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Heaven

Easton's Bible Dictionary

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  • 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; 7:3,23; Psalm 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; Psalm 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 ( Psalm 68:18; 93:4; 102:19 , etc.) as equivalent to Shamayim , "high places," "heights."

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

    (D) Heb. shahak, rendered "sky" ( Deuteronomy 33:26; Job 37:18; Psalm 18:11 ), plural "clouds" (Job 35:5; 36:28; Psalm 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 14:13,14; "doors of heaven" (Psalm 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 11:14,16 ).

    (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 4:10,11 ).

    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 ) 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 4:16,18; 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 ).

    Bibliography Information
    Easton, Matthew George. Entry for 'Heaven'. Easton's Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/​dictionaries/​eng/​ebd/​h/heaven.html. 1897.
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