So... where is heaven?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Baptist Believer, Jan 28, 2014.

  1. Baptist Believer

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    In another thread, there is a discussion of a book that alleges that the author "woke up in heaven" and was allowed/sent back to this type of life to testify about it. There's no shortage of these books out there, and one of them, "Heaven is For Real" is apparently being made into a motion picture based on a big advertising cutout I saw at a theater recently.

    I give very little credence to these types of stories for lots of reasons, primarily theological, but they all beg the question:

    Where is heaven?

    In other words, what is the location of heaven? Is it somewhere far away or it is present with us, beyond our senses, just like God is with us, often beyond our senses unless He makes Himself manifest to us in some way.

    If heaven is with us, that would explain the "great cloud of witnesses" that can see God's perfect will being worked out throughout the free will of humankind and His direct actions.

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. convicted1

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    It's certainly not here. Jesus said He was going to prepare a place for us, and when He comes back, He will take us there. Now, the "there" is where? Up above?
     
  3. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    Heaven is where God is.

    God is everywhere.

    From that logical sequence, perhaps you expect me to say, "Heaven is everywhere."

    Nope.

    That God in heaven is always near to His children on earth is something which the Bible expresses throughout. The New Testament mentions heaven with considerable frequency. Despite this frequency, God seems to have left His mailing address out of the Bible. Perhaps He has intentionally covered its location in mystery, for it is more important for us to focus on the God of heaven than the description or location of heaven itself. In other words, it is more important to know the why than the where.

    The New Testament focuses on the purpose of heaven more than telling us what it is like or where it is. We see in Scripture that hell is for separation and punishment. Heaven, on the other hand, is for fellowship and eternal joy and, more importantly, worshipping around the throne of God. So the answer is, I don't know where heaven is, but I do know that I'm going. It isn't my focus as a Christian, however. Serving God by serving others is that focus, and the reward for my faith is that timeless place of praise and worship of my God and Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ.
     
  4. agedman

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    It is important to understand that what we consider heaven isn't the final heaven revealed in Scriptures.

    There is a place that the Lord Jesus Christ is preparing, that has yet to be revealed to the believers.

    It is a place never polluted by the presence of any enemy of the believer - be it human or spiritual.

    This place is only given as a glimpse in the final part of the book of Revelation, and what is given leaves the believer with such wonder.

    Those who have "out of body" experiences (be they true or not - as Paul reflected) may only glimpse what shall ultimately be destroyed.
     
  5. blackbird

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    In the book of Acts---the Bible gives us a clue as to Heaven's location

    The religious crowd had gathered itself against Stepthen in Acts 7

    vs. 54 & following tells us, "When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, looked up steadfastly into Heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, And said, Behold I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man, standing on the right hand of God."


    I believe that Heaven is in a sphere that is closed off to the human eye---but yet it is a sphere that is just as real as the sphere we are housed in now-----and that when Stephen looked up steadfastly into Heaven----it was with the spiritual eyes! We look up into the sky with our physical eye and what do we see??------we see the Moon, the Stars, an occasional airliner moving across the sky with its strobe lites blinkin'!!

    But with our physical eye---we do not see "the Heavens" as Stephen saw-----but one day---what we receive by faith will make a rendezvous with what we will see with our spiritual eye------that's the place Stephen found himself----he found himself at the very front door of Heaven---the place where he was on the borderline of leaving everything he had received by faith--and beginning point of the things he would begin to see by sight!!!

    See???
     
  6. Revmitchell

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    That "great cloud of witnesses" is a reference to their testimony not someone standing their watching us.
     
  7. preachinjesus

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    It is in an ontological differentiated plane of existence outside of realm of experience and known universe. It is not located within our knowable realm of creation.
     
  8. Scarlett O.

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    This is correct.

    This is also correct.

    The great cloud of witnesses is the people listed in Hebrews 11. Their life's testimony is a witness to us.
     
  9. pinoybaptist

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    I don't know about the so-called "free will of humankind", but the Bible seems to indicate heaven is "up there".
    Now, considering that if you're standing in the South Pole quadrant, "up there" is actually "down there" to the one standing on the North Pole quadrant, but for gravity holding you down, direction seems to be relative.
     
