What Is The Third Heaven In 2 Corinthians 12:1–6?
Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 12:1–6: “It is doubtless not profitable for me to boast. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord: I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a one was caught up to the third heaven. And I know such a man—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows— how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. Of such a one I will boast; yet of myself I will not boast, except in my infirmities. For though I might desire to boast, I will not be a fool; for I will speak the truth. But I refrain, lest anyone should think of me above what he sees me to be or hears from me.”
The first heaven is speaking of the sky where the birds fly (Genesis 1:20). The second heaven is speaking of outer space where the planets, stars, and galaxies are located (Genesis 1:14–16). The third heaven is referring to the place known as Paradise (which is a part of Hades – Luke 23:43 and Acts 2:27-31) where this man of 2 Corinthians 12:2 goes. This Paradise is not heaven itself but the waiting place where the righteous dead go between physical death and the judgment (Luke 16:19–31 and Revelation 20:13). Jesus also went to Paradise for three days after dying on the cross (Luke 23:43). Technically speaking, there are four heavens, since the word “heaven” also refers to place where God dwells.
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