Heaven: Is it A Real Place, A State of Being or Time?

C McC Mc Posts: 3,735

CD Users,
I am mostly concern about what the Bible teaches on the subject of Heaven, first, over the various theories from theologians. When we mine the Bible for truth, all other conjectures and theories will be laid bare as heresies or error.

  1. Is heaven a real place? If so, where is it and who dwells there?
  2. Is heaven the realm where God dwells? How many heavens are there? Are there one, two, three, or more?
  3. When the Bible writers use the word "heaven" do they do so metaphorically? If so, what hope is there for the Christian believer?
  4. For a roundness of understanding, how is "Heaven" defined and/or believed in the intertestamental and rabbinic literature?

What says ye, from your earthly perch, looking heavenwardly? CM

Comments

  • reformedreformed Posts: 3,013

    Real place. We don't know where it is. God, his angels, and those who die saved in Christ and those who are taken in the last day in Christ live there.

  • MitchellMitchell Posts: 642

    The following is taken verbatim from Easton’s Bible dictionary:

    HEAVEN—(1.) Definitions. The phrase “heaven and earth” is used to indicate the whole universe (Gen. 1:1; Jer. 23:24; Acts 17:24). According to the Jewish notion there were three heavens,

    (a) The firmament, as “fowls of the heaven” (Gen. 2:19; 7:3, 23; Ps. 8:8, etc.), “the eagles of heaven” (Lam. 4:19), etc.
    (b) The starry heavens (Deut. 17:3; Jer. 8:2; Matt. 24:29).
    (c) “The heaven of heavens,” or “the third heaven” (Deut. 10:14; 1 Kings 8:27; Ps. 115:16; 148:4; 2 Cor. 12:2).

    (2.) Meaning of words in the original,
    (a) The usual Hebrew word for “heavens” is shamayim, a plural form meaning “heights,” “elevations” (Gen. 1:1; 2:1).
    (b) The Hebrew word marom is also used (Ps. 68:18; 93:4; 102:19, etc.) as equivalent to shamayim, “high places,” “heights.”
    (c) Heb. galgal, literally a “wheel,” is rendered “heaven” in Ps. 77:18 (R.V., “whirlwind”).
    (d) Heb. shahak, rendered “sky” (Deut. 33:26; Job 37:18; Ps. 18:11), plural “clouds” (Job 35:5; 36:28; Ps. 68:34, marg. “heavens”), means probably the firmament.
    (e) Heb. rakia is closely connected with (d), and is rendered “firmamentum” in the Vulgate, whence our “firmament” (Gen. 1:6; Deut. 33:26, etc.), regarded as a solid expanse.

    (3.) Metaphorical meaning of term. Isa. 14:13, 14; “doors of heaven” (Ps. 78:23); heaven “shut” (1 Kings 8:35); “opened” (Ezek. 1:1). (See 1 Chr. 21:16.)

    (4.) Spiritual meaning. The place of the everlasting blessedness of the righteous; the abode of departed spirits.
    (a) Christ calls it his “Father’s house” (John 14:2).
    (b) It is called “paradise” (Luke 23:43; 2 Cor. 12:4; Rev. 2:7).
    (c) “The heavenly Jerusalem” (Gal. 4:26; Heb. 12:22; Rev. 3:12).
    (d) The “kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 25:1; James 2:5).
    (e) The “eternal kingdom” (2 Pet. 1:11).
    (f) The “eternal inheritance” (1 Pet. 1:4; Heb. 9:15).
    (g) The “better country” (Heb. 11:14, 16).
    (h) The blessed are said to “sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,” and to be “in Abraham’s bosom” (Luke 16:22; Matt. 8:11); to “reign with Christ” (2 Tim. 2:12); and to enjoy “rest” (Heb. 4:10, 11).

    In heaven the blessedness of the righteous consists in the possession of “life everlasting,” “an eternal weight of glory” (2 Cor. 4:17), an exemption from all sufferings for ever, a deliverance from all evils (2 Cor. 5:1, 2) and from the society of the wicked (2 Tim. 4:18), bliss without termination, the “fulness of joy” for ever (Luke 20:36; 2 Cor. 4:16, 18; 1 Pet. 1:4; 5:10; 1 John 3:2). The believer’s heaven is not only a state of everlasting blessedness, but also a “place”, a place “prepared” for them (John 14:2).

    Easton, M. G. Easton’s Bible dictionary 1893 : n. pag. Print.

  • Dave_LDave_L Posts: 2,356

    I think Paul is speaking about himself in the second person. And what I find comforting is that he could not tell whether he was in or out of his body.

    “I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago (whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows) was caught up to the third heaven. And I know that this man (whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows) was caught up into paradise and heard things too sacred to be put into words, things that a person is not permitted to speak.” (2 Corinthians 12:2–4)

    “even because of the extraordinary character of the revelations. Therefore, so that I would not become arrogant, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to trouble me—so that I would not become arrogant.” (2 Corinthians 12:7)

  • C McC Mc Posts: 3,735

    In heaven the blessedness of the righteous consists in the possession of “life everlasting,” “an eternal weight of glory” (2 Cor. 4:17), an exemption from all sufferings for ever, a deliverance from all evils (2 Cor. 5:12) and from the society of the wicked (2 Tim. 4:18), bliss without termination, the “fulness of joy” for ever (Luke 20:362 Cor. 4:16181 Pet. 1:45:101 John 3:2). The believer’s heaven is not only a state of everlasting blessedness, but also a “place”, a place “prepared” for them (John 14:2). Easton, M. G. Easton’s Bible dictionary 1893 : n. pag. Print.

    Brethren,

    Using one of Mitch's definitions, shared some time ago, are there multiple ways or just one way to get to heaven, as Steve Harvey said recently? What does the Bible says about the way to heaven? CM

  • C McC Mc Posts: 3,735
    edited February 1

    “I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago (whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows) was caught up to the third heaven. And I know that this man (whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows) was caught up into paradise and heard things too sacred to be put into words, things that a person is not permitted to speak.” (2 Corinthians 12:2–4)

    DaveL, you said:

    "... I find comforting is that he [Paul] could not tell whether he was in or out of his body".

    Is this true? Why? You don't know or the Bible is not clear on the matter? To whom is Paul speaking (audience/culture belief) and what is actually being said? CM

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