The Nature of Heaven
By John W. Milor
Heaven is both a spiritual, and a physical place. Understanding this concept is important, because it opens up more possible interpretations in scripture that many people aren't aware of.
Heaven is defined as the physical expanse surrounding the Earth. Examples of this are in Genesis 1:15-18, and Exodus 32:13. It is common throughout scripture to see the term "Heaven", and "Heavens", used in context with a description of the sky, and outer space.
15And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give
light upon the Earth: and it was so. 16And God made two great
lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the
night: he made the stars also. 17And God set them in the
firmament of the heaven to give light upon the Earth, 18And to
rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the
darkness: and God saw that it was good.
13Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever.
Equally common in
scripture are verses describing the spiritual aspect of heaven. In short, the
spiritual aspect of heaven refers to the presence of God. This is the
definition that most people are familiar with. In Genesis
28:12-13, Psalms 11:4 and Matthew 6:9, among many others, this spiritual
aspect are exemplified.
In order to get the complete understanding of what, and where heaven is, both of these definitions should be combined. On the micro level, the entire human race over its entire existence has been going through different levels of glory. All levels other than the highest level are intermediary levels of glory which will all pass away on Judgment Day, leaving only the saved to spend eternity with God, and the deceived to eternally perish in the lake of fire.
Before the fall, there was no sickness or death. Adam and Eve
lived in God’s presence. After the fall, mankind was under the curse of death. Then,
after the great flood of Noah, the life span of mankind dramatically decreased.
The level of glory for man was decreased to the point that simply being in
God’s presence would be fatal. (Even being in the presence of the Ark of the
Covenant brought physical death, (Exodus 28:35, 42-43)).
These were all different levels of glory, descending from a higher
state to a lower state, manifested in the increasing decrepit state at which
the human physical body was deteriorating, as well as mankind’s relationship
Once Christ was crucified, this broke the spiritual curse upon
mankind, (for the curse of death was both a physical, and a spiritual curse). Being
in the presence of God, (whose presence rested over the Ark of the Covenant in
the Holy of Holies), is no longer a fatal experience after the death and
resurrection of Christ. This was signified by the ripping of the veil that
separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the temple (Matthew 27:51, Mark 15:37, Luke 23:44).
The spiritual level of glory for mankind has finally taken a turn–mankind is now on the rise in glory toward God, through
Christ. The rapture will be the dramatic physical manifestation of the
restoring of mankind’s return to a glorified state, to physically be in God’s
presence once again.
On the macro level, the entire Earth contains a certain level of
glory as well. The Garden of Eden was in a higher level of glory before the
fall. Once Adam and Eve sinned, the entire Earth was taken from this higher level of glory. The fulfillment of this
decreased level of glory wasn’t evident until the flood of Noah, when the
Garden of Eden was destroyed.
Spiritually speaking, Earth lost the constant presence of God upon
its soil. Instead, the soil of the Earth was defiled by the blood of Abel, who
was murdered by his own brother in Genesis 4:10-12.
After the flood, the Earth’s environment became harsh. Desserts of
ice, and sand formed upon the globe; masses of bitter water (oceans and seas)
broke up the land, and divided it into separate continents. Fresh water was no
longer an ever-present friend, flowing throughout the Earth in a network of
underground rivers the way it was before, as described in Genesis 2:5-6. Instead,
it now primarily comes from the sky when God determines it to do so. In this
manner, God has allowed floods, and droughts, which didn’t exist beforehand.
Lions no longer lay next to lambs. Instead, carnivores developed,
and food became a limited resource. Venom, claws, and sharp teeth replaced the
once peaceful balance that rested between all living creatures.
Currently, while you are reading this article, the Earth is still
going through changes. Earthquakes, tornadoes and floods, hurricanes, climate
changes, and erupting volcanoes are on the rise. These all signify the birth
pangs of the next fall in glory. Once the rapture occurs, then the restraining
power of the Holy Spirit will be removed from this world, and leave it
spiritually bare for Satan to enter and destroy. The Antichrist will come as a courting groom, only to leave his bride to the
hands of destruction.
Then finally, the Lord of Lords, and King of Kings will return in
all His glory, destroy the Antichrist, and establish His kingdom. The Earth
will finally be rising in glory once again. But the rise to the highest level
of glory won’t be complete for the Earth until after Satan is released one last
time, and destroyed in the lake of fire once and for all. Then, as it is
written, a new heaven and new Earth will replace all that currently exists,
(Revelation 21:1-2). Hell will be removed from the center of the Earth, and
cast into another place called the lake of fire. In essence, the heart
of the Earth will be cleansed for all eternity.
Seeing that the spiritual aspect of heaven, which I've been
speaking of with the term “level of glory,” is applied to both humans, and the
entire Earth, I invite you, the reader, to broaden this spectrum further. Don't
restrict the aspect of a level of glory to just the Earth. Broaden it to
encompass the physical heavens, (outer space), which I mentioned at the
start of this article. So far as I can see in my study of scripture, I find
nothing to refute this dual perspective in defining the nature of
heaven, or the heavens. In fact, I find only evidence to support the
fact that we live in a multi-dimensional universe, or rather, a multi-verse.
Scientific evidence supports this view as well (which I have discussed in
another article called Understanding Heaven via Quantum Physics).
The implications of this understanding of heaven can be staggering. For one thing, it provides a new perspective on the term “host of heaven,” found eighteen times in the OT and once in the NT. Host is a term that refers to large numbers, and in the context of the term host of heaven, it refers to large numbers of life forms in the heavens. This is especially evident in Nehemiah 9:6.
Thou, even thou, art LORD alone; thou hast made heaven, the
heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee.
In light of the information expounded upon in this article, what might this term mean? If Host = intelligent life forms, and Heaven (synonymous with the Heavens) = outer space, as clearly defined in Genesis 1:15-18, then might this one phrase, mentioned nineteen times in the Bible, be paraphrased as “intelligent life forms in outer space?”