Hypertext Webster Gateway: "heaven"

From Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary (easton)

(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).

From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) (web1913)

Heaven \Heav"en\ (h[e^]v"'n), n. [OE. heven, hefen, heofen, AS.
heofon; akin to OS. hevan, LG. heben, heven, Icel. hifinn; of
uncertain origin, cf. D. hemel, G. himmel, Icel. himmin,
Goth. himins; perh. akin to, or influenced by, the root of E.
heave, or from a root signifying to cover, cf. Goth.
gaham[=o]n to put on, clothe one's self, G. hemd shirt, and
perh. E. chemise.]
1. The expanse of space surrounding the earth; esp., that
which seems to be over the earth like a great arch or
dome; the firmament; the sky; the place where the sun,
moon, and stars appear; -- often used in the plural in
this sense.

I never saw the heavens so dim by day. --Shak.

When my eyes shall be turned to behold for the last
time the sun in heaven. --D. Webster.

2. The dwelling place of the Deity; the abode of bliss; the
place or state of the blessed after death.

Unto the God of love, high heaven's King. --Spenser.

It is a knell That summons thee to heaven or to
hell. --Shak.

New thoughts of God, new hopes of Heaven. --Keble.

Note: In this general sense heaven and its corresponding
words in other languages have as various definite
interpretations as there are phases of religious

3. The sovereign of heaven; God; also, the assembly of the
blessed, collectively; -- used variously in this sense, as
in No. 2.

Her prayers, whom Heaven delights to hear. --Shak.

The will And high permission of all-ruling Heaven.

4. Any place of supreme happiness or great comfort; perfect
felicity; bliss; a sublime or exalted condition; as, a
heaven of delight. ``A heaven of beauty.'' --Shak. ``The
brightest heaven of invention.'' --Shak.

O bed! bed! delicious bed! That heaven upon earth to
the weary head! --Hood.

Note: Heaven is very often used, esp. with participles, in
forming compound words, most of which need no special
explanation; as, heaven-appeasing, heaven-aspiring,
heaven-begot, heaven-born, heaven-bred,
heaven-conducted, heaven-descended, heaven-directed,
heaven-exalted, heaven-given, heaven-guided,
heaven-inflicted, heaven-inspired, heaven-instructed,
heaven-kissing, heaven-loved, heaven-moving,
heaven-protected, heaven-taught, heaven-warring, and
the like.

From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) (web1913)

Heaven \Heav"en\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Heavened}; p. pr. & vb.
n. {Heavening}.]
To place in happiness or bliss, as if in heaven; to beatify.

We are happy as the bird whose nest Is heavened in the
hush of purple hills. --G. Massey.

From WordNet (r) 1.7 (wn)

n 1: the abode of God and the angels and the souls of those who
have gained salvation [syn: {Heaven}] [ant: {Hell}]
2: any place of complete bliss and delight and peace [syn: {eden},
{paradise}, {nirvana}, {promised land}, {Shangri-la}]

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