Raptum ad tertium caelum
Taken to the third heaven
12:1 Si gloriari oportet (non expedit quidem), veniam autem ad visiones et revelationes Domini. [n. 440]
12:1 If I must glory (it is not expedient indeed) still I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. [n. 440]
12:2 Scio hominem in Christo ante annos quatuordecim, sive in corpore nescio, sive extra corpus nescio, Deus scit, raptum hujusmodi usque ad tertium caelum. [n. 443]
12:2 I know a man in Christ: over fourteen years ago (whether in the body, I do not know, or out of the body, I do not know: God knows), such a one was caught up to the third heaven. [n. 443]
440. Posita sua commendatione quantum ad mala perpessa, hic consequenter Apostolus commendans se, ostendit praeeminentiam suae dignitatis quantum ad bona divinitus recepta. Prima autem gloriatio fuit de infirmitatibus; ista vero est de bonis eius. Unde
440. Having commended himself for the evils he suffered, the Apostle continues to commend himself and shows the pre-eminence of his dignity in regard to good things received from God (C. 11, L. 5). For he first gloried in his weaknesses, but now in his good things.
circa hoc duo facit.
In regard to this he does two things.
Primo commendat se de bonis susceptis divinitus;
First, he commends himself on the good things received from God;
secundo excusat se de hac commendatione, quod hoc fecerit quasi coactus, ibi factus sum insipiens, et cetera.
second, he begs pardon for this commendation, alleging that he is compelled to do this, at I have become foolish.
Circa primum duo facit.
In regard to the first he does two things.
Primo extollit magnitudinem eorum quae sunt sibi collata a Deo;
First, he extols the greatness of the things conferred on him by God;
secundo manifestat remedium infirmitatis sibi adhibitum contra periculum superbiae, ibi et ne magnitudo, et cetera.
second, he discloses the remedy given to him against the danger of pride, at and lest the greatness.
Circa primum duo facit.
In regard to the first he does two things:
Primo ponit bonum sibi divinitus collatum;
first, he mentions a good divinely conferred;
secundo ostendit quomodo se habuit in gloriando de huiusmodi bono, ibi pro huiusmodi, et cetera.
second, he shows how he behaved in regard to glorying in it, at for such a one, I will glory.
Circa primum duo facit.
In regard to the first he does two things.
Primo ostendit quod hoc sit sibi collatum divinitus in generali;
First, he shows in general that this was divinely bestowed;
secundo vero in speciali, ibi scio hominem, et cetera.
second, in particular, at I know a man.
441. Bonum autem Apostolo collatum divinitus, sunt revelationes sibi divinitus factae, et de istis vult hic gloriari. Unde dicit si gloriari oportet, id est quia gloriari oportet propter vos, tamen secundum se non expedit, quia qui gloriatur de bono recepto, incidit in periculum amittendi quod habet. Eccli. XLIII, 15: aperti sunt thesauri, scilicet virtutum, per gloriationem inanem, et evanuerunt nebulae sicut aves. Et hoc significatur in Ezechia, Is. XXXIX, 2, quando ostendit thesauros domus Domini nuntiis regis Babylonis.
441. The good divinely bestowed on the Apostle are revelations made to him by God; it is of these that he wishes to glory. Hence he says: if I must glory, i.e., because I must glory for your sake, although in itself there is nothing to be gained by it, because a person who glories in a good he has received runs the risk of losing what he has: through this, i.e., by vain glory, are the treasures of the virtues opened, and the clouds fly out like birds. (Sir 43:15). And this is signified in Hezekiah, when he showed the treasures of the Lord’s house to the messengers of the king in Babylon (Isa 39:2).
Et licet simpliciter non expediat gloriari, tamen aliquando propter aliquam specialem causam potest homo gloriari, sicut ex praemissis manifestum est. Et ideo dicit: quia gloriari oportet, ideo dimissis commendationibus de infirmitatibus, veniam, commendando me, ad visiones et revelationes Domini.
And although, absolutely speaking, it is not expedient to glory, nevertheless, for some special reason a man may glory, as is clear from what has been stated above. Therefore he says: because I must boast, I will leave off commending myself on my infirmities and I will come by commending myself to visions and revelations of the Lord.
