My son sent me a link to your website. I am going to enjoy looking through it and expect to link to it again!
As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.- Psalm 103:12
The distance “from the east to the west” hardly seems like an impressive analogy to use to illustrate the separation of sins from a sinner, not today. Since we now know we live on a globe where traveling “east” eventually brings you back to where you began, unless of course, the author of this Psalm assumed the flatness of the earth.
Psalmists also drew a parallel between the height of the “clouds” and the wondrous height of their Lord’s “truth”:
For Thy lovingkindness is great to the heavens, And Thy truth to the clouds.- Psalm. 57:10
But, comparing the heights of God’s truth to the heights of the clouds no longer impresses modern man. Today we look down upon the clouds from aircraft and measure “heights” in light-years.
[Can] the heavens above be measured? – Jeremiah 31:37
The phrase, “cannot be measured,” refers in Hebrew to any great height, or number of finite things that no one would dream of measuring or counting one by one: “As the host of heaven cannot be counted, and the sand of the sea cannot be measured, so I will multiply the descendants of David.” (Jer. 33:22) Actually, the “descendants of David” total an incredibly smaller number than the number of known stars in the cosmos, but to the Hebrews both sets of numbers appeared equally “immeasurable.” Compare, Genesis 41:49, “Joseph stored up grain in great abundance like the sand of the sea, until he stopped measuring it, for it was beyond measure.” Such things appeared “immeasurable” to the ancient Hebrews because they could not conceive of ways of measuring them. Two thousand years later we have developed ways of measuring the “height” of clouds, the moon, the sun, and other galaxies. So, today, “measuring the heavens” is somebody’s job.
When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; what is man, that thou are mindful of him?- Psalm 8:3-4
Does this verse demonstrate that the Psalmist was inspired by God to describe how small man appears when compared with the size of the modern cosmos? Hardly. No “inspiration” was necessary. The “heavens” referred to the clouds, and to the sun, moon and stars that the psalmist believed did not lie far above the clouds, along with the angelic heavenly realm lying not far above the sun, moon and stars. Any similarities between this ancient verse and modern day cosmic angst is merely relative. No doubt the cosmos must have felt intangibly huge to the ancients, regardless of their belief that the earth beneath their feet was the flat firm foundation of creation. In fact it may be that their cosmos felt more intangibly huge to them than our cosmos does to us because we can fly round the world, above the clouds, gaze at photos of outer space, and open a book on astronomy and read the distances to stars and galaxies set down for us in tangible numerical form.
Of course, knowing what he know today about the heights of the heavens, we are not likely to make the same poetic analogies as the ancients, like comparing the Lord’s “truth” to the “height of the clouds,” which sounds less grand than it did to the ancients. Neither do we believe, along with the ancients (including the ancient Hebrews), that climbing a mountain or a tower brings us literally nearer to God.
For my online article THE HOLY HEAVENS OF THE HEBREWS for more info
It’s important to note that h=d here.
And put the two together and you get a cross :-)
But East and West are directions and the distance they are apart is measured as an angle, not a length. As such they are literally as far apart as it is possible to be. If our transgressions have been removed from us by 180 degrees, then we have repented.
I think. But since his thoughts and ways are h above our thoughts and ways, I can’t be quite sure…
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