1st, 2nd, and 3rd Heaven


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If Paul spoke of the 3rd heaven, there must be 1st and 2nd heaven. Where are these three heavens located? What are the "mansions" promised by Christ for the real believers?


Man is the only creation with a SOUL, the attributes of which are the ability to think, to feel and to comprehend. These make man a rational being. As a result, people believe that there is life after death, either a life of bliss, Nirvana, joy, paradise, or a life of suffering for retribution. A few believe otherwise but this is an exception. As such therefore, people aspire for the former and this brought the formation of religions: Islam, Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, etc. Religions are founded on philosophy, emotion, and dedication. Christianity is based on the Holy Bible accepted as the inspired word of God:

2 Pet. 1:21 "For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost."
2 Tim. 3:16 "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."

Many verses attest to the existence of heaven where God is, and this is mentioned in the popular prayer:

Matt. 6:9 "…Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.."

Human perception indicates that heaven is above, from the Old and New Testament verses:

Deut. 26:15 "Look down from thy holy habitation, from heaven, and bless thy people…"
Job 22:12 "Is not God in the height of heaven? and behold the height of the stars, how high they are!"
Acts 7:55 "But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God…"

However God is speaking in parables:

Ezek. 20:49 "Then said I, Ah Lord GOD! they say of me, Doth he not speak parables?"

Jesus Christ was likewise prophesied to speak in parables or dark sayings of old:

Psa. 78:2 " I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old:"

True to the prophecy, Jesus Christ spoke in parables and these He explained to His disciples:

Mark 4:34 "But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples."

Paul spoke of the 3rd  heaven, presumably therefore there must be 1st and 2nd heaven:

2 Cor. 12:2 "I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven."


Heaven is the "dwelling place" of God. Who could shed light on the truth about heaven but God/Jesus Christ through His words. Some of Christ's listeners asked Him where heaven could be found.

Luke 17:20 "And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God comet not with observation: 21Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you."

What Jesus said could be the FIRST HEAVEN. By saying "not with observation" indicates that heaven is not a place but a state. The FIRST HEAVEN as  "dwelling place" of God is confirmed in:

1 Cor. 3:16 "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?"

It is a state in the sense God alludes to it, and this should be found in the real believers.

Rom. 14:17 "For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost."


God's righteousness in the chosen should be distinguished from Man's righteousness. Man's standard of righteousness on the word of God is primarily based on the "letter of the word." Example: for the commandment "Thou shalt not steal" and "Love thy neighbour as thyself."


Man's Standard on this commandment is based on honesty of not taking and coveting anything of value such as, jewelry, money, car, etc, belonging to others. This is only half-truth when Jesus Christ called this "cleanliness on the outside." He pointed this to the Scribes and Pharisees who were the epitome of righteousness as Teachers of the Law and zealous followers thereof. On this commandment, Jesus Christ explains God's Standard in:

John 10:1 "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber."

The "door of the sheepfold" is JESUS CHRIST (John 10:9) and He is the TRUTH (John 14:6).

Therefore, anyone who "does not pass through Jesus Christ" does not pass through the "door."  That is why all Bible believers claim passing through Jesus Christ as their savior and Lord. They believe that He is the promised Messiah. However, there is no unity or common belief on the truth. Jesus says, "I am the truth." The truth in the word is expounded and elucidated by the word itself.  If man's standard of righteousness comprises only half of the truth then, indeed, there are only "a few" that could measure up to God's standard. Who among the people would have accepted Christ's rebuke to the Teachers of the Law and their zealous followers telling them?

Matt. 23:25 "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter…26Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also."

Jesus was referring to their human standard only for they did not see God's standard, and this refers to "cleanliness in the inside." The Teachers of the Law were not of the truth. Accordingly  they were "not passing through the door." For further explanation read:

How does our Lord explain INSIDE in rebuking the Scribes and Pharisees for cleaning only the OUTSIDE?


