three basic heavens distinguished in scripture.
HEAVEN is the atmosphere,
fly. (Gen.1:20; Jer.4:25; Mt.8:2O; Acts 10:12; Genesis 2:19; 7:3,
23; Psalms 8:8, etc Lamentations 4:19),
Gen 1:14 Then
God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens
to divide the day from the night.“
23-23 “Yet He had commanded the clouds above, and opened the
doors of heaven, had rained down manna on them to eat, and given
them of the bread of heaven."
7:11-12: “the windows of heaven were opened. And the rain was on
the eanh fony days and forty nights."
“The fountains of the deep and the windows of heaven were also
stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained"
“lf I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out
for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to
11:17 “Then the LORD's anger will burn against you, and he will
shut the heavens so that it will not rain and the ground will
yield no produce....“
28:12: “The LORD will open the heavens, the storehouse of his
bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the
work of your hands."
heaven is a level above our atmosphere is the space beyond the
atmosphere which goes to the limits of the seen universe where the
planets, the stars and the sun and moon are
“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows
And God placed them in the Firmament of heaven.
He stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spread them out as
a tent to dwell in."
19:4,6) - “ln the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun...
It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the
The above two
are in the visible material realm. Bible refers to a third heaven
which is in the unseen realm usually called Spiritual World and
the world where God dwell.
heaven is invisible, Acts, 2 Cor.; Eph.;Col. This is where God
angels and all the host of heavens dwell
It is called
“The heaven of heavens,” because it is beyond the visible
heavens (Deuteronomy 10:14; 1 Kings 8:27; Psalms 115:16; 148:4).
8:27) - “The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain
The One enthroned in heaven laughs; The LORD scoffs at them."
12:2-4 “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.... I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the
body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into
Paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for
a man to utter.“
"caught up" is in harmony with what we read of Elijah.
Enoch walked with God (On Earth) and he was not (he disappeared)
for God took him.
And it says
of Elijah that the Lord would take Elijah up into Heaven by a
whirlwind and as Elisha and Elijah were walking, a chariot of fire
with horses of fire divided the two men, and Elijah was taken up
into Heavenly a whirlwind.
And it came
to pass, when the LORD would take up Elijah into heaven by a
whirlwind that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. And Elijah
said unto Elisha, Tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent
me to Bethel. And Elisha said unto him, As the LORD liveth, and as
thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee.
And it came to pass, as they still 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.
affirms that no man hath ascended up to Heaven, but He that came
down from Heaven, even the Son of man which is in Heaven. Maybe
Enoch and Elijah were taken up to a different level of Heaven than
what Jesus spoke of because they retained their body. Their bodies
were transformed into undecaying immortal bodies.
that he went ahead of us to prepare a place in heaven which is
where his father dwells. That where he is we may be also.
Corinthians 12:4 The word “paradise” paradeisos (NT:3808)
occurs but three times in the New Testament; Luke 23:43; 2
Corinthians 12:4; Revelation 2:7. It occurs often in the
Septuagint, as the translation of the word garden; Genesis
2:8-10,15-16; 3:1-3,8,16,23-24; 13:10; Numbers 24:6; Isaiah 51:3;
Ezekiel 28:13; 31:8-9; Joel 2:3. And also Isaiah 1:30; Jeremiah
29:5; and of the word pardeec (OT:6508) in Nehemiah 2:8;
Ecclesiastes 2:5; Song of Solomon 2:13” (from Barnes‘ Notes).
This is the
see that it is in Paul’s description of the “the third
heaven" in 2Cor.12:2. That we come across the word Paradise.
In vs.4 Paul calls it Paradise. Since it is a world of the spirits
and souls without bodies we may assume that this may be separate
part of the third heaven.
that it is another place within or next to the third heaven is
supported by Gill in his exposition of the Bible
Exposition of the Entire Bible
How that he
was caught up into paradise,.... Not the earthly paradise in which
our first parents were; this was destroyed by the flood, and the
place where it was not now to be known; and to what purpose the
apostle should be carried thither cannot be guessed at; though
some have thought that this is here meant: but not this, nor any
place distinct from the "third" heaven, or place of the
blessed, is meant; which is the sense of many of the ancients, who
suppose the third heaven and paradise to be two distinct places,
and that the apostle had two separate raptures.
