Which Heaven?

The Bible refers to three realms of future blessing after death, not just the one called “heaven.” Each one has its own resurrection from the grave and its own inheritance of blessings as a result of an adoption.

Until the end of Acts, the idea of man entering God’s realm of “the heaven of heavens” was unthinkable.

The hope of Israel was a restored ‘kingdom of heaven’ on the earth (cf. Acts 1:6). Abraham was promised “The land” for ‘his seed’ for ever (Gen 13:15) and he looked for a city which hath foundations whose builder and maker is God (He 11:10).

Only AFTER the 35-year Acts period ended with Israel deemed by God to be Lo-Ammi (“not my people”), was a Mystery [‘secret’ plan of God]” revealed to the Apostle to the Gentiles, Paul (cf. Rom. 11:13). This “Mystery’ pertains to an election of men seen by God as Gentiles, having the hope of a high calling which included spiritual blessingsin heavenly places, in Christ” (cf. Eph 1:3), This is where “Christ sitteth at the right hand of God” (Col. 3:1, Eph. 1:20) FAR ABOVE all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age-time, but the coming [eternal] age also.”

Below are key Bible verses pertaining to the promises pertaining to Three Different Realms and the eternal destinies for God’s three blessed people groups. The differing promises and blessings concern the people of each one of these three listed locations.

  1. “The Kingdom of Heaven” on “The New Earth”
  2. In “The New Jerusalem” come down from heaven
  3. “In the Heavenly Places”

 

  1. The Kingdom of [from] Heaven” on “The New Earth” … for Abraham’s Seed

God to Abraham said;  

For all The Land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever.  And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered.  Arise, walk through the land in the length of it [the land] and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee. (Genesis 13: 15-17)

Jesus said to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel”;

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit The Earth. (Matthew 5:5)

Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming [to earth] in the clouds of heaven. Matthew 26:64 (KJV)

Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. Acts 1:11

Peter as “the Apostle to the circumcision” (Israel) wrote to Israel;

Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. (2 Peter 3:13)

John, as an Apostle sent to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel,” wrote:

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. (Revelation 21:1)

Jesus said: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. Matt. 24:30-31 (KJV)

2. “The City” “New Jerusalem” on earth … for The Elect of Israel

By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.  By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For He Looked For A City which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. (Hebrews 11:8-10)

Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is New Jerusalem, Which Cometh Down Out Of Heaven From My God: and I will write upon him my new name. (Revelation 3:12)

And I John saw the Holy City, New Jerusalem, Coming Down From God Out Of Heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (Revelation 21:2)

And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me That Great City, The Holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God (Revelation 21:9-10)

3. “The Heavenly Places” … are for the ‘One Church’ of “the Body of Christ” who is “the HEAD.”

 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he [the Father] wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: (Ephesians 1:19-21)

And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together In Heavenly Places In Christ Jesus: (Eph. 2:6)

When Christ, who is our life, SHALL APPEAR, then shall YE ALSO APPEAR WITH HIM IN [heaven’s] GLORY.” (Col. 3:4)

Note that the term “The Heavenly Places” could better be rendered as “the super-heavenlies”

Charles H Welch wrote this below to answer the question: “Why “SUPER-heavenlies”?

The special sphere of blessing which belongs alone to the Church of the One Body is mentioned five times in this epistle, and a study of these occurrences will supply us with valuable information.

First of all, we translate the word ‘super-heavenlies’ in recognition of all that belongs to the Greek word “epouraniois”; secondly, because the word is found in Ephesians 4:10, where ‘far above all heavens’ is the Greek “huperano panton ton ouranon”; and thirdly, because the information supplied by the five references demands some such translation.

Passing, therefore, to the second reference, we find, in Eph. 1:20-21 that this sphere of blessing is:

(a) At the Father’s right hand.

(b) “Far above all principality and power.”

That this tremendous height is the destined sphere of “the Church” of “the Mystery” of Eph. 2:6 declares. There the believer is associated with the risen Christ, ‘made to sit together in the super-heavenlies in Christ Jesus’. Christ the Head AND the Church His Body are blessed together THERE.

The next two references, Ephesians 3:10 and 6:12, show the super-heavenlies as the abode of principalities, powers, and rulers…. The Church of the “One” “Body of Christ” is blessed even above heaven’s nobility. All Dominions and thrones are beneath it in its super-heavenly sphere.

While the word epouraniois is found in many passages in the New Testament, such as Hebrews 12:22: ‘The heavenly Jerusalem,’ nowhere else than in the epistle to the Ephesians do we read the phrase en tois epouraniois.

These words do not reveal the nature of our blessings - they are ‘all spiritual’ - but they reveal where they will be enjoyed - ‘in the heavenlies’, which, because of their uniqueness, and in order to recognise the far above position intended by the phrase we translate ‘in the super-heavenlies’.