The 2001 Translation Translator NotesNote

Cosmos, Kosmos, Arrangement, or World?

In Jesus’ discussion about the sheep and goats, as found at Matthew 25:34, he said:

‘Then the king will tell those on his right:
Come, you who’ve been praised by my Father; inherit the Kingdom that’s been prepared for you from the founding of the world.’

In Greek, the words we have translated as founding of the world are katabole kosmou. You may recognize that the English word cosmos is a derivative of kosmou, as are also the words, cosmetics and cosmetology, and cosmos is the word that modern peoples usually use when referring to the universe. So notice that we could have also (correctly) translated it as, ‘founding of the arrangement,’ since arrangement is the closest English translation of the Greek word kosmos.

For example, when Paul urged Christian women to dress modestly, he used the word kosmos to describe well-arranged clothing. However, in other Bibles, kosmos is almost always translated as world, which is a bit misleading, because most English-speaking people often think that world means the same thing as the earth.

In the Hebrew texts of the Ancient Scriptures of IsraEl (OT), we don’t find a word that is similar to ‘kosmos.’
Rather, we find the Hebrew word teᶥl used.
And though that word is also translated into English as world; in the Greek Septuagint it was translated as oikoumene in every case, which refers to the habitation or home of mankind. So where oikoumene is used (as it is many times in the Christian Era Scriptures), the meaning is more similar to the earth.

Notice that although the Greek words kosmos and oikoumene don’t mean the same things, both words are commonly translated as world in other Bibles… which can be very misleading. For where kosmos is always translated as world (as in the world of Noah, the light of the world, the field is the world, etc.), the result is often a misunderstanding of what was truly meant. Because, there are some fifteen definitions given to the word world in English dictionaries, and most don’t carry the same meaning as the Greek word kosmos. So in many (but not all) places, world is a poor choice for translating the Greek word kosmos.

As an example:
Kosmos is often used in the Greek text to describe the arrangement or situation of human society in general, and at other times it is used to describe just the IsraElite or Jewish arrangement (not the whole world). So the terms system of things or arrangement are frequently the better and more accurate word choices when translating it.

Notice how the word kosmos was used by Paul at Romans 5:12:

Sin entered the arrangement (kosmos) through one man, and this sin resulted in death.
So by this [one] sin, death was passed on to all men and they have all sinned.’

Here you can see that the arrangement Paul was talking about was the one that began with Adam.
However, the Scriptures indicate that there was another arrangement or system of things, which began after the Downpour of Noah’s day and which Noah inherited.
For notice what we are told at Hebrews 11:7:

‘It was because of [his] faith in a Divine Warning about things which were not yet seen that Noah was moved by fear to build a chest for the saving of his [family].
And through this righteous faith he condemned that arrangement and became its heir.’

Also notice what was said at 2 Peter 2:4, 5:

‘God didn’t spare the messengers that sinned, but threw them into the dark pits of Tartarus where they are awaiting His justice. And He didn’t spare that first arrangement, but He guarded Noah (who was a preacher of righteousness) along with seven others, when He brought a downpour upon a world of godless people.’

So apparently, there have been other arrangements:
1. The one that started before the Downpour with Adam, which Noah inherited 2. The new arrangement that started after the Downpour 3. Possibly a third arrangement that God created for His worship in JeruSalem through Moses 4. Possibly the (Christian) arrangement that began with the death of Jesus.

Therefore (from the above), we may conclude that what Jesus said about the Kingdom having been prepared for the sheep since the founding of the world could mean that: The Kingdom was God’s plan for the righteous since at least the time of Adam’s sin in Paradise, or possibly since the time of the Downpour, or since the time that He established a system for His true worship in JeruSalem, or even since the coming and death of Jesus.
For at Revelation 13:8 Jesus is referred to as:
‘The one that had been slaughtered from the founding of the arrangement
(gr. esphagmenou apo kataboles kosmou, or, that/was/slaughtered from foundation – or down-throw – kosmos). Therefore, we could be living in an entirely new world, arrangement, or system of things since the time of Jesus’ death.

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