The Apostle Paul spoke of ascending into the third heaven. In II Corinthians 12:2, he said: “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.”
Paul was evidently referring to the time he was stoned in the city of Lystra – a small ancient community located in central Turkey. He was stoned, dragged outside the city walls, and left for dead. Some believe he actually died and was revived. During the ordeal, the apostle Paul appears to have had an out-of-the-body experience. He told how he was caught up into paradise and heard unspeakable words “which,” he said, “was not lawful for a man to utter.”
Where is the third heaven? Is it beyond the outer limits of our universe? Is it in the center of our universe – in the sides of the north? Or is it all around us – right here on planet Earth – existing in another dimension?
Early civilizations had few problems with the question. To them, heaven was up. In the Tabernacle of the Old Testament, there was a blue veil which covered the Holy of Holies. It represented the blue sky, which, throughout the day veils our view of the universe.
Beyond the ancient veil, there was a room which represented heaven. In the center of it rested the Ark of the Covenant – the throne of God. Above the Ark, a ball of fire hovered. It represented God and was called the “Shekinah glory.”
That glowing light of God’s presence is also represented by our sun which hovers some 93 million miles beyond the blue veil which we call an oxygen atmosphere. This concept concurs with Psalm 19 which says that the heavens declare the glory of God. Even the stars which glow at night represent the presence of God in the universe.
In Exodus 25, God gave Moses the pattern for making the seven goldenlampstand, called the Menorah. It is said that the seven lamps were designed after the seven stars of Pleiades which are located in the constellation Taurus.
Yes, the heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament showeth His handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. It’s a fantastic and yet beautiful picture. The lamps represent the stars of heaven, which in turn represent the Shekinah glory and the light of the world.
In Genesis 15, Abraham was told to look up and tell the stars. From the original language, we can learn that he was told to consider the meanings of their names. The Lord indicated that if he would do so, he would find the story of his own offspring. God said that his seed would be a blessing to all the nations of the world.
And so Abraham looked up that night into the heavens. Now, he may not have seen the third heaven, but oh, what a picture he saw! It was fantastic for there, represented by the constellations, was the Gospel.
And so the Apostle Paul, in II Corinthians, chapter 12, gave us the story of the third heaven. The first heaven we see by day; the second heaven we see by night, and the third heaven we see by faith.
In Isaiah, chapter 14, Lucifer said, “I’ll sit in the mount of the congregation in the sides of the north.” Where is heaven? Is it out there among the stars? Is it nestled among the galaxies? Where would heaven be if it were there?
We have found that ancient civilizations believed that heaven was in the north. The devil himself said that he would put his throne in the sides of the north. In the ancient star charts, the constellation Draco the Dragon hovers around Polaris, the north star, and is a type of satan.
Ursa Major and Ursa Minor (commonly called the big dipper and the little dipper) are actually pictures of heaven. Many centuries ago, Ursa Major and Ursa Minor represented sheep folds – God’s sheep fold, heaven in the north.
The North Star is Polaris. It is located almost directly above the northern axis of our planet. It is 680 light years from earth. That means it would take a spaceship traveling at the speed of light 680 years to reach the star. And light travels at 186,000 miles per second. So Polaris is pretty far away. Beyond that, there is blackness of space. Some say it is the center of the universe.
Our sun, a star, is part of a galaxy of stars, gas, and dust bound together by gravity, which we call the Milky Way. The south pole of Earth’s axis points toward the center of our galaxy. Therefore, the north pole points directly away from it, toward the center of the universe. It is said that the whole universe revolves around the regions of the north. Where is heaven? Well, it could be in the north.
Or it could be beyond the realm of our visible universe. According to scientific theory, the universe was believed to be one billion light years across. Beyond that, the stars fade away. With the invention of the radio telescope, however, man began to hear beyond what the eye could see – even with the largest telescopes in the world. Frankly, men do not know where the end of the universe is located. Space, seemingly, has no end.
According to the Apostle Paul, there is a third heaven. The first heaven is our atmosphere. The second heaven has reference to the stars above, But the third heaven is where God lives. Could it be beyond our universe? And does heaven exist somewhere way beyond the farthest star?
Our earth is one of a number of planets which make up our solar system. Our sun is just one of a number of stars in the galaxy we call the Milky Way, and our galaxy is only one of 2500+ galaxies which have been discovered. On an average night without the aid of a telescope, a person can see an average of 2,000 stars. Throughout the heavens, an estimated total of 5,000 stars can be seen by the unaided eye. But through a telescope, one can see literally hundreds of billions of stars throughout our universe.
These 2500+ galaxies are said to be traveling away from the center of our universe, and the further away they get, the faster they travel. In fact, we are told that out near the edge of our universe, galaxies are traveling at one-third the speed of light.
We are also told by the scientific community that if a person lived on a planet out near the edge of the universe which was traveling at one-third the speed of light, that person could live to be 10,000 years old and not have aged a single day.
Albert Einstein developed the idea. It is called the theory of relativity. According to Einstein, there is a place somewhere in this universe where man could live forever. Would heaven then be out there near the edge, or beyond the edge of the universe?
Just where is heaven?
In the book of Acts, we are told that Stephen saw the Lord just before he died. He said, “I see heaven open and Jesus standing at the right hand of the Father in heaven.”
The Apostle Paul saw the third heaven, though his body lay outside the city walls of Lystra. I’ve also talked with people in hospitals who were clinically dead and came back to life, and they said that they saw the beauties of heaven. Could heaven be that near? Could it be right around us, perhaps in a different dimension?
Well, in the final analysis, we must say that heaven seems to be right around us in that different dimension. We can say that heaven does seem to be in the north, and that heaven is apparently all over the universe and beyond – for heaven is infinite.
Make sure you know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, so you won’t miss HEAVEN when you leave this earth and always…
KEEP LOOKING UP!