Where is Heaven?

by Joshua Tilghman on February 11, 2012


I would like to address a hot spiritual topic today. Heaven. More specifically, the Kingdom of Heaven. What is it? Where is it? All of us have asked these questions in childhood, no matter what religion you profess. I don’t know about you, but I was always given the type of illusory answers that always made me wonder what and where heaven was even more! You probably know the type to which I am referring:

“Heaven is where God is, and you go there when you die if you believe in Him.”

Now that type of answer really got me going. “But where is God?” I would then ask. To this I would receive a heavy sigh and frustrated look. The look said it all: “Listen, kid! No one really knows until you die. It just can’t be explained in words! So don’t worry about it so much!”

Well, maybe my Sunday school teachers or my parents weren’t really that harsh, but you get the picture. They really didn’t have anything tangible to offer me. Some might agree that it’s supposed to be that way. But I don’t think so, and I’m going to explore some key Biblical insights and scriptures to show exactly where God and Heaven can be found. Hopefully we can come up with something a little more tangible, although we still won’t be able to see it or touch it.

In the New Testament, Jesus made some profound statements about the Kingdom of God, or heaven. Luke 17:20-21 states:

“…The Kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the Kingdom of God is within you” (KJV).

At first this statement doesn’t seem so tangible either. But let’s investigate. When Jesus states that it isn’t “Here” or “There,” he is explaining in very simple language that heaven isn’t a place! In other words, it’s not somewhere we go. I wish my Sunday school teacher had hit me over the head with that when I was so curious. It might not have immediately cleared things up for me, but it might have saved me from all that time I spent looking upward and imagining angels flying around with wings.

The second part of Jesus’ statement is also profound. He tells us the Kingdom of Heaven is “within.” Within what? Within us! So if heaven isn’t a place we go to, and it’s in us, what, exactly, is heaven? Let me preface by saying that Jesus wants us to understand that Heaven isn’t a place to go to, but it is a place we enter. By this I mean the kingdom is our attitude. Our mental and emotional make up. Our conscious outlook. Our perception. Etc, etc. This is the best way of explaining something that is not a place out there, yet is within. In this respect, our conscious outlook could either be a hellish nightmare or an earthly paradise. I’ll explain more on that in another post. But first, let’s examine some more scripture to drive this point home.

In 1 Kings Elijah is fleeing from Jezebel. On his flight he is told to stand upon the mountain to hear from God. As the Biblical story goes, God passes by him. Starting in chapter 19 verse 11, the writer explains that after God passed a strong wind tears apart the rocks. After the wind there is also a great earthquake and then fire. Surely God was present now with all that power being shown, right? Hmm…not so much. The scripture clearly states that God wasn’t in either of these great displays of power. Instead, he was in the still small voice of Elijah’s heart. The Biblical writer is trying to make the same point Jesus did: God was inside Elijah’s heart, or consciousness. Our inner consciousness is the only place we hear or experience God. And isn’t this where we go when we enter prayer and meditation? Sure it is. That’s also why Jesus said to go to your prayer closet to pray. In the prayer closet, which is any place where we are ALONE, we aren’t distracted by the “out there.” And this prepares us to enter the kingdom, the kingdom of our heart, or our own consciousness. So what happens to consciousness after physical death? That’s another topic for a future post.

In another post I discuss more scripture involving Moses to drive the kingdom within point home, as well as how to enter. You can find that post here.

What do you think? Is the Kingdom of Heaven truly a place, or do you agree that it’s a state of being?

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Robert Engelbach February 20, 2012 at 2:58 pm

This is very thought provoking, Joshua. I wonder if the Kingdom is both a state of mind and a place beyond. Aren’t there scriptures that support both? I see no reason why it cannot be both. Maybe the state of mind aspect has been underplayed and the way to establish it lost through the ages. For instance, I think my biggest mind problem is fear. I don’t mean I am more fearful than the average person. I mean when I am careful about tracing the root of many of my imperfections, I’ve discovered that it was because I was afraid of doing the right thing would not work. Or if I became depressed after being exposed to a lot of stress, it was because I wanted to escape because I was afraid things would not change, or I wanted to curl up and be self-protective long after the storms had passed. But doesn’t scripture say not to be afraid, and to trust in God and his promises. I try to, but I am often not successful on a habitual basis So I don’t live every moment in the full potential of the Kingdom. Maybe the traditional methods are effective for others, or I just don’t apply them hard enough. Or maybe there are methods to live in the Kingdom without fear every moment that we have not been taught.

