The Christian Old Testament, which is based primarily upon the Hebrew Bible, follows the Jewish narrative and mentions that Enoch was “taken” by God, and that Elijah was bodily assumed into Heaven on a chariot of fire.
Is heaven same as haven?
Haven looks a lot like heaven, and the words have quite a bit in common. A haven isn’t necessarily as wonderful as heaven is supposed to be, but it is a good place to find when you’re in trouble or someone is after you. This word often appears in the phrase “safe haven,” which is a good reminder of its meaning.
The Qur’an, central religious text of Islam, teaches that Muhammad was transported from the Great Mosque of Mecca to the Al-Aqsa Mosque during the Night Journey. After leading prayers at the mosque, Muhammad ascended into heaven alive. In heaven, he individually greets previous prophets and later, speaks to Allah, who gives him instructions regarding the details of prayer. Muhammad’s ascent into heaven was temporary, and he later came back to Earth. In the hadith, later collections of the reports, teachings, deeds and sayings of Muhammad, the Al-Aqsa Mosque was understood as relating to Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The Al-Aqsa Mosque, derived from the name mentioned in the Qur’an, was built on the Temple Mount under the Umayyads several decades after Muhammad’s death to commemorate the place from which Muslims believe he had ascended to heaven.
Altogether, the Catholic Church has taught by the universal and ordinary magisterium that Saints Enoch and Elijah were assumed into Heaven, and it teaches dogmatically and therefore infallibly that Mary was assumed into Heaven; that it is acceptable as a pious belief that Saint Joseph was assumed into Heaven; and that it is a pious belief that Moses (after his death) and Saint John the Apostle were assumed into Heaven (though the assumption of Saint John has generally been considered much weaker and less probable). The Eastern Orthodox Church teaches that three other persons were taken bodily into heaven: Enoch, Elijah (Elias) and the Theotokos (Virgin Mary). Similar to the Western “Assumption” of Mary, the Orthodox celebrate the Dormition of the Mother of God on August 15. The Orthodox teach that Mary died a natural death like any other human being, that she was buried by the Apostles (except for Thomas, who was late), and three days later (after Thomas had arrived) was found to be missing from her tomb. The church teaches that the Apostles received a revelation during which the Theotokos appeared to them and told them she had been resurrected by Jesus and taken body and soul into heaven. The Orthodox teach that Mary already enjoys the fullness of heavenly bliss that the other saints will experience only after the Last Judgment. Islamic texts deny the idea of crucifixion or death attributed to Jesus by the New Testament. The Quran states that people (i.e., the Jews and Romans) sought to kill Jesus, but they could not crucify or kill him, although “this was made to appear to them”. Muslims believe that Jesus was not crucified but instead he was raised by God unto the heavens. This “raising” is often understood to mean through bodily ascension.
What is not in heaven?
The phrase “not in Heaven” is understood to justify human authority to interpret the Torah. The Talmud explains “[The Torah] is not in Heaven” to mean that the meaning of the Torah itself is to be uncovered not by prophets, or even God’s miracles or words, but by humankind’s interpretation and decision-making.
In the Hebrew Bible, there are two exceptions to the general rule that humans could not go to heaven – Enoch and Elijah – but neither is clear. Genesis 5:24 mentions Enoch as one who “walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away”, but it does not explicitly say whether he was alive or dead, and it does not say where God took him. The Books of Kings describes the prophet Elijah being taken towards “shamayim” in a whirlwind, but the word can mean either heaven as the abode of God, or the sky (as the word “heavens” does in modern English), and so again the text is ambiguous.Jesus is considered by the vast majority of Christians to have died before being resurrected and ascending to heaven. Most Christians believe Jesus did initially die, but was then resurrected from the dead by God, before being raised bodily to heaven to sit at the Right Hand of God with a promise to someday return to Earth. The minority views that Jesus did not die are known as the swoon hypothesis and Docetism. Mary, the mother of Jesus is considered in Eastern Orthodoxy to have died prior to being assumed (translated) into heaven. In like manner, Roman Catholicism affirms that Mary, the mother of Jesus, suffered death prior to her assumption which has been “expressly affirmed in the Liturgy of the Church” and is expressly seen in paragraph 20 of the proclamation of this teaching. Protestants generally believe that Mary died a natural death like any other human being and subsequently entered heaven in the usual manner, though certain adherents belonging to the Evangelical Catholic tradition of Lutheranism and the Anglo-Catholic tradition of Anglicanism affirm the Assumption of Mary, while others in these traditions reject the Assumption of Mary.Entering heaven alive (called by various religions “ascension”, “assumption”, or “translation”) is a belief held in various religions. Since death is the normal end to an individual’s life on Earth and the beginning of afterlife, entering heaven without dying first is considered exceptional and usually a sign of a deity’s special recognition of the individual’s piety.By the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.It is a pious belief in the Catholic Church, but not a dogma, that Saint Joseph, too, was assumed into Heaven. This pious belief is called the Assumption of Saint Joseph. Many Catholic saints, doctors of the Church, as well as several Popes, such as John XXIII, supported this belief.
Since the adoption of the Nicene Creed in 325, the ascension of Jesus into heaven, as related in the New Testament, has been officially taught by all orthodox Christian churches and is celebrated on Ascension Thursday. In the Roman Catholic Church, the ascension of the Lord is a Holy Day of Obligation. In the Eastern Orthodox Church the ascension is one of twelve Great Feasts.
