Black Christians : The Third Heaven

Discussion in 'Christian Study Group' started by cherryblossom, Dec 12, 2009.

  1. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    On the second day in the Genesis narrative the Lord calls for there to be a "firmament" in the "midst of the waters" to divide the waters:

    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. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
    (Genesis 1:6-8 KJV)

    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" (rendered as "firmament" in the KJV) as a "dome" or "vault" in some modern Bibles. The problem that puzzles people is the implication in the Hebrew language of the firmament being a firm, fixed structure (FIRMament). That structure 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 (their source of 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. The reason is because of what is said in this passage:

    And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
    (Genesis 1:14-16 KJV)
    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. For some this is a hard pill to swallow, but that is exactly what the Bible is saying.

    "Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that [be] above the heavens."
    (Psalms 148:4 KJV)

    The Bible says that in the Lord Jesus Christ, the incarnate Word of God, all wisdom and knowledge is found (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. The Apostle Paul makes reference to the importance of this knowledge in the book of Ephesians where he wrote:

    "That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what [is] the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God."
    (Ephesians 3:17-19 KJV)

    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. A corollary to the truth of this passage is found in an Old Testament proverb:

    "The heaven for height, and the earth for depth, and the heart of kings [is] unsearchable."
    (Proverbs 25:3 KJV)

    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 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."
    (Gen 1:6-7 KJV).....

    Christian Geology Ministry
    http://www.kjvbible.org/firmament.html
     
  2. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    Third Heaven

    .....This now gives us a better understanding of what the Apostle Paul was talking about in the book of II Corinthians 12:2, where he speaks of a place called the "third heaven":

    "I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven."
    (II Cor. 12:2 KJV)

    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 heavens of the firmament. It is also likened in places to crystal or smooth glass:

    And the likeness of the firmament upon the heads of the living creature was as the colour of the terrible crystal, stretched forth over their heads above.
    (Ezekiel 1:22 KJV)

    The reason it appears like a smooth, crystal surface is because it is frozen:

    "The waters are hid as [with] a stone, and the face of the deep is frozen."
    (Job 38:30 KJV)

    "And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness."
    (Exodus 24:10 KJV)

    It is also likened to glass:

    And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.
    (Revelation 15:2 KJV)

    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.
    "That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what [is] the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God."
    (Ephesians 3:17-19 KJV)

    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.

    1. To describe the design of the heavens:

    "[It is] he that buildeth his stories in the heaven, and hath founded his troop in the earth; he that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The LORD [is] his name."
    (Amos 9:6 KJV).....

    http://www.kjvbible.org/firmament.html
     
  3. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    Isaiah 66:
    Isa.66

    [1] Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool:
     
  4. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    What Does the Bible Tell Us about Heaven?
    Dr. Ed Young, The Winning Walk


    ....Up until the very end of the Bible, we know almost nothing about what heaven will be like. In fact, the last three chapters of Revelation tell us more about heaven than all of the rest of scripture put together.

    In these final chapters we are told there will be three heavens. The first heaven will include the atmosphere including the clouds and oxygen we breathe. The second heaven is outer space where all the planets, constellations, and galaxies exist. And beyond that, there is a third heaven.

    Paul gives us a slight hint at how incredible this third heaven will be when he says in I Corinthians 2:9, “…but just as it is written, ‘Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him.’"

    In Revelation 21, John goes on to tell us that when we get to this new heaven, we will be living for eternity in:

    A New Creation
    A New City
    A New Community
    With A New Constitution

    For Christians, living in this new heaven…in this new city…will be like nothing ever known before. In fact, Revelation 21:2 says: And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.

    The reference to the holy city as a bride, dressed up for a wedding celebration, symbolizes for us the intimacy we will have with God in heaven. And what this tells us is that heaven is first of all a relationship. And by using this illustration of a man and woman becoming husband and wife, God wants us to understand what our relationship with Him will be like in heaven. The most intimate relationship humans can share will only be a shadow of the intimacy we will have with God…for eternity!

    This new city will be especially created for Christians, who will be the bride of Christ, as we are told in the New Testament.

    All humanity began in a garden but will end in this new city, prepared like no other city that has ever been built. A city prepared for you and me who have put our trust in Jesus Christ.

    What an amazing place heaven will be – prepared by our creator for His creation to live for all time!


    ...complete article here: http://www.crosswalk.com/faith/spiritual-life/what-does-the-bible-tell-us-about-heaven-11558134.html
     
  5. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    Where Are Enoch and Elijah?

    by Herbert W. Armstrong (1892-1986)
    1973

    Part One: Where Is Enoch?
    Enoch was "translated." Where did he go? Was he immediately taken to heaven? No! Because Jesus Himself said: "No manhath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man" (John 3:13). Here are Jesus' own words that noman, except Himself, had ascended into heaven!

    And how did He know? Why, He came from there!
    Then where is Enoch? Let's see what the Bible says.

