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Easton's Bible Dictionary


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        (1.) Definitions. The phrase "heaven and earth" is used to
        indicate the whole universe (Gen. 1:1; Jer. 23:24; Acts 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; Ps. 8:8, etc.), "the eagles of heaven" (Lam. 4:19), etc.
        (b) The starry heavens (Deut. 17:3; Jer. 8:2; Matt. 24:29).
        (c) "The heaven of heavens," or "the third heaven" (Deut.
        10:14; 1 Kings 8:27; Ps. 115:16; 148:4; 2 Cor. 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 (Ps. 68:18; 93:4;
        102:19, etc.) as equivalent to "shamayim", "high places,"
        (c) Heb. galgal, literally a "wheel," is rendered "heaven" in
        Ps. 77:18 (R.V., "whirlwind").
        (d) Heb. shahak, rendered "sky" (Deut. 33:26; Job 37:18; Ps.
        18:11), plural "clouds" (Job 35:5; 36:28; Ps. 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;
        Deut. 33:26, etc.), regarded as a solid expanse.
        (3.) Metaphorical meaning of term. Isa. 14:13, 14; "doors of
        heaven" (Ps. 78:23); heaven "shut" (1 Kings 8:35); "opened"
        (Ezek. 1:1). (See 1 Chr. 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" (John 14:2).
        (b) It is called "paradise" (Luke 23:43; 2 Cor. 12:4; Rev.
        (c) "The heavenly Jerusalem" (Gal. 4: 26; Heb. 12:22; Rev.
        (d) The "kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 25:1; James 2:5).
        (e) The "eternal kingdom" (2 Pet. 1:11).
        (f) The "eternal inheritance" (1 Pet. 1:4; Heb. 9:15).
        (g) The "better country" (Heb. 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; Matt. 8:11);
        to "reign with Christ" (2 Tim. 2:12); and to enjoy "rest" (Heb.
        4:10, 11).
        In heaven the blessedness of the righteous consists in the
        possession of "life everlasting," "an eternal weight of glory"
        (2 Cor. 4:17), an exemption from all sufferings for ever, a
        deliverance from all evils (2 Cor. 5:1, 2) and from the society
        of the wicked (2 Tim. 4:18), bliss without termination, the
        "fulness of joy" for ever (Luke 20:36; 2 Cor. 4:16, 18; 1 Pet.
        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).

Related Bible History

Bibliography Information
Easton, Matthew George. M.A., D.D., "Biblical Meaning for 'Heaven' Eastons Bible Dictionary". - Eastons; 1897.

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