  10. Greektim

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    True Christianity til the last couple hundred years never really cared about heaven. Their focus was new creation and resurrection. Who cares about heaven? I want resurrection. I want new creation where this world, THIS WORLD, is renewed. I don't want to live w/ God in heaven. I want what the Bible says over and OVER again... I want God to come live with me here in the world he created for such a fellowship.

    Rev 21:3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.
     
  11. Deacon

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    The our final home which many believers call "heaven" is really the new earth.

    But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.
    2 Peter 3:13 NIV

    Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.
    Revelation 21:1–3 NIV

    Rob
     
  12. Greektim

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    Ha... I beat you to in in my post... but so glad to see someone else "get it". Good on ya, mate!
     
  13. Van

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    Just a quick note on heaven. First the Bible teaches of three "heavens."

    The First heaven refers to the earth's atmosphere, where birds fly and clouds hang.

    The Second heaven refers to outer space, where the moon, sun, and stars hang out.

    The Third heaven refers to the realm of God, outside the physical creation. "Paradise" is used interchangeably with "third heaven. Thus when Jesus said, today you will be with Me in Paradise, that refers to entering the third heaven, the realm of God.

    When we see heaven or heavens in scripture, we must ask ourselves, which of the heavens is in view. For example the heaven of the heavens would refer to the realm of God. But Jesus passing through the heavens would refer to heavens one and two. Another example might be Revelation 8:10 where a star falls from heaven. That would seem to refer to heaven number two.
     
    #13 Van, Jan 28, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 28, 2014
  14. Van

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    Hebrews 12:1 is interpreted by some to refer to saints watching how we live, but like the others who have posted on this topic, it actually refers to those who have been witnesses of God and Christ. The idea is we, too, should be effective, and not disqualified, witnesses for Christ.
     
  15. Greektim

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    I would nuance that a bit and say that Paul is relying on a common 2nd temple tradition of heaven being much like a temple... laid out in 3 stages: outer court, inner court, and most holy place. That thinking of the stages of the temple was applied to the throne room temple idea of God in heaven. I don't know that it really lays it out so nice and neat and systematic as you have devised. I know Paul mentions the "3rd heaven" but that again is probably a reliance on a tradition from his Pharisee days. My point is, you are speaking on a lot of certainties that I don't think the Bible says. Scripture and verse where the Bible says what it says about the first 2 heavens. You may be right, but you are systematizing something that is not in Scripture per se.
     
  16. Van

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    Paul boasting that he had been caught up into the “third Heaven” where he heard revelations that he was not permitted to speak. (2 Cor. 12:2-4) I think the third Heaven (Paradise) is outside the universe and contains the throne of God. I think the first heaven is the earth’s atmosphere, where the birds fly (Gen. 1:20) and the second heaven is space where the sun, moon and stars are stretched out. (Isa. 42:5)

    Anyway, take a look at all the places heaven and paradise are mentioned and see if they all do not fall into these three. :)
     
  17. Greektim

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    Like I said, you may be right. But I don't know if Scripture is as systematic on this as you. B/c the temple was in 3 stages, stage 3 being the presence of God on earth; then that idea of 3 stages could be imparted to heaven in that God's presence is the 3rd stage or 3rd heaven. There may not have been much of a distinction of the other 2 stages other than the fact that God is always in the 3rd.
     
  18. Baptist Believer

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    Yes, that's what the New Testament teaches.

    Amen.

    We are created to reign with God upon the earth (exercise dominion over the creatures of the air and sea, as well as all the land animals and vegetation as taught in Genesis 1) and to reign with God forever in His universe, as in Eden (see 2 Timothy 2:12 and Revelation 22:1-5).

    We are not going to spend eternity in a heaven that is "out there" somewhere, but on the earth and possibly beyond the earth.
     
  19. Van

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    Since you seem to have not done a systematic study of all the places heaven, heavens and paradise are used in scripture, you have little basis to question the validity of my analysis.

    Another aspect is when do we enter the heavenly. When God transfers us spiritually from the realm of darkness into the kingdom of His Son, we who are "in Him" are seated with Him in the heavenly or spiritual realm of God. See Ephesians 1:3 and 2:6.
     
  20. quantumfaith

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    :thumbs::thumbs::thumbs:

    PJ, the words of Christ when he tells us that he is going to prepare a place for us, what exactly does that mean? Why would he need to "prepare" a place?
     

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