2 Corinthians 12:2

New Testament

1 It is necessary to go on boasting. Though it is not profitable, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. 2 I 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.

Pesikta Rabbati 20


Finally, when angels of destruction, resentful of his presence in heaven, sought to burn Moses with the breath of their mouths, God spread something of His own splendor about Moses and told him to explain to the ministering angels why he was in heaven. His reply was accepted, and the angel of death even taught Moses how to stand between the dead and the living. God then opened the seven firmaments and showed Moses the Sanctuary on high and the four colors He had used for the Tabernacle. He opened the portals of the seven firmaments and appeared over them and over Israel in His full glory. When Israel heard I am the Lord thy God (Exod. 20:2), their souls at once departed from them. But God made descend the dew which will quicken the souls of the righteous at the resurrection, and thus revived the children of Israel.

 Notes and References

"... Paul says that he was snatched up to the third heaven. Heaven is the abode of God and of those closely associated with him (see "our Father in heaven," Mt 6:9; "the angels in heaven," Mk 13:32). A journey to heaven where revelations are received about things on the other side is a familiar idea in first century apocalyptic and rabbinic materials (Bietenhard 1976:191-92). The notion of a multiplicity of heavens began to surface in the intertestamental period (2 Macc 15:23; 3 Macc 2:2, "king of the heavens"; Wisdom of Solomon 9:10, "the holy heavens"; Tobit 8:5, "the heavens"). Some Jewish materials speak of only one heaven (such as Philo; 2 Esdras 4:9), while others tell of three (Testament of Levi 2-3, "the uppermost heaven"), five (3 Baruch 11, "the angel led me to the fifth heaven") and even seven heavens (such as Pesiqta Rabbati 98a, "God opened seven heavens to Moses") ..."

Belleville, Linda L. 2 Corinthians (pp. 208-209) IVP Academic, 2011

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