Heaven - which one are we talking about?
This word 'heaven' has many meanings and is intentionally used today to keep you totally confused. Hopefully this section will help clear up that confusion.
Scripture uses three references regularly...the sky, the stars, and the spiritual realm. But many people are confused about what Paradise is, and then you have the "cloud 9" feel-good way we use the word in our speech.
Your teachers typically use it to set you up for their gimmicks and false teachings. While you are trying to figure out which heaven they are talking about they slip in some of their phariceutical** ideals. In your confusion many can lead you down the path of financial ruin and eternal destruction.
This word 'heaven' is actually used to describe at the least 5 very different things in the Bible and in our lives. Your teacher could just say what he/she means, but doesn't it seem strange that they really don't want to. What we typically have today is a generic all-inclusive, all confounding, use of the word 'heaven'.
So why the continued confusion? Because it keeps you guessing, and keeps you coming back for more information. And it's very likely your teacher/leader is not really even sure what heaven is either.
Our modern spiritual leaders want you to think there are many hidden secrets in the Bible. If you ask the wrong question they tell you "it's a mystery". They want you to accept, and believe, the ancient teachings of "The Church". I don't know if they truly believe that making things confusing gives them more control over you...but it sure looks that way to me. It's the same issue that a catholic priest named Martin Luther had with his superiors. Perhaps our spiritual leaders are trained to believe its just a good way to keep everyone involved and coming back. So they are inclined to continue.
There was a time when it was a universally accepted concept that the earth was basically flat and if you sailed too far you would fall off the edge. It's where we get the terms we still use today like, "the four corners of the earth" and "to the ends of the earth". It was believed that the spiritual dwelling place of the gods was up, and that under the earth was a spiritual underworld of demons, darkness, lava pits, fire and brimstone, and all kinds of bad stuff....it was not desirable to go to the realm of Hades (the Greek god of the underworld). It was a pagan belief that when life left the body: the soul (our conscious self) ascended or descended immediately at death into a realm of the gods. Most of today's leaders now teach this same ancient mythology knowing full well that there is no scriptural basis for it.
But this section is about "Heaven"...what are we talking about?
We now know that if everyone on this round earth were to point to the Realm of our Creator at the same time they would most likely point up. They would all be correct. That would be conclusive evidence that our planet is actually surrounded by, and exists within, the Realm of our Creator. Our whole physical universe of planets and stars exists "within" the Realm of our Creator.
Have you ever thought about that when you say you want to go to heaven? Do you realize that you are already in the Realm of our Creator? Is that what you mean? Do you understand what you are saying?
Let's do a little study of these "heavens".
Do you know what you're talking about when you say "heaven"?
The whole Bible story is about Mankind, but we do get information about what's going on around us.
Genesis 1:1..."In the beginning Jehovah created the heavens and the earth". So the first thing we notice is that the word 'heavens' is plural. Here we are talking about the creation of the purely physical planets and stars (the cosmos).
Today's modern thinking is now trying to teach you that Heaven and Earth are two separate places, and there is another separate place they mistakenly call Hell (we'll discuss that later).
Many bible translations purposely change the word 'heavens', to singular form to deceive you. But that begs the question,"if Jehovah created heaven...where was Jehovah before he created heaven?". We are not stupid. We know that the beginning did not include the creation of the "Realm of Jehovah" because that already existed. There was never any place, anywhere, that our Creator is not. The "Realm of Jehovah" has no borders or limits.
So let's break this down. What do we mean when we use the term "HEAVEN"?
Air and sky-- is one of the places described with the word "heaven". It's the place where the birds and clouds are. Sometimes it's called "The 1st heaven" (physical).
There are many examples in scripture:
- Gen 7:11... The windows of heaven were opened (the flood story)
- Gen 11:4...A tower whose top is in the heavens (sky)
- Deut 11:17... He shut up the heavens so there will be no rain (clouds)
- II Kings 2:11...Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven (sky)
- Luk 4:25...Heaven was shut up 3 years and 6 months and there was a great famine (rain)
- Acts 1:11...Men of Galilee, why do stand gazing into heaven? (the ascension story, clouds)
Outer space-- is the place where the sun and moon are...planets and stars....the cosmos. The 2nd heaven (physical).
Another way they use the word 'heaven' is speaking of the "Realm of our Creator". The place we studied already. Called the "The 3rd heaven" (NOT physical).
The "Realm of our Creator" is not a place... It's a thing. It has no beginning and no end. It has no boundaries. You tell me....do I go up, down, north, south, east, or west to get there? Does it depend on where you are standing on the planet? We surely know It is everywhere. The Realm of Jehovah has no limits. Our cosmos is a physical place created "IN" the realm of Jehovah. It cannot be any other way.
We are in the realm of our Creator right now.
We are all in this 'third heaven' right now.
In the realm there is an area that is referred to as the "throne". The angels (servants/messengers) are everlasting creations that gather before Jehovah for instruction and to praise, etc. These created beings are not omnipresent like our creator (the fallen angel Satan is not omnipresent). So obviously there has to be an area in the spiritual Realm that is dedicated to gatherings. But it is not as if we ever can find our Creator in just that one place. That heaven is not a physical place that we have access to, and never will. Read John 3:13 "No man has gone to the father except he which came from the father". So where did all the dead believers go? Not to that heaven...or Jesus was wrong. (see Death)
We cannot get into our little space ships and fly over to it. It is in a spiritual dimension, and is only shown to us in visions and dreams. It is real, but is not a physical place where we can go. And, as we shall discover, it is not the place we are destined to be. The place for us is with the throne of Christ on earth during the millennium, and finally on the new earth that is being prepared for us by the Messiah. (Depending on Greek or Hebrew, the titles Christ and Messiah mean exactly the same thing)
We are right now in the realm of the Creator. Yes, the physical heavens (cosmos) and our earth exist right now in the realm of our Creator. The physical cosmos, where we exist, is a place "IN" the "Realm of Jehovah". The Realm is not a separate place somewhere else. If you think that when you die you will go to exist in the "Realm of Jehovah" (3rd heaven)....well I have news for you...you are already existing in the "Realm of Jehovah".
