There are four Hebrew words thus rendered in the Old Testament which we may briefly notice.
- Raki’a, Authorized Version, firmament
- Shamayim — This is the word used in the expression “the heaven and the earth,” or “the upper and lower regions” (Genesis 1:1).
- Marom, used for heaven in Psalms 18:16; Isaiah 24:18; and Jeremiah 25:30. Properly speaking it means a mountain, as in Psalms 102:19 and Ezekiel 17:23.
- Shechakim, “expanses,” with reference to the extent of heaven (Deuteronomy 33:26; Job 35:5). Paul’s expression “third heaven” (2 Corinthians 12:2) had led to much conjecture. Grotius said that the Jews divided the heaven into three parts, viz.,
- The air or atmosphere, where clouds gather
- The firmament, in which the sun, moon and stars are fixed
- The upper heaven, the abode of God and his angels, the invisible realm of holiness and happiness the home of the children of God