The ancient Greek philosophers and poets believed in a stationary earth at the centre of the universe. At night they could observe stars revolving in a circle around a point in the northern sky, so it seemed as though the heavens were in continual circular motion. They reasoned that the stars must be attached to a rigid heaven, that held them fixed in the sky, so that their positions did not change relative to one another as the sky turned. The mystery of the rigid heaven was the focus of their religion. The starry heaven of the night and the blue daylight sky, were identified as "Zeus Olympus" by the Greeks, and the same deity was referred to as "Jupiter" or "Jove" by the Romans. The words "Zeus" as well as "Deus" are derived from an old Indo-European root meaning "to shine". "Jupiter" is derived from Deus (sky) + Pater (father).
A.B. Cook, who spent over 40 years studying the ancient concept of Zeus, concluded that Zeus was originally the bright daylight sky. The root meanings of the words "Deus" and "Zeus" support this. Cook showed that Zeus was just as much the night time sky. Zeus was also the weather god, dispensing lightning.
[Reference: A. B. Cook, Zeus, A Study in Ancient Religion. Cambridge, 1914]
Today we know that the rigid heaven that the ancients believed in, and identified with Zeus, does not exist.
Marcus Terentius Varro in the 1st century BC says, "Olympus is the name which the Greeks give to the sky, and all peoples give to the mountain in Macedonia."
In the view of one author, the Pythagoreans held that:
The word "Olympus" refers to the starry heaven.
"Cosmos" refers to the region of the planets and sun and moon.
"Ouranos" refers to the region of the air or atmosphere.
In ancient times, if you had mentioned "The Divine Universe," most people would think you were referring to Zeus. The Greeks gave a human form to their gods, more so than most other peoples. Some of the philosophers thought of Zeus as heaven itself, or the universe, while at the same time, many thought of him as a sky god in human form. Homer called him "the father of gods and men."
Many statues, pictures and coins from the Hellenistic period represent the various deities of the Greeks, such as Zeus, Artemis (or Diana), Poseidon, Apollo (also called Pythios), Hades (or Pluto), Hera, Aphrodite (goddess of love) Athena, Demeter, and others. The sky, once known as Ouranos (Heaven) , was called Zeus, and he ruled the other "Olympians" of Homer's tales. The Greek artists and poets depicted Zeus in human form, as they did Poseidon (the Sea), Hades (the Underworld), Apollo (the Sun), Artemis (the Moon) and the others.
Herodotus made an interesting comment on this as he described the worship of Zeus by the Persians. He notes that they differed from the Greeks in that they did not think of Zeus or their other gods as having a human form, as did the Greeks.
Herodotus [History, 1.131]
The following are customs practiced by the Persians of which I have personal knowledge. They are not wont to establish images or temples or altars at all; indeed, they regard all who do so as fools, and this, in my opinion, is because they do not believe in gods in human form, as the Greeks do. They offer sacrifices to Zeus, going up into the highest mountains and calling the whole circle of the heaven Zeus. They sacrifice, too, to the sun, moon, and earth and fire, water, and winds. These were the sole gods of their worship in the beginning, but they have since learned besides to sacrifice to the Heavenly Aphrodite.
To explain the diurnal motion of the fixed stars, as they revolved around a point above the north pole, and the apparent motions of the sun and moon and planets, some philosophers invented "bowls" or spherical shells that revolved around the earth, and carried around the stars and other heavenly bodies. One of them was Heraklitus of Ephesus.
At the beginning of the 5th century BC Heraklitus heaped scorn on the gods, and their cults amongst the Greeks, yet he discussed the concept of a "Divine Universe". These are some of his sayings:
God is day night, winter summer, war peace, satiety hunger
One thing, the only truly wise, does not and does consent to be called by the name of Zeus
The world is 'an everliving fire'
'You cannot step twice into the same river'
'All things are in flux'
The sun ... is new each day
'The soul is a spark of the essential substance of the stars.'