Alexandrinus (m), reads the words thus, "l knew a man in
Christ caught up to the third heaven, from thence to
upon the place says, "from the third heaven he was
immediately called up into paradise";
"he was caught up unto the third heaven, and so again from
thence into paradise"; and some modern writers have been
inclined to think there were two raptures, and the rather inasmuch
as the apostle is said to be caught "up to" the one, and
caught "up into" the other, and makes use of the words
"caught up" twice; or otherwise he would be guilty of a
tautology, both in that and in repeating his ignorance of the
manner of the rapture; to which is added, that he proposed to
speak of "visions" and "revelations" in the
plural number, 2 Corinthians 12:1,
afterwards calls this vision an "abundance of
revelations", 2 Corinthians 12:7, but as it was at the same
time that he was caught up to the third heaven, and into paradise,
there being one and the same date of fourteen years ago to both ;
......... .. heaven is called paradise, because as the garden of
Eden, which bears that name, was of God's planting, so is this
made and prepared by him; as that was a delightful place, so is
this; also because of Christ the tree of life, which is in the
midst of it, besides an innumerable company of angels, and spirits
ofjust men made perfect, the pure and undefiled inhabitants of it;
and because of the river of divine love, of endless pleasures, the
saints there are made to drink of. It was usual with the Jews to
call heaven , "the garden of Eden", or paradise; and
(n) sometimes speak of as upper and lower; the lower they suppose
the souls of men are introduced into, immediately upon their
dissolution; where they stay a while, and then go up to the upper
paradise, the world of souls, where Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are.
The Jews ought not to object to the apostle's being had into
paradise before his death, for they tell us of several that
entered there whilst alive; "nine (they say (0)). ,
"entered in their life time into the garden of Eden", or
paradise; and these are they, Enoch the son of Jared, and Elijah,
and the Messiah, and Eliezer the servant of Abraham, and Hiram
king of Tyre, and Ebed Melec the Ethiopian, and Jabez the son of
Rabbi Judah the prince, and Bethiah the daughter of Pharaoh, and
Sarah the daughter of Asher; and there are some that say also (p)
Rabbi Joshua ben Levi";and in another place "four ,
entered into paradise; and these are they, Ben Azzai, and Ben Zoma,
another, and R. Akiba;"upon which is (r) added, "they
entered into paradise as it were by the hands of God, and they did
not ascend up above really, but it seemed to them as if they
ascended;' M But others refer to seven heavens
Shehakim, Zevul, Ma'on, Makhon, and Aravot.’
of Hagigah in the Talmud.)
So [Allah] decreed them as seven heavens (one above the other) in
two days and revealed to each heaven its orders. And We [Allah]
adorned the lowest heaven with lights, and protection. Such is the
decree of the Exalted; the Knowledgeable.
Excerpt from the Power New Testament revealing Jewish Roots by
William J. Morford
always plural in Hebrew, with seven levels of heaven, noted in
Scripture. The names are: Vilon, Rakia, Shechakim, Zevul, Maon,
Machon, and Aravot.
1. Vilon is
‘That stretches out the heavens as a curtain (Vilon), and
spreads them out as a tent to dwell in.‘ (Isaiah 40:22) Vilon
retires in the morning and comes out in the evening, and renews
the work of creation daily. Vilon is the entire universe, going
beyond what we can see with telescopes. Vilon is the word for
curtain used in the Talmud, but a synonym, doq, pronounced like
coke, is the word used in Isaiah 40:22
2. Rakia is
where ‘God set them in the firmament (Rakia) of the heavens.‘
(Gen 1:17) This is a reference to the stars, sun, moon, and
planets: outer space where the various heavenly bodies move in
their prescribed orbits and /or maintain relationships in
constellations, solar systems, galaxies, etc. Rakia is the pan of
the heavens that can be seen.
is from ‘He commanded the skies (shechakim) above and opened the
doors of heaven; and He rained down manna upon them to eat.‘
(Psalm 78:23) This is where the millstones are located that grind
manna for the righteous. His Word is still miraculously feeding
us. Shechakim is the atmosphere.
