Christ died. Just where he saw the vision is not known. 1. [in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell] It could have been in the body, as in the case of Enoch, Elijah, and John (Gen. 5:24; 2Ki. 2; Rev. 4:1). The fact he did not know proves the possibility of a natural body going to heaven. It also proves that he believed in the consciousness of souls after leaving the body (2Cor. 5:8; Php. 1:21-24; Heb. 12:23). 2. [caught up to the third heaven] Caught up, like in 1Th. 4:16-17. Paul was not doubtful about being caught up to the third heaven. He was certain about that (2Cor. 12:2,4). It was whether in the body or out of it that he was doubtful (2Cor. 12:2-3). 3. [third heaven] There are three heavens: 1. The clouds or atmospheric heavens (Gen. 1:8; Ps. 77:17-18; 104:2-3) 2. The starry space (Gen. 15:5; 22:17; 26:4; Dt. 1:10; Isa. 13:10; 14:13) 3. The planet heaven (Gen. 1:1; Isa. 14:12-14; Isa. 66:1; Rev. 21:2,10) Verse 4 1. [paradise] This paradise is in the third heaven (2Cor. 12:2,4). Luke 16:22 (KJV) And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; 2. [unspeakable words] This simply means that human lips and tongue could not express them. They were too sacred to repeat. 3. [it is not lawful for a man to utter] Paul may have been forbidden to utter these words, like John was commanded to seal up and write not Revelation 10:4 (KJV) Revelation 10:4 (KJV) And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not.
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