Diogenes Laertius wrote of Heraklitus [ix, 9-10]
He does not reveal the nature of the surrounding; it contains, however, bowls turned with their hollow side towards us, in which the bright exhalations are collected and form flames, which are the heavenly bodies. Brightest and hottest is the flame of the sun ... And sun and moon are eclipsed when the bowls turn upwards; and the monthly phases of the moon occur as a bowl is gradually turned.
For summaries of the views of other Greek philosophers see: The Rigid Sky in Greek Philosophy" . Since the scientific revolution, and the discovery that it is the earth that rotates, not the heavens, those imaginary spheres and bowls have become obsolete. Heaven is not a rigid shell or dome above us.
The ancient Greeks believed the sky to be a deity, and they revered meteorites as objects that "fell from Zeus" and worshipped them as gods. There is an instance of this mentioned in the New Testament:
Act 19:35 And when the townclerk had quieted the multitude, he saith, Ye men of Ephesus, what man is there who knoweth not that the city of the Ephesians is temple-keeper of the great Diana, and of the image which fell down from Zeus?
Although in some Bibles the name Jupiter is used here, the townclerk would have referred to Zeus, rather than Jupiter, as he was speaking to Greeks. The "image" was no doubt a meteorite, considered to be divine and a child of Zeus.
Paul's quotation from one of the poets referred to Zeus: "For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring." ( Acts 17:28 ). One commentary says:
Paul now quotes from two different Grecian writers. The first quote is from Epimenides (c. 600 BC). The second is by Aratus (c. 300 BC). Paul also quotes from Aratus in Titus 1:12 . In their original contexts, both quotes are referring to Zeus, the main god of Grecian mythology.
Jesus referred to heaven as God's throne, and earth as his footstool. He quoted from a passage in Isaiah's prophecy. This picture of heaven being God's throne is clearly incompatible with the Greek view, in which the Heaven itself was identified with a deity, and the Sea with another deity, Earth another deity, and Day and Night were also considered deities.
Heaven as God's throne also seems to be incompatible with the notion of a rigid heaven. Would God sit upon the rigid sky, with his legs poking down through it to the earth, his footstool? How ridiculous! What about the upper waters that supposedly were held back by the solid sky? Was God supposed to be immersed in these upper waters? And no king who has a throne, rotates it around his footstool every day.
Obviously, the references to a rigid sky in the Bible are out of place, and must be of late origin. They are more properly assigned to the period of hellenistic domination of the Jews that culminated with the reign of Antiochus IV in the second century BC. Sadly, Bible scholars have missed this most important fact and have failed to recognize the cosmological corruptions present in the Bible. Some of these corruptions probably arose from efforts by hellenized Jews in Alexandria to translate the biblical story of creation into Greek.
According to the story related in the Letter of Aristeas, which tells the story of how the Greek translation of the Bible was made, the Hebrew scriptures were "somewhat carelessly committed to writing" and were "not in their original form." How would those pagan scholars know that? What could have been wrong with the Hebrew scrolls, that the Greeks objected to? Their cosmology, perhaps, which failed to mention the rigid sky? I think that was the real issue here.
The reason for calling the Greek Bible the LXX is because of the story in the Letter of Aristeas. This letter presents the justification for making the Greek version of the Hebrew scriptures, referred to as the "Books of the Law of the Jews," for the library of Ptolemy Philadelphus. This Greek version was intended to "correct" certain things in the Hebrew texts. We have this statement in the memorandum of Demetrius of Phalerum:
To the Great King, from Demetrius. In accordance with your Majesty's order concerning the library, that books needed to complete the collection should be acquired and added, and that those accidentally damaged should receive suitable attention, I submit the following report, having attended to my responsibility in the matter in no casual manner. Books of the Law of the Jews, with some few others, are wanting. For it happens that these books are written in the Hebrew script and language, but, according to the evidence of the experts, have been somewhat carelessly committed to writing and are not in their original form; for they have never had the benefit of royal attention. It is important that these books, duly corrected, should find a place in your library, because this legislation, in as much as it is divine, is of philosophical importance and of innate integrity. For this reason writers and poets and the great majority of historians have avoided reference to the above mentioned books and to the people who have lived and are living in accordance with them, because, as Hecataeus of Abdera says, the view of life presented in them has a certain sanctity and holiness. If, then, your Majesty approves, a letter shall be written to the high priest in Jerusalem, asking him to send elders of exemplary lives, expert in their country's Law, six from each tribe, so that, having established the agreement of the majority and obtained an accurate translation, we may give the book a distinguished place in our library, in keeping both with the importance of the affair and of your own purpose. May you ever prosper!
