What is Heaven
Heaven is a word we often use to mean different things. When we look in the sky, we say we are ‘looking up to heaven’. When the rain falls, we say, ‘The heavens have opened’. When we speak of God, we say, ‘He lives in heaven’. And in all instances, we are correct.
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When God created the Heavens and the Earth at the dawn of our creation, the heavens created here was the atmosphere above us, the sky which houses the sun, moon, stars and all other celestial elements. But this is not to be confused with the kingdom of Heaven, where God lives. The heavens, part of our Universe, is a very physical place in our natural world. But Heaven, where God lives, is another place altogether!
Heaven is a spiritual kingdom, a very real place. But it does not exist in our physical world. God is a Spirit, so He lives in a spiritual world. Whilst we do not know where Heaven is, we know the direction; and that is upwards beyond the sky. In Genesis 11:1-7, humans build a tower to reach heaven, “And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men built” [Genesis 11:5]. And in verse 7, the Lord continues to speak to Jesus and the Holy Spirit, confirming that They will ‘go down’ to confuse their [humans] language and send them to different parts of the world. So we know that Heaven is above for God to come down.
Heaven is the home of Jehovah God and Jesus Christ. Whilst it is also the home of the Holy Spirit, He currently dwells with us on the earth. When we look up to the sky or the heavens, we are looking toward heaven, but we are not looking at the Kingdom of Heaven. Whilst the term heaven or 'the heavens' are all used interchangeably, it is the kingdom of Heaven that Jesus came to tell us about and how to get there through Him. Until then, no one knew there was a Kingdom of Heaven waiting to embrace humanity, how to get to it, or that we should even be trying to get there. Jesus teaches us that He came from Heaven, and after He rose from the dead, He returned to Heaven. He also teaches us that God, His Father, lives in Heaven and that the Holy Spirit would come down from Heaven to live with us on Earth, which He has. The Gospels - Matthew, Mark, Luke and John- teach us all about the kingdom of Heaven.
There are many scriptures where God speaks of Heaven, the physical heavens we see when we look up into the sky and the spiritual place where He lives.
In Genesis 15:5, God tells Abraham that many nations will be birthed through him and tells Abraham to “Look now toward the heavens and count the stars—if you can count them,” referring to the physical heaven that Abraham could see. And in Isaiah 66:1-2 God speaks of His might and declares that Heaven is His throne and Earth is His footstool, so He governs both Heaven and the Earth, and we know from these Biblical references that Heaven is above and the Earth is below.
The book of Revelation provides a beautiful insight into Heaven; past, present and future. And one day, God’s kingdom of Heaven will be brought down to the Earth… it will be Heaven on Earth! [Revelation 21].
Heaven is our destination! First up there, then down here.
Genesis Chapter 1
The Gospels - Matthew, Mark, Luke and John
Revelation Chapter 21
Next in the series: What is the Gospel?