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Doctrine of Heaven

July 18, 2010

The Doctrine of Heaven

Definition and Description
The Lord Jesus Christ as the Creator of both heaven and earth created 3 levels of heaven
according to the Scriptures and they can be classified as follows: (1) 1st heaven: Earth’s
atmosphere. (2) 2nd heaven: Stellar universe. (3) 3rd heaven: Abode of God, the angels and the
dead believers. The present 3rd heaven is abode of all 3 members of the Trinity and of elect
angels as well as all believers throughout human history in every dispensation. It is the present
location of the Appeal Trial of Satan and all the fallen angels before the Supreme Court of
heaven. The present heaven will be destroyed at the termination of human history, which is this
appeal trial itself. The Lord Jesus Christ will create a new heavens and a new earth for the
eternal state, which immediately follows the Great White Throne Judgment at the conclusion of
Appeal Trial, which is the conclusion of human history itself.
Vocabulary
Hebrew Old Testament Terms: (1) Shamayim (noun), “heavens, 1st heaven (earth’s
atmosphere), 2nd heaven (stellar universe), 3rd heaven (abode of God).” (2) Shemayin (noun),
“heaven, sky.” (3) Maal (noun), “ascent, above, upward.” (4) Marom (noun), “elevation, height,
window, heavens.” (5) Shachaq (noun), “sky, dust, cloud.” (6) Raqia (noun), “firmament, that
which is spread out.”
Greek New Testament Terms: (1) Ouranos (noun), “heaven, 1st heaven (earth’s atmosphere),
2nd heaven (stellar universe), 3rd heaven (abode of God).” (2) Epourainos (adjective),
“heavenly place.” (3) Mesouranema (noun), “mid-heaven, 1st heaven (earth’s atmosphere).” (4)
Aer (noun), “air, atmosphere, 1st heaven, 7 layers of the earth’s atmosphere.”
1st Heaven
The original languages of Scripture teach that there are 3 levels of heaven. This multiplicity
of heavens is indicated in Hebrews 4:14 where our Lord at His Ascension is said to have
“passed through the heavens” (accusative masculine plural noun ouranos). The 1st and 2nd
heaven are not specifically mentioned but the 3rd heaven is discussed in 2 Corinthians 12:2.
Logically speaking, it is evident that there cannot be a 3rd heaven without also a 1st and 2nd
heaven.
The 1st heaven is the earth’s atmosphere which surrounds the earth and is composed of the
following 7 layers: (1) Troposphere (2) Stratosphere (3) Mesosphere (4) Thermosphere (5)
Exonosphere (6) Ionosphere (7) Magnetosphere. Atmospheric scientists commonly divide the
earth’s atmosphere into 5 layers or regions on the basis of the vertical distribution of
temperature: (1) Troposphere (2) Stratosphere (3) Mesosphere (4) Thermosphere (5) Exosphere.
The troposphere, the region in contact with the earth’s surface is characterized by a decrease
of temperature with increasing altitude. It extends in height from approximately 4 to 5 miles at
the poles to about 11 miles at the equator. Above this region is the stratosphere in which
temperature rises with increasing altitude to about 30 miles. The troposphere and the stratosphere
show distinct circulation systems. Above this lies the mesosphere, which is characterized by a
rapid decrease of temperature. Like the troposphere, this region is subject to strong seasonal
.2003 William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries 1
variations of temperature at high altitudes. Beyond the mesosphere is the thermosphere where
the temperature rapidly rises attaining a maximum temperature of 1832 degrees above
Fahrenheit at about 240 miles. The increase in temperature ceases at this height, beyond which
lies the exosphere, the highest layer of the earth’s atmosphere. The density of the atmosphere is
so low in this layer that molecular collisions rarely occur and hence the concept of temperature
loses its meaning. In the exonosphere, light atoms, such as those of hydrogen and helium, may
acquire sufficient velocity to escape the earth’s gravitational pull. The bulk of the earth’s
atmosphere consists of electrically neutral atoms and molecules. At high altitudes however a
significant fraction of the atmosphere is electrically charged. This region is generally called the
ionosphere. It extends throughout the mesosphere and thermosphere but is most important and
distinct at altitudes above 80 kilometers. It is defined by the Institute of Radio Engineers as “the
part of the earth’s upper atmosphere where ions and electrons are present in quantities sufficient
to affect the propagation of radio waves.” Satan and the fallen angels are very much in control of
this particular region of the earth’s atmosphere (Eph. 2:2).
Ionosphere begins near the top of the stratosphere and extends essentially throughout the
mesosphere and thermosphere. Another region of the atmosphere identified by parameters other
than temperature gradient is the magnetosphere. This vast region in which charged particles have
energies greater than those corresponding to thermal velocities and move along the flux lines of
the earth’s magnetic field.
The 1st heaven was created in an instant (Gen. 1:1), and restored on the 2nd day (Gen. 1:7).