Clearly this was intended to explain discrepancies between the Greek version and the older Hebrew texts. Here the argument is that the old Hebrew text had somehow become corrupt, and the new Greek text would "restore" their original form, so were to be regarded as "more accurate than the originals." Therefore, those possessing a Greek text could claim to have more authority than those who possessed the Hebrew scrolls. Having been produced under royal supervision, no doubt the cosmology of the Greek Bible would be updated.
From the Greek translation of the Bible, which had been adapted to the Greek views of cosmology, corruptions were gradually introduced into the Hebrew text. The notion of a rigid rotating sky was not of Hebrew origin. Daniel's prophecies indicate the concept of a rigid heavenly "firmament" was introduced into the Hebrew scriptures during the reign of Antiochus IV with the help of apostate Jews who admired hellenism and the Greek cosmology.
The flawed cosmological notions occur in the Bible because of corruptions that were introduced in the 2nd century BC, which changed the Bible's cosmology to fit that of the ancient Greeks in the hellenistic era. The changes were initiated by Antiochus IV, a Seleucid king who controlled Syria, Mesopotamia, Palestine, and Jerusalem. It was foretold in the prophecies of Daniel.
Antiochus was the "little horn" of Daniel chapter 8. In Daniel's prophecy, the horn grows great, and extends itself up above the clouds, to the stars, and casts the stars and the host of heaven down to the ground, and tramples them. In my interpretation, the prophecy was a reference to the changes to the cosmology of the scriptures that Antiochus introduced, to support his idea of a rigid rotating sky, identified with Zeus, that held all the stars fixed in their positions.
The changes included Genesis 1:8 , "God called the firmament Heaven." (Before that time the "raqia" referred to the earth's rocky crust.); also Job 37:18 , "Hast thou with him spread out the sky, which is strong, and as a molten looking glass?"
The idea of a solid sky rotating around the earth, which ancient people identified with Zeus, was developed into a cosmological system by Greek philosophers in hellenistic times, and the concept was introduced into the Hebrew Bible in the second century BC by means of corruptions. From to the prophecies of Daniel, we can determine that this occurred during the second century BC.
The Seleucid king of Syria, Antiochus IV, who reigned over the area of Jerusalem and all Palestine in the second century BC, appointed the high priests of the Jews. He detained the legitimate high priest in Antioch, and replaced him with men who favored hellenism and Greek cultural reforms.
Daniel's prophecies indicate Antiochus IV (the "little horn of chapter 8) was the one who initiated major cosmological corruptions in the Bible. One of these corruptions identified the "raqia" (translated 'firmament' in the KJV) with Heaven, by the insertion of the phrase "And God called the firmament Heaven" in Genesis 1:8 , whereas before, "raqia" referred to the earth's crust.
In its original form, the creation account of Genesis 1 did not support the idea of a rigid sky. It described the earth as being covered with water on the first day. The "raqia" was made within these primeval waters on day two. This referred to the formation of the earth's crust. Then on day three, the land rose up from the waters, and vegetation appeared.
When the "raqia" mentioned in Genesis 1 was identified with Heaven by means of corruptions initiated by Antiochus IV in the second century BC, the creation account was changed so that it seemed to support the idea of a solid sky, which the Greeks needed for their geocentric views, and to prop up their religion centered upon Zeus and the other Olympian gods.