The doctrine is based on sacred tradition that Mary was bodily assumed into heaven. For centuries before that, the assumption was celebrated in art and in the Church’s liturgy. The proclamation’s wording does not state if Mary suffered bodily death before being assumed into heaven; this is left open to individual belief. Some theologians have argued that Mary did not die, while others maintain that she experienced death not due to original sin, but to share in her son’s own death and resurrection.Members of various Ascended Master Teachings, a group of New Age religions based on Theosophy, believe that Francis Bacon underwent a physical Ascension without experiencing death (he then became the deity St. Germain). They also believe numerous others have undergone Ascension; they are called the Ascended Masters and act as spirit guides to human souls on their spiritual path. The leaders of these religions claim to be able to receive channeled messages from the Ascended Masters, which they then relay to their followers. On November 1, 1950, Pope Pius XII, acting ex cathedra, issued Munificentissimus Deus, an authoritative statement of official dogma of Roman Catholicism. In Section 44 the pope stated: Some Islamic scholars have identified the prophet Idris to be the same person as Enoch from the Bible. This is because the Quran states that God “raised him to a lofty station”, and that has been taken to be a term for ascending, upon which it is concluded that “Idris” was “Enoch”. When the tomb of John the Evangelist (located in the Basilica of St. John, Ephesus) during Constantine the Great’s reign supposedly yielded no bones, this gave rise to the belief that his body was assumed into heaven (other accounts say that only manna or the saint’s sandals was found in the tomb). Augustine of Hippo spoke against the tradition in his Treatises on the Gospel of John (AD 406–420), and Dante attempted to refute the belief in his Paradiso. Sacred Scripture teaches that Enoch and Elijah were assumed into heaven while still alive and not experiencing physical death. There is also an unconfirmed pious belief that Moses was assumed bodily into Heaven after his death; this is based on the Epistle of Saint Jude, where Saint Michael the Archangel contends with Satan over the body of Moses.In the Reformed Churches, which teach Calvinist theology, belief in the ascension of Christ is included in the Westminster Confession of Faith, the Heidelberg Catechism and the Second Helvetic Confession.
Are there 7 heavens?
In religious or mythological cosmology, the seven heavens refer to seven levels or divisions of the Heavens. The concept, also found in the ancient Mesopotamian religions, can be found in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam; a similar concept is also found in some other religions such as Hinduism.
The Catholic Church distinguishes between the ascension of Jesus in which he rose to heaven by his own power, and the assumption of Mary, the mother of Jesus, who was raised to heaven by God’s power, or the assumption of other saints.The premillennial dispensationalist belief in a “rapture”—a belief rejected by Catholics, Eastern Orthodox and Lutherans—is drawn from a reference to “being caught up” as found in 1 Thessalonians 4:17, when the “dead in Christ” and “we who are alive and remain” will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord, though Christians differ on interpretation.
Members of the largest denomination in the Latter Day Saint movement, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) believe that the apostle Paul briefly described these degrees of glory in 1 Corinthians 15:40-42, and in 2 Corinthians 12:2. Joseph Smith elaborated on Paul’s descriptions based primarily upon a vision he received with Sidney Rigdon in 1832 and recorded in Doctrine and Covenants (D&C) Section 76. According to this vision, all people will be resurrected and, at the Final Judgment, will be assigned to one of three degrees of glory, called the celestial, terrestrial, and telestial kingdoms. A small number of individuals who commit the unpardonable sin will not receive a kingdom of glory, but will be banished to outer darkness with Satan where they will be “sons of Perdition”.
In 1831 Smith and the Latter Day Saints in upstate New York migrated to what had become the center of Church membership in Kirtland. Smith and Rigdon studied and prayed intensively together, and after comparing the Book of Mormon, the Bible and Smith’s earlier revelations, they concluded that “God rewarded everyone according to the deeds done in the body” and “the term ‘Heaven,’ as intended for the Saints’ eternal home must include more kingdoms than one.”
According to the book of Doctrine and Covenants, those who will inhabit the telestial kingdom include those “who received not the gospel of Christ, nor the testimony of Jesus.” It will also include “liars, and sorcerers, and adulterers, and whoremongers, and whosoever loves and makes a lie”, as well as “murderers, and idolaters”. Because of their refusal to accept Jesus as their Savior, these individuals will remain in spirit prison for 1,000 years during the millennial reign of Christ. After the 1000 years, the individuals will be resurrected and receive an immortal physical body and be assigned to the telestial kingdom.
On February 16, 1832, while working on translation of the New Testament passage John 5:29 in the upstairs bedroom of the John Johnson home, Smith and Rigdon received what was known to early Latter Day Saints as “the Vision.” It detailed a heaven divided into three degrees of glory, the Celestial, Terrestrial, and Telestial Kingdoms, where resurrected beings would go after the final judgement.
It was a great trial to many, and some apostatized because God was not going to send to everlasting punishment heathens and infants, but had a place of salvation, in due time, for all, and would bless the honest and virtuous and truthful, whether they ever belonged to any church or not. It was a new doctrine to this generation, and many stumbled at it. … My traditions were such, that when the Vision came first to me, it was directly contrary and opposed to my former education. I said, Wait a little. I did not reject it; but I could not understand it.The celestial kingdom will be the residence of those who have been righteous, accepted the teachings of Jesus Christ, and received and lived up to all of the required ordinances and covenants. Individuals may accept and receive these ordinances and covenants during their mortal lives. For those who did not have the opportunity while living, they will have the opportunity in the post-mortal spirit world, where they can accept ordinances performed on their behalf by LDS Church members in temples. All children who die before the age of eight automatically inherit the celestial kingdom without the reception of ordinances. The celestial kingdom is the permanent residence of God the Father and Jesus Christ.
Swedenborgian writings were spread widely in New England in the early 1800s by Swedenborgian missionaries. In 1839 Smith met with a recent Latter Day Saint convert from Swedenborgianism, Edward Hunter, and told him, “Emanuel Swedenborg had a view of the world to come, but for daily food he perished.” Others, including Smith’s biographer Richard Bushman have argued it is more likely that Smith and Swedenborg developed their ideas independently based on 1 Corinthians chapter 15.
Joseph Smith taught that “a white stone is given to each of those who come into the celestial kingdom, whereon is a new name written, which no man knoweth save he that receiveth it.” This white stone will become a Urim and Thummim (or seer stone) to the recipient.
