And the likeness of the firmament upon the heads of the living creature was as the color of the terrible crystal, stretched forth over their heads above. Ezekiel1:22
The English word "firmament" in the Bible is a translation of the Hebrew “raqia”, meaning "expanse." Its meaning is not "firm boundary" as biblical critics have alleged, but might be better paraphrased as "stretched-out thinness" or simply "space."
Its first occurrence in the Bible relates it to heaven: 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 called the firmament Heaven Genesis1:6, 8. This firmament obviously could not be a solid boundary above the sky, but is essentially the atmosphere, the first heaven," the "space" where the birds were to "fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven Genesis1:20.
There is also a second firmament, or second heaven, where God placed the sun, moon, and stars, stretching out into the infinite reaches of space. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth Genesis1:17.
The firmament in our text, however, is beneath the very throne of God, and above the mighty cherubim Ezekiel1:23 who seem always in Scripture to indicate the near presence of God. This glorious firmament, brilliantly crystalline in appearance, must be the third heaven to which the apostle Paul was once caught up in a special manifestation of God's presence and power, to hear unspeakable words from God in paradise 2 Corinthians12:2-4.
All three heavens declare the glory of God and all three firmaments show his handiwork Psalm19:1. Therefore, we should praise God in his sanctuary and also praise him in the firmament of his power Psalm150:1. Henry Morris Institute of Creation Research
Published on Wednesday, October 27, 2010 @ 7:40 AM CDT