Sep 16

THE WORLD AND THE EARTH (5)

Studying the two words: 1) world and 2) earth; it is necessary to call attention to verses that reveal how the word “world” is used. Many times, we just read the word, without thinking, how the word “world” is used in the verse. One of the reasons is very simple; in that we are giving the word, “world,” a meaning without much thought! We read the word “world” and think “earth” in an almost automatic manner!
In this fifth article about, “The world and the earth,” attention is called to a verse, that is so well known, it is called “the golden text of the Bible.” Yet, even without any thought the word “world” is read and the meaning is so clear, no one calls attention to it. Of course, the verse reads: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). So, the “world” that God so loved, “that he gave his only begotten Son,” is not the “earth,” neither is it “the things in the world.” God, of course, did not love the things on the earth; neither did he love the physical earth; no, God loved the souls of the inhabitants of the earth. The “world” of this verse can “believe,” and escape perishing and have “everlasting life.” Just to add a little understanding here, the “earth” is appointed for, as Peter wrote: “…the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (2 Pet. 3:10). There is nothing that can be done, to save the “earth” and “the works that are therein!” But, God has provided the means of saving the people of the earth!
So, you are saying, “I know all this, so why are you writing so much on this subject?” With this in mind, notice the next verse of John three: “For God sent not his Son into the world (kosmos) to condemn the world (kosmos); but that the world (kosmos) through him might be saved” (verse 17). Three times the word “world” appears is this verse and each time it is the Greek “kosmos.” Is the word “kosmos” used in the same manner each time or could it be used differently? Let us just paraphrase the verse: “For God sent not his Son among the inhabitants of the earth to condemn them; but that all the inhabitants through the Son might be saved.” This goes “hand in hand” with the commission Jesus gave the apostles: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:15-16). Here one verse sheds light upon another verse, in that it means, God would use because of this love, to save the world, the inhabitants, is the gospel! Let it be clear, the blood of Jesus is in the gospel!! Therefore, Paul wrote: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Rom. 1:16); but the apostle did not stop here, as he also wrote of the appearing of Christ: “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thess. 1:8).
Looking a little more at the Greek word “kosmos,” Strong gives this: “kósmos” (literally, “something ordered”) – properly, an “ordered system” (like the universe, creation); the world.” Please notice the words, “ordered system.” Strong then says, “(like the universe, creation).” It never occurs to some people that Judaism was an “ordered system!” Despite this, many folks never look beyond the creation and the universe! Before continuing, Strong says the Greek word “kosmos” appears about 187 times in the New Testament. Look at the words of the apostle John: “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world (kosmos) and this is the victory that overcometh the world (kosmos), even our faith” (1 John 5:4). Put your thinking “cap” on and answer the question: “How does John use the word “kosmos?” Is John referring to the earth, when he ,” writes: “overcometh the world,” the earth? Is John referring to the inhabitants of the earth, when he writes: “this is the victory that overcometh the world,” the people of the earth? Or, is John referring to the things of the world,” when he wrote: “this is the victory that overcometh the world, the things of this world? Of course, the victory comes by means of “our faith!” In order to help you, in trying to answer these questions; read John: “Love not the world (kosmos), neither the things that are in the world (kosmos). If any man love the world (kosmos), the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15). In John’s uses of the Greek “kosmos,” one thing is very clear, if one loves it, “the love of the Father is not in him.” However, this might be called “punting the ball,” in modern terms. Therefore, I will not do it! The word “neither” needs to be noticed here, Strong says it is “a continued negation,” of “if any man love the world.” It should be noted, that John also wrote: “For God so loved the world,” (John 3:16). Is God “allowed” to love what we are not? In a word, “No!’ It appears to this humble writer, that the “world,” we are not to “love,” that the second use of the word “world,” is but a continuation of the first! F. F. Bruce noted the difference thus: “It is the world-system organized in rebellion against God which is in view…” Bruce also wrote showing the difference between two types of “love,“ as he wrote: “it is self-sacrificing love; (John 3:16, frw) here it is acquisitive love” (1 John 2:15, frw).” Let me put it this way: 1) one is the greatest love ever shown to mankind, while 2) is to love less and less, until there is no love at all.
This has turned into a “many” article series, but personally, I believe it is good to look at the verses which have been covered and will be covered.

