Gnostic Doctrine

Saturday, 10 November 2018

The Boundary Between the Physical and Spiritual Heavens

The Firmament or Expanse
The Firmament, the chasm, the limit, the middle or boundary




The outermost extension of the Upper Aeons is called ‘the limit’ and ‘the exalted boundary’: “...so that the limit which the Father had set might be established.” “...as for the one who is set up in this way and who is within the exalted boundary.” (Tripartite Tractate)



Lk 16:26  And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm<5490> is fixed<4741>, so that those who desire to pass hence to you cannot, nor do they who desire to cross from there pass over unto us.

Heb 12:18  For ye are not come unto the mount <3735> that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest,

Heb 12:20  (For they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain <3735>, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart:

Just as there exists a great chasm in Hades between the righteous and the unrighteous. so also there exists a great chasm between the Physical universe and the spiritual universe, this is called the Great Firmament

The Firmament is the boundary everywhere and no where 

Valentinians would sometimes refer to the Cross to explain the Boundary. 

Both Jews and Gnostic Christians believe the firmament is the Boundary between Physical universe and the spiritual universe
In Valentinianism the Boundary has many names the chasm, the limit, the middle or boundary

The Boundary or 
The Limit (horos G3735)

Valentinians would use a Greek word ὅρος (horos G3735) to try and explain the Firmament. Since the Greek word has a etymology term "limitation" or "restriction". Also the Greek word ὅριον (horion G3725) means "borders" and the two words are closely related. The word  ὅρος (horos G3735) has a second meaning a "mountain" . 

The Greek word (horion G3725) seems to come from the another Greek word ὅρος (horos) 3735 meaning a mountain this is where I got the idea to quote from Luke 16:26 as the chasm would be related to the mountain.

Strong's Concordance 3725. ὅριον horion hor’-ee-on; neuter of a derivative of an apparently primary ορος horos (a bound or limit); a boundary-line, i.e. (by implication) a frontier (region): —  border, coast. 

3725. ὅριονὁρίουτό (from ὅρος (boundary)) (fr. Sophocles down), a bound, limit, in the N. T. always in plural (like Latinfinesboundaries (R. V. borders), equivalent to region, district, land, territory. (Thayer's Greek Lexicon

According to Thayer's Greek Lexicon the Greek word ὅριον G3725 comes from the word ὅρος G3735
horizo
3724. ὁρίζω horizo hor-id’-zo; from 3725; to mark out or bound ("horizon"), i.e. (figuratively) to appoint, decree, sepcify: —  declare, determine, limit, ordain. 

3724 ὁρίζω horizo hor-id’-zo 

from 3725; v; TDNT-5:452,728;  {See TDNT 563 } 

AV-determine 2, ordain 2, as it was determined + 2596 + 3588 1, declare 1, limit 1, determine 1; 8 


In the New Testament horizo is translated ‘determinate’, ‘ordain’, ‘limit’, ‘declared’. This word gives the English ‘horizon’ which has no element of fate in its meaning, but means simply the ‘boundary’ where sea and sky appear to meet.

Strong's Concordance ὅρος (horos) 3735. ὄρος oros or’-os; probably from an obsolete ορω oro (to rise or "rear"; perhaps akin to 142; compare 3733); a mountain (as lifting itself above the plain): —  hill, mount(-ain). 

5490. χάσμα chasma khas’-mah; from a form of an obsolete primary χαω chao (to "gape" or "yawn"); a "chasm" or vacancy (impassable interval): —  gulf.


The two Greek words ὅρος (horos) 3735 and 5490. χάσμα chasma are not related but they share the same idea that is that a mountain or chasm is the border or limit of a territory or land   

Here we can see how horos (The Boundary or The Limit) is used as a symbol for the Firmament the division between waters and waters.

