“Exactly how many heavens are there and what is the purpose of each realm?”
We believe the Scriptures teach there are three heavens.
The first heaven is our atmosphere where we live and serve the Lord. It is where the Psalmist says, “the fowls of the heaven have their habitation, which sing among the branches” (Psa. 104:12).
The second heaven is the solar system that consists of the sun, moon, stars, and planets (Gen. 1:14-18). Prior to the written revelation of God, the Lord used this realm as a teaching tool. Once again, in the words of the Psalmist, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament [expanse] sheweth His handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge” (Psa. 19:1,2). While Satan currently dwells in the second heaven, he will be cast out of heaven to the earth in the middle of the Tribulation period (Rev. 12:7-12). Throughout eternity, the members of the Body of Christ will occupy this realm and its various seats of authority (Eph. 2:6).
The third heaven is the abode of God often referred to in the Scriptures as the heaven of heavens. It is also where an innumerable host of angels worship and serve the Lord. This is confirmed by Nehemiah, “Thou, even thou, art Lord alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein” (Neh. 9:6).
Paul reveals that he was caught up to the “third heaven” where he received a further revelation from the Lord regarding the Mystery (II Cor. 12:1-4; Eph. 3:2,3). The apostle also calls this realm Paradise. Today, we have a heavenly hope according to Colossians 1:5; therefore, when we come face to face with death, we look forward with great expectation to be absent from the body “and to be present with the Lord” (II Cor. 5:6-9), Who dwells in the heaven of heavens
To the Reader:
Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:
"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."
To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.