"I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink." (Matt. 25:31)

Man's Standard is simply giving fresh water or, perhaps spiritualizing it, giving something of value to a needy. God explains His Standard through His words. Water symbolizes the word with the revelation of the Holy Spirit on the word:

Eph. 5:26 "That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word."
John 7:37 "...Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. ...But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghostwas not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)"

How many people noticed this rebuke?

Romans 10:2 "For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. 3For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God."

Therefore to follow this virtue a person should have the TRUTH: Spirituality for Spiritual Life and morality for Physical life.


Again there are two standards for "peace." Man's Standard is simply the feeling of "ease, serenity, and comfort" regardless of conditions in life.  Mind conditioning and self-discipline attain this whatever religion a person believes in. As distinguished, God's Standard for peace is the "unruffled acceptance" of truth in the word in spite of its "sharpness like a 2-edged sword," without the feeling of revulsion and antipathy.

Heb. 4:12 "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."

"Peace" is demonstrated in the Disciples of Christ who accepted the TRUTH calmly, while the Scribes and Pharisees who were sorely offended cursed it.


Man's standard for joy are the things that satisfy the feeling for some worthy accomplishments or success be they physical or intellectual. We find this in the fields of sports, social, business, politics, and scientific endeavors. God's standard of joy is beholding and sharing the good news of the "birth" of Jesus:

Luke 2:10 "The angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."

Since Jesus is the TRUTH, His birth on "earth" marks the birth of TRUTH in a man of which he is symbolized in Jer. 22:29.  The Wise Men from the East found the child Jesus.

Matt. 2:9 "…and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. 10When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy."

Beholding the birth of Jesus means finding the TRUTH! The "wise men" are the "poor in spirit" (Matt. 5:3) who are endowed with divine knowledge and wisdom (2 Tim. 3:15). Not only beholding and sharing the TRUTH but "eating" it as well is real spiritual joy:

Jer 15:16 "Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts."

There is also spiritual joy in finding people embracing the truth:

1 Thes. 2:20 " For ye are our glory and joy."

And living by the truth:

3 John 1:3 "For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth. 4I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth."

Only true Christians enjoy these priceless and cherished "righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost," which our Lord speaks of as the FIRST HEAVEN.

"The dead rose from their graves"

Matt. 27:50 "Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. 51And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; 52And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, 53And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many."

The death of Jesus Christ on the cross fulfilled the Testament of God. This marks the availability of the Holy Spirit, the promised Inheritance, to those humbling themselves before Him. As it is written, God is speaking in parables (Ezek. 20:49) or "spiritual things." These are the dead in the eyes of God.

Prov. 21:16 "The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead."

The "dead" therefore are the Natural Men who cannot understand "things of the Spirit of God." "Things of the Spirit of God" are His words that the Natural Man tries to understand with the intellect (1 Cor. 3:18, Col. 2:8) and feeling (Jer. 17:9), instead of what God conveys through His words by demonstration.

1 Cor. 2:14 "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."
1 Cor. 3:18 "Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise."
Col. 2:8 "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy…after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ."
Jer. 17:9 "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?"

The spiritually dead persons therefore become spiritually alive after God dwells in them (1 Cor. 3:16). But all these pass through the steps of spiritual conversion like a "little child" (Matt. 18:3) in order to be endowed with divine wisdom (Matt. 11:25, 2 Tim. 3:15). This in effect is "born again" (John 3:3) or "born of water and of Spirit" (John 3:5).

1 Cor. 3:16 "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?"
Matt. 18:3 "…Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven."
Matt. 11:25 "…Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes."
2 Tim. 3:15 "And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation…"
John 3:3 "Jesus answered…Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
John 3:5 "Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."

Born of water occurs when a person is born of the "word of God," and is born of Spirit with the revelation of God of His words.

Eph. 5:26 "That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word."

John 14:26 "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost…shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."

