Heaven seems to be the place that most desire as their ultimate destination. I certainly desire to spend eternity there. I am a Christian, so I view it from that perspective. When most think of heaven, whether a Christian or not, they seem to view it from this perspective, at least in Western and American thought. This perspective is that if you are good, then you’ll get in. However, if you are bad, then you’ll be cast into hell. For me, the criteria for spending eternity in heaven isn’t whether your good or bad, it’s whether you know Jesus.
OK, I may have lost some readers on that note. If we do know Jesus, then through that relationship we have become His goodness. From that goodness, we then become goodness to the earth. If we are good, it’s because He has made us good. How does this happen? Through heaven invading our hearts. You see I will tie this together, and answer, at least in part, the question that titles this article:
Where is Heaven?
I did a Google search on this and you get many responses. For some, heaven is somewhere in the universe. For others, it is beer and boobs. Others view it as a tropical beach or a tremendous mansion. I guess “where is heaven,” is as puzzling as “what is heaven?” In order to form some kind of statement on the matter, lets take a journey through a couple bible verses and see what kind of conclusions we can derive.
Man’s Attempt to Reach Heaven
In Genesis 11, the story of the Tower of Babel is recited:
Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” 11:4 ESV
Here, or there shall we say, all of mankind came together to build a city. The crux of the city would be a tower that reached into the heavens. Before they could finish God came and dispersed them and confused their language. His goal was to prevent them from making an artificial connection to heaven built with their own hands.
Because we are created in the image of God, there a standard desire in all of us to connect with God and reside in a heavenly place or state of being. Whether you’re a believer in Jesus, or another religion, atheist, or even agnostic, this desire still burns inside each of us. The lifestyle we choose is the way we express it. For the expression to complete the circuit, we must find our existence in the heart of Jesus. He did come, after all, to reconnect heaven to earth.
Immediate after the story of Babel, in Genesis 12, God calls Abram or Abraham. Right away, just as he stops man from finding heaven in his own way, God calls man out, so he could find heaven God’s way. Abraham’s call was to build a different kind of city than we see in Babel:
For he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. Hebrews 11:10 NASB
So in Genesis 11, we have a city being build by men: Now in Hebrews 11; which occurred in Genesis 12; we have a city being built by God. The verses in Genesis mentioned that they were to build a city and then a tower to reach heaven. Here Abraham is called to build the city of God in the earth. What about the tower, what about the connection? This promise would be given to Abraham’s descendents.
His grandson Jacob has a dream in Genesis 28:
And he dreamed, and behold, there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. And behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it! And the Lord stood above it…
Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.” vv 12; 13b; 16-17 ESV
In this dream He saw the connection of heaven to earth. He called the place God’s house or Bethel. There we could say that God’s house is wherever heaven and earth meet. Now we are getting somewhere. God showed that their was already a connection from heaven to earth. Therefore there was no need for man to try to build one themselves.
You have mankind one side of the ladder, and God standing at the top with angels in between. This appears that there are three different playing fields here; Jacob’s level; the angels’ level; and the Father’s level. I know not if this is the first mention, but here the reality of heavenly places is being revealed to creation. Of this realm, there are three divisions; first-man; second-angelic; third-God. How does man get from his sphere, through the angels’ sphere, and then to God’s sphere?
The Son of Man
Understanding this concept as a foundation for Israel-the nation that would retrieve its namesake from Jacob-brings greater enlightenment to the ministry of Jesus. As I stated in my book The Call for Revivalists, Jacob’s dream reveals that Israel is called to be a land inhabited by a people where heaven meets earth. As such, they were always approaching heaven from the bottom of the ladder and relating to God at the top of the ladder, with the spiritual world sandwiched in between. We see this modeled in the Temple. You had the outer courts, the Holy Place, and the Holy of Holy that contained the Presence of God. When know that when Jesus died, the veil that separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the world was torn. This not only gave us access to the Holy of Holies, it also gave the Holy of Holies access to us!
Jesus came from the top of the ladder to connect heaven to earth. This in essence revealed that He Himself was the ladder:
And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you,j you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” John 1 :51 ESV
He is the answer of both how to get to heaven and where heaven is:
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. vv 14:6
He is the way to the Father. Go through Him and you will both find Heaven, and get to heaven! When His sweet body was torn on the cross, sin was torn away from our spirits. When He died, we died with Him. When He rose, we also rose. When He Ascended, He sent His Holy Spirit to fill us with heaven. When we know Him and have relationship with Him, we also come into relationship with the fullness of these promises. Heaven is not just a destination, it’s an in-habitation. There is now no separation. If you believe in Jesus, you have access to heaven both now and forever!
The 3rd Heaven
Heaven is found and located in Jesus, but still, have we really found it? The apostle Paul seemed to have found it.
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. 1 Corinthians 12:2-4 ESV
Whoa, what is that? Third Heaven? We kinda mentioned it earlier in the article. In Paul’s day and culture, people generally believed in either 3 or 7 levels of heaven. The first level was the expanses of the sky; the second level was the realm of angels and demons; the third heaven was reserved for the highest and purest beings, ie God Himself. When Paul describes this he is saying that he has been to the highest heavenly place. This is also mentioned in the book of Ephesians.
In this Epistle, Paul references Heavenly Places 5 times. I feel the whole theme of the book is centered around this concept. In Chapter 1, he reveals how God raised Jesus to the highest heavenly place:
These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. vv 19b-21 NASB
Jesus came from this place through humility, (see Philippians 2), and as a man, fulfilled the Law of God by showing how to be full of the Spirit. Jesus was raised from His life on earth, passed the 2nd heaven, and seated at God’s own right hand in the highest place, next the the purest being. What then, do you think, would be His first act in this new position? Well, keep reading…
And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. vv 2:1-6
The answer… He reached down through the second heaven, into the first. He then took hold of us who were dead, and made us alive by sitting us right next to Him in the highest heavenly place. WHOA! We are earthly and heavenly at the same time.
In Jesus we have access to heaven and heaven has access to us. This makes the Lord’s Prayer make more sense. The goal is a lifestyle of heaven coming to earth while we express our worship towards heaven. He are naturally supernatural beings. Being born again means that we come alive to this revelation and reason for our existence.
Creations is the expression of God speaking out the desires of His heart. He holds the universe in the palm of His hands. Why do you think He allowed them to be pierced? To redeem it. If he spoke and the universe was created, then where is the universe?
God doesn’t live somewhere in the universe; the universe lives somewhere in God!
If you think that space is big, just imagine the depths of God. Where is heaven? It is everywhere. It is the highest most powerful realm. If the 1st heaven is the center of the bulls eye, then the outer ring is the 3rd heaven, which includes everything inside of it.
If you want to get to heaven, then get to know the Heavenly One. His name is Jesus and He loves you. Why don’t you ask Him about it…