"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32 . . . . .


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Friday, May 10, 2024


Now that we have looked over some preliminary observations regarding “the heavens” and the fact that Scripture speaks of “the third heaven” but not a fourth or a fifth, we can reasonably assume that there must be a first heaven and a second.

We believe that the third heaven is that eternal domain of the LORD GOD that existed prior to the commencement of creation. That place is eternal and will never change; such is not the case with the first and the second however!
PSALM 102:25-27
25 Of old You laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. 26 They will perish, but You will endure; Yes, they will all grow old like a garment; Like a cloak You will change them, And they will be changed. 27 But You are the same, And Your years will have no end.
Some contend that the Earth will remain forever as is, but when verses that suggest this is taken in context with the whole, we understand what’s being said much better.
PSALM 119:90-91
90 Your faithfulness endures to all generations; You established the earth, and it abides. 91 They continue this day according to Your ordinances, For all are Your servants.

ECCL 1:4
One generation passes away, and another generation comes; But the earth abides forever.
In the sense of GOD’s created order in the present universe, in this context, yes: the Earth abides forever. There will be no time in human history in this present reality where the unthinkable happens, WW III is unleashed and every H-Bomb that exists will explode and leave this planet as a smoldering cinder in the black vacuum of space! Nor will a mega-meteor or a colossal comet strike the Earth, devastating the surface and extinguish human life forever!

No, despite any dystopian forecast, planet Earth will survive… until…
2 PETER 3:10-13
10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. 11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them.
But until that happens, we can count on this planet spinning in orbit, faithfully abiding until GOD decides to make for His children the upgraded, new and improved version!

But now, concerning “the second heavens” what is its distinctions and functions?

Just as the human body as many layers of defense (body hair, skin, capillaries, deep tissue, antibodies, etc.) our planet has many layers as well that protect us from all kinds of solar radiation including such things as gamma rays. Some parts of the second heavens actually collect certain thermal radiation in order to maintain an equilibrium in our atmosphere!

So let’s briefly go over these various meteorological layers and see what they do as GOD designed them! You can also check out the following website Center For Science Education and the article Layers of the Earth’s Atmosphere that describes all of these aspects and links at the bottom of the page for more detailed information!

1. Atmosphere

Atmosphere Layers That Surround Planet Earth

The atmosphere is the envelope of gases that surround Earth. If you look at the atmosphere’s chemical composition, it’s mostly nitrogen and oxygen. Air is denser closer to Earth because of Earth’s gravitational pull. As you move outwards, the air becomes less dense.

You can divide the atmosphere into layers. From bottom to top, it consists of the troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, and thermosphere. Then, the thermosphere has two parts: the ionosphere and the exosphere.

These all work together like a gigantic engine, whose parts all serve a specific purpose to ensure life is sustained on our planet.

2. Troposphere

The innermost layer of the atmosphere is the troposphere. Like all layers of the atmosphere, the height of the thermosphere depends on where you are located. On average, it extends about 13 km (28,000 to 70,000 feet) from ground level.

The troposphere contains 75-80% of the atmospheric mass and 99% of the total mass of water vapor and aerosols. Most importantly, it’s the air we breathe, it contains most of our daily weather, and most air traffic flies in it (as well as birds, bats and beneficial and baneful spirits [those being holy and unholy angels… and demons]). It’s here that the water cycle for our world operates (the science of this is hydrology).

The turbulence of air in this sphere and its rotational friction against the planetary surface affects the flow of air and forms the planetary boundary layers (which can vary in height (from thousands of feet to over a mile). Think of the planetary surface is the engine GOD uses to help ‘stir the pot’ as it were, of our atmosphere. The other thing that creates turbulence is the temperature gradient that occurs where sunlight and therefore heat, is most intense on the planet and its atmosphere and where its least intense.

Theory suggests that without the “ice shield” (discussed briefly in Part One), weather is far more violent and in some respects has an instability which is not what GOD originally intended.

