Are there seven types of heaven?

Author: BibleAsk Team


The concept of “seven types of heaven” isn’t explicitly outlined in the Bible, at least not in the traditional sense of there being seven distinct realms or levels of heaven. However, there are references to multiple “heavens” in the Bible, which are typically understood in different contexts. Let’s explore these references and demonstrate that there isn’t a clear-cut delineation of seven types of heaven.

The First Heaven

In the Bible, the term “heaven” is often used to refer to the sky or the atmosphere surrounding the Earth. This is sometimes referred to as the “first heaven.” For example, in Genesis 1:8 (NKJV), it says, “And God called the firmament Heaven.” This refers to the expanse or the sky.

The following are verses that highlight the biblical understanding of the first heaven as the sky or atmosphere, distinct from higher spiritual realms.

“And God called the firmament Heaven. So the evening and the morning were the second day.”

Genesis 1:8

This verse from the creation account in Genesis mentions God calling the expanse or firmament “Heaven,” which can be understood as the sky.

“The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork.”

Psalm 19:1

Here, the term “heavens” and “firmament” are used interchangeably, emphasizing the magnificence of God’s creation, including the sky.

“Then God said, ‘Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth’; and it was so.”

Genesis 1:14-15

This passage describes God’s creation of the sun, moon, and stars to be placed in the expanse of the heavens, again indicating the association of the heavens with the sky or atmosphere.

“And take heed, lest you lift your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun, the moon, and the stars, all the host of heaven, you feel driven to worship them and serve them, which the Lord your God has given to all the peoples under the whole heaven as a heritage.”

Deuteronomy 4:19

This verse also mentions the celestial bodies in the context of warning against worshiping them, indicating their placement in the expanse of heaven.

The Second Heaven

The Bible also mentions the spiritual realm where God resides as the “second heaven.” This is where angels and spiritual beings dwell. In 2 Corinthians 12:2 (NKJV), Paul speaks of being caught up into the “third heaven,” which is often interpreted as the abode of God. There’s no clear distinction of a “second heaven” as a separate realm, but it’s often inferred from passages discussing spiritual beings and heavenly realms.

Here are some verses that share the concept of heaven as the spiritual realm:

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

Ephesians 6:12

This verse speaks of spiritual warfare against forces of evil in heavenly places, suggesting the existence of spiritual realms beyond the physical world.

“For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.”

Colossians 1:16

This verse mentions invisible aspects of creation, including thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers, suggesting a spiritual realm beyond the visible world.

“Then he said to me, ‘Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia.'”

Daniel 10:12-13

In this passage, there’s a reference to spiritual beings contending with earthly powers, suggesting a realm beyond the physical where angelic forces operate.

“And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought.”

Revelation 12:7

This verse depicts a cosmic battle between angels and demonic forces in heaven, indicating a spiritual realm where such conflicts occur.

The Third Heaven

The concept of the “third heaven” is specifically mentioned in the Bible in one passage, attributed to Paul’s experience. Here’s the relevant verse:

“I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a one was caught up to the third heaven.”

2 Corinthians 12:2

In this verse, Paul is recounting an extraordinary spiritual experience he had, where he was caught up into the “third heaven.” The context suggests that this “third heaven” is the highest heaven, the dwelling place of God. Paul goes on to describe this experience further in the subsequent verses, emphasizing the surpassing nature of the revelations he received.

While this is the only explicit reference to the “third heaven” in the Bible, it serves to highlight the idea that there are different levels or realms within the concept of heaven, with the third heaven being the highest and most intimate in terms of proximity to God’s presence (read more Are there 3 Heavens?).

Heaven as God’s Throne

Throughout the Bible, heaven is often depicted as the place where God’s throne is located. For example, Isaiah 66:1 (NKJV) says, “Heaven is My throne, And earth is My footstool.” This emphasizes the idea of heaven as the dwelling place of God rather than categorizing it into distinct types.

Here are several Bible verses that depict heaven as God’s throne:

“Thus says the Lord: ‘Heaven is My throne, And earth is My footstool. Where is the house that you will build Me? And where is the place of My rest?'”

Isaiah 66:1

This verse vividly portrays heaven as the throne of God, emphasizing His sovereignty over all creation.

“The Lord has established His throne in heaven, And His kingdom rules over all.”

Psalm 103:19

Here, the psalmist acknowledges God’s throne as being established in heaven, signifying His supreme authority over the universe.

“But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne;”

Matthew 5:34

In this verse, Jesus affirms the sacredness of heaven as God’s throne, cautioning against using it lightly in oaths.

“Heaven is My throne, And earth is My footstool. What house will you build for Me? says the Lord, Or what is the place of My rest?”

Acts 7:49

Stephen, in his defense before the Sanhedrin, quotes Isaiah 66:1, reaffirming the heavenly throne of God.

“Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne.”

Revelation 4:2

This verse from Revelation describes John’s vision of the heavenly throne with God seated upon it, symbolizing His eternal reign.

The New Heaven and New Earth

In Revelation 21:1 (NKJV), John speaks of a new heaven and a new earth, which are part of the eschatological vision of the end times. This is often understood as the culmination of God’s plan for redemption and restoration rather than a separate type of heaven.

Here are some additional Bible verses that speak about the concept of the new heaven and new earth:

“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind.”

Isaiah 65:17

Isaiah prophesies about God’s plan to create new heavens and a new earth, where the former troubles will be forgotten.

“Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”

2 Peter 3:13

Peter affirms the promise of God for a new heavens and a new earth where righteousness will reign.

“Then He who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’ And He said to me, ‘Write, for these words are true and faithful.'”

Revelation 21:5

In this verse, God declares His intention to make all things new, signaling the beginning of a new creation.

“For as the new heavens and the new earth Which I will make shall remain before Me,’ says the Lord, ‘So shall your descendants and your name remain.”

Isaiah 66:22

Isaiah reiterates the promise of God to create new heavens and a new earth, highlighting their enduring nature.

Heaven as Eternal Life with God

The concept of heaven in the New Testament often refers to the eternal dwelling place of believers in the presence of God. This is described in various ways, such as paradise (Luke 23:43) or the Father’s house (John 14:2), but there’s no indication of multiple types of heaven for believers.

Here are some Bible verses that illustrate the concept of heaven as eternal life with God:

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

John 3:16

This famous verse from the Gospel of John highlights the promise of eternal life for those who believe in Jesus Christ.

“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

Revelation 21:4

This verse from Revelation describes the eternal state where God will dwell among His people, bringing an end to all suffering and sorrow.

“And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”

1 John 5:11-12

John emphasizes that eternal life is found in Jesus Christ, highlighting the centrality of faith in Him for experiencing life with God for eternity.

“For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”

2 Corinthians 5:1

Paul speaks of the believer’s future glorified state, emphasizing the eternal nature of the dwelling place prepared by God in heaven.

Conclusion

While the Bible speaks of spiritual realities and realms beyond the physical world, it doesn’t categorize them into seven distinct types of heaven. Rather, it presents a more holistic view of heaven as the dwelling place of God and the ultimate destination for believers.

In conclusion, while the Bible does mention various aspects of heaven, it does not explicitly outline seven distinct types of heaven. The concept of multiple heavens is often inferred from different passages, but there’s no systematic categorization of heaven into seven types in biblical theology. Instead, the emphasis is on the overarching reality of heaven as the dwelling place of God and the ultimate hope for believers.

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