Where Is Heaven Located?
How Do We Get There?
Are There Multiple Heavens?
Is There an Intermediate Heaven?
How Big Is Heaven?
Are the Streets Really Made of Gold?
Will We Be Able to Enjoy the Beauty of Nature in Heaven?
Does Heaven Have Its Own Sun?
Is There Anything Unpleasant in Heaven?
When heading to an unknown destination on a family vacation, children often complain, “It’s going to be boring!” Then when the vacation is over and it’s time to return home, they don’t want to leave. It’s hard to blame them—we are often skeptical of that which we have not experienced.
Heaven is one of those places. We know few details of what it will be like. But we have underlying principles that give us reason to believe it will be anything but boring. First, heaven is going to be “a new earth.” Even in its sin-ravaged condition (Romans 8:20-23), earth as we know it today is not boring. It is beautiful, varied, exotic, and challenging—yet cursed because of sin. If this earth is exciting, God’s “new earth” will be beyond our expectations (Ephesians 3:20). Second, God’s creation, present and future, reflects God Himself—and God is not boring. Nobody who has read the Scriptures and walked with God could accuse Him of boredom.
Are you ready for heaven? Excited about heaven? Start planning for eternity by learning more about your eternal destination.
The Bible doesn’t give us longitude and latitude for heaven, but we do know one thing—heaven is up!
Let’s look at a few verses that mention heaven’s location (emphasis added):
- In Mark 6:41, Jesus received a boy’s lunch of bread and fish, and “He looked up to heaven, blessed and broke the loaves, and gave themto His disciples.”
- In John 17:1, as Jesus began to pray, He “lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: ‘Father.’”
- At the very end of His earthly ministry, Jesus led His disciples to the Mount of Olives, and the Bible says, “He lifted His hands and blessed them. Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven” (Luke 24:50-51).
- The book of Acts begins with the same event, telling us, “He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight” (Acts 1:9).
- As the disciples gazed into the sky, two angels appeared beside them and gave them a powerful promise: “This sameJesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11).
Did you know that when a person says, “The angels came and took him,” it’s not just sentiment? It’s based on Scripture. When the beggar Lazarus died, Jesus said he “was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom” (Luke 16:22). Thus, we have it on the authority of Jesus Himself that God sends His angels to user believers into eternity.
The third heaven is an incredible stretch of atmosphere from the earth. If the believer’s spirit is to return to God, then it must pass through this great expanse. Angels take us to heaven, so we won’t have to make the journey alone. God sends his heavenly escorts to lead us home.
The First Heaven:The first heaven is the atmospheric heaven—the sky with its clouds and birds and life-giving oxygen. Isaiah 55:10-11 says, “For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My word be.” In this passage, the word heaven refers to the atmosphere that yields its rain and snow to the earth.
The Second Heaven:The second heaven is the vast universe in which we live, filled with billions of stars, planets, dust clouds, meteors, and galaxies. The story of the creation of the second heaven is told in Genesis 1:14-17:
Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth.
The Third Heaven:The third heaven is the one Paul had in mind when he wrote, “I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a one was caught up to the third heaven. And I know such a man—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows—how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter” (2 Corinthians 12:2-4).
This heaven—the heaven of heavens, the highest heaven—is the locale of the throne and the dwelling place of God. It is Paradise. It is our eternal home. This is where we will soon live side-by-side with God and with the angels and with the redeemed of all the ages.
(Taken from David Jeremiah’s Revealing the Mysteries of Heaven.)
The Bible teaches that every believer who died prior to the Ascension of Christ went to an intermediate heaven called Paradise, also called Abraham’s bosom (Luke 16:19-23).
But when Jesus ascended after His death, He went into Paradise and took all who were there—all the Old Testament saints, all who had died and believed in God before the Ascension—with Him to the third heaven (Ephesians 4:8-10).
This means that believers no longer go to the intermediate heaven upon death. The soul and spirit of today’s believers immediately rise to the third heaven because Paradise is no longer an intermediate place; Paradise is now with God (2 Corinthians 12:2-4).
The Bible gives us dimensions for the New Jerusalem, the “capital city” of heaven and the home that Jesus is preparing for us:
That translates to about 1,500 miles wide, 1,500 miles long, and 1,500 miles high. This city is far beyond what we can imagine and is large enough to comfortably house every one of us who will live there for eternity.
South of Cairo, travelers can walk about seven miles to a harbor on Lake Qarun. This little stretch of roadway has the distinction of being the oldest paved road in the world. People have been treading it for 4,600 years. It’s one of several ancient roads that still exist and conjure up feelings of wonder. Think of the Silk Road that traversed Asia, the Appian Way outside Rome, and the Inca Road system that linked South America and created an empire. Civilization needs roadways, and some of them are breathtakingly beautiful and even enchanting.
But none of these roads are as beautiful, enduring, breathtaking, or dazzling as the golden boulevard that links the neighborhoods of New Jerusalem. In Revelation 21:18, we’re told that the entire city is constructed of “pure gold, like clear glass.” Verse 21 adds, “And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.”
Those are visual terms, and the Lord revealed this information so we can begin to picture heaven in advance and anticipate its glories. If you’re taking to the road today, look at that black asphalt beneath your tires and compare it with the glory to be revealed.
Think of the most beautiful landscape you’ve seen on earth. Now let me tell you that it doesn’t compare to the beauty and majesty of nature we can expect in the new heaven and new earth.
Revelation speaks of a river and trees in the New Jerusalem that you can’t find anywhere else:
This river has been anticipated for a long time—even the psalmist spoke of it: “There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God” (Psalm 46:4).
On each side of this river are planted not just the tree, but the trees, of life. In the original Greek text, the word tree can mean a plurality of trees. In fact, there are twelve trees, and these trees bear different kinds of fruit each month throughout the year. We will be able to eat from every tree without prohibition.
Oh, what delight to imagine that beautiful city shining like a golden jewel with the water coming down from the throne of God and the trees of life planted on each side!
In the New Jerusalem, there will be no light sockets, lanterns, or lamps. Light will emanate through the city from the throne of God where the Lamb, who is the Lord Jesus, sits. The Bible says that in that city, He will be the light, and there will be no need for any other light because the brilliance of the Lord Jesus in His glorification will fill the city.
Revelation 21:11, 23
- No more electric bills
- No glare from streetlights or headlights
- No more pollution from power plants
- No need to buy light bulbs
- No sunscreen needed because the Son’s light will not burn us
- No carpets or clothes will become faded
Every living thing will receive the perfect amount of light. This fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah 60:19:
Nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you;
But the Lord will be to you an everlasting light,
And your God your glory.
This city doesn’t reflect light due to any material combustion or consumption of fuel. The light emanates from the Lamb Himself, who is the Light of the World, and He will be the light of the city.
Few scenes are as stunning as standing on the Brooklyn Bridge and scanning the glittering skyscrapers of New York City. The starry city spreads out like a sparkling earthbound sky, glamorous and glorious. But what you don’t see are the rats—millions of them. They can squeeze through tiny openings, leap distances of four feet, survive falls of fifty feet, tread water for three days, and spread a medical encyclopedia of diseases. New York City has a special hotline (dial 311) so residents can report infestations.
When we read in the Bible about the Celestial City of God, we realize it’s a city with unsurpassed beauty but without any corruption or impurity. It’s the only city in history with no ugly underside. It is a pure and holy city, glowing with the glory of God, illumined by the light of Christ, as clear as crystal, with diamond walls, golden streets, gates of pearl, and foundations of the most beautiful jewels imagined (Revelation 21:10-21).
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