Firmament: רָקִ֖יעַ – raqia

And I looked, and there in the firmament that was above the head of the cherubim, there appeared something like a sapphire stone, having the appearance of the likeness of a throne.

(Ezekiel 10:1) NKJV

The Hebrew word translated firmament is raqia. Some people struggle to interpret the firmament, most don’t bother. A simple definition is expanse so most translations render the meaning as “the expanse of the sky.”

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Sides: בְּיַרְכְּתֵי – beyerekah

Zebulun shall dwell at the shore of the sea; he shall become a haven for ships, and his border shall be at Sidon.

(Genesis 49:13) ESV

The word translated “and his border,” in a verse about geography is also translated as “the sides of the pit,” in references to parts of sheol, the underworld realm of the dead. It’s the extreme edge or periphery of a region.

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The Hebrew Triplet

To the end that none of all the trees by the waters exalt themselves for their height, neither shoot up their top among the thick boughs, neither their trees stand up in their height, all that drink water: for they are all delivered unto death, to the nether parts of the earth, in the midst of the children of men, with them that go down to the pit.

(Ezekiel 31:14) KJV

If you know anything about Old Testament Hebrew you’ll be familiar a form of writing known as the couplet. Is there a triplet? Ezekiel uses triplets to educate us about a descent into the interior of the Earth.

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Sheol

For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.

(Psalms 16:10) ESV

Sheol refers to life beyond the grave, quite literally an underworld realm of the dead. It’s also modified in a variety of ways which can be grouped to correspond to the regions of the interior of the Earth.

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From Tehom to Sheol

In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.

(Genesis 7:11-12) KJV
  • IF God saw the wickedness of man,
    • AND decided to take action,
  • THEN the fountains of the great deep were established either:
    1. as a hedge against this outcome or,
    2. they existed for an unrelated reason.

The existence of hell isn’t an example of God being mean. Hell is the default outcome for all matter and souls, however there is a freely available alternative: faith and life in Jesus Christ.

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Tehom

Thou shalt not make thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters beneath the earth:

(Deuteronomy 5:8) KJV

The deep, of Genesis 1:2 became the great deep, the deeps and the depths of the created world. They’re all translated from the same Hebrew word, tehom. The deep became creation. The word became flesh.

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The Ground: הָ֣אֲדָמָ֔ה – adamah

Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.

(Genesis 3:23) KJV

Levels of Hell

The Levels of Hell

LevelGrave (sheol)
Pit
(sahat/bowr)
Earth (erets)World (tebel)
Crustsheoleretstebel
Mantlemibbeten sheol
tavek sheol
yerekah bowr
tachti erets
erets tachti
mowcadah tebel
Great Gulf
(outer core)
bad sheolerets beriach
matsuq erets
mayim tachath erets
Core
(inner core)
sheol tachti
tachti erets
bowr, shachath
missahat beli
mowcadar erets
– The levels of hell correspond to the four zones of the interior of the Earth.

The Hebrews had a well developed idea of life after death. For them death, the grave, was a portal into a complex underworld realm. The grave is just the beginning of what happens next.

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Formed: יֹצֵ֨ר – Yatsar

To him that stretched out the earth above the waters: for his mercy endureth for ever.

(Psalms 136:6) KJV

On the 3rd day the dry land was stretched out above the waters of the deep in a manner which may be visualized as a potter making a hollow vessel out of a solid lump of clay.

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Highest Part: וְ֝רֹ֗אשׁ – Rosh

While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world.

(Proverbs 8:26) KJV

We have closed the loop on the idea that the topography of the dry land on the 3rd day was a mountain that filled the whole earth. The summit: Eden. We are also beginning to deduce earth’s original hydrological cycle.

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soap: וּכְבֹרִ֖ית

But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap:

( Malachi 3:2 )

soap: וּכְבֹרִ֖ית – borith

  • lye ( Sodium hydroxide, NaOH ),
  • alkali,
  • potash,
  • soap, used in washing

The coming judgment of God is described as being, among other things, like being washed with strong soap. Let’s take a look at the word translated as “soap” and see if it has any connection with Chemistry.

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