Between this sphere and the Stratosphere is a thin transitional layer called the Tropopause. It’s this boundary that separates the Troposphere and the Stratosphere which has the highest concentration of nitrogen, and it’s also where atmospheric temperatures increase dramatically.

Because of the amount of water vapor stored here (and nitrates and sulphites) our air is cleansed of various pollutants caused by industry and natural gases sourced from decomposed biomatter. Our oceans, oceanic and terrestrial plant life are major contributors to cleansing our atmosphere as well as providing oxygen and humidity.

Thanks to gravity, the density of our atmosphere is higher at our surface (hydrostatic equilibrium) and decreases as altitude increases. This allows water to remain in liquid state. If our finely-tuned gravity was anything less, water would not remain in a liquid state.

Due to higher pressure at lowest altitude (and the nearer to the equator one is), retention of heat is effectively maintained, allowing life to flourish. Essentially the troposphere is thickest at higher temperatures, and thinnest at cooler temperatures. This is where high pressure and low pressure systems are born, typically with low pressure weather systems containing higher degrees of water vapor, humidity, clouds, higher winds and precipitation.

3. Stratosphere

If you move 12 to 50 kilometers upward into the atmosphere, you’d hit the stratosphere. The stratosphere is known for its large concentration of ozone (O3).

The ozone layer raises the temperature in the stratosphere because ozone absorbs radiation from the sun. Lucky for us, it also protects our skin like a shield from harmful solar rays. This sphere has its own set of layers. There are no storms or turbulence found here so cold, heavier air stays at the bottom and warm, lighter air remains at the top. There is little water vapor found here, but surprisingly, you might find some bird species flying in the lower levels as well as commercial airlines, reason being there is very little resistance here, so planes can maximize their fuel efficiency at these altitudes. Two such aircraft are the SR-71 and the Concorde.

4. Mesosphere

There are 2 different mesospheres that make up Earth’s spheres. This mesosphere is not to be confused with the mesosphere deep inside the Earth. This mesosphere is part of the atmosphere and spans a vertical distance from ~50 to 90 km.

Air is very thin in the mesosphere. It’s almost like a vacuum. But it’s thick enough to cause meteors to burn up and disintegrate. The mesosphere reaches temperatures around -100° to -130°C. It has very little impact on weather, air pollution, and water storage capacity. So where the ozone layer in the Stratosphere protects us from solar radiation and directs warmth collected there towards the surface of the planet, the Mesosphere is responsible for protecting our world from meteoroids and other kinds of space rocks like bolides (explosive meteorites).

5. Thermosphere

The thermosphere is the uppermost part of the atmosphere. There are two parts to the thermosphere. It consists of the ionosphere and exosphere.

Although the thermosphere extends up to about 550 km altitude, its mass is only 0.002% of the total atmosphere. The thermosphere is home to the International Space Station (ISS). It orbits in the middle of the thermosphere between 330 and 435 km (average of 237 miles). Within this layer of the atmosphere, ultraviolet radiation causes photoionization / photodissociation of molecules, creating ions. Thus within this region the greater percentage of the ionosphere is found. Depending on the intensity and frequency of solar radiation, this sphere can range in temperature up to about 2,000°C (3,630° F) or more. Radiation here causes particles to become electrically charged, enabling radio waves to be refracted and received beyond the horizon. A portion of the thermosphere is considered outer space with the greater part of the exosphere classified as such.

6. Ionosphere

Magnetic Fields are generated in this sphere of Earth the name of which is derived from the word “ion” meaning electrically charged. So, it should be no surprise that this is the sphere of Earth that becomes ionized from cosmic radiation.

The interaction between charged particles from the sun and Earth’s magnetic field in the ionosphere creates beautiful natural light displays in the polar regions known as the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) and Aurora Australis (Southern Lights).

7. Exosphere

The outermost part of the atmosphere is the exosphere. It’s so far away and has such thin air that some scientists don’t even recognize it as a layer of the atmosphere.

Its thin air is why the thermosphere has a whole fleet of satellites (and space junk) that freely orbits it. The exosphere extends to about halfway to the distance of the moon. There’s no outer edge because it gradually fades in density to the vacuum of outer space.