442. Ubi notandum est, quod differentia est inter visionem et revelationem. Nam revelatio includit visionem, et non e converso. Nam aliquando videntur aliqua, quorum intellectus et significatio est occulta videnti et tunc est visio solum. Sicut fuit visio Pharaonis et Nabuchodonosor Daniel II, 1 et Gen. XLI, 1. Sed quando cum visione habetur significatio intellectus eorum quae videntur, tunc est revelatio. Unde quantum ad Pharaonem et Nabuchodonosor visio de spicis et de statua, fuit solum visio; sed quantum ad Ioseph et Danielem, qui significationem visorum habuerunt, fuit revelatio et prophetia.
442. Here it should be noted the difference between a vision and a revelation. For a revelation includes a vision, but not vice versa. For sometimes things are seen, the understanding and significance of which are hidden from the beholder; in that case it is only a vision, as in the visions of Pharaoh and Nebuchadnezzar (Dan 2:1; Gen 41:1). But when the significance of the understanding of those things which are seen is had with the vision, then it is revelation; whence in regard to Pharoah and Nebuchadnezzar, the vision of ears of corn and of the statue was only a vision. But in regard to Joseph and Daniel, who understood the meaning of what was seen, it was a revelation and a prophecy.
Utrumque tamen, scilicet visio et revelatio, quandoque quidem fit a Deo. Dan. II, 28: est Deus in caelo revelans mysteria. Os. XII, v. 10: ego visiones multiplicavi eis. Ps. CXVIII, v. 18: revela oculos meos, et cetera. Quandoque vero a malo spiritu. Ier. XXIII, 13: prophetae prophetabant in Baal. Apostolo autem facta est et visio, et revelatio, quia secreta, quae vidit, plene intellexit a Domino, non a malo spiritu. Unde dicit veniam autem ad visiones et revelationes Domini.
Both, however, namely vision and revelation, are sometimes produced by God. There is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries (Dan 2:28); it was I who multiplied visions (Hos 12:10); open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law (Ps 119:18); but sometimes by an evil spirit: they prophesied by Baal and led my people Israel astray (Jer 23:13). To the Apostle were made both vision and revelation, because he fully understood the secret things he saw. They were produced by the Lord and not by an evil spirit. Hence he says: I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.
Est autem revelatio amotio velamenti. Potest autem esse duplex velamen. Unum ex parte videntis, et hoc est infidelitas, vel peccatum, vel duritia cordis; et de hoc supra III, v. 14: usque in hodiernum diem velamen, et cetera. Aliud ex parte rei visae, quando scilicet res spiritualis proponitur alicui sub figuris rerum sensibilium, et de hoc dicitur Num. IV, v. 15, quod sacerdotes tradebant Levitis vasa sanctuarii velata, quia scilicet debiliores non possunt spiritualia capere, secundum quod in seipsis sunt. Et ideo Dominus loquebatur turbis in parabolis, Matth. XIII, 13.
Now a revelation is a removing of a veil. But a veil can be of two kinds: one on the part of the beholder, and this is unbelief or sin or hardness of heart. Of this veil he said above: even until this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart (2 Cor 3:15); the other is on the part of the object seen, namely, when spiritual things are proposed to someone under the figures of sense-perceptible objects. Concerning this it is said that the priests delivered the vessels of the sanctuary veiled to the Levites, because weaker persons cannot grasp spiritual things as they are in themselves (Num 4:15). This is why the Lord spoke to the multitudes in parables (Matt 13:13).
443. Consequenter visiones et revelationes huiusmodi, manifestat Apostolus in speciali, loquens de se tamquam de alio. Unde dicit scio hominem in Christo, et cetera. Et ponit duas visiones. Prima incipit hic, secunda vero incipit ibi et scio huiusmodi hominem in Christo, et cetera.
443. Then the Apostle describes these visions and revelations in details, speaking of himself as though of another person; hence he says, I know a man in Christ. He mentions two visions: the first begins here; the second begins at and I know such a man.
