2 Corinthians 12:3
Parallel Verses
New International Version
And I know that this man--whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows--

King James Bible
And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)

Darby Bible Translation
And I know such a man, (whether in [the] body or out of the body I know not, God knows;)

World English Bible
I know such a man (whether in the body, or outside of the body, I don't know; God knows),

Young's Literal Translation
and I have known such a man -- whether in the body, whether out of the body, I have not known, God hath known, --

2 Corinthians 12:3 Parallel
Commentary
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

I knew a man in Christ - I knew a Christian, or a Christian man; for to such alone God now revealed himself, for vision and prophecy had been shut up from the Jews.

Fourteen years ago - On what occasion or in what place this transaction took place we cannot tell; there are many conjectures among learned men concerning it, but of what utility can they be when every thing is so palpably uncertain? Allowing this epistle to have been written some time in the year 57, fourteen years counted backward will lead this transaction to the year 42 or 43, which was about the time that Barnabas brought Paul from Tarsus to Antioch, Acts 11:25, Acts 11:26, and when he and Paul were sent by the Church of Antioch with alms to the poor Christians at Jerusalem. It is very possible that, on this journey, or while in Jerusalem, he had this vision, which was intended to be the means of establishing him in the faith, and supporting him in the many trials and difficulties through which he was to pass. This vision the apostle had kept secret for fourteen years.

Whether in the body I cannot tell - That the apostle was in an ecstasy or trance, something like that of Peter, Acts 10:9, etc., there is reason to believe; but we know that being carried literally into heaven was possible to the Almighty. But as he could not decide himself, it would be ridiculous in us to attempt it.

Caught up to the third heaven - He appeared to have been carried up to this place; but whether bodily he could not tell, or whether the spirit were not separated for the time, and taken up to the third heaven, he could not tell.

The third heaven - The Jews talk of seven heavens, and Mohammed has received the same from them; but these are not only fabulous but absurd. I shall enumerate those of the Jews.

1. The Velum, or curtain, וילון - "Which in the morning is folded up, and in the evening stretched out." Isaiah 40:22 : He stretcheth out the heavens as a Curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in.

2. The firmament, or Expanse, רקיע - "In which the sun, moon, stars, and constellations are fixed." Genesis 1:17 : And God placed them in the Firmament of heaven.

3. The Clouds, or Ether, שקים - "Where the mill-stones are which grind the manna for the righteous." Psalm 78:23, etc.: Though he had commended the Clouds from above, and opened the doors of heaven, and had rained down manna, etc.

4. The Habitation, זבול - "Where Jerusalem, and the temple, and the altar, were constructed and where Michael the great prince stands and offers sacrifices." 1 Kings 8:13 : I have surely built thee a House To Dwell In, a settled place for thee to abide in for ever. "But where is heaven so called?" Answer: In Isaiah 63:15 : Look down from Heaven, and behold from the Habitation, מזבול, of thy holiness.

5. The Dwelling-Place, מעון - "Where the troops of angels sing throughout the night, but are silent in the day time, because of the glory of the Israelites." Psalm 42:8 : The Lord will command his loving-kindness in the day time, and in the night his song shall be with me. "But how is it proved that this means heaven? "Answer: From Deuteronomy 26:15. Look down from thy holy habitation, ממעון, the Dwelling-Place of thy holiness; and from heaven, השמים, and bless thy people Israel.

6. The Fixed Residence, מבון - "Where are the treasures of snow and hail, the repository of noxious dews, of drops, and whirlwinds; the grotto of exhalations," etc. "But where are the heavens thus denominated?" Answer: In 1 Kings 8:39, 1 Kings 8:49, etc.: Then hear thou in Heaven thy Dwelling - Place, מכון שבת, thy Fixed Residence.

7. The Araboth, ערבות - "Where are justice, judgment, mercy, the treasures of life; peace and blessedness; the souls of the righteous, the souls and spirits which are reserved for the bodies yet to be formed, and the dew by which God is to vivify the dead." Psalm 89:14, Isaiah 59:17; Psalm 36:9, Judges 6:24; Psalm 24:4; 1 Samuel 25:29; Isaiah 57:20 : All of which are termed Araboth, Psalm 68:4. Extol him who rideth on the heavens, בערבות ba Araboth, by his name Jah.

All this is sufficiently unphilosophical, and in several cases ridiculous.

In the sacred writings three heavens only are mentioned. The first is the atmosphere, what appears to be intended by רקיע rekia, the firmament or expansion, Genesis 1:6. The second, the starry heaven; where are the sun, moon, planets, and stars; but these two are often expressed under the one term שמים shamayim, the two heavens, or expansions, and in Genesis 1:17, they appear to be both expressed by רקיע השמים rekia hashshamayim, the firmament of heaven. And, thirdly, the place of the blessed, or the throne of the Divine glory, probably expressed by the words שמי השמים shemei hashshamayim, the heavens of heavens. But on these subjects the Scripture affords us but little light; and on this distinction the reader is not desired to rely.

continued...

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2 Corinthians 12:2
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