4. Zevul is
the location for ‘I have surely built you a house of habitation
(Zevul), a place for you to dwell in forever. (1 Kings 8:13 )
This is the location of celestial Jerusalem and the temple with
the heavenly altar where Michael offers a sacrifice. How do we
know that Zevul is this place? Because, ‘Look down from heaven
and behold the habitation (Zevul) of Your holiness and Your
glory.‘ (Isaiah 63:16)
5. Maon is
where ‘The Lord will command His loving kindness in the daytime
and in the night his song shall be with Me.‘ (Psalm 42:8) This
is where His ministering angels stay, singing in the night. We
know that this is heaven because of ‘Look down from your holy
habitation (Maon) from heaven.‘ (Deuteronomy 26:15)
6. Machon is
the location of the storehouses of snow, rain, hail, whirlwinds,
storms, etc. ‘The Lord shall open unto you His good
treasure...‘ Deuteronomy 28:12 We know that this is heaven
because ‘Hear in Heaven, the habitation (Machon) of Your
dwelling...‘ (1 Kings 8:39)
7. Aravot is
that in which are righteousness, judgment, and charity, the
storehouses of life, of peace and of blessing, the spirits of the
righteous, with which the Lord will hereafter revive the dead.
Those living here include the Ophannim, Seraphim, holy Chayyot,
the ministering angels, the Throne of Glory, and the King of the
Universe. ‘Cast up a highway for Him Who rides upon the clouds (Aravot)’
His name is Yah. (Psalm 68:4) The storehouse of life contains
the force of
life for all those yet to be born because when God finished
creation (Genesis 2:1)
He had made
everything that would ever be - including your descendants. The
spirits of the righteous are the dead who are sleeping with their
the first three represent the universe, the visible night sky and
sun, and the atmosphere. These are natural, physical things even
when beyond the range of telescopes. Each of the other four levels
is both physical and spiritual. Three levels are translated
Habitation, but that is not the clue we need. Three levels are
populated: Zevul, with the celestial Jerusalem; Maon, with bands
of ministering angels; and Aravot, with various heavenly beings,
the Throne, and the spirits of the saints. That is probably the
level Paul referred to, the third of the populated levels, in 2
Corinthians 12:2 M
Kabala in order from lowest to highest, the Seven Heavens,
Shamayim (n-mu), according to the Talmud, are listed alongside the
angels who govern them: Vilon
also called "Araphel": The first Heaven, governed
by Archangel Gabriel, is the closest of heavenly realms to the
Earth; it is also considered the abode of Adam and Eve.
): The second Heaven is dually controlled by Zachariel and
Raphael. It was in this Heaven that Moses, during his visit to
Paradise, encountered the angel Nuriel who stood "300
parasangs high, with a retinue of 50 myriads of angels all
fashioned out of water and fire".
is considered the realm where the fallen angels are imprisoned and
the planets fastened.
The third Heaven, under the leadership of Anahel, sen/es as
the home of the Garden of Eden and the Tree of Life; it is also
the realm where manna, the holy food of angels, is produced. The
Second Book of Enoch, meanwhile, states that both Paradise and
Hell are accommodated in Shehaqim with Hell being located simply
"on the northern side".
The fourth Heaven is ruled by the Archangel Michael, and
12, it contains the heavenly Jerusalem, the Temple, and the Altar.
Makhon : The
fifth Heaven is under the administration of Samael, an angel
referred to as evil by some, but who is to others merely a dark
servant of God.
