International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
hev'-'n-li (ouranios, epouranios): Pertaining to heaven or the heavens. See HEAVENS. The phrase ta epourania, translated "heavenly things" in John 3:12 Hebrews 8:5; Hebrews 9:23, but in Ephesians "heavenly places" (John 1:3, 10; John 2:6; John 3:10; John 6:12), has shades of meaning defined by the context. In John 3:12, in contrast with "earthly things" (i.e. such as can be brought to the test of experience), it denotes truths known only through revelation (God's love in salvation). In Hebrews the sense is local. In Ephesians it denotes the sphere of spiritual privilege in Christ, except in 6:12, where it stands for the unseen spiritual world, in which both good and evil forces operate. It is always the sphere of the super-earthly.