What is meant by the statement, “the heavens and earth shall pass away”? Heavens? I understand three degree of glory. In Isaiah 51:6, 6 Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath: for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: but my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness [triumph] shall not be abolished.
Part of the answer to your question was previously published: What is meant by the statement, “the earth shall pass away?”
In this case, “heavens” means simply “the sky”. It can help to remember that Isaiah’s writings were poetry. Here, the Lord is using comparison to emphasize that his salvation cannot be destroyed – even if everything else is, his salvation won’t be. Other places in scripture (Matt. 24:35, Mark 13:31, Luke 21:33) say similar things. Joseph Smith – Matthew, verse 35 is clearest:
Although, the days will come, that heaven and earth shall pass away; yet my words shall not pass away, but all shall be fulfilled.
2 Peter 3:10-13 is even more clear, explaining that just as we die and are resurrected, so too the earth will die and be resurrected:
10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,
12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?
13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
Peter goes on to encourage us to look forward to that day when all will be new – when the earth is resurrected with Celestial glory – and to follow Christ so that we may be counted worthy for that same glory. I hope this answers your question, Matt, and that you and I can both follow Peter’s counsel.