In our daily meditations, we are continuing to think about the topic of the unseen world and what goes on there. Paul the apostle saw and experienced many supernatural occurrences as he walked as a Spirit-led believer in Christ. One such experience he tells us about:
1I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. 2I 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. 3And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— 4was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell (2 Corinthians 12:1-4).
Paul wrote about an experience he had with God, not knowing if he was in his body at the time. He wrote that he was caught up to the third heaven or paradise. Genesis 1:1 says that, in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The word heavens are in the plural, and raises a big question: If the abode of God is in the third heaven, where are the first and second heavens? What goes on there?
I do not believe that the third heaven is in some distant galaxy. I think that heaven is not on the physical plane such as earth. Some say that the first heaven is the visible heavens of galaxies, stars, and planets and that the second heaven is the unseen spiritual world that intersects with our planet. There is no way of proving this point purely from the Scriptures. However, what is clear is that there is an unseen realm that is beyond the five physical senses. Call it what you like, the first or second heaven. I think it is sufficient to understand it as a different dimension of space-time, where, if God were to open our spiritual eyes, like the servant of Elisha (2 Kings 6:14-18), we would see powerful angelic beings, but also, perhaps, evil demonic powers that are seeking to influence us humans to do their bidding.
In another place, Paul the apostle wrote to the Church at Ephesus, warning of a spirit which he calls the prince of the power of the air:
And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience (Ephesians 2:1-2).
Why do you think Satan is called this? We can logically assume that Paul is talking about the unseen world from where the enemy does his work of deceiving man. Satan is referred to as a spirit with the rank of prince inhabiting a spiritual dimension of power in "the air," a realm in which he is active. In another place, Jesus Himself calls him, "the ruler of this world" (John 12:31), and the apostle John tells us that the physical world in which we live is under satanic control: "We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one" (1John 5:19).
Some believe that Satan inhabits a place called hell, but this is not correct according to the Bible. Revelation 12:7-13 tells us of a time that I believe is still in the future where there will be a war in the heavenly realms, the lower spiritual realms, which Satan will lose and be cast onto Earth. I put it to you that the unseen realm is the place where dark evil spirits are manipulating the minds of people bent on crowning Satan, as the ruler of this world. The prince of the power of the air is a dark spiritual being in rebellion against God and using unredeemed humanity as his tool of resistance. His rebellion will be put down by the coming of the Lord Jesus. On whose side are you? Keith Thomas
This meditation is a shortened version of the more in-depth study: The Unseen Realm