Thursday, August 11, 2011

Paul's Heavenly Vision

2 Cor 12:1 It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.

Paul was reluctant to bring glory to himself, Now he speaks of something the Corinthians would be interested in; visions and revelations of the Lord.

2 Cor 12:2 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.

Paul speaks of a man, many think it was Paul, about 14 years ago. Perhaps when he was stoned unto death in Lystra. (Acts 14:19) In the body or out, he does not know, but apparently his soul and spirit were taken to the third heaven. The people of Paul's day believed in three heavens. First, the clouds and sky, second, the stars and planets, the third was the dwelling place of God. This man had a vision of heaven.

2 Cor 12:3 And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)
2 Cor 12:4 How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.

Paradise here is the dwelling place of God and Jesus, where the souls of the departed saints dwell with the Lord. Note that he was not given permission to describe what he heard. There are words in heaven waiting, glorious words of the Living word. Until we arrive with them we are to hold on to the word that is revealed to us, it is enough to bring us to paradise. Jesus is the way, through faith in him we will live forever.

1 Cor 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

I am wondering if John was chosen to speak of the things he saw in Revelation, instead of Paul. Paul saw great things, but was not allowed to speak. His ministry was to the Gentiles. Later John would have a vision, the book of Revelation. He was allowed to speak. Everything in it's time and LORD help us fulfill the calling that you have for us. It is the fruitful servant who always desires to do more and the LORD will add to his ministry, as in the parable of the talents.

Mat 25:25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.
Mat 25:26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:
Mat 25:27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.
Mat 25:28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.
Mat 25:29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.

We must also be sensitive to not intrude on another man's work unless in partnership with him.

Rom 15:20 Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man's foundation.

An evangelist should have a follow up team of pastors and teachers. A newborn in the faith needs to grow. One message may bring him to the Lord, but to continue he must grow in the word of God; he needs a good foundation.

Paul continues the account of the visit to the third heaven.

2 Cor 12:5 Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities.

Paul will glory in the one who has heard from God. Do you glory in a man who says he has heard from God, yet follows another way? No, that is dangerous. Once again remember Jesus' words and glorify in him;

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

2 Cor 12:6 For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me.

Many reading these words have had visions and experiences that only could come from God. Many have kept silent, as the world does not wish to hear of the things of God. Visions and unusual miracles continue unto our day. We do not glory in them, they give glory to God and are only received by others of faith. Remember the words of our Lord;

John 14:12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

Visions continue, many are only for the one receiving them. We do not limit God by trying to explain these things in the natural. They are of the spirit.

1 Cor 2:16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

Isa 58:6 Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?

Psa 30:10 Hear, O LORD, and have mercy upon me: LORD, be thou my helper.
Psa 30:11 Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness;
Psa 30:12 To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.

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