In the Bible, heaven can mean two things. First, it refers to
the sky and all that's in it (the stars, clouds, and air).
This is often called "the heavens" instead of just
heaven. Sometimes this space is also called the "lower
heaven." It is a physical place that we can see and feel.
We read about the heavens in passages such as these:
Genesis 1:1: In the beginning God created the heavens and the
Psalm 19:1: The heavens tell of the glory of God. / The skies display
his marvelous craftsmanship.
1 Corinthians 15:40: There are bodies in the heavens, and there are
bodies on earth.
The glory of the heavenly bodies is different from the beauty of the earthly
bodies. The second meaning for heaven might be called "upper heaven." It is not a place that we can see and feel; it
is a spiritual place. This is what we are talking about when we say that when
someone dies he or she goes to heaven. This is where God's people gather
around the throne of God.
We read about heaven in passages such as these:
Genesis 28:12: As he slept, he dreamed of a stairway that reached from
earth to heaven. And he saw the angels of God going up and down on it.
Nehemiah 9:6: You alone are the Lord. You made the skies and the
heavens and all the stars. You made the earth and the seas and everything in
them. You preserve and give life to everything, and all the angels of heaven
This shows both uses of the term
Luke 6:23: A great reward awaits you in heaven. The Hebrew word for
heaven was understood to be plural. It referred to more than one thing.
IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
Old Testament writers viewed the physical heavens as a firmament appearing as
a great arch supported on foundations and pillars (2 Samuel 22:8).
This heaven spread out above the earth, with rain descending through its
doors (Psalm 78:23).
The most descriptive Old Testament passages about the physical heavens are
Psalm 8 and Psalm 19:1-6. The Old Testament speaks of familiar
elements of the heavens.
The clouds (Psalm 147:8)
The winds (Zechariah 2:6)
The rain (Deuteronomy 11:11)
The thunder (1 Samuel 2:10)
The dew (Deuteronomy 33:13)
The frost (Job 38:29)
The Old Testament also mentions destructive forces from the
heavens like hail (Joshua 10:11) and fire (Genesis 19:24).
Ancient Hebrews were aware of what we call outer space. They saw the sun,
moon, planets and stars as God's glorious creation even though they didn't
fully understand them. Some ancient nations worshiped the heavenly lights and
associated gods and goddesses with them (Jeremiah 44:17-25). The
Hebrews had been forbidden that form of worship.
They were also prohibited from taking part in things like astrology, which
looked to the heavens, instead of God, for wisdom (Isaiah 47:13-14).
These laws and restrictions separated the Hebrews from the cultures around
The term "heaven of heavens" (Deuteronomy
10:14) is the English form of the Hebrew term, "the
The Old Testament Hebrew term might be the counterpart to the New Testament
expression "the third heaven" (2 Corinthians
12:2), which parallels the classical Greek idea of three heavens.
The Roman Catholic medieval church adopted this way of thinking. Those who
follow this approach think of the third heaven as the place reached by the
souls of the blessed, the upper heaven.
The first two heavens then are two lower regions: the
atmosphere and outer space (containing the celestial bodies) and then
the outlying universe.
At least two Old Testament saints, Enoch (Genesis
5:22-24) and Elijah (2 Kings 2:11), went straight to heaven
without dying first. They went directly from this life into God's
IN THE NEW TESTAMENT JESUS TALKED ABOUT HEAVEN
Jesus referred to heaven as the dwelling place of God (Matthew 6:9).
During his earthly ministry, he claimed that he had come from that heaven
(John 3:13; 6:33-51). On at least three occasions utterances
from heaven confirmed these claims. The apostle Paul refers to it as the
"third heaven" (2 Corinthians 12:2). This
place is so attached in meaning to the presence of God that the word
"heaven" is often used as a synonym for God himself
(Matthew 23:22; Luke 15:18).
After Jesus' ascension, or return to heaven, in view of his followers
(Acts 1:6-11), two angels reminded the disciples that Jesus would
return from heaven. This was later confirmed by the apostle Paul (1
Corinthians 15:1-11) and was restated in the summary of the teachings of
the New Testament known as the Apostles' Creed.
The connection between Jesus and God's dwelling place in heaven is woven
throughout the New Testament and cannot be separated from the core of the
message of Jesus' life and ministry. It is from the "right
hand of God" that Christ forever lives to make intercession for those
who have come to him by faith (Hebrews 7:25; compare Mark
PAUL WROTE ABOUT HEAVEN
Paul teaches that the believer's body will be made like the body of Jesus
Christ when Jesus returns from heaven (Philippians 3:20-21). Believers
will need a heavenly body to match their heavenly citizenship.
The term "citizens" refers to individuals who live in a foreign
country while observing the laws of their homeland instead of the land in
which they live (Acts 22:28). What does that mean for believers?
They are to live according to the moral and ethical principles of heaven
regardless of the standards of the world around them. Believers have been
raised together with Christ and have been instructed to "seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right
hand of God" (Colossians 3:1).
From there Christ has blessed his followers "with every
spiritual blessing in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 1:3). The
expression "in the heavenly places" suggests that
the blessings of the spiritual world are not for some future time or place,
but by faith they can be enjoyed here and now. While on earth, believers look
forward to a new heaven and a new earth containing the new Jerusalem
(place of worship).
There will be no tears, sorrow, pain, death, or night because the Son of God
will be there (Revelation 21:1-4, 27; 22:1-5), and in
the resurrected state there will be no marrying or giving in marriage
The apostle John also experienced heaven (Revelation 4:1), a heaven
intended to be populated (19:1).
All believers will ultimately dwell in heaven in their resurrection bodies,
which they will receive when the Lord comes for them from heaven (1
Thessalonians 4:16-17). The Lord will also give treasures and rewards at
that time (Matthew 5:12; 1 Corinthians 9:25).
You can also, read these here, if you just came here through
the menu and haven't went to the other pages on Heaven.
Heaven 1, Heaven 2, Heaven 3, Heaven 4, Heaven 5 , Heaven 6, Heaven 7