“You alone are the LORD. You have made the heavens, the heaven of heavens with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to all of them and the heavenly host bows down before You.”
This is the fifth session of a series of sermons titled “Heaven.”
When we arrive at the feet of the mountains visited by many people, we can find the guide maps to find the way going mountaineering.
Those mountain maps show us picto-charts of the shapes of the mountains and detailed guidelines of the trails to take to their tops.
Some maps tell us detailed places we have to take a rest in the middle and its duration. In the same way, today I will speak about the whole structure of the spiritual realm including the kingdom of heaven.
A proverb goes “We cannot see the forest through the trees.” Now I wish that through this message you will be able to picture in your mind the whole structure of the spiritual realm comprising heaven.
If you examine where you are according to the structure, and decide the final goal line that you will have to reach, you will not run a race without an objective to reach, but press on toward the ultimate goal.
I urge you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to run a faithful race and to reach your determined goal.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Deuteronomy 10:14 says, “Behold, to the Lord your God belong heaven and the highest heavens, the earth and all that is in it.”
Nehemiah said in the Book of Nehemiah 9:6, “You alone are the Lord. You have made the heavens, The heaven of heavens with all their host, The earth and all that is on it, The seas and all that is in them. You give life to all of them And the heavenly host bows down before You.”
This verse tells us that God created the heavens, the earth, the oceans, the sun, moon, stars, and all that exists therein.
By the way, this verse does not say the singular form of “heaven” but instead it describes it in its plural form “You have made the heavens, the heaven of heavens” or “heaven and the highest heavens.”
In addition, Jeremiah 10:12 says, “It is He who made the earth by His power, Who established the world by His wisdom; And by His understanding He has stretched out the heavens” and Psalm 148:4 says, “Praise Him, highest heavens, And the waters that are above the heavens!”
The books of the Bible were written by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Many verses say that there is only one heaven but there are more than two. It is because there are really heavens of heaven.
I want to give you a scientific theory that confirms this word.
According to a worldwide academic magazine “Scientific American” issued on the May of 2003, Dr. Max Tegmark, Professor of Physics, University of Pennsylvania announced more of “Parallel Universes.”
This article was introduced to Koreans under the title “Parallel Universes Theory Prevailing in A Scientific World” in The Joong-ang Daily, a Korean daily newspaper.
I will briefly explain about it. In the early part of 2003, many scientists all over the world focused their attention on NASA.
That was because NASA announced the results of their examination on “Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation,” electromagnetic waves received from all the corners of the vast universe by cosmological radio telescopes.
The results made it possible to roughly measure the size of the universe. The conclusion was that the dimensions of the universe are limitless.
They proclaimed that our universe is a part of the whole universe and there are countless others. This is the concept of “Parallel Universes.”
They continued to say that a few more universes have different characteristics and vacant spaces exist between one universe and another universe.
Page 31 of the above magazine “Scientific American” is covered with the main title “Parallel Universes” and the subtitle saying “Not just a staple of science fiction, other universes are a direct implication of cosmological observations.”
It is impossible to understand and interpret the spiritual world with physical study. But the announcement saying that there are a few more universes that have different characteristics is very similar with the biblical connotation of heavens of heaven.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
The heavens the Bible should not be understood as the sky that is visible to your eyes. Heavens include not only the visible sky but also the invisible heavens that belong to spiritual realm.
The invisible heavens are in the realm that people refer to as the fourth dimensional world. The Bible describes this as “heavens” to help people who are in this third dimensional world to understand it.
The reason that the Bible calls it the “kingdom of heaven” is because people can easily understand it with that expression.
How many heavens do you thing there are? The heavens are largely divided into four.
The first of them is the heaven in which we live. It is the physical world. The second, third and fourth heavens belong to the spiritual realm.
The second heaven includes “the air,” “kingdom of the air” or “midheaven” recorded in the Bible.
1 Thessalonians 4:17 says, “Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.” The ‘air’ here is in the second heaven of the spiritual realm.
Likewise, the saved souls like us will enjoy the 7-year Wedding Banquet with the Lord in a specially prepared space in the second heaven.
The kingdom of air is found in another verse Ephesians 2:2. It says, “In which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.”