Frank R. Williams

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Sep 09

THE WORLD AND THE EARTH (4)

In an earlier article, it was pointed out that at times, the words “world” and “earth,” shed light on each other. This may appear at first reading as a most unlikely thing to occur! Nevertheless, it is true and in this article, it will be shown where this is the case. Keep in mind as we approach the subject, that God never does the unnecessary and does not use more than is needed to complete the task! With these two thoughts before us, let see how the words “world” and “earth” shed light upon each other.
We have all read the apostolic commission more times than we can recall; however, more than likely most people have missed the point that is to be made here. As Mark states the commission, he wrote: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). First, just notice that the word “earth” is not in the text. The Greek word Mark used is, “kosmos,” which means: “the inhabitants of the earth, men, the human family.” Yes, the word “kosmos” has other meanings, but in using this one, the text will become very clear. Nevertheless, for the sake of honesty, here is all that Strong gives: “Probably from the base of G2865; orderly arrangement, that is, decoration; by implication the world (in a wide or narrow sense, including its inhabitants, literally or figuratively [morally]): – adorning, world.” This will allow you to put any or all of these into the text; so, you can see for yourself, what might be the best meaning of the Greek word as used by Mark. It is helpful to notice that Paul used the same Greek words, when he wrote: “… the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; …” (Col. 1:23). The Greek words, translated, “every creature” is the Greek: “pas ktisis,” in Colossians and is the same Greek words used by Mark: “pas (every) ktisis (creature).” You do not need, as the old saying goes, “you don’t have to be a rocket scientist” to see what is the best meaning of the word “world,” the Greek “kosmos” in the apostolic commission! However, this has not answered the question, “How does the word “world,” having the meaning: “the inhabitants of the earth,” shed light on the word “earth?”
Therefore, let us get to the task! Let us here recall that God does not do the unnecessary; as he is perfectly frugal, in that God does not waste time, energy, or material. Luke in writing “The Acts of the Apostles,” covers the apostolic commission in these words: “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8). We are here interested in the words, “unto the uttermost part of the earth!” The Greek word for “earth” is, “gē,” and means: “1) arable land 2) the ground, the earth as a standing place …” The word “ge” is used in the same manner as Peter used it, when he wrote of the “willingly” “ignorant” of the first century; when he wrote: “the earth (gē) standing out of the water and in the water: (6) Whereby the world (kosmos) that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: (7) the heavens and the earth (gē), which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved …” (2 Pet. 3:5-7). Therefore, it is easy to conclude that Jesus used, as written by Luke, the word “earth” to mean the same as did Peter. Just for your information, the meaning of the word “ge” is “arable land,” which means, “fit for;” thus, the earth is “fit for” the intended end: “reserved unto fire!” Now, let us conclude this part of the article by simply pointing out, that Mark has Jesus addressing “the inhabitants of the earth,” in his use of the word “kosmos,” while Luke in Acts has Jesus pointing to the “earth” (ge).
Question, did Jesus mean for the apostles to go to the North Pole and preach the gospel, when he said: “unto the uttermost part of the earth”? In my research, I found this interesting statement: “No-one and nothing (animals or plants) lives on the North Pole.” Excluding scientists, the population is 0! And in the time of Jesus, there were no scientists at the North Pole! Virtually all of Antarctica (5,400,00 sq. miles, 98% covered with ice) is uninhabitable, and much of Australia is still uninhabited. So, the question, knowing the nature of God, would Jesus send the apostles into such uninhabitable places, even though they are part of the earth? No! Therefore, the word “earth” (ge) in Acts 1:8 is limited by the word “world” (kosmos, the inhabitants) of Mark 16:15.
You knew this all along, but may never have stated it. You fully understood that God, through Christ, would never be so wasteful, by having the gospel preached where no humans were present to hear it. Here is another point, the time for the apostles to fulfill their commission, was time limited! Yes, it was time limited! As the apostles were not going to live on this earth forever! Therefore, the “world” sheds light upon the word “earth!”
On another note, Paul has, by the Holy Spirit, declared that the commission had been fulfill when he wrote.