Hence, the people who rose from their graves at the death of our Lord are those who humbled themselves by accepting their non-comprehension of "spiritual things." They were Natural Men who were "born again!" They "went into the holy city, and appeared unto many," preaching the truth what the Spirit revealed to them. "Holy city" refers to the place of the "poor in spirit" (Matt. 5:3).  "Rising from the graves" clearly means being "born again" and therefore reached the 1st HEAVEN.

"Elijah caught in a whirlwind"

2 Kings 2:9 "And it came to pass…that Elijah 11…went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven."

Going by the "letter of the word," Elijah was taken into heaven without suffering physical death. Elijah however is not exempted from following truth. Only Jesus Christ was born without sin.

Rom. 3:23 "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God."
Rom. 3:10 "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one."

Jesus Christ suffered physical death, but exempted from the corruption of the body because He is without sin. Three days after His death He had His glorified body:

Acts 13:35 "Wherefore he saith also in another psalm, Thou shalt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption."

Elijah going to heaven with his mortal body would have contradicted the following, for even David was not exempted:

Acts 13:36 "For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption."
1 Cor. 15:53 "For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality."

Therefore let God explain this thing about Elijah being caught up in a whirlwind. Whirlwind symbolizes the Holy Spirit as in Pentecost:

Acts 2:2 "And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind3And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 4And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost…"

Elijah caught up in whirlwind therefore indicates that he was taken to the 1st heaven. This is "born again" (John 3:3, 5).  "Born again" means conversion from Natural Man into a Spiritual Man.

1 Cor. 2:14 "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."
1 Cor. 2:16 "For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ."

1st heaven ends with the physical death of all chosen of which nobody is exempted from.

2 Cor. 5:1 "For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."


The 2nd heaven follows after the physical death of the Chosen who have overcome (Rev. 3:5). We find this in the promise of our Lord to the thief at His right hand.

Luke 23:42 "And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. 43And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise."
Rev. 3:5 "He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels."

Both Jesus and the thief died on the same day. Jesus' body did not suffer corruption, while that of the thief turned into dust thereafter.

1 Cor. 15:54 "So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory."

Paradise as Jesus told the thief is where Lazarus the beggar also went after his death.

Luke 16:22 "And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; 23And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom."

Life after death is clearly revealed. The living soul composed of the intellect and feeling is confirmed in the rich man.

Luke 16:24 "Father Abraham…send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. 25But Abraham said…remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented…27Then …he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: 28For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment."

Look how God really speaks "spiritual things." How could the rich man suffer from the heat of the flame when he no longer has his physical body? How could the Chosen reaching 2ndheaven need a place when what they have only is their invisible-intangible soul? This confirms that heaven is not a place but a state as in the 1st heaven.

If the Chosen in the 1st heaven already could enjoy "righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost," what more in the 2nd heaven where without the physical body any longer are the problems in life, frustrations, trials, sufferings, etc. In this state, called Paradise, are the Chosen from the foundation of the world wait till the resurrection of the dead.

Rev. 20:12 "And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works."

The "books" refer to the individual records of all people who lived in this world.

2 Cor. 5:10 "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad."

The "other book" or the BOOK OF LIFE is the Holy Bible that contains the inspired word of God that represents Him. It is the only book that charts the way to eternal life. The real believers' names are written in the BOOK OF LIFE, for they can be identified with the chosen of God in the Holy Bible.


In the beginning God was alone. He created man in His own image to have an eternal companion. But man himself destroyed this image with sins. God restored His image in man with His testament of salvation. The testament could only be fulfilled by the death of the maker:

Heb. 9:16 "For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator."

Thus we find God manifesting Himself in the flesh.

1 Tim. 3:16 KJV only "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh…"

This was fulfilled by the death of Christ on the cross and confirmed in:

1 John 3:16 KJV only "Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us…"

God did not only manifest Himself in the flesh to fulfill His testament, but to show the Way as well, by example, for no human being is worthy of this role:

Rom. 3:23 "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God."
John 14:6 "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way…"
1 Pet. 2:21 "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps."

Only a few have truly recognized Jesus Christ who is the expressed image of the invisible God.