8. Magnetosphere

There is a significant overlap between the magnetosphere and the ionosphere. In fact, the ionosphere is just the inner edge of the magnetosphere. The magnetosphere varies in extent and is bound by the extent of Earth’s magnetic field.

It’s not only Earth that has a magnetosphere. Other planets have them and it’s key for habitable life. Like a bubble that surrounds Earth, the magnetosphere protects us from the fury of the sun.

9. Plasmasphere

If you take the inner section of the magnetosphere and track where it consists of low energy electrically charged gas (plasma), this is the plasmasphere. At all times, the sun ejects vast amounts of plasma into the solar system.

When plasma enters Earth’s magnetosphere, Earth’s magnetic field is relatively unaffected. But during large solar storms, plasma can enter into rifts at the poles. It has the potential to disrupt satellites and network communications around the world.

Before we proceed to the next topic in regards to “the first heavens”, I’d like to include a video about a favorite subject of mine, meteorology – weather! It’s something we all experience, and when we don’t know what to talk about, we fall back on this phenomenon!

The following video is 53 mins and 26 secs from Meteorologist Dan Treiber and includes very detailed (and fun, fascinating!) scientific information.

Now we leave the more mundane aspects of the “first heaven’ and consider the other aspects that involve the spiritual domain.

The PRINCE of the POWER of the AIR

Adam and wife Eve were created to care for this world and to rule over it (GEN 1:28), but when the Head of the Human race fell into sin, essentially he was ‘dethroned’ by Satan, who then became “the god [ruler] of this world” (1 COR 4:4). In the wilderness where the LORD Jesus fasted for 40 days, He never disputed Satan’s claim:
LUKE 4:5-7
5 Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 6 And the devil said to Him, "All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. 7 "Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.
We don’t really know where Satan’s throne is on the Earth today; but once it was in Pergamos (REV 2:13). Today, perhaps it’s in Rome, or Washington D.C. or London?

In any event, we understand that this world system is governed by Satan, and anywhere it isn’t ruling, it’s because there is a holy stronghold in place in select locations because of the saints of GOD who yet have some salt and light to sanctify with! I suspect however that these places are few and far between these days!

Not only is Satan “going to and fro in the Earth and up and down in it” (JOB 1:7; 2:2) but because he is in fact a spirit (a fallen angel) he can be anywhere, at any location he chooses throughout the Earth and into the first (and second, and [for now] even the third) heaven.

He is, after all the “prince of the power of the air” (EPH 2:2) and like Satan, his entire hierarchy of various rank and file (EPH 6:12) can travel – perhaps faster than light (how fast can a spirit travel anyway?)?, the kingdom of darkness can appear to be omnipresent, and Satan would like nothing better than to have us believe that!

But these fallen angels – and demons (I believe these are not synonyms but are distinct classes of evil spirits) form a sort of “Wicked Web of the World”. Just like how the Internet is connecting people world wide and can share information at the speed of light, I think the Kingdom of Darkness can do very much the same at the “speed of spirit”.

I recall a time in Upstate NY when I was on my way to a Prayer Meeting and as I was nearing the end of my street, my attention was drawn upward. I saw nothing up there but clouds and blue sky, but I could sense tumultuous activity, somewhat similar to what you might expect on intersecting highways with cars dashing about in this direction and that.

I don’t typically put a lot of stock in “spiritual experiences” but the valid ones will always bear out in the counsels of Scripture. One of the names for Satan is Beelzebub or “Lord of the Flies”. Just as flies are restlessly flitting about, never idle for very long, and attracted to death, so too is Satan ceaselessly working in orchestrating his “wiles” in order to achieve his goals – ultimately, the restoration of his One World Order that he attempted back at the Tower of Babel.

This frenzied beehive-like activity I sensed was a temporary unveiling of the spiritual domain where the holy and evil angels are contesting, each for the sake of their respective kingdoms (DAN 10:13-20).

