Heaven

What is meant by the terms 1st Heaven, 2nd Heaven, and 3rd Heaven?

Let’s start by defining Heaven:

Dictionary.com

noun

  1. the abode of God, the angels, and the spirits of the righteous after death; the place or state of existence of the blessed after the mortal life.
  2. (initial capital letter) Often Heavens. the celestial powers; God.
  3. a metonym for God: May heaven help us!
  4. heavens, (used with a singular verb) a wooden roof or canopy over the outer stage of an Elizabethan theater.
  5. Usually heavens. the sky, firmament, or expanse of space surrounding the earth.
  6. a place or state of supreme happiness: She made his life a heaven on earth.

Interjection

heavens, (used to express emphasis, surprise, etc.):
For heaven’s sake! Good heavens!

Idioms

move heaven and earth, to do one’s utmost to effect an end; make a supreme effort:
She promised to move heaven and earth to be there for our wedding anniversary.


Etymonline.com

Old English heofon “home of God,” earlier “the visible sky, firmament,” probably from Proto-Germanic *hibin, dissimilated from *himin– (cognates Low German heben, Old Norse himinn, Gothic himins, Old Frisian himul, Dutch hemel, German Himmel “heaven, sky”), which is of uncertain origin. Perhaps literally “a covering,” from a PIE root *kem- “to cover” (also proposed as the source of chemise). Watkins derives it elaborately from PIE *ak- “sharp” via *akman- “stone, sharp stone,” then “stony vault of heaven.”

From late 14c. as “a heavenly place; a state of bliss.” Plural use in sense of “sky” probably is from Ptolemaic theory of space as composed of many spheres, but it also formerly was used in the same sense as the singular in Biblical language, as a translation of Hebrew plural shamayim. Heaven-sent (adj.) attested from the 1640s.


You may be able to guess what these different numbers refer based on the above information already but let’s make them clear now.

1st Heaven – the sky or, at least, the sky that includes planet Earth’s atmosphere. This is not to include stars or other celestial bodies.

2nd Heaven – outer space. To be clear, this is everything beyond earth. This includes all of the void of space, the planets in it, stars and more.

3rd Heaven – in the presence of God in His domain; commonly referred to as God’s home. This is the heaven most often referred to in Scripture and Christian circles – especially when speaking of life after death.

2 Corinthians 12:2 is probably the most well-known text that prompts people to ask this question as the various translations will word it as “third heaven”.

As you can see, each heaven is something different. Their commonality is in that they’re all considered above us. The third heaven is too considered above us as hell is below us. Obviously, heaven and hell are not places we have the power to physically visit by our own power; there is an even greater sense of beyond-ness to them as compared to our known physical universe (which includes the first two heavens).


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Exegesis

Dictionary.com

noun, plural exegeses [ek-si-jee-seez] (Show IPA)
1. critical explanation or interpretation of a text or portion of a text, especially of the Bible.


Etymonline.com

1610s, “explanatory note,” from Greek exegesis “explanation, interpretation,” from exegeisthai “explain, interpret,” from ex “out” (see ex-) + hegeisthai “to lead, guide,” from PIE root *sag- “to track down, seek out” (see seek (v.)). Meaning “exposition (of Scripture)” is from 1823. Related: Exegetic; exegetical; exegetically.


Discussion/Explanation

This week’s term, exegesis, is straight-forward and the above definition hits its meaning clearly. Even so, there are a few things I’d like to point out about its use.

Exegesis is at the center of exegetical theology as it deals with the text thoroughly. Because of this, it is closely related to what is called biblical theology. All of this includes particular attention to the original languages that the biblical texts were written in (namely Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic). We also pay close attention to the historical context of the texts and the writers. I don’t want to dive too deep here as this term (exegesis) will be addressed again when I post on exegetical theology. With that in mind, I’ll leave things here for now.

Remember past posts can be easily found under the Series Links which is also where you will find the other series I have created.


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Mothers

Today’s Mother’s Day!

A time that we remember and appreciate the women in our lives that we call “mom”.

(I would include the biological as well as non-biological women who have filled the calling we call mom.)

Today’s post will be short as I have just this simple message:

Mother's Day

Show the mothers in your life that you care about them and what they do!


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Gospels

Dictionary.com

noun

  1. the teachings of Jesus and the apostles; the Christian revelation.
  2. the story of Christ’s life and teachings, especially as contained in the first four books of the New Testament, namely Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
  3. (usually initial capital letter) any of these four books.
  4. something regarded as true and implicitly believed: to take his report for gospel.
  5. a doctrine regarded as of prime importance: political gospel.
  6. glad tidings, especially concerning salvation and the kingdom of God as announced to the world by Christ.
  7. (often initial capital letter) Ecclesiastical. anextract from one of the four Gospels, forming part of the Eucharistic service in certain churches.
  8. gospel music.

adjective

  1. of, relating to, or proclaiming the gospel or its teachings: a gospel preacher.
  2. in accordance with the gospel; evangelical.
  3. of or relating to gospel music: a gospel singer.

Origin: before 950; Middle English go(d)spell, Old English gōdspell (see good, spell2); translation of Greek euangélion good news; see evangel1

Related forms
non·gos·pel, adjective


Discussion/Explanation

As you can see, depending upon whether the word is singular, plural, or different context, the meaning of the term seems to vary.

The term by itself means as you see in the origins section – good news. The good news of the Scriptures would be the first 4 books of the New Testament (NT) which include Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

Each of these books is named after their writers. Each tells the story of Christ. Matthew and Mark are the most alike. Luke has much in common with the first two, but it includes the perspective of a physician as Luke was what we call today a doctor.

These first 3 books of the Gospels are often called the Synoptic Gospels because of their commonalities.

John is unique. This becomes immediately obvious upon reading just the first few verses of John 1. You see an immediate emphasis on the deity of Christ and this continues throughout the book. As such, the story of Christ as God is what you read in John resulting in not all of the same events as in the first 3 being told.


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