How does the Bible define, heaven?
FOCUS ON PREACHING THE KINGDOM. Let us honestly and clearly PREACH THE KINGDOM OF GOD. The preaching of Heaven has shut out our ability to perceive God’s actual promise: II Peter 1:11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The promise of the Kingdom is consistent throughout the Bible.
Can you HONESTY tell me something biblical about what Heaven is like? Please pray about this question and wait before God before trying to answer. You can easily find biblical information about the Kingdom. The preaching of Heaven was not handed down to us by the apostles.
I believe that there are no Biblical examples of anyone preaching Heaven. As they preached to the crowds they did not preach Heaven, but rather, the Kingdom of God. When they write about Heaven, they are not preaching or proclaiming it, and the heaven they write about is not the Heaven preached in the churches. The apostles preached the Kingdom of God throughout the Book of Acts to the very last chapter and to the very last verse. Not once did they preach Heaven.
In my recent experience in telling people that neither the apostles nor Jesus preached, Heaven, it has seemed to me that some do not realize what I mean when I say, “preach”. They seem to think that mentioning the word, heaven is the same as preaching, Heaven. To preach means, to proclaim; it means to announce. Also, as the apostles preached, they declared, which means, to make clear. Therefore I still say that, in the Bible, neither Jesus, nor His apostles preach, Heaven; they do not proclaim it.
I believe that the preaching of the Kingdom of God is the preaching of the gospel. This is indeed how Jesus preached the gospel:
MARK 1:14 and 15
Now after that John was put in prison Jesus came into Galilee preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God 1:15 And saying “The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye and believe the gospel”.
According to the Bible, those words in Mark 1:15, are the gospel. During His earthly ministry Jesus preached the gospel in many cities by preaching the Kingdom of God.
We believe that when the child, Jesus was born, that He was also the Christ (more accurately, the Messiah). The meaning of His name should be taken to heart; His name, Jesus, means that He is the Savior. His name, Christ, means that He is King.
The word, heaven does not mean the same thing to everybody. To most people, it does not mean the same thing that it means in the Bible. We actually mostly define heaven in an unbiblical way.
The Heaven That God Never Mentioned
How do you define Heaven? Take time to write your definition.
Human opinions about Heaven
I have shown in parenthesis whether or not these are correct.
• Eden: any place of complete bliss and delight and peace (erroneous)
• the abode of God and the angels (this is one biblical definition)
the Wikipedia wiktionary.
1. The sky (correct)
2. (Theology) The paradise of the afterlife in certain religions. (This would include paganism and later on, Gentile Christianity)
“Mommy’s gone to heaven to be with God.”
From the Theological Dictionary
Heaven: The abode of God and the blest Spirits; the dwelling place or state of existence of the righteous souls after their life on earth. (This skirts the promise of the Kingdom of God and gets them to Heaven before the resurrection. In the gospel there is no preaching of a “dwelling place or state of existence of souls”.)
The above definitions reflect the general mindset about Heaven, and they are not all soundly biblical. We must purge ourselves of what is not sound so that our faith can be in God’s words only.
The Heaven/s Mentioned by God
God gives us the most basic definition of heaven in the beginning of the Bible.
Genesis 1:6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
1:7 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.
1:8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
The firmament was heaven. It divided the waters from the waters. A SPATIAL EXPANSE IS THE DEFINITION OF THE WORD, HEAVEN. Genesis 1:6-8 Young’s Literal Translation And God saith, ’Let an expanse be in the midst of the waters, and let it be separating between waters and waters.’ 7 And God maketh the expanse, and it separateth between the waters which [are] under the expanse, and the waters which are above the expanse: and it was so. 8 And God calleth to the expanse ‘Heavens;’ and there is an evening, and there is a morning—day second.
It is not this dream city that everybody is talking about. See the article entitled, A City Called Heaven.
In Genesis chapter one it is also important that we gather the distinctions between heaven and earth and seas because in popular mindset, people get heaven and land confused, fused and interfused.
Let us look at the basic substances of heaven, and of land, and of seas.