The next Greek word to look at From Luke 16:26 is 4741 στηρίζω sterizo stay-rid’-zo 

from a presumed derivative of 2476 (like 4731); v; TDNT- 7:653,1085;  {See TDNT 745 } 

AV-stablish 6, establish 3, strengthen 2, fix 1, stedfastly set 1; 13 

1) to make stable, place firmly, set fast, fix 
2) to strengthen, make firm 
3) to render constant, confirm, one’s mind

"In all these (regions) there is a great chasm fixed." Movement to or from was impossible.

Therefore the Boundary or the Limit had to be fixed into place like the Firmament

Psalm 36:6  (35:6) Thy righteousness is as the mountains (ὅρος (horos) of God, thy judgments are as a great deep (G12 ἄβυσσος): O Lord, thou wilt preserve men and beasts. LXX



Psalm 36:6  Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; thy judgments are a great deep: O LORD, thou preservest man and beast.


Here in Psalm 36:6 we now have a link between the Bythos (Depth βάθος) and the horos (mountain ὅρος)


The Firmament


And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which [were] under the firmament from the waters which [were] above (H5921) the firmament: and it was so (Gen. 1:7).


Philo says in Opif. 36-37 that the first thing to be created in the visible cosmos was heaven, which is called the firmament. In Plant. 3-4 it is also called the “boundary” which separates the visible cosmos from the ideal world. 

The firmament is the boundary between the visible universe and the Pleroma (fullness) the spiritual heavens 

The word “firmament” — that which is firm or fixed — is taken from the word used by the translators of the Septuagint, στερεωμα, from the idea that the heavens above us are a solid concave.


It properly means an expanse — a thing spread out. The verb from which the word is derived means to beat; then, to beat out — that is, to spread out by beating, as gold is; and then, simply to spread out, to expand. Compare #Ps 136:6 Isa 42:5 44:24. In Syriac the word means to make firm; but this idea is not necessarily in the Hebrew word. The idea of a firmament as something firm is derived from the Septuagint — in Genesis 1:6, στερεωμα — in this place, εν στερεωματι. 


Philo describes here how God began to shape the pre-cosmic matter and bring it from a state of “confusion” into a state of “separation”: ἐκ συγχύσεως εἰς διάκρισιν ἄγων ὁ κοσμοπλάστης μορφοῦν ἤρξατο. Heaven is not separated out of matter, but God set it as a boundary between the visible and the invisible world. Heaven, i.e. the firmament, is arranged as a boundary and “container” that divided the material creation and the regions of earth, water, air and fire from the divine world



Gen 1:6 And God [Elohim] went on to say: Let an expanse (Firmament) [chasm, the limit, the middle or boundary between the light matter universe and the dark matter universe, which is above the Firmament were God lives, this is called the pleroma] come to be in between the waters [aeons that is God’s heavenly hosts or dwelling place so Elohim is these waters. So Elohim is the waters above the Firmament ] and let a dividing occur between the waters [above and the heavens called the pleroma] and the waters [below, the Physical Heavens].

Gen 1:8 And God began to call the expanse (Firmament atmosphere, sky, or physical universe, outer space) Heavens [shamayim always in the pural - heavens] [this Firmament is the name for our atmosphere, the first heaven, and for space, the light universe, the second heaven and for God's home in the dark matter/energy universe, the 3rd heaven.


The true God then divides the light matter universe and the dark matter universe and separates them by 'an expanse' which is some sort of heavenly barrier, which is symbolized by the atmosphere of the earth.

This spiritual barrier is symbolized by the atmosphere of the earth, the earthly expanse, which is a barrier between the clouds (the waters above) and the seas (the waters below).


The Pleroma is the 3rd Heaven. The firmament or expanse is the limit, the middle or boundary between the Physical Heavens and the spiritual heavens called the Pleroma.


Valentinus assumed the existence of two boundaries one is between the ineffable depth and the rest of the fullness or Pleroma and the other bounds the material universe from the pleroma


Psalm 150:1 ¶ Praise ye Yahweh. Praise God in his sanctuary (that is in the upper depth of the Pleroma): Praise him in the firmament of his power (that is the Boundary between the ineffable depth and the rest of the Pleroma). 

