Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
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Do we believe there are levels in heaven? If so, what are they?

There are three heavens: the first one is the heaven of birds, the second one is the space, and the third one is the paradise of joy. St. Paul caught a glimpse of paradise when he described the third heaven. It was described as the third heaven because it was beyond earth and space "—such a one was caught up to the third heaven....—-whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows—- how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words..." (2 Corinthians 12:2-4). There is also what is called the heaven of heavens "To Him who rides on the heaven of heavens" (Psalm 68:33).

The current heavens hosted the creation and the first earth became the complicated home of the exiled man and his descendents. After the restoration of humanity, the faithful who kept God's commandments will enjoy the ever presence of God: "Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. And also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying 'Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away'" (Revelation 21:31-4). 

"In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know" (John 14:2-4). These verses are supporting evidence of the different levels (ranks) in heaven prepared for us by God. It is one "house" which is one heaven. But in this house there are many mansions as St. Paul said, "for one star differs from another star in glory" (1 Corinthians 15:41). How comforting it is to know that God Himself is preparing a place specifically designed for each one of us far more beautiful than we could imagine and far better than we deserve.
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