What are the seven heavens?

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Question: What are the seven heavens?

Answer: Jewish Rabbinic literature (The Talmudic Tractate Chagigah 12 b) teaches there are seven heavens. These distinct heavenly levels are the following.

1) The Vdon, in which there is the sun.

2) The second heaven is called Riqia, in which the sun shines, and the moon, stars, and planets are fixed.

It should be noted here that the vast number of angels, and the consequent safety of Israel against its enemies, was described in the most hyperbolic language in rabbinic literature. There were 12 Mazzaloth (signs of the Zodiac in heaven), each having 30 chiefs of armies, each chief with 30 legions, each legion with 30 leaders, each leader with 30 captains, each captain with 30 under him, and each of these with 365,000 stars. These all, according to Jewish tradition, were created for the sake of Israel (The Talmudic Tractate Berakhoth 32. b.)!

Based on the above, the twelve Mazzaloth represent a total of 291,600,000 angels in heaven! It also represents 106,434,000,000,000 stars.

3) The Shechaqim, in which are the millstones to make the manna for the pious.

4) The Zebhul, in which resides upper Jerusalem along with the temple and the altar. It is also the place, according to Jewish tradition, where Michael, the chief angel-prince, offers sacrifices.

5) The fifth heaven is called the Maon where the "angels of the ministry" are located. They are said to sing at night and are silent during the day for the sake of the honor of Israel (who now have their services).

6) The sixth heavenly realm is called the Machon, which contains the treasuries of snow, hail and the chambers of noxious dews. It also houses the receptacles of water, the chamber of wind, and the cave of mist, whose doors are of fire.

7) The seventh and last heaven, Araboth, is where justice, judgment and righteousness reside. It also contains the treasures of life, of peace and of blessing, the soul of the righteous, and the spirits and souls of those who are to be born in the future. It also stores the dew by which the dead are to be raised.

The seventh level of heaven Jewish tradition (not the Bible) teaches also contains the Ophanim, and the Seraphim, and the living creatures and the ministering angels, and the throne of glory. Over them all is enthroned the great King.

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References
The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah
by Alfred Edersheim, Appendix 13


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