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).
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
6. In what way was the temple helpful to the people when they
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.
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
• we pray “Our Father in heaven”; Matthew
• God described heaven as his “throne”;
• Jesus is described as having “sat down at the
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
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)
the Bible uses the word “heaven” in several different
ways, we need to decide by context what the word means when
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.
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,
No one has ever gone into heaven except the one
who came from heaven-the Son of Man.
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
• Heaven is a word which can mean the sky or God’s
“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?
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?
39. What is Jesus doing now?
45. The kingdom of God