Thinking of Home: What is Heaven? 7

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.

Heaven is not only a Physical Reality Created by God, also … an eternal reality inhabited by God, angels and the saints. It is the place of the everlasting blessedness of the righteous; the abode of departed spirits.

Christ calls it his “Father’s house” (John 14:2). It is called “paradise” (Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 12:4; Revelation 2:7), “the heavenly Jerusalem” (Galatians 4:26; Hebrews 12:22; Revelation 3:12), the “kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 25:1; James 2:5) and the “eternal kingdom” (2 Peter 1:11).

The Bible also refers to heaven as the “eternal inheritance” (1 Peter 1:4; Hebrews 9:15) and the “better country” (Hebrews 11:14, 16).

The blessed are said to “sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,” and to be “in Abraham’s bosom” (Luke 16:22; Matt. 8:11); to “reign with Christ” (2 Timothy 2:12); and to enjoy “rest” (Hebrews 4:10, 11).

In heaven the blessedness of the righteous consists in the possession of “life everlasting,” “an eternal weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4:17), an exemption from all sufferings forever, a deliverance from all evils (2 Corinthians 5:1, 2) and from the society of the wicked (2 Timothy 4:18), bliss without termination, the “fullness of joy” forever (Luke 20:36; 2 Corinthians 4:16, 18; 1 Peter 1:4; 5:10; 1 John 3:2).

The believer’s heaven is not only a state of everlasting blessedness, but also a “place”, a place “prepared” for them (John 14:2).