In the OT, the 1st heaven is often metaphorically conceived as something fixed and material
having: (1) Windows (Gen. 7:11). (2) Pillars (Job 26:11). (3) Foundations (2 Sam. 22:8). (4) It
can be torn (Isa. 63:19) like a curtain (cf. Mark 1:10). (5) The 1st heaven is the “firmament”
called raqia in the Hebrew (Gen. 1:8).
A number of meteorological phenomena are mentioned as occurring in the 1st heaven: (1)
Rain (Gen. 8:2). (2) Snow (Isa. 55:9-11). (3) Frost (Job 38:29). (4) Dew (Deut. 33:13). (5) Hail
(Josh. 10:11). (6) Thunder (1 Sam. 2:10). (7) Wind (Zech. 6:5). (8) Clouds (Psa. 147:8). (9)
Lightning (Psa. 77:18).
The 1st heaven is the location of the rainbow, God’s sign of his covenant with Noah (Gen.
9:13-17). Our Lord at His Ascension passed through the earth’s atmosphere, i.e., the 1st heaven
(Acts 1:9-11). An invisible war is taking place in the Church Age between the kingdom of God
and the kingdom of darkness throughout the 7 layers of the earth’s atmosphere as part of the
angelic conflict (Dan. 10:20; Eph. 2:2; 6:11-17) and will visibly manifest itself during the
Tribulation period (Rev. 6-19). The Church is under attack from the kingdom of darkness, which
conducts its operations against the Church “in the heavenlies (en plus the locative of sphere tois
epouranious)” or within the sphere of the earth’s atmosphere (Eph. 6:12). Satan is called in the
Greek, “ton archonta tes exousias tou aeros, “the ruler of the power of the air” (Eph. 2:2). He
has tes exousias, “the authority or the power” over the earth’s atmosphere. He is archon tou
kosmou toutou, “the ruler of this world” (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11).
Catastrophic atmospheric conditions as a part of God’s judgment upon a Christ rejecting
world will occur during the last 3 and half years of the Tribulation (Rev. 6-19). The Rapture will
take place in the earth’s atmosphere delivering the Church from “the wrath to come” upon the
earth during the Tribulation period (1 Thess. 1:10; 4:13-17; 5:9; 2 Thess. 2:1).
2nd Heaven
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The 2nd heaven is the stellar universe or space, which consists of a vast array of stars,
moons, suns, galaxies and solar systems. Angelic beings populate the stellar universe. The prehistoric
battleground of the angelic conflict stretches into this region known as the 2nd heaven.
In astronomy the stellar universe is referred to as the cosmos. The cosmos contain the entire
physical universe consisting of all objects and phenomena observed and postulated as well as
invisible angelic beings. The principal components of the universe are the galaxies, stars and
stellar groupings, and nebulae. Substantially smaller components include the solar system and
any other assemblage of planets, satellites, comets, and meteoroids revolving around a central
stellar body that may exist among the millions of galaxies. The universe also contains
gravitational fields and various forms of radiation.
An American astronomer Edwin Powell Hubble stated that the vast stellar universe was a
result of a big bang or explosion, which is alleged to occur 10,000,000,000 years ago. This
theory states that all of the matter in the universe was closely packed together in an incredibly
dense state (although he doesn’t indicate how it came to be this way) and that everything then
simply exploded in a big bang. His theory that the universe had a beginning, which he calls the
big bang, has produced big problems for scientists since it implies a creation event thus fulfilling
the principle of cause and effect. Science cannot explain who or what started the universe.
Science can only observe the creation. Only theology and specifically biblical Christianity can
answer the question. Creation could not have taken place by itself or without an intelligent being
initiating it.
Creation is the work of the 2nd Person of the Trinity, God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Chaos is the work of Satan. Restoration is the work of the 3rd Person of the Trinity, God the
Holy Spirit. The stellar universe was created in an instant by the Lord Jesus Christ (Gen. 1:1;
Psa. 33:6; 115:15; 124:8; 134:3; Col. 1:16-17; Heb. 1:3).
The OT and NT Scriptures state dogmatically that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Creator of the
universe (John 1:3; Col. 1:16-17). He created the universe out of nothing. It was initially created
exclusively for the angels. It underwent a catastrophic change as a result of Satan’s rebellion
against God (Isa. 14:12-14; Ezek. 28:11-19). This rebellion and the resultant destruction of the
earth and universe took place between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. Therefore, the earth had to be
restored.
Genesis 1:2 states that earth was “formless” and “void” and there was no light in the
universe. Angels need light to function but all light in the universe was turned off as part of
God’s judgment of the angels (Psa. 148:3; 2 Cor. 11:14). Creation is different from Restoration.
Creation is making something out of nothing. Restoration is fixing something up after it has been
destroyed. God the Holy Spirit is responsible for the restoration of the earth and the universe
from the chaos, which resulted from Satan’s rebellion (Gen. 1). Everyone in the Trinity was
involved in the Restoration of the earth. God the Father planned the restoration. God the Holy
Spirit actually restored or fixed the earth that had been preserved under the ice (Gen. 1:2b-20).
God the Son created and sustained the new things that were going to be put on the earth such as
mankind (Gen. 1:21, 27; Heb. 1:2).
