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By Tyson Thorne

October 4, 2018
 

NoG Bashamayim large

The ancient Hebrews had an interesting worldview, one not too far from the truth. Above the Earth is the sky, the first "heaven", and then a firmament (what we today call the ozone layer) coupled with a water layer (that no longer exists as it was depleted as a part of Noah's flood). Above this was what is commonly thought of as the "heavens", what we call outer space and they called "second heaven". Higher even than this is "Heaven", where God resides and from which he rules. It is this third heaven that is view when one invokes the name Elohim Bashamayim (God in Heaven).

Why is this important? There are a number of possible reasons, but the one I find most intriguing is that Jesus thought it was important. Notice that when teaching the disciples how to pray he begins with the phrase, "Our Father in heaven" (Abba Bashamayim). Why does Jesus start with this declaration? For two reasons. The first is so that we know whom to pray to. We are not to pray to angels or saints, but to God alone. The second, and most germane to our study, is to teach us that the God in Heaven is supreme above all other Gods. This title shows his absolute authority and rule. This is something not only understood by the ancient Hebrews, but also by their enemies.

Now before the spies went to sleep, Rahab went up to the roof. She said to the men, “I know the Lord is handing this land over to you. We are absolutely terrified of you, and all who live in the land are cringing before you. For we heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you left Egypt and how you annihilated the two Amorite kings, Sihon and Og, on the other side of the Jordan. When we heard the news we lost our courage and no one could even breathe for fear of you. For the Lord your God is Elohim Bashamayim [God in Heaven] and on earth below!" — Joshua 2.11

Elohim Bashamayim is more than a name, it is also a title of power and authority. It is a name that reminds us the God we worship and serve is the only God worthy of our affections, our attentions, our time and our money.

 
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