2.6.4   THE THIRD HEAVEN (SHEHAQIM)

If the Second Heaven is the realm of demons, then the Third Heaven is the realm of man. It is here that the children of clay come once their material existence has ended. Though all the souls of Earth reside hear, many children of fire also call it home.

The Third heaven is split into two distinct sections. In the southern section (this use of direction reflects an abstract rather than literal connotation) is the great garden known as Eden. While in the north we find the much dreaded Tartarus.

The garden is a wondrous place with out earthly comparison. This utopia is meant as reward for those souls who have diligently striven to follow the goodness of the Almighty. Here they spend eternity relaxing in the shade of sweet smelling trees, enjoying all manner of fruit the garden has to offer. Two rivers run through Eden. One flows with milk and honey, while the other flows with oil and wine. At the gates of Eden, two Cherubim with their whirling blades of fire stand guard, making sure only the righteous gain entrance.

Tartarus is a far cry from this serene scene. Its topography is devoid of beauty or life. Giant volcanoes jut into the sky, spewing forth great tongues of lava, and hurling clouds of odorous fumes into the air. A river of fire travels down from the mountains, passing through a barren wasteland of snow and ice.

It is here that the sinners are punished. The angels of torment mead out the appropriate penalty for the crimes. The air is thick with the cries of the tortured, repenting in vane for lives mislead. Few children of fire visit this region. Only the angels of torment seem to have the stomach for such suffering.


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