2 Corinthians 12:1-5
2 Cor 12:1 (KJV)
It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.
Expedient - Advantageous or profitable
Doubtless - Must or it is necessary
Paul had seen it necessary to boast about certain things concerning his defense of his ministry and the Gospel. He also knows that limiting boasting is of the utmost necessity in the Christian walk. There are certain things one can boast about but other things must be kept in perspective. Here Paul is stating that at this juncture it is not advantageous for him to boast. In the second part of this verse Paul states that the Lord had done great things for him and two of those things was receiving the Word of the Lord by visions and revelations. (Gal 1:11-12 KJV) But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. {12} For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. In Galatians, Paul stated that he did not receive the gospel by means of men but had received it directly from the Lord. Now there are many today who claim they have seen the Lord or received revelation from Him. If this was true, then they, like Paul, would have to write them down as Scripture but the fact is that no one does and these false visions just go on into oblivion where they belong. The Lord gave visions and revelations to Paul before the Bible was completed and that was the reason for these miracles but now we have the completed Word and therefore these visions and revelations have ceased. Today anyone receiving visions or revelations, are not receiving them from the Lord but from Satan who comes as an angel of light, as we previously read.
2 Cor 12:2 (KJB)
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.
Here Paul speaks about probably his greatest experience as a Christian when he was privileged to go into the third Heaven, which is the abode of God. If you notice how Paul speaks about this, you will notice that he removes himself from the experience and gives all the glory to God. There are some who do not think that Paul was writing about himself but there is no evidence to prove otherwise. Paul is just being humble about this because he wants the false teachers in Corinth to know what has transpired between him and the Lord. This is included because none of the false teachers had ever experienced something of this caliber. The event that Paul experienced was so great that he did not even know whether his soul had left the body or not. Today there are many frauds who claim they went to heaven. One such fraud is Jesse DuPlantis who was deceived with a satanic vision and when he finally came out of it, he claims he was in heaven for five hours. If you listen to him, you will hear that this experience was all about him in contrast to Paul who gave all glory to God.
2 Cor 12:3 (KJB)
And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)
Here Paul once again reiterates the experience he had. This may have happened at Lystra when he was stoned and left for dead. (Acts 14:19 KJV) And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead. Paul gives a nice bit of comfort for the believer, that physical death is but separation of body and soul, and our fellowship with God is heightened once that happens.
2 Cor 12:4 (KJB)
How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
Unspeakable - Inexpressible or to sacred to tell
Lawful - Permitted
This is a very pivotal verse. First of all, it states that this man was caught up to Paradise. On the cross Jesus told the ex-thief, who became a brother in the Lord, that today he would be with Him in paradise. (Luke 23:43 KJV) And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise. Jesus did not go to some place other than Heaven. His body went into the grave and His spirit went back to heaven to be reunited with His body back on earth on Sunday morning. So many believe He went to Abrahamís bosom in Hades and this is untrue. Abrahamís Bosom is another term for Heaven because this is where Abraham and all the other Old Testament Saints were. Secondly, Paul states that what was heard in Heaven was inexpressible and sacred. This gives us tremendous insight into the reason why God had to use such earthly language in the Bible to convey truth to us and why the Lord used parables because we, even though we are regenerated, would be unable to comprehend such heavenly language. These things were so sacred, that they were not allowed to be spoken. This is why when I hear someone state they went to Heaven and just walked around like they would in a park, that they are as phony as a three dollar bill. Here the Scriptures tell us straight out that anything heard in heaven was not allowed to be repeated.
2 Cor 12:5 (KJB)
Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities.
Infirmities - Weakness or lack of strength
Paul would never boast about something like this as if he was the center of it. He would be able to glory a little bit on behalf of the person it happened to but as usual with Paul he boasted only in his infirmities. Those infirmities had caused Paul to be weak, but in that condition, Paul was able to accomplish much because the Lord had strengthened him and this caused glory to go to God rather than to Paul. Any gospel which glorifies man is a false gospel and that was exactly what the false teachers at Corinth were teaching.