The work of restoration and creation from the chaos took 6 days and was perfect (Gen. 1).
1st day: The Lord restored the day and the night (Gen. 1:3-5). 2nd day: He restored the sky and
the air for living things to breathe (Gen. 1:6-8). 3rd day: He restored the waters gather so that
dry land could appear and plants could grow (Gen. 1:9-11). 4th day: He restored the stellar
universe (Gen. 1:14-19). 5th day: He created animal life on the earth (Gen. 1:20-21). 6th day:
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He created man (Gen. 1:26-28). The entire stellar universe was restored on the 4th day of
creation and restoration of the earth and heavens. The creation and restoration of the universe
was for a distinct purpose. According to Genesis 1:14-19, the “lights” in the stellar universe
surrounding the earth were to serve a 5-fold purpose: (1) Separate the day from the night on the
earth. (2) Signs (3) Seasons (4) Days (5) Years.
3rd Heaven
The 3rd heaven was also created by the Lord Jesus Christ (Psa. 102:25; 115:15; 124:8; 134:3;
Isa. 45:12; 51:13; Jer. 32:17; Zech. 12:1; John 1:3; Col. 1:16-17; Heb. 1:10). He will also be the
Creator of the new heavens and new earth (Isa. 65:17). The Scriptures teach that the 3rd heaven
is the abode of the Trinity (Gen. 14:19, 22; 23:3, 7; 1 Kings 8:30, 49; 2 Chron. 6:21, 30; Neh.
1:4-5; 2:4, 20; Psa. 11:4; 20:6; 33:14; 103:19; Isa. 63:5; 66:1; Matt. 5:34; Luke 16:9; John 14:1-
3; Acts 1:11; 7:56; 2 Cor. 12:2; Heb. 2:10; Rev. 19:14).
Although it is true that the Scriptures teach that “the heaven of heavens cannot contain
God” (1 Kings 8:27), and that God is omnipresent in the universe, nevertheless, they clearly
affirm that heaven is in a particular way the habitation of God (Isa. 57:15; 63:15). The Lord
Jesus Christ during His 1st Advent repeatedly stated that He came from heaven (John 3:13, 27,
31; 6:38, 41-42, 50-51, 58). The humanity of Christ’s substitutionary spiritual death on the Cross
reconciled all things in both heaven and earth thus including angels as well as humanity (Eph.
1:10; Col. 1:20). He is in heaven now seated at the right hand of God (Psa. 110:1; Acts 2:33;
Rom. 8:34; Col. 3:1; Heb. 1:3, 13; 1 Pet. 3:22). He will come again invisibly from heaven at the
Rapture (1 Thess. 4:13-17). He will visibly come again from heaven at the 2nd Advent to bring
to a conclusion the Armageddon War and initiate His Millennial reign on planet earth (Zech. 12;
14:1-7; Matt. 24:29-31; Acts 1:11; Rev. 1:7).
The 3rd heaven is located billions and billions of light years away from the earth above the
1st and 2nd heavens. A light-year in astronomy is the distance traveled by light moving in a
vacuum in the course of 1 year, at its velocity of 186,282 miles per second. A light-year equals
about 5.878 x 10,000,000,000,000 miles, or 63,240 astronomical units. The branch of learning
that deals with phenomena at the scale of many millions of light-years is called cosmology. The
term cosmology is derived from combining 2 Greek words, cosmos meaning “order, harmony,”
and the “world,” and logos, meaning “word.”
Cosmology is, in effect, the study of the universe at large. On cosmological scales, the use of
light-travel times to measure distances assumes a special significance because the lengths
become so vast that even light, traveling at the fastest speed attainable by any physical entity,
takes a significant fraction of the age of the universe, roughly 10,000,000,000 years, to travel
from an object to an observer. Thus, when astronomers measure objects at cosmological
distances from the Local Group which consists of the Magellanic Clouds, the Andromeda
galaxy, and the Milky Way system which are all part of an aggregation of 2 dozen or so
neighboring galaxies.
Astronomers are seeing objects as they existed during a time when the universe was much
younger than it is today. Under these circumstances Albert Einstein taught in his theory of
general relativity that the gravitational field of everything in the universe so warps space and
time as to require a very careful reevaluation of quantities whose seemingly elementary natures
are normally taken for granted. The observed expansion of the universe immediately raises the
spectre that the universe is evolving, that it had a beginning and will have an end. Encyclopaedia
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Britannica makes the following comment, “The steady state alternative, postulated by a British
school of cosmologists in 1948, is no longer considered viable by most astronomers. Yet, the
notion that the Cosmos had a beginning, while in common in many theologies, raises deep and
puzzling questions for science, for it implies a creation event-a creation not only of all the massenergy
that now exists in the universe but also perhaps of space-time itself” (15th edition,
volume 16, The Cosmos, page 762).
Robert Jastrow, an astrophysicist and director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies
made this comment, “Now we see how the astronomical evidence supports the biblical view of
the origin of the world…. The essential elements in the astronomical and biblical accounts of
Genesis are the same. Consider the enormousness of the problem: Science has proved that the
universe exploded into being at a certain moment. It asks what cause produced this effect? Who
or what put the matter and energy into the Universe? And science cannot answer these
questions…. For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason; the story ends
like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest
peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have
been there for centuries.”