Zebul : The
sixth Heaven falls under the jurisdiction of Sachiel.
seventh Heaven, under the leadership of Cassiel, is the holiest of
the seven Heavens because it houses the Throne of Glory attended
by the Seven Archangels and serves as the realm in which God
dwells; underneath the throne itself lies the abode of all unborn
human souls. It is also considered the home of the Seraphim, the
Cherubim, and the Hayyoth.
concept of seven heavens is not found in the bible as such, this
idea was developed later after the return from exile. Babylonians
were probably the first to identify the planetary motion and chart
the precise trajectories of the seven visible celestial bodies —
the sun, the moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn, and Jupiter.
enthroned in heaven surrounded by the ranks of angels and saints.
At the bottom is Paradise with the "Bosom of Abraham"
(left) and the Good Thief (right).
IN OTHER RELIGIONS
35 of Surah AI-Ra’d says, "The parable of the Garden which
the righteous are promised! Beneath it flow rivers. Perpetual is
the fruits thereof and the shade therein. Such is the End of the
Righteous; and the end of the unbelievers is the Fire."[Quran
the concept of original sin, and Muslims believe that all human
beings are born pure. Children automatically go to heaven when
they die, regardless of the religion of their parents.
of heaven in Islam differs in many respects to the concept in
Judaism and Christianity. Heaven is described primarily in
physical terms as a place where every wish is immediately
fulfilled when asked. Islamic texts describe immortal life in
heaven as happy, without negative emotions. Those who dwell in
heaven are said to wear costly apparel, partake in exquisite
banquets, and recline on couches inlaid with gold or precious
stones. Inhabitants will rejoice in the company of their parents,
wives, and children. In Islam if one's good deeds
one's sins then one may gain entrance to heaven. Conversely, if
one's sins outweigh their good deeds they are sent to hell. The
more good deeds one has performed the higher the level of heaven
one is directed to. It has been said that the lowest level of
heaven is one- hundred times better than the greatest life on
earth. The highest level is the seventh heaven.
built by angels for the occupants using solid gold.
describe heaven include: Quran 13:35, Quran 18:31,
Quran38:49—54, Quran 35:33-35, Quran 52:17-27.
mentions seven heavens of Jannah:
not how Allah has created the seven heavens one above another, and
made the moon a light in their midst, and made the sun a Lamp?’
(Surat Nuh, Verses 15—16)
refer to several levels of heaven:
8. Khuldi (Dhunya
In the Qur'an it is stated that Firdaus (Paradise) is the
highest level and the most centered part of Jannah where the
prophets, the martyrs and the most truthful and pious people will
dwell. It is said that their palaces and castles are made of
diamonds and gold. Jannah is
the Islamic word for paradise or heaven, Jannah means
‘Garden’. In Muslim belief, everything one longs for in this
world, will be there in Paradise. In contrast to Jannah, the words
Jahannam and Nar refer to the concept of hell.
states: ‘Verily, those who believe in the Oneness of Allah and
do righteous deeds, shall have Gardens of Al-Firdaus(Paradise) for
their entertainment.’ (Surat 18, Verse 107).
level of creation is Dunyah, which covers the known universe and
all within it. The highest level is the seventh heaven, in which
God can be seen and where anything is possible.
of the Garden which the righteous are promised!- beneath it flow
rivers: perpetual is the enjoyment there of and the shade therein:
such is the end of the Righteous; and the end of Unbelievers in
“The Garden”: A Muslim Vision Of Paradise
well documented in the Qur'an as the eternal reward for those who
serve Allah, do good, endure, etc ("Comparative |ndex").
In fact, the Qur'an gives far more physical details about its
Paradise than the Bible does about its Heaven: the Qur'an cites
eight levels of Paradise, most gardens of some form or another,
and it describes reclining couches, abundant fruits, food, spring
water, goblets of silver, and so on ("Comparative lndex").
But the currently popular "knowledge" of Al-Janna in our
Christian dominated society involves martyrs receiving
this idea does not come from the Qur'an; it is from the from the
that the Quran itself describe this idea of reward in the
following verses Koran 78:31 As for the righteous, they shall
surely triumph. Theirs shall be gardens and vineyards, and high-
bosomed virgins for companions: a truly overflowing cup.
