Heaven Refs
Heaven is where God lives, where Jesus lives, where angels live, but not where we will go when we die.

2 Chronicles 6:1-7:3

Solomon had built a magnificent temple for God in Jerusalem and he was leading the dedication ceremony for the new tem­ple. He stood before all Israel with his hands lifted high and prayed to God in heaven.

1. How can God “dwell in a dark cloud” (6:1) and yet be described as “living in unapproachable light” (1 Timothy 6:16)?
2. Solomon repeatedly asks God to “hear from heaven” and yet God is described as dwelling in the temple (6:2). Ex­plain.
3. Why does Solomon say the heavens cannot contain God (v18) and yet calls heaven God’s dwelling place (v21)?
4. What did God mean when he said he would “put his Name” in the temple (v20; Deuteronomy 12:11)?
5. In verse 26, the heavens are described as “shut up”. Are these the same heavens in which God dwells? Why were they shut?
6. In what way was the temple helpful to the people when they prayed?

Heaven as God’s dwelling place
Deuteronomy 26:15; 1 Kings 8:39; Psalm 2:4; 11:4; 102:19; 123:1; Isaiah 63:15; 66:1; Matthew 6:9; Ephesians 1:20; Hebrews 1:3.
Heaven as the sky
Genesis 1:20; 2 Samuel 18:9 (NASB); Isaiah 55:10.
The “third heaven”
2 Corinthians 12:2-4.
Heaven as a symbol
Isaiah 13:9-13 34:1-5; Jeremiah 4:23-28; Haggai 2:21-22; Revelation 12:1-17; 21:1-22:5.
No human has gone to heaven except Jesus
Psalm 115:16; John 3:13; Acts 2:34.

Different meanings of heaven
In Solomon’s prayer he used the word “heaven” in two different ways:

When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain. . . then hear from heaven. . . (2 Chronicles 6:26-27)

The first use of the word refers to the sky, the second refers to God’s dwelling place. These two uses of the word are common in the Bible.

When God made birds he said

let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky. (Genesis 1:20)

The Hebrew word translated “sky” here is translated “heaven” in hundreds of other places in the Bible. He also described the sun, moon and stars as “lights in the expanse of the sky”. Genesis 1:14 Again, the word for sky is translated heaven elsewhere. Rain and snow are described as coming “down from heaven”. Isaiah 55:10 Even Absalom hanging by his head from a tree limb is described as “hanging between heaven and earth” (2 Samuel 18:9; NASB).
The NIV translates this phrase as “hanging in midair”.

“Heaven” is also used to describe God’s dwelling place:

• we pray “Our Father in heaven”; Matthew 6:9
• God described heaven as his “throne”; Isaiah 66:1
• Jesus is described as having “sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven”; Hebrews 1:3
• the angels live in heaven. Matthew 18:10; 22:30; 24:36

There are also passages which use “heaven” as a symbol. For example, in Haggai we read

Tell Zerubbabel governor of Judah that I will shake the heavens and the earth. I will overturn royal thrones and shatter the power of the foreign kingdoms.(Haggai 2:21-22)

Here, “heavens and earth” seems to refer to the governments of the day. The same symbolism is found in Isaiah’s description of the overthrow of Babylon:

Therefore I will make the heavens tremble; and the earth will shake from its place at the wrath of the LORD Almighty, in the day of his burning anger. . . . Whoever is captured will be thrust through; all who are caught will fall by the sword. (Isaiah 13:13,15)

Because the Bible uses the word “heaven” in several different ways, we need to decide by context what the word means when it occurs.

Heaven is not our destination
Many churches teach that faithful people go to heaven when they die. In contrast, the Bible teaches that all people remain in the grave waiting for the resurrection.
See Chapter 18. Death.

It also says

The patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. . . For David did not ascend to heaven. . . (Acts 2:29,34)

Yet David was described as “a man after [God’s] own heart”. 1 Samuel 13:14 If anyone was to go to heaven, surely it would be David! However, John said

No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven-the Son of Man. (John 3:13)
In what way did Jesuscome from heaven?

And the Psalms tell us

The highest heavens belong to the LORD, but the earth he has given to man. (Psalm 115:16)

So the Bible is quite clear-heaven is God’s dwelling place, not a dwelling place for human souls.

Furthermore, we are told “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth”. Matthew 5:5 In Revelation, the saints are described as “a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth”. Revelation 5:10 The hope of true believers is to be part of God’s kingdom here on earth.
See Chapter 45. The kingdom of God.

• Heaven is a word which can mean the sky or God’s dwelling place.
• “The heavens” sometimes symbolically describes governments on earth.
• Nowhere does the Bible teach that people will go to heaven when they die. Instead, it reveals that we will be part of God’s kingdom on earth after the resurrection.

1. Micah 1:3 describes God coming down from his dwelling place and treading the earth. What does this mean?
2. Read John 14:1-4. What did Jesus mean when he said “In my Father’s house are many rooms”? How is he to take us to be with him if we are not going to heaven?

1. Heaven is not the only place described as God’s dwelling place. Find Bible passages which describe other “dwelling places” of God.
2. 2 Peter 3:7,10 describe the heavens and the earth being destroyed by fire. What does this mean?

• BB Study 4.7 , Digression 14 and Digression 21
• Wrested scriptures by Ron Abel (published by The Chris­tadelphians, Pasadena). Pages 116-131 deal with pas­sages about heaven that are frequently misinterpreted.

6. What is God like?
10. Worship
18. Death
19. Hell
39. What is Jesus doing now?
43. Resurrection
45. The kingdom of God