All posts by jackpelham

Light from Darkness, Water from Water, the Twenty-Four (24) Elders, and 1 Enoch

In Genesis 1, God does some separating between the “waters”, and then he raises some up, while leaving the others below.  Here’s the JPS version of that passage.  Please note the boldface:

JPS Genesis 1:1 When God began to create heaven and earth—2 the earth begin unformed and voice, with darkness over the surface of the deep and a wind from God sweeping over the water—3 God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.  4 God saw that the light was good, and God separated the light from the darkness.  5 God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night.  And there was evening and there was morning, a first day.
6 God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the water, that it may separate water from water.”  7 God made the expanse, and it separated the water which was below the expanse from the water which was above the expanse.  And it was so.  8 God called the expanse Sky.  And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.


I suspect that these two separations were basically the same thing.  That is, that the “water from water” separation was done on the basis of which of those waters were good (light) and which were evil (darkness).   But this is not mere speculation on my part, for Enoch seems to bring to mind this passage when he cites the “separation between the light and the darkness.  And fortunately for us, he gives more detail than is given in Genesis, for he tells of a separation that “divided the spirits of men”.  And he goes further yet in telling us that the spirits of the righteous among those men were “strengthened”.  Here’s the passage:

1 Enoch 41:8 For the sun changes oft for a blessing or a curse,
And the course of the path of the moon is light to the righteous
And darkness to the sinners in the name of the Lord,
Who made a separation between the light and the darkness,
And divided the spirits of men,
And strengthened the spirits of the righteous,
In the name of His righteousness.

As far as I have yet to discover, we are told no more about this strengthening.  Just what did it mean?  I suspect that it may be a reference to the taking up (to heaven) of the righteous that were on the earth at that time.  And yes, this opens a big can of worms, for it has beings on the Planet Earth before the creation of man on Day 6.  And further, it would seem that those beings were judged by God, with the righteous among them having been “strengthened” and taken up to the heaven above the raqiya.

But if they were taken up, do we ever learn anything further about them?  Well, it’s scant evidence, but I’ll put this forward:  When we get to the Revelation, there are several matter-of-fact mentions of “twenty-four elders”, whose origin and history is not explained.  Elder than what?  I further suspect that these “light”, these righteous who were taken up might indeed have been those 24.

Revelation 4:4  Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones sat twenty-four elders dressed in white clothes, with golden crowns on their heads.

If we were to assume that these 24 righteous people had been raised up from Planet Earth to heaven, this would certainly qualify as them having been “strengthened”.  And it also gives us quite a definite understanding of why the term “elders” might have been used to describe them.

Again, I don’t mean to overstate the case, but the state of the evidence is what it is.  Not every matter is exhaustively documented, and some things can only be understood tentatively for scant evidences.  Regardless, this is the model I’m currently working, to see whether it can stand up to scrutiny or not.

Let the Waters Wait

As it turns out, there’s a big clue to what’s really going on in Genesis 1, and it’s been obscured in the traditional translation of a certain word (qavah) in Genesis 1:9.  Here’s the passage below in various translations.  Note the widespread agreement as to how it should be translated, and then after these passages, I’ll show you how the word is translated quite differently from this in every one of the other 48 times it appears in the Old Testament! :

And God said, “Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so.

Continue reading Let the Waters Wait

Waters Gathered “In One Place”

This is a discussion of a verse, the wording of which has always bothered me.  So I decided to look into it, and discovered a good deal of very useful, enlightening, and intriguing information that seems to be consistent with my Limited Raqia/Firmament Theory.  Here’s the verse:

Genesis 1:9 And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. (ESV)

The Hebrew here is this:  one ( ‘echad אֶחָד ) place (maqowm מָקוֹם ).  The word for “one” is not remarkable, so far as I understand it.  But the word for “place” deserves attention. Continue reading Waters Gathered “In One Place”

The Circle of the Earth

Here are various passages from the Ancient Near East literature, starting with those from the Bible, that regard, or may regard, the “circle of the earth”.

I will comment on them later, as time allows, but for now, let me say that this is the model I currently have in mind:

Yahweh, at the Genesis 1 “creation” created some manner of boundary to cordon off a portion of Planet Earth for a special and extended work.  This is called “the circle of the earth”, for it bounded that “dry land”—which may not be a literal reference, but a figurative one, referring to a place devoid of smothering “waters”.  From this boundary, those “waters” were commanded to keep back.  This “circle of the earth” is the same circle as was drawn “on the face of the deep”  and “on the face of the waters”.  It may also have been called:

  • the “circle of the firmament” (2 Enoch 21:7),
  • the “circle of the seas” (War Scroll),
  • “His appointment circle” (1 Clement 20:3)
  • the “circle of the stars” (Wisdom of Solomon 13:2 and Assumption of Moses 10)

Continue reading The Circle of the Earth