Nine Heavens and Two Hells
You would think that the facts on Heaven and Hell would be straight forward. However, I have found the very opposite to be true. You can find nine different places called heaven or heavens and two places called hell. This is compounded by internet sites often claiming things that are incorrect. The root cause of this are the words ‘Heaven’ and ‘Hell’. Generally, we think of heaven as being a higher place and a place of extreme well-being. We will see that two of the heavens are in fact anything but paradise. Hell is the name of two places; one hot, the other dark, but both are a place of imprisonment and punishment.
Let’s have a look at the nine heavens and give them more meaningful names. These are mainly covered in the creation story. In the beginning God created the heavens (plural) and the earth. Note the earth is written as a common noun. So God is talking about soil, land, dirt etc. or atomic matter is another way of describing it.
A very common mistake is to think that creating the heavens ( we will see there are three) is creating outer space, or the universe and the sky, but the universe that we can see is matter. The stars and sky can not be heavens because they are part of earth. Earth being atomic matter. Genesis would say “God created Heaven (singular)and matters (pural). Therefore the heavens in Genesis 1 .1 are something else. The realm which we exist in is the matter realm we can see which includes space and the sky. Also it says the sky was made on the second day.
The first three Heavens are the three at the start of the Bible. The Lord dwells in the third heaven so it is highly unlikely that there is a fourth heaven above that. If there are three heavens then we should see three different and distinct places which we will come to.
Fourth heaven – the sky and clouds
The fifth heaven is the stars and moon.
The sixth Heaven is after the resurrection.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.
This new heaven is a place we don’t go to. I assume this is a place for the angels who pass the resurrection judgement. For angels are not mentioned again in the few scriptures we have concerning this period.
The seventh is the new earth or the new Garden of Eden. This is where we actually end up. So the original Garden of Eden must have been a heaven. That makes eight.
The Ninth is the original place that God started out at. This is the place that should actually be called Heaven.
So nine different heavens causes confusion. We have the two that we can see; the sky and the stars, we are not interested in nor the original one because we have no information about that one. We will focus on the three spiritual ones and the last two. I will use the word spiritual from now on but you can think of them as dark matter or invisible realms if you prefer. If there are three and not four or five heavens we should get the bible talking about three distinct places.
Now we turn our attention to hell. The word hell has its origins in Old German being a hole in the ground or a pit someone has fallen into. As it grew in meaning and as it was translated into other languages it also became a place of punishment. With its meaning being a place of punishment is how it is commonly used in the bible. However, the descriptions of this place of punishment in the bible create a picture of two completely different places. One of these is a place of darkness and gloom, Its names are Sheol and Hades. The other is a place of fire and heat and there is no escape from this place. The names of this place are the Lake of Fire and the place correctly called Hell.
So lets us step by step work through the first, second and third heavens. We will put them in relationship to Earth. The resurrection, the crystal city, the new Garden of Eden and possibly a ninth heaven.
The First Heaven
This heaven is Sheol. This is a prison and a place of torment. This is always a place you go down to. This is the first port of call for all those who have not received Jesus as their Saviour. The early Christians called this place purgatory. The concept of purgatory is a place that you get released from after paying for your crimes for those who are being saved. It comes about because there are a number of scriptures that talk of release from Sheol, praying for the dead, that Jesus goes to Hades to set the prisoners free. The gates of hell won’t prevail against the Gospel and many more. For this concept of Purgatory to work it would mean that Jesus’s salvation is not perfect. The scriptures say it is, so who is in Sheol that can escape. You may think that it is aborted babies but that cannot be. Ecclesiastes 11 says that our spirits are moulded into our bones when we are in the womb but bones don’t start to form until we are four months from conception and are probably not bones until six months. Most babies are murdered well before then. I can only conclude that it is anybody who has not committed a mortal sin – mortal being fatal and not of human life. Mortal sins are a subject for another study. Is there a second chance for some people???
I will call this place the Kingdoms. This is the place that Ephesians talks about. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
This is the spiritual realm that surrounds us. When demons are cast out they are from this realm. Beings from this realm are often mentioned in the bible. Of the spiritual realms this one is the closest to ours. Spiritual beings can cross the divide and have contact with our flesh.
In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.
The third heaven which Paul tells us is called Paradise. This heaven is a place we go to when we die and where we are waiting for the resurrection. This is a place of rest. In this place we haven’t received our eternal bodies so we must dwell as something in between. We get new bodies at the resurrection. We are given white clothes a crown and a trumpet. There is a place prepared for us. There are roles we have to play and the importance of the role depend on our spiritual maturity. Jesus is there. The descriptions are always looking or going upward.
There are no other scriptures to support another heaven.
The fourth and fifth heavens are the stars, the moon, the sky and clouds. These heavens are made of the same physical matter that we are. They get their name of being heavens because they are high up. They are part of the word earth from Genesis 1 and not part of the heavens that were made.
And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” 7 And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. 8 And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day
The Resurrection, a new heaven and a new earth.
1Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away,
Heaven number six
The new heaven is only mentioned once. I speculate that it is the place where the angels end up after the resurrection judgement. In the scriptures we have little about this period. I can’t see any that relate to the Angels. If anyone out there can find some scriptures I would love to add them in and create a better picture.
Heaven number seven
Once we go through the resurrection we end up in the new Garden of Eden as nations. We do not live in the holy city. We can go in and out freely. The holy city is where the Father and Jesus dwell.
Heaven number eight
If the new Eden is Heaven then the original Eden would have been a heaven as well. That makes eight.
Heaven number nine
The ninth and last is the original dimension that God and the Angels started out in. It can’t be any of the other places because they all have starting points. I think that if God had tried to explain this place we would not understand it. Satan and the angels get cast out of here.
The first hell we have covered is Sheol and it appears there may be some escape from there. If you come across scriptures that describe dryness, dark or black places, despair and anguish then it is most likely Sheol. Sheol is divided into three areas.
“The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them. “
So that’s the sea, death and Hades. Scriptures suggest that Hades has some kind of authority over the others. If you have heard of Davy Jones locker is a place you end up in if you die at sea, revelations says that is scripturally correct.
If I had enough time I am sure I could work out what determined which place people ended up in. The sea giving up her dead would suggest that it has a relationship to where or how you died. There are plenty of scriptures that suggest that the deeper you get into this hell the more wicked the people who are put there. It is darker and punishment more severe. As you go deeper you end up at the Bottomless Pit.
The second Hell
The scriptures for this talk of heat, great suffering, and no escape. It is the number one place to avoid. Even though it is eternal it is not made the same time as the new heaven and earth. The beast and the false prophet are cast into it on Jesus’s second coming. Everybody else is cast into it after the resurrection. It exists now. That is one thousand years for the Abaddon, the Antichrist and the False prophet of sitting in the naughty seat regretting the things they have done. Probably not alone as any demon of the second heaven who has been cast out and sent to his appointed place will be here.
So there you have it nine heavens and two hells. There is nothing new in this. I have read and gleaned this information from other writings. All I have done is put it in a single systematic picture. I hope you have found it helpful.
You can leave comments below if you disagree and if you can provide me with any scriptures that disprove me I well add them to the discussion and give credit if you wish.