The term "firmament" and its identity has been one of the greatest puzzles concerning the Creation account, mostly because of its Hebrew definition:
from 7554; properly, an expanse, i.e. the firmament or (apparently) visible arch of the sky:—firmament.1)http://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/hebrew/kjv/raqiya.html
a primitive root; to pound the earth (as a sign of passion); by analogy to expand (by hammering); by implication, to overlay (with thin sheets of metal):—beat, make broad, spread abroad (forth, over, out, into plates), stamp, stretch.2)http://biblehub.com/hebrew/7554.htm
Most people interpret this to mean just the expanse of the sky (the atmosphere) or outer space, or both (which it is), but the full meaning goes well beyond that simplistic interpretation.
The creation of the firmament is associated with the placement of some sort of structure.
Many modern scholars consign the term "firmament" as a relic of a pre-scientific culture and translate the Hebrew word raqia as a "dome" or "vault" in some modern Bibles. It is rendered as "firmament" in the KJV. The problem that puzzles people is the implication in the Hebrew language of the firmament being a firm, fixed structure (FIRMament). That structure and word choice can be explained in the context of the Ruin-Reconstruction interpretation of Genesis.
Young Earth Creationists have interpreted the "waters above the firmament" as a theoretical "water canopy" which once surrounded the Earth but no longer exists. They cite this as their source for the waters of Noah's flood. This is incorrect, and a concept that does not exactly hold water (pun intended) when closely examined within the literal framework of the Genesis narrative.
This verse says that the Sun, Moon, and Stars are "in" the firmament. Therefore, applying the rules of grammar and logic, those waters that are "above the firmament" must be above the Sun, Moon and Stars. That means these waters are above the visible cosmos.
The Bible says that all wisdom and knowledge is found in the Lord Jesus Christ, the incarnate Word of God (see Colossians 2:3). The same holds true for the Holy Scriptures, the written Word of God. According to the Scriptures, there is a physical/spiritual structure to the universe.
Pay close attention to the structure of the grammar.
Paul is speaking about two different things in this passage.
The first is the structure of things, "the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;" and the second is, "to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge."
The important key word here is the conjunction "And" which separates the two clauses.
In other words, Paul is saying there are two things the believer can and should know.
1) The dimensions and structure of all things, which can be defined.
2) The love of Christ, which is beyond full comprehension by man.
The firmament deals with the structure of the present heavens and Earth (Genesis 2:1), as opposed to the structure of the original heaven and Earth (Genesis 1:1). There is presently a three (3) heavens structure. In the old world of the original creation, there was a different configuration.
Let's look back to Genesis 1:6 again and more closely examine that verse to determine that present structure and review something that we previously just touched on:
"And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which [were] under the firmament from the waters which [were] above the firmament: and it was so."
This is important to understand.
We know that the waters on the Earth are called "Seas" in the Bible, but there is also another "Sea" that is spoken of in the Scriptures, and that one is above the firmament. (Special note: Notice that the word "Sea" is capitalized at Genesis 1:10 in the KJV Bible).
But, exactly where is "ABOVE" the firmament? During the seven days of the Genesis regeneration the Lord God defined Three Heavens.
Therefore, this particular "Sea" above the firmament is above the known physical universe.
Since the sun, moon and stars are "in" the firmament this Sea MUST be above them.
This is difficult for the science of man to fathom, but it is a Scriptural fact on cosmology.
It represents a firm and impassable barrier between the world of man (below) and the abode of God (above).
The reference to "the sea" in the above verse is a reference to the sea established above the firmament, NOT to any sea on the Earth's surface. Look at the English grammar of the verse. The heaven and Earth are set apart as separate and distinct entities and so is "the sea." That sea above the firmament was not made until the second day of Genesis. There is something even more important to notice about these waters above the firmament.
Something is missing there.
Do you remember what was said previously?
This work on the second day is the ONLY day in the Genesis narrative where the Lord does NOT say it "was good."
The context is the overall work of Reconstruction from Ruin and the preparation of the Earth and a new world for Man.
The term "very good" does not mean "perfect," and the sea of separation placed between the world above and the world below was not good, but necessary.
It would not be until the work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross that a way would be made for crossing that barrier (the sea, or waters, above the firmament).
That particular "sea" is represented (in type) by this object that was a part of the design of Solomon's Temple known as the "Molten Sea." (See 1 Kings 7:23 and 2 Chronicles 4:2.)
If you look at a diagram layout of the Temple you will see that this sea is between the Altar and the main part of the Temple where the Holy Place and Most Holy Place was.
Here in the design of the Temple can be found in schematic form the structure of all things, in type.
The Altar where the sacrifices were made represents where the Lamb of God was sacrificed.
It represents the world that is below (the Earth & the first and second heavens).
The Molten Sea is between those two lower heavens and the "Third Heaven" where the true Temple of God is located.
The Third Heaven
Although the "third heaven" is not directly mentioned in the Genesis narrative, the established structure of all things is defined in Genesis 1 and, when understood, allows us to comprehend exactly where and what Paul was talking about when he mentions the "third heaven" in his letter. It also gives the reader a better understanding of John's vision in Revelation 4. Again, when the Lord God divided the waters He created a boundary which presently exists between the two lower heavens (which constitute the firmament) and the third heaven (where the throne of God is). That boundary is that "Sea," and again that "sea" is above the two lower heavens of the firmament.
With this understanding of what exactly the Firmament is and the structure of all things that God made during the seven days, many things that were previously obscure suddenly take on real meaning and enrich the reader's understanding.
In summary, here is the structure of the physical world as it now exists from the face of the Earth upwards:
• The lower sea of physical waters (our seas and oceans)
• The first heaven (the atmosphere)
• The second heaven (outer space)
• The sea above outer space and below the third heaven (a sea of separation)
• And above it all, there is the Third Heaven.
The structure of the heavens is a recurring theme throughout the Bible.
It is reinforced (in typology) throughout the Bible. For example, it is likened to the floors of a building, which we call "stories" and, sure enough, the same word is even used in the KJV Bible.
In the construction of Moses' Tabernacle in the wilderness there were three (3) main parts:
1) The outer court, where the brazen altar of sacrifice was.
2) The Holy Place, where the candlestick, table of shewbread, and golden altar of incense were.
3) The Holy of Holies where the Ark of the Covenant was. Also note that between parts two and three was a curtain for a partition, which matches the "sea" above the firmament (in type) in the structure of the Three Heavens. It is no coincidence that all these Biblical things have a similar three-tiered structure.
There is much spiritual insight to be gained in further study of those things:
• Three Heavens
• Three levels inside Noah's Ark
• Three floors in a section of the Temple
• Three sections to Moses' Tabernacle
Concerning the design of the Temple, keep in mind that Moses' tent Tabernacle and Solomon's Temple both had three (3) main parts:
• The outer court
• The holy place (where the table, lamp and incense alter was, outside the veil)
• The Most Holy Place (where the Ark was, behind the veil)
As you can see, this theme of structure based on threes is consistent throughout the Bible.
Even the structure of the Earth has three (3) main divisions: the core, the mantle, and the crust.
Does the Universe really have a structure?
When you go into outer space is there really any such thing as up and down, is there a top and bottom?
Does the cosmos have a definite shape?
We cannot observe such in our three-dimensional view of the universe, but is that all that is really out there?
Just because we cannot observe or understand something does not disprove its existence.
In the next section, we are going to discuss what the Holy Bible reveals about the Earth's ancient spiritual history and the events that shaped its natural history.
Original Source: kjvbible.org
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