1 It is necessary to go on boasting. Though it is not profitable, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. 2I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago (whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows) was caught up to the third heaven.3 And I know that this man (whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows) 4 was caught up into paradise and heard things too sacred to be put into words, things that a person is not permitted to speak. 5 On behalf of such an individual I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except about my weaknesses. 6 For even if I wish to boast, I will not be a fool, for I would be telling the truth, but I refrain from this so that no one may regard me beyond what he sees in me or what he hears from me, 7 even because of the extraordinary character of the revelations. Therefore, so that I would not become arrogant, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to trouble me—so that I would not become arrogant. 8 I asked the Lord three times about this, that it would depart from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is enough for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” So then, I will boast most gladly about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may reside in me. 10 Therefore I am content with weaknesses, with insults, with troubles, with persecutions and difficulties for the sake of Christ, for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.
Date: 55-57 C.E. (based on scholarly estimates)
3 Baruch 7:2
(Greek Apocalypse of Baruch)
1 And I said, And where does the sun begin its labors, after the cock crows? 2And the angel said to me, Listen, Baruch: All things whatsoever I showed thee are in the first and second heaven, and in the third heaven the sun passes through and gives light to the world. But wait, and thou 3 shalt see the glory of God. And while I was conversing with him, I saw the bird, and he appeared 4 in front, and grew less and less, and at length returned to his full size. And behind him I saw the shining sun, and the angels which draw it, and a crown upon its bead, the sight of which we were 5 not able to gaze Upon, and behold. And as soon as the sun shone, the Phoenix also stretched out his wings. But I, when I beheld such great glory, was brought low with great fear, and I fled and 6 hid in the wings of the angel. And the angel said to me, Fear not, Baruch, but wait and thou shalt also see their setting.