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Sep 02

THE WORLD AND THE EARTH (3)

Have you ever read, or seen an article written on the subject: “The World and the Earth,” before the ones you are now reading? To the best of my memory, I have not! Just because few, if any, have written on this subject, does not in itself, make it necessary that articles be written; however, the reason these articles are written is because we have a tenuously to read the words “world” as “earth” as meaning the same thing. This produces a mis-understanding in the mind and more than likely a failure to understand the text.
There are any number of texts, wherein the two words would give a different understanding (meaning) of the text, had the writer used the word “world” and not the word “earth.” Let us look at one such text, just here. On the day of Pentecost, after the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus, Peter quoted the words of Joel: “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: (18) And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: (19) And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: (20) The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: (21) And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:17-21, Joel 2:28-32). This text has been mis-understood by many, for many years and no doubt such will continue; however, it is not our purpose here to bring out the meaning of Joel’s words as quoted by Peter. Our purpose is to notice the word “earth” in verse 19: “And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke.” Question, where were the “signs” to take place? Peter said, they were to be “in the earth.” The Greek word he used is “ge” and it means: “1) arable land 2) the ground, the earth as a standing place 3) the main land as opposed to the sea or water 4) the earth as a whole 4a) the earth as opposed to the heavens 4b) the inhabited earth, the abode of men and animals 5) a country, land enclosed within fixed boundaries, a tract of land, territory, region” (Strong). This is all that Strong gives and it is thought necessary to give the full meaning; so, the reader will be able to see it all. Now, notice the first meaning: “arable land.” The word “arable” means: “fit for or used for the growing of crop arable land.” (Merriam-Webster). So, the “land,” the “earth,” at the time these “signs” would take place was a “fit” land unto the purpose of the “signs!” Therefore, it would appear, that the “earth” was not always “arable” land! But, starting here without trying to prove, that the “land,” the “earth” was fit for all the “signs” leading up to and during the A.D. 70 destruction of Judea (Jerusalem) and that the “land,” the “earth” was properly prepared for the events that fall into the figurative language: “signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke: (20) The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come” (verse 19-20). Please notice here, that the prophecy of Joel used the word “before,” “before that great and notable (Joel, “terrible”) day of the Lord come;” therefore, the “signs” would start “before that great and notable day of the Lord came,” referring to the destruction of Jerusalem! Though these words are directed at the ‘earth,” and not the “world,” the inhabitants of the land of Judea, nevertheless, the people would suffer severely!! Therefore, Joel and Peter are pointing in the direction of the utter physical destruction of the “land!” Jesus will help us get the picture of what (things on the land) Joel said in referring to the event: “There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down” (Jesus is pointing to the temple area, Matt. 24:2).
On the other hand, Jesus in Matthew twenty-four, pointed to the personal, physical, suffering! He said: “For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. (8) All these are the beginning of sorrows. (9) Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. (10) And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another (Matt. 24:7-10). It was not a pretty sight, but one of utter personal suffering and destruction!
Now, let us be honest! Have you ever noticed the fact that Joel’s prophecy used the word “earth” and not the word “world,” in the text? More than likely, you have never paid any attention to the little word “earth,” in this text! It can make a real difference in our being able to understand the text!

–Frank R. Williams

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Aug 26

THE WORLD AND THE EARTH (2)

