Caught up to the Third Heaven

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. (2 Corinthians 12:2)

Question: What is Paul referring to as the “third heaven” in 2 Corinthians 12, and why couldn’t it be described, as he said that he “heard unspeakable words, not lawful for a man to utter”?


Answer: The first question that comes to mind when we ponder this passage is: Who is this man that the Apostle “knew” who had this experience? Most commentators and Bible students agree that it is Paul himself and that he is recounting a vision he had fourteen years previous to his writing of his second letter to the Corinthians. He had received this vision when he was alone, so no one could confirm whether it was strictly mental or whether he had been transported bodily to observe it. It must have indeed been a unique and “stranger than life” experience; so much so, that he had not disclosed it before.

And even now as Paul reflects upon this experience, he finds it difficult to describe, and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may