We are likewise called upon to contest the agendas and aims of Satan – obviously not in our own power, but in the Name and authority of Jesus Christ (LUKE 10:19) – which by the way is not a blank check! We don’t go ordering the subjects of the Kingdom of Darkness around to suit our fancy, no!

We use the authority of Christ according to the will of GOD; anytime we pray or perform in the Name of Jesus Christ, we should be doing so according to His will, His nature, His heart, in accordance with His character which in biblical type is synonymous with His Name!

Can Satan orchestrate an army by his inspiration to attack another nation? Was he the prime motivator behind Rome? Nazi Germany? What about the Bolshevik Revolution? What about the deeds of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un, or the actions between Russia and Ukraine? Or even more so, the Hamas and their assaults against Israel?

I think so! And he is quite active here in America, stripping our nation of its Judeo-Christian ethic, of our biblical roots, of our freedoms as outlined in the Constitution of the United States!

On his nefarious agenda is the utter destruction of the nation of Israel. Why? Because prophecy intertwines the Second Coming with the nation of Israel. Scripture indicates that the Messiah will return to rule over Israel from the reestablished throne of David (LUKE 1:31-33). If Israel is destroyed, prophecy can’t come true, and Satan would therefore (in his own eyes) feel justified in calling GOD a liar.

Plus he just hates Israel because GOD loves Israel: so, there is that also!

Can Satan whip up storms and manipulate the weather? Can he perform miracles?

We see that he did that very thing with Job; a storm leveled the house of one of his ten children while all of them were there and were killed (JOB 1:18-19). I strongly suspect he was responsible for the storm on the Sea of Galilee when the LORD and His twelve were on their way across – and on the other side was a man (or two) who were possessed of “many” demons and identified itself as “Legion”. Obviously Satan didn’t want to lose one of his slaves (but he did anyway, because the LORD Jesus rules over the storm!

Only GOD can truly work miracles in the sense that they are supernatural. While Satan in his being is a supernatural creature (that is, not a natural being of flesh and blood as are humans and animals) but he can’t operate outside of the natural law; only the Creator of the natural law can do so.

A bit of conjecture here:
However, in between the supernatural power of GOD and the natural abilities of humanity, there is a middle ground where angels (holy and evil) operate, and that would be the preternatural realm. I believe that they can manipulate the various laws of nature in very intricate, very profound ways so as to appear miraculous.

Scripture testifies that angels witnessed the creation of GOD (JOB 38:7). To what degree angels can perceive reality we are not told; but I think that they are able to analyze and process information far more efficiently than we can with all of our technology. Perhaps they’re quite familiar with reality on a quantum level and comprehend the laws of physics and nature to a far higher degree than we can. Having preternatural abilities therefore, and with such knowledge, I think Satan and his followers are quite capable of fabricating convincing pseudo-miracles.
We know false prophets will perform ‘miracles’ – “signs and wonders” to greater degrees of deception as we approach the end of days, and we know who inspires them (MATT 24:24)!

Can Satan contend with the saints to such a degree that he can thwart the saints of GOD? He managed to harass apostle Paul sufficiently to hinder him and his entourage (1 THESS 2:18).

As saints, we appreciate that Satan has considerable power, but he is not even close to being GOD’s equal. He stands about as much chance going toe to Toe with GOD as I do going against Satan (by my own power)! GOD is infinite by every measure of authority and power, Satan – while far more powerful than us humans, is still quite finite by every measure!

And if we learn anything from the book of JOB it’s that Satan can’t mess with any of GOD’s children without His say so! However, if one of His saints is walking in the flesh – well, that’s Satan’s domain. While GOD won’t let Satan destroy any of His children (again, not without His express permission!) He will let him tangle with us and sting us if we are walking in disobedience – for the intent of getting us back in line, walking with Him rather than in the ways of this fallen world!

We will continue this four part series with an examination of the second heaven – the cosmos of celestial wonder – in the next article, and then conclude this series by looking at the third heaven – the domain of GOD where His throne abides!

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