Genesis 1:6-8, Yom Sheni: Cutting off the Excess
[This is the second in a series about Creation week, specifically, how each day corresponds to progress men and women as they work out their salvations. Almighty God could have made everything in a brief instant, but instead chose to create our heavens and earth by a deliberate, methodical process. These posts will hopefully show that fruitfulness brought to the physical earth is a foreshadowing of God’s ultimate plan to bring men to the same.]
On Yom Echad– the First Day- I learned that God’s Word is the light of truth, and I learned how to separate truth from “darkness”- everything that tries to overcome truth.
Yom Sheni: The Second Day
And said God, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide a space between waters from waters.” And made God the firmament, and divided a space between the waters which [were] under the firmament from the waters which [were] above the firmament; and it was so. God called the firmament “heaven”. And were evening and were morning, the second day. (Genesis 1:6-8, Hebrew Interlinear)
The Hebrew words for water and heaven are mayim and shamayim, respectively. I have already written why “heaven” is not the best translation for shamayim, but even for my green sense of Hebrew it’s easy to see how these terms are familial to “water”, one representing the waters above (shamayim, likely a compound of sham, “there is” and mayim, hence “water is there”) and the other below. The first thing God purposefully made was a “firmament” (Heb. raqiyah) to divide the mayim. (Note: the light of Genesis 1:2-5 appeared; it was not created; God already knew its name as it seems to be eternal).
Cheating ahead to other pre-flood portions of Genesis (i.e. 2:5 and 7:11), it appears that the raqiyah enabled a terrarium “in the beginning” as this initial atmosphere did not rain, yet nevertheless contained water. After the Great Flood, God said He would “bring clouds upon the earth” (9:14)… so the present shamayim also contains water, remaining true to its “water-is-there” name. I suppose the point is, man has always relied on shamayim for life-sustaining water. God promises “water is there” and named the raqiyah appropriately. Yet, where does mayim-from-the-shamayim originate? In both pre-Flood and post-Flood worlds, water is taken from the earth. Put in a different way, I can say God relieved the earth of its excess water… the earth had a circumcision!
God would multiply other wonders in the shamayim. He also placed the sun, moon, and stars in this raqiyah (Gen. 1:16), and allowed birds to fly within the raqiyah (Gen 1:20). All these wonders defy gravity, arguably the greatest creation of Yom Sheni. Though not explicitly stated, it’s implied that God created the gravitational field which suspends heavenly bodies, and restrains earthly bodies. It occurs to me that the making of the raqiyah on Day Two doesn’t just separate mayim from mayim, it’s the framework for separating ALL things that belong in shamayim from all things belonging to Earth.
Therefore, the physical lessons garnered from Yom Sheni are two: First, Earth’s excess water was removed to be returned in a process beyond Earth’s control; second, while some things do belong in the shamayim, human beings are grounded to the earth by gravity.
Do I have “Excess?”
Spiritually speaking, however, what do I learn on my Yom Sheni? What spiritual lesson is God teaching by dividing excess mayim from the Earth, and forming shamayim?
The Scriptures do indicate a “painful” time following salvation that accomplishes two main feats, which I think are metaphorically similar to what physically occurred on Yom Sheni. First, a man learns of his excess. He becomes “born again” on Day One but “circumcised” on Day Two, and it is painful- oh so very painful. Secondly, at the same time his up and down limitations are realized (For example, there are things ascribed to heaven above, and things ascribed to the earth beneath – John 3:12). These two realizations bring about the main objective of our post-salvation “Day Two”: humility. If excess water stays on the physical earth in the beginning, dry land could never appear, and therefore any chance for life would literally be drowned. Likewise, if I am not circumcised from the excesses of my life, I too will drown, and I won’t ever rely on shamayim for “rain”. Therefore, I must lose from my excesses to experience spiritual rain from “Heaven”.
I’ve written before that in biblical symbolism, large masses of water (i.e. the Deep, or “great waters”) represent masses of people, with both good and bad connotations. However, water falling from heaven is always a favorable biblical symbol. Rain represents revelation (Isa. 55:10-11) and good teaching (Deut. 32:2). Rain accompanies righteousness (Isa. 45:8, Hos. 10:12, Psa. 84:6) and the presence of God (Hos. 6:3). Perhaps this is all encompassed by saying rain from shamayim symbolizes God giving back to man (Psa. 68:9-10, Psa. 72:6). [Note: the opposite is also true. The drought of Eliyahu (Elijah), and general lack of rain is paralleled with rebellion (Jer. 3:3), stinginess (Mal. 3:8-10), and oppression (Isa. 5:6, Amos 4:7)]
Basically, the spiritual phase of Yom Sheni is the process of making the Deep not-so-deep. After a man “sees the light” he is still deep in Gentile ways of thinking, and begins the next phase of working out his salvation. This can be a painful process where God takes his excess “water” into “heaven”, that He might one day “rain” on his new creation blessings, revelation, and varieties of spiritual gifts. The process is designed to teach humility and reliance on God. Men therefore learn spiritual evaporation – how to evaporate excess to receive showers of blessing:
- He might have excess lands or possessions. He offers it to leadership in God’s Kingdom (Matt. 19:16-26; Acts 4:32-37).
