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People's Dictionary of the Bible


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World. This word in the A. V. is the translation of five Hebrew and four Greek words. It is therefore not always plain in what sense it is used. The Hebrew terms have these literal meanings: "The earth," "rest," "the grave," Isaiah 38:11; "the world," corresponding to aion in the New Testament, or that which is finite, temporary, Job 11:17; "the veiled," unlimited time, whether past or future; used very frequently, and generally translated "forever;" and, finally, the poetical term for "world," which occurs some 37 times, but in various meanings which are easily understood. When the Hebrews desired to express the universe they employed a phrase like "heaven and earth and the sea, and all that in them is." Exodus 20:11. In the New Testament the Greek words are equally diverse: 1. Aion, "duration," thus used of time past, Luke 1:70, of time present, with the idea of evil, both moral and physical. Mark 4:19. Hence "children of this world," or worldly men, Luke 16:8; and so Satan is called "the god of this world." 2 Corinthians 4:4 Aion is also put for endless duration, eternity, 1 Timothy 6:16, to signify the material world as created by the deity, Hebrews 11:3; also the world to come, the kingdom of the Messiah. 2. Ge, the earth, in contrast to the heavens. Revelation 13:3. 3. Kosmos, used in several senses:(a) the universe, the heavens, and the earth, Matthew 13:35, and thence for the inhabitants of the universe, 1 Corinthians 4:9, and an aggregate. James 3:6. (b) This lower world as the abode of man, John 16:18; the inhabitants of the earth or mankind. Matthew 5:14. (c) The present world, as opposed to the kingdom of Christ, John 12:25; specifically, the wealth and enjoyments and cares of this world. Matthew 16:26, and so for those who seek the opposite things to the kingdom of God, the worldlings. John 15:19. 4. Oikoumene, the inhabited earth, Matthew 24:14, the people of it, Acts 17:31, sometimes the Roman empire, the then civilized world, Acts 17:6, including Palestine and adjacent parts. Luke 2:1; Acts 11:28. The Jews distinguished two worlds, or sons, the present aeon to the appearance of the Messiah, and the future aeon, or the Messianic era, which is to last forever. The closing days of the present order of things were called "the last days." Isaiah 2:2; Micah 4:1; Acts 2:17. The same phraseology is found in the New Testament, but the dividing-line is marked by the second instead of the first advent of the Messiah. Matthew 12:32; 1 Corinthians 10:11; Galatians 4:3; Hebrews 1:2; Hebrews 6:5; Hebrews 9:26.

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Bibliography Information
Rice, Edwin Wilbur, DD. Entry for 'World'. People's Dictionary of the Bible. 1893.

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Thursday, October 22nd, 2020
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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