Smith taught that individuals in the telestial kingdom will be servants of God, but “where God and Christ dwell they cannot come, worlds without end”; however, they will receive the ministration of the Holy Ghost and beings from the terrestrial kingdom. Despite these limitations, in LDS Church theology being resident in the telestial kingdom is not an unpleasant experience: “the glory of the telestial … surpasses all understanding”.
Smith also taught that the earth will also receive a celestial glory. Smith taught the earth, like the planet where God resides, will be “made like unto crystal and will be a Urim and Thummim to the inhabitants who dwell thereon”.Some, including Mormon historian D. Michael Quinn, have argued that various parts of the plan of salvation were influenced in part by Emanuel Swedenborg’s book Heaven and Hell. In Heaven and Hell, Swedenborg wrote that “[t]here are three heavens” that are “entirely distinct from each other.” Swedenborg called the highest heaven “the Celestial Kingdom.” He also stated that the inhabitants of the three heavens corresponded to the “sun, moon and stars.”During the original endowment temple ordinance, church members moved between ordinance rooms that represented the three different kingdoms of glory. In most newer LDS temples, the majority of the moves between rooms have been replaced with changes in lighting to represent changes from one degree of glory to the next. In some of the church’s older temples (e.g., the Salt Lake, Idaho Falls Idaho, Manti Utah, and Cardston Alberta temples), the classic version of the endowment ceremony is still done by moving from room to room. Every LDS temple includes a celestial room—representing the celestial kingdom—that is separate from the other ordinance rooms.
“The Vision” was not published until five months after it was received, and after the first two years was rarely mentioned in the 1830s or early 1840s. After the tepid reception of “the Vision”, Joseph Smith gave instruction to missionaries to “remain silent” about it, until prospective converts had first believed the basic principles.
In the Mormon theology and cosmology there are three degrees of glory (alternatively, kingdoms of glory) which are the ultimate, eternal dwelling place for nearly all who lived on earth after they are resurrected from the spirit world.The doctrines of the new Church of Christ had not been completely developed or understood yet in Kirtland, especially with Joseph Smith in New York and missionaries having moved on to Missouri. As such, many early Kirtland converts retained Disciple of Christ doctrines and practices. Regarding the afterlife, Disciple of Christ leader Alexander Campbell published in 1828 a vision he had received of “three kingdoms” where he wrote, “While musing upon the three kingdoms, I fancied myself in the kingdom of glory after the final judgment.” He went on to explain that heaven was divided into “the Kingdom of Law, the Kingdom of Favor, and the Kingdom of Glory” where the deceased would enter based on levels of faith, works, and Abrahamic lineage. Disciples of Christ also believed that most people would be numbered among the sinners sent to a “lake of fire and brimstone” outside of heaven. Smith taught that only those individuals who are sealed in celestial marriage to a spouse will be permitted to enter into the highest degree of celestial glory. These individuals will eventually become “exalted”. It is believed that this cannot be comprehended in the world; rather, it is said that the learnin
g and understanding of salvation and exaltation will occur even beyond the grave. Like other ordinances, the sealing to a spouse may occur during mortal life or may be accepted by the parties in the afterlife and performed by proxy in a temple. The branch in Geneseo, New York was particularly apprehensive. Ezra Landon, a leader of the Geneseo branch who had convinced a number of others against the Vision, told visiting missionaries that “the vision was of the Devil & he believed it no more than he believed the devil was crucified … & that he Br Landing would not have the vision taught in the church for $1000.” Joseph Smith sent a letter to the branch making clear that disbelief in the Vision was an excommunicable offense, and after refusing to change his position Landon was excommunicated.
What is Telestial?
Overview. The telestial kingdom is the lowest of the three degrees or kingdoms of glory in heaven. The scriptures compare the glory of the telestial kingdom to the glory of the stars.
Ultimately, the kingdom of glory (either the celestial or the terrestrial) received by those who accept the testimony of Jesus will be based on God’s knowledge of whether they “would have received it with all their hearts” as manifested by their works and the “desire of their hearts”.
Assignment to a particular kingdom in the resurrection is contingent upon the desires and actions exhibited during mortal and post-mortal life. Critically different from Disciple of Christ beliefs was that in Latter Day Saint theology, virtually all would be saved, to include sinners, a distinction that caused some to apostatize from the young church. The LDS Church teaches that these different kingdoms are what Jesus was referring to when he said “[i]n my Father’s house are many mansions” (John 14:2). Additionally, that 1 Corinthians speaks of these three degrees of glory, comparing them with the glory of the sun, moon, and stars. Smith also taught that just as there are different degrees of glory within the celestial kingdom (D&C 131:1–4), there are different degrees of glory within the telestial kingdom. He stated that “as one star differs from another star in glory, even so differs one from another in the telestial world.” In the telestial kingdom, each person’s glory will vary depending on their works while on the earth. The celestial kingdom is the highest of the three degrees of glory. It is thought by the LDS Church to be the “third heaven” referred to by the apostle Paul in the King James Version of 2 Corinthians 12:2 and it is said to correspond to the “celestial bodies” and “glory of the sun” mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15:40–41.According to Doctrine and Covenants Section 76, those who will inhabit the terrestrial kingdom include those who lived respectably but “were blinded by the craftiness of men” and thus rejected the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ when it was presented to them. It also includes persons who rejected the “testimony of Jesus in the flesh, but afterwards received it” in the spirit world and those who “are not valiant in the testimony of Jesus” after having received it.
The telestial kingdom is the lowest of the three degrees of glory. It is believed by LDS Church members to correspond to the “glory of the stars” mentioned by the apostle Paul in the King James Version translation of 1 Corinthians 15:41. “Telestial” is a term with no prior usage, and it was not made clear if the word was meant to be part of the vision or an invention by Smith or Rigdon. Historian Mark Staker points out that Rigdon had elementary experience with Latin and Greek, and that the word reflects the idea of being far off or reaching the end.
