Sunday, December 17, 2017

heavens

The series of creations is set forth in a diagram form so as to help the reader in knowing the sequence of events in the plan and purpose of the ages. We may not know it all, by any means, but hope that we are making progress.

The arc above in the diagram may or may not have been in the original creation of Ge 1:1. It may have existed long before the creation of what we know as the universe. We are not including it in our present discussion of creation.

HW-The Heavens That Were (2Pe 3:5,6). These were a part of the world order that perished in Ge 1:2. We know very little, if anything, about these in the original creation.

EW-The Earth That Then Was (2Pe 3:5,6). This we know little about also. It was the other part of the world order that perished. It is the overthrow of Eph 1:4. World order involves both the heavens and the earth.

OW-Overthrow by Water (2Pe 3:6). This event is further described in Job 9:4-7 and Ps 104: 5-9. According to Ge 1:2 the earth, at least, became waste and empty. But it was a perfect creation in the beginning (Isa 45:18). It was the garden of God ( Eze 28:13). Satan was there, so we can be assured that he had something to do with the overthrow. See Isa 14:4-14. Overthrow, wrongly translated foundation of the world is found several times in the NT. All these should be looked up and considered.

HN-Heavens That Are Now (2Pe 3:7). On the second day of restoration (Ge 1:6) God set these in place as the firmament, called heaven in verse 8. In this are Princes, both good and bad, as well as angels of both categories. Satan is also there and comes down to walk to and fro in the earth (Job 1:7; 2:2). He is the prince of the powers of the air. Some day he will be cast into the earth with his angels and then will begin the great tribulation (Re 12). John saw a door opened into this place and saw the temple of God there and the ark of the testimony. There are 7 visions in the Revelation of scenes in this present heavens. It is well to look these up and study them in order.

EN-Earth That Now Is (2Pe 3:7). Ge 2:1
speaks of the heavens and the earth that were finished in the 6 days. Water was set within bounds, the firmament established, plant and animal life furnished, and man put on the earth to have dominion over it and all in it, except his fellow men. That came later as a result of sin. The present earth shows many marks of the overthrow and has many remnants of a former time. It was made to be inhabited, so we assume that it was. But we know nothing about the beings who were here. There are traditions and myths and some hints in the Word, but nothing sure.

OF-Overthrow By Fire (2Pe 3:7). In verse 10 it says that the elements will melt in the fervent heat. We would assume that all present monuments and works of men will disappear and be forgotten. Man will have so polluted and wrecked this earth that such a destruction will be necessary for the new creation to follow.

NH-New Heaven (Re 21:1). This comes into being after the present heaven and earth have passed away in the overthrow by fire. In this heaven will dwell righteousness (2Pe 3:13). In this time former things will be forgotten. No sin nor death will mar this perfect creation. This heaven probably will reflect the light of the New Jerusalem so that it will light the whole earth with no need of sun or moon. This is the third heaven that John saw (2Co 12:2). And he tells us about it in Re 21 & 22.

NE-New Earth (Re 21:1). This is the paradise John saw (2Co 12:4). It is the paradise that was promised to the dying malefactor at Calvary. It is Adam's hope, his paradise to be regained. There will be no more sea. The water that ruined the first earth will be taken away. All signs of sin, death, and ruin will be erased. It is not likely that any organic matter will be left after the fire, but metals, precious stones, and the like will be in perfect order again. Nations of those who were not in either dispensation will inhabit this new earth (Re 21:24 ). All creation will be filled with the holiness of God.

NJ-New Jerusalem (Re 21:2). This is mentioned also in Galatians and Hebrews. It is the hope of the overcomers. It is described (Re 21).

Deut. 10:14  Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the Lord's thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is.

Please refer back to the chart above. There the heaven and the earth, the Kosmos, were discussed, but little said about the sphere above all, the heaven of heavens. There is need for more study of this.

The Kosmos or creation includes the heaven and the earth of Ge 1:1 . But the heaven of heavens is not mentioned till our text, De 10:14 . It is mentioned less than 10 times in the OT. One noteworthy mention is 1Ki 8:27 where Solomon declares that neither the present heavens nor the heaven of heavens could contain God.

Altho in history and prophecy there is a change of Kosmos twice, each with an over-throw, there is no change in the heaven of heavens. It is not involved in the overthrows. Nor does it seem to be in any way connected with that which is created.

Altho the firmament was created as a tent or dwelling place for God, it was not necessary for His existence. God as spirit does not need a material creation in which to exist. This is beyond our comprehension. This tent in the present Kosmos is a place where God is dwelling and working out the redemptive purpose. When that is finished, it will be rolled up and put away. But the new earth will have a new firmament or heaven (Re 21:1).

The heaven of heavens is mentioned 5 times in Ephesians and in special reference to the place of blessing of the church, its session, and relation to principalities and powers (not angels, they had to do with Israel and dwell in the firmament).

Note these in Ephesians; 
A. 1:3 Spiritual blessings 
   B. 1:20 Far above principalities and powers
      C. 2:6 Raised and seated together
   B. 3:10 Witness to principalities and powers
A. 6:12 Spiritual wickedness

The last reference probably tells us a lot about the heaven and the heaven of heavens. There is no flesh and blood there; and there is no wrestling there. The rulers are denoted by the word kosmokrater, inhabiting only the Kosmos, not being in the heaven of heavens.

We are subject to the wiles of the devil and the evil forces that are mentioned in Da 10:13,20. So the translation of verse 12 of Eph 6 needs a bit of rearranging, for the two spheres are to be kept separate. In Eph 1:20 we find righteous powers in the super heavens, but in 6:12 we see that wicked powers inhabit the heaven, the firmament. And it is the former that receive the witness of the church (3:10).

Our Lord then is not only Head of all things in the Kosmos or creation (Eph 1:10) but is enthroned in the heaven of heavens far above every known power (Eph l:21). Praise Him!

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Verse of the Day

Revelation 13:18
Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.
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