37:40-48 ...They will sit with bashful, dark-eyed virgins, as
chaste as the sheltered eggs of ostriches.
44:51-55 ...Yes and We shall wed them to dark-eyed houris.
52:17-20 ...They shall recline on couches ranged in rows. To
dark-eyed houris (virgins) we shall wed them...
55:56-57 In them will be bashful virgins neither man nor Jinn will
have touched before.Then which of the favours of your Lord will
you deny ?"
55:57-58 Virgins as fair as corals and rubies. Then which of the
favours of your Lord will you deny ?"
56:7-40...We created the houris (the beautiful women) and made
them virgins, loving companions for those on the right hand..
55:70-77 "ln each there shall be virgins chaste and fair...
Dark eyed virgins sheltered in their tents whom neither man nor
Jin will have touched before..
Hadiths, Mohammed goes one step further and expands the promise of
virgins to include a free sex market where there is no limit of
the number of sexual partners. Women and young boys are on display
as if in a fruit market where you can choose the desired ripeness.
Vol. 4, p. 172, No. 34 Ali reported that the Apostle of Allah
said, "There is in Paradise a market wherein there will be no
buying or selling, but will consist of men and women. When a man
desires a beauty, he will have intercourse with them."
Hadith extends it even to homosexuality.
Hadith is simply tradition and cannot be the norm. It is only
presented in the Quran of Paradise is certainly one of sensual
pleasures with human bodies and material prosperity.
the Ahmadiyya view, much of the imagery presented in the Qur'an
regarding heaven, but also hell, is in fact metaphorical. They
propound the verse which describes, according to them how the life
to come after death is very different to the life here on earth.
says: “From bringing in your place others like you, and from
developing you into a form which at present you know
not."[Quran 56:62] According to Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the
founder of Ahmadiyya sect in Islam, the soul will give birth to
another rarer entity and will resemble the life on this earth in
the sense that this entity will bear a similar relationship to the
soul, as the soul bears relationship with the human existence on
We will raise
you into a form of which you have not the slightest knowledge.
Surah AI-Waqiah (Ch. 56: V.62)
being not only has a body, but also has a 'spirit' given to him or
her by God. The spirit is the seed from which a higher form of
life grows within man, higher than physical life, just as the body
has developed from a small 'seed'. Just as in the world around us
higher forms of life evolve from lower ones, similarly from the
life of the individual in this world is evolved his higher
‘spiritual’ life. During his life, man's deeds shape and mould
his spirit, for better or worse, according to his deeds. When a
person dies, the physical body is finished, but
remains, as he or she had moulded it by their deeds when alive.
That is the life after death.
hell are not actual places somewhere in the universe, but really
our inner conditions or the condition of the spirit resulting from
our deeds. Heaven and hell begin in this life within a person's
nature of these things cannot be known in this world because they
are in an entirely different world where ours ideas of space,
time, feelings, etc. do not apply. But to describe them to us,
physical terms have to be used such as "gardens and
rivers" in paradise, and the "fire" of hell, to
give an idea of what they feel like.
Faith regards the conventional description of heaven (and hell) as
a specific place as symbolic. The Baha'i writings describe heaven
as a "spiritual condition" where closeness to God is
defined as heaven; conversely hell is seen as a state of
remoteness from God.
the founder of the Baha‘i Faith, has stated that the nature of
the life of the soul in the afterlife is beyond comprehension in
the physical plane, but has stated that the soul will retain its
consciousness and individuality and remember its physical life;
the soul will be able to recognize other souls and communicate
entry into the next life has the potential to bring great joy.
