WFT- empyreal

29 August 2009

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for August 25th was empyreal (em-pye-REE-ul).

1 : of or relating to the firmament : celestial 2 : sublime

They provided this additional insight into the word's origins:

"Empyreal" can be traced back to the Greek word for "fiery," "empyros," which was formed from the prefix "em-" ("in," "within," or "inside") and "-pyros," from "pyr," the Greek word for "fire." When "empyreal" entered the English language — via the Late Latin "empyreus" or "empyrius" — in the 15th century, it specifically referred to things related to the empyrean, the highest heaven or outermost heavenly sphere of ancient and medieval cosmology, which was often thought to contain or be composed of the element of fire. In the works of Christian writers — such as Dante's Divine Comedy and John Milton's Paradise Lost — this outermost heavenly sphere was associated with the Christian paradise. "Empyreal" is now also used more broadly in the senses of "celestial" and "sublime."

For what it's worth: sublime means "characterized by nobility; majestic" or "not be excelled; supreme".

The stars and other empyreal bodies were made by G-d on the fourth day of creation for a specific purpose:

Genesis 1:14-15

Then God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years;  and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth"; and it was so.

The Hebrew word for "signs" is ot (it rhymes with boat).  The rainbow given after the Flood of Noah was described as the sign (ot) of the covenant between G-d and man and every living creature that was with Noah (Genesis 9:12-13, 17).  Circumcision was given as the sign (ot) of the covenant between G-d and Abraham (Genesis 17:11).  The Sabbath was given as a sign (ot) of the covenant between G-d and Isra'el (Exodus 31:13).

The Hebrew word for "seasons" is moedim (singular- moed).   This is not the "spring, summer, fall, winter" kind of season.  Instead the word moedim literally means "appointed times".  G-d outlines His appointed times in Leviticus 23.  They include the spring-time events (Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, and Shavuot/Pentecost).  These events picture the first coming of Messiah:  He is our Passover Lamb (1 Cor 5:7).  He is the Unleavened Bread (John 6:41).  He is the Firstfruits of those who are resurrected (1 Cor 15:20), and the Holy Spirit was given on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4).

The fall events (Feast of Trumpets/Judgment Day, Day of Atonement, and the Festival of Sukkot [Tabernacles]) picture Messiah's second coming.  He will return with the sound of the last trumpet (1 Cor 15:52).  All mankind will stand before Him in judgment (Acts 17:31, Rom 2:16, Rom 14:10, Rev 14:7).  Messiah will rebuild the "fallen tabernacle of David" (Acts 15:16) and He will dwell among His people (Rev 21:3).

The sun, the moon, and the stars are made to reveal these appointed times to all mankind.

Oh, Lord, may You hasten the day of Your return that You might dwell richly among us and teach us Your ways!  We look to the heavens for the signs and seasons that you have proclaimed and will fulfill.

Last modified on 07 January 2017

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