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Joshua Tilghman February 20, 2012 at 4:02 pm

Robert,

Good points. I think the scripture does support that the Kingdom is both, but I believe your state of being is the more important one and that’s why Christ addresses it directly. Imagine us going to Heaven as a place. Our problems and fears are to sure to follow. It could quickly loose its heaven-ness (if that’s a word) all by our own state of mind. And fear does hold us back. Maybe that’s why it says that the fearful can’t enter the kingdom? Isn’t that scripture telling us its a state of being? I believe heaven as a place is great in its own right, but I also think heaven as a state of being is more beneficial simply because what we “think” makes or breaks any situation.

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anny April 23, 2013 at 7:14 am

I believe heaven is only a state of being and not a place (are time and place not things belonging to the illusion of our material world?), but of course this continues to apply after we die which after all only means that we lay down our physical body but we still live on as consciousness.

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Joshua Tilghman April 25, 2013 at 9:03 pm

Very true, Anny. Do you believe in reincarnation?

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anny April 26, 2013 at 5:54 am

Hello Joshua,

Yes, I do believe in reïncarnation. I have done so for over twenty years already, although, if it is true that time and space are really an illusion I believe that reïncarnation can only exist within the experience of this illusion. I think it is meant to be one of our tools of learning, even if it does not exist in the Absolute Reality.

Anny

Tamara Mosley April 1, 2012 at 12:51 am

Josh – you mentioned that there are Biblical references to Heaven being a place and I am wondering what those are because that doesn’t make “sense” to me. If God is in Heaven and Heaven is a “place,” then God would have to be physical or confined as well right? I might need to do a mind expansion because I’ve always believed it was a state of being reached when we accept who we are as God created us and let go of our creation of ourselves (ego), not that I’ve been able to get there yet 🙂

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pat October 4, 2012 at 4:58 pm

I beleive that God is “outof space” another reality.yu problably think I am crazy but I am doing a very interesting sudy that uses science to prove the Bible accurate.Wish you checked it out Josh.
I respect your opinion but I think youare wrong and heaven will be a place and eventually there is going to be a new hearth and heaven.
With God, all things are possible.If you interested about thes “way” to look at the Bible with the scence to actually, back it up let me know.
Keep an open mid as I did.
Love you,

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Joe Bill April 20, 2013 at 5:43 pm

It depends on what you mean by “place”. Is any place free of perception? Not exactly. If I walk into my house, I must perceive that it is my house. If I move, and return to the same house, it is no longer my house because my perception of it has changed. Heaven is sorta like that, in my opinion. It is a place, but not how we usually understand a place with space/time coordinates–and there are many “places” one can go.

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anny April 23, 2013 at 7:05 am

In Hebrew heaven is called shamajim. It has the grammatical form of a dualis, in this instance a dualis in total balance. We find in it the word shem, name, identity. It is both this one and that one at the same time. We can also read it as sham, meaning there. It is both overhere and overthere. It is also being explained as esh – majim, meaning fire and water at the same time. It is the situation that everything in us has come into balance completely, where everything has been digested and totally integrated. It has nothing whatever to do with time or place.

Heaven and hell are not places where we reap the reward or punishment we deserve after death but states of mind we create ourselves here and now. If we have the feeling we are in hell, we only have to change our perspective and our attitude in order to start our journey to heaven.

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Joshua Tilghman April 25, 2013 at 9:03 pm

Again,

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

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heather October 6, 2013 at 1:33 pm

