ChristianAnswers.Net WebBible Encyclopedia

What is…
heaven

  1. 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 Tim. 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).

    1. Christ calls it his “Father’s house” (John 14:2).

    2. It is called “paradise” (Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 12:4; Rev. 2:7).

    3. “The heavenly Jerusalem” (Galatians 4:26; Hebrews 12:22; Rev. 3:12).

    4. The “kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 25:1; James 2:5).

    5. The “eternal kingdom” (2 Peter 1:11).

    6. The “eternal inheritance” (1 Peter 1:4; Hebrews 9:15).

    7. The “better country” (Hebrews 11:14, 16).

    8. 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 Tim. 2:12); and to enjoy “rest” (Hebrews 4:10, 11).

    Who was the first human to get to Heaven? It was likely Abel, the godly murdered son of Adam and Eve. A later righteous pre-Flood descendant of Adam named Enoch was apparently taken directly to Heaven, without dying.

    The son of Jared, and father of Methuselah (Genesis 5:21; Luke 3:37). His father was one hundred and sixty-two years old when he was born. After the birth of Methuselah, Enoch “walked with God three hundred years” (Genesis 5:22-24), when he was translated without tasting death. His whole life on Earth was three hundred and sixty-five years. He was the “seventh from Adam” (Jude 1:14), as distinguished from the son of Cain, the third from Adam. He is spoken of in the catalogue of Old Testament worthies in the Epistle to the Hebrews (11:5). When he was translated, only Adam, so far as recorded, had as yet died a natural death, and Noah was not yet born. Mention is made of Enoch’s prophesying only in Jude 1:14 (Matthew G. Easton).

  2. 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:

    1. The firmament, as “fowls of the heaven” (Genesis 2:19; 7:3, 23; Psalm 8:8, etc.), “the eagles of heaven” (Lam. 4:19), etc.

    2. The starry heavens (Deuteronomy 17:3; Jeremiah 8:2; Matthew 24:29).

    3. “The heaven of heavens,” or “the third heaven” (Deuteronomy 10:14; 1 Kings 8:27; Psalm 115:16; 148:4; 2 Corinthians 12:2).

  3. Meaning of words in the original:

    1. The usual Hebrew word for “heavens” is shamayim, a plural form meaning “heights,” “elevations” (Genesis 1:1; 2:1).

    2. The Hebrew word marom is also used (Psalm 68:18; 93:4; 102:19, etc.) as equivalent to shamayim, “high places,” “heights.”

    3. Hebrew: galgal, literally a “wheel,” is rendered “heaven” in Psalm 77:18 (Revised King James Version, “whirlwind”).

    4. Hebrew: shahak, rendered “sky” (Deuteronomy 33:26; Job 37:18; Psalm 18:11), plural “clouds” (Job 35:5; 36:28; Psalm 68:34, marginal note “heavens”), means probably the firmament.

    5. Hebrew: 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.

  4. Metaphorical meaning: Isaiah 14:13-14; “doors of heaven” (Psalm 78:23); heaven “shut” (1 Kings 8:35); “opened” (Ezek. 1:1). (See 1 Chronicles 21:16.)

ALSO SEE