Smith and Rigdon stated, “we saw the glory and the inhabitants of the telestial world, that they were as innumerable as the stars in the firmament of heaven, or as the sand upon the seashore”. Bruce R. McConkie suggested that by implication this means that “most of the adult people who have lived from the day of Adam to the present time will go to the telestial kingdom.”
The terrestrial kingdom is the middle of the three degrees of glory. It is believed by LDS Church members to correspond to the “bodies terrestrial” and “glory of the moon” mentioned by the apostle Paul in the King James Version translation of 1 Corinthians 15:40–41 The word “terrestrial” derives from a Latin word meaning “earthly”.
In April 1830, the Church of Christ was organized in upstate New York. By October of that year, the church had grown to between seventy and eighty disciples. That fall missionaries were sent west to convert the Native Americans in Missouri. They passed through Kirtland, Ohio, where they encountered widespread success among the congregations of Sidney Rigdon, adding hundreds of additional converts. Many of these members, including Rigdon, had formerly been members of the Disciples of Christ led by Alexander Campbell.
Smith taught that translated beings abide in the terrestrial kingdom until they are judged at the Final Judgment, after which they will enter into the celestial kingdom.
Christian universalism, or the idea that God would save all of humanity, was a prominent and polarizing religious belief in the 1830s. Many converts to the early church disagreed with Universalism and felt the Book of Mormon justified their views. When news of “the Vision” reached the branches of the church, it was not well received by all and seen by many as a major shift in theology towards Universalism. An antagonistic newspaper wrote that with “the Vision” Joseph Smith had tried to “disgrace Universalism by professing … the salvation of all men.”
In its literal or plain meaning, the verse means that God’s commands are not overwhelming but rather close to human hearts and abilities to obey. As noted in the New Oxford Annotated Bible, “The covenant demand is not beyond human reach or understanding but has been graciously revealed… ‘the word is near you.'” The full verse states: “It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will go up to heaven for us, and get it for us so that we may hear it and observe it?’ In general, the verse conforms with how “… the deuteronomic tradition believed its Torah to be an immediately accessible wisdom, neither distant nor wondrous.”In the academic study of Jewish law, the verse “not in Heaven” serves as the Biblical grounding for the jurisprudential structure of halakhah (Jewish law). The source for Rabbinic authority is really from Deuteronomy 17:11 (According to the law which they shall teach you, and according to the judgment which they shall tell you, you shall do). As one author explains, thanks to the midrashic reading of the verse, “…God himself acquiesced in His exclusion from the halakhic process. Having revealed His will in Sinai in the grundnorm, He Himself, according to the Rabbinic explanation, entrusted the interpretation of His will to the Sages.”The phrase “not in Heaven” is understood to justify human authority to interpret the Torah. The Talmud explains “[The Torah] is not in Heaven” to mean that the meaning of the Torah itself is to be uncovered not by prophets, or even God’s miracles or words, but by humankind’s interpretation and decision-making. In the story of the Oven of Akhnai, “Rabbi Yehoshua affirmed the independence of human interpretation from divine intervention since this is what God wills. In support he adduces the biblical statement that the Torah is ‘not in heaven’ (Deuteronomy 30:12).”Not in Heaven (לֹ֥א בַשָּׁמַ֖יִם הִ֑וא, lo ba-shamayim hi) is a phrase found in a Biblical verse, Deuteronomy 30:12, which encompasses the passage’s theme, and takes on additional significance in rabbinic Judaism.
The understanding that the heavens can influence things on earth lent heavenly, magical properties to the number seven itself, as in stories of seven demons, seven churches, seven spirits, or seven thrones. The number seven appears frequently in Babylonian magical rituals. The seven Jewish and the seven Islamic heavens may have had their origin in Babylonian astronomy.
In general, the heavens is not a place for humans in Mesopotamian religion. As Gilgamesh says to his friend Enkidu, in the Epic of Gilgamesh: “Who can go up to the heavens, my friend? Only the gods dwell with Shamash forever”. Along with the idea of seven heavens, the idea of three heavens was also common in ancient Mesopotamia.The description is usually taken as an oblique reference by the author to himself. The passage appears to reflect first-century beliefs among Jews and Christians that the realm of Paradise existed in a different heaven than the highest one—an impression that may find support in the original Greek wording (closer to “caught away” than “caught up”). In religious or mythological cosmology, the seven heavens refer to seven levels or divisions of the Heavens. The concept, also found in the ancient Mesopotamian religions, can be found in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam; a similar concept is also found in some other religions such as Hinduism. Some of these traditions, including Jainism, also have a concept of seven earths or seven underworlds both with the metaphysical realms of deities and with observed celestial bodies such as the classical planets and fixed stars. The Quran and Hadith frequently mention the existence of seven samāwāt (سماوات), the plural of samāʾ (سماء), meaning ‘heaven, sky, celestial sphere’, and cognate with Hebrew shamāyim (שמים). Some of the verses in the Quran mentioning the samaawat are Q41:12, Q65:12 and Q71:15. The seven heavens are not final destinations for the dead after the Day of Judgment, but regions distinct from the earth, guarded by angels and inhabited by souls whose abode depends on their good deeds (fasting, jihad, Hajj, charity), with the highest layer, the closest to God.
