Do you know how many Heavens there are according to the Bible?

     When most people think about heaven, they think of going to be with Jesus upon death.   But, the Bible describes three heavens.   Closest to the earth is the atmosphere:  the air we breathe, where birds and airplanes fly, where clouds hang out, etc.  The second heaven we might call the universe:  the location of the sun and planets and other galaxies, the cosmos.  The third heaven is the holy home of God and His throne, where we go to be with Christ, it’s the realm of the angels.  I would almost add a final heaven, because we are also told that when Christ returns, we will reign with Him forever in a new heaven and a new earth. 

First.  At creation, God separated the “waters which were under the firmament (the arch of the sky) from the waters that were above the firmament….and He called the firmament Heaven.  Genesis 1:7-8.  A favorite verse is Deuteronomy 32:2; Moses is speaking to the people, “Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants.”

Second.  Genesis 1:15 says, “…let there be lights in the firmament of Heaven…the greater to rule the day and the lesser to rule the night, and he made the stars also.”  Psalm 19:1 says that, “The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims His handiwork.”  Have you seen some of the photos from NASA?  Awesome!  How could anyone not believe in the Creator?

Third.   Scripture tells us a lot about the 3rd Heaven.  It is the abode of God.  Christ came from Heaven; Christ ascended into Heaven; the angels are in Heaven; the saints will go to Heaven, and are rewarded in Heaven.  In 2 Corinthians 12:2, Paul tells of a man, possibly himself, who was ‘caught up into the third heaven’.

            As for the new heaven, I Thessalonians 4 and 5 tell us that both those who have already died, and those who are alive at the time of Christ’s return, will “rise….and be caught up together …in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.”  I Corinthians 15 speaks of our resurrected body, immortal and imperishable.  And, Revelation 21:1 ff describes the new heaven and the new earth.  God comes down to dwell with His people.

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            A question came up the other day in our Ladies’ Bible Study about Ephesians 6:12; it (RSV) says, “For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places.”  (KJV says “high places.”)  With a new understanding of the three heavens mentioned, theologians say that here, “heavenly” refers to the first heaven.  Satan is called “the prince of the power of the air,” Eph. 2:2.  Satan watches for opportunities to attack even the most spiritual of believers.  Satan also “prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may destroy.” I Peter 5:8   Satan tries to obstruct our communion with God by attempting to attack us as we contemplate heavenly things.  (Heavenly things may also be considered our blessings. {Benson})  But, remember, Satan is fallen.  Isaiah 14:12 calls Satan by his name Lucifer which means Light, vv 13 ff, tell of his desire to be above God and of his fall “to the depths of the Pit.”  In Luke 10:18 Jesus says that He “saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” Though Satan is ultimate evil, we know that in the end, Almighty God wins the war.