Psalm 94:8, “Pay heed, you senseless among the people; and when will you understand,
stupid ones. Psalm 104:24, “O’Lord, how many are Thy works. In wisdom Thou hast
made them all; the earth is full of Thy possessions”. Colossians 1:16-17, “For by Him (the
Lord Jesus Christ) all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and
invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-all things have been
created by Him and for Him. And He is before all things and in Him all things hold
together.” Psalm 148:1-6, “Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord from the heavens; Praise Him
in the heights. Praise Him, all His angels; Praise Him, all His hosts. Praise Him, sun and
moon; Praise Him, all stars of light. Praise Him, the highest heavens, and the waters that
are above the heavens. Let them praise the name of the Lord, for He (the Lord Jesus
Christ) commanded and they were created. He has also established them forever and ever;
He has made a decree which will not pass away.”
William Cullen Bryant eloquently wrote, “My heart is awed within me, when I think of the
great miracle which still goes on, in silence, round me-the perpetual work of Thy creation,
finished, yet renewed, for ever.
We know that through the law of cause and effect, that the law requires an adequate cause for
every effect. The universe must have been created by a superior being whom the Bible
dogmatically has stated is the Lord Jesus Christ. John 1:3, “All things came into being by Him
(the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ), and apart from Him nothing came into existence that
has come into existence.”
Description of Heaven
Paul states that “inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak” are heard in
heaven (2 Cor. 12:1-4). Heaven is the place where Paul says “eye has not seen and ear has not
heard and which have not entered into the right lobe of man, all that God has prepared for
those who love Him” (1 Cor. 2:9). Heaven is a place of beauty (Rev. 21:1-22:7). It is a place of
eternal life (1 Tim. 4:8). Both the present heaven and the new heaven are a place of service to
God (Rev. 22:3). Heaven is a place of worship (Rev. 19:1-3). It is a place of glory (2 Cor. 4:17-
18). There will be no tears or unhappiness in the new heavens and new earth (Rev. 21:3). The
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reason for this is that only perfect righteousness will be allowed in the new heavens and earth (2
Pet. 3:13).
The throne room of God is located in the 3rd heaven and from which proceed His judgments
(Job 1-2; Isa. 6; Jer. 14:21; Psa. 14:2; 103:19; Acts 7:49; Heb. 12:2; Rev. 3:21; 19:4; 22:1). The
New Jerusalem is located in heaven (Rev. 21:2). The temple of God is also located in heaven
along with the tabernacle (2 Sam. 22:7; Isa. 6:1; Heb. 8). God the Father’s house is located in
heaven (John 14:1-2). Our Lord Jesus Christ in Hypostatic Union as part of His High Priestly
prayer promised His Bride, the Church, a dwelling place in heaven (John 14:1-3). The Church
Age believer’s true home and citizenship is not on planet earth but in heaven (Phil. 3:20). The
resurrection bodies of believers are located in heaven (2 Cor. 5:1-2). Heaven is the location of
the winner believer’s Escrow Blessings (Eph. 1:3). It is the place where the resurrected humanity
of our Lord Jesus Christ in Hypostatic Union conducts the government of the kingdom of God as
the ruler of all creation including the 3rd heaven (Psa. 110:1-2; Matt. 22:44; 26:64; Mark 12:36;
14:62; 16:19; Luke 20:42; 22:69; Acts 2:33-34; 7:55-56; Rom. 8:34; Eph. 3:20-22; Col. 3:1;
Heb. 1:3, 13; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2).
Sometimes heaven itself is said to be the throne of God (Isa. 66:1; Matt. 5:34; Heb. 8:1). God
the Father’s house is said to be located in heaven (Psalm 61:4; John 14:1-2). The Trinity is said
to dwell in the 3rd heaven (1 Kings 8:12). Thus, God is often called the “the God of heaven”
(Gen. 24:3, 7; 2 Chron. 36:23; Ezra 1:2; Neh. 1:4; Dan. 2:37, 44). Heaven is now the place where
the Lord Jesus Christ in Hypostatic Union presently sits at the right hand of God the Father
intercessing for believers in the Church Age as part of His High Priestly Session (Heb. 8:1).
The 3rd heaven is the location of the Supreme Court of Heaven, which is composed of all 3
members of the Trinity Who are presiding over the Appeal Trial of Satan and the fallen angels.
Heaven will also be a place of great inequality due to the fact that some believers on earth will
have positive volition towards Bible doctrine thus executing the Plan of God for the Church Age
and there will be the majority who exercised negative volition towards Bible doctrine and were
not faithful in executing the Plan of God (1 Cor. 15:41; Luke 19:17). There will be winner and
loser believers in heaven with the winner believers receiving greater honor and privileges than
the loser believers as a reward for their faithfulness to the Plan of God while on planet earth
(Luke 19:17; Rev. 2-3). Equality on earth means inequality in heaven and in the eternal state.
