1H 2 Cor. 12:2. Since there is a third heaven, there must be a first and a second. So there are three heavens.
1. The aerial heaven, where the birds fly (Rev. 19:17), where the clouds form, and from which the rain and snow come down. This is the belt of air which reaches from the surface of the earth up into the sky. This first heaven will pass away some day, and God will make a new pure atmosphere, a new first heaven to surround the new earth which He will make. 2 Pet. 3:10,13; Rev.21:1.
2. The stellar heaven, where the sun, moon, and stars move in their orbits. Ps. 19:1-4.
3. The third heaven is Paradise (2 Cor. 12:2,4), where the throne of God is, where Jesus is now.
2H John 14:3. Jesus said that He would prepare a place in heaven for His people.
3H Heb. 11:16,10. This place that Jesus has prepared is the City of God, or the New Jerusalem.
4H Rev. 21:10-18. This New Jerusalem is 12,000 furlongs or 1,500 miles, in circumference, or 375 miles to each side. It contains 140,625 square miles. North Carolina contains 52,426 square miles; South Carolina, 30,989 square miles; Tennessee, 42,022 square miles. So the City of God is larger in area than these three states. It has a wall of jasper 216 feet high, 12 foundations of 12 precious stones, 12 gates, each one of one solid pearl, streets of gold, and mansions of gold for the saints.
5H Rev. 21:4. It is a city where everyone will have a perfect immortal body, where there will be no sickness, trouble, or death, where His people will be perfectly happy through all eternity.
6H Rev. 21:1-3. This New Jerusalem will be the capital of the new earth. The New Jerusalem is now in the third heaven, and the saints will all go up to that city when Jesus comes, to reign with Him there for 1,000 years, the earth will be made over into a new earth, free from sin and sinners, and the New Jerusalem will rest on this new earth as its grand capital. With Christ, the saints will reign forever over this new earth.
7H Rev 22:14. We must keep all of God's commandments if we would ever enter that city.
8H Phil. 3:20,21. When we go to the New Jerusalem we will each have a glorious spiritual body, just as Jesus has. 1 John 3:2; 1 Cor. 15:44.
9H John 20:11-16. Just as Mary knew Jesus by His voice after His resurrection, so we will know our friends in heaven by their voices.
10H John 20:27,28. Just as Thomas recognized Jesus by His appearance, so we will recognize our friends in heaven.
11H Matt. 17:3,4. Just as the disciples on the mount of transfiguration recognized Moses and Elijah, men whom they had never seen before, men who had died or been translated hundreds of years before that; so with our glorious spiritual bodies we will have powers of recognition and cognition to know millions of people in heaven that we have never seen before.
12H 1 Cor. 13:12. We will know each other fully then, as God knows us now.
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