Baha'u'llah likened death to the process of birth. He explains:
"The world beyond is as different from this world as this
world is different from that of the child while still in the womb
of its mother." The analogy to the womb in many ways
summarizes the Baha'i view of earthly existence: just as the womb
constitutes an important place for a person‘s initial physical
development, the physical world provides for the development of
the individual soul. Accordingly, Baha'is view life as a
preparatory stage, where one can develop and perfect those
qualities which will be needed in
life. The key to spiritual progress is to follow the path outlined
by the current Manifestation of God, which Baha'is believe is
currently Baha'u'llah. Baha'u'llah wrote, "Know thou, of a
truth, that if the soul of man hath walked in the ways of God, it
will, assuredly return and be gathered to the glory of the
teachings state that there exists a hierarchy of souls in the
afterlife, where the merits of each soul determines their place in
the hierarchy, and that souls lower in the hierarchy cannot
completely understand the station of those above. Each soul can
continue to progress in the afterlife, but the soul's development
is not entirely dependent on its own conscious efforts, the nature
of which we are not aware, but also augmented by the grace of God,
the prayers of others, and good deeds performed by others on Earth
in the name of that person.
original early Buddhist teaching, there is no continuity in
personality. The Soul, the ego of person is destroyed when a
person die and the parts of all the structure, body, soul and
spirit go back their primal elements. What is reborn is a total
recycled being. These beings as long as they live create their own
heavens or hells. They don't go beyond their life time either.
several dimensions of life and existence. Each with their own life
form and reincarnations. According to Buddhist cosmology the
universe is impermanent and beings transmigrate through a number
of existential "planes" in which this human world is
only one "realm" or "path".
first teachings of Buddha had undergone changes under various
later influences including the Greek, Christian and Islamic
There are 5
major types of heavens.
This is the
most supreme heaven wherein beings that have achieved Nirvana live
2. Heaven of
3. Heavens of
Formless Spirits. These are 4 in number.
These are 16 in number, and are free from sensuality.
These are 6 in number, and contain sensuality.
The shape of
the Universe as described in Jainism is shown alongside. Unlike
the current convention of using North direction as the top of map,
this uses South as the top. The shape is similar to a part of
human form standing upright.
The Deva Loka
(Heavens) are at the symbolic "chest", where all souls
enjoying the positive karmic effects reside. The heavenly beings
are referred to as devas (masculine form) and devis (feminine
form). According to Jainism, there is not one heavenly abode, but
several layers to reward appropriately the souls of varying degree
of karmit merits. Similarly, beneath the "waist" are the
Narka Loka (Hell). Human, animal, insect, plant and microscopic
life forms reside on the middle.
souls (who reached Siddha status) reside at the very south end
(top) of the Universe
In the native
Chinese Confucian traditions Heaven (Tian) is an important
concept, where the ancestors reside and from which emperors drew
their mandate to rule in their dynastic propaganda, for example.
Heaven is a
key concept in Chinese mythology, philosophies and religions, and
is on one end of the spectrum a synonym of Shangdi ("Supreme
Deity") and on the other naturalistic end, a synonym for
nature and the sky. The Chinese term for Heaven, Tian (75),
derives from the name of the supreme deity of the Zhou Dynasty.
After their conquest of the Shang Dynasty in 1122 BC, the Zhou
people considered their supreme deity Tian to be identical with
the Shang supreme deity Shangdi. The Zhou people attributed Heaven
with anthropomorphic attributes,
the etymology of the Chinese character for Heaven or sky, which
originally depicted a person with a large cranium. Heaven is said
to see, hear and watch over all men.
affected by man's doings, and having personality, is happy and
angry with them. Heaven blesses those who please it and sends
calamities upon those who offend it. Heaven was also believed to
transcend all other spirits and gods, with Confucius asserting,
"He who offends against Heaven has none to whom he can
philosophers born around the time of Confucius such as Mozi took
an even more theistic view of Heaven, believing that Heaven is the
divine ruler, just as the Son of Heaven (the King of Zhou) is the
earthly ruler. Mozi believed that spirits and minor gods exist,
but their function is merely to carry out the will of Heaven,
watching for evil-doers and punishing them. Thus they function as
angels of Heaven and do not detract from its monotheistic
government of the world.
