blissful upper realm or state entered after death; in Western monotheistic religions it is the place where the just see God face to face (sometimes called the beatific vision). In Judaism, heaven is pictured as the abode of God to which he ultimately welcomes the righteous and faithful. Many Christians believe that after the general resurrection
the body of a Christian will be glorified and reunited forever with the soul in heaven. The Roman Catholic church teaches that before entering heaven many souls must pass through purgatory
to be made ready. Much of the conventional imagery of the Christian heaven—e.g., golden streets—is based on the Book of Revelation
. In Islam, the Qur'an describes heaven in graphically idyllic terms, replete with fleshly delights; but Islam also has a strong mystical tradition which places these heavenly delights in the context of the ecstatic awareness of God. In Zoroastrianism, the souls of the deceased must pass over the Bridge of the Requiter, which widens to allow easy passage for the good, who enter a kingdom of joy and light. In both Hinduism and Buddhism, existence is considered cyclical, making the rewards and pleasures of heaven a desirable but temporary experience; the higher objective is often conceived as a release from any form of rebirth, whether in heaven or on earth. For comparable ideas see Elysian fields
; Fortunate Isles
See P. Toon, Heaven and Hell (1986); C. McDannell, Heaven (1988).
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abode of blessed dead and gods. [Egyptian Myth.: Benét, 1]
animals in heaven
reward for the righteous. [N.T.: Luke 16:23]
Jonah’s whale and Balaam’s ass are among the ten animals allowed to enter paradise. [Muslim Legend: Benét, 37]
(An) Babylonian god of heaven. [Babyl. Myth.: Benét, 41]
abode of the gods. [Norse Myth.: Walsh Classical, 34]
the blissful otherworld of the dead. [Celtic Myth.: NCE, 194]
allegorical name for Israel. [O.T.: Isaiah 62:4–5]
dwelling of gods where sun rose. [Sumerian Myth.: Gaster, 24]
home of the blessed after death. [Gk. Myth.: Kravitz, 88]
abode of the blessed after death. [Gk. Myth.: Zimmer-man, 94; Gk. Lit.: Odyssey]
garden of the Hesperides
(Happy Isles) otherworld for heroes favored by gods. [Gk. Myth.: NCE, 861]
Happy Hunting Ground
in this garden grew a tree with golden apples. [Gk. Myth.: Zimmerman, 109]
translation of Indian name for heaven. [North Am. Indian Myth.: Misc.]
Land of the Leal
poetical name for heaven. [World Rel.: NCE, 1213]
abode of the blessed dead. [Scot. Myth.: Misc.]
celestial city. [Br. Lit.: Pilgrim’s Progress]
new paradise; dwelling of God among men. [N.T.: Revelation 21:2]
abode of the chief gods. [Gk. Myth.: Espy, 22]
poetic name for heaven. [World Rel.: NCE, 1213]
formed of indescribable divine light; inhabitants are supremely happy, all chanting of God. [Islamic Religion: Benét, 449]
celestial banquet hall for departed war heroes. [Norse Myth.: Brewer Dictionary, 1122]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
a. the abode of God and the angels
b. a place or state of communion with God after death
2. the sky, firmament or space surrounding the earth
3. (in any of various mythologies) a place, such as Elysium or Valhalla, to which those who have died in the gods' favour are brought to dwell in happiness
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
Heaven represents all of those things for which most people hope. Some of us may not be convinced of its existence, but all of us have definite ideas about what heaven should be like. In your dreams it may symbolize happiness, peace, understanding, rest, love, union between God and man, and many more positive things. Some people work for a “heaven on Earth.” Others believe that there are many different heavens and in their dreams they visit those places through soul travel. Whatever your belief system or your dream experience may be, this dream usually leaves you feeling positive and energized.
Bedside Dream Dictionary by Silvana Amar Copyright © 2007 by Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.