Paul's Visit to Heaven
Paul is speaking of himself in the third person...and he is giving his personal testimony of the time when he was caught up into the third heaven. He says it happened 14 years ago and as you count back and study the Book of Acts, it is probable that this took place on his first missionary journey and perhaps when he was stoned at Lystra and left for dead...maybe that's when the Lord caught him up into the third heaven and gave him a glimpse of that...we don't know that for certain.
But, in these opening verses we need to understand why Paul is including this. The first few verses, Paul is speaking about of his own personal experience of God catching him up and showing him a vision of what it meant to be in heaven with the Lord.
A third heaven and a thorn in the same chapter. My, how real that is to the Christian experience. Do we ever get to the place we think that heavenly experiences exempt us from all difficulties. It is true in the life of many of you here this morning that in the very same chapter of your life you have experienced a high spiritual exaltation and a low Satanic depression.
Did you know that heavenly experiences are dangerous? And those that are blessed of God and those among whom and in whose midst God moves, that there comes to those kinds of people a very special kind of danger. You'll notice in verse 7 Paul mentions twice this statement, "unless I should be exalted above measure, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh"...lest I should be exalted above measure..." Paul was frustrated like some of you have been at the turn of events...In one minute he's caught into Paradise. Not a living soul has ever made that trip and come back except Jesus Christ. Paul said "I saw things...well, it's not lawful for me to write about them...I saw things that you wouldn't believe if I told you...I was caught up into Paradise...I don't know if I was in the body or in the spirit...it does ...
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