In other sources, the concept is presented in metaphorical terms. Each of the seven heavens is depicted as being composed of a different material, and Islamic prophets are resident in each. The names are taken from Suyuti’s Al-Hay’a as-samya fi l-hay’a as-sunmya:
The New Testament does not refer to the concept of seven heavens. However, an explicit reference to a third heaven appears in the Second Epistle to the Corinthians, penned in Macedonia around 55 CE. It describes the following mystical experience:There are two interpretations of using the number “seven”. One viewpoint is that the number “seven” here simply means “many” and is not to be taken literally (the number is often used to imply that in the Arabic language). But many other commentators use the number literally.The Gnostic text On the Origin of the World states that seven
heavens were created in Chaos by Yaldabaoth below the higher realms, and each of them are ruled over by an Archon. During the end times, these heavens will collapse on each and the heaven of Yaldabaoth will split in two, causing its stars to fall upon the Earth, therefore causing it to sink into the Abyss. According to some Puranas, the Brahmanda is divided into fourteen worlds. Seven are upper worlds, Bhuloka (the Earth), Bhuvarloka, Svarloka, Maharloka, Janarloka, Tapoloka and Satyaloka, and seven are lower worlds, Atala, Vitala, Sutala, Talatala, Mahatala, Rasatala and Patala. To each of the seven heavens corresponds one of the seven classical planets known in antiquity. Ancient observers noticed that these heavenly objects (the Moon, Mercury, Venus, the Sun, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn) moved at different paces in the sky both from each other and from the fixed stars beyond them. Unlike comets, which appeared in the sky with no warning, they did move in regular patterns that could be predicted. They also observed that objects in the sky influenced objects on earth as when movements of the sun affect the behavior of plants or movements of the moon affect ocean tides. Others believe the seven heavens are related to the seven stars of Orion, the Big Dipper, Little Dipper and the Pleaides/Seven Sisters according to ancient western astrology.I know a person 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 such a person—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know; God knows—was caught up into Paradise and heard things that are not to be told, that no mortal is permitted to repeat.
The Jewish Merkavah and Hekhalot literature was devoted to discussing the details of these heavens, sometimes in connection with traditions relating to Enoch, such as the Third Book of Enoch.
The concept of seven heavens as developed in ancient Mesopotamia symbolised both physical and metaphysical concepts. In the Sumerian language, the words for heavens (or sky) and earth are An and Ki. The ancient Mesopotamians regarded the sky as a series of domes (usually three, but sometimes seven) covering the flat earth. Each dome was made of a different kind of precious stone. The lowest dome of the heavens was made of jasper and was the home of the stars. The middle dome of heaven was made of saggilmut stone and was the abode of the Igigi. The highest and outermost dome of the heavens was made of luludānītu stone and was personified as An, the god of the sky. The celestial bodies were equated with specific deities as well. The planet Venus was believed to be Inanna, the goddess of love, sex, and war. The sun was her brother Utu, the god of justice, and the moon was their father Nanna. Ordinary mortals could not go to the heavens because it was the abode of the gods alone. Instead, after a person died, his or her soul went to Kur (later known as Irkalla), a dark shadowy underworld, located deep below the surface of the earth. Sumerian incantations of the late second millennium BCE make references to seven heavens and seven earths. One such incantation is: “an-imin-bi ki-imin-bi” (the heavens are seven, the earths are seven.)One modern interpretation of “heavens” is that all the stars and galaxies (including the Milky Way) are all part of the “first heaven”, and “beyond that six still bigger worlds are there,” which have yet to be discovered by scientists.
The Second Book of Enoch, also written in the first century CE, describes the mystical ascent of the patriarch Enoch through a hierarchy of Ten Heavens. Enoch passes through the Garden of Eden in the Third Heaven on his way to meet the Lord face-to-face in the Tenth (chapter 22). Along the way, he encounters vividly described populations of angels who torment wrongdoers; he sees homes, olive oil, and flowers.
The book’s depiction of ten heavens represented an expansion of the ancient seven-heaven model. This expanded cosmology was developed further in medieval Christianity.
In the Coptic Apocalypse of Paul, the apostle Paul ascends through the lower Seven Heavens. At the seventh heaven, he meets an old man who opens the gate to the realm beyond the material universe, and Paul then ascends to the eighth, ninth, and tenth heavens.
In Mandaeism, a series of maṭartas, or “toll houses,” are located between the World of Light (alma ḏ-nhūra) from Tibil (Earth). The term maṭarta has variously been translated as “watch-station”, “toll-station”, “way-station”, or “purgatory”. Maṭartas are guarded by various uthras (celestial beings from the World of Light) and demons. In the Ginza Rabba, seven maṭartas are listed and described in Chapter 3 in Book 5 of the Right Ginza. However, the number of maṭartas is not always seven; Book 6 of the Right Ginza (also known as the “Book of Dinanukht”) lists six, and Chapter 4 in Book 1 of the Left Ginza lists eight. Alternatively, the Seven Heavens can also be seen as corresponding to the Seven Planets, who form part of the entourage of Ruha in the World of Darkness.
Can you go to heaven without dying?
Since death is the normal end to an individual’s life on Earth and the beginning of afterlife, entering heaven without dying first is considered exceptional and usually a sign of a deity’s special recognition of the individual’s piety.
Over the course of the Middle Ages, Christian thinkers expanded the ancient Mesopotamian seven-heaven model into a system of ten heavens. This cosmology, taught in the first European universities by the Scholastics, reached its supreme literary expression in The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri. The idea of seven heavens is carried over into the esoteric Christian cabala.
God’s love is fervent and burns for his children. It is relentless. It will not let us go! And his grace is greater than our sin. If you are a child of God, nothing will take you away from the hand of God. You are eternally secure. Paul knew this and told the Romans in Romans 8:35-39:
Let’s clear something up. None of us will fulfill these perfectly. If you can truthfully answer these questions with a “Yes” or a majority of them and are truly working on the others by depending on God to provide you with strength to obey him, I think you are demonstrating the fruit of genuine salvation. When John says in 1 John 3:6 that, “no one who abides in him keeps on sinning,” he means that no one who practices sin abides in God. So if we habitually, continually, constantly, joyfully and frequently practice any sin, we are not children of God. This certainly does not mean that Christians will be perfect and not ever sin in this life. By contrast, in verse 7, John says, “whoever practices righteousness is righteous.” This does not mean that doing good works saves us. The Christian does not do good works to attain and then maintain salvation; rather, good works prevailing in the Christian is evidence that there has been a genuine spiritual rebirth and we are children of God. Salvation is not the result of good works. Good works are the results of genuine salvation. We must understand this crucial difference.“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?…No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”A problem of the human heart is that it categorizes sin, so sometimes we pick and choose what our hearts see as “BIG” and “BAD” sins and stay away from “little” and “innocent” sins and choose to call those sins “mistakes.” We stay away from cheating on our wives, but we gossip. We stay away from being alcoholics and getting drunk, but we greed over money. We stay away from punching our neighbor, but we have hatred toward them in our hearts. The combinations are endless. Notice that Paul in verses 9-10 includes sexually immoral people with a swindler (someone who cheats another in a business transaction) and a greedy person. Abstaining from certain sins while accepting others is Pharisaic is dangerous.How wonderful it is for the Christian to know that no matter how hard and far they fall from grace, grace is already farther catching them and picking them up, even in their last few minutes of life. If we committed a grave sin or any sin for that matter and died, praise be to God that he placed that sin on Jesus on the cross and Jesus paid my penalty by dying for me so that I may be with him for eternity.
