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The Blue Letter Bible

Dictionaries :: Heaven

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Easton's Bible Dictionary


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

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

(b) The starry heavens (Deu 17:3; Jer 8:2; Mat 24:29).

(c) "The heaven of heavens," or "the third heaven" (Deu 10:14; 1Ki 8:27; Psa 115:16; 148:4; 2Cr 12:2).

(2.) Meaning of words in the original,

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

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

(c) Heb. galgal, literally a "wheel," is rendered "heaven" in Psa 77:18 (R.V., "whirlwind").

(d) Heb. shahak, rendered "sky" (Deu 33:26; Job 37:18; Psa 18:11), plural "clouds" (Job 35:5; 36:28; Psa 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" (Gen 1:6; Deu 33:26, etc.), regarded as a solid expanse.

(3.) Metaphorical meaning of term. Isa 14:13, 14; "doors of heaven" (Psa 78:23); heaven "shut" (1Ki 8:35); "opened" (Eze 1:1). (See 1Ch 21:16.)

(4.) Spiritual meaning. The place of the everlasting blessedness of the righteous; the abode of departed spirits.

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

(b) It is called "paradise" (Luk 23:43; 2Cr 12:4; Rev 2:7).

(c) "The heavenly Jerusalem" (Gal 4:26; Hbr 12:22; Rev 3:12).

(d) The "kingdom of heaven" (Mat 25:1; Jam 2:5).

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

(f) The "eternal inheritance" (1Pe 1:4; Hbr 9:15).

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

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

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

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