This boasting will do no good, but I must go on. I will reluctantly tell about visions and revelations from the Lord. I was caught up to the third heaven fourteen years ago. Whether I was in my body or out of my body, I don’t know—only God knows. Yes, only God knows whether I was in my body or outside my body. But I do know that I was caught up to paradise and heard things so astounding that they cannot be expressed in words, things no human is allowed to tell. That experience is worth boasting about, but I’m not going to do it. I will boast only about my weaknesses. If I wanted to boast, I would be no fool in doing so, because I would be telling the truth. But I won’t do it, because I don’t want anyone to give me credit beyond what they can see in my life or hear in my message,2 Corinthians 12:1-6
Paul now goes on to boast of something else. He has finished with boasting about his sufferings and struggles. In fact he says boasting about weaknesses and struggles is not appropriate. True, everyone knows we shouldn’t boast about these things but (they) are forcing me to do so. But Paul keeps boasting. It is like he is saying, if it is true that I shouldn’t boast about the things I have suffered then I will go on to boast about spiritual experiences. But note that he is still boasting. Even though he realises nothing good comes from boasting. If that is the case why does he do it? The issue is still the amount of boasting the false apostles have been engaged in. For that reason Paul has chosen to hammer the theme of boasting and is boasting about those things which contrast with the boasts of the false apostles. He does this to make the Corinthians wake up to the tricks of the false apostles. Paul says you want to talk of boasting, you want to talk of being spiritual. Ok let’s talk about things like that. “I, Paul, have received visions and revelations from the Lord that I can’t even tell you about. In fact 14 years ago I was caught up to heaven/paradise/the third heaven. I don’t know if it was in my normal body or an out of body experience, but God knows.” He repeats the comment about God knowing. “I have seen and heard stuff that I don’t fully grasp my self. Only God knows. I don’t even know if it was an in-body or an out-of-body experience. It was too much for me.” Too much happening at the time to take it all in. Yes let’s talk about revelations.
While in heaven Paul was given revelations. Things so astounding he couldn’t express them in words. Things no person, no human being, is allowed to talk about. Now that is something worth boasting about. Let’s talk about those things says Paul. Paul has had many experiences before in receiving visions. He had a vision at the time of his conversion on the Damascus road. He had another at Troas when he saw the man from Macedonia calling him there. When he was in Corinth the Lord spoke to him in a vision to encourage him to keep preaching the gospel. Of course Paul had many revelations from God. Certainly in terms of doctrine and teaching but also in terms of direction and leading to go to certain places. He went to Jerusalem as a result of a revelation. There were even times when others were directed to talk to Paul as a result of revelations, as in the case of Ananias. Oh yes Paul knew all about visions and revelations. But this one was a very special one. So special Paul was speechless about it and sworn to secrecy it seems.
So what is all this about heaven/third heaven/paradise? What happened to Paul 14 years before. Go practise your detective skills, before the next Gem if you can. Or if not, don’t read the next Gem if you wish to work on it yourself. I.e. I will comment on it, but not “the last word” or “the answer”.
Give God what’s right not what’s leftAnon
If you study the Bible and it doesn’t lead you to wonder and awe then you haven’t studied the Bible.Rob Bell
If I had a million brains I could not fully process all the ways God is working around me right now for my good and His glory.Louie Giglio