How many times is Heaven mentioned in the Bible? (How many heavens are there in the Bible?)

As a theology professional, I spend every day studying the Bible and researching to gain deeper insights into the Bible and the heavens. Recently, I have been fascinated with the whole aspect of heaven. I decided to dig deeper into the subject to really understand this concept. With my students raising endless questions about heaven, some believing that heaven and hell, purgatory, and The Divine Comedy’s take on three heavens, research into the subject through interviews by theology experts and more time reading and studying the Bible was the right thing to do. I have gained a lot from the research and can comprehensively provide answers about the subject. So, how many times is heaven mentioned in the Bible?

The word ‘heaven’ appears 582 times in the King James Bible version of the Bible – 327 times in the Old Testament and 255 times in the New Testament. However, the New International version has 186 appearances of the word ‘heaven’ in the Old Testament and 236 in the New Testament. The New Revised Standard Version features 248 mentions of heaven in the New Testament and 246 in the Old Testament. These differences come about because the Bible was first written in ancient Aramaic and Hebrew, so the translations will have the word ‘heaven’ appearing in different numbers.

In this article, I’ll share more insights about the Bible’s mentions of the word ‘heaven’ and the Bible’s interpretations of heaven. So, stick around to learn more.

What Does the Bible Say About Heaven?

The Bible mentions of the word heaven place a great deal of importance on the word, but it’s mainly used to refer to a place of peace, which is also where God lives and where the souls of the departed go to rest as a reward for their good deeds on earth.

Notably, the word bible is translated from the Greek word Ouranos, which refers to a place that is lofty and raised. This translation is similar to the Hebrew translation for heaven – shamayin, which means elevations or heights in plural form as described in Genesis 2:1, Psalm 68:18, and Psalm 102:19.

Genesis 1:1, Acts 17:24, and Jeremiah 23:24 mention heaven and earth, which are meant to represent the entire universe. Heaven for believers is also deemed as a place of eternal blessedness and abundance, and most importantly, a place where Jesus went to prepare for the righteous souls.

Away from its physical reference, the Bible also regards heaven as a place of everlasting blessings and peace for the righteous people’s souls. This is mentioned in John 14:2, which also regards heaven as the home to Jesus’ Father or God, paradise, the kingdom of heaven, or the eternal kingdomLuke 23:43, Revelation 2:7, Galatians 4:26, 2 Peter 1:11, James 2:5, and Matthew 25:1.

1 Peter 1:4 and Hebrews 11:14 also regard heaven as a place of eternal inheritance and a better country for righteous believers. Heaven is also said to be a place full of joy and eternal blissLuke 4:16 and Luke 20:36.

There is also the belief that heaven is where the blessed righteous will receive everlasting life and experience the weight of God’s glory eternally. This is mentioned in 2 Corinthians 4:17. Additionally, heaven is mentioned severally as a place that is devoid of all human suffering for eternity, not to mention a place where all the souls of humankind would be delivered from evil and the wickedness of the world – 2 Corinthians 5:1-2 and 2 Timothy 4:18.  

The Bible further speaks of heaven as a place of great rewards. Revelation 22:12 notes that Jesus will come back soon, and on His Second Coming, God (and Jesus) would reward all individuals depending on the things they did while alive. It’s believed that during the second coming of Jesus Christ, all the souls that will go to heaven (God’s dwelling place) will receive different rewards. It’s also mentioned that only the souls of the people whose actions and works survive the refining fire will be worthy of the rewards and heaven and that they will receive eternal life – 1 Corinthians 3:12.

Overall, heaven is mentioned in 54 out of the 66 books, with Jesus mentioning heaven 70 times in the Gospel of Matthew alone. In addition to these, heaven is first mentioned in Genesis 1:1 in the creation story and towards the end in Revelation 21:10, where heaven is also mentioned.  

How many heavens are mentioned in the Bible?

How many heavens are there in the Bible?
How many heavens are mentioned in the Bible? Image source: Pixabay

The Bible mentions the existence of three heavens in 2 Corinthians 12:2. While the whole idea of multiple heavens is foreign to most Christians, this verse gives an account of a man that was caught up in the third heaven and that it’s not known of this man trapped in the third heaven was in or out of their body. With the mention of the third heaven, there may be a first and second heaven – even though these aren’t mentioned in the Bible.

It’s believed that the first heaven is represented by the atmosphere above the earth, the second is the space in the realm of the stars and the planets, and the third heaven is what’s also known as paradise and represents God’s abode.

What are the three heavens described in the Bible?

First Heaven (Earth and the Sky)

The first heaven is believed to be represented by the Earth’s atmosphere and the sky above or the place of the birds and the clouds. It’s proclaimed in Psalm 19:1 that the heavens will declare God’s glory and that the skies would proclaim His might works. In this verse, the sky above and the clouds represent heaven. James 5:17-18 also mentions heaven as the atmosphere where the rains come from. This is further mentioned in Genesis 7:11-12 where the story of Noah and the Ark mentions the rain falling on earth when the heavens opened up for 40 days and 40 nights.