What determines if you get into heaven?
Any hope of heaven is based on the exact same thing our forgiveness is based on and that is Jesus, Jesus, only Jesus. Paul then clearly states who and what determines who gets into heaven — “we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.” God determines who gets into heaven.
Abounding grace does not perpetuate abounding sin in the believer. Abounding grace in the believer perpetuates abounding worship. Christians are free from sin, not freed to sin. Although sin is great and must not be ignored, I want to turn our attention to something bigger than sin…God. The answer is no AND yes. I’ll explain later but first let’s see how the question is often finished. If I skipped your sin because you are extremely holy and don’t have nothing to worry about, then fill in the blank with “self-righteousness.” The Christian does not have to fear that one day he or she may slip and fall moments before death and spend eternity without God. Christ died for all of our sins including the ones we don’t realize we have committed and have not repented of! When Jesus said, “It is finished!” He really meant that the penalty for all your sins was being paid in full.THE ANSWER IS YES!!! When Jesus died on the cross, he paid the penalty of sin for all who believe in him. He died for your past, present and future sin. Please note, I’m not saying if you are saved, nothing you do matters and you can sin all you want because you are going to heaven anyway. That is cheap grace, my friends, and it is wrong and Paul teaches against it in Romans 6:1-2:If the Christian believes that they will go to hell if they die shortly after committing a grave sin, then there was no salvation through grace by faith but rather through works. On the contrary, Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” No one gets to heaven because of what they did or did not do. They get to heaven because they trusted in what Jesus did (lived righteously) and didn’t do (commit any sin).
At the outset, the question is asked in desperation because in our cores lies doubt that we are truly saved. We doubt that Christ is a greater Savior than our greatest sin. In desperation we usually plug in some outrageous sin we’ve committed because for some of us, we are still habitually living in that sin and it is destroying us. For the rest of us we have committed that outrageous sin in the past and have overcome it through Christ but we are sometimes still unsure if Christ washed away that BIG sin with his blood. What a glorious passage! Paul is saying none of these things will separate us from the love of God. But there is one thing that will and that is SIN, however, the Christian is forgiven of his past, present and future sins. His sins are forgiven, blotted out, where they once made a stain, it is now spotless! There’s a subtle but significant difference between sin separating us eternally from God because we have no relationship with God through Christ as opposed to a sin committed against God which was forgiven at the cross because we have a saving relationship with God through Christ. When you practice sin, you get better at it. You make any excuses to justify it, and perhaps you seek out ways to set up the factors that cause you to commit that sin. You begin to fall into sin more easily, you don’t feel guilty over your sin and you become more desensitized to it. You don’t feel sorrow that you have offended a Holy God.We can now rephrase the original question to get a better understanding… “Will I still go to heaven if I practice lies, gossip, covetousness, adultery, drunkenness, violence, lust, murder, rape, stealing, blaspheming, delighting in evil, fornication, sexual immorality and self righteousness?” See the difference? The answer is if you practice sin, you WILL NOT go to heaven. You will go to hell to spend an eternity of torment away from God’s presence and goodness and glory.
John says if you belong to Satan you practice sin. If you’re a child of God, then you practice righteousness. So what if I’m truly saved, have inward and outward evidence that I’m a child of God, I walk in the light and hate sin? If I do sin, I repent quickly and confess it to God and ask for forgiveness. What if while living in this manner, I fall into temptation and commit adultery on my spouse and die of a heart attack while in the act? Do I still go to heaven? Let me be more dramatic – What if I go into a deep, deep depression and take my own life, slowly by swallowing pills or instantly by jumping off a building? Let me be MORE dramatic – What if a man disrespects my wife and in anger I punch him so hard I kill him, his buddy pulls out a gun, shoots and kills me – do I go to heaven still? Let me pick a “smaller” sin. What if I lied to my boss and then get hit by a car without repenting for lying to him? Do I still go to heaven?
“Will I still go to heaven if I lied, gossiped, coveted, committed adultery, got drunk, punched someone, lusted after someone outside of marriage, murdered, killed myself, raped, stole, cursed, blasphemed, watched an inappropriate film, fornicated, committed a sexually immoral act, abandoned my children, cheated on my spouse?” “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor reviler, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.” An ordinary Pakistani girl is shot by the Taliban while fighting for her right to an education. Co-written with Patricia McCormick, in this memoir, Malala Yousafzai, the youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, tells her story.In the wake of the attacks in Paris, France, and San Bernardino, California, President Obama delivered an evening address to the nation on December 6, 2015. In the speech he outlined what his administration has been doing and will continue to do to combat ISIL, the terrorist group whose members or sympathizers were responsible for both of these latest attacks. Here are 21 words from the President’s remarks.
Haven looks a lot like heaven, and the words have quite a bit in common. A haven isn’t necessarily as wonderful as heaven is supposed to be, but it is a good place to find when you’re in trouble or someone is after you. This word often appears in the phrase “safe haven,” which is a good reminder of its meaning. A haven is a safe place, and people who are in trouble tend to seek havens.
