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3rd Heaven

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Loyal Member
Which we know is the Heaven where we go after we die.
NO that is unscriptural. When people die their souls sleep in Hades and have no consciousness nor memories.
All departed souls are referred to in scripture as being asleep - they that sleep - and wait for their resurrection by Jesus at either the first resurrection
or at the second resurrection.
 
Loyal Member
Jesus said, I am the resurrection and the life.

While Paul stood by consenting to Stephen's death and guarding their clothes; Stephen said, LOOK, I see the Son of man standing at the right side of God; and they stoned Stephen to death.

I do not believe Stephen is sleeping, but is one that is waiting beneath the throne that God speaks of in Revelations. Just a little while longer, they are told, until the remainder of those are killed FOR HIS NAME SAKE. They are given white robes while they wait.

Just as Jesus knew His time had come, so did Stephen. Stephen was not in fear, but joyful, for he knew his Lord had come for him, to receive him unto Himself.
We had better be fighting the good fight of faith. HE had better be ALIVE in our heart right now. HE is not a far off God.
All praise, glory and honor be unto God. Amen
 
Active Member
It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory.
I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.
I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago,
(whether in the body, I cannot tell;
or whether out of the body, I cannot tell:
God knoweth
such an one caught up to the third heaven.
And I knew such a man,
(whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth
How that he was caught up into paradise,
and heard unspeakable words,
which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory,
but in mine infirmities.'

(2 Cor 12:,2-5)

Hello there,

The reference (above) concerns visions and revelations of God, so whatever the third heaven is, it is the subject of a vision. The word, 'Paradise' is also used in this context. Paradise is spoken of in relation to the New Heaven and the New Earth, and the holy city, the new Jerusalem which comes down out of heaven. in Revelation 2:7, in which reference is made to the tree of life, which is located within the holy city itself.

Our Lord is spoken of in Scripture as having ascended up 'far above all heaven' (Eph.4:10)

The Jerusalem which is above, (Gal.4:26) will descend to the earth we know, and within it is the tree of life, referred to in Revelation 2:7 in relation to paradise, I am not able to determine what the third heaven is, but paradise is associated with it, which is spoken of as present upon the earth in the future. So whether a vision of a present or future place, it sounds wonderful, and I praise God that He knows all things.

In Christ Jesus
Chris
 
In 2 Corinthians 12:2, Paul reports his mystical experience of being raptured to "the 3rd heaven" and identifies it as in 12:4 as Paradise. This location of Paradise is pretty standard in early Jewish apocalyptic (e. g. 2 Enoch 8; Apocalypse of Moses 40:2) and seems to imply that Paul still accepts his pre-Christian Pharisaic belief about the location of Paradise. But a 3rd heaven location for Paradise raises the question of the nature of the first 2 heavens and how many heavens there actually are. 2 Enoch 8 identifies the first 2 heavens as spiritual realms rather than as our sky and the realm of the stars. Paradise is the preferred destination for believers and the crucified Jesus graciously promises to be with the penitent thief on the cross in Paradise that very day (Luke 23:43). 2 Enoch describes the 2nd heaven as a rather hellish realm for apostates.

Does Paul implicitly refer to this 2nd heaven elsewhere? The best candidate is the fate he assigns to Christians whose works lack merit and cannot survive close scrutiny: "If the work is burned up, the builder will suffer loss. The builder himself will be saved, but only as through fire (1 Corinthians 3:15). In ancient rabbinic Judaism, the expression "saved, but only as through fire" is applied to Jews with a mediocre spirituality, who must spend a year in Gehenne (Jesus' word for Hell) before being promoted to a heaven. Therefore, the expression should not just be construed to mean "saved by the skin of their teeth." But if Paradise is in the 3rd heaven and the first 2 heavens are spiritual realms, just how many heavens are there? The Bible doesn't tell us and the ancient Jews variously accepted 3, 5, 7, or 10 heavens.

Jesus' statement in John 14:2 is relevant here: "In my father's house are many resting places (Greek: "mone)." In his magisterial 2-volume Commentary on John, Raymond Brown documents "my Father's house" as a standard Jewish reference to heaven, adding: "Many have thought that it ["mone"] represents the Aramaic "'ona"... a word that can refer to a night-stop or resting place for a traveler on a journey. "Mone" has a similar meaning in secular Greek and Origen (c. 228 (AD) understands John to be referring to stations on the road to God." Do the "many "resting places" refer to the epic journey through several heavens en route to an ever more intimate bond with God? Is the purpose of the heavens to facilitate evolutionary soul progression? can we grasp the purpose of earth life if we're ignorant of heaven's purpose?
 