Inhabitants of Heaven
The inhabitants of heaven: (1) The Trinity (2) Elect Angels (3) OT saints (4) The Church.
Heaven is served by innumerable angels, their hosts and families. It is the sphere of their
existence (Matt. 18:10; Mark 12:25; 13:32; Eph. 3:15). They come from heaven and return to it
either individually (Matt. 28:2; Luke 22:43), or in hosts (Luke 2:15). Elect angels or angels who
did not enter into rebellion with Satan against God have access to heaven. Also, Satan and the
fallen angels still have access to heaven because of their Appeal Trial (Job 1; Zech. 3). Old
Testament saints are now located in the 3rd heaven with the Lord Jesus Christ as a result of His
trip to a compartment of Hades called Paradise (Luke 23:43; Eph. 4:8-10).
Hades has 2 compartments that apply to humans: (1) Paradise (2) Torments. Paradise was the
resting place of OT saints before the resurrection of our Lord. Our Lord led these OT saints to
heaven as part of His triumphal possession into heaven after His ascension. Torments at this time
is the present location of all unbelievers throughout human history-past, present and future (Luke
16:19-31). All unbelievers presently located in Torments will be brought to the Great White
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Throne Judgment at the end of human history (Rev. 20:11-15). They will judged according to
their “deeds” or their human good works and not according to their sins because their sins were
all imputed to the perfect sinless humanity of Christ on the Cross and judged by the justice of
God the Father (Matt. 27:45-46).
Also, all Church Age believers are located in heaven at this time. Every Church Age believer
who dies immediately goes home to the 3rd heaven and is “face to face with the Lord” (2 Cor.
5:6-8; Phil. 1:23). All believers throughout human history will arrive instantly in heaven at the
moment of physical death. The Rapture generation will not have to face physical death but will
immediately be translated receiving a resurrection body and meeting the Lord and the rest of the
“dead in Christ” in the earth’s atmosphere (1 Thess. 4:13-17). Those who believe in the Lord
Jesus Christ during the 7 year period called the Great Tribulation will immediately go to the 3rd
heaven and be with the Lord after dying and will come back with Him at His 2nd Advent
reigning with Him during the Millennium (Rev. 7:14-17; 14:13; 15:1-4).
Session of Christ
The Session of our Lord Jesus Christ takes place in the 3rd heaven where in His resurrected
humanity in Hypostatic Union as the unique theanthropic Person of the universe He sits at the
right hand of God the Father as ruler of the universe. The Ascension of Christ was the transfer of
our Lord’s true humanity from planet earth to the third heaven in a resurrection body (Acts 1:9-
11; Eph. 4:8-10). Our Lord remained on earth for 40 days after the resurrection (Acts 1:1-3).
The Ascension of Christ demonstrates the vertical travel of the resurrection body through the
earth’s atmosphere, the galaxies of the stellar universe, and billions of light years in an instant,
and then entering the third heaven where the throne of God is.
The Session of Christ pertains to the glorification of our Lord’s humanity at the right hand of
God the Father (Psa. 110:1, 5; Matt. 26:64; Mark 14:62; 16:19; Acts 2:33-34; 7:55-56; Col. 3:1;
Heb. 1:3, 13; Heb. 8:1; 10:12; 12:2; 1 Pet. 3:22). Our Lord received His third royal title as “King
of kings and Lord of lords, the bright morning star.” He had a royal title but no royal family.
As a result of receiving this 3rd royal title, the Church Age was inserted to call out a Royal
Family for our Lord’s new title.
The Session of Christ points to: (1) His deity (Matt. 26:64) (2) His kingship (Rev. 4:2) (3)
His fulfillment of Messianic prophecies (Psa. 110:1; cf. Matt. 22:44) (4) His ascension into
heaven (Acts 2:34) (5) His eternal rewards (Rev. 3:21) (6) The power made available to every
Church Age believer (Eph. 1:20) (7) Our position in Christ (Eph. 2:6) (8) His intercessory
ministry (Rom. 8:34) (9) His power to save and forgive sin (Acts 5:31) (10) His hypostatic union
(Heb. 1:3) (11) His royal priesthood (Heb. 8:1) (12) The efficacy of His work on the Cross (Heb.
10:12) (13) Occupation with Christ (Heb. 12:2) (14) His trip to Hades (Eph. 4:9). (15) His
victory over Satan in the angelic conflict (Heb. 1:13; 2:8).
Appeal Trial of Satan
The 3rd heaven is at this present time a place of conflict and has been for quite some time
due to Satan and the fallen angels. The Appeal Trial of Satan is presently taking place in heaven
where the Supreme Court of heaven resides. In fact, there will be war in heaven at the end of the
dispensation of the Church, which is actually the Rebuttal Phase of Satan’s Appeal Trial. Other
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religions depict heaven as a place of complete peace at this present time but the NT does not
teach this.
