- Published: 14 April 2011
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Greetings in Jesus name,
I was intrigued by the content of your website. However, I did not have sufficient time to browse through the whole website thoroughly.
May I pose just one question: what Biblical evidence can you cite to substantiate the notion that plants and animals in Eden were dying before Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden? I picked up this notion from clicking a link to your Bible studies. This is the context of the notion that I say I contrived from your statements:
Adam was made a living soul and afterward put in a garden eastward in Eden. He was set in an environment of mortality. All about him plants and animals were dying. He knew the facts of death.
I find absolutely no evidence from Scripture that Adam was surrounded by plant and animal life that died all around him, even before he fell into sin and came under the curse of death himself.
In my iGoogle homepage, I have subscribed to your Bible Verse for the Day. Genesis 3:15 is one of my favourite texts, the critical text describing Gods eternal provision for mans wilful sinning. I mor e than agree with you when you state that Adams living up to the age of 930 years did not mean that he did not die at the moment that he sinned. It is just that God absorbed Adams default and died in his stead, that death symbolised by the death of the first animal sacrifice for mans sin.
Dear Nda Nxumalo,
God Bless your beautiful heart and thank you for writing. We are sorry this response took so long and we are sending what we hope will help. We believe that the ONLY place to look is the Scriptures not at what men may say about the Scriptures and to search out and find the true meaning of the words used and thus be instructed by the Holy Spirit in the Truth of God's Word. We are including a study on the word Foundation as used in Ephesians 1:4 and also a link to a teaching that might add further light on the subject.
There is something unique in Ephesians 1:4, that when once perceived, makes the calling of the Church of the One Body, completely separate from that of any other company spoken of in the Scriptures. The peculiarity of this calling does not rest on the word foundation whatever that word shall ultimately prove to be, it rests on the word before, this is the unique feature.
All other callings are related to a choice and a purpose that is dated from or since the foundation of the world, this calling of Ephes ians alone, is related to a choice and a purpose that goes back before that era. As a certain amount of doctrine must be built upon these two prepositions before and from, some acquaintance with them seems called for.
Pro before is a preposition that indicates time, place or preference.
- Before in respect of place:
- The Judge standeth before the door (Jas. 5:9).
- Before in respect of time:
- Judge nothing before the time (1 Cor. 4:5).
- Before in respect of preference:
- He is before all things (Col. 1:17).
- From that time Jesus began to preach (Matt. 4:17).
- From two years old and under (Matt. 2:16).
- From the beginning of the world (Eph. 3:9).
- With reference to the use of parables, in speaking of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven: 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 (Matt. 13:35).
- With reference to the separation of the nations at the second coming of Christ: Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world (Matt. 25:34).
- With reference to the character of those who killed the prophets sent to them: That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation (Luke 11:50).
- With reference to the typical character of the Sabbath: As I have sworn in My wrath, if they shall enter into My rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world (Heb. 4:3).
- With reference to the character of the offering of Christ: Nor yet that He should offer Himself often ... for then must He often have suffered since the foundation of the world (Heb. 9:25,26).
- Every one whose name hath not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that hath been slain (Rev. 13:8, R.V. margin). They whose name hath not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world (Rev. 17:8, R.V.).
- With reference to Christ alone:
- Thou lovedst Me before the foundation of the world (John 17:24).
- As of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world (1 Pet. 1:19,20).
- With reference to the Redeemed:
- Chosen us In Him before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4).
Our thoughts naturally turn to such passages as Job 38:4 and Isaiah 48:13 where the Lord speaks of laying the foundation of the earth. Now, happily, we have a New Testament quotation in Hebrews 1:10, where the word foundation is expressed by the word themelion, but when we turn t o any of the passages where the words before or from the foundation of the world occur, themelion is not found, but instead the word katabole is employed. It is impossible to argue, that Paul for some peculiar reason would not and did not employ the word themelion, for it occurs as the translation of the foundation of a temple in Ephesians 2:20, the foundation of the apostles and prophets, and again in 1 Corinthians 3:10 and 2 Timothy 2:19. There must be, therefore, some good reason for choosing so different a word as katabole.
This word has entered into our own language as a biological term - metabolism, being the name given to the process in an organism or a living cell, by which nutritive material is built up into living matter, and this process is divided into (1) constructive metabolism, which is called anabolism, by which protoplasm is broken down into simpler substances to perform special functions; and (2) destructive metabolism, which is called katabolism. In its biological use, katabole indicates destruction.
It is strange, if the word means to place upon a foundation, that it should have been adopted by scientists to indicate disruption. The verb kataballo is used three times in the New Testament.
- Cast down, but not destroyed (2 Cor. 4:9), and
- The accuser of our brethren is cast down (Rev. 12:10),
Examples can be adduced to show that in some passages of classical Greek, the words katabole and kataballo approximate to the translation of the A.V. and speak of laying a foundation, but there are many references that can be brought forward to prove exactly the opposite sense. Liddle and Scott in their Lexicon give in explanation of kataballo to throw down, cast down, overthrow, lay down, to strike down, kill, to bring down to nothing, to let fall, drop down, to cast off, reject, neglect, abandon and only in the middle voice are examples given of laying down a foundation. So under katabole, the meaning is divided between laying foundations and paying down instalments, and periodical attacks of illness and generally any disease, a cataract in the eye. It will be seen that classical usage points in two ways, but with the preponderant weight in favour of the translation overthrow.
The Septuagint version knows no such diversity. This version comes down solid for the translation overthrow and uses the verbal form of themelion (foundation, Eph. 2:20) when it wishes to speak of laying a foundation, see for example Joshua 6:26, 2 Chronicles 8:16 and Job 38:4. If the apostle wished to speak of laying a foundation he had this word themelioo right to hand. In Ephesians 1:4, he evidently did not wish to speak of laying a foundation, and so chose by divine inspiration a wor d that consistently means in the Septuagint overthrow. It should be remembered, moreover, that there is no word for foundation in Ephesian s 1:4 apart from katabole, the word under review.
It is possible to dig out from the writings of antiquity examples that go to prove that katabole and kataballo are employed to mean to lay a foundation, and similar examples can be found of most important words. When, however, the believer learns that the Septuagint consistently uses kataballo to mean overthrow and employs themelioo to mean lay a foundation the matter is settled. If the apostle, when writing to the Ephesians, introduced a word with a new meaning from that which had been associated with it in the sacred books of the Jews for over two centuries, then it would have been necessary for him to have warned his readers of the change.
With these prefatory remarks, the reader is invited to consider the scriptural meaning of the words of the apostle translated in the A.V., before the foundation of the world.
Kataballo occurs some thirty times in the Septuagint version of the Old Testament Scriptures. It will strengthen the faith of many, and deepen the conviction of most, if these references which contain the word kataballo are quoted, but to avoid occupying a disproportionate amount of space, verses will not be given in full. We will also quote from the A.V. instead of giving translations of the LXX version, except in those cases where the LXX has an entirely different text. Those who have access to the LXX will not be hindered, and those who cannot refer to it will be helped.
2 Samuel 20:15.
(LXX 2 Kings.) Joab battered the wall, to throw it down'.
2 Kings 3:19,25.
(LXX 4 Kings.) Ye (they) shall fell (felled) every good tree'.
2 Kings 6:5.
(LXX 4 Kings.) As one was felling a beam'.
2 Kings 19:7.
(LXX 4 Kings.) I will cause him to fall by the sword'.
2 Chron. 32:21.
They ... slew him there with the sword'.
Behold, He breaketh down, and it cannot be built again'.
He teareth me in His wrath'.
He breaketh me with breach upon breach'.
(LXX 36.) To cast down the poor and needy'.
(LXX 72.) Thou castedst them down into destruction'.
(LXX 105.) To overthrow them in the wilderness'.
She hath cast down many wounded'.
(LXX 8.) A fool's mouth is his destruction'.
Like a city that is broken down, and without walls'.
Esebon and Eleale have cast down thy trees' (LXX translation).
The lofty city, He layeth it low'.
I will cause them to fall ... before their enemies.
I will cast down your slain men before your idols.
Thy remnant shall fall by the sword.
They shall destroy the walls of Tyrus, and break down her towers.
He shall cast down with his swords (LXX translation).
He shall cast down thy walls (LXX translation).
I will leave thee thrown into the wilderness.
I will cause the sword to fall out of his hand.
Have cast him down upon the mountains (LXX translation).
Will I cause thy multitude to fall.
Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel.
He shall cast down many ten thousands.
This is rather a formidable list, and the verification of each reference is no light task, yet we believe it is impossible for any reader not to be impressed with the solidarity of its witness. Every single reference is for the translation overthrow, not one is for the translation found in the A.V. of Ephesians 1:4. This, however, is not all. If each reference be read in its context, the references will be found to be those of battle, of siege, of destruction, of judgment, which tilt the beam of the balances still further. If still further we discover what Hebrew words have been translated by kataballo in the LXX our evidence will be complete. These we will supply, for the benefit of any who may not have the facilities to discover them.
To cast down, to fall (LXX ref. 2 Sam. 20:15 and sixteen other references).
To crush (LXX ref. Job. 12:14; Ezek. 26:4,12).
To mar, corrupt or destroy (LXX ref. Ezek. 26:4).
To leave, spread out (LXX ref. Ezek. 29:5; 31:12).
To break down (LXX ref. Ezek. 26:9).
To break forth. (LXX ref. Job 16:14).
To tear (LXX ref. Job 16:9).
Not a solitary Hebrew word is here that means to build, to lay a foundation, to erect, but a variety of words all meaning destruction, spoiling, causing to fall. This is proof positive, no reasoning is necessary except the most elementary recognition of fact when it is presented. From every point of view, the word katabole in Ephesians 1:4 should be translated overthrow. The Church of the one Body consequently is blessed with peculiar blessings, these blessings are to be enjoyed in a peculiar sphere, and now we learn, they are according to a purpose made and to a peculiar period.
Without a careful study of the Scripture we would fail to divide those things that God has made the same from those that differ and miss His True Blessings that He has bestowed upon us. When we teach His Word without careful examination of the words in the Word we will fail in our responsibility to help others by rightly dividing what He has told us of creation and the spheres of blessings He has placed therein. Remember we must always strive to:
2Ti 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
All God's Blessings,