    Enoch Walked With God

    At the age of 65 Enoch had a son named Methuselah. "And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and he begat sons and daughters" (Gen. 5:22).
    Here was a man that pleased God, a man that walked with God.
    Enoch had to havefaith, for inHebrews 11:6the apostle said, "But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe the He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him." So Enoch walked with God. Heobeyed God, and followed Him in His paths by faith.
    No one can walk with God unless he is in agreement with the will of God and doing it. Amos the prophet said: "Can two walk together, except they be agreed?" (Amos 3:3.) So in his generation Enoch was the only recorded person who followed the ways of God—even though it took him sixty-five years to learn to walk with God!
    But how long did Enoch walk with God? The scripture says that he "walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years." So Enoch followed God's ways for three hundred years. Notice thatMosesdidnotrecord that Enoch is stillwalking with God. The scripture says that Enoch walked with God for three hundred years andnot one year more! Then Enoch is not still walking with God! Why?
    Because "all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years" (Gen. 5:23).Allthe days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. Not just partof his days, but all his days! If Enoch did not die—if he was changed to immortality—and thus continued to walk with God, then his days would have been more than three hundred and sixty-five years. But the Bible plainly says that all his days were just that many, and no more!

     
  6. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    Which Death Did Enoch Escape?

    Enoch lived only three hundred sixty-five years. Then what could Paul possibly have meant by saying: "By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found because God had translated him"? This verse nowhere says that Enoch did not die. Rather, it says that Enoch "shouldnot see death." But what does it mean?

    Remember, there is more than one death mentioned in the Bible. There is a firstdeath, and there is a second death (Revelation 20:6). Which death did Paul mean?

    The first death is appointed unto men (Hebrews 9:27). That death cannot be humanly evaded. It is inevitable. That death Enoch died, as we have already proved.

    But Paul was not writing about that death. The phrase "should not see" is in the conditional tense of the verb, having reference to a future event. It is not in the past tense, that he "did not see" death—but that he "should not see death." So this death that Enoch escaped by being translated is one that he can escape in the future on certain conditions!

    Did Jesus ever speak of a death that might be escaped? He certainly did! InJohn 8:51Jesus said, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death"—shall never see—that is, suffer—the second death! And again inJohn 11:26, "Whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die"—or "shall not die forever."
     
  7. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    art Two:Did Elijah go to Heaven?
    You have been told that Elijah went to heaven. Yet over 875 years after Elijah was taken up by a whirlwind Jesus Himself said. "No manhath ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of man" (John 3:13).
    Is this a Bible contradiction? Did Elijah really ascend to the heaven where God's throne is—even though Jesus said he didn't?
    If Elijah is notin heaven today, then where did Elijah go?
    Which Heaven?

    There are three heavens mentioned in the Bible, not just one! And if, as Jesus, noman, which included Elijah, had ever ascended to the heaven where He came from, then the heaven into which Elijah was taken was a different heaven!

    Which one was it?
    The third heaven is the heaven of God's throne, where Jesus is today. Jesus, being the High Priest of God, is the only one who has the right to be in thatheaven with the Father.

    Notice why!Hebrews 8:1-5explains that the original earthly tabernacle under the Old Covenant, with its most holy place, or compartment, was the type of the throne of God in heaven. Only the high priest—type of Christ as High Priest now—was allowed to enter!

    The second heaven represents the expanse of this great universe—the space where we find the sun, moon, stars, comets and planets. How often do we find the Psalmist admiring the "heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon, and the stars, which thou hast ordained" (Psalm 8:3;Genesis 1:15-17).

    Beside the heaven of the stars, we find that the atmosphere, the air that surrounds this world, is also called heaven.Birds fly "in the midst of heaven"—certainly not God's throne in heaven—for we read inGenesis 1:20of "fowl that may flyabove the earthin the open firmament of heaven." In blessing Jacob, Isaac said, "God give thee of thedew of heaven," and Moses joyed that the "heavens shall drop down dew" (see Gen. 27:28 and Deut. 33:28).

    This first heaven, from which dew comes, means the atmosphere, where the clouds and the wind roam. Everyone of us is right now breathing the air of heaven!

    Since Elijah could not have gone to the heaven of God's throne, then to which heaven did he go?—for the Scripture reads: ". . . And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven" (II Kings 2:1, 11).

    The answer ought already to be quite obvious! Elijah "went up by awhirlwindinto heaven"—not to the heaven of God's throne, but into this earth's atmosphere, thefirstheaven.

    There could be no whirlwind in any other place but in the atmosphere surrounding this earth—in the first heaven, in which the birds fly.
     
  8. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    Where Did Elijah Go?

    This has been the perplexing problem to so many!

    He did not ascend to the throne of God. Jesus said so! Yet he couldn't remain in the air forever.
    And God did not say that Elijah was to die at that time. If he were, Elisha could have assumed his new office without the removal of Elijah, for we know that Elisha died in office after fulfilling his duty (II Kings 13:14).

    The sons of the prophets who knew that their master was to be removed also knew that Elijah was not to die then. That is why they were fearful that the Spirit of God might have allowed him to drop "upon some mountain, or into some valley" (II Kings 2:16). Elisha knew that God would preserve Elijah from falling, but at their insistence he permitted men to go in search of him—to no avail.

    Elijah was gone!

    And where to? Certainly the whirlwind used by God could not take him beyond the earth's atmosphere. Neither does the Bible account leave Elijah in the air!
     
  9. Chevron Dove

    Chevron Dove Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    awesome! Been gone from this forum for weeks...but glad to return and see this. Very informative.
     
  10. Chevron Dove

    Chevron Dove Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    again very informative. I've been researching and thinking about this. I made the connection too, about one prophet that i remembered spoke about crystal and I did correlate this to 'firmament' and 'the heavens' and this post helps a lot.
     
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