Heaven was and is, even in the period after Christ’s 1st Advent, a place of conflict. God
exercises wrath against the demonic attack that threatens to remove Him from His sovereign
throne. The Christian does not seek ultimate release in this dispensation or in the heaven of this
age, for this age is impregnated with evil and hence subject to wrath. Rather, those who are “in
Christ” here on earth and those who are “with Christ” in heaven anticipate that day when the
Lord Jesus Christ shall appear and by divine power end the demonic threat by casting Satan and
the fallen angels into the Lake of Fire at the end of human history which is the Appeal Trial
itself, and inaugurate the eternal state of glory. Then shall every believer in Christ fully rejoice
and in resurrection bodies eternally reign with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in the new
heavens and new earth.
Satan and the fallen angels presently have access to the 3rd heaven as part of this Appeal
Trial (Job 1-2; Zech. 3; Rev. 12:7-12); therefore, it is not a place of peace. Heaven will finally
become a place of peace when Michael and the elect angels of God wage war against Satan and
the fallen angels and casts them out of heaven onto the earth during the middle of the Tribulation
period (Rev. 12:7-11; cf. Luke 10:18).
The believer’s confidence still remains in the present 3rd heaven because it is where the
resurrected humanity of our Lord Jesus Christ in Hypostatic Union now sits at the right hand of
God the Father (Col. 1:5, 27). It is the presence of the resurrected humanity of our Lord and
Savior Jesus Christ in Hypostatic Union, which makes heaven so appealing at this time even
though heaven has been contaminated by the presence of evil and rebellion from Satan and the
fallen angels.
Citizenship in Heaven
The Church Age believer’s “citizenship” is heaven (Phil. 3:20). The Greek word for
“citizenship” employed by the apostle Paul is the noun politeuma, which meant a great deal
during the days of the Roman Empire in which Paul lived. Those who had politeuma or
citizenship in the Roman Empire were privileged individuals. Paul uses the politeuma metaphor
to teach the principle to the royal family of God the privileges of the Plan of God for the Church
Age and the importance of becoming invisible heroes. It teaches the Church Age believer that
they have a home in a place of privilege-heaven. It teaches Church Age believers that they have
privileges as citizens of heaven. This great privilege means great responsibility. Heaven is the
source of the Church Age believer’s politeuma, “citizenship.”
A politeuma in the Roman Empire was a Roman colony in a foreign land. The Church Age
believer’s politeuma is in heaven. Our colony comes from heaven. Church Age believers are
presently living in a foreign land known as the devil’s world. We are ambassadors for Christ in
this foreign land (2 Cor. 5:20). Born again believers are a special privileged group of individuals.
The politeuma metaphor in Philippians 3:20 teaches the royal family of God are a colony of
heavenly citizens with great privileges and responsibilities. Ephesians 1:3 states that the Church
Age believer has been blessed “with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ.”
The doctrine of current positional truth which is a result of the Baptism of the Spirit states that
the Church Age believer is currently seated with Christ “in the heavenly places in Christ
Jesus” (Eph. 2:6). God the Holy Spirit through the Baptism of the Spirit places every Church
Age believer in union with Christ for a specific purpose and reason as stated in Ephesians 2:7,
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“in order that in the ages to come He (God the Father) might show the surpassing riches of
His grace in graciousness towards us (Church Age believers) in Christ Jesus.” God is
manifesting His infinite wisdom and grace which is the expression and reflection of His perfect
integrity through the Church as stated in Ephesians 3:10, “in order that the multidimensional
wisdom of God might now be made known through the Church to the rulers and the
authorities (fallen angels) located in the heavenlies (1st, 2nd and 3rd heaven).” Church Age
believers are said to be “partakers of a heavenly calling (election)” (Heb. 3:1). Therefore, the
Church Age believer just as the illustrious members of God’s Hall of Fame are to “desire a
better country, that is a heavenly one” where God has prepared the New Jerusalem for them
(Heb. 11:16). The Church Age believers are citizens of the New Jerusalem.
Post-Rapture Events in Heaven
Church Age believers will receive their resurrection bodies at the Rapture (1 Cor. 15:51-57;
1 Thess. 4:13-17). There will be 3 major events following the Rapture or exit-resurrection
(exanastasis) of the Church in heaven: (1) Bema Seat Evaluation: Involving all believers (2 Cor.
5:10; Rom. 14:10). (2) Winner believers are presented by the Lord Jesus Christ to the Father
(Rev. 3:5). (3) Marriage of the Lamb: Involving all believers (Rev. 19:7).
There will be 1 major event on the earth following the Rapture of the Church-the Great
Tribulation period. The Bema Seat Judgment of Christ is the evaluation of the lives of all Church
Age believers and will take place in the earth’s atmosphere. 2 Corinthians 5:8 states that every
Church Age believer must “appear before the judgment seat of Christ.” This is judgment is
not to determine salvation which was already accomplished for every believer at the moment of
personal faith in Jesus Christ on earth. This judgment is an evaluation of the believer’s works
whether they were done with proper motivation from the application of metabolized doctrine
under the enabling power of God the Holy Spirit or from the power of the old sin nature (2 Cor.
