The Three Heavens and
The Eight Spiritual Realms
The word Heaven is plural “shamayim” or “ouranoi” (Gk). There are three heavens or “shamayim” mentioned in Scripture.
The first heaven is where “the birds of the heavens” fly. (Genesis 1:20, Psalm 104:12, Daniel 2:38)
The mid-heaven or second heaven is where the angels fly and do battle. (Revelation 12:4-12, 14:6,7)
The third heaven is where Paul or the person He knew was “caught up to” heard “inexpressible things” (2 Corinthians 12:2 NKJV) and is probably where Satan was first dwelling before he fell.
The Bible describes eight main spiritual realms:
Above the Heavens – where God’s glory dwells and where Satan once aimed to be. (Psalm 8:1, 108:4,5, Ephesians 1:20, 4:10, Isaiah 14:12-14)
Third Heaven (2 Corinthians 12:2) – the Throne, where Paul went and heard holy things.
Second Heaven (Revelation 12:4-12, 14:6,7) –Where Satan and fallen angels first fell to and demons are fighting for now.
First Heaven (Genesis 1:20, Psalm 104:12, Daniel 2:38) – birds dwell, Satan dwells as prince of the power of the air since the cross.
Earth esp. “The Face Of The Earth” (Genesis 6:1, Acts 17:26Job 1:7,2:2, 1 Peter 5:8) – the place of human habitation, also where Satan prowls, and will be cast down to in the end times.
The Grave/Under The Earth /In The Sea/The Deep (Genesis 1:2, Exodus 20:4, Deuteronomy 5:8, Job 28:14, Philippians 2:10, Revelation 5:3) – the place human bodies, some righteous souls before the cross, and the strange creatures of the deep dwell. In 1 Samuel 28:15 the prophet is “brought up” by the witch of Endor. In Matthew 27:52,53 there is a partial resurrection of the righteous OT saints “from the graves”.
Abyss/the Bottomless Pit/Hell (Isaiah 14:11-15; Numbers 16:33, Ezekiel 32:15-18 Luke 8:31, 10:7, Revelation 9:1,2; 20:1-3) – presently where the souls of the disgraced dead and confined demons dwell.
The Lake of Fire (Revelation 19;20, 20:10-15) – a future place of eternal punishment prepared for the Devil and his angels and those who accept the mark of the Beast.
“Sheol” is a general Hebrew term covering the entire world of the dead. Luke 16 indicates that Abraham’s bosom is a place of comfort in the OT world of the dead. Job indicates that some of the dead experienced rest and reunion with relatives hence the term ‘gathered to one’s people”. (Job 3:17-22, Genesis 15:15, 25:8,17; Deut 32:50).
Abbadon or Destruction (Gk Apollyon) is the name of the angel that guards the Pit (Revelation 9:11) and thus Hell is given the name Abaddon in Job 26:6, 28:22, Proverbs 15;11. It is seen as a place of silence, loss of identity and oblivion as well as of torment. There is no knowledge of God just active torment and judgment. (Pslam 6:5, 88:12, Deut 32:22) God’s Presence is till there – as wrath. (Psalm 139;8)
Tartarus was the legendary Greek place of extreme torment. 2 Peter 2:4 indicates that the rebellious demons were confined here. It seems equivalent to the Pit.
What Happens When Christians Die
Christians are already “seated in heavenly realms with Christ” (Ephesians 2:6) who have already come to the heavenly Zion (Hebrews 12:22-24) whose citizen ship is in Heaven (Philippians 3:20) and whose treasure is stored up for them in heaven (1 Peter 1:4) and who have died and whose life is hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:1-4). When Christians leave this earthly tent behind they go to where they already are – with Christ, in God (Philippians 1:23) for them death has no sting (1 Corinthians 15:51-55). The resurrection of the dead when Christ returns shall complete our redemption and we will be given immortal resurrection bodies. (1 Corinthians 15:1-58)
The Fall Of Satan
Satan falls from third heaven where he was an anointed cherub (Ezekiel 28:1-19, Isaiah 14:12-20), to second heaven in the OT, after the cross he falls from second heaven to become “the prince of the power of the air” in Ephesians (Ephesians 2:1-4). After a battle in Rev 12 where Satan tries to retake the second heaven he is cast out of the heavens entirely. He is forced to Earth and incarnates as the Anti-Christ. (Revelation 13) He wars with God and is cast to the Pit. (Revelation 19,20:1-3)
After 1000 years Satan tries to retake Earth and loses yet again and his final place of punishment in the lake of fire. (Revelation 20) Satan can go “down a level” any time he likes – say from first heaven to earth, but he cannot go up a level unless God calls him up temporarily. Satan constantly fights to go up a level, loses, then is cast down even further. During the OT period Satan had some access to the courts of Heaven as we see in Zechariah 3 and Job 1 & 2 and evil spirits were part of those standing before the Lord as the “host of heaven” (1 Kings 22:19-23).
Since the cross and the spoiling of Satan during the ascension (Ephesians 4) they have been cast out and there is no indication in the NT that evil spirits are now part of the heavenly court in any way. The Church is now above the angels ( 1Corinthians 6:2,3, Matthew 11:11-13, Hebrews 1:14) and the true citizens of heaven (Phil 3:20)