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Heaven

Heaven [N] [T] [S]

  • Definitions. The phrase "heaven and earth" is used to indicate the whole universe ( Genesis 1:1 ; Jeremiah 23:24 ; Acts 17:24 ). According to the Jewish notion there were three heavens,

    (a) The firmament, as "fowls of the heaven" ( Genesis 2:19 ; Genesis 7:3 Genesis 7:23 ; Psalms 8:8 , etc.), "the eagles of heaven" ( Lamentations 4:19 ), etc.

    (b) The starry heavens ( Deuteronomy 17:3 ; Jeremiah 8:2 ; Matthew 24:29 ).

    (c) "The heaven of heavens," or "the third heaven" ( Deuteronomy 10:14 ; 1 Kings 8:27 ; Psalms 115:16 ; 148:4 ; 2 co 12:2 ).

  • Meaning of words in the original,

    (a) The usual Hebrew word for "heavens" is shamayim , a plural form meaning "heights," "elevations" ( Genesis 1:1 ; 2:1 ).

    (b) The Hebrew word marom is also used ( Psalms 68:18 ; 93:4 ; 102:19 , etc.) as equivalent to shamayim , "high places," "heights."

    (c) Heb. galgal, literally a "wheel," is rendered "heaven" in Psalms 77:18 (RSV, "whirlwind").

    (d) Heb. shahak, rendered "sky" ( Deuteronomy 33:26 ; Job 37:18 ; Psalms 18:11 ), plural "clouds" ( Job 35:5 ; 36:28 ; Psalms 68:34 , marg. "heavens"), means probably the firmament.

    (e) Heb. rakia is closely connected with (d), and is rendered "firmamentum" in the Vulgate, whence our "firmament" ( Genesis 1:6 ; Deuteronomy 33:26 , etc.), regarded as a solid expanse.

  • Metaphorical meaning of term. Isaiah 14:13 Isaiah 14:14 ; "doors of heaven" ( Psalms 78:23 ); heaven "shut" ( 1 Kings 8:35 ); "opened" ( Ezekiel 1:1 ). (See 1 Chronicles 21:16 .)

  • Spiritual meaning. The place of the everlasting blessedness of the righteous; the abode of departed spirits.

    (a) Christ calls it his "Father's house" ( John 14:2 ).

    (b) It is called "paradise" ( Luke 23:43 ; 2 co 12:4 ; Revelation 2:7 ).

    (c) "The heavenly Jerusalem" ( Galatians 4: : 26 ; Hebrews 12:22 ; Revelation 3:12 ).

    (d) The "kingdom of heaven" ( Matthew 25:1 ; James 2:5 ).

    (e) The "eternal kingdom" ( 2 Peter 1:11 ).

    (f) The "eternal inheritance" ( 1 Peter 1:4 ; Hebrews 9:15 ).

    (g) The "better country" ( Hebrews 11:14 Hebrews 11:16 ).

    (h) The blessed are said to "sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob," and to be "in Abraham's bosom" ( Luke 16:22 ; Matthew 8:11 ); to "reign with Christ" ( 2 Timothy 2:12 ); and to enjoy "rest" ( Hebrews 4:10 Hebrews 4:11 ).

    In heaven the blessedness of the righteous consists in the possession of "life everlasting," "an eternal weight of glory" ( 2 Corinthians 4:17 ), an exemption from all sufferings for ever, a deliverance from all evils ( 2 Corinthians 5:1 2 Corinthians 5:2 ) and from the society of the wicked ( 2 Timothy 4:18 ), bliss without termination, the "fulness of joy" for ever ( Luke 20:36 ; 2 co Luke 4:16 Luke 4:18 ; 1 Peter 1:4 ; 5:10 ; 1 John 3:2 ). The believer's heaven is not only a state of everlasting blessedness, but also a "place", a place "prepared" for them ( John 14:2 ).

    These dictionary topics are from
    M.G. Easton M.A., D.D., Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition,
    published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain, copy freely.

    [N] indicates this entry was also found in Nave's Topical Bible
    [T] indicates this entry was also found in Torrey's Topical Textbook
    [S] indicates this entry was also found in Smith's Bible Dictionary

    Bibliography Information

    Easton, Matthew George. "Entry for Heaven". "Easton's Bible Dictionary". .