There are many rooms in God’s mansion. Each room a different dimension; state of Being. Like attracts like; according my vibration when I leave my physical body, there I go… I will fit into ‘that’ room. Heaven could be The Mansion – the universal space in which All can manifest. The God consciousness in which All can manifest.
I will leave my physical body (i.e. so-called die) and live in my life-force body (that force which was keeping my physical body alive/free from rotting) and continue to experience my emotional body (soul) and cognisant consciousness (Spirit). I will meet The Christ, consciousness at the threshold of my physical death and choose either Him or Sataniel. The former extending my awareness of where I now am, the latter who helps me to remain stuck in my own maya (arrogance, blame, hate… i.e. ignorance of Spirit). In choosing him I am choosing to not work on myself to improve, I become his slave as opposed a free spirit who takes on the responsibility and hard work of change for the better (i.e. sacrifice). I will meet my ‘dead’ sibling, my mother and so forth in ‘Heaven’. I came ‘in’ with them as a constellation of people who had karma to share…nice and not so nice! I will continue in Heaven with them, learning, working on my foibles; experiencing what they experienced from me (the Christian purgatory). If I was nasty to him, I will feel what he felt. If I was kind I will feel that… i.e. I will continue, in Heaven, to work on my consciousness. I will progress in Heaven as ‘high up’ as my consciousness will allow…like attracts like. I will visit many class-rooms until I reach my capability, then I will blob out into unconsciousness/sleep and am ‘carried’ by compassionate ‘angels’, beings who assist, until such time my soul rekindles the yearning to return to material/physical life. Possibly 600-1,000 earth years on. (Human initiates can come sooner for they are highly conscious and tend not to blob out as early as ordinary folk like me. They are helping everyone/serving humanity). Then I will gather to myself a life force body (energy/vibes) according what I need for my next incarnation (healthy, disabled, slow, super-energetic) and design an archetype for myself of my physical body with kind and intelligent Beings assisting me. I will choose a geographical position and choose parents (possibly my former cousin or close friend!) who will best serve the knowledge and experiences i need to gain this time round. Then, with my own guardian angel/helpful assistant assigned to me, I will leave the non-physical reality rooms of my Father’s Mansion and enter the physical rooms of this Mansion… in the Earth corridor! Does that make sense to anyone else!!!!?

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Joshua Tilghman October 10, 2013 at 7:34 pm

Heather,

A great way of explaining it further. Thank you!

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mark May 3, 2014 at 8:54 pm

Salaams peace. You all are full of sincerity and loving…a lot you say is TRUE and some not…please go look at the reality of Islam. Not what you see on tv or hear about..but spiritual Sufi ways..read works of jalalludn rumi..go to saltanat.org sufilive ..true reality is reality..not a imagination..or could be or math..reality is real illlysion is not..

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Joshua Tilghman May 19, 2014 at 8:41 pm

Mark,

I do have a great respect for the Sufi tradition. I would love to learn more.

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Kaedist July 14, 2014 at 11:06 am

Hello, Josh

I’m new here and loving it.
Thank you for sharing your knowledge and understanding about the Spirit world.
this is very interesting and I can’t wait to read the future post, until then I have a question for you.
what do you say about Luke 24:51 Mark 16:19-20
if heaven is not a place we go? and from people near death experience, most talk about going trough a tunnel and reach a place of light/beauty….
Thanks

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Joshua Tilghman July 16, 2014 at 3:34 pm

Kaedist,

What I mean is that heaven is not a certain place where everyone goes. Its kinds of like a dream. We are all at different places in our dreams, and every dream is different. Heaven is the same. It’s a state of being, and everyone’s heaven is different.

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Kaedist July 18, 2014 at 6:28 am

Hi Joshua,
Thank you so much for replying this fast. Yes I understand what you mean. I’m full of questions 🙂 and your God given revelation helping me to understand more about the power of love. If I have anymore questions can I ask? Here or to your email?
Shalom

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Joshua Tilghman July 18, 2014 at 9:11 am

Kaedist…

Just submit the first one through the contact form on this site. The rest will be through e-mail. Glad you learning more.

Josh

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Tony October 6, 2014 at 12:18 pm

I agree heaven is a state of mind so also hell. Heaven is the revelation of the son of Man (christ) in a body. Jesus in his day was the manifestation of heaven. Righteousness (the character of God in man), Peace (freedom from sin), Joy (awareness of Oneness with God). This is the kingdom of God.

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Omar October 27, 2014 at 9:59 am

I know this may sound off topic. Abraham was visited by two angels and the lord in his tent. The lord revealed to him that he was going to be soon having a son and to name him Isaac. How do we account for angels if the kindgom of God is just a figurative place in us. Is it possible there is a dualistic meaning to the message of the bible. Both a literal and figurative place called the kingdom of God. One being in us which allows us to connect to God through the Spirit (I AM). And literal place heaven which is non physical plane of existence therefore also making it spiritual. Also does this mean this how we are able to get prophecy and get knowledge about the future. Is by connecting with the higher self? Is the higher self the spirit?

