Why are There Seven Levels of Heavens in Judaism

Why are There Seven Levels of Heavens in Judaism

Dear readers, in this article I will define the hebrew word for heaven, and specify the names of seven heavens.

Heaven in hebrew means “Gan Eden“, as opposite to hell (Gehinom)

Why are There Seven Levels of Heavens in Judaism? The reason is Jewish tradition states that there are seven levels of heavens in the bible. Some Kabbalists place the seven on the lowest ‘Sefirot of Construction’, while others, relate them, like the Days, to the central triads and two bottom sefirot. This is a matter of viewpoint according to the scheme of Creation used. Again, some Kabbalists see ten Heavens, one for each sefirah. All analogues, it must be remembered, are subjective.

Accounts of the seven Heavens mostly occur in early apocalyptic literature. They are rooted in the fact that there are seven Biblical names for Heaven. These divisions are sometimes seen as curtains or veils between the different levels of reality. Thus the uppermost Heaven, called Arabot, is perceived as a vast plain or a bank of endless cloud and sometimes as the surface of a vast cosmic sea.

Taken as the Beriatic supernal triad Keter-Hokhmah-Binah, it is the Heaven of Heavens, the most Divine part of Creation because it is closest to the CREATOR in Keter. Indeed, tradition uses the psalmic image (Psalm 68:4) of the Divine Man riding upon Arabot as a symbol of the Glory.

A mystical account of the seventh Heaven is that every created being cries the Name I Am as it emerges from Keter before plunging into the Cosmic Sea below. It is also said that the creature speaks in ecstasy the same Name as it rises up through the surface of the Cosmic Ocean to return and merge into the CREATOR Keter again. If one considers the position of the Beriatic supernal triad, it will be seen that underlying it is YHWH-ELOHIM and the two HOSTS of GOD. This is the highest of the created Heavens.

What is the first heaven in the bible

The first Heaven is the Malkhut or the Kingdom of Heaven. Called the Vilon or the Veil of Heaven, it is the first level of spirit possible to natural man and corresponds in an incarnate human being to the highest manifes tation of his individual self.

While in the flesh, a natural man may only once or twice consciously perceive such a high state; and that is why Kabbalists give it the symbolism of a veil which is pulled back to reveal the light of the upper Worlds when the man is spiritually awake. The Vilon is drawn over him the moment he falls back into the ordinary mental state and becomes spiritually asleep. The terms Day and Night have been used to define this condition of being awake or not awake. Such an access to the spirit is a birthright.

Indeed, it may be said that everyone has experienced one profound moment when everything is full of light, when even that which seems to belong to Paradise fades into an even greater beauty as consciousness shifts from the level of the Tiferet of Yezirah, the psyche, into that of the Malkhut of Beriah or the Kingdom of the Spirit. Then, and only then, do the allegories that have been handed down and set out here begin to take on reality.

What is the second heaven in the bible

The second Heaven of the Beriatic Yesod is called Rakiyah, like the original of the second Day of Creation. As the lower firmament, it is the Yeziratic Daat, the curtain that prevents natural man from glimpsing too deeply into the Ways of Heaven for his sensual sanity, lest he despair over the recurring rhythms and situations that will eventually bring him to perfection.

For the seeker of Truth the second Heaven, whether he be dead or alive, represents a level of spiritual experience. Receptacle for the central column and the Hod and Nezah of Creation, this Beriatic Foundation is also the focus of the Binah and Hokhmah of the lower World of Formation, the psychological Understanding and Wisdom of man. As the Yesod of Creation and the Daat for the psyche, the second Heaven is the place of Paradise for one who wishes to discover the key to himself and the purpose of existence. Here a man, on the sudden illumination of death or on a profound experience in life, might see the destination or destiny of his existence on Earth and in Heaven.

What is the third heaven in the bible

The third Heaven, defined by the triad Nezah-Hod-Yesod, is named Shehakim which means Skies. At the Beriatic equivalent to the Divine HOSTS of Azilutic Nezah and Hod, the functional side pillars create a Heaven wherein the first generations of creatures, of fish and fowl, are set in motion. These Beriatic rhythms of birth, growth, decay and death create the changing forms that are to be sent forth through the Yeziratic Daat at the bottom of the triad.

