Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Two Dispensations: Kingdom and Grace (Mystery) #6

In previous articles we have established that the CHURCH, Eph 1:22, 23 was chosen in Christ “before the foundation of the world”. We have concluded in the most recent article that the word foundation is the Greek word katabole which means a destructive event and the verb form of the word, kataballo, literally means to cast down, break down, overthrow, and/or destroy. So the CHURCH was chosen: “ in Him before the foundation (casting down or overthrow) of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:” (Eph 1:4). Now we must consider the Greek word that is translated by the KJV translators as “world” and that Greek word is kosmos. The English transliteration is cosmos. The first thought that might come to one’s mind is that this word means the “earth” as in world, or that the earth may be a part of the cosmos, the universe, which it is. But further search for the meaning of this word finds that Thayer’s New Testament Greek Lexicon defines kosmos as:

1. an apt and harmonious arrangement or constitution, order, government
2. ornament, decoration, adornment, i.e. the arrangement of the stars, 'the heavenly hosts', as the ornament of the heavens. 1 Pet. 3: 3
3. the world, the universe
4. the circle of the earth, the earth
5. the inhabitants of the earth, men, the human family
6. the ungodly multitude; the whole mass of men alienated from God, and therefore hostile to the cause of Christ
7. world affairs, the aggregate of things earthly
a. the whole circle of earthly goods, endowments riches, advantages, pleasures, etc, which although hollow and frail and fleeting, stir desire, seduce from God and are obstacles to the cause of Christ
8. any aggregate or general collection of particulars of any sort
a. the Gentiles as contrasted to the Jews (Rom. 11:12 etc)
b. of believers only, John 1:29; 3:16; 3:17; 6:33; 12:47 1 Cor. 4:9; 2 Cor. 5:19

Continuing on our search, one find’s that the Septuagint translation of the Old Testament first uses the word kosmos to translate the Hebrew word Tsaba in (Gen 2:1 KJV) “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.” Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance defines this Hebrew word thusly:

6635 tsaba' tsaw-baw' or (feminine) tsbadah {tseb-aw-aw'}; from 6333; a mass of persons (or figuratively, things), especially reg. organized for war (an army); by implication, a campaign, literally or figuratively (specifically, hardship, worship):--appointed time, (+) army, (+) battle, company, host, service, soldiers, waiting upon, war(-fare). 6333 is the verb form and means: to assemble, to fight, to perform, to muster, to wait upon, to war.

Charles H. Welch in his book, "In Heavenly Places", quotes Lloyd in his Analysis referencing this Hebrew word "tsaba/kosmos/host", and this verse: “The allusion is to the marshal array of an army. All the visible creation, like a disciplined army, had their place”. Welch states, “The only objection to this comment is that it does not go far enough. The kosmos was not ‘like’ a disciplined army, IT WAS AN ARMY”. This Hebrew word occurs almost 500 times in the Old Testament and directly is used in conjunction with an army, war, warfare, and host. In the verb form it means to war, fight, muster, and assemble.

As we come back to the phrase found in Eph 1:4, “before the foundation (katabole) of the world (kosmos)”, and finalize our understanding of this phrase, it becomes apparent that there is not a creative act being referrenced here. It is referring to a destructive act and the results of this destructive act was that not only the earth itself was dramatically ruined, but the order of the earth, the heavens, the infrastructure, armies, and living things were then placed in judgment with the penalty being death and after this penalty was meted out, the world (kosmos) was left in utter disarray, chaotic, and empty.

(2 Pet 3:6 KJV) Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:

And this is exactly the condition in which we find the heavens and the earth in Gen 1:2: And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. It is well to note in gaining understanding of this verse that the second occurrence of the word “was” is in italics in the KJV, meaning that there was not a word as the verb “to be” does not exist in the Hebrew language so was was properly supplied by the translators. The first occurrence of was in Gen 1:2 is later translated "become" and "came to pass"—Genesis 2:7, 4:3, 9:15, 19:26 which reads: (Gen 19:26 KJV) But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt. Remember what the prophet Isaiah wrote,

(Isa 45:18 KJV) For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.

What the reader of Gen 1:1 and 1:2,

(Gen 1:1 KJV) In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

(Gen 1:2 KJV) And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

will find then is the first Earth and Heavens and all the accompaniments which were created by God in a perfect state and order NOW lay in a state of ruin destroyed because of the rebellion of Lucifer, “in whom was found iniquity”, Ezek 28:15. What was once a world (kosmos) in perfect order without iniquity was found to have been infected and corrupted by the rebellion of this created being:

(Isa 14:12 KJV) How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

(Isa 14:13 KJV) For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:

(Isa 14:14 KJV) I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.

In summary regarding this word kosmos/world:

• God created a former kosmos perfect, in order, and inhabitable
• In this kosmos, iniquity was found in its ruler, Lucifer, a spiritual being without equal
• The judgment for this iniquity was the destruction and overthrow of the kosmos
• From this state of ruin in the first part of Gen 1:2, God begins a restoration or regeneration of this ruined kosmos for the next 6 days which is detailed in the remainder of Genesis 1.
• And then the reader sees that all is in order, including God’s Army/Host and all that that encompasses, in the first verse of the second chapter of Genesis: (Gen 2:1 KJV) Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host (tsaba/kosmos) of them.

• Peter says of this restored world, (2 Pet 3:7 KJV) 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 appears then that this world (kosmos)is going to end in a similar judgement, not by water, but by fire. The time between the completion of the regeneration of the kosmos, until the time of its judgement by fire is an age in which God will complete his plan to eradicate all sin from His creation. Gen 2:1 clearly states that God's plan, actually His Battle Plan, was now in place and ready for execution. Then says Peter,

(2 Pet 3:12 KJV) 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?

(2 Pet 3:13 KJV) Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

• The CHURCH was chosen “before the foundation of the world”

This certainly must raise another question or two: “Why was this CHURCH chosen before the destruction of the first kosmos? Why was its choosing kept secret? And to what purpose does its choosing have with God’s overall ‘ Purpose of the Ages’?” These are questions for the Workman (2 Tim 2:15) to pursue, and which we will explore in ensuing studies.