THE SEVEN HEAVENS further explained...
THE FIRST HEAVEN (Apoc. of Isaiah 1:13)
This refers to the atmosphere about us here on earth, the air from the clouds down... wherein we dwell, and so do many demonic forces, many guardian angels of the saints, etc. It is that which is above the ground upon which we walk. There is a "Throne angel" in charge of this for God, and there are good and evil angels present in this place. The good angels and hopefully, we, the saints, are giving praise to God Who is in the "seventh heaven" (1:17) as we dwell in this "first heaven."
We battle the devil and his cohorts daily in this first heaven.
THE SECOND HEAVEN (Apoc. of Isaiah 1:18)
The second heaven is the atmosphere above the clouds, and is an area in which there is always a war raging between the evil angels, and the good angels regarding God sending help to mankind.
In the book of Daniel we read of Michael trying to bring a message from God to Daniel, and was hindered in this warfare from getting the message through for 21 days. Another angel finally came to help Michael. The war rages, but there is a "Throne angel" in the midst of this heaven.
Our prayers sustain and encourage the angels of God battling the fallen angels of the devil in this second heaven.
THE THIRD HEAVEN (Apoc. of Isaiah 1:24)
This is the heaven to which Paul was taken and he saw there things that he was not allowed to tell us. It was a glorious experience for him. This place, according to Paul, and according to tradition, is paradise, which is in Sheol, which is within the earth. Hell is also in the lowest part of sheol, and according to Ezekiel, Enoch, and others, Eden is also within the earth.
In the Apocalypse of Isaiah we are told that there is a "Throne angel" there, who obviously would only be there if there were other good and also some evil angels within. In the "abyss" which is between paradise and hell, there are many evil angels and demons bound, and awaiting either judgment day, or awaiting the tribulation period wherein some will be released (one time 200,000,000 come to earth from that area).
At one time, as in Enoch's time, and before, much was known about this place, for Adam and Eve dwelt there originally before their expulsion. Now, and in the time of Isaiah, we are told here, that "the memory of that area is forgotten by mankind." Then Isaiah asked why are not the details of that place known to mankind, and the angel answers: "It is not important for mankind to know of this place now, but many in that place know well what is happening on earth."
Paul was not even allowed to tell us some things he saw and heard there, and yet, Moses, who was in paradise just before the Mt. of Transfiguration event with Jesus and Elijah, came and talked with Jesus about the things about to occur when Jesus came to Jerusalem the next time. So knowledge there of earthly events was well known.
The tree of knowledge of good and evil, of which Adam and Eve partook against the command of God is there... as well as the Tree of Life...
'Then I said: "Behold, this beautiful tree! How beautiful and pleasant are its leaves and fruit."
24:6 Then Michael, a holy and honored angel who was with me, answered:
25:1 "Enoch, why do you ask me about this tree?"
25:2 Then I, Enoch, answered: "I wish to learn about everything, but especially about this tree."
25:3 Michael answered: "This high mountain you saw whose top is like a throne, is like God's throne, and is the throne where the Great Holy One, the Lord of Glory, the Eternal King, will sit when He comes to visit the earth at the end time.
25:4 And this beautiful fragrant tree is the one that no human has the right to touch until the judgment of the Lord's vengeance. When that end has come, then this tree will be given to the righteous chosen ones and to the humble.
25:5 From this tree's fruit, life will be given to the chosen; toward the north it will then be planted in a holy place by the house of the Lord, the Eternal King.
25:6 At that time they will rejoice in that holy place; they will partake of the fragrant tree to receive life, and lives will be long - sorrow, pain, toil and punishment will not touch them.'
HELL IS IN THE CENTER OF THIS THIRD HEAVEN
The world needs warning of this place. Much of the warning of hell came from the lips of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is called the "TRUTH". He would never lie, exaggerate, or incite needless fear. Satan's first recorded lie is "YE SHALL NOT SURELY DIE." Satan continues to promote this same lie. Many will say-"There is no hell." Others will say - "Hell is on earth." Some will try to say -"It isn't everlasting punishment, just death." All of these have their root in Satan's lie. All of these encourage man to be braver in their sins.
Jesus taught the certainty of future retribution.
"...WHOSOEVER SHALL SAY 'THOU FOOL' SHALL BE IN DANGER OF HELL FIRE..."
"IF THY RIGHT HAND OFFEND THEE, CUT IT OFF AND CAST IT FROM THEE FOR IT IS PROFITABLE FOR THEE THAT ONE OF THY MEMBERS SHOULD PERISH AND NOT THAT THE WHOLE BODY SHOULD BE CAST INTO HELL..."
"BUT THE CHILDREN OF THE KINGDOM SHALL BE CAST OUT INTO OUTER DARKNESS... THERE SHALL BE WEEPING AND GNASHING OF TEETH..."
"ANGELS ...SHALL GATHER ... THEM THAT DO INIQUITY AND SHALL CAST THEM INTO A FURNACE OF FIRE AND THERE SHALL BE WEEPING AND GNASHING OF TEETH..."
"YE SERPENTS, YE GENERATION OF VIPERS, HOW CAN YE ESCAPE THE DAMNATION OF HELL?"
"DEPART FROM ME, YE CURSED, INTO EVERLASTING FIRE, PREPARED FOR THE DEVIL AND HIS ANGELS."