Thus, while the Spirit of a creature may remain in the World of Beriah over all its generations, its form will undergo all the alterations it is subject to in the subtle and physical realms of Yezirah and Asiyyah. In its purely Heavenly aspect, the third Heaven is where the twenty-two Hebrew letters again manifest to reveal laws that govern the levels above.

It is to this place that incarnate men can rise during prayer and be instructed in the mysteries of Creation. Here, we are told, the great millstones of Heaven can be seen, slowly turning Creation through its great cycles, while the Grace of God brings forth the manna, the food of Heaven, to sustain the Worlds below. Here, too, the prayers of those humans incarnate below in Asiyyah periodically fuse with the prayers of the discarnate souls, Angels and Spirits. At such points, tradition says, the third Palace is filled with a pure light that passes down the central column of Azilut and Beriah to illuminate the twelve tribes or twelve celestial spirits of mankind who are said to dwell there.

What is the fourth heaven in the bible

The fourth Heaven, composed of the triad Tiferet-Nezah-Hod, is called Zebul, which means Habitation. Just below the Malkhut of Emanation, it is the firmament of the celestial influences.

Here, where the Sun, Moon, planets and stars have their origin, is the Celestial Temple in the Heavenly Jerusalem. Within this Beriatic edifice is the design and architecture of the lower universe which is to be formed out of the Yeziratic supernal triad that it will eventually underlie.

In this celestial region, the Great Spirit or Archangel Michael mediates from the Beriatic Tiferet between the Azilutic World above, through Creation at which he is the centre, and the creatures in the two lower Worlds that are yet to come. Beriatic overlay to ADONAI, Michael is guardian over the House of Israel which is the Kabbalistic term for the Beriatic World of human beings who live in any one of the seven Heavens of Creation.

Indeed, in this particular Heaven dwell the ten great spiritual Masters who sit at the feet of the Messiah, the perfect and anointed man who is the Crown of Incarnate Humanity at the Keter of Yezirah. That is why this Heaven is sometimes called the heavenly Sanhedrin which guides men in their spiritual evolution towards this Celestial Jerusalem, whose Temple and altar lies just below the Azilutic Malkhut of ADONAI the LORD.

What is the fifth heaven in the bible

The fifth Heaven corresponds to the Day upon which dry land and plants appeared. It is called Maon or Dwelling. Here, in the Beriatic triad of Hesed-Gevurah-Tiferet, is where the seeds of the seventh Heaven begin to develop and really separate from the Divine. This is because the fifth Heaven is the first to be truly outside the lower Face of Azilutic Emanation.

Indeed, it is a pure Beriatic manifestation, lying between the upper and lower Worlds that will meet in the Tiferet of Creation. With Mercy and Ju dgement to right and left, the impulses of Creative expansion and co ntraction are united in Tiferet so that the fifth Heaven has a special equilibrium and beauty of its own. According to some Kabbalists it is a place of colours and sounds. In terms of Genesis, it is a level where the shape, colour and variety of herb and tree mingle with the endless voices of earth, sea and air in praising God who created them.

It is said that here the angelic spirits alternate with evolved human spirits in the worship of God, the former refraining from prayer during the day while the latter sleep at night. This Heaven is also named the place of the Barakhah, or Blessing, and the celestial zone wherein the Love of Creation dwells. It is also the level through which passes the Divine Thunderbolt as it descends to begin the next impulse to transform the Azilutic Malkhut and simultaneous Beriatic Tiferet into the Keter of Yezirah, the next World to come into being.

What is the sixth heaven in the bible

The sixth Heaven, according to this scheme, is the Beriatic triad Hokhmah-Binah-Tiferet—it is called Makom or the Place. Here, legend says, is where everything is ordained. As the overlay to the lower part of the bottom Face of Azilut, this triad is subject to the Will of the HOSTS of GOD and the Grace of the ALMIGHTY LIVING ONE.

