Are There Different Levels Of Heaven?

Are there different levels of heaven?  As Christians, we believe that entry into heaven is a free gift.  We do not “earn” our way into heaven.  We cannot get there by doing good works.  This is in fact, impossible. The only way to enter heaven is to accept Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and His forgiveness of our sins.  

Are There Different Levels?

But what about once we arrive in heaven? Will there be different “levels of heaven”?  Will some be in better places than others?  Is this something we should worry about? 

What should we make of certain verses that allude to different levels of heaven?  Many Christian cults believe these levels of heaven exist and are something that we should aspire to reach.  They will often reference 2 Corinthians 12:2:

I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a one was caught up to the third heaven.[1]

 Doesn’t this verse clearly show that there are three levels of heaven?

Understanding The Culture

To make sense of this verse, we have to understand the way people in Paul’s time described the world around them.  The way people described the natural world at that time was using 7 different descriptions for them.  Here are the 7 elements:  the sky, the clouds, the sky above the clouds, the firmament, the waters above the firmament, the heavens, and the heaven of heavens, where God dwells. 

So what Paul is referring to is the “Heaven of Heavens” in the verse from 2 Corinthians.  If you look closely at the list, you will understand where Paul gets his “Third Heaven” language from.  The first heaven is the division between the “heavens”, or the firmament.  The second level is the “heavens” what we refer to as space or “the heavens” when we look at the night sky.  The third “heaven” is the heaven of heavens.  This is what we Christians understand as the place believers occupy once we die. 

So as you can see, Paul was simply using the language of his day to describe heaven.  He was making sure his audience knew that he was referring to the “heaven of heavens”, and not simply the night sky or outer space. 

Rewards In Heaven

While we should not expect there to be different levels of heaven, we are told in scripture that there will be different degrees of rewards in heaven.  Those whose show faithfulness in their lives here on earth will be given greater responsibility in heaven.  So while we shouldn’t expect different levels of heaven, we will be receiving different levels of rewards based on our works.  

Have you ever run across someone that tried to convince you there were different levels of heaven?  How did you react?  We’d love to hear your thoughts!

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[1] The New King James Version. (1982). (2 Co 12:2). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.