“And God called the firmament Heaven.” Gen 1:8 NKJV
I mentioned yesterday that the Hebrew word, “shamayim” translated “heaven” by our english translators actually refers to several different types of heaven in the Scripture. Here in Genesis 1:8 “shamayim” is used to describe the location of the “raqiya`” or what theologians refer to as the firmament.
The firmament was a protective covering around the Earth that supported a layer of “water” above it. This layer turned back all of the sun’s harmful effects while allowing its warmth and light through to make the planet a super terrarium. This firmament made plant life to grow in abundance all over the planet and caused animal life to live long and strong. The firmament collapsed with God’s judgment in the flood (see Genesis 7:11). Without it man’s life-span was reduced to one tenth of its original length almost directly after Noah’s life; This truth brings us to the next point I want to focus on regarding Heaven. It is a place of protection.
When man fell from grace all Earth fell with him. As the Scripture says, “For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it…” Rom. 8:20 NIV
Earth became a vale of tears, death and pain. What was meant to be a paradise became a prison. The provision for man became his poison lending to his death.
God’s realm of Heaven was not so affected. So while death rules in this place, it is forbidden in God’s presence. So until God judges this realm and terminates the reign of sin and death, Heaven has become the “gools” for believers forced to play Satan’s game of “death-tag”.
Just as the firmament soaked up all the sun’s harmful rays before the flood so the Heaven of Heavens soaks up the harmful effects that death pours out upon our flesh. For those who hold the promise of Heaven as theirs, immortality is a benefit; So death holds no fear.
The truth I have accepted is that death is not the end of life. It is the doorway into an even more glorious life than I now live!
Sadly not everyone has received this protection.
In Heaven part 4 we will discuss how to be sure of your place in protection.