With such a
high monotheism, it is not surprising that Mohism championed a
concept called "universal love" (jian'ai,
which taught that Heaven loves all people equally and that
each person should similarly love all human beings without
distinguishing between his own relatives and those of others. In
Mozi's Will of Heaven (XE), he writes:
Heaven loves men dearly not without reason. Heaven ordered the
sun, the moon, and the stars to enlighten and guide them. Heaven
ordained the four seasons, Spring, Autumn, Winter, and Summer, to
regulate them. Heaven sent down snow, frost, rain, and dew to grow
the five grains and flax and silk that so the people could use and
enjoy them. Heaven established the hills and rivers, ravines and
valleys, and arranged many things to minister to man's good or
bring him evil. He appointed the dukes and lords to reward the
virtuous and punish the wicked, and to gather metal and wood,
birds and beasts, and to engage in cultivating the five grains and
flax and silk to provide for the people's food and clothing. This
has been so from antiquity to the present." Mozi, Will of
Heaven, Chapter 27, Paragraph 6, ca. 5th Century BC
criticized the Confucians of his own time for not following the
teachings of Confucius. By the time of the later Han Dynasty,
however, under the influence of Xunzi, the Chinese concept of
Heaven and Confucianism itself had become mostly naturalistic,
though some Confucians argued that Heaven was where ancestors
reside. Worship of Heaven in China continued with the erection of
shrines, the last and greatest being the Temple of Heaven in
Beijing, and the
prayers. The ruler of China in every Chinese dynasty would perform
annual sacrificial rituals to Heaven, usually by slaughtering two
healthy bulls as sacrifice.
heaven is not the final pursuit in Hinduism as heaven itself is
ephemeral and related to physical body. Being tied by the
bhoot-tatvas, heaven cannot be perfect either and is just another
name for pleasurable and mundane material life.
Hindu cosmology, above the earthly plane, are other planes:
Loka, (2) Swarga Loka, meaning Good Kingdom, is the general name
for heaven in Hinduism, a heavenly paradise of pleasure, where
most of the Hindu Devatas (Deva) reside along with the king of
Devas, Indra, and beatified mortals.
planes are Mahar Loka, Jana Loka, Tapa Loka and Satya Loka. Since
heavenly abodes are also tied to the cycle of birth and death, any
dweller of heaven or hell will again be recycled to a different
plane and in a different
form as per
the karma and "maya" i.e. the illusion of Samsara. This
cycle is broken only by self-realization by the Jivatma. This
self-realization is Moksha (Turiya, Kaivalya).
of moksha is unique to Hinduism and is unparalleled. Moksha stands
for liberation from the cycle of birth and death and final
communion with Brahman. With moksha, a liberated soul attains the
stature and oneness with Brahman or Pramatma. Different schools
such as Vedanta, Mimansa, Sankhya, Nyaya, Vaisheshika, and Yoga
offer subtle differences in the concept of Brahman, obvious
Universe, its genesis and regular destruction, Jivatma, Nature
and also the right way in attaining perfect bliss or moksha.
Vaishnava traditions the highest heaven is Vaikuntha, which exists
above the six heavenly lokas and outside of the mahat-tattva or
mundane world. It's where eternally liberated souls who have
attained moksha reside in eternal sublime beauty with Lakshmi and
Narayana (a manifestation of Vishnu).
people such as the Aztecs, Chichimecs and the Toltecs believed
that the heavens were constructed and separated into 13 levels.
Each level had from one to many Lords living in and ruling these
heavens. Most important of these heavens was Omeyocan (Place of
heavens were ruled by Ometeotl, the dual Lord, creator of the
Dual-Genesis who, as male, takes the name Ometecuhtli (Two Lord),
and as female is named Omecihuatl (Two Lady)
creation myths of Polynesian mythology are found various concepts
of the heavens and the underworld. These differ from one island to
another. What they share is the view of the universe as an egg or
coconut that is divided between the world of humans (earth), the
upper world of heavenly gods, and the underworld. Each of these is
subdivided in a manner reminiscent of Dante's Divine Comedy, but
the number of divisions and their names differs
Polynesian culture to another.
mythology, the heavens are divided into a number of realms.
