On 2 Corinthians 12: 1-12


I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell. I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.11 I have made a fool of myself, but you drove me to it. I ought to have been commended by you, for I am not in the least inferior to the “super-apostles,”[a] even though I am nothing. 12 I persevered in demonstrating among you the marks of a true apostle, including signs, wonders and miracles. 

Hey y'all! Today I want to talk about 2 Corinthians Chapter 12 and its connection to Merkabah mysticism or Hekalot mysticism. As someone who is interested in spirituality and mysticism, I find this chapter particularly intriguing.

In this chapter, Paul is describing a vision he had in which he was caught up to the third heaven. He goes on to describe how he heard things that he couldn't even put into words, and that he was given a thorn in his flesh to keep him humble.

Now, this might sound like a typical mystical experience, but what's really interesting is how it connects to the Jewish mystical traditions of Merkabah and Hekalot. These traditions focus on the idea of ascending to the heavenly realms, and they often involve visions of the divine throne or chariot, known as the Merkabah.

In fact, some scholars believe that Paul's description of being caught up to the third heaven is a direct reference to the Hekalot tradition, which describes seven heavens or realms that a mystic can ascend through. The third heaven is considered to be the realm of angels, and it's where the Merkabah throne is said to be located.

Furthermore, Paul's reference to the thorn in his flesh has been interpreted by some scholars as a reference to the dangers and difficulties that mystics face on their spiritual journeys. In the Hekalot tradition, the ascent to the heavenly realms is not without its risks, and mystics are often warned of the potential dangers they may encounter.

So what does all of this mean? Well, for me, it highlights the connections between different mystical traditions and how they can influence and inspire one another. It's also a reminder that mystical experiences can take many different forms, and that they often transcend religious boundaries.

In conclusion, 2 Corinthians Chapter 12 is a fascinating look into the mystical experiences of one of the most influential figures in Christianity. By connecting it to the Merkabah and Hekalot traditions, we can gain a deeper understanding of the mystical underpinnings of Christianity and how they intersect with other spiritual traditions.

To learn more, check out the Esoterica YouTube Channel. This is an awesome overview of the subject. Love this guy: