In an earlier episode (#50), we asked whether Paul’s stoning at Lystra in Acts 14 was the backdrop for the heavenly visionary experience he described in 2 Corinthians 12. Did Paul in fact have an NDE? We concluded that the chronology Paul alluded to in 2 Corinthians 12 didn’t align with the Lystra event and therefore dismissed that possibility. In this episode, we consider a more fruitful trajectory. In Acts 22:17 Paul alludes to a trance vision he had shortly after his conversion experience – an experience distinct from his encounter on the road to Damascus but in which he nevertheless saw Jesus again. This correlation works chronologically. If we presume a relationship between Acts 22:17-21 and 2 Corinthians 12, but passages take on new significance – especially when we consider similar ascension experiences into the heavenly places found in Jewish literature prior to, and contemporary with, the apostolic era.
Here are the papers referenced in the show: HEAVEN, Heavenlies, Paradise-DPL Heavenly Ascent in Jewish and Pagan Traditions-DNTB Mysticism-DNTB