I was invited to speak in DeRidder, LA a couple years ago. I have posted the video below, it will represent a sort of summary about what I am sharing here
I decided to thumb through a couple of books that I have regarding, “Heaven” or in the “Ancient Near East” motif, “Cosmic Mountain” The ancient world would have understood the cosmic mountain as AXIS MUNDI and the omphalos. The base of the mountain, the center and the peak (The peak would have been called “Heaven” [In the language of the day] or meeting place of the gods)
The Acropolis in Athens also reflected the cosmic mountain theme. One could see the Temple structures, atop the mountain from just about anywhere in Athens. The temples of Israel were of the same ilk. Note: when visiting Athens last August. I clearly saw the mythology that all of the biblical text would have associated their existence to, culturally. The sciences and technology of our world would have been beyond their scope of reality!
In the Israelite motif the peak would have signified the place of HIS presence. Hence, Moses atop the mountain or the transfiguration, or the Abraham, Isaac story as well as Noah landing on Ararat. They are both symbolic and actual events with hyperbole (Exaggerated) writing style common in ancient Mesopotamia. Additionally, the tree was the connecting instrument in the eyes of the ancient people…Hence Jesus or Yeshua nailed to a tree as a figuratively symbolic, or Jacobs’s ladder.
Temples or places of government, worship, and communal activity were commonly located atop high mountains thus emulating what they would have understood to be the canopy or heaven. All were located within the earth and understood to be the place of the gods.
This was true of ancient Israel as well. The temples also would have been considered divine not just in ancient Israel but throughout the known world at the time. The Egyptian Pyramid as well as those in South America, especially Peru (The oldest known civilization in the Americas) All would have been considered the place where their particular god instructed the people.
Victor Hurowitz a Jewish Scholar of blessed memory as well as Professor L. Michael Morales have done brilliant work of the subject of Cosmic Mountain and Temples in the Ancient Near East. My personal thought on the subject matter is that we are living in the Kingdom which is under construction.
Consider the following video CLICK HERE [I cling to the idea that GOD did not put us into a dump. Creation all around us declares the brilliance of what was provided for mankind to dwell in and to build from.]
Source: I HAVE BUILT YOU AN EXHAULTED HOUSE (V. HUROWITZ)
THE TABERNACLE PRE-FIGURED (L. MICHAEL MORALES)
I will posit (and agree) that our western concepts and understanding of the place called HEAVEN is sorely misunderstood and foundationally disconnected from the historical reality the biblical writers would have supported.
I have been thinking about this for a few days, thought to share this post. Moreover, I consider the place of GOD’s presence in the earth to be outside of time. I base this on the two cherubim who were placed at the entrance of the Garden (Temple) in Eden but also in that I believe our very existence is based on HIS presence. Professor John Walton offers the first day and the first night was the creation of time…….The sun and the moon came a bit later (Genesis 1:14)
https://youtu.be/07beH-DsEHA DeRidder (I think this conversation lasted for about 3 hours after the camera was turned off.) This was a memorable time down in DeRidder
I continue to learn a lot from reading scholaly publications produced from brilliant scholars who have studied the historical record as opposed to the seminary dogma. Furthermore, I credit Dinah Dye for opening this door.