It was said about Enoch that he ascended to heaven (Gen. 5:24), and the same was said about Elijah the prophet (2 Kin. 2:11). St. Paul also said that he was caught up to the third heaven, whether in the body or out of the body, he did not know (2 Cor. 12:
The heaven that the Lord descended from and again ascended to is not the same heaven that Enoch and Elijah ascended to.
The heavens that we know of which the Bible mentioned are:
1. The heavens of the birds. The heaven where birds fly is the atmosphere that surrounds us. The Bible mentions the birds of the air (Gen. 1:26) and (Gen. 7:3). This heaven has the clouds which carry rain (Gen. 8:2) and where aeroplanes now fly, whether below or above.
2. The second heaven, is higher than the heaven of the birds. It is the heaven of the sun, the moon and stars. In other words the firmament as it was called by God: “And God called the firmament Heaven ” (Gen. 1:8).
The Bible says “The stars of heaven” (Mark 13:25), and God said about it: “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens… to give light on the earth… then God made two great lights… and the stars” (Gen. 1:14-17). This heaven is different from the heaven of the birds. This heaven will pass away on the last day “Heaven and earth pass away” (Matt. 5:18) and as St. John said in Revelation: “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth has passed away. Also there was no more sea” (Rev. 21:1).
3. The third heaven is Paradise.
That was the heaven that St. Paul ascended to, and said about himself: “Such a one was caught up to the third heaven… he was caught up into Paradise” (2 Col. 12:2-4).
It is the same heaven about which the Lord said to the thief on His right: “You will be with Me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43). It is the same place to which the Lord relocated the spirits of the righteous people of the Old Testament, who waited on the hope of salvation and to which the spirits of the righteous ascend now till the day of resurrection when all will be moved to the heavenly Jerusalem (Rev. 21).
4. The heaven of heavens, is above and beyond all the previously mentioned heavens.
The psalmist said about it: “Praise Him, you heavens of heavens” (Ps. 148:4). This is the heaven about which the Lord said: “No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven. (John 3:13).
It is the heaven where the throne of God is.
The psalmist said about it: “The Lord’s throne is in heaven;” (Ps. 11:4; 103:19). The Lord commanded us not to swear by heaven, for it is God’s throne (Matt. 5:34). This is what is mentioned in (Isaiah 66:1) and what St. Stephen also saw during his stoning: “I saw the heavens opened and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God. ” (Acts 7:55 & 56).
All the heavens that humans have reached, are nothing compared to the heaven of heavens. For this reason, it was said about our Lord: “Has passed through the heavens” (Heb. 4:14), “And has become higher than the heavens” (Heb. 7:26).
Solomon the Wise mentioned the heaven of heavens on the day he consecrated the temple. He said to the Lord in his prayer: “Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You” (1 Kin. 8:27).
This heaven of heavens, no human has, ascended to. The Lord alone came down from it and again ascended to it. Proverbs say: “Who has ascended into heaven, or descended?.. “what is His name, and what is His Son’s name, if you know?” (Pr. 30:4).
Therefore, the heavens that the Bible mentioned are:
1. The heaven of the birds.
2. The heaven of the stars, the firmament.
3. The third heaven, or Paradise, and
4. The heaven of heavens to which no human has ever ascended.