Testament of Levi 2Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs
And I was grieving for the race of the sons of men, and I prayed to the Lord that I might be saved. Then there fell upon me a sleep, and I beheld a high mountain, and I was upon it. And behold the heavens were opened and an angel of God said to me, Levi enter And I entered from the first heaven, and I saw there a great sea hanging. And further I saw a second heaven far brighter and more brilliant, for there was a boundless light also therein. And I said to the angel, Why Is this so? And the angel said to me, Marvel not at this, for thou shalt see another heaven more brilliant and incomparable. And when thou hast ascended thither, Thou shalt stand near the Lord, And shalt be His minister, And shalt declare His mysteries to men, And shall proclaim concerning Him that shall redeem Israel. And by thee and Judah shall the Lord appear among men Saving every race of men.
2 Corinthians 12:2
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.
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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