The whole concept for the piece came when I was reading Randy Alcorn's "In Light of Eternity," and he was mentioning something about the five stages of heaven. This thought was brand-new for me, and frankly started to trigger some skeptical thinking. I adopted a "where is it written?" attitude to teachings about the Bible a long time ago, and I wasn't going to take Randy's word about five stages of heaven lightly and just keep moving on. So I started to study his references and being a visual person, I decided to draw a time line to help me literally see what he was talking about.
It was pretty amazing to me how the whole thing played out - and though it's not labeled in the Bible, the five stages of heaven concept certainly held up to scrutiny. In fact, Paul actually refers to the "third heaven" in 2 Corinthians 12:1-4, which totally blew my mind, because that's where it fit on my time line.
Briefly, the five stages are as follows, in case you can't read my scribbles on the page above. There are actually more Biblical references than I've noted here, but I've kept it fewer in the interest of keeping my visuals simple.
First: Heaven before the fall of Satan. Satan's fall is found in Isaiah 14:12-15 and Ezekiel 28:12-17.
Second: Heaven in Old Testament times and before Christ died, often referred to as "Paradise" as in Luke 16:22.
Third: Heaven presently, after Christ's resurrection, Christ is currently in Heaven as found in Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 12:1-4; 2 Corinthians 5:8; Hebrews 9:11, 23-24; Acts 1:11 and Hebrews 8:2.
Fourth: Christ's millennial reign on earth, as depicted in Revelations 19:11-16 and Revelations 20:6-10.
Fifth and eternal: Heaven on earth, called the "New Heavens and the New Earth" in Revelations 20:14-15, Revelations 21 & 22, as well as in Isaiah 65.
Of course, that doesn't explain the palm trees along the edges, but that will wait for another day.