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Bible Dictionaries

Easton's Bible Dictionary

Heaven

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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 ).

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

    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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