The ‘air’ here is the name of the space in which our enemy the devil and Satan, the prince of the world of evil forces, stay.
Therefore you should know that the world of light and the world of darkness exist in the second heaven.
The Garden of Eden, in which Adam and Eve used to reside before their sin, belongs to the world of light in this second heaven.
For the most part,there are many believers who understand that the Garden of Eden was or has been on this earth. But the fact is that God planted the Garden of Eden in the second heaven and the Garden is still located there as it has been.
I have already explained to you about this in detail through Genesis Lecture Series. Adam and Eve multiplied and were fruitful in the Garden of Eden and bore countless children. It was only Adam and Eve who sinned and were driven out of the Garden.
Now countless people, Adam’s descendants, still live in the Garden of Eden, and in the center of it are the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Until Adam was driven out, he governed and guarded the Garden of Eden with the authority given by God. After he was banished from there, Genesis 3:24 says, “So He [God] drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.”
God stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword there to guard the tree of life from evil spirits that exist in the other space of the second heaven. And it proves that God has been preserving the Garden of Eden.
In this way the space of light and that of darkness are both in the second heaven, and the two spaces are strictly separated.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Next, what kind of a place do you think the third heaven is?
The third heaven houses the kingdoms of heaven in which we have our hope.
The Apostle Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12:2-4, “I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows such a man was caught up to the third heaven. And I know how such a man whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak.”
He was taken up into the third heaven and saw the beautiful place called Paradise in the kingdoms of heaven.
In the 21st chapter of the Revelation of John, the Apostle John spoke in detail about the New Jerusalem.
Through these two verses, we can infer that the third heaven does not house only one kingdom of heaven but a couple of kingdoms.
Regarding Paradise, the Waiting Place for Heaven is in its outskirts and those at the first level of faith will reside in Paradise after the Great White Throne Judgment.
Regarding Paradise, it was the place called the ‘Waiting Place for Heaven’ that Paul first saw that isin the outskirts (of Paradise). Those at the first level of faith will reside in Paradise after the Great White Throne Judgment.
Those at the first level of faith have reached only the measure in which they can receive salvation.
They have not rendered any service and dedication to the Lord, but just accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior. So, their everlasting heavenly residence is Paradise.
This residence location is applicable to the robber who barely gained salvation who was hung on one side of the crucified Jesus.
The Gospel of Luke 23:42-43 explains about this. They say, “And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”
The heavenly dwelling place directly higher than Paradise is “the First Kingdom of Heaven” in which those at the second level of faith can enter, and above there is the Second Kingdom of Heaven for those at the third level of faith.
The everlasting heavenly residence for those who have thrown away every form of evil, become sanctified and reached the 4th level of faith is the Third Kingdom of Heaven, and those who are at the 5th level of faith and have accomplished whole spirit will enter New Jerusalem.
This New Jerusalem is at the summit of the third heaven, and under New Jerusalem is the Third Kingdom, followed by the Second Kingdom, the First Kingdom and finally Paradise.
You must not try to understand these Kingdoms of Heaven with the conception of physical buildings.
The concept about the height in the spiritual realm is totally different from that of this world. Now I will illustrate the whole structure of the Kingdoms of Heaven in the third heaven with a triangular mountain.
New Jerusalem is at the summit of that mountain, and the third, second and first kingdoms are at the mountainsides and Paradise is at the feet of the mountain.
But with this illustration of a mountain you should not think that all the heavenly dwelling houses are at the slanted places of the mountain.
The width of Paradise is much more than that of the universe in the physical world. The spiritual space is very different from the physical space.
For your better understanding of the structure of the kingdoms of heaven, I have to tell you that all the heavenly kingdoms are horizontal but each of them is at the different perpendicular height.
From the next time on, I will speak about the different heavenly residences during the next several dozen sessions. Today we have just surveyed the structure of the heavenly kingdom.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
What is the fourth heaven like?
The fourth heaven is the very space that our God resided alone before the Beginning of Time.
The passing of time is respectively different in the first, second and third heavens, but in the fourth heaven there is no passing of time and no limitations.
Our God can turn Himself into a solid, liquid or gaseous Being as He harbors in His heart, so in Him there is no limitation of space.
