Overthrow of the World

Ephesians 1:4

According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world. . .

Nda wrote:

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.

On my iGoogle homepage, I have subscribed to your Bible Verse for the Day. Genesis 3:15 is one of my favorite texts, the critical text describing God's eternal provision for man's wilful sinning. I more 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 Adam's default and died in his stead, that death symbolized by the death of the first animal sacrifice for man's sin.

Kind regards,
(South Africa)


Dear Nda,
God Bless you, and thank you for writing. We believe that the only place to look is the Scriptures, not at what men may say about the Scriptures. We believe The Word Of God answers your question but only through the knowledge of a number of Scriptural Truths about the devil and his rebellion, the earth that was and perished, and man's soul and that of the animals.

If we consider the devil, the Scripture says:

Isaiah 14:12-14  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! 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:  I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. 

So there was war in heaven, the devil was defeated and cast down, and creation disrupted, and the first earth perished.

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

We know this is true from Scripture and the fossil record going back millions of years, so clearly, death happened long before Adam.

Christ said of the devil: 

John 8:44  Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. 

So, from the beginning of the devil's rebellion, there was murder long before Adam.

For more on this subject, see Fallen Angels.

If we think about Adam and the animals we find that Genesis 2:4-25 supplements the account of Genesis 1, giving us fuller details of the formation both of Adam himself and of Eve. "And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground." Man shares with the rest of the animal creation an earthly origin - "of the earth, earthy."

There is, however, a difference to be observed.

"And (He) breathed into his nostrils the breath of life." This expression, a translation of neshamah, occurs 24 times in the Old Testament. If these occurrences are examined, the conclusion arrived at is that this "breath of life" belongs only to God and to man and not to the lower orders of creation. Man is separated from the rest of creation. He is, for a little, lower than the angels. He is in possession of the "breath of life," a gift not possessed by any other creature on the earth. He is in the image and likeness of God.

The characteristics in which man is allied to the existing creation are expressed in the third statement - "And man became a living soul" (Gen. 2:7). Tradition has it that this implies the immortality of the soul. Scripture declares that Adam, as created, was natural and thus non-spiritual.

... The first man Adam was made a living soul ... that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural (1 Cor. 15:45-46).

The translation blunts the point of the argument here. Our language possesses the two words, 'spirit' and 'spiritual,' but not the words 'soul' and 'soulish or soulical.' Now the word translated 'natural' is rightly 'soulical' if such a word could be permitted. All that Adam was and could give to his descendants was soulish and earthy; the Lord Jesus alone, as the Last Adam and the Second Man, can give spiritual and heavenly enduements. The words, "man became a living soul," far from teaching man's spiritual and immortal nature, actually teach the reverse. The following passages taken from Genesis will prove this without any doubt:

"The moving creature that hath life (margin soul)" (Gen. 1:20).

"Every living creature that moveth (margin living soul)" (Gen. 1:21).

"Let the earth bring forth the living creature" (Gen. 1:24).

"Everything... wherein there is life (margin a living soul)" (Gen. 1:30).

The two words nephesh and psuche, the Hebrew and Greek respectively, for 'soul,' occur 857 times in the Scriptures. Yet, not one reference can be found that speaks of an immortal or never-dying soul. Consequently, we reject such teaching as untrue and accept that the are mortal and can and do die. A reading of Genesis 3:22-23, moreover, shows that The Tree of Life was such that man, by partaking of it, could live forever, but that as a result of sin, God took special precautions to prevent man from living forever by banishing him from the garden. Immortality can only be obtained through Christ and will be entered upon at Resurrection (1 Cor. 15:53-54).

Animals could not eat of the Tree of Life, and so when God told Adam:

 Gen 2:17  But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Adam knew what that meant, for he had seen animals die, as no soul is immortal and must eat of The Tree of Life to continue living.

We now look deeper into God's Word to discover more Truth and 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 dated "from or since" the foundation of the world; this calling of Ephesians alone is related to a choice and a purpose that goes back to 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.

The Greek Pro, translated as "before," is a preposition that indicates time, place, or preference.

