Are There Three Heavens? Where is the Third Heaven?
Many Christians don’t understand that there are three heavens. They think of Heaven only as the place where God dwells, the place where redeemed souls go at death. However, the Bible clearly tells of three distinct heavens.
Paul spoke of the highest of the three heavens, i.e. the Third Heaven, when He wrote to the Corinthian church:
2 Cor 12:2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago…such a one caught up to the third heaven.
And in the book of Revelation, the apostle John wrote about the throne room he saw in Heaven and the glory that fills it. (Read Rev 4:1-11). However, there weren’t always three heavens.
In the Beginning
We know that the place where God dwells is a Heaven that has always existed. But the first verse of Genesis tells that God created “the heaven” (singular).
Gen 1:1 In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.
Verse two tells the condition of the earth and mentions “the deep”
Gen 1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
The “face of the deep,” and the “face of the waters” are references to water that separated God’s dwelling place from the heaven and earth that He created. Some have misunderstood this to be water on the earth, but it can’t be.
On the Second Day of Creation: A Firmament
In verse six of Genesis, we read that God placed a firmament (defined as a heaven in Gen 1:8) “in the midst of the waters” (the “the deep” mentioned in verse 2).
Gen 1:6 And God said, Let there be a firmament [a heaven] in the midst of the waters [the deep in verse 2], and let it divide the waters from the waters.
Gen 1:7-8 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
On the second day of creation there was:
- Third Heaven (God’s dwelling place that has always existed)
- The deep (the waters)
- Second heaven/firmament (created by God and placed in the midst of the waters – Gen 1:6)
- The deep (waters)
- First heaven (created by God – Gen 1:1)
The First and Second Heavens
The First heaven is the one God created when He created “the heaven and the earth.” This heaven can clearly be seen by everyone on earth. It is the atmospheric heaven in which birds and airplanes fly. And it extends about 62 miles above the earth according to NASA’s determination of where outer space (the second heaven) begins.
The second heaven is the firmament that God put “in the midst of the waters” (the deep), with water above and below it. It is the celestial heaven in which are the planets, galaxies, and stars. It is the outer space where spaceships and astronauts have ventured and have observed the creation of God from a much higher view. While space exploration has revealed a great deal about the second heaven, there still remain many mysteries about this heaven. The Bible suggests this is a dwelling place of demons (Eph 6:12) and a place of great spiritual warfare (Dan 10:12-14).
The Third Heaven
This Heaven is in a category all of its own. Unlike the created first and second heavens, the Third Heaven is the eternal dwelling place of God and His heavenly hosts. And ever since Jesus conquered sin and opened the way to Heaven for forgiven sinners, all departed souls that have been redeemed by His blood are now in this Heaven.
We would love to know more about the Third Heaven. But if the Bible did reveal more, it’s likely we wouldn’t understand or be able to picture it. Since the Third Heaven is outside of our time and space dimension, the Third Heaven is infinite. And it’s impossible for a finite mind to truly comprehend things of infinite proportion.
Additional Biblical Support Revealing Three Heavens
Deut 10:14 Behold, the heaven [2nd heaven] and the heaven of heavens [3rd heaven] is the LORD’S thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is [included the 1st heaven].
1 Ki 8:27 But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven [2nd heaven] and heaven of heavens [3rd heaven] cannot contain thee… [also 2 Chr 2:6, 2 Chr 6:18]
Neh 9:6 Thou, even thou, art LORD alone; thou hast made heaven [2nd heaven], the heaven of heavens [3rd Heaven], with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein [including the 1st heaven], the seas, and all that is therein…
Psa 113:4 The LORD is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens [His glory is above ALL heavens].
Jesus passed through all three heavens when He ascended:
Heb 4:14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens (plural), Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
Eph 4:10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things. [cf. Ps 113:4, above]
Heaven is a glorious place and we wish we knew more about it. But we must also be careful that false narratives do not create unbiblical ideas about what Heaven is like. There are many reports of people going to Heaven and returning (Read: Is Heaven for Real?), but the Bibles does not support that happening. Perhaps some have been given a glimpse of Heaven, but the veracity of what they report cannot be verified.
Only God’s Word is 100% trustworthy to teach us what God wants us to know about Heaven. He has told us enough to excite us about its beauty and majesty. But what is most exciting is that all of us who belong to Jesus will one day see Him and experience His glory the radiance of His beautiful face:
1 Cor 13:12 For now we [Christians] see through a glass [the glassy sea of Rev 4:6], darkly; but then [when we leave this earth] face to face: now I [Paul] know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known [by Jesus].
Is Heaven for Real?
Three Heavens? Where is the Third Heaven?
Sheol, Hell, Torment, Abyss, Tartarus, Gehenna, Fire, Darkness? What & Where Are They?
What Did Jesus Say About Hell?
What Did Jesus Say about Heaven?
Is Hell a Real Place?
How Can a Loving God Send Someone to Hell?
Is Hell Real? What does the Bible say?
Hello Darkness, My Old Friend: The Sounds of Silence
Interesting Word for Hell
Did Jesus Descend into Hell?
How Can a Loving God Send Someone to Hell?
Jesus is the Reason this Ministry Exists
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