The night sky looked like a million fireflies had invaded the dark. A warm easterly wind swept gently across the Sea of Galilee and the Apostle Paul was dead tired from his long walk across the dessert. He stopped his journey to rest his feet and to sleep a few minutes before he restarted his trek towards Jerusalem. The relentless dust and the glare of the sun made it easy to close his eyes. When he closed his eyes he was unaware of the magnificent journey his spirit was about to take into a realm of existence so splendid he would not even be able to explain what he had seen. The following story is a fictional account of what Paul might have witnessed in the third heaven.
At first, I felt confused, disoriented and fear crept up the back of my neck like a snake but the feeling didn’t last long. I didn’t know what happened or exactly where I was but I knew I wasn’t on earth. My feet lightly touched the ground but I wasn’t walking I was floating or flying which I am not sure. There was light, I couldn’t find the sun, there was no sun. Yet there was a brilliant, glorious illumination, which wrapped around a landscape of trees, brush, plants so intensely bright but pleasant. My eyes were open I could see but I was seeing, feeling, smelling, tasting, hearing the surroundings all at the same time. The trees sang, I could taste the bushes and a since of peace filled the air with a savor of incredible sweetness. This world, this realm was unlike anything I had ever dreamed. I was fully alive, separated from my body, but alive.
Time, there was no time, the presence of counting the moments disappeared. Still moving, still floating I was in a city of some sort but unlike a city, it was a domain, a palace, a kingdom. Rivers, crystal, clear waters, living, waters flowed from the gates of the kingdom and the streets which appeared to be pure gold, ran along side of the rivers.
I don’t know what happened but suddenly I was in the presence of the King of Kings. No fear, I didn’t feel fear I felt tremendous love, awe, adoration and kindness flowing from His presence which ended all fear. I was engulfed in the triad of His existence. I realized His presence existed in His Son who sat on His right hand and His Spirit, which seemed to surround the throne. I recognized the Son. The Son, it was Jesus, the Nazarene. Jesus, the one I persecuted and later received as my Lord on the Damascus road. Jesus, the Savior, the Messiah I bowed my face to the ground and worshiped the King.
The Son, Jesus spoke, “Paul, my friend, and faithful servant please rise up.”
I didn’t hesitate. My life on earth was dedicated to His service. My life was His. I trusted Him with my life and my death. We talked endlessly but our mouths were not moving. He read my thoughts and I read His. Questions, were answered about creation and the future. I knew all things. I knew why He came to earth to die a horrible death. I knew, I felt, I tasted, I smelled, His love for all humanity but there was one thing I didn’t know. Jesus knew I had an unanswered questioned.
“Ask me my friend,” Jesus’ mouthed moved this time as He spoke. God the Father looked upon His son with admiration and love as He spoke in the human voice. “Please Paul ask me what you will and I will answer.”
“Jesus, I know all things but I don’t know why I am here. Please my Lord, tell me why you have brought me to this throne.” Jesus’ eyes filled with tears. He looked at His father, then to the Spirit and said, “Paul we have brought you here because we know you will be faithful. We trust you to tell the world of our love for them.” Jesus spread His arms out and a picture appeared all around us. Faces of people all around the world were in the picture. The picture was moving and it contained all the peoples of the entire world. I saw a picture of future invents of wars, death camps, and things, which were to come. All the people were crying out for help, crying to God for Help. I was overwhelmed with their pain.
“What my Lord, what do I do?” I cried like a baby. I felt such compassion for those who hurt, those captured in sin and the deception of Satan. “What do I do my Lord?”
“Paul, give away all I have given you. Tell them of my love for them. Tell them I died for them and I will give them life if they only believe in me.” Jesus stood to His feet and reach out to those in the pictures. His hands out stretched to those lost in the world. “Tell them Paul, share with them who I am and tell them I love them.” Jesus sat down and the pictures went away. He continued, “They are so frightened Paul. What you have received from me give it away. For in giving you will receive. No greater blessing can I give to you than the gift of giving away what you have so freely received.”
“My Lord I would rather stay with you and the Father but nevertheless not my will but yours be done. I will give it away Lord. I will tell the world how much you love them, of your death, your resurrection and where you are today. I will do what you ask my Lord.”
Without any warning, I was back in my body. However, I remembered all I saw, heard, and felt but I knew the only thing I could do was give away the Love Jesus gave to me, and I did.
Of course, this story is fictional. The bible tells us, a man, went into the third heaven and came back but we are not sure who it was or what he actually saw. I believe it was Paul and I believe it could have happened this way and I am sure He wants us to give away the greatest gift of all times, Jesus Christ. I am also certain that we must give away what we have been given. Regardless of were you are in your spiritual growth you can always share what God has done for you.
Giving might not always be with words. Giving can be a hug, a smile, a dollar, or even a hamburger. Regardless of what you give, give with a heart of love and it will return to you in the form of blessings you can’t believe.