Saturday, June 23, 2012

Second Heaven

A commenter called “God Is” has left the following comment on my post Second Heaven.

Be not confused, their are at least three heavens and they are all mentioned in the Bible.
1st heaven is the earthly domain,
2nd heaven is mentioned in Ephesians 6:12 and in Daniel 10th chapter where his prayers were held up in the second heaven and the arch angel Gabriel was sent to get the prayer of Daniel through due to the Prince of Persia's evil acts.
If there were no second heaven, God would simply mention 1st and 2nd heaven and not even mention a third.
I agree with this commentator that that scriptures refer to at least three heavens. Maybe there are more, but we are not told. Moreover, the scriptures do not explain clearly what the three are, so we probably do not need to know.

The first heaven could be the sky that we see on earth. Or it could be the highest heaven where God dwell.

We do know that the third heaven is Paradise, which is the dwelling place of the Christian dead.
I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows—was caught up to paradise (2 Cor 12:2-4).
As I posted, paradise is the place where Jesus and the thief went after they died (Luke 23:43). If there is a third heaven, there must be a second heaven too, but we actually know very little about the way that heaven is structured. We must be careful building up a doctrine of several heavens, because we just do not know enough. If God wanted us to have this understanding, he would have got Paul to tell us more about what he saw, but he did not. We must be careful not to go beyond what God has given us.

The scriptures never mention the “second heaven”, so should be careful about saying that we know what it is. My commenter claims that the second heaven is described in Ephesians 6:12 and in Daniel 10, but that is not correct. These verses do not mention “the second heaven”, so the commenter is making an assumption from context.

My real concern is the widespread belief among many Christians that the devil controls the second heaven and that our prayers have to pass through the second heaven to get to God in the third heaven. They allege that our prayers are not answered, because the devil prevents them from getting through to God. They suggest that God sometime establishes an “open heaven”, which means that the devil cannot prevent prayers from getting through.

This belief treats the second heaven as if it were a physical barrier between earth and God. This is odd, because the heavens are a spiritual reality. Prayers are a spiritual entity which are not constrained by physical barriers. Likewise the authority of that was held by the devil was spiritual authority. Physical barriers cannot separate us from God. It is spiritual barriers that we should really worry about.

We know that Satan had a place in the councils of God during in Job’s time (Job 1:6). He could go into God’s presence and accuse the people of God. The cross destroyed that right and he lost his place in heaven. Jesus saw him falling from the heavens (Luke 10:18). Satan was thrown out of heaven (Rev 12:7-10). He is a cheat and will still try to attack Christians. His angels can oppose the angels of God, but the idea that he can control our access to God through prayer is nonsense.

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