Physical life is the union of the body with the spirit. When the spirit leaves the body, the body dies. Spiritual life is the union of the spirit with God. When God is not within the person, the person is spiritually dead. When one dies a sinner, his body is buried in the ground. Yet his spirit has gone to hell to suffer while awaiting the White Throne Judgment. At that White Throne, the body is resurrected and the spirit is reunited with it. Then the "second death" is when the body and the soul are both cast into the Lake of Fire. There, the eternal body, will suffer along with the spirit of the wicked person.
The future retribution of the wicked is described in horrifying terms. Seven times Jesus said "weeping and gnashing of teeth." Twice He referred to "fire that never shall be quenched." Three times He indicated that the person would not ever cease to exist--"Where their worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched."
Jesus indicated that memory would be active in that place of torment.
People will remember their misspent time, misused talents, omitted duties, committed sins, lost opportunities, and the past blessings of God that they wasted.
Hell is a place to avoid, whatever the cost. It is not fiction. Many warnings of this place came from the lips of Jesus--who is LOVE. Rejection of Him is the reason people will go there.
"...IF YE BELIEVE NOT THAT I AM HE, YE SHALL DIE IN YOUR SINS..."
The eternal nature of the judgment is awesome. Some would like to have "hell" mean "annihilation." Some would like to teach that all will be saved. But Jesus taught that some will go to hell and the Lake of Fire. He used the word "aionos" =everlasting. He used this same word for heaven and eternal life, and for God's being. In Matthew 25:46 the same word is used for punishment and for the eternal life of the righteous.
"AND THESE SHALL GO AWAY INTO EVERLASTING PUNISHMENT, BUT THE RIGHTEOUS TO LIFE ETERNAL."
Some may hear the gospel once and reject it. Others may hear it time after time, and fail to heed its message. In eternity, there is greater damnation for those who have had more opportunity. (Matthew 11:20-24, Mark 12:40, Luke 12:47-48)
Hell is not an incidental doctrine that can be occasionally taught. It is a fundamental part of the Gospel. It is the dark background against which the loving salvation of God shines through. Heaven and hell--stand and fall together. We must know of hell's reality. We must proclaim its horror.
In hell, people will have their own life be a constant witness against them. The conscience will no longer be deadened by the devil, but will be keenly alert. There will be no one to blame but themselves. Remorse will be unbearable. They will remember times of the Holy Spirit's conviction. They will remember that they shunned, ignored, or procrastinated. Prayer will be too late.
It is hopeless, ineffective, to pray in hell. Hell is clearly taught in Scripture. No person is so good that he can escape hell on his own merits. Yet no person is so bad that he has no chance of escape. People are destined to hell unless they accept Jesus as their personal Savior.
THE WHITE THRONE
The "white throne" from which God will someday judge those souls in hell, as they are about to be put into the lake of fire.
"BECAUSE HE HATH APPOINTED A DAY IN WHICH HE WILL JUDGE THE WORLD IN RIGHTEOUSNESS BY THAT MAN WHOM HE HATH ORDAINED, WHEREOF HE HATH GIVEN ASSURANCE UNTO ALL MEN IN THAT HE HATH RAISED HIM FROM THE DEAD."
"IN THE DAY WHEN GOD SHALL JUDGE THE SECRETS OF MEN BY CHRIST ACCORDING TO MY GOSPEL..."
There is coming a day when the wicked dead (those who have died in their sins from Adam's day until the end of the Millennium) will be judged. This will take place at the end of the Millennium. The earth will be renovated by fire at that same time (Rev. 20:11, II Peter 3:7-13, Hebrews 1:10-12, 12:25-28, Romans 1:21-23). The place where it will happen is called "the Great White Throne." ) It is located on a mountain within sheol, it is a white literal mountain, with a throne-like top.
God will judge these wicked people according to their degree of revelation.
Some will be judged by their conscience (Romans 2:12-16), if that is all the revelation they have received.
Others will have their memory testify against them (Luke 16:25).
The law of Moses will condemn many, who have only known it (Romans 2:12-16).
The gospel message, and their failure to appropriate its grace, will testify against many (Romans 2:12-16).
However, men are judged, they will find God has recorded all their personal acts. (Matthew 12:36, Luke 12:2-9, John 3:18, and Rev. 20:12). If people have not repented of their sins, and had their names written into the Book of Life, they will be damned (Rev. 3:5, 13:8, 17:8, 20:12,15, 21:22, 22:18-19).
The judges of this judgment are both the Father and the Son.
God, the Father - Rev. 20:12
Jesus, the Son - John 5:19-27
"For the Father judges no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son"
The Father will decree--the Son will execute that judgment. (Acts 10:42, 17:31, Romans 2:16) This judgment will not be an invisible, spiritual, endless process. It will be a literal, visible trial. This trial will be similar to a trial on this earth. (Rev. 20:11-15, Psalms 9:8, Matthew 7:2,21, Hebrews. 9:27) The purpose of this trial is to give every man a fair hearing before final judgment is pronounced. It will reveal the secret sins of the wicked. It will judge all the works, thoughts, actions, and sins of people. (I Timothy 5:24, I Peter 1:17, Rev. 20:12-13, 22:12) Degrees of punishment will be meted out, according to the deeds done, and according to the degree of revelation one had to encourage them to repent. (Matthew 7:2, , 10:15, 11:22-24, 12:41-45, 23:12-14,33, Revelation 20:11-15, 22:12)
The end result of this judgment will be that those judged here will be sent to the Lake of Fire.
THE FOURTH HEAVEN, FIFTH, SIXTH, AND SEVENTH will be explained in part 3 ... stay tuned