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Omar October 27, 2014 at 10:02 am

As I read this it doesn’t seem to me that it makes any less spiritual if it were literal than figurative. It seems like they are both the same and they also go hand in hand with one another so far. But again I am just starting to understand this in a figurative sense which also explains some of my experiences I have had in this life time.

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Omar October 27, 2014 at 10:39 am

Everything in this article makes complete sense. Josh when you said, “And this prepares “us”to enter the kingdom, the kingdom of our heart, or our own consciousness.” Who is “us”? Our consciousness entering our consciousness? I know I have stated in different comment that most refer to the soul a mix of consciousness, emotions, and will. So could the kingdom possibly be the soul? It doesn’t make sense a soul entering itself. It like saying a body entering itself. From my understanding it doesn’t make sense and its not possible. I hope you can help clear things up for my understanding.

I have heard others referrer to the kingdom as the Spirit. Allow me to explain why. “The kingdom of God is within you.” Kingdom is a two-part word: “king” and “dom.” “Dom” is Old English for “statute, judgement.” *do- as a stem means “do.” It’s the domain of a king. The Greek word for kingdom in that Scripture is Basileia and that same word spelling (“Basileia”) is Portuguese for the English word “Basel.” Basel is a city in northwestern Switzerland and it was renamed to “Basilia” meaning “royal.” “Royal” has several meanings which refers to kingship. The kingdom is your spirit. Your spirit is that god of God (Ps. 82 KJV) that was put in a body (domain) to reign. Elohim is the plurality of Deity. We came from God’s Spirit and God wants to connect our spirits back to Himself so we be Sons of God. A son of a man is a man, a son of turtle is a turtle, a son of a lion is a lion, a son of a mouse is a mouse, a son of a ram is a ram, a son of God is___. Rom. 14:17 KJV. In Him (the Holy Ghost, God’s Glory). Acts 17:28 KJV.

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Joshua Tilghman December 27, 2014 at 12:18 pm

Omar, sorry for the late reply.

Your last paragraph is right on! Thanks for the information. In referring to your first question, the ego is the illusion that separates us from God. When we enter the self, we see the ego for what it is – the illusion.

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Joshua Tilghman December 27, 2014 at 12:27 pm

Omar, your first sentence is a powerful statement. What you have concluded is that it really doesn’t matter if it is literal or figurative. The rub comes when one believes it HAS to be literal.

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Joshua Tilghman December 27, 2014 at 12:36 pm

Omar,

Angels often represent revelations of higher intuition and understanding and wisdom. This story is a good way of explaining the transformation of Abraham’s consciousness, and in the bigger picture, anyone who treads the spiritual path. Whether or not you want to believe that the Bible is also literal has to be something that you decide.

According to Gaskell, the Higher Self is:

A symbol of the Logos or God manifest, and the indwelling Spirit or incarnate God within the human soul. The Two are One.

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Phil Harker April 1, 2016 at 12:43 am

Perhaps the “kingdom of heaven” is Us! We appear, whilst in this seemingly ‘split’ state, to be ‘in’ a body and hence in this fashion the phrase “the kingdom of heaven is within us” can refer to what is ‘in’ the body. However, if, from the other perspective, the ‘body’ is a nothing more that a temporal avatar dream-figure in Our collective cosmic ‘dream’ then the “kingdom of heaven/God” is Us; but not ‘us’ as bodies, but ‘Us’ as that which that which “lives and moves” within the infinite Mind we call God. If that makes any sense?

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Joshua Tilghman April 5, 2016 at 1:52 pm

Phil, it makes perfect sense. Symbolically, the kingdom of heaven is just a state of being.

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Musky December 10, 2016 at 12:17 pm

I just told a family member the truth. I was hit back with “you are being deceived by evil spirits.” You cannot tell the truth to a Christian literalist. They will never understand.

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Joshua Tilghman March 1, 2017 at 9:47 pm

Musky, this is so true. But do not even let it concern you. We can only say what we have seen and then move on.

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