1. Before in respect of place:  The Judge standeth before the door (Jas. 5:9).

2. Before in respect of time:  Judge nothing before the time (1 Cor. 4:5).

3. Before in respect of preference:  He is before all things (Col. 1:17).

The Greek Apo, translated as "from," is a preposition that indicates separation or origin. The primary use of apo is with reference to place, but by a recognized transition, it can be employed of the distance of time of the temporal terminus from which:

    • 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).

The two expressions from the foundation of the world and before the foundation of the world occur as follows:


1. 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).

2. 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).

3. 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).

4. 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).

5. 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).

6. Everyone 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).

Commenting upon the most obvious difference between these two sets of passages is unnecessary. However, let us not miss one precious item of doctrine revealed by comparing the three references "before the foundation" together. In John 17:24, Christ was "loved" - agapao; in 1 Peter 1:19-20, He was without "blemish" and without spot. amomos. In Ephesians 1:4, the believer is said to have been chosen before the foundation of the world in "love" agape, to be "blameless" amomos. Here, those chosen in Christ were looked upon as being so closely identified with Him that the same terms are used. No wonder, as we proceed, we read of further identification with The Beloved, which speaks of being crucified with Christ, raised together, seated together, and ultimately manifested with Him in Glory. These two sets of terms before and since indicate two distinct time periods. Further studies will show that before and since the age times is a somewhat similar set of terms, but before this, we must understand the meaning of the word foundation.

Our thoughts naturally turn to passages such as Job 38:4 and Isaiah 48:13, where the Lord speaks of laying the earth's foundation. Now, happily, we have a New Testament quotation in Hebrews 1:10, where the word foundation is expressed by the Greek word themelion, but when we turn to 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 word "foundation" of a temple in Ephesians 2:20-21, 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 scientists should have adopted it 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) indicate clearly the meaning of the word. In Hebrews 6:1, the word is used with themelion, the true word for a foundation, and there it appears to have its primitive meaning cast down but not in the sense of overthrowing, but of laying a foundation.

Examples can be adduced to show that in some passages of classical Greek, the words katabole and kataballo approximate the translation of the A.V. and speak of laying a foundation, but many references can be brought forward to prove exactly the opposite sense. Liddle and Scott, in their Lexicon, give an explanation of kataballo to throw down, cast down, overthrow, lay down, strike down, kill, bring down to nothing, let fall, drop down, 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 installments, and periodical attacks of illness and generally any disease, as a cataract in the eye. It will be seen that classical usage points in two ways, but with the preponderant weight in favor 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, 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 in hand. In Ephesians 1:4, he evidently did not wish to speak of laying a foundation and chose by Divine Inspiration a word that consistently means in the Septuagint overthrow. It should be remembered, moreover, that there is no word for foundation in Ephesians 1:4 apart from katabole, the word under review.

It is possible to dig out from the writings of antiquity examples that prove that katabole and kataballo are employed to lay a foundation, and similar examples can be found of the most important words. However, the matter is settled when the believer learns that the Septuagint consistently uses kataballo to mean overthrow and employs themelioo to lay a foundation. 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 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, 2 Kings 3:25. (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.

Job. 12:14. Behold, He "breaketh down," and it cannot be built again.

Job 16:9. He "teareth" me in His wrath.

Job 16:14. He breaketh me with "breach" upon "breach."

Psa. 37:14. (LXX 36.) To "cast down" the poor and needy.

Psa. 73:18. (LXX 72.) Thou "castedst them down" into destruction.

Psa. 106:26-27. (LXX 105.) To "overthrow" them in the wilderness.

Prov. 7:26. She hath "cast down" many wounded.

Prov. 18:7. (LXX 8.) A fool's mouth is his "destruction."

Prov. 25:28. Like a city that is "broken down," and without walls.

Isa. 16:9. Esebon and Eleale have "cast down" thy trees (LXX translation).

Isa. 26:5. The lofty city, He "layeth it low."

Jer. 19:7. I will cause them to "fall" ... before their enemies.

Ezek. 6:4. I will "cast down" your slain men before your idols.

Ezek. 23:25. Thy remnant shall "fall" by the sword.

Ezek. 26:4. They shall destroy the walls of Tyrus, and "break down" her towers.

