- First Heaven – Sky. Isaiah spoke of this: As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater… (Is 55:10).
- Second Heaven – Outer Space. Moses spoke of this: And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars – all the heavenly array – do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the LORD your God has apportioned to all the nations under the heaven (Dt 4:19).
- Third Heaven – Where God is. Paul spoke of this: I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven (2Co 12:2). The psalmist spoke of this: The LORD is in his holy temple; the LORD is on his heavenly throne… (Ps 11:4). And Solomon spoke of this: But will God really dwell on earth with men? The heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain you… (2Ch 6:18).
- First Person of Trinity (God the Father). We find God in the beginning: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Gn 1:1). He also revealed himself to the Israelites at Mount Sinai after they were rescued from Egypt: Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the LORD descended on it in fire (Ex 19:18a).
- Second Person of Trinity (God the Son – Jesus Christ). The Bible tells us he was there with God in the beginning: Then God said, “Let us make man in our image…” (Gn 1:26). Also, after God appeared to the Israelites in the smoke and fire on Mount Sinai, this second person of the Godhead appeared to their leaders: Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel wet up and saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was something like a pavement of sapphire, clear as the sky itself. But God did not raise his hand against these leaders of the Israelites; they saw God, and they ate and drank (Ex 24:9-11). I find this awe inspiring because right after he gave a command for stay off the mountain because they were not holy, he met with them to show his grace.
- Third Person of Trinity (God the Holy Spirit). Even the Holy Spirit was with God in the beginning: Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters (Gn 1:2). The Holy Spirit was also given to many of the Israelite leaders: Then the LORD came down in the cloud and spoke with him, and he took of the Spirit that was on him and put the Spirit on the seventy elders (Nu 11:25a).
- Angels. The Bible speaks of both righteous angels and unrighteous angels, or demons, who followed Lucifer (also called the devil, the Adversary, or Satan).
- Cherubim (Ek 1:5-24; 10:1-22) – These are the highest rank of angels with the closest relationship to God, and a major part of God’s moving chariot throne
- Seraphim (Is 6:1-7) - They cover the unique presence of God and his throne.
- Four Living Beings (Rv 4:6-9) - They exalt God day and night.
- Archangel (1Th 4:16; Ju 1:9) - Chief Messenger and ruling angel.
- Angels – (Mt 24:36; 25:31; Hb 1:6; Ro 8:38; 1Pt 3:22) - These are messengers that carry out the message God wants delivered.
- Satan – (Jb 1:6; Rv 12:10) – Satan himself is an angel, a created being, who is submissive to God. He does not have equal billing or influence. The Bible does state he has access to heaven and to God, at last at certain times. Scriptures also tells us that one day that access will be revoked and he will no longer be granted that that access.
- Demons - (Ro 8:38; 1Co 15:24; Ep 1:21, 2:22, 3:10, 6:12; Cl 1:16, 2:10, 15; 1Pt 3:22) – These are under Satan and his authority. They may or may not have access to heaven. They also have ranks and are described as principalities, might, powers, dominions, rulers of the darkness of this world, spiritual wickedness in high places, authorities, rule, and thrones.
There are some other individuals we have to consider. There are three humans which the Bible states were taken to heaven before Christ’s first coming. Let’s take a look at them and see what that implies.
Enoch. The Bible states, “Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away” (Gn 5:24). Later, we read, “by faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God” (Hb 11:5). And we find he was a prophet in his day: Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men: “see, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against him” (Ju 1:14). Therefore, Enoch preached of the Messiah coming to set up his earthly kingdom. How he entered heaven is how many will enter into Christ’s kingdom. They, too, will not die but still be alive when Christ returns to earth again to set up his kingdom. They will literally, walk into his kingdom.
Moses. God told the children of Israel their promised coming Messiah would be recognizable because he would come as a prophet like Moses: “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him” (Dt 18:15). When Moses died, God, himself buried him: “And Moses the servant of the LORD died there in Moab, as the LORD had said. He buried him in Moab, in the valley opposite Beth Peor, but to this day no one knows where his grave is” (Dt 34:5-6). Yet, Moses did not stay buried. We read of this unusual event in Jude: “But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, ‘the Lord rebuke you’” (Ju 1:9)! The reason we believe he did not stay dead is because he appeared with Christ and three of his disciples: “Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus” (Lk 9:30-31). Therefore, the disputed body may have been over Moses’ glorified body. If Moses was resurrected, Satan may have argued over Moses not staying in Sheol. Christ had not yet come and defeated death and Sheol, so Satan may have argued this was premature of God to raise Moses at this time. This would be consistent with the similarity between Moses and Jesus.
Elijah. He was another that did not face death in this life: “As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind” (2Ki 2:11). This was a testimony to the message Elijah had constantly wanted his people to realize and understand about God: God is alive and they can put their trust in him. Recall what he told the Israelites: “Elijah went before the people and said, ‘How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him’” (1Ki 18:21). This became a promise to Israel in that they would one day be with God if they remained faithful to their belief in their Messiah. Elijah also appeared along with Moses to Christ and three of his disciples: “Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus” (Lk 9:30-31).
There are some controversies around what I just presented. Next time, we’ll explore this further and see what the likely purpose of why these three individuals received special treatment. It may not be what you expect. Stay turned and find out. Until then, God bless.
Meaning of Son of God
Heaven & Hell
What was Special about Enoch, Moses, and Elijah?