Lord Teach Me To Pray: Day 7

Is this stuff awesome or what. Over the last two days Kay has challenged us in the truth that to have strength in prayer you must KNOW God and to KNOW God is to know His Word. And I think we got our first two tests today in how serious we are about KNOWING God's Word.

First who has ever hear of a third heaven? Who ever knew it was in the Bible? It is in 2 Corinthians 12:1-4!!

Oh dear Friends, I do hope you did not gloss over this section of today's reading; rather sought after the truth. I've provided a starting point for you but desire for you to also seek out this Third Heaven on your own and let me know what resources or verses you come up with!!!!

Jews of that time did not have the scientific knowledge that we take for granted, so they did not think of the world in scientific terms or descriptions. Instead they attempted to conceptualize the world in terms of what they knew, and usually described it visually. So, when they conceived of the universe, they constructed a multi-layered world, sort of like a large onion composed of various layers with the physical world in which human beings lived at the center. These layers were called "firmament" or shamayim (heavens or sky) in the Old Testament or "heavens" in the New Testament era. There are many other non-Biblical books and writings that also describe these layers. This model was still in use in the Middle Ages (1400s AD) when Dante wrote of the various levels of heaven and hell.

Most often this model contained seven heavens but in a few writings there were only three layers. Even though the number of layers was different these models of the universe shared some common traits. The lowest heaven, the core of the "onion," is the visible physical world that all people can see. In most of these models the second heaven is composed of water, a great sea, a firmament dividing the earth from the heavenly beings. This water that surrounded the earth became a common symbol for chaos and disorder that threatened to engulf the world (cf. Gen 6; see Speaking the Language of Canaan for a discussion of the symbolism of the cosmic waters). So often, these waters were understood to be gathered to await the coming day of judgment when they would once again be loosed to destroy the unrighteous. However, the third heaven was beyond the sight of human beings. It was the dwelling place of God and his attendant heavenly beings whom he would send to protect Israel and the righteous. So when Paul claims to have seen the risen Christ he is describing his experience in terms that he, and others, would readily understand. In that cultural context, he would have assumed that God had taken him to the region where it was possible to see spiritual beings, and the risen Christ.

Understanding this takes nothing away from Paul’s own testimony of an encounter with God. It simply acknowledges that Paul was a child of his day, that he lived in a pre-scientific world that had its own views of expressing and depicting the makeup of the physical world. So Paul described his experiences in the only way that he had at hand. His point was not to tell us how many levels of heaven there might really be. His point was to tell us that he had powerfully encountered the presence of God, in fact that he had physically seen the risen Christ. That fact is not directly related to the manner in which Paul tells us about that experience; the point is that it happened and it made a pivotal difference in Paul’s life.

Copied from The Voice

More info on Third Heaven at CARM

I'm also very excited about the chart on The Names of God for this section. I would encourage you to find at least one that resonates with you today, type it in my Bible gateway search box to the right and look at all the scripture that speaks His name in that manner. Will it take some time, YES. But isn't that why we are here to get to know God more personally? Make Him a priority TODAY and get to KNOW Your God as He desires for you to know Him.

1 comment:

L2L said...

So I picked Jehoval Shammah (Exekiel 48:35) The Lord is There and found an amazing sermon to read: