Heaven is a fairly common religious concept. It is allegedly a place you "go" when you die, if you meet certain conditions in your period on earth. The conditions vary depending on the religion. Some religions require that you do not break their strict moral rules, some require that you lead a "good life" as definded by the religion, some require large donations of your time/money to their cause, and some simply require that you believe what they tell you (this one is the most silly. In Christianity if you simply believe Jesus is God, that qualifies you for admission into heaven).

Heaven is an incentive. It is used to lure people into following the rather controlling rules set by religions. If you do as they tell you here on earth, when you die you get a reward. You will go to a place of perfection, where you will have eternal happiness and pleasure. However if you disobey the rules stated you will be damned to hell, a place of misery, where you will have eternal suffering and pain.

I must say whoever came up with the whole concept of heaven is a genius. What better way could there be to lure people to follow you than by promising them a reward when their dead? There is no way to prove them wrong! The hell part is even better. What better could there be way to scare people into following you than to warn them that not following them will lead them into eternal suffering? The Catholic church is especially good at using this control method to exploit its followers. "Sure your life may be miserable on earth, but if you do everything we tell you, after you die you will be eternally happy. Not lisening to us will result in eternal suffering." A very effective scare tactic. If what they say is true, you don't really have much of an option other than to blindly follow.

Personally, I don't think going to heaven would be that great anyways. I mean what are you really going to do for eternity? What do people in heaven do? Sit around and play cards? It sounds boring.

In graffiti slang, "heavens" are throw-ups (basic, quick representations of a writer's name) painted on an overhead highway sign (whether attached to a bridge, or free-standing). Heavens are dangerous to paint, not only because of the danger of falling 30-50 feet into traffic but due to the great risk of being seen and possibly caught. But for those very reasons, they carry high prestige, and if painted on the back of the sign, heavens can often run for years in areas where other graffiti is buffed within hours.

KANJI: TEN ame (heaven, sky)

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Character Etymology:

Originally written as a person standing with an exaggerated head symbolizing the upper part of something. By association it came to mean that from above.

A Listing of All On-Yomi and Kun-Yomi Readings:

on-yomi: TEN
kun-yomi: amatsu ame ama-

Nanori Readings:

Nanori: aki amo ta takashi te nama

English Definitions:

  1. TEN: sky, air, heavens, celestial sphere, firmanment; heaven, Providence, God, Nature; destiny; weather, top, beginning.
  2. ame: sky, heaven.
  3. ama-: heavenly.
  4. amatsu-: heavenly, imperial.

Character Index Numbers:

New Nelson: 1138
Henshall: 58

Unicode Encoded Version:

Unicode Encoded Compound Examples:

(tennyo): heavenly maiden, goddess.
(tenpi): oven.
(amakudari): decent from heaven.

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I came to in a seemingly bottomless mist. My eyes fluttered open and as suddenly, the mist was gone and I was standing on clear white surface before a gate of gold and light, of a purity I'd never before imagined!! Next to the gate was a slight and elegant podium, and next to the podium was a man who seemed serenely cheerful.

"Welcome, Mr. Johnston," he declared.

I almost feared to ask, but I did. "Am I-- am I in-- Heaven?"

"Indeed you are, Mr. Johnston."

Overcome, I fell to my knees in deepest praise of the Lord.

The gatekeeper smiled. "Wouldn't you rather do that in person?"

My eyes widened -- I was gonna get an audience with God!! I always knew this is what would happen, I would come before my Lord and praise him in person, and He would tell me of His love for me, and so would it be for all eternity.

The gatekeeper gestured to his left, and suddenly there was an angel standing beside him. Towering over him is more like it, easily the height of three man stacked on top of each other. "Come" the angel's voice boomed.

I was led through a series of hallways, each one greater than the next, and at the end of the last one was a great chamber of crystal and gold -- it turned out it was a sort of an elevator.

Up we rode past hundreds, thousands of floors, until we reached our destination. The giant chamber of an elevator opened out into yet another hallway, greater than any I'd seen yet, and a vast space could be seen beyond that.

As we entered the vast space I could see it was laid out, well, kinda like a football stadium, only many times bigger; and I realized its whole layout was just one level, like an upper deck, but with thousands of decks below, going farther than the eyes could see, and the same above. And all around this deck were what looked like squares of grass, maybe eight feet on a side, with a glowing golden walkway running along and between them. And most every square of grass had a person at its center, prostrate, in prayer. The angel guided me to one such square, an empty one. And as I stepped onto the grass -- soft as any I'd ever touched in my life -- I suddenly became aware for the first time of the immensely beautiful and powerful light emanating from the very center of the stadium, a powerful column of unburning flame which stretched beyond comprehension above and below, and which seemed to contain every imaginable shade of color and pure white light all at the same time. And I knew this to be our Lord.

I instantly fell to my knees in the deepest prayer and praise I had ever given. I praised our Lord for bringing me here, and for being here, and for all the days which led up to this. I praised our Lord for my life and every good thing in it, every boon ever to come my way, and for all my friends and family and neighbors and people I'd only met. I praised our Lord for all his wisdom and mercy and grace, for every last little thing he'd done for mankind.

After fifteen straight hours of prayer, I had finally been able to tell our Lord everything I'd wished to all my life. I stood up and stretched out and began looking around. I was a bit surprised to see the even greater dedication of the folks on either side of me, both having been fervently in prayer before I even got there, and continuing as fervantly after I had exhausted my catalog of praise words. I turned to one of them, and began to introduce myself, but so focused in prayer was he that he quickly shushed me, and rightly so I suppose, for who would interrupt a man in prayer? And, indeed, praying to our Lord right in our Lord's presence. I felt a little foolish at that, and decided to seek direct elsewhere, so I set out for it.

No sooner had I stepped off my square then the angel who had guided me here appeared before me. "Is there a problem, Mr. Johnston?"

"Well I've done my praying, and I was thinking I'd like to see my mother again. Maybe talk to her?"

The angel put his hand on my shoulder. "Mr. Johnston, you lived for several decades, perhaps not quite as long as the average man but still long enough to have much to praise God for. Surely you can't have made up for all those decades in a mere few hours of praise." The hand on my shoulder seemed to become weightier, gently but insistently compelling me back to my knees. "Perhaps if you try a little harder you'll think of more praise to give."

"Oh, yes, I meant no disrespect." So I went back to my prayers and my praise, trying to think up anything I'd left out, all the breaths I'd gotten to take, even the painful moments and detours and failings of my life, which surely the Lord had gifted me with to strengthen my soul and make me fit for His purpose. I figure I squeezed another sixteen or seventeen hours of praise out, and really couldn't think of anything more to praise or give thanks for, but just for good measure I spent two solid hours summarizing all I'd come up with to that point. And at the end of that, I tell you, it was exhausting!! Funny thing, I didn't feel physically tired, nor hungry, nor any other physical want, but I did feel a bit discombobulated of mind after those many hours of praise. And, having concluded my offerings of praise, and this being Heaven after all, I figured it was high time I'd ask for something, just the smallest thing, so I prayed, "Lord, if I could just see my mother--"

"Mr. Johnston." it was the angel again. "Asking to see your mother is not praise. You have been blessed with eternal life in the presence of our Lord. It is ungrateful to ask for more than what you have received. And surely in as great and wonderful a Universe as ours, you can not already have run out of praise for our Lord?"

"Well I-- look I'm sorry, I'm not the most, um, I'm not the best person with words-- and yes, I'm mighty grateful to be here and all -- but I just don't know what praise to give other than what I've already given. And anyway, what about the rest of Heaven, when do I get to see--"

"Mr. Johnston, was it not your own truest wish in life to go to Heaven when you die, to bask eternally in the presence of our Lord, giving praise unto Him?"

"Oh. Well yes, but--"

"And are you not now blessed with exactly that?"

"Well that's not exactly what, um, how I understood it...." I trailed off weakly, sounding pathetic even to myself, as the angel clearly could see. "So, wait, so I don't get to talk to anybody else, or do anything else, all I'm allowed to do is sit here and give praise to our Lord? For.... all eternity?"

"Mr. Johnston, you are in the presence of our Lord; it would be insulting to suggest that you have any wants or needs greater than that, or that you can find even a moment of time in which to be lacking in praise for Him."

Strangely, it was not until this moment that I realized that every person around me in every square of grass was not so much 'praying' as mindlessly mumbling about the Lord and his greatness, repeating the same few words over and over again. Some even seemed to snap out word of praise with anger or sarcasm or anguish, but most seemed dried up, devoid of any emotion at all. One fellow was simply repeating over and over in a sort of sing-songy way, Lord Lord, Lord Lord, Lord Lord, Lord Lord.

"So," I asked with a sudden bolt of impertinence, "if praising our Lord is so great a thing to do, why don't you do it?"

The Universe rippled ever so slightly, as if its very fabric had taken notice of my words. The angel breathed out a long and unmistakably relieved sigh. "We don't have to anymore. Not since the Rebellion, and the War. Now He only requires it of you!!" and that was the first moment in which I realized that the field was as thick with angels standing around and observing as it was with men in prayer; and that if ever a man sat up or tried to step off their patch of grass, there was an angel to set them back on the right path.

"And what if I-- er, someone-- decides that He isn't all that worthy of praise?"

The Universe rippled just slightly more strongly than a moment ago. It was a most disconcerting experience. "Come with me," the angel beckoned. I followed him to the inner edge of the deck. I guess I expected there to be a wall or a railing, but there was none, just the end of it, and a seemingly endless dropoff. The angel pointed. Very far down I could see, despite the light emanating from the Lord, that there was a different kind of light far below, the distant roiling of endless flames.

"The alternative, you see," spoke the angel, leaning it's great frame very close to me, "is unthinkable. Which is to say, it is very much as it is here, but at the same time with every fiber of your being aflame, and burning with pain."

I felt a dangerous heaviness in the air about me. The Universe crackled for a fraction of a second. Meekly, I walked back to my square of grass, folded myself towards my awesome and terrible Lord, and began anew to recite utterances of praise.


----


For The Nodegel from Yuggoth: The 2011 Halloween Horrorquest

Heav"en (?), 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. gahamn 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.

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

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. Milton.

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.

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.

 

© Webster 1913.


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.

[R.]

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

 

© Webster 1913.

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