444. Circa primam autem visionem utitur Apostolus quadam distinctione. Dicit enim se, circa huiusmodi revelationem, scire quaedam et quaedam nescire. Dicit autem se scire tria, scilicet videntis conditionem unde scio hominem in Christo; visionis tempus quia ante annos quatuordecim; et visionis fastigium quia raptus usque ad tertium caelum. Dicit autem se nescire videntis dispositionem, quia sive in corpore, sive extra corpus, nescio.
444. When speaking of the first vision, the Apostle makes use of a distinction, for he says in regard to this revelation that he knew certain things and other things not. But he knew three things, namely, the condition of the beholder; hence he says: I know a man in Christ; the time of the vision, that is, over fourteen years ago; and the high point of the vision, because he was caught up to the third heaven. And he says that he did not know the disposition of the beholder, whether in the body, I do not know, or out of the body, I do not know.
445. Videamus ergo ea quae scivit, ut, per nota ad ignota, facilius pervenire possimus.
445. Therefore let us see what he knew, so that through what is known we may more easily attain to what was not known.
Et primo videntis conditionem, quae est laudabilis, quia in Christo, id est conformem Christo.
First of all, the condition of the beholder, which is praiseworthy, because he was in Christ, i.e., conformed to Christ.
Sed contra: in Christo nullus est, nisi qui habet caritatem, quia I Io. IV, 16 dicitur: qui manet in caritate, in Deo manet. Ergo scivit se habere caritatem, quod est contra illud: nescit homo utrum odio, vel amore dignus sit, et cetera.
But on the contrary, no one is in Christ, unless he has charity, because he who abides in love abides in God (1 John 4:16). Therefore, he knew that he had charity, which is contrary to what is stated in Ecclesiastes: the righteous and the wise and their deeds are in the hand of God; whether it is love or hate man does not know (Eccl 9:1).
Respondeo, quod esse in Christo potest intelligi dupliciter. Uno modo per fidem et fidei sacramentum, secundum illud Apostoli, Gal. III, 27: quotquot baptizati estis, Christum induistis, scilicet per fidem et fidei sacramentum. Et hoc modo scivit se Apostolus in Christo esse.
I answer that being in Christ can be taken in two ways: in one way by faith and the sacrament of faith according to Galatians: for as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ (Gal 3:27), namely, by faith and the sacrament of faith. This is the sense in which the Apostle knew that he was in Christ.
Alio modo dicitur aliquis esse in Christo per caritatem, et hoc modo nullus scit se esse in Christo certitudinaliter, nisi per quaedam experimenta et signa, inquantum sentit se dispositum et coniunctum in Christo, ita quod nullo modo, etiam propter mortem, permitteret se separari ab eo. Et hoc de se expertus erat Apostolus, cum dicebat Rom. c. VIII, 38: certus enim sum, quod neque mors, neque vita, etc., separabit nos a caritate. Unde potuit habere huiusmodi signa, quod esset in caritate Christi.
In another way a person is said to be in Christ through charity, and in this way no one knows for certain that he is in Christ, except by certain tests and signs, inasmuch as he feels himself disposed and joined to Christ in such a way that he would not permit himself to be separated from him for any reason including death. This the Apostle experienced in regard to himself, when he said: for I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom 8:38). Hence, he could have had such signs that he was in the charity of Christ.
446. Secundo visionis tempus, quod fuit conveniens, quia ante annos quatuordecim, quia quatuordecim anni transacti erant ab eo tempore quo viderat visionem usque ad tempus quo scripsit hanc epistolam. Quando enim hanc epistolam scripsit, nondum Apostolus erat positus in carcerem. Et sic videtur, quod fuit circa principium imperii Neronis, a quo post multum tempus occisus fuit. Unde si computemus annos descendentes a principio imperii Neronis usque ad quatuordecim annos, manifeste apparet, quod Apostolus habuit has visiones in principio suae conversionis.