As a result of the corruptions introduced into the first chapter of Genesis the solid sky or "firmament" became the focus of creation account, and in the KJV the word "firmament" appears 9 times in Genesis 1, although the term is rarely used elsewhere.
Some of the hellenized Jews at the time who admired the Greek philosophy and religion no doubt supposed the sky was indeed solid, so may have considered the modifications Antiochus introduced as improvements. However, while in the original version of Genesis there were two water levels, the waters of the oceans and seas being one, and the other being the subterranean waters, that broke forth at the time of the flood, in the modified cosmology there were three water levels. Besides the ones already mentioned, there were waters "above the heavens". The idea of "waters above the heavens" perplexed theologians and philosophers for centuries afterward, as some of them argued that these upper waters would not be stable above the dome of the sky, but would tend to flow away towards a lower level.
The real significance of the "primitive" cosmological ideas in Genesis has been missed by scholars who failed to recognize the influence of hellenistic cosmological corruptions in the OT. They were among the victims of the fraud of Antiochus. This also was foretold by Daniel, who said his vision was to be shut up, presumably meaning that it would not be understood for a long period of time. It was intended for the "time of the end" [ Dan 8:17 ].
In some translations the "windows of heaven" mentioned as a source of the rain causing the flood in Genesis 7:11 are referred to as the "flood gates of heaven". The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VI, Article: " Firmament " by James F. Driscoll says:
The notion of the solidity of the firmament is moreover expressed in such passages as Job, 37:18 , where reference is made incidentally to the heavens, "which are most strong, as if they were of molten brass". The same is implied in the purpose attributed to God in creating the firmament, viz. to serve as a wall of separation between the upper and lower of water, it being conceived as supporting a vast celestial reservoir; and also in the account of the deluge (Genesis 7), where we read that the "flood gates of heaven were opened, and shut up" (viii, 2).
Subsequent references to the windows of heaven by biblical writers suggests the reference to these "windows" associated with the flood story in Genesis, that seem to imply a heavenly reservior above a solid sky, was introduced into the text as a corruption during the hellenistic age. "Windows of heaven" were apparently unknown in the time of Elisha the prophet.The story related in 2 Kings 7 shows this. When the Israelite city of Samaria was under seige by the Syrians, the prophet Elisha advised the king of Israel of a remarkable deliverance from hunger and famine that was to occur on the following day:
2 Kings 7:2 Then a lord on whose hand the king leaned answered the man of God, and said, Behold, if the LORD would make windows in heaven, might this thing be? And he said, Behold, thou shalt see it with thine eyes, but shalt not eat thereof.
Why would the Israelite lord mentioned here say to Elisha "if the LORD would make windows in heaven" if the book of Genesis said these "windows" already existed at the time of the flood? The person who said this was not only an officer, but a trusted adviser to the king. His early training would probably have included the stories of Creation and the flood that we find in Genesis. He should have been aware, if Genesis in those days had contained a reference to "windows of heaven". The story supports the thesis that the "windows in heaven" in Genesis 7:11 , that allegedly let down the waters of an upper reservoir to flood the earth, are an additional corruption of the text of Genesis, part of the systematic corruption of the Bible's cosmology in the time of Antiochus IV, as foretold by Daniel. The reason for it was to make the corruption introduced in Genesis 1, that identified the 'raqia' with heaven, appear to be legitimate, by a supporting reference to upper waters above the firmament.
Many years afterward, the prophet Malachi made reference to windows of heaven, as symbolic of some kind of blessing from God, such as prosperity and health and plenty of good food to enjoy. He probably associated the windows of heaven with the story of the remarkable end to the famine in the days of Elisha.
Malachi's reference to windows of heaven is a metaphor for God's blessings upon the people. Those in Genesis 7:11 release the waters from the reservoir above the solid sky.
Malachi 3:1 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this," says the LORD of hosts, "if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows."