The world, the world, and the world. This is where we stopped in the last article on the subject: “The World and The Earth.” The words come from “The Gospel According to John,” when he wrote of Jesus: “He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not” (John 1:10). Each time the word “world” is used, it is the Greek “kosmos.” The general rule is, that if a writer uses the same word, in the same context, it will have the same meaning. However, there are exceptions to the general rule. Long ago, I remember my English teacher telling the class, the rules about the English language as it is written. Then, after a long list of rules, she said, “except!” My question was, “How do I know when the exception is used and how am I to know when not to use the exception?” It was here that English became a mystery and those who read my writings, will testify that it is still a mystery to me!
So, what about John’s use of the same word, “world,” three times in the verse addressing Jesus. How was Jesus: 1) “in the world;” 2) then the “world was made by him;” and 3) “the world knew him not.” Let us first recall, the word “world” is not the same as the word “earth!” In the days of Noah, the “world” was destroyed save eight souls, and the “earth” was forever changed; as Peter wrote: “Whereby the world (kosmos) that then was, being overflowed with water, perished” (2 Pet. 3:6); therefore, we know that the word “world” (kosmos) can and does refer to the inhabitants of the earth, while not referring to the “earth.” However, this does not answer our question: “How is the word “world” used in John 1:10 but it sure does help! If we understand the words, Jesus “was in the world,” to mean that Jesus lived and died among the inhabitants of the Jewish nation, then, we have made a major step in the right direction! Keep in mind, John is writing in the past tense, after the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus! Therefore, Jesus “was,” at one time “in the world.”
Now, this moves us to the second phrase: ““world was made by him;” here attention is called once more the past tense of the word “was.” Keep in mind, the “world” is not the same as the “earth;” therefore, the words do not refer to the opening statement of the Genesis: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). The word “God” as used here is referring to the “Godhead,” which includes: God the Father, God the Son (Word) and God the Holy Spirit. It appears that many commentaries have varying opinions on this verse; thus, there are verging degrees of understanding and some miss the real meaning all together! It would be worth our time to note some of the views of the different commentaries, but space and time will not allow us to do so. If we are going to follow the general rule about the use of the same word in a text, that it is used in the same way; then, by the words: “the world was made by him (Jesus),” John is saying that Jesus “made” the Jewish nation, “world.” The words, “was made,” is the Greek “ginomai” and means: “to come into existence.” It was God who created the Jewish nation by calling them out of Egypt, baptizing them in the Red Sea (1 Cor. 10:1-2), and giving them the law of Moses; thus, they became a “world,” the Jewish nation. Remember, of course, that the home land was just waiting for them to take. Thus, the second member of the “God” includes the God the Word” of John 1:1-2; 14). Therefore, the words, “the world was made by him,” more than likely means the Jewish world as in the first case: Jesus” was “in the world.” He was in the same “world” he “made.”
The third phrase, “the world knew him not,” is used in the same way as the first two phrases: “the Jewish world.” The Greek word, “ginōskō,” our English word “knew,” refers to a very intimate, essential; innermost, relationship. The Jews were very aware of the person named Jesus, they knew his “hometown,” they knew of his father, and his mother, but they still “knew him not! They did not “know” him as the “Word,” which “was made flesh, and dwelt among” them (John 1:14), they did not “know” him as the “Son of God;” they knew him only as Jesus who came from Nazareth. Therefore, they crucified him!
It does appear to this writer that the “world” in John 1:10 is used the same way in all three phrases! Finally, verse 11: “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” The words, “his own,” once more refers to the Jewish nation. And it appears the word “world” has no reference to the word “earth” in verse ten.

Frank R. Williams

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Aug 19

THE WORLD AND THE EARTH (1)

In the articles written under the heading, “Studying the word of God,’’ we looked at the words “world” and “earth.” However, it was like an introduction to the two words. If these words are not understood, using the correct meaning, we can come away from the teaching wherein one of them is used, having reached a false conclusion. Then, there is the fact, that more than one Greek word is translated into our English word “world.” Therefore, more study is called for!
First, we need to see all the Greek words translated world! Then, of course, we must not overlook the word “earth.” It may surprise you to learn that these two words shed light on each other. Keep this thought in mind! So, what are the Greek words which are translated into our English world? First, there is the Greek “kosmos”, which appears about 151 times in the New Testament. This Greek word was looked at in the earlier articles, entitled “A Study of Word of God.” But, it is necessary to refresh our minds as to what it means. Many people, and some preachers, sadly to say, have never taken the time to study long enough to learn the meaning of the word “kosmos!” People have heard it used in Carl Sagan’s T.V. production, though he spelled it “Cosmos.” Strong gives this: “kósmos (literally, “something ordered”) – properly, an “ordered system” (like the universe, creation); the world.” We love to see the order of the universe, each planet in its own orbit. The sun giving us light in the day and the moon taking over at night, then there are those numberless stars! Moses wrote of them: “And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also” (Gen. 1:16). The universe is an “ordered system;” thus, the word “kosmos” is used. Sagan had much wrong, but God has it right! It is correct to say, “The ordered system” when referring to the universe:” the kosmos!
Second, the word “kosmos” is used to refer to the people on the earth: “the inhabitants of the earth!” Thus, the human family! While at other times, it is used to refer to only part of the human family. The devil offered Jesus “all the kingdoms of the world” (Matt. 4:8). Here the inhabitants of the earth were divided into many kingdoms! Thus, the word “kosmos” may be used to refer to all the inhabitants of the earth, or part of the inhabitants as in different kingdoms. Here is one for thought, a verse you may have read many times; but what was in your mind as you read it? Jesus said: “That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world (kosmos)” (Matt. 13:35). Now, be honest when you answer the question: You were thinking “earth” when you read the word “world.” Your mind went back to creation; you had Jesus speaking about things “kept secret from the foundation of the earth;” in other words, your thinking went right into heaven, to the mind of God, of things not made known until the coming of Jesus! The words “foundation of the kosmos,” in the mind of so many, refer to the opening statement of the Bible: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). But Jesus was addressing the Jewish world; an ordered system. All the prophecies written before the establishment of the Jewish nation at Mount Sinai fall under Jesus’ words, “from the foundation of the world!”

