II Corinthians 12:1-5

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by menageriekeeper, Sep 25, 2005.

  1. menageriekeeper

    menageriekeeper
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    Is the man Paul speaks of in this passage himself or someone he is acquainted with?

    If it is Paul himself, was this experience what left him with his "thorn in the flesh"?


    Also what is the "third heaven" spoken of in the passage and why would he hear things there that wouldn't be "lawful" for a man to utter?
     
  2. Helen

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    The Hebrews recognized 'three heavens'. If you check a concordance for 'heaven' or 'heavens' in the OT, you will find the word used for three different things

    1. the sky, where birds fly
    2. outer space, where the stars are
    3. God's throne, which is what we think of as 'heaven.'

    So when Paul says he (and it is accepted, generally, that he is speaking of himself here) was taken up to the third heaven, he is referring to being in the presence of God.
     
  3. menageriekeeper

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    Well duh. I kinda/sorta already knew that about the heavens, just hadn't put it together.

    That answers questions 1 and 3. Got any ideas about the others?
     
  4. Helen

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    There may be a clue about Paul's thorn in the flesh at the end of Galatians where he writes (6:11) "See what large letters I use as I write to you with my own hand!"

    A person writing large letters is probably visually impaired. We know Paul dictated most of his letters, and that may be the reason why.

    I have wondered whether or not the blinding light on the way to Damascus when he was confronted with our Lord might have left him partly blinded -- a permanent reminder of that incredible moment in his life.

    edit: I read my responses to you to my husband and he mentioned that Paul's eyes may have been permanently damaged when he was stoned at Lystra (Acts 14:19). Or perhaps if something else was his thorn in the flesh, it may have been a result of this stoning as well.
     
  5. Artimaeus

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    2 Co 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.

    Verse 7 does seem to indicate that this is the reason he was given the thorn in the flesh. As a visually impaired person I have always felt a certain kinship with Paul because of his obvious vision problem that Helen mentioned. Also notice that not only did Paul not usually write his own letters and only ended with his own salutation but that in Galatians he found the materials of such great importance that he actually wrote it himself. Not only is salvation of grace without works but that it MUST be without works.

    Gal 6:11 Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand.

    This had to impress upon them the extreme importance of the book knowing what a big deal it was for him to have written it himself.
     
  6. yeshua4me2

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    2 Co 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.


    that says a messenger of satan (demon, fallen angel?) to BUFFET me.

    buffet= kolafidzo- to strike with a fist

    messenger=angelos- messenger,angel

    satan-you know who he is

    reason (a good one when you really stop to think of how much power Paul actually had):

    lest I should be exalted above measure.


    i think it is self explainitory.
     
  7. yeshua4me2

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    to whom much is given, much is required.
     
  8. Helen

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    I had not thought of that y4m2. Good point. It may well be that whatever the problem was, and I keep thinking it was his eyesight, was a result of the stoning...
     
  9. menageriekeeper

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    Okay, I get that Paul's "thorn" was given to him as a reminder not to boast and also to us(?) that we not place Paul to highly(no Paul worship).

    Was the use of the phrase "Satan's messenger" figurative here of the onset of the problem or did it refer back to an actual encounter with a demon? Or an incidence such as his stoning where the people responsible were "Satan's messenger"?

    No one's taken on my last question so I'll repeat it. Why would Paul experience things in the prescence of God that he would consider "unlawful" to repeat here on earth? Especially since in another passage he says that all things are lawful for him(some not being expedient)?
     
  10. TexasSky

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    I have a theory that God didn't tell us what Paul's thorn was because God wants us to stop and realize that whatever it was, it COULD have been the thorn we have, and that God's word applies to our thorn, just as much as it did to Paul's thorn.

    If we knew what his thorn was, it would be easy to go, "Yeah, but that was about .... and that isn't what my thorn is."

    As it is, we have, forever, the chance to say, "Okay, what if this is the same problem I have?"
     
  11. 4study

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    Who this "man" is in these verses is irrelevant to the point. It is a comparison with what is being said in chapter 11. "visions and revelations" are of more value than a resume of his requisites acclaiming his position. The man, or rather, the KIND of man, that he will glory in is one who receives the treasures of God's revelations.

