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The Bible speaks of three heavens that are to be distinguished from the context. It begins by stating: “In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen 1:1) suggesting multiple heavens or different layers of heaven.

1. The firmament or immediate atmosphere that surrounds the earth and where the birds fly beneath the dome of the sky (Gen 1:20). The Psalmist refers to this heaven: “Beside them the birds of heaven nest; among the branches they sing” (104:12).

2. The dome where God established sources of light, including sun, moon, and stars (Gen 1:14-18). The Psalmist refers to this heaven saying: “The heavens declare the glory of God; the firmament proclaims the works of his hands” (Ps 19:2).

3. The place where God, the holy angels, and souls of just men dwell. It is called “The heaven of heavens,” or “the third heaven” (2 Cor 12:2). Moses told the Israelites: “Look, the heavens, even the highest heavens, belong to the LORD, your God” (Deut 10:14). Paul had an experience of being taken up to the third heaven where he had the revelation of God (2 Cor 12:1-4). He also calls this third heaven paradise.


There are references in the Bible to the opening of the heavens:

In Old Testament:

1) The floodgates of the sky (heaven) were opened during the flood at the time of Noah (Gen 7:11).

2) Prophet Ezekiel, while he was by the river Chebar among the exiles, saw the heavens opened (Ezek 1:1).

In the New Testament:

1) The first mention of the heavens opened was when John baptized Jesus (Mt 3:1; Mk 1:10; Lk 3:21).

2) Stephen, while he was on trial by the Sanhedrin, saw the heaven opened up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God” (Acts 7:56).

3) Peter saw the sky opened, and an object like a great sheet coming down, lowered by four corners to the ground (Acts 10:11).

4) John the Evangelist saw the heaven opened while he was on the Island of Patmos based on which he authored the book of Revelation (Rev 4:1; 19:11).

Mark presents the heaven’s opening at the baptism of Jesus as an extraordinary event. The Greek word used for torn open is “schizo.” The English word “scissors” has derived from this word. This image is vivid, like what happened at the death of Jesus on the cross, “And immediately the curtain which enclosed the Temple sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom” (Mk 15:38).

The occasions when God opened the heavens were for the destruction of sinners: After Noah built the ark, “the floodgates of the heavens were opened” (Gen 7:11) to destroy the sinners with a deluge while saving Noah and his family. “Then the LORD rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from heaven” (Gen 19:24) to destroy the sinners while saving the life of Lot. However, when John baptized Jesus, the heavens were torn open to reveal the Most Holy Trinity.


The revelation of the opening of heavens is an assurance for believers on their final destination in life. The faith in afterlife helps us to live for Jesus and his church during sufferings and persecution. Jesus is the way to the Father, and he has opened the gates of heaven for us. Let us live with the hope of reward by Jesus for our good works in this world.


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