The windows of heaven opening up was not considered a threat to man's survival by the prophet Malachi. Instead, he thought of it as being a source of a great blessing. If the creation story in Genesis had said there were waters "above the heaven," Malachi probably would not have supposed that windows opening up in the heavens would be a blessing. It would instead be a potential disaster for the world, as the waters of the upper reservoir poured down, drowning the earth's inhabitants. So Malachi's use of the "windows of heaven" also suggests there was no mention of windows of heaven in the flood story of Genesis in his time. It is evidence for a late date for the insertion of that corruption, and this fits in well with the information provided by Daniel about the corruption of the cosmology of the scriptures by Antiochus IV in the second century BC. "Windows of heaven" were probably added to the flood story in order to support the identification of the 'raqia' with the sky and to add support to the idea of the heavenly ocean, the "waters above the heavens."
The point of reference in the vision of Daniel 8 is the palace at Shushan which is located in the southern part of Mesopotamia, near the Persian Gulf.
Daniel 8:2 And I saw in a vision; and it came to pass, when I saw, that I was at Shushan in the palace, which is in the province of Elam; and I saw in a vision, and I was by the river of Ulai.
The little horn of vs 9 came out of one of the four main divisions of the Greek empire that arose after the death of Alexander the Great. It is easily identified with Antiochus IV of Syria.
Daniel 8:9 And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land.
Its influence was felt in the south (Egypt) and in the east (Mesopotamia) and in the pleasant land, the area of Jerusalem. All this is evident in the career of Antiochus IV.
What is curious about the prophecy is that the little horn of the goat then extends itself in the vertical direction, growing upwards towards the sky. It grows higher and higher, past the tree-tops, past the high mountains, past the clouds, up past the moon and the planets, even beyond the solar system, to the stars of heaven! Then it casts down stars and the host of heaven, (sun, moon, planets, galaxies, constellations, etc,) to the ground, and tramples them. It even casts down heaven itself, the "place of God's sanctuary."
This prophecy refers to some cosmological event, that involved Antiochus IV, who managed to secretly corrupt the scriptures of the Jews, to make them conform to the cosmology of the Greeks. The geocentric theory required belief in a rigid sky. Antiochus learned that the Jewish scriptures lacked any reference to Zeus, his favorite deity, and apparently did not support the idea of a solid sky. Antiochus and his agents, (including apostate Jewish priests appointed by him) introduced that notion into the scriptures, by identifying the "raqia" or "firmament" of Genesis 1 with the rigid sky. Previously, "raqia" referred to the sold rocks of the earth's crust. The "raqia" or "firmament" was identified with heaven by the introduction of the statement "And God called the firmament Heaven" in Genesis 1:8 and by numerous supporting alterations of the scripture, that involved geocentrism, a stationary earth, and a hard, rigid rotating sky or firmament.
The geocentric cosmology was to endure "unto 2,300 days," according to the angelic messenger speaking with Daniel, which can be interpreted as 23 centuries, each "day" being symbolic of a year. 23 centuries from that time, in the mid eighteenth century (around 1750 AD), the geocentric cosmology was abandoned, as the discoveries of Sir Isaac Newton and numerous other scientists were published around the world.
Antiochus IV initiated corruptions into the Bible that have gone undetected not only for hundreds of years, but thousands. Yet they are still corruptions, however long ago it occurred. The prophecies of Daniel have exposed the fraud of Antiochus and identify the nature of the corruptions, so that it is possible for the information of the original text to be restored. By changes he initiated, Antiochus identified the earth's crust, the 'raqia' of Genesis 1 made on day 2, with the rigid heaven of the geocentric cosmology, which the Greeks identified with Zeus. Also, he stamped out the knowledge of the diurnal rotation of the earth, by additional corruptions and insertions in other sections of the Hebrew scriptures.
According to Daniel's prophecy in 8:12, "truth was cast to the ground" by the little horn of the goat, Antiochus IV. Truth about cosmology was cast to the ground by corruptions that he caused to be introduced into the Bible. These were introduced to support the flawed cosmology of the Greeks which featured the notion of a rigid heaven revolving around the earth, carrying the stars. They identified the rigid heaven with Zeus Olympus.