The telestial kingdom is the lowest of the three degrees or kingdoms of glory in heaven. The scriptures compare the glory of the telestial kingdom to the glory of the stars.Your question is whether someone can accept Christ, not change his lifestyle, and still go to heaven. The Bible teaches that if someone has truly accepted Christ into his life, nothing can keep him out of heaven. In John 10:28, Christ says of Christians,
I know the Bible says it’s a sin, but it also says that the only unforgivable sin is not accepting Jesus. If a gay person accepts Jesus but does not change his lifestyle, can he go to heaven? I have a cousin who’s gay.
I would encourage you to pray daily for your cousin. And I’d encourage you to tell your cousin you are praying for him. God may use you in his life. Thanks for being there and thanks for caring for him.
Is heaven a real name?
Popularity of the Name Heaven In the United States, “Heaven” has been a popular name for baby girls since the late 1990s and early 2000s, reaching its peak in popularity in 2003. It has since then declined in popularity but still remains a unique and distinctive choice for parents.
A gay or homosexual person can accept Christ, just as an alcoholic, a drug addict, or a mass-murderer can accept Christ. Jesus’ offer of salvation is open to everyone. God is the only one who truly knows our hearts. He’s the only one who truly knows your cousin’s heart. But if Christ has become the Lord of your cousin’s life, then the Holy Spirit will begin to deal with the sin of homosexuality in his life. We cannot go through life without being hurt by others, so we should learn to forgive. Even more, we should practice demonstrating our forgiveness by our acts of lovingkindness. Look for opportunities to do both.In the middle of life’s battles, we’re tempted to question God’s ordering of our circumstances, but every follower of Christ can look back and see the conspicuous hand of God’s Providence. He is committed to caring for us, watching over us, and giving us strength when we are within His will.
Righteous doesn’t mean sinless, of course. We know that Abraham wasn’t perfect. But he did manifest some qualities that every father should emulate. First, he believed the promises of God about the future God had planned for him (Hebrews 11:8-12). And when he believed God, “[God] accounted it to [Abraham] for righteousness” (Genesis 15:6). Again, not perfect or sinless, but in a right standing with God. Second, as a result of Abraham’s trust in God, he became a “friend of God” (Isaiah 41:8). Could any father set a more worthy example to his children or grandchildren than that of being friends with God? Living in right standing with God? That means communing with Him, walking with Him, living for Him, and above all, trusting Him and His promises.Oh, to see the glory of the Lord while in the midst of the disappointments in life. When we think life has collapsed around us, the God of glory appears above us. God always has a plan, and our false starts become His fresh starts. That’s just when God appeared to him as he was among the exiles by the Kebar River. Ezekiel looked up and saw remarkable visions of God—the throne of God surrounded by angelic beings. Amid the strange and apocalyptic vision described in Ezekiel 1, God called the thirty-year-old exile to be a powerful prophet. Colossians 3:1 tells us to “seek those things which are above, where Christ is.” In verse 5 we’re told to put to death the passions that come from below—”fornication, uncleanness, passion, and evil desire.” Then the Lord added the sin of greed or covetousness to the list, calling it idolatry.
Moses reminded the Israelites that God was taking them into a land of hills and valleys, of water and streams, “a land for which the Lord your God cares; the eyes of the Lord your God are always on it, from the beginning of the year to the very end of the year” (Deuteronomy 11:11-12).
To first-century leaders in the Roman world, the imagery was familiar: A victorious Roman general returning from battle leading his soldiers and their captives into the city. Citizens lined the streets applauding while the aroma of celebratory incense filled the air. Paul uses that image to say that Christ leads His followers in a victory procession through every difficulty in life (2 Corinthians 2:14-15).
As we read the Bible and immerse ourselves in God’s truth and character, our lives are changed—we become more like Him. God’s Word is a powerful litmus test for our souls and actions. As our lives center on God, giving priority to hearing His voice and reading His Word, we become bolder in sharing our faith.
Marine litter is a huge ecological problem. Many countries’ coastlines are littered with plastic and debris, and there is an “island” of plastic more than the twice the size of Texas in the Pacific Ocean where currents have accumulated the debris. Fish become entangled in discarded fishing nets and lines, with bellies full of plastic debris they have swallowed.In a letter to Brigadier General Thomas Nelson, George Washington marveled at how God’s hand had protected him and given success to the cause of liberty: “The hand of Providence has been so conspicuous in all this, that he must be worse than an infidel that lacks faith, and… has not gratitude enough to acknowledge his obligations.”
In mathematics two of the basic kinds of numbers are integers and fractions: 2, 100, and 56 are integers, while ½, ¼, and 2.5 are fractions. Integers, from a Latin root meaning “whole” or “entire.” The word integrity comes from the same root; a person with integrity cannot be divided in beliefs or morality based on varying circumstances.The humanity of Christ, while at the same time divine, is hard to understand. But thankfully, Scripture gives us illustrations: Like us, Jesus suffered, experienced hunger, required sleep, ate food, and had limits on His knowledge (Mark 13:32). One of the most striking and helpful illustrations of Jesus’ humanity was His prayer life. We might think that, if Jesus was truly divine, He would have had no need to pray for knowledge, guidance, or help. Yet He did, following the example of godly men like Daniel in Babylon (Daniel 2:16-18). Jesus repeatedly said that He only did what the Father showed Him to do (John 5:19), and prayer was His means.
Will I go to heaven if I sin?
The answer is if you practice sin, you WILL NOT go to heaven. You will go to hell to spend an eternity of torment away from God’s presence and goodness and glory. “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?
We can imagine a child writing an appreciative and sentimental memoir about her “perfect father,” understanding that “perfect” was not intended to be taken literally. But how about a book titled The Righteous Father? The patriarch Isaac could have written that book about his father, Abraham.That’s nothing compared to the treasure you’ll find when opening the covers of the Bible. Perhaps it would help to think of it in those terms. Use your imagination to see every word of Scripture turning to gold as you read it. Think of every promise as a precious stone. See the words about Jesus in the Gospels as sparkling like diamonds. Visualize your daily Bible study time like a miser running his hands through a chest of gold.