5:10; 1 Cor. 3:11-15). The believer’s works will be tested by fire (1 Cor. 3:11-15). God will only
accept that which was performed by His power and not the old sin nature. A perfect God can
only accept that which is performed by perfect power, therefore, the believer must perform his
good deeds by employing the 2 great power options: (1) Filling of the Spirit. (2) Bible Doctrine.
The believer who executes the Plan of God through the application of doctrine while under
the energizing power of God the Holy Spirit will receive rewards at the Bema Seat Evaluation.
The believer’s rewards consist of: (1) Crown of life (Rev. 2:10). (2) Crown of righteousness (2
Tim. 4:7-8). (3) Crown of glory for the Pastor-Teacher (1 Pet. 5:4; 1 Thess. 2:19-20; 1 Cor. 9:24-
27). (4) Order of the morning star or the uniform of glory (Rev. 3:4). (5) New Knighthood (Rev.
2:17). (6) New Title in the Lamb’s book of life. (7) Membership to the Paradise Club and access
to the Gazebo in the Garden (Rev. 2:7, 14). (8) The winner believer will have his name recorded
in the historical record section of heaven (Rev. 3:12). (9) The winner believer will be
acknowledged (homologeo) before God the Father in heaven by the Lord Jesus Christ (Rev. 3:5).
The loser believer’s will remain in the earth’s atmosphere until the winner believer’s have
been acknowledged before the Father in heaven. Rank has its privileges. Winner believer’s will
have great rewards and will rule on earth with the Lord Jesus Christ during the Millennium while
losers will simply receive a resurrection body.
The other great event in heaven that will take place is the Marriage of the Lamb, i.e., the
Lord Jesus Christ. The Marriage follows the events of the Bema Seat Evaluation. It takes place
in heaven for no other location would fit a heavenly people (Phil. 3:20). The participants of the
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Marriage of the Lamb are the Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus Christ and the Bride, the Church. The
friends of the Bride and the Bridegroom are the Old Testament believers. The Marriage Supper,
which is distinct from the Marriage, which takes place on earth and involves regenerate Israel in
the Millennial Kingdom (Matt. 22:1-14; Luke 14:16-24; Matt. 25:1-13). Regenerate Israel will
be waiting on earth for the return of the Bridegroom and Bride at the 2nd Advent, which takes
place at the conclusion of the Great Tribulation period.
New Jerusalem
The Lord has built a city for His heavenly people (John 14:1-3; Heb. 11:16). The Lord is the
architect and builder of this city (Heb. 11:10). This city is called the New Jerusalem, the city of
the living God (Heb. 12:22). It is a literal city and the Word of God describes it in detail. The
believer is to diligently seek or desire for the time when he will live in the New Jerusalem (Heb.
13:14).
Church Age believers who are winners in time will have their names recorded in its
permanent historical record section and will have their names permanently inscribed upon the
pillars of the New Jerusalem (Rev. 3:12a). The New Jerusalem will come down out of heaven
from God (Rev. 3:12b; 21:2, 10). It is called the “holy city” because no unrighteousness or evil
will be allowed in it for all eternity (Rev. 21:2a, 8, 27). It will be a city of integrity and virtue.
Inhabitants of the city: (1) The Trinity (2) The Church (3) Regenerate Israel from the
theocentric and eschatological dispensations. (4) Regenerate Gentile believers from the
theocentric and eschatological dispensations. (5) Elect Angels.
There will be no suffering or death taking place in the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:4). Satan and
the fallen angels will have already been cast in the Lake of Fire along with unregenerate human
beings (Rev. 20:11-15). The New Jerusalem will be suspended in the 1st heaven above the earth.
It will be located in the new heavens and the new earth. The New Jerusalem is city designed by
God for the eternal state.
The apostle John describes the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21:11-27. The structure of the
city is composed of: (1) Great and High Wall (Rev. 21:12). (2) Twelve Gates with 12 Angels on
guard at each of the 12 gates with the names of the 12 tribes of Israel on them (Rev. 21:12). (3) 3
Gates will be located on the north, south, east and west (Rev. 21:13). (4) Twelve Foundation
Stones with the names of each of the 12 apostles inscribed on them (Rev. 21:14). (5) The city
will be laid out like a square and measures 1500 miles in length on all four sides (Rev. 21:16).
(6) The length, width and height of the city are all equal in measure (Rev. 21:16). (7) The wall
measures 72 yards (Rev. 21:17). (8) The walls are made of jasper (Rev. 21:18a). (9) The city is
made of pure gold like glass (Rev. 21:18). (10) The foundation stones with the names of the 12
apostles on them will be adorned with every precious stone.
Each of the 12 foundation stones will be made of a precious stone (Rev. 21:19-20): (1) Jasper
(2) Sapphire (3) Chalcedony (4) Emerald (5) Sardonyx (6) Sardius (7) Chrysolite (8) Beryl (9)
Topaz (10) Chrysoprase (11) Jacinth (12) Amethyst.
The 12 twelve gates are 12 pearls and each one of the gates was a single pearl (Rev. 21:21).
There was no temple in the city because “the Lord God, the Almighty, and the Lamb are its
temple” (Rev. 21:22). The city will have no need of the sun or the moon for “the glory of God”
will illuminate it and its lamp is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, the Lamb (Rev. 21:23; 22:5). The
nations of the new earth will walk by its light since it will be permanently suspended above the
new earth (Rev. 21:24). There will be no day or nighttime and its gates will never be closed
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because there will no longer be any war (Rev. 21:25). The glory and honor of the nations shall be
brought into it (Rev. 21:26). The only individuals who will be allowed into the city will be the
elect angels and regenerate humanity (Rev. 21:27). Those who rejected Christ as Savior will be
suffering in the Lake of Fire forever and ever and will therefore not be found in this city or
trying to enter its gates (Rev. 20:11-15). There will be a river in the middle of its only street
called the “water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb”
(Rev. 22:1-2). The tree of life will be on either side of the river bearing 12 kinds of different fruit
which it will yield every month (Rev. 22:2).
Regenerate humanity and elect angels will serve the Lord in this city throughout the eternal
state and there will no longer be any curse (Rev. 22:3). We shall see the Lord’s face and His title
shall be on our foreheads (Rev. 22:4).
Life in the New Jerusalem will be composed of: (1) Fellowship with the Lord (John 14:3; 1
Cor. 13:12; 1 John 3:2; Rev. 22:4). (2) Rest (Rev. 14:13). (3) Knowledge (1 Cor. 13:12). (4)
Integrity (Rev. 21:27). (5) Joy (Rev. 21:4). (6) Service (Rev. 22:3). (7) Prosperity (Rev. 21:6).
(8) Glory (2 Cor. 4:17; Col. 3:4). (9) Worship (Rev. 7:9-12; 19:1). (10) Peace (Rev. 21:24-26).
Destruction of Heaven
The present heaven will be destroyed by our Lord at the end of human history and a new
heavens and a new earth will be created by Him (Isa. 65:17; 66:22; 2 Pet. 3:10-13; Rev. 21:1). In
fact, Hebrews 1:10-11 quoting Psalm 102:25-27 states that the present heaven and earth “will
perish…will become old as a garment” and “as a mantle” the Lord Jesus Christ “will roll
them up…as a garment they (the present heavens and earth) will be changed.” The new
heaven and new earth will be the real place of perfect happiness, peace and righteousness
because no form of evil and unrighteousness will be allowed into it (2 Pet. 3:10-13; Rev. 21:1-8).
The presence of evil in the universe as a result of Satan and the fallen angels rebellion resulting
in the appeal trial require that the Lord Jesus Christ create a new heavens and a new earth.
The fact that God the Father as part of the divine decree allowed the free will of angels and
man to co-exist with His sovereign will, resulting in disobedience to His sovereign will, demands
that the Lord Jesus Christ create a new heavens and new earth where there will no longer exist
the presence of evil and rebellion to His sovereign will. Then what our Lord stated on the throne
of God and was recorded by the apostle John under the inspiration of God the Holy Spirit will
come to pass, “the first things have passed away (the present heavens and earth)…behold I
(the Lord Jesus Christ in Hypostatic Union) am making all things new” (Rev. 21:4-5).
Creation of a New Heaven
The new heavens and new earth will be created for the eternal state. The new heavens and
new earth will be a place of perfect integrity for there will be the absence of evil in its midst (2
Pet. 3:13). Thus, the eternal state will be the fulfillment of 1 Corinthians 15:24-28, “then
comes the end (of human history), when He (the Lord Jesus Christ in Hypostatic Union as
the God-Man) delivers up the kingdom to the God and Father, when He (the Lord Jesus
Christ) has abolished all rule and all authority and power. For He (the Lord Jesus Christ)
must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be
abolished is death (eternal state). For He (God the Father) has put all things in subjection
under His (the Lord Jesus Christ) feet. But when He says, ‘All things are put in
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subjection,’ it is evident that He (God the Father) is excepted who put all things in
subjection to Him (the Lord Jesus Christ). And when all things are subjected to Him (the
Lord Jesus Christ), then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One (God the Father)
Who subjected all things to Him (the Lord Jesus Christ), that God may be all in all.”
The eternal state can only take place when the Lord Jesus Christ creates the new heavens and
new earth. The eternal state takes place after the completion of Satan’s appeal trial, which is
human history. The appeal trial terminates after the Gog revolution, which Satan initiates on
earth (Rev. 20:7-9). It will take place after the execution of the sentence against Satan and the
fallen angels when they are cast into the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:10). It will take place after the
Great White Throne Judgment (Rev. 20:11-14).
The apostle John describes the new heaven and the new earth in Revelation 21:1-3, “And I
saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away (2
Pet. 10-13), and there is no longer any sea (formerly the prison cell for the bena ha elohim,
fallen angels who had sex with women during the antediluvian age of Noah). And I saw the
holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride
adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, ‘Behold, the
tabernacle of God is among men (the Lord Jesus Christ in Hypostatic Union), and He (the
Lord Jesus Christ) shall dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself
shall be among them, and He (the Lord Jesus Christ in Hypostatic Union) shall wipe away
every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be
any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.’”