Heaven is the space that separated the waters; therefore it is easily understood when we refer to the atmosphere as heaven. The birds fly in this heaven:
Genesis 1:20 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl [that] may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
Neither is it difficult to understand when we refer to the space above the atmosphere as heaven.
Genesis 1:14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
Genesis 15:5 And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.
Genesis 22:17 That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which [is] upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;
Thus, by Bible definition the air space surrounding the earth is heaven, and the space above the atmosphere is heaven. God is spirit. He is everywhere-present; He occupies all of the space in the universe. He is not localized in some confined space as in man’s imagination.
I Kings 8:27 But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?
There is also the third heaven:
II Corinthians 12
2:1 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. 12:3 And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) 12:4 How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
God does not give us details concerning the third heaven. Moreover, we should not take license upon ourselves and make up our own details. Neither does He tell us that this is a “dwelling place or state of existence souls” of men. Neither does He tell us that this is a city.
Land/Earth and Seas:
Genesis 1:9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry [land] appear: and it was so. 1:10 And God called the dry [land] Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that [it was] good.
Look at the nature of dry land. It is solid matter. On the other hand seas are water. Seas are liquid matter. And heavens are space (whether aerial which is gaseous matter, or celestial. The celestial is the great void beyond the atmosphere. This void contains heavenly bodies). These things have been plainly shown us by the above scriptures.
In our songs and in our conversations and in preaching, heaven is erroneously spoken of as a land. This goes contrary to Bible and lines up more with pagan assumptions. Air can be heaven; space can be heaven but land cannot be heaven. Heaven is not some mystical land.
There are innumerable solid bodies that our God has placed in the heavens, but the bodies are not the heavens; but rather, they are located in the heavens. The moon is a heavenly body. So are asteroids and planets and stars. The universe is immense beyond measure. God is everywhere present and the whole universe cannot contain Him. Do not try to localize God in some designated space or place. We are localized creatures. God is everywhere-present.
More Bible about heaven/s
God speaking to Israel says:
Nehemiah 1:9 But [if] ye turn unto me, and keep my commandments, and do them; though there were of you cast out unto the uttermost part of the heaven, [yet] will I gather them from thence, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen to set my name there.
Amos 9:2 Though they dig into hell, thence shall mine hand take them; though they climb up to heaven, thence will I bring them down:
Psalms 115:16 The heaven, [even] the heavens, [are] the LORD’s: but the earth hath he given to the children of men.
Acts 2:34 For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,
John 3:13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, [even] the Son of man which is in heaven.
You might ask, “Well what about Elijah and Enoch?” That is one of God’s secrets and the theologians have not figured it out; so do not depend on them to teach you. When the time comes, we will know clearly.
The Father speaks to the Son concerning the earth:
Psalm 2:8 Ask of me, and I shall give [thee] the heathen [for] thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth [for] thy possession.
I give the setting of this scripture below for clarity:
Psalms 2:1 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?
2:2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, [saying],
2:3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.
2:4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.
2:5 Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.
2:6 Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.
2:7 I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou [art] my Son; this day have I begotten thee.
2:8 Ask of me, and I shall give [thee] the heathen [for] thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth [for] thy possession.
Let it be known that the Son is a man; on earth He consistently referred to Himself as the Son of man. To this man is given the Earth—the uttermost parts of the Earth. So let us look again at Psalms 115:16:
The heaven, [even] the heavens, [are] the LORD’s: but the earth hath he given to the children of men.
And this promise was made to Him in Daniel:
Daniel 7:13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, [one] like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.
7:14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion [is] an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom [that] which shall not be destroyed.
This Son of man has been given Lordship
As Lord He rules over all; as Christ He is King.
Acts 2:36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
Hebrews 2:5 For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak.
2:6 But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him?
2:7 Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands:
2:8 Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing [that is] not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.
2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
Psalms 45 is quoted in Hebrews 1:8 But unto the Son [he saith], Thy throne, O God, [is] for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness [is] the sceptre of thy kingdom.
1:9 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, [even] thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.
This is what the gospel is about.