During difficult times, the hope of eternity gives us strength. If you’re prone to worry yourself to sleep each night, turn your thoughts upward and close your eyes thinking of heaven and its eternal throne.
Jesus faced this dilemma when He healed a paralytic man. When He told the man that his sins were forgiven (and by extension, he was healed), He was criticized. He was accused of blaspheming by saying He had the authority to forgive sins—something only God can do. So, Jesus proved He had the authority to say, “I forgive you,” by doing something harder. He healed the man’s paralysis. After all, as Jesus explained, actions speak louder than words (Mark 2:8-11).
What are the 3 levels of heaven?
According to this vision, all people will be resurrected and, at the Final Judgment, will be assigned to one of three degrees of glory, called the celestial, terrestrial, and telestial kingdoms.
We often need fresh starts after enduring bitter disappointments. As a young man, Ezekiel had dedicated himself to be a priest. He was from a priestly family, and he undoubtedly looked forward to serving God in Jerusalem’s temple. Priests began their temple duty at the age of thirty. But when he was about twenty-five, Ezekiel was seized and taken to Babylon, and he never saw the temple again. When his thirtieth birthday came, he must have struggled with questions of “why” and “if only.”
That verse changes our view of idolatry. It’s not just bowing down to a small carved statue or a pagan worshiper offering incense at a shrine to Buddha. It’s the act of becoming too attached to the material things of the world—falling more in love with the things on earth than on things in heaven.
That event is a beautiful example of the willingness of God. In fact, there are no instances of Jesus being asked to help or heal and Him answering, “I am not willing.” There is a place where the Bible says God is “not willing,” and that is 2 Peter 3:9. In writing about the timing of the Day of the Lord (the end of the age), Peter says God is waiting for all who will be saved to come to Him. He is “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” Said another way, God is willing for any who want to be saved to come to Him (John 6:37; 7:37). The question is never whether God is willing but whether man is willing.John 3:16 states that “whoever believes in [Jesus] should not perish but have everlasting life” (emphasis added). When we believe in Jesus and accept Him as our Savior, He secures our future in heaven once and for all. Not a single sin we commit—no matter how big or small—can keep us from spending eternity with Him.
What is heaven look like?
Clear as crystal. It had a great high wall with 12 gates. And at the gates. 12 angels. And on the gates the names of the 12 tribes of the sons of israel were inscribed.
Peter wrote his final letter shortly before his execution. He wasn’t discouraged; he was looking forward to the future. He spoke of “looking forward to these things.” and “[looking] for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13-14).
No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it (1 Corinthians 10:13).
A great misconception carried by many Christians has to do with the location of heaven. The word heaven itself implies that our eternal destiny is somewhere “up there” in the heavens. But the Bible says our eternal destiny is earthly, not heavenly. As Peter wrote, we look for a “new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13).
Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness, and He took the same means of escape that is available to us—obedience to God’s Word (Matthew 4:1–11; Hebrews 5:8). Temptation is not sin; yielding to temptation is. There is always a righteous choice to be made if we are willing to seek it.Are you a whole person or a fractioned person today? If your beliefs, and therefore your actions, have become divided, gather them back together as you commit to God and His Word.
The hardest part of forgiving another person is acting like the offense never occurred. But that is what forgiving someone means—restoring relationships to the status they enjoyed before the offense took place. It’s one thing to say, “I forgive you,” but it’s another to act like all the effects of an offense are completely erased. After all, according to Paul in 1 Corinthians 13, love is known by its actions more than its words.
The apostle James argued that if temptation becomes serious, it is because we have allowed it to do so. Our own “desires” entice us away from God and desire “gives birth to sin” (James 1:13–15). God doesn’t tempt us, but He may allow temptation to enter our lives in order to give us opportunities to make obedient and mature choices.
California is a dry state that needs water to be transported over many miles to population and agricultural centers. Snowfall in the winter and melting snow in the spring are critical factors in replenishing shrinking reservoirs. In periods of modern droughts, aerial photographs document the receding water levels in reservoirs around the state—shorelines growing wider and drier as water levels fall.A leper approached Jesus and said, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” Jesus touched the man, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed”—and he was healed (Mark 1:40-42).
The Christian’s victory is through Christ. The victory over the world, the flesh, the devil, and sin was won by the Cross and the empty tomb. He did for us what we cannot do for ourselves. We have victory now and for eternity only because of the victory Christ won for us. Therefore, if we are to experience victory in this life, it will come only as we depend on Him. As Paul wrote in Galatians 2:20, the life we now live is the life of Christ in us as we keep our faith in Him.
What is humility? Is it the opposite of pride? If pride expands one’s importance, does humility deflate one’s importance? That’s the view given by most English dictionaries—a deemphasis on one’s own importance. But what is the biblical view of humility
If someone compliments you on a job well done, do you refuse to take credit or receive their compliment? Or do you graciously say, “Thank you,” in a spirit of genuine appreciation and humility? In Romans 12:3 Paul exhorts the believers not to think of themselves pridefully but rather to think of themselves “soberly”—that is, realistically or accurately. Paul’s topic is the grace given by God to each Christian to serve in the Body of Christ. We should neither overestimate the gift of God’s grace or underestimate it. Rather, we should think of it soberly and realistically—humbly—and minister accordingly. To think less of God’s gift would be to devalue it; to think realistically about it allows one to serve humbly.With that background, Paul exhorted believers not to make the same choices the Israelites made—not to provoke God’s discipline by willfully sinning. None of us is above God’s discipline if we engage in sin. We must look for and take “the way of escape” God provides in every situation where temptation is found (verse 13). To think our temptation is unique is to believe a lie. “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man” (verse 13). There are no “new” temptations in life.