Third, here is a verse that has the Greek “kosmos” in it three times! The apostle John wrote of Jesus: “He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not” (John 1:10). Each time the word “world” appears, it is the Greek “kosmos!” Notice how the word is used: 1) “Jesus was IN the kosmos,” 2) “and the kosmos was MADE by him,” and 3) “and the kosmos KNEW HIM NOT.” First, Jesus was not addressing the “earth,” but the “kosmos!” Is the word “kosmos” use the same way all three times in this verse? Just what “kosmos” had Jesus “MADE?” The easier answer is in his use of the “kosmos” which “knew him not.” Clearly this refers to the Jewish “kosmos”: the Jewish nation!
Well, it is easy to see that more study must be done of the word “kosmos” and its use! Then, there is the Greek word, “aiōn,” which is translated “world” in Matthew 28:20.

rank R. Williams

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Aug 12

STUDYING THE WORD OF GOD (4)

Do you desire to be a “workman that needeth not to be ashamed” unto God? What child of God would not so desire? Of course, what faithful child of God would not desire to study the word of God? These thoughts come from 2 Timothy, chapter two, verse fifteen. Thais is where the apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, and the verse reads: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” The American Standard has the words: “Give diligence;” where the King James Verse has “study.” It would be impossible to truly “give diligence” without studying the word of God!
In this fourth article on the subject: “studying the word of God,” we shall once more look at the words of Peter. However, having noticed a few truths in 2 Peter 3:3 – 7, it is necessary, to get the context, that we recall verse seven: “but the heavens that now are, and the earth, by the same word have been stored up for fire, being reserved against the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.” First, notice that Peter is writing about the “heavens” and the “earth” that were present in his time and our time. He wrote that they: 1) “by the same word have been stored up for fire;” and 2) they are “being reserved against the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.” Answer this question: “What are the heavens and the earth waiting on? They are, even at this present time, waiting, as they are now in a state of being “reserved!” The Greek word is “tēreō” and means: “to reserve: to undergo something!” Peter is pointing to a time of change: “reserved, waiting to undergo something.” Just what are the “heavens and the earth” waiting to undergo? Peter wrote: “against the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men!” Here, notice the word Peter used, “against,” which is the Greek, “eis,” which means: “towards.” So, the heavens and the earth are “reserved,” as they look “forward,” to undergo something! Just what is this something? Let Peter, by the Holy Spirit, answer our question. He wrote: “the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.” However, Peter calls on us to be aware of a great truth: “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (verse 8). In other words, don’t be like those who are “scoffers,” who are “willingly ignorant” as we wait! Let us do our waiting with knowledge we have gained through “studying the word of God!”
Here your attention is called to Peter’s words in verse 9: “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; …” As we live, it is so important that we see things, not from our point of view, but God’s!” As we look at our “world,” we see evil on every side, yet, more than likely today is not as bad as it was in Peter’s time. The Roman “world” was known for its evil! Then, we know for sure our “world” is not as evil as it was in the time of Noah! Here is another thought, read with thought Peter’s next words: “but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” In every day, that passes and the Lord has not come; we should see the love of God, as he is waiting for one more lost soul to “come to repentance!” Here is a question: Do we see one more day as God sees one more day: “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance?”
Peter now turns his attention, to what this should mean to us; he wrote: 1) “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness;” and 2) “Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?” The keys words are: “what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness.”
So, unlike what took place in the days of Noah; wherein the people, the “kosmos,” “perished;” Peter is telling us “the heavens” and “the earth,” which are now, will be no more; therefore, Peter questioned: “what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness.” This is one of the most important questions that we can put our minds on; and answer it! Therefore, in conclusion, the same question comes to each of us! How do you answer?

Frank R. Williams

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Aug 05

STUDYING THE WORD OF GOD (3)

