There are four Hebrew words translated “heaven”, shamayim, is the word used for the heavens and the earth (1) that literally means “the heights.”The Greek word translated “heaven” is ouranos….it refers to that which is raised up or lofty. Scripture uses both shamayim and ouranos to refer to three different places. (1)
1. The Created Expanse the air or atmosphere where clouds gather – “In the beginning God created the Heavens and the earth” (Gen 1:1)
2. The Planetary Heaven encompasses the Sun, moon and stars
And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: [he made] the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that [it was] good.
3. The Dwelling place of God and His angels also referred to as the third Heaven ( 2 Corinthians 12:2)
The first two Heavens will pass away, the third is eternal (2 Peter 3:10)
Eternal heaven will be different from the heaven where God now dwells. In the consummation of all things, God will renovate the heavens and the earth, merging His heaven with a new universe for a perfect dwelling place that will be our home forever. In other words, heaven, the realm where God dwells, will expand to encompass the entire universe of creation, which will be fashioned into a perfect and glorious domain fit for the glory of heaven. (2 Peter 3:13) (Isaiah 65:17-19)
Scripture promises that heaven will be a realm of perfect bliss. Tears, pain, sorrow and crying will have no place whatsoever in the new heaven and new earth. It is a place where God’s people will dwell together with Him eternally, utterly free from all the effects of sin and evil. (2)
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. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God [is] with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, [and be] their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
(1) Smith, Willaim. “Smith’s Bible DIctionary.” Fleming H. Revell company. 1982.
(2) Macarthur, John, LaHaye, Tim and Hindson, Ed (General Editors). “The Popular Encyclopedia of Bible Prophecy”. Harvest House Publishers. 2004.