In the previous post I claimed the ‘4th jigsaw piece’ of applying the ‘revisionist’ prophetic word on scripture harmonises not only with its foundational verses of Genesis 1:3 and John 1 but also with the scientific understanding of time and space!
I suggested readers may like to check that out for themselves in Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of New Testament Greek words, and note different meanings, for ‘world’ – especially in Hebrews 1:2. In this post I’ll reveal my surprising discoveries…
What do you understand by ‘World’. Isn’t it usually synonymous with ‘globe’ or ‘the earth’?
My life-long interest in astronomy and science makes me think also of the solar system planetary and hypothetical interstellar worlds. Other valid concepts can be one’s personal ‘world’ of thoughts, emotions and activities; or of social, cultural interests eg. the world of fashion.
Previously, I told what happened after mulling over Jesus Christ’s role in Creation and commenting upon my re-blog of a physicist’s article about dark matter and energy. I was prompted to reach for my spade and start digging into the New King James’ and New International versions of verse 3 in the Book of Hebrews’ opening chapter. What I didn’t tell was the stunning gem shining from the central column of my Study Bible right at the start of that chapter.
That prize find opened up a whole new world!
Courtesy of Thomas Nelson Bibles the NKJV Hebrews 1:1-2 subhead and text reads:
God’s Supreme Revelation
1 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;
My Study Bible has two notes for this: ‘at various times’, ‘or in many portions; ‘worlds’ or ages; Grk aiones, aeons’. The second also applies to ‘worlds’ in Hebrews 11:3, viz:
3 By faith we understand the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made from things which are visible.
The note against ‘framed’ reads: ‘Grk ‘katartizo’ to arrange, set in order, adjust, complete what is lacking, make fully ready, repair, prepare’.
Clearly, any reader would easily understand that the Almighty made the planets and starry worlds – but ‘aeon’ isn’t the same. It means ‘Time’. SO just what did it mean to Jesus’ first disciples, those who’d personally witnessed and recorded revelations from and about the One who existed in God before time began? (The creative declaration of His personal power in creating the universe is considered in this post.)
NOW, the Oxford English Dictionary has two definitions for ‘Aeon’ (US. Eon), viz: ‘a very long period of time’ and ‘a major division of time in geology, subdivided into eras’.
Before we dig into that, here’s the Greek Interlinear Bible’s Hebrew 1:2
Copied from the Textus Receptus, it literally reads: ‘On last-ones of-the days these talks (speaks) to-us in son whom He-places (he appoints) tenant (enjoyer of the allotment) of-all through whom and (also) the eons He-makes.’
Strongs’ has the following for ‘worlds’ as it appears throughout the New Testament, as listed numerically according to the Greek alphabet, parts of which I’ve emphasised:
- 165 – ‘aeon’ from same root 104 ‘aei’ [duration, ‘ever’…regularly…always]: property of an age..perpetuity. By impl the world; spec (Jewish) a Messianic period – age, course, eternal, (for) ever (~more), (beginning of the) world (began, without end) cf 5550 ‘kronos’ – a space of time, thus distinguised from ‘kairos’, an occasion, set or proper time, season, time.
- 2889 – ‘kosmos’: orderly arrangement, by implication the world in a wide or narrow sense, including its inhabitants lit or fig.
- 3625 – ‘oikoumene’: land (the terrene part of the globe); spec Roman empire – earth world.
- 1093 – ghay: a region or solid part of the whole terrene globe (incl occupants), country, land, world.
Thus, the original documents of the New Testament display a clear difference of definition between periods of time and areas of the earth – going even beyond ‘time and space’ to an organised ‘system’, which implies inherent intelligence, either of internal or external nature and of divine rather than human design.
We know from history that the ancient Greek philosophers had made definite distinctions between material and immaterial aspects of our existence – space and time! And it is not so surprisingly made by writers of the NT – YET Christendom may have missed much in translating the Word of God!
Now you need to know, in blogging a month ago On Pivotal Prophecies Now Coming Into Play, of which one was my Exploding Bible of 2011, I’d checked the literal NT text of the wheat and tares parable in Matthew 13 and was amazed at one word in verse 38 (Jesus’ explanation “The field is the world…”), which reads:
‘World’ appears twice in English, but the ORIGINAL HAS TWO DIFFERENT WORDS! These are ‘kosmos’ and ‘aionos’ – huh!! The literal rendition of vv 38 and 39 reads:
‘The yet field is the SYSTEM (world) the yet ideal seed these are the sons of-the kingdom the yet bearded-darnels are the sons of the wicked-one the yet enemy the-one sowing them is the thru-caster (adversary) the yet harvest together-finish of the eon is the yet reapers messengers are.’
There’s a clear allusion to the future and processes/action (‘yet’) and a deliberate, strong use by the Lord Jesus Himself of a distinction between time and space. Surely He must have known what He was talking about, especially in view of His role in Creation! (See next post’s PS.)
Also, check the occurrences of ‘time’ (aeon), ‘space’ (oikoumene) and ‘system’ (kosmos) in the NT and you’ll find only a few refer to actual land or space, whereas the majority refer to ‘system’, with ‘time’ as second most frequent. In the OT there are far fewer uses of the variants of Hebrew ‘world’, practically all of which mean the physical land and half a dozen refer to portions or perpetuity of time.
If you’re still with me, enlarge this copy of my Strongs’ in which I had fun colour-coding the scripture references (‘time’ in orange, ‘space’ in green and ‘system’ in yellow).
In our appreciation of holy scripture we should seriously consider the possibility of Jesus having given his disciples deep insights into the nature of the realms of time and matter, especially in view of their acknowledging His Lordship over and role in Creation.
Click for brief PS >>
[Hands Holding World by Twobee, courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net]