The word “world” and understanding how it is used in the New Testament is most important, as one is “Studying the word of God!” Does it refer to the earth, people, or a limited period of time? Of course, in answering these questions, in our efforts to understand the New Testament, it is necessary to start with the Greek word used by the inspired writers!
The apostle Peter will help us in our study. First, it is critical in any effort to understand a text, that we know who is being written about. Peter answers this question in these words: “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts” (2 Pet. 3:3). Therefore, as we continue to read what the apostle wrote, we must understand he is addressing “scoffers.” The Greek word “scoffers” is the “empaiktēs” and Strong gives this: “a derider, that is, (by implication) a false teacher: – mocker, scoffer.” Strong also pointed out, that the word comes from: “empaizō.” This helps us, as this Greek word means: “to jeer at, that is, deride: – mock.” The words these jeering mockers said, should never be used as truth! They did not know the truth! Peter followed with: “And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (verse 4). The jeering mockers were questioning the very truthfulness of Jesus; for it was Jesus who “promised” that he would come again (John 14:1-3). Yet, not even seventy years had passed from the time of the “promise” and there were “scoffers!”
Now, please notice with care, just what the “mockers” were saying: “for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” Here they revealed their own lack of understanding of the subject! Had all things continued, “since the fathers fell asleep,” “from the beginning of the creation!” Peter takes them to task, as he replied; first, “For this they willingly are ignorant.” It is not that they did not have the necessary information, but that they were, “willingly” “ignorant!” In other words, they deliberately put themselves outside of the truth which was readily at hand! Second, Peter takes them to the truth: “that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water.” Did you notice that Peter did not use the word “world,” but the word “earth?” He is describing creation; as Moses wrote: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Gen.1:1). Had “all things” continued from creation until the time of Peter? No, they had not! Third, Peter states: “Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished” (verse 6). Now, it is most important for us to see a change in words: 1) earth and 2) world. Question: what does Peter say, “perished?” Was it the “earth,” or was it the “world?” Before continuing, look at the word “perished;” the Greek “apollumi,” which means: “1) to destroy, 1a) to put out of the way entirely, abolish, put an end to ruin.” Did this happen to the “world” or to the “earth?” Here we have personal evidence, as we are presently living on the “earth!” Therefore, Fourth, Peter used the Greek word “kosmos,” in identifying what “perished, which means: “an apt and harmonious arrangement or constitution, order, government.” The word “kosmos” can also mean: “the inhabitants of the earth, men, the human family;” and this is what Peter wrote that “perished.” It was “the inhabitants of the earth” that was “destroyed,” that was “put out of the way entirely.”
Fifth, Peter informs us, it is necessary that we see that the people “perished,” they were no more! On the other hand, Peter wrote: “But the heavens and the earth, which are NOW by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.” It is true, that “the heavens and the earth” of Noah’s day, were changed, but they did not “perish!” However, the people, “the world,” “the kosmos,” did “perish!” Sixth, Peter gives us some most important information, as he addresses the “heavens and the earth,” in his time and our time; that they are: “kept in store.” Just how are the “heavens and the earth” “kept in store?” Friends, get this please: “by the same word!” The word of God! It was God who brought to an end those living in Noah’s day. The “heavens and the earth” are now “reserved unto fire against the day of judgment!”
In this limited study, it is impossible to cover all that is needed, but it is our trust that these three articles, have brought to your mind, that we must be careful when “Studying the word of God!” It is necessary, to notice the words, to pick up on the fact, that the writer has changed words. To understand that the words: 1) world and 2) earth, are not the same and do not refer to the same thing!

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/studying-the-word-of-god-3/

Jul 29

STUDYING THE WORD OF GOD (2)