Ezek. 26:9. He shall "cast down" with his swords (LXX translation).

Ezek. 26:12. He shall "cast down" thy walls (LXX translation).

Ezek. 29:5. I will leave thee "thrown" into the wilderness.

Ezek. 30:22. I will cause the sword to "fall out" of his hand.

Ezek. 31:12. Have "cast him down" upon the mountains (LXX translation).

Ezek. 32:12. Will I cause thy multitude to "fall."

Ezek. 39:4. Thou shalt "fall" upon the mountains of Israel.

Dan. 11:12. 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 reference is for the translation overthrow, and not one is for the translation found in the A.V. of Ephesians 1:4. however, this is not all. If each reference is read in its context, the references will be found to be those of battle, siege, destruction, and judgment, which tilt the beam of the balances still further. If 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.

Naphal.  To cast down, to fall (LXX ref. 2 Sam. 20:15 and sixteen other references).

Haras.  To crush (LXX ref. Job. 12:14; Ezek. 26:4, Ezek. 26:12).

Shacath.  To mar, corrupt or destroy (LXX ref. Ezek. 26:4).

Natash.  To leave, spread out (LXX ref. Ezek. 29:5; Ezek. 31:12).

Nathats.  To break down (LXX ref. Ezek. 26:9).

Parats.  To break forth. (LXX ref. Job 16:14).

Taraph.  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, and 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 as 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 Scriptures, 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.

Next, let us examine whether the creation in Genesis was just physical.


Heaven. There are five words employed in the Hebrew O.T. translated as "heaven" and one Greek word so translated in the N.T. Of the Hebrew words, galgal (Psa. 77:18) refers to the "rolling clouds," the word galgal being elsewhere rendered "wheel" and "rolling thing." Shachaq, used in Psalm 89:6 and Psalm 89:37, means a "thin cloud" and is elsewhere translated as "cloud," "sky," and "small dust." It may be accidental, but it is nevertheless interesting that the blue color, and hence the visibility of the "sky," is owing to the refraction of blue rays of light and that "it is to the vapoury and the earthy particles in the atmosphere that the refraction is due; but for these, there would be total darkness till the instant of sunrise." As the imagery of the O.T. has been seized upon to "prove" the unscientific character of these ancient writings, the inclusion of the above note may not be without justification. Arabah "mixed" (Psa. 68:4) and ariphim "dropping" (Isa. 5:30) complete the references that refer to the clouds under the covering figure of heaven.

Shamayim. This Hebrew word is the one that is translated as "heaven" or "heavens" in the O.T. except in those portions where the Chaldee equivalent shemayin is used (Ezra, Daniel, and Jeremiah 10:11). The Hebrew shamayim occurs in the O.T. 419 times, of these, twenty-one occurrences are translated "air," as in Genesis 1:26. In the N.T. only one word, ouranos, is translated "heaven." This Greek word occurs over 280 times, of which "air" accounts for ten occurrences and "sky" for five. "The name "heaven" in our own language has been explained, according to its etymology, as that which is heaved or lifted up, and a similar origin has been assigned to the Greek ouranos and the Hebrew shamayim. The nature of the temporary "heaven" stretched out like a tent over the earth during the ages of Redemption. In this article, we deal with heaven itself. Whether the translation reads "heaven" or "heavens," the word is always plural in the original. This no more indicates a plurality of "heavens" than the plural Elohim "God" indicates a plurality of gods. There is a use of the plural in the Hebrew language known as "The Plural of Majesty" as, for example, "the sacrifices of God" in Psalm 51:17, which means "the Great Sacrifice."

