Revelation Chapter 12, Part 3

THE SYMBOLIC HEAVENS

Having we believe established the fact that there are three LITERAL heavens, we now turn our attention
to the
SYMBOLIC heavens, in the attempt to understand what they imply, let us examine a few
Scriptural references which might assist us in this respect.

See that ye refuse not him that speaks. For if they escaped not who refused him that spoke on
earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from
him that speaks from heaven:
Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, yet once more I shake
not the earth only,
but also heaven.” (Heb 12:25, 26)

And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a
scroll: and their entire host shall fall down, as the leaf falls off from the vine and as a falling fig
from the fig tree
.” (Isa 34:4)

Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. But of that day and hour
knows no man, no, not the angels of heaven, [nor the Son], but my Father only
.” (Matt 24: 35,
36
)

For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the
earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being
overflowed with water, perished: But
the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same
word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the Day of Judgment and perdition of ungodly
men…But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which
the heavens shall
pass away with a great noise
, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and
the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be
dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,
looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein
the heavens being on fire
shall be dissolved
, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to
his promise, look for
new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwells righteousness.”  (2 Pet 3:5-
7, 10-13
)

And as the apostle Paul states, “
I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the
body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knows ;) such a one caught
up to
the third heaven.” (2 Cor 12:2)

It is quite obvious that the LITERAL heavens (i.e. the “residence” of the Father and of all the
heavenly hosts)
is NOT what is being referred to in these scriptures as being destroyed, Why
should God wish to destroy the literal heavens? Is there something wrong with them? Is this not the
abode of the heavenly hosts, the holy angels? If something is wrong with the literal heavens then why
are we admonished to pray “
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven?

Nor is there any reason for our assuming that this is in reference to the physical heavens or physical
earth and its atmosphere (i.e. the “
firmament”, either the expanse of the sky or the universe), in fact
the Scriptures expressively state that “
the earth abides forever” (Eccl 1:4) “For thus saith the LORD
that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it,
he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else
.”
(
Isa 45:18)

What are the “
New Heavens” spoken of in 2 Pet 3:13? What was Paul talking about when he mentioned
the “
third heaven”?

Let us first off state
what we believe the symbolic “heavens” here represent, as used in our example
texts. We believe that these “
heavensrepresent the religious powers and influences of the world,
both the seen and the unseen, the ecclesiastical rulers, thus these heavens are symbolically
designated the
ecclesiastical heavens”.

We shall now attempt to show this, the best place to begin; I believe would be with our example text
above (
2 Pet 3:5-7, 10-13), which pretty much covers all of our questions.

“Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world," and until the era or the "world to come" does come,
Christ's kingdom will not control the earth. And for this we are taught to hope and pray, "
Thy kingdom
come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven
.” Satan is the chief “ruler of the darkness of this
world
this world”, “the present evil world” (Gal 1:4) and therefore "darkness covers the earth and
gross darkness the people
." He is at present the “prince of the power(s) of the air (the unseen
spiritual powers of darkness
), the spirit that now rules and works in the hearts of the children of
disobedience
.” (Eph 2:2)

We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the
rulers of the darkness of this world
, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Eph 6:12)

Suffice it now to say, that the kingdoms of this world, now subject to Satan, are at the proper time to
become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ. (
Rev 11:15) The context shows that the transfer will
be accomplished by a general time of trouble (“
the elements shall melt with fervent heat”). In reference
to it Jesus said, "
No man can enter into a strong man's house and spoil his goods, except he will
first bind the strong man, and then he will spoil his house
." (Mark 3:22-27) Thus we are taught
that Satan must first be bound, restrained and deposed, before Christ's reign of righteousness and peace
can be established. This binding of Satan is accordingly shown to be the first work of the new
dispensation. (
Rev 20:2)

It should be remembered that this earth is the basis of all these "
worlds" and dispensations, and that
though ages pass and dispensations change, still the earth continues-- "
The earth abides forever."
(
Eccl. 1:4) Carrying out the same figure, Peter calls each of these periods a separate heavens and
earth
. Here the word “heavens” symbolizes the higher or spiritual controlling powers, and “earth
symbolizes human government and social arrangements. Thus the first heavens and earth, or the order
and arrangement of things then existing, having served their purpose, ended at the flood (
2 Pet 3:7).
But the physical heavens (sky and atmosphere,
the “firmament), and the physical earth did not pass
away: they remained.
So likewise the present world, both the heavens [ecclesiastical rulers] and
earth [the present social order] will pass away with a great noise, fire and melting--confusion,
trouble and dissolution
. The strong man (Satan), being bound, will struggle to retain his power
nevertheless the present order or arrangement of government and society not that of the physical sky
and earth will pass away.
The present heavens (powers of spiritual control) must give place to the
"
new heavens", Christ's spiritual control. The present earth (human society as now organized under
Satan's control) must (symbolically) melt and be dissolved, in the beginning of the "
Day of the Lord,"
which "
shall burn as an oven." (Mal 4:1) “A new earth,” i.e. society reorganized in harmony with earth’
s new Prince--Christ, will succeed it. Righteousness, peace and love will rule among men when present
arrangements have given place to the new and better kingdom, the basis of which will be the strictest of
justice.

Paul was given a glimpse of the next dispensation, or, as he calls it, "
the world to come." He says he was
"
caught away" (physically or mentally, or both, he could not tell, things were so real to his view) down
the stream of time to the new condition of things, the "
new heaven," hence the "third heaven" (NOT to
be confused with
the third literal heavens See previous post) He thus saw things, as they will be under
the spiritual control of Christ, things which he might not disclose. (
2 Cor 12:2-4) Doubtless these were
the same things, which John afterward saw, and was permitted to express to the Church in
symbols,
which may only be understood as they become due. John, in the revelation given to him by our Lord on
the Isle of Patmos, was in vision carried down through time, through this Christian Age and its changing
scenes of church and state, to the end of the present evil world, or epoch, and there in prophetic visions
he saw Satan bound, Christ reigning, and the new heaven and the new earth established; for the former
heaven and earth were passed away.” (
A 68-70)

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed
away; and there was no more sea
.” (Rev 21:1)  

Take another look now at our very first Scripture cited on this post and you will note a prime example in
which
reference is made in one Scriptural text of both the literal heavens and the symbolic
heavens
viz.

See that ye refuse not him that speaks. For if they escaped not who refused him that spoke on
earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaks from heaven
(the
third literal heavens
): Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, yet
once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven
(the ecclesiastical heavens) .” (Heb 12:25,
26
)

Thus we have shown, previously in (Part 2) that there are three types of LITERAL heavens
spoken of in the scriptures,

1) the heavens orfirmamentof the earth (i.e. the sky),

2) the heavens orfirmamentof space, and

3) the physical heavens or dwelling place of the Most High.

And now we have established the
three parts (or dispensations) of the SYMBOLIC heavens, powers of
ecclesiastical control,

1) those that existed prior to the flood,

2) the present heavens, and

3) thenew heavensyet to come.

The question now is which applies to Revelation Verse 1 Chapter 12, the Literal or the symbolic?
The answer will be made quite clear when we discover the meaning of the “
woman clothed with the sun,
and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars



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