Study, a word that implies work and sometimes long-lasting and hard! Yet, this is the nature of the inspired word of God. For instance, in reading the first twelve chapters of Genesis, you can follow the years lived by the “patriarchal,” as Moses reveals how old they were when the first male child was born; then, how many years they lived afterwards. By taking graph paper, you see how many years their lives overlap each other. It is a most rewarding study.
The name Noah is known all the way around the earth! People may not know much about him, other than he built the ark, but they know the name: Noah! After the whole earth flood, Noah planted a vineyard and became drunk from the fruit of it. Some charge Noah with deliberately drinking an alcoholic drink, but this is an aberration in the life of this godly man. “Some have suggested that Noah did not know his grape juice would ferment so quickly or so extensively in the post-flood atmosphere.” (quoted from: Genesis Park produced by Dave Woetzel, the article appears on the internet). So, what does this do to our efforts to study the word of God? It reveals that we can profit from the reading and thinking about the writings of others! This does not mean, that we take everything written as truth, but it does mean that we can learn from what others have written! Had you thought about what Woetzel wrote before? You might also read, A Study of the Biblical Flood written by Marion R. Fox and see what he says on this subject.
The point in the above is to show that we need to study! Reading is necessary as it gives us a general knowledge of the context. In fact, it is good to read what we are about to study, more than once! As you are reading, pick out words that need to be studied!
Here your attention is called to the word “world.” When you read the word “world” in the New Testament, what do you think of? Do you think of the earth? Well, let us look and see what the Greek word means. When Jesus commissioned the apostles, in the second part of it, as Matthew wrote: “teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matt. 28:20). Here we have the word “world,” but what is the Greek word and what does it mean? The Greek word is, “aion.” More than likely, you were thinking of another the Greek word, “kosmos!” This would be natural, as Carl Sagan made it so popular. Well, now we have two Greeks words: 1) “aion” and 2) “kosmos,” which will be studied in another article. Of course, these two words have different meanings. “Aion” means:” 1) forever an unbroken age, perpetuity of time, eternity 2) the worlds, universe 3) period of time, age (Thayer). Now that we know what the word means, the context, wherein the word appears carries great weight as to how it is used in the verse; as we can see it has several meanings. The context is Jesus talking with the apostles. First, how would Jesus be with the apostles “forever?” Jesus would be with the apostles by means of the Holy Spirit! Do you remember the words Jesus said to those who would be his apostles? He said: “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever” (John 14:16). More time is required to fully understand the idea, but Jesus said, he would give them “another Comforter,” that he may abide with you for ever” (John 14:16). Notice the word “another,” as it comes from the Greek, “allos,” which means: “another of the same kind” (Strong). The one Jesus sent was another of the same kind as he: Deity! He would be with the apostles. “forever,” until the end of the age. What age, you ask? We simply call it the “miraculous age.”
Now, this is what Jesus was telling the apostles, when he said: “I am with you always, even unto the end of the world (aion)!” Until “the end of the age;” the miraculous age! Do you think the Holy Spirit was to be with the apostles “forever?” As in a never-ending time! Here is a simple question: Was Jesus with the apostles “forever,” as in a never -ending time? Just where did Jesus go, when he was taken up, from the earth? He went to heaven, and sit down on the right hand of the Father (Heb. 1:3). So, was Jesus, personally, with the apostles throughout the “age of miracles,” wherein the apostles were confirming their preaching? Jesus himself said that they were to receive: “another Comforter!” Did the apostles need two “Comforters?” Or, is Jesus telling them, the first “Comforter,” Jesus himself, would go away and they would receive “anther Comforter,” the Holy Spirit who would be with them “forever” (aion), the end of a time? Friends, the Holy Spirit would be to the apostles, what Jesus had been to the apostles! He was with them until the end of a certain period of time: the miraculous age!

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/studying-the-word-of-god-2/

Jul 22

STUDYING THE WORD OF GOD (1)

What could be simpler? Studying the word of God? Can you remember your first efforts at studying the Bible? Please note, the words are, “your first efforts at studying the Bible,” not just reading it. It is true, that reading is part of studying but just reading is not studying! I can remember my first efforts to “read” the New Testament, as I was in the Army, stationed in Wilmington, OH. Folks, I understood nothing! Why was it that my first efforts, just to read, the New Testament brought no understanding? Maybe you had the same results! Why was this?
Here is a little information about my first efforts at just reading the New Testament. Do you know why I was reading the New Testament? More than likely, few have the same reason as I had, but I was reading the New Testament every night, because I thought my dear and beloved aunt, Aileen, wanted me to do so! She had given me a very small copy of the New Testament before I left home. I still have this New Testament! Any wonder I did not understand anything I read? No! However, I was very faithful in my efforts!
We are aware of what Paul wrote to Timothy: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15). However, the first word study, “study,” has been questioned and rightfully so! The American Standard Version, reads: “Give diligence to present thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, handling aright the word of truth.” Allow me to point out, if we are to shew or present ourselves unto God, “study” of the word of God is required! In other words, in giving “diligence to present” ourselves to God, we must study, as in there is no other way, to present ourselves “approved unto God!” If there is no reading and studying the word of God; there is no “diligence” in our efforts to shew ourselves approved to God! Therefore, “study” is in the word “diligence,” and “diligence” is in the word “study!”
Now, I also remember my first efforts to “study” the word of God. Do you remember your first efforts to “study” the Bible? “Study,” requires effort, to read, to study, and to have some plan in doing so! Picking up a Bible, reading just here and there, is no plan! More importantly is the fact, you will never understand the word of God. A little here and a little there, bringeth no understanding! Nevertheless, reading, even reading more than once is required, if we are really studying! Some folks appear to have the idea, of just reading, and suddenly, they understand the Bible! It just does not work this way! Sorry, to “burst your bubble!” The Bible unlike any other book, is “the Book,” the one book which answers our questions: 1) Where did we come from? 2) Why are we here? 3) Where are we going? and 4) Can we change where we are going? Do you not desire to have the answers to these four questions? The word of God, the Bible, is the only book on earth that, can, in truth, answers these four questions! However, to get these answers, study of the One Book is required!
Here is an interesting thought! How much time and effort are you willing to give to a true study of the word of God? The way you answer, depends on how much value you put on the salvation of your eternal soul/spirit! Therefore, the subject before us, is eternally important to us! We are not dealing with just a question, but one of the most important questions, we will ever come “face to face” with! The simple words, in what Paul wrote to Timothy, reads: “approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed,” stand before us as an objective! Do you desire to be “approved unto God?” Do you hope of being “a workman that needeth not to be ashamed” before God?
Friends, it starts with reading and advances to a study of the word of God! As we stand before God, on judgment day (2 Cor. 5:10), it will not do for any of us to say, “I never had the time, I am a slow reader, or it is just too hard for me to understand.

