Part 2 of 13 

Heaven and Earth

In this series we are exploring what the Bible has to say concerning God’s eternal intent, plan, and purpose involving saved mankind. Ultimately, the “most high God” has been and is the “possessor of heaven and earth” (Gen 14:19). God’s plan includes the participation of the all believers of all ages to ultimately act as co-regents with Him in “the ages to come,” either “in heaven” or “on earth.”

Jesus of Nazareth came to minister only to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel ” (Matt 15:24), not to the Gentiles. Recall that the so-called Lord’s Prayer Jesus gave His Jewish disciples; THY KINGDOM COME thy will be done ON EARTH.” The prayer includes; “And lead (bring) us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one… (Matthew 6:13 (AMP). The believers of Israel in the Tribulation shall seek to be delivered and preserved from “the Evil One” – the Anti-Christ. All the true heart-circumcised believers of Israel will ultimately inherit “the kingdom of heaven” on earth. This prayer is not a prayer for the predominantly Gentile “ body of Christ” to whom Paul was sent to minister his “mystery” gospel (Eph 3:1, Rom 11:13). By contrast, Paul writes that “the body of Christ” is destined for heaven; “For OUR CITIZENSHIP IS IN HEAVEN, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ(Philippians 3:20 (NASB), at the rapture.

Thus, we need to note understand these distinctions the Bible makes between “the heavens and… the earth” with regard to His eternal plan for the Nation Israel and that for “the body of Christ.”

The Lord’s creation consists of two spheres or realms -“the heavens” and “the earth”. Genesis 1:1 refers to the beginning of the creation; In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth (Genesis 1:1). Genesis does not refer to the very beginning; John 1:1-3 refers to the very beginning. John 1:1-3 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

The John 1:1 account references a “beginning” that was before Genesis 1:1. It is the beginning without a beginning, because it refers to the timeless eternal past. Christ as “the Word” was in the beginning before creation as the creator of “… the world” and “all things” in “heaven and earth.”

John 1:10 He (Jesus) was in the world, and THE WORLD (kosmos) WAS MADE BY HIM

Colossians 1:16 For BY HIM (Christ, see v13) WERE ALL THINGS CREATED, THAT ARE IN HEAVEN, AND THAT ARE IN EARTH, visible and invisible, whether they be THRONES, OR DOMINIONS, OR PRINCIPALITIES, OR POWERS: all things were created by him, and for him.

This series addresses both the realms of “heaven and earth” and the all things created” (v 10) in those realms. The “all things” here are not the trees or fish, etc.; they are the creatures God created and placed in the spiritual realm of the heavens. These have rank and governmental authority, including things; “visible and invisible… thrones… dominions… principalities… powers.” As we will see, these are terms that are often repeated in Paul’s latter epistles and we will better define these later.

The word “heaven” in Genesis 1:1 of the KJV Bible - “God created the heaven and the earth,” should be “heavens.” The Hebrew word for “heaven” here is “shāmayim.” This word is the dual of the Hebrew singular “shameh.” It may properly be translated as “the heavens as seen in most other translations of the Bible. Thus there are multiple heavens within “the heaven” of Genesis 1:1.

Biblically, there are three (3) heavens within the realm of “heaven.” I will summarize these three heavens in their reverse order, as follows.

1.      The “third heaven” is the place of “the Holy Mountain of God ,” the place of God’s throne and also Paradise . Paul gives us his brief account of “the third heaven.” You may recall that Paul was stoned at Iconium and thought by most to have died (Acts 14:19).

“I knew a man in Christ more than fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knows.) Such a one caught UP to the THIRD HEAVEN. 3 And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knows;) 4 How that he was caught UP into PARADISE , and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.” (2 Corinthians 12:2-4)

By comparing Paul’s words in 1Cor 12:4 with Rev 2:7 we can identify the “third heaven” as the place of “the paradise of God;” where all “the just” people of all ages who have died currently dwell. Upon His death, Jesus raised Paradise and the spirits of these pre-cross justified believers with him. Paradise had been located “under the earth.” There bodies still abide in the earth or sea awaiting there resurrection and new spirit-bodies. Now, since the cross all believers are brought immediately into the presence of the Lord.

2 Cor. 5:8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be PRESENT WITH THE LORD.

Ecclesiastes 12:7 (AMP) Then shall the dust [out of which God made man’s body] return to the earth as it was, and THE SPIRIT SHALL RETURN TO GOD WHO GAVE IT.

Philippians 1:23 I (Paul) … having a desire to depart, and TO BE WITH CHRIST

1 Cor. 15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and THE DEAD SHALL BE RAISED INCORRUPTIBLE, AND WE SHALL BE CHANGED (allasso, made different).

1 Thes. 4:13-17 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye SORROW NOT, even as others which have no hope. 14For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so THEM ALSO WHICH SLEEP IN JESUS WILL GOD BRING WITH HIM. 15For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and THE DEAD IN CHRIST SHALL RISE FIRST: 17Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and SO SHALL WE EVER BE WITH THE LORD

Believers in the Paradise of heaven await their new spirit-bodies and their assignments in either of God’s two governmental spheres at the culmination of the ages. The members of “the body of Christ” will reign “in the new heaven” and those of believing Israel will reign on “the new earth” in “the kingdom.” We will discuss this later.

Ultimately, at the culmination of the ages, Paradise will be restored to the everlasting “new (renewed) earth.” “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I (God) give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.” (Revelation 2:7)

  1. There also is what may be called the “2nd heaven.” It’s the expanse of the “kosmos”; the universe with its sun, planets and stars as we know it (Gen 1:14-19). It is filled with created spirit-beings.

Lucifer was a Cherub of highest rank (Eze 28:14). God cast him from his position of “Chief Covering angel” who had access to “the holy Mountain of God” in the 3rd heaven (Eze 28:16). The 2nd heaven is now Lucifer’s sphere with his fallen angelic host that had bought into his plan for a coup d'état against “the most high God.” Lucifer’s plan was to ascend above (Isa 14:13) to the “the holy mountain of God in the 3rd heaven. Lucifer now rules the earth from the 2nd heaven, since he was “cast” out of the 3rd heaven.

Formerly, the heavenly government would convene on “mount of the congregation.” The Lord met with the heavenly angelic host in “the mount of the congregation” located somewhere in the northern part of the universe (Isa 14:13), within the 2nd heaven that we call the universe. 1 Kings 22:19-23 was one of those meetings.

  1. Then, there is what may be called the “1st heaven” or the atmosphere that envelopes the planet earth where there are clouds, winds, and the air we breathe. Paul also calls Satan “the prince of the power of the air(Eph 2:2). Lucifer, also called the Dragon, Old Serpent, Satan and the Devil, is the over-ruler, the evil mastermind and “the god of this world.” He is the present ruler this world. We will discuss this in greater detail in subsequent installments.

2 Corinthians 4:4  In whom THE GOD OF THIS WORLD (SATAN) hath blinded the minds of them which believe not….

Ephesians 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to THE PRINCE OF THE POWER OF THE AIR, THE SPIRIT THAT NOW WORKETH IN THE CHILDREN OF DISOBEDIENCE: