The Metaphysical Tourist

Fourth Heaven

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. (2 Corinthians 12:2)

I would love to see the itinerary for that trip:

8:47 Take Jacob’s escalator to mezzanine level
8:50 Security check
9:00 Orientation, to cover general points of interest, motion sickness, do’s & don’ts, famous angels, & hints on tipping
9:20 Board tour chariot
10:00 Arrive at first heaven
10:05-10:15 Security Check
10:15-10:45 Snack, provided by the Cherub’s Auxiliary
10:45 Quick tour of maintenance departments and power plant
11:00 Reboard chariot
11:30 Arrive at second heaven
11:40 Lecture on the history and purpose of the second heaven
11:41 Reboard chariot
Noon Arrive at third heaven
12:05-12:15 Security Check
12:15-12:55 Lunch (Entertainment by the Throne Room Singers)
1:00 Walking tour of robes and costuming, the props department, incense manufacturing, and musical instrument repair
2:45 Take tram to Apocalyptic stables (photo op)
3:00 Short talk by riding coach and retired groomsman
3:45 High tea in the fabled Harness Room
4:15 Power Point presentation of things not permitted to tell
4:30 Reboard chariot for ride back (security check for contraband)
5:00 Return to mezzanine level
5:03 Back home
5:10-7:30 Wait for luggage

The big question, of course, is just how many heavens are there? Are we talking seven or nine or what? And what makes a heaven a heaven anyway? Are we talking white trash section, uptown, Nob hill, industrial parks? What did Paul actually do there? Did he walk around in speechless awe (unlikely) or schmooze with Gabriel and Michael over a wine spritzer?

And, maybe most importantly, what did he get to see that he can’t tell us about? Is there a casino up there or something embarrassing? Maybe they’ve got a garbage collection problem or a losing sports team. Maybe it’s just plain boring up there and they don’t want that to slip out for fear that they’d lose some leverage among the devout. Shoot. What if Paul caught Elijah and Moses playing poker? Maybe they really do play those stupid harps up there. Your guess is as good as mine.

Whatever the deal, it’s clear that there’s a whole lot we lowly humans don’t know about the big pie in the sky. Do they have ATMs? Do they take American Express? Is there a vegetarian option? Can you still watch American Idol? Do they proudly serve Starbucks?

Paul’s not telling.


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