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/studying-the-word-of-god-1/

Jul 15

WALKING BY FAITH? (3)

In this third and last article on the subject: “Walking by faith” we will continue our efforts at understanding the text: 2 Corinthians 5:7. Of course, these are the inspired words of the apostle Paul: “(For we walk by faith, not by sight:).” There are varying “views” on the meaning of the apostle’s words; thus, a need for study!
Let it be understood, these are very important words, as the word “walk,” is so large it engages the total of one’s life. “Walking” is a figurative word, expressing one’s manner of life. The question before us at this point is what is the authority, what is guiding our manner of life? The apostle gave us two manners of life: 1) a manner of life that is lived according to “the faith once for all time delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3); and a manner of life that is lived according to “sight.”
If one has a manner of life, wherein he is living “by faith,” he is one who must have his authority sit in divine revelation: “the teaching of Christ” (2 John 9). Remember Paul also wrote: “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written: “The just shall live by faith” (Rom. 1:17). The words, “from faith to faith,” simply means, that our “faith” is produced and is in harmony with, “the faith once for all time delivered unto the saints.” It should go without saying, the apostle would never be encouraging anyone to have a “faith” which was/is not produced by anything else than “the faith once for all time delivered unto the saints!” Therefore, to “walk by faith” means that one’s manner of life, that which is the guide to his manner of life, is “the faith!” “The faith” is simply understood in “the teaching of Christ!”
This brings us to the second half of Paul’s statement: “not by sight!” Just what does the word “sight” mean. What is Paul telling us, that we are not to have as our manner of life? First, let us look at the Greek word, “eidos,” which means: “a view, that is, form (literally or figuratively): – appearance, fashion, shape, sight” (Strong). Thayer give us this: “the external or outward appearance.” The wisdom of this world, gives one a view to life, that is totally guided and measured by, this world! Therefore, just what does this world give us? The “rich man” in a parable given by Jesus, says it so clear, it is hard to miss: “And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry” (Luke 12:16- 19). Just what was the “rich man’s” plan, this manner of life; by what was he “walking?” Was not by “sight?” First, “he thought within himself;” Second, he looked at his problem, while only looking at this world: “what shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits;” Third, his answer was: “This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.” Once more, please notice that his answer to his problem was totally of this world! Fourth, he looked and continued according to the wisdom of this world: “And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years.” And fifth, his conclusion, is based totally upon the wisdom of this world and not one thought as to judgment and eternity! Let his words reach into your heart; “take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry!”
This “rich man’s” manner of life was based upon what he saw as it relates to this world! He saw only gain but it was in the “appearance” this world gave him! He should have given thought to Paul’s words to Timothy: “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out” (1 Tim. 6:7).” The spiritual blindness of this “rich man” was so totally limited to this world, that he even missed a truth which even this world understands; first, that we come into this world, physically even without clothes; being naked as we enter it and second, “it is certain we can carry nothing out!” This world teaches us as the “rich man” concluded: “thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry!” But, he totally missed the revelation of God, the most awesome thought the human can meditate upon: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil” (Ecc. 12:13-14).
The question comes to each of us: do I “walk by faith” or do I walk “by sight?” One leads us into the eternal home and blessings far beyond the human’s mind ability to comprehend; the other is so horrifying the human mind will only occasionally allow the thought: “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thess. 1:8). How different from these words: “For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness (eusebeia, means: reverence, piety towards God) is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come” (1 Tim. 4:8).

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/walking-by-faith-3/

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