- He might have excess pride and suffers for a while. He learns humility and submits to his elders. He learns to give his time (draws near) to God that God may “rain” (draw near) on him (1 Peter 5:5-10, James 4:7-10). He learns to give his life to get life.
- He might have excess anxiety in thinking like a water-en-masse Gentile, i.e. ‘What will we eat?’ He learns to first seek God’s righteousness (Matt. 6:31-33). He must become not-so-deep.
Aside from exiting Gentile/pagan thinking (“excess”), this is also the time to understand Heaven’s hierarchy. Given Yeshua taught “Heaven” is God’s throne (i.e. Matt. 5:24, 23:22), prophetic visions also instruct on this hierarchy:
“Over the head of the living creature there was the likeness of an expanse (raqiyah), like an awesome crystal to look at, stretched out over their heads above. Under the expanse, their wings were straight, one toward the other. Each one had two which covered on this side, and each one had two which covered their bodies on that side. When they went, I heard the noise of their wings like the noise of great waters, like the voice of the Almighty, a noise of tumult like the noise of an army. When they stood, they let down their wings. There was a voice above the expanse that was over their heads. When they stood, they let down their wings. Above the expanse (raqiyah) that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone. On the likeness of the throne was a likeness as the appearance of a man on it above.” (Ezekiel 1:22-26, emphasis mine)
During the phase of Yom Sheni, men learn there is a spiritual raqiyah that separates YHVH’s throne from men. They learn is it not yet time to dwell with the Most High, and begin to understand their limitations on the earth. However, they also learn how to join fellow believers. They learn that to be successful in the Kingdom of God – where they are grounded beneath the greater Shamayim – they must work together as One Body. They move by the command of God from Heaven, and echo His words like the noise of an army – as a great mass of water people, yet with one voice. Yes, the four living creatures are the kiddushim from the four faces of the Earth- North, south, east, and west. At times they are bold-faced as lions, compassionate as eagles, or have burdens like oxen, yet when YHVH speaks, the kingdom stands still to minister to Him, and sabbaths their wings. After God refreshes them, the Kingdom moves again, continuing the evaporation-to-rain spiritual principle.
Ezekiel describes a “wheel” accompanying the four living creatures (the kiddushim) wherever they go:
“When the living creatures went, the wheels went beside them. Then the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up. Wherever the spirit was to go, they went. The spirit was to go there. The wheels were lifted up beside them; for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels. (Ezekiel 1:19-20)
The wheels represent the “vehicle” making all things happen on the earth. Men may be separate from the full Glory of God, but they can experience what makes everything under heaven work – the Divine Presence (aka the Spirit of God)! Without the Presence it is impossible to move in one direction corporately, and impossible to hear the voice of God. This “vehicle” was demonstrated on Shavuot (Pentecost), when the Divine Presence put wheels on the body of 120 believers and caused them to move. YHVH spoke from heaven, and made them move like the voice of the Almighty (Acts 2:1-4). This is ultimately how God wants to administer His kingdom, as unity of believers and moves of the Spirit go hand-in-hand (or should I say, wing-to-wing?).
Newcomers must learn how to be in one accord and also to walk in the Divine Presence. Contrary to popular belief, an identity cannot be solely formed in an individual (“personal relationship”, “what God can do for you/me”, prosperity goose-pile, etc.) but in the identity of the whole kiddushim. It requires a time of perspective to learn lessons not taught in the Gentile world:
- They must learn how to love his brothers and sisters in Messiah (John 15:17, Gal. 5:13, 1 Pet 1:22).
- They must learn how to gather in one accord, for to be divisive is to hinder the Spirit (1 Cor. 1:10, 3:1-4, Jude 1:16-22).
- They must learn that neglect of the poor, widows, and orphans is not unity (Acts 6:1, James 1:27, 1 Tim. 5:8).
- They must learn to pray in one accord and for each other (Eph. 6:18, James 5:16).
Disciple to Decipher
Young men and women in YHVH should have help through this phase, because it is an unfamiliar, sometimes overwhelming process. After all, circumcision hurts! I believe this is probably why God doesn’t call anything on Yom Sheni “good” like the rest of Creation week. This separation process isn’t fun, but it’s necessary. This aid, though, is supposed to come in the form of discipleship – the same way Yeshua taught the original twelve shlichim (apostles).
Discipleship was a fixture of God’s kingdom even before Yeshua appeared. The prophets of old taught Israel’s tribal elders who in turn taught their divisions, who taught their captains, and so forth, eventually making it to fathers teaching their children. I know this mentorship style is nearly extinct, but elders are supposed to teach disciples how to lose their excesses and experience heaven’s hierarchy in the Spirit and unity. The truth is, God desires shepherds to feed his “sheep”, the favor Yeshua asked of Shimon Keefa (ref. Yochanan 21:15-19). Keefa not only did this, but like the rest of apostles, exhorted the elders to not forsake discipleship, to lead the teachings, fellowship meals, and prayer (Acts 2:42-45, 1 Pet. 5:1-4, Tit. 1:7-9).
Without discipleship it is difficult to lose the excess of Gentile-thinking, and to learn the hierarchy of heaven. If men and women endure this trying time, they will mature in the Kingdom, and God will lead them to the next phase: Yom Shelishi (the Third Day), when God makes something appear that was always present, but never realized: dry land. I’ll talk about the physical and spiritual implications of this in my next phase.♦