Different tribes number the heaven differently, with as few as two
and as many as fourteen levels. One of the more common versions
divides heaven thus:
presided over by the god Toumau
the heaven of sunshine and rain
the heaven of lakes where the god Maru rules
where the spirits of newborn children originate
home of the servant gods
which is ruled over by the hero Tawhaki
where human souls are created
where spirits live
where spirit gods live while waiting on those in
or Tuwarea, where the great gods live presided over by Rehua
believe these heavens are supported by pillars. Other Polynesian
peoples see them being supported by gods (as in Hawai'i). In one
Tahitian legend, heaven is supported by an octopus.
illustration by a Tuomatuan chief portraying nine heavens.
Polynesian conception of the universe and its division is nicely
illustrated by a famous drawing made by a Tuomotuan chief in 1869.
Here, the nine heavens are further divided into left and right,
and each stage is associated with a stage in the evolution of the
earth that is portrayed below. The lowest division represents a
period when the heavens hung low over the earth, which was
inhabited by animals that were not known to the islanders. In the
third division is shown the first murder, the first burials, and
the first canoes, built by Rata. In the fourth division, the first
coconut tree and other significant plants are born
believed in Theosophy of Helena Blavatsky that each religion
(including Theosophy) has its own individual Heaven in various
regions of the upper astral plane that fits the description of
that Heaven that is given in each religion, which a soul that has
been good in their previous life on Earth will go to. The area of
the upper astral plane of Earth in the upper atmosphere where the
various Heavens are located is called Summerland (Theosophists
believe Hell is located in the lower astral plane of Earth which
extends downward from the surface of the earth down to its
center). However, Theosophists believe that the soul is recalled
back to Earth after an average of about 1400 years by the Lords of
Karma to incarnate again. The final Heaven that souls go to
billions of years in the future after they finish their cycle of
incarnations is called Devachan
the Semitic religions, there never was a concept of God as who is
involved in the redemption of Mankind and in general the
redemption of the whole creation. All other religions hold that
for every action the sentient beings receive their due reward,
those who build up the creation will be rewarded and those who
pull down will be punished in accordance with their works. This is
the law of Karma — the physical law of cause and effect. While
Islam rely on the
mercy of God
as a good luck chance, Judaism has the concept of Mesiahnic World
to Come which was essentially a political hope of salvation. Only
in Christianity we see a God who cares enough to die for His
creation. This gives the ultimate new concept of redemption and
requirement of every being to serve one another and die for one
another. The greatest in the Kingdom of God is the one who serves
the most and God is just that. No other religion defines God as
Love. Love is giving oneself. “God so loved the world that He
gave his only begotten Son", “We know love by this, that He
laid down His life for us," and God demands that we lay down
our lives for the brethren.
God with his
love will redeem all of his creation.
Now I saw a
new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first
earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John,
saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from
God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a
loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is
with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His
people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God
will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more
death, nor sorrow, nor
shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed
Then He who
sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.“ And
He said to me,
these words are true and faithful."
God does it
all in love. In His love He ordained death. Bible tells us that
after death believers‘ souls are taken to heaven, because their
sins are forgiven by having received Christ as Savior (John 3:16,
18, 36). For believers, death is to be “away from the body and
at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:6-8;Philippians 1:23).
And when the time is ripe Jesus will come back to earth and the
souls of the believers will come with him and they will be given
undecaying bodies. 1Corinthians 15:50-54 and 1 Thessalonians
4:13-17describe believers being
and given glorified bodies. At the resurrection of believers, the
physical body is resurrected, glorified, and then reunited with
the soul/spirit. This reunited and glorified body- soul-spirit
will be the new creation man.
would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which
are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them
also which sleeps in Jesus will God bring with him. For 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. For 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
first: Then 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. Wherefore comfort one another
with these words.