Jesus Creed

“I know a man in Christ,” Paul says in 2 Cor 12:2, “who 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. 3 And I know that this man?whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows? 4 was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell.”
Here Paul equates, or comes as close as one can to equating, “heaven” and “Paradise.” That word is found in the NT only at Luke 22:43 and Rev 2:7. Those texts are referring to a place people go after death. And Paul says this heaven is the “third” heaven in 2 Cor 12:2. In the Jewish word there were “multiple” heavens or layers to the heavens: anywhere from two to ten, with seven being the norm. It is best to think Paul saw only three and that this person — probably Paul — had been to the top of the mountain.
Heaven here seems to be the place of secrets and Paul gets in, by God’s grace, on the secret revelations (v. 7).

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