Therefore, the First Heaven or the Heaven can be considered the location above the oceans and the land, the home to birds, clouds, and all above the earth. Other verses that describe the First Heaven include Deuteronomy 11:11, Psalm 147:8, Job 35:5, Genesis 8:2, and 1 Kings 8:35.

Second Heaven (The Stars and the entire galaxy)

The second heaven is regarded as the place above the earth or the earth’s atmosphere and is made of the stars, the planets, celestial objects, and the entire galaxy. This is considered the second heaven, and it’s made of the things that we cannot see. It’s described in Psalms 8:3, Hebrews 4:14, Genesis 1:14-17, Deuteronomy 4:19, Genesis 15:5, and Isaiah 13:10. It’s worth noting that in these verses, the stars, the constellation, and the galaxy are all synonymous to heaven, and it is said to a place where God’s blessings come from.

Third Heaven (Paradise or God’s Dwelling Place)

The third heaven is the version of heaven that most people refer to – it is God’s abode and the place the believers go to when they die. As God’s wondrous dwelling place, heaven (third heaven) is a place that is welcoming to all the people that put their complete trust in Him. It’s also where his son, Jesus Christ, lives forever. 1 Kings 8:27, 8:30, 2 Chronicles 30:27, 2 Corinthians 12:2, Psalm 115:16, and Psalms 123:1 all speak of heaven as the Dwelling place of God, who sits on the throne. They also deem it the highest heaven that belongs to God.

The third heaven is regarded as the place where the Lord sits high on the throne and is exalted (Isaiah 6:1) and where God stands alongside Jesus Christ in his Full Glory (Acts 7:55-56). In this regard, the third heaven is the highest heaven above the earth, and all that is in it – Deuteronomy 10:14.

Where in the Bible can I read about the three heavens?

Some bible verses about the three heavens include 2 Corinthians 12:2, in which St. Paul mentioned that he was taken up to the third heaven. This verse gives a glimpse of the existence of more than one heaven and that he was standing in the third heaven, next to God (in God’s dwelling place).

Separately, the three heavens are mentioned in Genesis 1:20, Genesis 1:14-18, and in Revelation 4:2. These gives specifics about the features that differentiate these heavenly realms.

Bible Verses about Heaven

How many times is Heaven mentioned in the Bible?
Bible Verses about Heaven. Image source: Pixabay

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 – these verses talk about how the Lord will come down from heaven and that a trumpet call will sound, after which the souls of the people who died in Christ will rise to heaven and will meet with the Lord in the clouds where they will dwell with the Lord forever.

John 14:2 is a verse about Jesus Christ talking about His Father, who has many rooms (in heaven), and that through his death and resurrection, he’d ascended to heaven to prepare a place for the believers.

Colossians 3:2 is a verse about Christians being reminded to set their minds on the things that lie above (in heaven) rather than on their earthly possessions.

Philippians 3:20 is a verse that talks about the fact that the citizenship of believers is in heaven and will be earned during the second coming of Jesus Christ, our savior.

Psalm 19:1-2 says that the Lord’s glory is declared in heaven and that the skies above (also heaven) proclaim the Lord’s works.

Matthew 24:35 says that the words of God will last forever, even though the heavens and the earth will pass away eventually.

Ephesians 6:12 is a verse that talks about the fact that the struggles faced by Christians are against the human flesh and blood but against the spiritual forces from the heavenly realms.

Acts 1:11 says that Jesus Christ was taken to heaven and would return to earth on his Second coming.

Genesis 1:1-2 talks about how God created the heavens and the earth during the creation process.

Hebrews 11:16 is a verse that talks about people longing for a heavenly country that was better than the earthly home.

Revelation 22:1-5 features bible verses about God’s throne in heaven and how beautiful it looks.

John 3:13 says that while no man had ascended into heaven, Jesus would come down to earth from the heavens.

Psalms 115:16 says that the heavens represent a place that belongs to God.

1 Kings 8:27 is also a verse about the highest of heavens being where God dwells.

Jeremiah 8:2 talks about the starry heavens (also referred to as the second heaven).

Biblical Descriptions of What Heaven Looks Like

How many times is Heaven mentioned in the Bible? 
Biblical Descriptions of Heaven. Image source: Freepik

A number of bible verses talk about heaven and describe what believers can expect when they rise to heaven on Christ’s Second Coming. Some of the common descriptions are as follows:

A majestic and beautiful place – according to Revelation 21, heaven is a stunning place whose streets are paved with gold, walls bejeweled with precious stones and jewels, and the gates made of the best pearls.

Beautiful, high throne – Revelation 4:8-11 describes heaven as a place with holy angels who chant and proclaim the name of the Lord. It further notes that the Lord sits on a throne and that Angels also surround him. There also are mentions of beasts with bright eyes and wings proclaiming God’s greatness and holiness.

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