Re: The Third Heaven

From: Steven Cox (
Date: Sat Jun 13 1998 - 03:32:36 EDT

        Hi Eric
        I've heard the below mentioned interpretation below,
        with supporting reference from counting the uses of
        OURANOS in 2Peter 3:5~13, and hence to the time travel
        idea for Paul (is this influenced also by E=mc2?)

        However.... given the context of IICo12:2 is related
        to the more traditional Jewish faction in 11:22~23
        maybe we should look to more traditional Jewish
        sources for Paul's language rather than attempt to
        fit the words into 2Peter.

        EWS TRITOU OURANOU has a wealth of refs in BAGD,
        of which the most relevant is Apoc Moses 37 where
        TRITOS OURANOS and PARADEISOS are linked. This is
        a related to a theme of Jewish apocalyptic literature
        where "tours of heaven" were so popular that most of
        the famous OT figures got given the trip courtesy of
        archangel and part-time tour guide Michael.

        My theory (for the little that it is worth) is that the
        PSEUDOAPOSTOLOI in Corinth were claiming they had been
        on a tour so Paul hit back with a description of his
        own vision 14 years previously. But the whole passage
        is so laced with sarcasm it is not easy to untangle.

        By the way I just love the way NIV renders TWN hUPERLIAN
        APOSTOLOWN in 11:5 as "Superapostles". Very cool.

        I'll dig out the Apoc Moses quote and post it.

        PS: hARPAZW doesn't imply height does it? That would be
        be *AN*ARPAZW TOIS ONUXIN as in Aristophanes' Vespae 17.

At 21:03 98/06/12 -0500, Eric Weiss wrote:
>In a book I read recently the author states (referring to Paul's
>statement in II Corinthians 12:2 about being caught up to the third
>heaven - hARPAGENTA ... hEWS TRITOU OURANOU) that "the first heaven was
>before the fall of man," "the second heaven is the spiritual realm
>during the reign of evil upon the earth" (i.e., now), and "the third
>heaven is when the love and domain of the Father will again prevail over
>the earth through the King."
>I had always interpreted Paul's statement to mean third in terms of
>levels or heights - or even to mean (hyperbole) "the heaven of heavens"
>- but I had NEVER interpreted it to mean third in terms of time. I'd
>think that the verb hARPAZW (in 12:2 a participle, but in 12:4 the
>simple indicative - hHRPAGH EIS TON PARADEISON) followed first by hEWS
>then EIS would seem to support that the apostle was taken up to the
>LEVEL of "the third heaven" rather than taken FORWARD IN TIME to the
>time of (or to see the time of) "the third heaven" (even if Paul was
>"snatched/caught away in a vision or trance" to see future things).
>"Eric S. Weiss"
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