    Personally, I don't believe Paul is talking about himself.

    I would have to do more research on the word translated "not lawful". It doesn't seem to come from the standard Greek word meaning "law", NOMOS. So the word "not lawful" may be more of an expression of respect and fear rather than a correlation with judicial principles.
     
  12. Marcia

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    One version says that it is something "which a man is not permitted to speak" (NASB).

    I think he did not say what he saw because God would not allow it or prohibited it.
     
  13. ituttut

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    A panoramic view is given to John even into eternity, and things not before “uttered”. An angel was sent to John to show what things would befall those in the tribulation, Revelation 1:1. The revelation to John was “show and tell”, as seen combining verses 1 and 2. Verse three shows this is “prophecy”, and not for we today. John was told to tell all, that he saw. John was faithful and wrote what he saw and heard – Revelation 22:8-10. I believe we can see Revelation is for our knowledge, but is not written to us. It is written to and for the Jew, God’s people, as they go into tribulation, and then into the “kingdom” through their designated gates as pointed out in Revelation 22:14, ”Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” So John had visions of what he saw, and he had revelations of what he had heard. John was allowed to “tarry”, to see and hear these things.

    While Paul was shown around heaven, it is completely different for Paul was told not to repeat certain things he had heard in heaven. Evidently there are things Paul heard in heaven that are not lawful for a man to speak. Paul was faithful as was John. John did tell all, and Paul did not. Paul only tells us what Christ revealed to Him to impart to us in "this dispensation". Both of these Apostles showed their faithfulness.

    I believe what so many Christians miss is that they are Christian because of what Paul not only heard, but saw. Paul saw what none of the twelve ever saw. His glory in Acts 26:13-15, ”At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me. 14. And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. 15. And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.”

    Talk about “seeing” and “hearing”. Talk about something to shout about, to preach, to teach, to proclaim to the world, read the next verses 16 through 18. This is “sanctification (salvation) personified, the setting apart. ” But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; 17. Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, 18. To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.”

    There is lots of good information in these few verses, when it is broken down. We can see the “dispensational” gospel that Christ revealed to Paul for the Gentile to whom he was sent by Christ Jesus.

    Will this answer your last question? II Corinthians 12:4, ”……., and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.” Paul was told not to “utter” the Unspeakable Words. John was given permission to speak of what he “heard and saw”. All things are “lawful” to Paul, even if he can’t speak of some of them.
     
  14. jshurley04

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    There is a thought that the things spoken to Paul were for Paul only and the H.S. would not allow him to repeat those things. Also, to our ears or even eyes (as we read his work) the language would not be able to be understood by we non-apostles. Given the nature of humanity to abuse and pervert the things of God, it most likely would have been used by the Benny Hinns and Robert Tilton's of today and future as well as past.

    Does this answer the question?
     
  15. 4study

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    These verses are not about Paul as a person or his experiences (why would he talk about himself in the third person anyway?).

    I found some interesting facts last night while reviewing the word "unlawful";

    The verb translated "I knew" in the KJV is actually a present tense verb in the Greek. So it should be "I know".

    The word "unlawful" is a verb from which the word "authority" is derived. So it's important to note that what is being said does not specifically regard the law of God per se, but "the right to act" or the "authority" to do something.

    I believe the "man" in verse 2-5 is not a specific indiviual, but a reference to an office. Possibly the apostolic office. I think also the "man" in verse 4 is a more generic expression. The words heard cannot be spoken by any KIND of "man" is the idea. One must have the authority to do so. This idea goes along with the context. Paul certainly had the authority to preach and teach. The false apostles and teachers did not. So besides the fact that his credentials proved his position was "of God", the authority of his position is witness against the Corinthians. Who should they listen to? A man sent by God, or a man sent on his own behalf with his own agenda?
     
  16. menageriekeeper

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    Thank you all for your answers. I do believe they answer my questions.

    4study, I to wondered why Paul would refer to himself in the third person, but the verses following are clearly refering to himself.
     
  17. rbs

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