Populating the Third Heaven Part 1 -- By: Lewis Sperry Chafer

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 108:430 (Apr 1951)
Article: Populating the Third Heaven Part 1
Author: Lewis Sperry Chafer

Populating the Third Heaven
Part 1

Lewis Sperry Chafer

The Scriptures indicate that there are three heavens. Direct reference is made to the third heaven in 2 Corinthians 12:2, and it is evident that there cannot be a third without a first and a second also. It is credible, and no doubt true, that the first heaven comprises the air space surrounding the earth, for reference is made to the birds of the heavens and the clouds of the heavens. It seems as likely that the second heaven includes the entire solar system, as reference is made to the stars of the heavens. The location of the third heaven has never been determined in any way whatever. However, it certainly exists.

When God would populate the first heaven He created a man and a woman with instructions that they populate the earth. As the second heaven is the abode of the angels, it is equally true that when God would populate the second heaven it was achieved by an almighty act of creation whereby the entire company of angels was brought into being. The indications are that the second heaven is between the first and third, since it is said that when Christ came into the world He descended lower than the angels (Heb 2:7), and when He returned from earth to heaven He ascended far above the principalities and powers not only in this world but also in that which is to come (Eph 1:20–21; 4:9–10 ).

Little, indeed, is known of the early population of the third heaven other than that it has always been the abode of the Triune God and that it is probable no created being had an abode there—angel or man—until redeemed ones of the present age went by death to be with the Lord in glory. In the full and extended life of man on the earth at least

six thousand years have passed into history. This whole time is subject to a threefold division, namely, (1) the two thousand years from Adam to Abraham, (2) the two thousand years from Abraham to Christ, and (3) the two thousand years, nearly, from Christ’s first advent to His second advent. In the first period of two thousand years, or from Adam to Abraham, all of which is recorded in the first eleven chapters of Genesis, there was one stock or kind of humanity on the earth. In the second period, from Abraham to Christ, there were two kinds of humanity on the earth—the Gentile and the Jew, and in this period the Gentiles, the original stock, are seen only in their relation to the Jews (that is, the Jew represents the divine objective in that period). In the third period of two thousand years, ...

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