History shows that Antiochus IV sent an Athenian politician to supervise and enforce the hellenization of the Jews of Jerusalem. Some Jews adapted willingly to hellenization, while others joined the rebellion of the Maccabees. The ones involved in the temple service along with the high priests appointed by Antiochus were among the hellenizers. These Jews were able to accomplish the revision of the scritural cosmology ordered by Antiochus. Daniel's prophecy reveals that Antiochus collaborated with the apostates and hellenizers among the Jews to corrupt the Hebrew scriptures to make them conform to the Greek cosmology with its rigid sky. This involved a process of revision that probably continued for many years after his reign.
Here is part of Daniel's prophecy concerning Antiochus IV relating to these events:
[ Daniel 11:29 ] At the time appointed he shall return, and come toward the south; but it shall not be as the former, or as the latter.
--- Antiochus invaded Egypt in 168 BC and laid seige to Alexandria. However his plans were thwarted by Roman intervention.
[ Daniel 11:30 ] For the ships of Chittim shall come against him: therefore he shall be grieved, and return, and have indignation against the holy covenant: so shall he do; he shall even return, and have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant.
--- On his return from Egypt, Antiochus sacked Jerusalem. This was when his plan to revise the cosmology of the Hebrew scriptures was initiated. It involved the aid of Jews who were willing to "forsake the holy covenant."
Further details are provided in 2 Maccabees:
[ 2Macc 6:1,9 ] Not long after this, the king sent an Athenian senator to compel the Jews to forsake the laws of their fathers and cease to live by the laws of God,
[ 2Macc 6:2 ] and also to pollute the temple in Jerusalem and call it the temple of Olympian Zeus, and to call the one in Gerizim the temple of Zeus the Friend of Strangers, as did the people who dwelt in that place.
--- The worship of Zeus involved belief in geocentrism and a rigid heaven. The Olympian Zeus was identified with the rigid sky which was needed in geocentrism, to keep the stars in place as they revolved.
[ Daniel 11:31 ] And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the continual, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate.
--- Antiochus suppressed the knowledge of the earth's daily rotation, and set up an image of the Olympian Zeus which the Greeks identified with the rigid sky.
[ Daniel 11:32 ] And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.
--- When the geocentric cosmology was included in the Bible, it was approved and widely accepted. The fraud succeeded, and went undetected for thousands of years, but now it has been exposed by means of the prophecy of Daniel.
There are many elements of the hellenistic Greek cosmology and philosophy scattered throughout the OT. Each reference to a rigid heaven that occurs in the Bible is evidence that Daniel's prophecy was fulfilled.
The Latin word "firmamentum" was sometimes used to refer to "the strong point of an argument"; it would make very little sense for someone to speak of the "expanse" of an argument. And its meaning would not be the same; the idea of strength and support is completely lost.
Only in the last few centuries, since the scientific revolution, has 'firmament' been re-defined as meaning "expanse", which is a very vague term, but then, perhaps that was seen as a plus. I very much doubt that the creation account was at all vague in its original. The text has been corrupted and modified to conform to the cosmology that prevailed in hellenistic times, that featured a rigid revolving heaven.
When the astronomers and scientists found out that there was no solid sky holding the stars fixed in their positions, revolving about the earth, some theologians proposed a new meaning for 'firmament' to suit the new understanding of cosmology. This is quite similar to what hellenized Jews who supported Antiochus IV were doing in the second century BC; they found that the Bible said nothing about the rigid sky, which scholars of that age believed to exist, so they found a way to redefine 'raqiya' to refer to the sky. This involved adding the words "And God called the firmamemt Heaven" in Genesis 1:8 , and numerous other changes to the text. This was the fraud of Antiochus, and it was very successful for thousands of years, but now it has been exposed by means of Daniel's prophecies.
