The word Heaven in Bible can be used to refer to different things.
1) THE ATMOSPHERIC HEAVEN
This is the atmospheric sky surrounding the earth, where the birds fly (Genesis 1: 20,26,28; Mt 8:20; 13:32), where are the clouds (Ps 147.8; Job 35.5), from where come rain, snow, lightning, thunder and dew (Is 55.10; Dt 28:12; Gen. 8.2; Mt 16: 2-3; 1 Sam 2:10; Deut 33.13).
2) THE CELESTIAL (SPACIAL) HEAVEN
This is the heaven that is beyond the atmospheric layer of the earth, in which are the sun, moon, planets, stars and galaxies (Genesis 1:14 to 15.17; 15: 5; Deuteronomy 4:19; 17: 3; 28:62; Acts 2: 19-20; Heb 11:12).
3) THE THIRD HEAVEN (INTERMEDIATE HEAVE/PARADISE)
This heaven is the dwelling place of God in this current dispensation (Mt 6.9), where it is His throne (Ps 2.4; Is 66.1, Rev. 4.2), by which He governs the universe. Paul called this haven as “third heaven” (2 Cor 12.2) because it transcends the first two (cited above). Paul also called it paradise (2 Cor 12.4), because in it there are all the souls of the saints who have died (Luke 23:43; Philippians 1:23) as they await the resurrection of their bodies. Therefore, this heaven is known in theology as an intermediary heaven, because it is not the ultimate abode of the saints.
This heaven has a peculiar fact not stressed by many authors. The first two heavens are spatially separated. However, this third heaven is not only spatially beyond Earth, but it is in another dimension. This means that if you invent a telescope that can see each millimeter of the universe, you will not be able to view this heaven, because it is in another dimension. To see this another dimension, you would need a “telescope” similar to that given to the servant of Elisha (2 Kings 6:17) — a dimensional telescope and not a spacial one.
4) ETERNAL HEAVEN
The Heaven of the Eternal State. It is the ultimate destination of the saints, their final abode. This heaven is described in the Bible as “new heavens and new earth” (Rev. 21.1). It will just start in the future, after the Final Judgment. Its implementation will take place in two phases: 1) first, the Earth we live in and the universe in general will be completely renovated to its original state before the fall and will be forever free from sin and its consequences 2) After this renewal, the heaven of the intermediate state, which today is separated from the earth (spatially and dimensionally), will come to Earth and join with her forever and ever, so the new earth will be the dwelling place of God and the place where He will establish his throne to rule his creation (Rev. 21.3).
An important fact to note is that this union of the New Heaven and New Earth (Rev. 21:3) will be a spatial as well dimensional union. This means that, in Eternal State, we will see the angels that we can’t see today (because, even though they may be spattialy near us, they are in another dimension) and even talk to them. How good is it, hum?
How can we represent these heavens of Bible? Generally, they have been represented this way:
Even though this is a good representation, it does not stress two points: the dimensional and temporal dissection of the Third Heaven and New Heaven. So, I will propose the following chart:
Note: The dimensional union means that the unseen realm of Spirit will be visible for glorified people. I am inclined to think that the dimensional union may start from Millennium (that is a possibility).
Autor: Leonardo Costa