if you want to experience what he meant
saying- 11; an empty heaven.
This heaven will pass away,
and the one above it will pass away.
Is this an apocalyptic prophesy, or does it have a different meaning?
Back then heaven was taken to be composed of several layers. Some considered seven
different levels, but the Old Testament only three: one directly above
our heads where the birds of heaven fly; the second one that reached unto the celestial bodies,
whereas God resided in the third heaven. The heaven between men and God was thought to be
inhabited by demons and spirits, who, because of their proximity to men, could easily come
down to attack or even take possession of someone.
I am not sure whether the first two levels are meant in this saying, in which case the human
and demonic worlds were predicted to "pass away"; when and how
remaining unclear, but an apocalyptic twist would be evident, as the third heaven
Jesus might , however, not have spoken about the heavens in a literary sense, but
figuratively, in which case he probably meant to say that heaven as a concept in our mind
(this one and that one; they are not numbered!) would pass away once his teachings
are really understood. Considering his other sayings, to me this seems the
most plausible interpretation as in that case it aimed at fully subverting
conventional thought about heaven, doing away with dualistic thinking about the
nature of reality. Reality, experienced as many great masters referred to, cannot be
conceptualized (Plotinus, the Enneads, 1991). Furthermore, the idea of non-duality
hardly escapes conceptual thinking itself (Loy, 1988).
Such rather agnostic consideration about the concept of heaven would
sound familiar to the ears of a Buddhist.