Only God the Triune Persons can enter the fourth heaven. Even men of whole spirit cannot enter there without the permission and work of God.
If anybody enters without His permission, he/she must be scattered and dispersed to nothing.
Brothers and sisters in Christ,
I have explained to you about the first, second, third, and fourth heavens. Here I ask you not to misunderstand that the first heaven is under the second heaven, which is under the third heaven, which is under the fourth heaven.
With this physical concept you could find the second heaven at the end of the first heaven.
But not at all!
The physical heaven and the spiritual heavens are not differentiated in that way. The two worlds seem to be separated but overlapped each other. The two are closely connected in that way.
Between the two worlds there are gates linking both of them one to the other. People can come in and go out of the two worlds through these linking gates.
Some gates are for the second heaven and some others are for the third heaven.
Through these gates, Stephen, who was recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, saw the third heaven when his spiritual eyes were opened.
Stephen confessed in Acts 7:55-56, “But being full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God; and he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.””
In addition, through the same gates for the third heaven, Enoch and Elijah were lifted up into heaven alive.
Our Lord, the Resurrected Jesus was taken up into the air and entered the kingdom of heaven through the gate for third heaven.
If the first heaven were under the second heaven and we saw the third heaven at the end of the second heaven, our Lord Jesus, Elijah and Enoch would not yet have been able to fly to the first heaven yet even with the speed of light.
They might continue to be being lifted up into a very spacious universe even now. Then, when will our Lord be able to come again to take us back home?
John 20:17 gives us the right explanation. On the first day of the week, while it was still was dark, the risen Lord revealed Himself to Mary Magdalene and said, “Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.'”
As said here, the resurrected Jesus went up to see God the Father prior to doing anything else.
The Verse 19 of John 20 says about the risen Lord. “So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
Thus, our Lord went up into heaven to see God and came down to this earth again in a very short time for this world.
Through the gates linking the physical world to the spiritual realm, they can go into the second heaven and the third heaven including New Jerusalem and come back down in an instant.
Our Father God has revealed the gates for the spiritual realm to us as the tangible evidence.
On a cloudless sky many clouds suddenly appear and disappear like a turning whirlwind. God has showed us this scene so many times.
The clouds that God has showed us were in the spiritual space, but when the gates linking it to the physical world were opened, the clouds came out unto this visible sky.
The clouds coming from the spiritual space are found in many verses in the Bible.
While God was leading the Israelites through Moses, God appeared in the midst of clouds and told them. Exodus 34:5 says, “The LORD descended in the cloud and stood there with him.”
2 Kings 2:11 says, “And Elijah went up by a whirlwind to heaven” and Daniel 7:13 says, “I kept looking in the night visions, And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming.”
When Jesus came up to a mountain and discussed with Elijah and Moses who came down from heaven, Matthew 17:5 says, “A bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!”
In Acts 1:9, it says, “And after He [Jesus] had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.”
Verse 11 of Acts 1 says, “This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven,” and 1 Thessalonians 4:17 says, “Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.”
When our Lord comes again in the air, those who are alive and receive Him will be lifted up into the clouds like the resurrected Jesus ascended into heaven, and enter the Wedding Banquet Place in the air belonging to the second heaven.
Our God has many times showed the clouds coming through the gates for the spiritual realm.
The Wedding Banquet Place will be explained in detail next time.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
This time I have surveyed you the structure of the spiritual realm that includes the kingdoms of heaven. Can you depict the structure of the kingdom of heaven in your mind?
Today I gave you a draft for the structure of the spiritual realm and from the next session, I will speak in detail about different dwelling places of heaven.
I wish for you to carefully listen to this sermon series so that the kingdom of heaven can be completely upon each and every heart and each individual is able to meet the qualifications by which you can enter the better places of heaven.
Jesus said in Luke 17:21, “The kingdom of God is in your midst.”
The heavenly dwelling places are not randomly assigned to each of you by God, but decided for you according to the measure of spirit that you have cultivated on earth.
May all of you fully live according to the word of God and dedicate your life to the kingdom of God as much might as possible so that you can enter New Jerusalem, the best dwelling place of heaven, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ I pray!