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Firmament

The English word firmament is derived from the Latin word firmamentum as found in the Latin Vulgate version of the Bible, which is based on the Latin word meaning to make firm. It's used to translate the original Hebrew word of the Holy Scriptures, pronounced raw-kee-ah, which meant a great expanse. Its Biblical usage generally refers to the two apparent spheres of "heaven" (see Heavens Below, Heavens Above) - that of the atmosphere in which the clouds actually move across the sky, and the sun, moon, stars and planets whose most-apparent daily movement is actually caused by the rotation of the earth on its axis i.e. the sun's "rising," movement across the sky, and "setting" are actually caused by the turning of the earth, not the movement of the sun (a scientific reality that nearly cost Italian scientist and mathematician Galileo Galilei his life by the Roman Catholic Inquisition of the Middle Ages - the "infallible" pope confidently, and incorrectly, declared that the sun orbits the earth).

Stars Firmament

The firmament from the beginning, at The Seven Days Of Creation

"And God said, "Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters." And God made the firmament and separated the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament. And it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day." (Genesis 1:6-8 RSV)

"And God said, "Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years, and let them be lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light upon the earth." And it was so. And God made the two great lights, the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night; he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light upon the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, a fourth day. And God said, "Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the firmament of the heavens." (Genesis 1:14-20 RSV)

Ezekiel used an analogy of the firmament do describe the cherubim that he saw:

"Over the heads of the living creatures there was the likeness of a firmament, shining like crystal, spread out above their heads. And under the firmament their wings were stretched out straight, one toward another; and each creature had two wings covering its body. And when they went, I heard the sound of their wings like the sound of many waters, like the thunder of the Almighty, a sound of tumult like the sound of a host; when they stood still, they let down their wings. And there came a voice from above the firmament over their heads; when they stood still, they let down their wings. And above the firmament over their heads there was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like sapphire; and seated above the likeness of a throne was a likeness as it were of a human form." (Ezekiel 1:22-26 RSV)

The righteous who are resurrected will "shine like the brightness of the firmament":

"At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time; but at that time your people shall be delivered, every one whose name shall be found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever." (Daniel 12:1-3 RSV)

Fact Finder: Does the firmament (translated in some Bible versions as "heavens") proclaim God's handiwork?
Psalm 19:1


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