• In Rev. 12 Satan is cast "down" out of heaven.
  • When the Lord blesses the bread which feeds 5000, He looks "up" into heaven.
  • When Stephen is stoned, he also looks "up".
  • After resurrection, Jesus is physically lifted up into the clouds.

Yet, despite all these references, I don't think heaven can be a physical place (e.g. outerspace, or somewhere near Jupiter).

What is the biblical basis for heaven not being a physical place?

  • 1
    One word three meanings heaven = where the birds fly, where the planets and stars are, where god lives
    – 007
    Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 12:58
  • Which way is up?
    – 007
    Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 14:05
  • @Kris I agree with those three definitions, can you show it via the Bible? And up, in the biblical context, is "up" when you are standing in the middle east/mediterranean area
    – Mirror318
    Commented Jun 12, 2017 at 1:36

2 Answers 2


Jn 18:36 Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world . . . this realm"

Heb 9:11,24 Heaven is not of this creation

1 Cor 15:50­51,44 Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.


Your first scripture reference is from prophesy, whereas the last three references are descriptive of actual events of the people in the record. The first one of these things does not match the others.

In prophesy, we have to recognize prophetic symbols and language, as God used metaphors to warn of coming judgment. In prophesy "heaven" was the ruling authority of a nation; it was the rule of a king or the highest authority of that empire. God raises up whom He wills, and removes them from power as He wills. (Judges 2:14, 16; 1 Sam. 2:6-10, 35; 2 Sam. 3:9-10; etc.)

As kings and rulers rule at the pleasure of God, and as they exercise authority over the people of the land, they live in luxurious palaces, and live with servants to do as they command, they abide in a type of heaven that is higher than the common people of the land.

In prophetic language, the common people of the land are referred to as "earth". In warning the children of Israel to keep God's covenant Lev. 26:19 says,

"and I have broken the pride of your strength, and have made your heavens as iron, and your earth as brass;"

Your heaven and your earth.... the ruling authorities and the people occupying the land.

So, in Rev. 12 when there was a war in heaven, it is not speaking of the actual heaven where God has his throne. There is no evil in heaven above. The heaven of Rev. 12 was the ruling authority that was waiting to devour the man child, and the newly born church of Christ (vs. 4). He was waging war against Christ (Michael) and the disciples and apostles of Christ in the land, on the earth... which was Judea where Christ was born, and Jerusalem where the church was born on the day of Pentecost.

Then, vs. 9 where the dragon / devil and his messengers / angels / agents were cast down to the "earth", it means that he was removed from that ruling position of power and was no longer in a position of absolute authority to persecute the saints. He was bound for a time.

Those that were accusing the saints in that century when Christ was born were the same ones who were the cause of the crucifixion of Christ... the Sanhedrin. So, the adversary of Rev. 12 that was cast down to "earth" was the Sanhedrin of Jerusalem. The dragon / devil would eventually be resurrected as the power and ruling authority of the Caesars of Rome, especially of Nero.

There is a good discussion of the symbolism of the great dragon [here].1

You can find further scriptural evidences of the use of "heaven and earth" as the idiom for the covenants of God, both old and new, at my blog - "Heaven and Earth Have Passed Away" [here].2

There is an actual, literal heaven where God has His throne. But, He uses the word "heaven" in prophesy as a type of authority under His rule that is above and over the people of the land, just as He is above and over all the earth.

  • Thanks for taking the time to answer, but you mentioned Rev. 12 doesn't count—ok, then can you answer the question based on the other references? You only talk about the example that you already stated doesn't count...
    – Mirror318
    Commented Jun 12, 2017 at 1:39
  • "There is no evil in heaven above"—what about Satan in heaven talking to God about Job?
    – Mirror318
    Commented Jun 12, 2017 at 1:40
  • You asked if there was a biblical basis for heaven not being a physical place. The answer talked about the prophetic usage as those are the times that the bible uses heaven metaphorically. The other examples you provided were speaking of the real heaven where God has His throne. I thought I indicated that in the first sentence, but maybe I wasn't clear.
    – Gina
    Commented Jun 12, 2017 at 2:37
  • Does the book of Job actually state where the meeting with God took place? The adversary was present in the garden from the beginning in Genesis, and he answered God saying that he had been walking up and down the land. I am not sure he had free reign to go where he wanted. I wonder if traditional teaching has just assumed the meeting in Job took place in heaven.
    – Gina
    Commented Jun 12, 2017 at 2:43

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