As a Christian, heaven is something we know quite some about. For example, we know God’s throne is there and that Jesus sits on the right hand of God. However, if the ancient languages heaven meant more than just God’s abode. That’s why I wanted to look at what heaven means in Hebrew and Greek.
All scriptures are taken from NKJV unless otherwise marked.
What Does The Word ‘Heaven’ Mean In Hebrew?
galgal- wheel; something round.
shachaq- firmament, clouds.
shamayim- sky; unseen celestial places.
This word can mean many things. Sometimes, it’s used to describe the atmosphere immediately around the earth where the birds fly. This space extends from the air we breathe and the wind we feel to the firmament that holds the stars. God’s being is so big and powerful that the heavens and the heavens of heavens cannot contain Him.
The innumerable stars are not only known and numbered by Him but are called into existence and fixed in their courses by His wisdom and will. Where He is, there the true heaven is.
Shamayim can represent the area from which come frost, snow, fire, dust, hail, and rain.
This realm is God’s storehouse and He is the dispenser of the stores. He is the Lord of this realm.
“The Lord will open to you His good treasure, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season, and to bless all the work of your hand. You shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow.”
– Deuteronomy 28:12
Shamayin is also the realm where the sun, stars, and moon are located.
Heaven is the dwelling place of the Living God.
“Therefore know this day, and consider it in your heart, that the Lord Himself is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other.”
– Deuteronomy 4:39
Another expression that represents the dwelling place of God is “the highest heavens” which literally means “the heaven of heavens.” This is found in Deuteronomy 10:14.
What Does The Word ‘Heaven’ Mean In Greek?
epouranious- above the sky; celestial.
As a noun, this word means “heavenly.” It’s used of the following things:
- God the Father (Matthew 18:35)
- the place where Christ “sitteth at the right hand of God” (Ephesians 1:20)
- Christ as the second man and all those who are related to Him spiritually (1 Corinthians 15:48)
- the present position of believers in relationship to Christ (Ephesians 2:6)
- principalities and powers (Ephesians 3:10)
- spiritual hosts of wickedness (Ephesians 6:12)
- heavenly things
- the Holy Spiti (Hebrews 6:4)
- the calling of believers (Hebrews 3:1)
- the resurrection and glorified bodies of believers (1 Corinthians 15:49)
mesouranema- mid sky, midheaven.
This word describes the highest point in the heavens, where what is done can be heard and seen by all.
“And I looked, and I heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, “Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!”
– Revelations 8:13
ouranothen- from the sky or heaven.
ouranos- sky; air; heaven.
Ouranos is used:
- the abode of the angels (Matthew 18:10)
- of the aerial heavens (Matthew 6:26)
- the eternal dwelling place of God (Matthew 5:16)
- the eternal dwelling place of the saints in resurrection glory (2 Corinthians 5:1)
From this place, the Son of God descended to become incarnate:
“No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven“
– John 3:13
In His ascension, Christ passed through the heavens:
“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.”
– Hebrews 4:14
He ascended far above the heavens and was made higher than all the heavens (Hebrews 7:26):
“He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.”
– Ephesians 4:10
Since His ascension, it’s the scene of His present life and activity:
“Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.”
– Romans 8:34
God’s Word teaches us that these current heavens pass away and He creates a new heaven and earth.
“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.“
– 2 Peter 3:10-13
All in all, heaven can mean the air around us, the atmosphere where the sun is, or even higher. The Lord clearly states that He will destroy the present heaven and create an entirely new one for Him and His saints to live during the 1,000-year reign of Christ. Certainly, I cannot imagine the glory of beholding God’s goodness. However, that day will come and it will be amazing.
That’s what the word heaven means in Hebrew and Greek. I pray you found this article helpful. If so, please share this content. Also, feel free to share any thoughts in the comments below. Thanks for reading!
Looking for similar content? Check out these: