heathen Summary and Overview
heathen in Easton's Bible Dictionary
(Heb. plural goyum). At first the word "goyim" denoted generally all the nations of the world (Gen. 18:18; compare Gal. 3:8). The Jews afterwards became a people distinguished in a marked manner from the other "goyim". They were a separate people (Lev. 20:23; 26:14-45; Deut. 28), and the other nations, the Amorites, Hittites, etc., were the "goyim", the heathen, with whom the Jews were forbidden to be associated in any way (Josh. 23:7; 1 Kings 11:2). The practice of idolatry was the characteristic of these nations, and hence the word came to designate idolaters (Ps. 106:47; Jer. 46:28; Lam. 1:3; Isa. 36:18), the wicked (Ps. 9:5, 15, 17). The corresponding Greek word in the New Testament, "ethne", has similar shades of meaning. In Acts 22:21, Gal. 3:14, it denotes the people of the earth generally; and in Matt. 6:7, an idolater. In modern usage the word denotes all nations that are strangers to revealed religion.
heathen in Smith's Bible Dictionary
heathen in Schaff's Bible Dictionary
HEA'THEN , Ps 2:1. This term (from heath, one who lives on the heaths or in the woods, like pagans, i.e. villagers) is applied in the English Bible to all idolaters or to all nations except the Jews. See Gentile. It now denotes all nations except Christians, Jews and Mohammedans. HEAVEN The general idea expressed by the word in the Bible is of a realm different from the earth and hell. Under this general realm are included two realms -- the one the material, the other the spiritual heaven. The plural is often used in both cases, most frequently in Matthew, and always in the phrase "the Father in the heavens," "the kingdom of the heavens." 1. The heavens or heaven is contrasted with the earth, Gen 1:1; Ps 115:15; Matt 5:18; Matt 24:35, and is represented as above us. This is the material world of air and the firmament. It is looked upon by the Hebrews as a solid expanse, Gen 1:11, Heb., which has windows, Gen 7:11; 2 Kgs 7:2, 2 Kgs 7:19, and doors. Ps 78:23, The rain descends from it, Jas 5:18; 2 Sam 21:10, and the frost, Job 38:29. The stars are called the "stars of heaven," Nah 3:16, the "host of heaven," Deut 4:19, or the "lights in the firmament," Gen 1:14, and the fowls fly in the midst of it, Rev 19:17. This material and stellar heaven will be dissolved at the final consummation, Rev 6:14; 2 Pet 3:10, and with the earth give place to a new heaven and a new earth. Rev 21:1. 2. The term refers also to a realm beyond this material universe, and different from it -- an invisible realm of holiness and bliss. This heaven is the peculiar abode of God, who is described as the God of heaven and the God in heaven. 1 Kgs 8:30; Dan 2:28; Matt 5:45. Christ is said to be the "Lord from heaven," 1 Cor 15:47, and to have "come down from" or to have descended from heaven, John 3:13, etc. Into this heaven he has again ascended. Luke 24:51; Acts 1:9; Eph 4:8; 1 Pet 3:22. Here God has his throne, here the angels dwell. Matt 22:30. It is the place where God's will is done. Matt 6:10, and where joy, Luke 15:7, and peace reign, Acts 19:38. It is here that Christ has prepared the many mansions, John 14:2, and into which Elijah passed, 2 Kgs 2:1. Believers have an inheritance in this realm, 1 Pet 1:4, and may lay up treasures in it. Matt 6:20. Heaven is in this signification contrasted with hell, Ps 139:8, into which Satan fell, Luke 10:18; 2 Pet 2:4. The terms "paradise," Luke 23:43, and "Abraham's bosom," Luke 16:22, designate a state of bliss in the other world, but not the highest and ultimate state. The third heaven, 2 Cor 12:2, into which Paul was rapt in a vision, is probably only another expression for the highest heaven. The later rabbins distinguished seven heavens: the first three belong to the material universe; the other four to the spiritual world, where God, the saints, and angels dwell. That the believer's heaven is not merely a state, but also a world of space, is abundantly testified to not only by many of the above passages, but also by such expressions as "heavenly places," Eph 1:3. The bliss of heaven is beyond our conception. This is indicated by the many forms and figures used to give us an impression of its joys. John 14:2-3; Heb 4 and Heb 11; Rev 3, Rev 21, Rev 22. Heaven, Kingdom of. See Kingdom.
heathen in Fausset's Bible Dictionary