Active Member
- In 2 Corinthians 12:2, Paul reports his mystical experience of being raptured to "the 3rd heaven" and identifies it as in 12:4 as Paradise.
- This location of Paradise is pretty standard in early Jewish apocalyptic (e. g. 2 Enoch 8; Apocalypse of Moses 40:2) and seems to imply that Paul still accepts his pre-Christian Pharisaic belief about the location of Paradise.
- But a 3rd heaven location for Paradise raises the question of the nature of the first 2 heavens and how many heavens there actually are.
- 2 Enoch 8 identifies the first 2 heavens as spiritual realms rather than as our sky and the realm of the stars.
- Paradise is the preferred destination for believers
- and the crucified Jesus graciously promises to be with the penitent thief on the cross in Paradise that very day (Luke 23:43).
- 2 Enoch describes the 2nd heaven as a rather hellish realm for apostates.
Hello @MadHermit,

* Paul reports an experience, whether his own or that of another (such as John for example) is not actually told to us, is it?
* The location of Paradise, needs no other reference than the Scriptures, (Luke 23:43; 2 Cor. 12:4; Rev.2:7).Reference to the presence of 'the tree of life' in Revelation 2:7, gives the key to what 'paradise' refers.

'He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches;
To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life,
which is in the midst of
the paradise of God.'
(Rev 2:7)

'And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal,
proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.
In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life,
which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month:
and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.'

(Rev 22:1-2)

' I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
Blessed are they that do his commandments,
that they may have right to the tree of life,
and may enter in through the gates into the city.'

(Rev 22:13-14)

* I believe that, the one who is being referred to as being the recipient of this vision, has like John, been given a glimpse into the yet future New Heaven and New Earth, and to the Holy City, to which these descriptions belong.

* To assume that Paul, who is after all an Apostle of Christ, is adhering to pre-Christian, pharisaic beliefs is quite wrong, for it would call into question the authority of the One Who called and chose him for that office.

* The word, 'today', in Luke 23:43, is a hebraism, used to convey surety and conviction, 'Verily I say unto thee today', see, (Deu 4:26) 'I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day'. it does not refer to the day upon which it was spoken: which is proved by the fact that the Lord lay in the grave, for three days following His death. He was dead: like Jonah, who was in the belly of the fish for that same period, otherwise it could not be a valid 'type' (or sign) of Christ's death and resurrection (Matt. 12:40). When Mary Magdalene sought to touch Him, following His resurrection, she was told not to do so, for He had not yet ascended unto His Father (John 20:17). So, the thief will be with Christ in paradise, yes, but that is yet to occur, for it will be upon the New Earth.

* John tells us that no man has ascended up into Heaven save He Who came down from it, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Praise His Holy Name!

Does Paul implicitly refer to this 2nd heaven elsewhere? The best candidate is the fate he assigns to Christians whose works lack merit and cannot survive close scrutiny: "If the work is burned up, the builder will suffer loss. The builder himself will be saved, but only as through fire (1 Corinthians 3:15). In ancient rabbinic Judaism, the expression "saved, but only as through fire" is applied to Jews with a mediocre spirituality, who must spend a year in Gehenne (Jesus' word for Hell) before being promoted to a heaven. Therefore, the expression should not just be construed to mean "saved by the skin of their teeth." But if Paradise is in the 3rd heaven and the first 2 heavens are spiritual realms, just how many heavens are there? The Bible doesn't tell us and the ancient Jews variously accepted 3, 5, 7, or 10 heavens.
* Paul speaks only the message, he, as an Apostle of Christ is intended to give, and no other, so your reference to pre-Christian pharisaic teaching is futile. Our Lord Himself warned against the doctrine of the Pharisees.

* That we are told that Christ ascended, 'far above all heavens' (Ephesians 4:10), implies that there is more than one.

Jesus' statement in John 14:2 is relevant here: "In my father's house are many resting places (Greek: "mone)." In his magisterial 2-volume Commentary on John, Raymond Brown documents "my Father's house" as a standard Jewish reference to heaven, adding: "Many have thought that it ["mone"] represents the Aramaic "'ona"... a word that can refer to a night-stop or resting place for a traveler on a journey. "Mone" has a similar meaning in secular Greek and Origen (c. 228 (AD) understands John to be referring to stations on the road to God." Do the "many "resting places" refer to the epic journey through several heavens en route to an ever more intimate bond with God? Is the purpose of the heavens to facilitate evolutionary soul progression? can we grasp the purpose of earth life if we're ignorant of heaven's purpose?
* We are not ignorant of anything that God intends us to know, and He has told us all we need to know. To venture beyond the revealed text can only lead to error.

* There is no life apart from resurrection. The believing dead are reckoned by God, to be 'asleep in Christ' (1 Cor. 15:18 ), awaiting His appearing in glory (Col.3:4).

In Christ Jesus
Chris
 

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