446. Second, the time of the vision, which was fitting, because it was over fourteen years ago; for fourteen years had elapsed from the time he saw the vision, until he wrote this epistle, because when he wrote this epistle he had not yet been cast into prison. Hence it seems to have been written at the beginning of Nero’s reign, by whom he was killed much later. Hence if we go back fourteen years from the beginning of Nero’s reign, it is clear that the Apostle had these visions at the beginning of his conversion.
Ipse enim conversus fuit ad Christum anno quo Christus passus est. Christus autem passus est circa finem Tiberii Caesaris, quo mortuo successit ei Gaius imperator, qui vixit quatuor annis, post quem Nero factus est imperator. Et sic inter Tiberium et Neronem fluxerunt quatuor anni. Et sic, additis duobus annis de tempore Tiberii, quia nondum mortuus erat quando Paulus fuit conversus, et octo de tempore Neronis, quod fluxerat usque ad tempus quando scripsit hanc epistolam, relinquitur quod a tempore suae conversionis, usque ad tempus quo hanc epistolam scripsit, fuerunt anni quatuordecim.
For he had been converted to Christ in the same year that the Lord suffered. But Christ suffered near the end of Tiberius Caesar’s reign, who was succeeded at death by the emperor Caius, who lived four years, after which Nero became emperor. Therefore, between Tiberius and Nero there were four years. Adding two years from Tiberius’s reign, because he was not yet dead, when Paul was converted, and from Nero’s reign the eight years which had passed until he wrote this epistle, there were fourteen years between the time of his conversion to the time he wrote this epistle.
Et ideo quidam dicunt satis probabiliter, quod Apostolus has visiones habuit in illo triduo, quo post prostrationem suam a Domino stetit neque videns, neque manducans, neque bibens, Act. IX, 9.
Therefore, some say quite probably that the Apostle had these visions during those three days after he was struck down by the Lord, when he remained neither seeing nor eating nor drinking (Acts 9:9).
Commemorat autem tempus suae conversionis apostolus ut ostendat, quod si a tempore suae conversionis tantum erat gratus Christo, ut talia sibi ostenderet, quanto magis post quatuordecim annos, cum profecerit et in auctoritate apud Deum, et in virtutibus, et gratia?
But he recalls the time of his conversion to show that if he was so pleasing to Christ from the time of his conversion that he revealed such things to him, then how much more pleasing was he after fourteen years, when he had grown in charity before God and in the virtues and graces?
447. Tertio videamus fastigium visionis, quod quidem est excellens, quia raptus usque ad tertium caelum.
447. Third, let us see the high point of the vision, because he was caught up to the third heaven.
Sed sciendum quod aliud est furari et aliud rapi. Furari quidem proprie est, cum res alicui latenter aufertur. Unde Gen. XL, 15 dicebat Ioseph: furtim sublatus sum. Sed rapi proprie dicitur quod subito et per violentiam aufertur. Iob VI, 15: sicut torrens raptim, id est subito et rapide, transit in convallibus. Inde est quod praedones, qui violenter expoliant, dicuntur raptores.
But it should be noted that it is one thing to be the victim of thievery and another to be rapt. Properly speaking, the former takes place when something is taken away from another in a secret way, hence, Joseph said: for I was indeed stolen out of the land of the Hebrews (Gen 40:13). A person is properly speaking rapt when something is taken suddenly and by force: as the torrent that passes swiftly, i.e., suddenly and rapidly, in the valleys (Job 6:15). Hence it is that plunderers who despoil violently are called ravagers.
Sed attende quod aliquis homo dicitur rapi ab hominibus, sicut Enoch. Sap. IV, 11: raptus est, ne malitia, et cetera. Aliquando rapitur anima a corpore. Lc. XII, 20: stulte, hac nocte animam tuam, et cetera. Aliquando aliquis dicitur rapi a seipso, quando propter aliquid homo efficitur extra se ipsum, et hoc est idem quod extasis.
But note that a man is said to be rapt from men, as Enoch: he was caught up lest evil change his understanding or guile deceive his soul (Wis 4:11); sometimes the soul is rapt from the body: fool! This night your soul is required of you (Luke 12:20). Sometimes a person is said to be rapt by himself, when for some reason he is made to be outside himself; and this is the same as ecstasy.