Sometimes called the Palace of Will, the sixth Heaven is where the Providence of God is supervised by the HOSTS of Heaven who issue from this place the measure of trials and rewards to be visited upon the lower Worlds. Under the surveillance of Beriatic Wisdom and Understanding, events are created high above the theatre of their happening and long before they manifest on the Earth below.

These crises are symbolised by reports of fire, smoke, biting dews and storms that will burn, of cloud, test and turmoil—happenings that at this level are no more than seeds that will mature at just the right point in the great and small time-cycles. The apparent severity of the Place is due to its simultaneous position as the lower Face of Azilut. However, while it is the Divine Justice of the ELOHIM, it is not without the Light and Love emanating down from the CREATOR at Keter; and, as part of the upper Face of Creation, it is the merciful and imparting Heaven to those below, although it may not seem so to those to whom Providence gives a hard time. Kabbalists, to indicate the paradox, call the sixth Heaven the Palace of Mercy.

At the centre of the sixth Heaven is the Daat of Beriah. Corresponding to the Yesod of Azilut, it is the dark Abyss out of which the Bat Kol, the Voice of the Holy Spirit, emanates to give Knowledge. That is why this Heaven is also named the Palace of Will, for here is a direct contact with the ALMIGHTY. This God Name is exactly what it means in that the power of God may be evoked throughout all the Heavens to bring about a miracle or alter an event by overriding the Beriatic laws with the application of a higher Azilutic act of Divine Government. The special quality of the non-sefirah of Daat is seen here in the possibility of direct intervention by God.

What is the seventh heaven in the bible

In Biblical legend, the seventh Heaven is the place of that which is created good, beautiful, just and merciful (the attributes of the three supernals including the Tiferet of Azilut).

It is also the storehouse of life, peace and blessings. It is from here, moreover, that the generations of spirits are created and return in their purest state after their descent into the imperfect Worlds below. Here, too, is found the Divine Dew that will revive the dead on the Day of Resurrection; that is, when the great Shemittah reaches its jubilee phase of return after completing its cosmic round. According to another Biblical legend, the Light that was called forth on the first Day of Creation and is found in the seventh Heaven is of an order that enables a man to see from one end of the World to the other.

Such a Divine luminosity is said to be perceived only by those pure spirits who have made contact with the highest level of Creation after death or during a profound moment of illumination during life. This is the state and condition of the seventh Heaven that all mystics seek.

In conclusion

Seen as a whole, the seven Heavens of Beriah are a hierarchy of spiritual conditions. Objectively they relate to the descending levels of Creation as it emerges out of the Unchanging World of the Divine. As a World in its own right, Creation is a dimensional remove from the natural and sensual state that most humanity lives in and yet its existence has been vouched for in many indirect experiences. Indeed, the actuality of Heaven has been spoken and written about in all esoteric traditions and in every epoch and place where man has taken thought about the origin of himself and the nature of the Universe. While the terminology may seem quaint to us, puzzling and even disturbing in its strange symbolism, the images of the heavenly World still seem to intrigue and affect a very deep part of our nature.

Heaven is that place to which we all aspire although we may not know where or what it is. Heaven is, to most, an ideal and yet many suspect it is as concrete in its way as this world. Why is this so? It is because although we may read the symbolic accounts as subjective states of delusion or vision, some part of us recognises something oddly familiar, like a faint memory of a time before there was the present. Some of us actually sense the dim outline of a vast cosmic scheme into which we were called and created before we descended into the natural body we now inhabit.

Those of us who see behind the archaic analogues of Heaven may, with effort, draw back the Vilon of the first veil and then, with more effort and the help of Grace, even enter the second state and so glimpse through the dark glass of the Yeziratic Daat into the Foundation of Creation. From here, the Way lies open to all the Heavens that rise in a succession of firmaments to the Heaven of Heavens. Those who participate in this ascension through the Beriatic World can come to know their individual place in the Universe, their cosmic destiny and the purpose of everything under the Heavens.