“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. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter”.2Cor. 12:2-4
Seems lately I have sensed more need to talk about the spiritual dangers of coming against principalities and powers in the heavenly realm. We are not capable of knowing all, nor is it needful for us to know heavenly realm details. Rather, we should give thanks that we have a place because of Jesus. Where Paul went, he was not even sure. He didn’t even know if it was an in or out of body experience. What he did know is that he could not explain it adequately. He heard words that he felt compelled not to speak. This third heaven is called paradise.
He does not tell us what he saw in the third heaven or paradise but tells us that he heard unspeakable words. We have no familiarity with the language of the upper world: so, while we are here in this world, we have a surer word of prophecy than such visions and revelations. 2 Peter 1:19.
Paul knew the tongue of men and angels, probably more so than that of any man upon earth did. This account that he gives us of his vision should check our curiosity to seek after forbidden knowledge and chasing of “gifts. It should teach us to improve the revelation that God has already given us in his Word. That, being said, it is obvious that there are “realms” in the spirit world. We are earth bound, angels and demons can travel and live in these heavenly realms . . . we cannot.
It was the understanding of ancient Israel that there are three heavens. Obviously, they wrote in terms with which they were familiar. The Jews spoke of three heavens. The first heaven consisted of the earth and the atmosphere where the clouds and birds were. The second heaven was where the sun, stars, and moon were. The third heaven was the dwelling place of God. When Paul said, he was caught up to the third heaven he was referring to the very dwelling place of God. Since no one knows and there is no certainty, I don’t see any need to speculate. I don’t know. There are those who claim to know all of this, some can tell you about seven heavens. Suffice it to say that it is a realm where we enter by prayer, . . . not by opposing demonic powers.
I want to share something from the book of Job. This is a book that poses many questions for believers. Now, I’m not going to really talk about Job, but rather the level of spiritual power that came against him. It is the methods and madness of the demons. Think about their abode and how quickly and powerfully they could strike. What a foolish thing we do when we venture into that realm trying to pick a fight. It appears in this passage that the angels of God had come before God to give an account for their ministry to man upon the earth . . . and Satan came with them. Apparently, at this time he still had this right or maybe was granted special permission.
He had been banished from God’s Presence. Maybe he came with God’s permission based upon a request. He is the accuser of the brethren. Regardless, he is there and God asked for a report. Satan said, “I have been going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.” Up and down? Does that include some heavenly realm checking as well? He had been looking for whom he may devour. Surely, he had investigated Job. God asked him. Satan called Job a mercenary. He only serves you because you bless him and his family. (Paraphrased). Satan tried to tempt God to do harm to Job, “put forth thy hand, and touch all that he hath and he will curse you to thy face.” God granted Satan permission to do that. Read the incredible account in Job. 1.
Job. 1:12 “And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power…”Note the swiftness and severity of the attacks once Satan and his host of demons began their work. They used people on the earth (the Sabiens). They stole the oxen and the donkeys and killed the servants. No sooner had the messenger informed Job when word came that fire from heaven (lightening?) had consumed all of the sheep and servants. Demonic power in the heavenly realm was being unleashed.
The scripture says, while he was yet speaking, another message came that the Chaldeans had taken all the camels and killed the servants. Again, demons using people to carry out their mission of hate and hurt. The worst news of all was what Job had already suspected could happen. Job. 1:5 “… It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts…”
Job’s children were protected because of Job’s life and prayers. It appears that what he imagined could be the case, likely was. His children were perhaps giving some legal permissions. Now the news comes, “Thy sons and thy daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house: And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.” Now, the demons had caused a storm directed to destroy his children. The house was flattened by the strong “tornadic” type of wind.
The point is not that Job picked a fight with demon powers, but how quickly and easily they can act when they are allowed permission. They are destroyers, they have come to kill, steal and destroy. When we venture out of our realm of authority to challenge demons, we grant permission for them …they love to fight.
It is interesting to note that even though Satan had been granted permission to take all that Job had that he did not take his wife. I can’t give you the reason for this, but it appeared that it was part of the plan to use his wife against him. Most of us know the story of Job and its victories in the end. I want you to just peek into the heavenly realm there with me and see how foolish it is to go there.
God had a complete hedge around Job and his family because of Job’s life. It was impossible to penetrate; Satan had tried and could not find an opening. There is one around me too. Why would I want to venture outside of it or shake my fist at demons? Don’t pick fights with demons … that has never been God’s way, stay within your realm of authority. It is always best to pray FOR, not against! For the peace of Jerusalem not against the prince demon over Jerusalem. I have seen many ministries destroyed; many families broken from this very thing.
In April we will be in VERMONT, hope you can make it … please pray for our ministry.