Thinking of Home: What is Heaven? 6

The Bible describes heaven as a physical reality created by God.  The usual Hebrew word for “heavens” is shamayim, a plural form meaning “heights,” “elevations” (Gen. 1:1; 2:1). The word “heaven” may refer to one of three primary meanings.

It may mean the physical universe. The phrase “heaven and earth” is used to indicate the whole universe ((Gen. 1:1; Jer. 23:24; Acts 17:24).

Secondly, it may refer to the planetary heavens. That is to say the domain of the sun, moon and the stars. (Deuteronomy 17:1-3; Psalm 8:1-4; Jeremiah 8:1-2; Matthew 24:29-31).

Finally, it refers to the divine heaven: the domain of God, angels and the redeemed Old Testament and New Testament saints.

1 Kings 8:22-27. Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the assembly of Israel and spread out his hands toward heaven, and said, “O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you, in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and showing steadfast love to your servants who walk before you with all their heart; you have kept with your servant David my father what you declared to him. You spoke with your mouth, and with your hand have fulfilled it this day. Now therefore, O Lord, God of Israel, keep for your servant David my father what you have promised him, saying, ‘You shall not lack a man to sit before me on the throne of Israel, if only your sons pay close attention to their way, to walk before me as you have walked before me.’ Now therefore, O God of Israel, let your word be confirmed, which you have spoken to your servant David my father. “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you; how much less this house that I have built! (1 Kings 8:22-27, ESV)

Psalm 115:16. The heavens are the Lord's heavens, but the earth he has given to the children of man. (Psalm 115:16, ESV)

Psalm 148:1-4. 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 you shining stars! Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens! (Psalm 148:1-4, ESV)

2 Corinthians 12:1-4. I must go on boasting. Though there is nothing to be gained by it, I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. And I know that this man was caught up into paradise—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows—and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter. (2 Corinthians 12:1-4, ESV).