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The meaning of Heaven in the Bible
(From Easton's Bible Dictionary)

  • 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; 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; I Kings 8:27; Psalms 115:16; 148:4; 2co 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 14:13,14; "doors of heaven" (Psalms 78:23); heaven "shut" (I Kings 8:35); "opened" (Ezekiel 1:1). (See I 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; 2co 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" (II Peter 1:11).

    (f) The "eternal inheritance" (I 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" (II 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" (II Corinthians 4:17), an exemption from all sufferings for ever, a deliverance from all evils (II Corinthians 5:1,2) and from the society of the wicked (II Timothy 4:18), bliss without termination, the "fulness of joy" for ever (Luke 20:36; 2co 4:16,18; I Peter 1:4; 5:10; I 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).


    See more on the meaning of Heaven in the Bible:
    Heaven {International Standard Bible Encyclopedia}

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