Bro. Tom’s Weekly Bible Study
  Week #48
Posted: June 10, 2005

A Study of Positional Truths

We turn our study to a two-part study of Paul’s ‘In Christ’ experience.   Paul says in II Corinthians 12:1-2, “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 can not tell; or whether out of the body I can not tell: God knoweth;) such a one caught up to the third heaven.”

Paul has not been one to share too many details about his personal experiences.  He did share about his salvation experience on several occasions.  I fear much of the salvation experiences of today are a Romans Road experience based on all that we have done.  We need to ponder Paul’s Damascus’ Road experience.  We need to be knocked from the high horse of our pride and be blinded by the light of Holy Ghost conviction.  Then we need to be led to the street called ‘Straight’ and have the light of revelation turned on is us.  We will forever give God all the glory for such an experience. 

The ‘In Christ’ experience that Paul shares some brief snips from is about our ‘heavenly home’.  Remember, as Abraham looked for a city Paul said our citizenship is in heaven and for us this world is not our home.  Paul called this place ‘paradise’ (Vs. 4 meaning the flower garden of royalty).

This experience is so sacred Paul tells the story in the third person (I knew a man in Christ).  Paul says the experience was about fourteen years prior to the writing of II Corinthians.  Many believe it was during his experience of being stoned in Acts and left for dead.  God rewarded his Gospel stand with a glimpse of the world to come. 

Paul said that this was such a hallowed experience that he could not tell if he was in his body or out. (Vs. 2-3)  Oh, how our entrance into Heaven will be such a breath taking experience.  We will wonder why we held to this world so tightly. 

In this experience Paul said he was ‘caught up to the third heaven’.  The word ‘caught up’ is the word ‘horpazo’ which means to translate or snatch away.  We get out word ‘rapture’ from this.  Paul says he was caught up to the ‘third heaven’.  The sphere of the clouds is the first heaven, the sphere of the stars the second, and the dwelling place of God is the third heaven.  Paul tells us in verse 4 that this experience left him speechless with ‘unspeakable words’

We will study next time a thorn Paul was given because of this blessed ‘In Christ’ experience.  Let us not forget as Paul was caught up into heaven, we to one day will be translated into the presence of the Lord never to leave again.  We will literally be ‘In Him’ and He ‘In Us’.

Millions have reached that blissful shore, their trials and their labor o’er, and yet there is room for millions more.  My heavenly home is bright and fair, no pain nor death shall enter there; its glittering light the sun out shines, those heavenly mansions shall be mine.  I’m going home to die no more”.  (Ironside)