Col. 1:14 "In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: 15Who is the image of the invisible God…"

Sad to state, all these because God is speaking "spiritual things" and only a few want to humble themselves in order to be endowed with divine knowledge and wisdom.  For details on the identity of God and Jesus Christ, read:


  • Who is JESUS in the 1st century -- the JESUS of the Apostles? "JESUS is the TRUTH, the WAY, and the LIFE".
  • With the different identities of JESUS being "peddled" today, Christianity has become a "market place" for truths and ways to eternal life.
  • How and where can we find, and who can tell us the "teachings of the Apostles about Jesus?"



  • Can people accept that it is not enough to simply believe in one God?
  • What is the PREREQUISITE to "loving God," according to Jesus Christ?


"The end of the world"

With the omniscience of God, He knows who among the people living on earth would humble themselves like His chosen in the Holy Bible. Once the number is complete, His plan of having an eternal companion is fulfilled. God's call should reverberate in the whole world:

Jer. 3:14 "Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion:"

God refers to Himself as the HUSBAND while His Chosen, both male and female, His WIFE.

Isa. 54:5 "For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called."

Though few in number at any given time, in the end God's Chosen will be in the multitude. Their resurrected body will be like the glorified body of Christ:

1 John 3:2 "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is."

What a glorious reunion will be for the Bridegroom and Bride.

Rev. 21:1 "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 2And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 4And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. 5And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. 6And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely."

"House of many mansions"

Finally the promise of our Lord to His chosen remaining faithful to the end is fulfilled!

John 14:1 "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."

A mansion is a gorgeous dwelling place. God commissioned Solomon to build Him a dwelling place, called Temple.  It was God who designed and specified the materials to be used in the Temple. Its construction was supervised and controlled by Him. After it was finished God said:

1 Kings 9:1 "And it came to pass, when Solomon had finished the building of the house of the LORD, and the king’s house, and all Solomon’s desire which he was pleased to do, 3…the LORD said unto him, I have heard thy prayer and thy supplication, that thou hast made before me: I have hallowed this house, which thou hast built, to put my name there for ever; and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually."

Literally there are two houses, "the house of the Lord and the king's house." Literally the house of the Lord is His dwelling place. However God is speaking "spiritual things" (Ezek. 20:49). To take the word of God literally, it will contradict the following:

Acts 7:47 "But Solomon built him an house. 48Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet."

The real dwelling place of God is the real believer!

1 Cor. 3:16 "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?"

Therefore the "house/temple" built by Solomon refers to himself where from thereon he became God's dwelling place. Just as the temple was designed, materials specified, and construction supervised by God, so is the REAL BELIEVER'S life as spiritual temple of God is similarly "constructed." To note in 1 Kings 9:1 are two houses: the "house of the Lord" and the "king's house." Look how the "two houses" relate to the following:

John 17:21 "That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us... 22And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: 23I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one…"

While literally there two houses built, since Jesus/God and the real believer/Solomon are one, can we not now see the "MANSION" referred to in John 14:2? The temple was built cooperatively as a team by God and Solomon, so is the MANSION built by God and the real believer which refers to his/her LIFE AS A TRUE BELIEVER. God uses the title "king" to Solomon, which to a Natural Man (1 Cor. 2:14) refers to a political position.  It actually refers to the believer:

Rev. 1:6 "And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father…"

Truly, God is "preparing" MANSIONS in cooperation with and as a team with real believers! The MANSION is the physical body of the real believer as a temporary "dwelling place:"

2 Cor. 5:1 "For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."

The permanent and lasting MANSION is the glorified body of the real believer like the body of Christ after His resurrection!

1 John 3:2 "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is."

The precious stones and metals and streets of gold mentioned in the book of Revelation relating to the eternal kingdom have their spiritual meanings, which are hidden from the comprehension of the Natural Man. However, God distinguishes the Spiritual Man:

1 Cor. 2:16 "For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ."
Col. 1:26 "Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints."