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Are there three Heavens? – 4th September 2017
“Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to
what he has done”(Revelation 22:12).
The closestthingScripture saysto there beingdifferentlevelsof heavenisfoundin 2Corinthians12:2,
“I knowa man in Christwho fourteen years agowas caughtup to the thirdheaven. Whether it was in
the body or out of the bodyI donot know—Godknows.” Some scholarsconceptualize thisisindicating
that there are three differentlevelsof heaven,alevel for“super-committedChristians”orChristians
whohave obtainedahighlevel of spirituality,alevel for“ordinary”Christians,andalevel forChristians
whodidnot serve Godfaithfully. ButalthoughPaul saidthisinthe above passage, the above concept
has no Scriptural basis tomove furtherinthismatter.
In contextPaul isnotsayingthat there are three heavensoreventhree levelsof heaven.Inmany
ancientcultures,people usedthe termheaventodescribe three different“realms”—the atmosphere,
outerspace,and thena spiritual heaven. Since there isnospiritual reference regarding“three heavens”
inthe bible,we canassume that Paul wassayingthat God took that person to the “spiritual”heaven—
the realmbeyondthe physical universe towhere Goddwells.The conceptof differentlevelsof heaven
may have come inpart from the poemDante’sThe Divine Comedy whichisa longnarrative poem by
Dante Alighieri,completedin1320, a yearbefore hisdeathin1321. The poem'simaginative visionof the
afterlife isrepresentative of the medievalworld-viewasithad developedinthe WesternChurch bythe
14th century.Inthisthe poetdescribesbothheavenandhell ashavingnine differentlevels. The Divine
Comedy,however,isafictional work.The ideaof differentlevelsof heavenisforeignto Christian
Scripture.
But as Christian,we needtobearinmindthat Scripture speakof differentrewardsinheaven. We can
learnwhere Jesussaidregardingrewards, foundin Revelation22:12, “Behold,I am comingsoon!My
reward is with me, andI will giveto everyone accordingto what he has done.” Since Jesuswill be
distributingrewardsonthe basisof whatwe have done,we cansafelysaythat there will be atime of
rewardfor believersandthatthe rewardswill differsomewhatfrompersontoperson.
As believersinChrist,we canlearnasstatedinthe bible thatonlythose worksthatsurvive God’s
refiningfire have eternal valueandwill be worthyof reward.Those valuable worksare referredtoas
“gold,silver,andcostlystones” aswe can read in 1 Corinthians3:10-12, “By the grace Godhas given
me, I laida foundationasa wise builder,andsomeone else is buildingonit.But each one shouldbuild
with care. 11
For noone can lay any foundationotherthanthe one alreadylaid,whichis Jesus Christ.
12
Ifanyone buildsonthis foundationusinggold,silver,costlystones,wood,hay or straw.” Here Paul is
speakingaboutthose thingsthatare builtuponthe foundationof faithin Christ. He saysthat those
worksthat will notbe rewardedare called“wood,hay,andstubble”;these are notevil deedsbut
shallowactivitieswithnoeternal value.
As Christianswe needtoknowthatthe rewardswill be distributedatthe “judgment seatof Christ,”a
place where believers’liveswill be evaluatedforthe purpose of rewards.“Judgment”of believersnever
referstopunishmentforsin althoughmaywrongfullystate. JesusChristwasthe atoningsacrifice forour
sinwhenHe diedon the cross,and God saidabout us sinnersin Hebrews 8:10-12, “Thisis the covenant
I will establishwith the people ofIsrael after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws intheir
mindsand write them on their hearts. I will be their God,andthey will be my people. 11
Nolonger will
they teach their neighbor, or sayto one another, ‘Knowthe Lord,’ becausethey will all know me, from
the least of them to the greatest.12
For I will forgive their wickednessand will remember their sins no
more.”
What a gloriousthought! Therefore the true believerneedneverfearpunishment,butcan steadfastly
lookforwardto crownsof rewardbyrepentingforone’ssinandseekingsalvationat the feetof our
SaviorJesusChrist.Inconclusion,there are notdifferentlevelsof heaven,but aswe can understand
fromthe bible, there are differentlevelsof rewardinheaven forthe Childrenof God. We can learn
whenwe read 1 John3:1,“See what great love the Father has lavishedonus, that we shouldbe called
childrenof God!Andthat is what we are! The reason the world does notknow us is that it didnot
know him.” Therefore asChristiansoursisnotto countthe different levelsof heavensbutare required
by God to share the Good Newsmessage thatJesusbrought,sothatothernon believersmaycome to
knowChristas onessaviour…andbe savedfrometernal punishment. “Thentheywill go away to
eternal punishment,butthe righteousto eternal life.”(Matthew25:46).