Think about it....can you describe in your own mind where it is, and what you could possibly be doing apart from your physical body? Or do you have a whole mish-mash of probable ideas that you were taught by all kinds of different people as you grew up? Ideas that seem like they should somehow make sense but you just can't explain them? It's just more phariceutical teachings leading you to confusion.
The modern thinking would have you believe that your conscious mind will be floating around like Casper the Ghost and living in a sparkling ghost city in outer space somewhere. Maybe you are convinced that you will be able to go back and forth from heaven (which one?) to earth like the Christ. Or maybe you will ascend to live with the gods and be able to watch and help the pitiful earthlings from the throne of the Almighty, or from the stars, or from the clouds, or from paradise. One those heavens maybe?
Is heaven a confusing concept to you? Just stop using the word "heaven" in your speech. It is a meaningless, generic, confusing, word. Say what you mean...PLEASE.
Nowhere in the Bible is there any promise, or indication, that mankind will ascend (except temporarily at the harvest and judgement), or dwell at, the "throne of Jehovah" in his spiritual realm, or with the angels, or live in a make-believe spiritual "Celestial" city in the stars. These are fables designed to tickle your itching ears (II Tim 4: 3-4)
Numerous times Jesus told people that he was leaving and going to a place where we cannot go (John understood this).
John 3:13 No man has gone to the Father but me (not even David...Acts 2:34)
John 7:35 Where I am you cannot come
John 8:14 You don't know where I am going
John 8:21 Where I am going you cannot come
John 13:33 Where I am going you cannot come
John 14:3 I go to prepare a place for you, and "AFTER" I come again, I will receive you to myself that where I am you will be also (Kingdom on Earth and ultimately the new earth Paradise).
Daniel 2:44 And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall that kingdom be left to another people.
The spiritual "Realm" was never even remotely promised in scripture as dwelling place for mankind. Man was created on the earth, from the earth, for the earth. (see Why You Exist)
Notice that when Jesus paid our debt for sins Satan was no longer allowed to stand before Jehovah's throne as our accuser. But where could he go? He had no other place to go....but to this physical world. Satan cannot escape from the "realm of Jehovah". (Rev.12)
Do you understand that there is no underworld? There is an eternal Lake of Fire reserved exclusively for Satan and his demons. A real place that exists in the Realm of our Creator. But it is not an eternal dwelling place for unbelievers who are promised they will perish.
Paradise The 4th "heaven".
Now to make things more confusing your leaders will use the word "heaven" to replace "Paradise".
The word Paradise is often confusingly used to describe the ''Realm of Jehovah", and the "Bosom of Abraham", and the "Kingdom on Earth", and a nice beach in the South Pacific. Let's talk about that now.
We have at least four wrong teachings for the word 'paradise'.
a) It is not where the throne of Jehovah is today.
b) It is not where we go when we die (Abraham's bosom).
c) It is not a "Celestial City" in outer space where we float around in ghost bodies...and live in a ghost city.
d) It is not the Kingdom of the "1000 years" millennial reign of Christ on earth.
"Paradise", according to the Bible, is the new physical Earth described in Rev 21 and Daniel 2:44. The place we will inhabit after this old corrupted earth is gone. The word is actually a Persian word used to describe a protected garden. This gives us even more reason to trust that it is in reference to a literal place where we will live. Just like the original creation story we will have things to do, and things to discover, and our Creator will walk with us in the garden and hold us in his arms.
No sitting on clouds playing harps. No floating thru the heavens in ghost bodies. No spirit city.
The Apostle Paul was rewarded with a vision of Paradise as he relates to us in 2 Cor 12:4...He couldn't even describe it.
The thief that was crucified with Jesus asked that he be remembered when Christ received his kingdom. In Luke 23:42-43 Jesus assured him that when that day came the thief would be with him in Paradise.
Christ assures us that if we overcome we will eat of the "tree of Life" that is in Paradise. Rev 2:7
The bride of Christ is described in scripture as his union with his righteous kingdom on earth, where the throne of our Creator will be on the new earth.
5. Sometimes we also use the word "heaven" to describe a state of emotional being....like how we feel. (I think of Fred Astaire dancing with Ginger Rogers singing," I'm in heaven, I'm in heaven"....as he proclaims how wonderful he feels at that moment). It is also referred to sometimes as being on "cloud 9".
A common phariceutical statement is, "Heaven is the ultimate goal of mankind".
But...which heaven? The clouds? The stars? The spirit realm? A happy feeling? Paradise?
Does it serve any practical purpose at all to use the word "heaven" in teaching?
Because the word is utterly confusing and has become a completely useless generic term. The word "heaven" is one of most misunderstood terms in the Bible, just like the word "Jew".
It just confuses everyone.
Your wise teachers should always use the term "realm" when describing things outside the physical creation.
The terms "cosmos and outerspace" should be used when talking of planets and stars, and the
terms "air and sky" should be used for our inner atmosphere. Is that so hard for these guys to do?
The word "heaven" should be seriously clarified when used to describe how we feel...happy, peaceful, loved, safe, carefree, etc. Are we talking about floating like a bird, lost in love, relaxing in the cool shade, standing on the top of a mountain, etc?
Why don't you just say what you mean and stop confusing everybody? So now that we are able to decipher how to use the word "heaven" lets go to the beginning of Mankind and see how it started.