Psalm 19:1 To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. The heavens (the Pleroma or the waters above the heavens) declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.

Psalm 19 suggests that the heavens (the pleroma) are a greater work of God than the mere firmament which is referenced as a small example of God’s creative work. 


This would be compatible with the notion of firmament which we have developed above in comparing the relatively small matter of the visible heavens with the grand design of the invisible which are currently totally beyond mankind's comprehension


“It is he (the Father) whom the outside worlds all, like the stars of the firmament at night, see. As men desire to see the sun, in this way also the outside worlds desire to see him, on account of his invisibility that surrounds him.” (Untitled Text in the Bruce Codex)




According to the Scriptures, there is a physical/spiritual structure to the universe. The Apostle Paul makes reference to the importance of this knowledge in the book of Ephesians where he wrote:


"That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what [is] the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness (pleroma) of God."(Ephesians 3:17-19 KJV)





"[It is] he that buildeth his stories in the heaven, and hath founded his troop in the earth; he that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The LORD [is] his name."
(Amos 9:6 KJV)


The first heaven is the Earth's atmosphere:

"And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl [that] may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven." (Gen 1:20 KJV)

The second heaven is the vast expanse of the physical universe - outer space as we call it:

"And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:" (Gen 1:14 KJV)

These two heavens constitute a continuum called the "firmament," and this firmament is collectively called "Heaven":

"And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day." (Gen 1:8 KJV)


The Third Heaven is above this upper "Sea," and this higher sea is below the Throne of God:


"And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind."

(Revelation 4:6 KJV)

This particular "Sea" is above the firmament (the known physical universe). It represents a firm and impassable barrier between the world of man (below) and the world of God or pleroma (above).


As we said, this is a present "sea" of separation is a FIRM and impassable barrier between the world of man (below) and the world of God (above) and they only way through there is in the Lord Jesus Christ. That barrier structure can be seen in the design of the Tabernacle and the Temple. It is represented by the Veil.


The "Sea" under discussion is a barrier between the second and third heavens, represented by the veil between the 'Holy Place' and 'Holiest of All.' The 'Brazen Alter' represents the Earth where the sacrifice was to be made. The 'Laver' in Moses' Tabernacle, and the 'Molten Sea' in Solomon's Temple, were places for the priests to wash themselves before entering the 'Holy Place'. You MUST be washed in the Blood of the Lamb of God to pass into that most Holy Place.





The Firmament is the Middle the space between the Upper and the Lower Aeons

The middle is like a veil between the Upper Aeons (‘the eternal’ ‘those who exist’) and the Lower Aeons (‘matter’ ‘those who do not exist’): “And then the existent separated itself from the non-existent. And the non-existent is the evil which has manifested in matter. And the enveloping power separated those that exist from those that do not exist. And it called the existent ‘eternal’, and it called the non-existent ‘matter’. And in the middle it separated those that exist from those that do not Exist, and it placed veils between them.” (Untitled Text in the Bruce Codex)


- The middle as a veil : “A veil exists between the world above and the realms that are below; and shadow came into being beneath the veil; and that shadow became matter; and that shadow was projected apart.” (Hypostasis of the Archons)


- The middle as a curtain between the Upper and Lower Aeons: “the Father of the Universe, that his unimaginable goodness might be revealed, he created that curtain between the immortals and those that came afterward” (Sophia of Jesus Christ






what we have learned



The first heaven (the atmosphere)
The second heaven (outer space)
The sea above outer space and below the third heaven (a sea of separation)
And above it all, there is the Third Heaven.

The Limit is linked to the cross because it is also the time after death a state of ‘non-existence’ which is greatly feared.

There is a boundary or Limit between God and the Fullness. There is a second boundary or Limit between the Fullness and the deficiency.


“firmament” is separated from the infinite Void (waters), a bounded finite space in which to create. It is the power of imposing limits, that is of boundaries, that creates form. Without a boundary there is no form,



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