4th September 2017 - Are there three Heavens?

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4th September 2017 - Are there three Heavens?

  • 1. Are there three Heavens? – 4th September 2017 “Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done”(Revelation 22:12). The closestthingScripture saysto there beingdifferentlevelsof heavenisfoundin 2Corinthians12:2, “I knowa man in Christwho fourteen years agowas caughtup to the thirdheaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the bodyI donot know—Godknows.” Some scholarsconceptualize thisisindicating that there are three differentlevelsof heaven,alevel for“super-committedChristians”orChristians whohave obtainedahighlevel of spirituality,alevel for“ordinary”Christians,andalevel forChristians whodidnot serve Godfaithfully. ButalthoughPaul saidthisinthe above passage, the above concept has no Scriptural basis tomove furtherinthismatter. In contextPaul isnotsayingthat there are three heavensoreventhree levelsof heaven.Inmany ancientcultures,people usedthe termheaventodescribe three different“realms”—the atmosphere, outerspace,and thena spiritual heaven. Since there isnospiritual reference regarding“three heavens” inthe bible,we canassume that Paul wassayingthat God took that person to the “spiritual”heaven— the realmbeyondthe physical universe towhere Goddwells.The conceptof differentlevelsof heaven may have come inpart from the poemDante’sThe Divine Comedy whichisa longnarrative poem by Dante Alighieri,completedin1320, a yearbefore hisdeathin1321. The poem'simaginative visionof the afterlife isrepresentative of the medievalworld-viewasithad developedinthe WesternChurch bythe 14th century.Inthisthe poetdescribesbothheavenandhell ashavingnine differentlevels. The Divine Comedy,however,isafictional work.The ideaof differentlevelsof heavenisforeignto Christian Scripture. But as Christian,we needtobearinmindthat Scripture speakof differentrewardsinheaven. We can learnwhere Jesussaidregardingrewards, foundin Revelation22:12, “Behold,I am comingsoon!My reward is with me, andI will giveto everyone accordingto what he has done.” Since Jesuswill be distributingrewardsonthe basisof whatwe have done,we cansafelysaythat there will be atime of rewardfor believersandthatthe rewardswill differsomewhatfrompersontoperson. As believersinChrist,we canlearnasstatedinthe bible thatonlythose worksthatsurvive God’s refiningfire have eternal valueandwill be worthyof reward.Those valuable worksare referredtoas “gold,silver,andcostlystones” aswe can read in 1 Corinthians3:10-12, “By the grace Godhas given me, I laida foundationasa wise builder,andsomeone else is buildingonit.But each one shouldbuild with care. 11 For noone can lay any foundationotherthanthe one alreadylaid,whichis Jesus Christ. 12 Ifanyone buildsonthis foundationusinggold,silver,costlystones,wood,hay or straw.” Here Paul is speakingaboutthose thingsthatare builtuponthe foundationof faithin Christ. He saysthat those worksthat will notbe rewardedare called“wood,hay,andstubble”;these are notevil deedsbut shallowactivitieswithnoeternal value.
  • 2. As Christianswe needtoknowthatthe rewardswill be distributedatthe “judgment seatof Christ,”a place where believers’liveswill be evaluatedforthe purpose of rewards.“Judgment”of believersnever referstopunishmentforsin althoughmaywrongfullystate. JesusChristwasthe atoningsacrifice forour sinwhenHe diedon the cross,and God saidabout us sinnersin Hebrews 8:10-12, “Thisis the covenant I will establishwith the people ofIsrael after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws intheir mindsand write them on their hearts. I will be their God,andthey will be my people. 11 Nolonger will they teach their neighbor, or sayto one another, ‘Knowthe Lord,’ becausethey will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.12 For I will forgive their wickednessand will remember their sins no more.” What a gloriousthought! Therefore the true believerneedneverfearpunishment,butcan steadfastly lookforwardto crownsof rewardbyrepentingforone’ssinandseekingsalvationat the feetof our SaviorJesusChrist.Inconclusion,there are notdifferentlevelsof heaven,but aswe can understand fromthe bible, there are differentlevelsof rewardinheaven forthe Childrenof God. We can learn whenwe read 1 John3:1,“See what great love the Father has lavishedonus, that we shouldbe called childrenof God!Andthat is what we are! The reason the world does notknow us is that it didnot know him.” Therefore asChristiansoursisnotto countthe different levelsof heavensbutare required by God to share the Good Newsmessage thatJesusbrought,sothatothernon believersmaycome to knowChristas onessaviour…andbe savedfrometernal punishment. “Thentheywill go away to eternal punishment,butthe righteousto eternal life.”(Matthew25:46).