The word 'firmament' implies something firm and solid. We have in English words like "affirm" and "confirm"; the "-firm" in these words suggests strength and solidity and support rather than "expanse" or "space".
Vitruvius, who lived around the first century, presented a summary of the structure of the heavens and of cosmology, in a treatise on architecture. It was written in Latin. What is significant for this discussion is that he did this without ever mentioning the term "firmamentum". I mention this because it indicates the word "firmament" had nothing to do with the sky, or the celestial sphere, in classical Latin. However in later times the word came to be identified with the celestial sphere, mainly because of its use by Jerome in his bible.
The first chapter of Genesis is overloaded with the word "firmament"
and this in itself is strong evidence that something strange has
happened to the text which has come down to us. Look at the syntax of
the story; after the creation events of each of the days, God sees that
what he has made is "very good", with the exception of day 2. Isn't
this an anomaly? Why was the creation of the firmament on day 2 not
declared to be good? Yet in the LXX, the events of day 2 are indeed
declared to be good. So here is a discrepancy which provides some proof
that either something is
missing from the Massoretic Hebrew text, or something has been added to
the Greek. And it concerns events of day 2. It can be explained as
due to an attempt to make an ancient Hebrew manuscript conform to the
Greek version; the declaration of things made on day 2 being very good
was erased in the ancient scroll, to make room for the insertion of the
phrase "and God called the firmament Heaven" which was done to identify
the "raqia" with the solid sky of the hellenistic cosmology. It was a
fulfillment of the prophecy of Daniel.
Isaiah 34:4 And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree.
In Newton's theory of universal gravitation, the stars and all other heavenly objects are subject to the force of gravity. All objects having mass are attracted to every other mass in the universe by mutual gravitational force. Gravity is the explanation for why all things tend to "fall down."
The earth itself falls towards other masses like the sun, moon, planets, and all the other mass of the universe.
Newton's law of gravitation says two particles of mass M1 and M2 will attract one another with a force proportional to M 1 x M2 / R2 where R is the distance separating them. It is a mathematical postulate, and the theory makes no limitations on the magnitude of R or the relative sizes of M1 and M2 .
In Newton's theory the gravitation force holding the moon in its orbit around the earth was compared to the force causing an apple to fall from a branch of the apple tree to the ground. Isaiah's prophecy uses figs rather than apples. It correctly foretold the discovery of universal gravitation and the scientific revolution. Stars and planets and other masses "fall" like the figs that fall from a tree. The stars are not attached to a rigid sky as the Greek philosophers and poets thought.
Isaiah's prophecy, which long preceded Newton, was universal in scope and said everything in heaven, "all their host" falls down, just like figs falling to the ground. Figs fall to the ground because of gravity, the same as apples. The fall of an apple or a fig due to gravity, is very similar to the moon falling towards the earth, and gravity is what maintains the moon in its orbit around the earth. At the same time that the moon "falls" towards the earth, the earth itself "falls" towards the moon. And similarly everything in the universe "falls" towards every other mass, including the earth, according to Newton's theory. Isaiah's prophecy got it right.
The heavens being rolled together as a scroll foretold the end of the notion of the rotating heavenly spheres of the old geocentric cosmology. When a scroll is rolled together, the spindles come to an abrupt stop. Upon the scientific revolution, when the idea of a rigid sky was abandoned, the heavens stopped their supposed revolutions, and the diurnal motion was attributed to the earth instead.
The essential idea in a scroll being rolled together is that the revolutions of the revolving spindle come to an end once the spindles meet. No further rotation is possible. Just as, once men discovered the laws of mechanics as the knowledge of Newton's laws became known, belief in the rigid heavenly spheres was finished, and the perceived motion of the heavens around the earth ended. It is the earth that rotates, not the heavens, and the discovery of that truth was foretold by Isaiah. His prophecy of the heavens being rolled together as a scroll was restated by Jesus, and by John in Revelation. It foretold the end of the old geocentric cosmology.
Copyright © 2001 by Douglas E. Cox
All Rights Reserved.