One of the most common uses of the word “heaven” in the Gospels is to indicate “up-ness” or “sky” or “the beyond.” Hence, the following few references from Luke but there are other texts that seem to go to the Beyond beyond the beyond and one of those appears today too:
Luke 17:24 For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day.
Luke 17:29 but on the day that Lot left Sodom, it rained fire and sulfur from heaven and destroyed all of them…
Luke 18:13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, ?God, be merciful to me, a sinner!?
Luke 18:22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, ?There is still one thing lacking. Sell all that you own and distribute the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.?
Luke 19:38 saying,
?Blessed is the king
who comes in the name of the Lord!
Peace in heaven,
and glory in the highest heaven!?
Luke 20:4 Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?? 5 They discussed it with one another, saying, ?If we say, ?From heaven,? he will say, ?Why did you not believe him??
Luke 17:24 and 17:29 and most likely 18:13 simply refer to the sky as the “heaven.” But, the next three references transcend that meaning.
1. By giving up his possession, the rich man will have “treasure in heaven.” Does this mean in a place called heaven or does it mean “with God”? Or, and I’m guessing here, does it mean a place where a person’s good deeds are jotted down and kept safe so that out of that treasure one will be rewarded in the new heavens and new earth?
[I’m not hearing about this, so let me make a suggestion: Let’s say that the word “heaven” means (as Tom Wright suggests) the divine control room and that the eternal place is called the “new heavens and the new earth.” Grant that point for the argument. If that is the case, and since Jesus does not use “new heavens and new earth,” is it possible that “heaven” on the lips of Jesus can refer to both this so-called “control room” and the “new heavens and the new earth” so that one has to discern each reference?]
2. Jesus comes in the name of the Lord in Luke 19:38 and this means “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” This looks like typical synonymous parallelism (a Jewish idiom of repetition) so that “heaven” is close in meaning to “highest.” Does this refer to a peace of heaven/highest now come down to eart (Luke 2:14) or this a declaration of Jesus’ near ascension where the peaceful, redemptive work of God will be celebrated as finished?
3. John’s baptism — from heaven or from human? Clearly, this binary opposition of heaven and human means “God vs. humans.”