What is the second heaven?Question: "What is the second heaven?"
Answer: The second heaven is not called such in Scripture; rather, the existence of the second heaven is inferred from the fact that the Bible speaks of a “third heaven,” and, if there is a third heaven, there must be a first heaven and second heaven, too. The idea that more than one type of “heaven” exists is confirmed in Hebrews 7:26, which says that Jesus, our High Priest, is “exalted above the heavens”; in other words, Jesus is in a heaven beyond other heavens.
The third heaven is mentioned in 2 Corinthians 12:2. Paul says, “I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows.” In verse 4, Paul equates the third heaven with “paradise,” the realm where God dwells. If the third heaven is God’s dwelling place, then we could consider the second heaven to be “outer space,” the realm of the stars and planets; and the first heaven to be earth’s atmosphere, the realm of the birds and clouds.
The term heaven is used in Scripture to refer to all three realms. Psalm 104:12 speaks of “the birds of the heavens” (ESV)—this would be the first heaven, the atmosphere of Earth. In Isaiah 13:10 we find “the stars of heaven and their constellations”—a reference to the second heaven, outer space. And Revelation 11:19 describes the opening of “God’s temple in heaven”—the third heaven, or God’s dwelling place.
Some Charismatic groups use the term second heaven in reference to Satan’s domain and anything that comes from there. They take biblical descriptions of Satan being “the ruler of the kingdom of the air” (Ephesians 2:2) and demons being “the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12) and develop a theology of spiritual warfare. According to these groups, “second heaven revelations” are false visions coming from Satan in an attempt to deceive God’s prophets on earth. Prophets must learn to distinguish between “second heaven revelations” (from the devil) and “third heaven revelations” (from God). These same groups also sometimes teach a hierarchy of demonic power, with the first-heaven (earth-bound) demons being of lesser authority and power than the second-heaven demons.
Categorizing demons into first-heaven and second-heaven types goes beyond what the Bible says. Again, the Bible does not include the term second heaven anywhere. Those who look for prophecies or new revelations from God set themselves up for deception. God has spoken, and the Bible’s canon is closed. We do not need a “new word” from God; we need to obey His “old word.”
Recommended Resource: Heaven by Randy Alcorn
More insights from your Bible study - Get Started with Logos Bible Software for Free!
Are there different levels of Heaven?
What are the heavenly places/realms?
Is the idea of seven heavens / the seventh heaven biblical?
Are there different levels of punishment in Hell?
What is the difference between Sheol, Hades, Hell, the lake of fire, Paradise, and Abraham’s bosom?
Questions about Heaven, Hell, and Eternity
What is the second heaven?