Easton’s Bible Dictionary

  1. 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,
  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 (R.V., "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.
  3. 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.)
  4. Spiritual meaning. The place of the everlasting blessedness of the righteous; the abode of departed spirits.

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 Corinthians 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).

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