Creation is divided into two parts, "heaven and earth" (Gen. 1:1), which in Colossians 1:16 is expanded to mean "all things visible and invisible," and the term "heaven" may include thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers, as well as physical sun, moon, and stars. Heaven is often used as a symbol of authority, for example, when Nebuchadnezzar learned "that the heavens do rule" (Dan. 4:26). The superiority of the heavens to the earth is expressed in the words "on high" (Luke 1:78, Heb. 1:3), "height" (Isa. 7:11, Psa. 148:1, Prov. 25:3). It is possible that, after Genesis 1:1, there are but nine or ten references to "heaven itself," i.e., The Heaven of Genesis 1:1, in the whole of the O.T. This can be put to the test by reading the Book of Genesis, and noting every allusion to "heaven." We read of the waters that are under heaven, lights in the firmament of heaven, fowl that fly in the "air," the windows of heaven opened at the deluge, Abraham directed to look toward heaven, to the countless number of the stars, but no passage demands that the term "heaven" should be interpreted of the heaven of Genesis 1:1. We cannot print here the 419 references to heaven, but we can print the nine or ten references that look beyond the present limited firmament.

"Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the Lord's thy God" (Deut. 10:14).

Here Moses draws attention to the firmament which is "called" heaven, and the Heaven of heavens, the Heavens in the highest degree that were created long before the six days of Genesis 1:3-2:1. No further reference is made to the Heavens themselves, until the days of David and Solomon, where in Psalm 8:1, Psa. 57:5, Psa. 57:11, Psa. 108:5, Psa. 113:4, Psa. 115:16 and Psa. 148:4, we have six references to a Glory that is above the present limited heavens, making, with Deuteronomy 10:14, seven in all, the perfect number; in all other places, the heavens referred to are put into correspondence with the firmament (Psa. 19:1) either by the actual statement or by implication. Five hundred years after Moses, Solomon recognized that neither the present heavens nor the Heaven of heavens could "contain" God (1 Kings 8:27), and the last reference to the Heaven of heavens, in contrast with the firmament, is found in the Levites' prayer (Neh. 9:6).

Even when we bring these passages forward, they only emphasize the fact that "the heaven" of the O.T. was the "firmament" of Genesis 1:8, stretched out like a curtain or a tent for God to dwell in (Isa. 40:22) and any reference in Psalm or Prophecy that speaks of heaven as God's "dwelling place" refers to this tabernacle formed by the firmament. When we open the N.T., it is pardonable if we expect to find a great advance upon this limitation of the term "heaven." Twelve times do we read in Matthew of the "Father which is in heaven," but we also read that the heavens were opened at the baptism of the Lord, that the heavens are to pass away, and unless it is a matter beyond dispute that "angels" inhabit the Heaven of heavens, we shall find no instance in The Gospel of Matthew of a reference to any other "heaven" than the firmament of Genesis 1:8.

We have to wait until we reach The Gospel of John for any explicit reference to the highest heavens, and there the Saviour speaks of ascending up to Heaven to where He was before (John 3:13, John 6:62), to The Glory that He had "before the world was" (John 17:5). In these few references is contained practically all that is said of the "Heavens" of Genesis 1:1 in The Four Gospels. The only Calling and company, Hope, and Sphere of Blessing that pierces the present firmament above us and ascends to where Christ sits at the right hand of God is The Church of The Mystery. Christ is set forth, in Ephesians 4:10, as having ascended "Far above all heavens" yet revealed as seated at the right hand of God "in The Heavenly Places." These Heavenly Places, therefore, must be above the limitations of the outstretched heavens. This is not invalidated by the fact that the selfsame sphere is called in Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians "Heaven," for we must not allow ourselves to rob "Heaven itself" of its true title simply because we have used it so often of the limited firmament. In connection with this same calling, Christ can be said to be both "Far above all the heavens" yet "in Heaven" at the right hand of God.

There are eleven references to "heaven" in the Epistle to the Hebrews; one only speaks of "Heaven itself," and the others refer to the lesser and lower heavens. For the heavens created as recorded in Hebrews 1:10 are to "perish," but this can never be said of "Heaven itself," Christ is said to have "passed through the heavens," dierchomai (Heb. 4:14) and as being made "Higher than the heavens" (Heb. 7:26), without involving any contradiction in the saying that He Who passed through the heavens and was made higher than the heavens, was at the selfsame time depicted as entering "Heaven itself" (Heb. 9:24). The contradiction only exists in our minds if we fail to distinguish the Heaven of the beginning, Genesis 1:1 from the heaven of the ages, Genesis 1:8. The only references to the heavens of Genesis 1:1 that are found in the remainder of the N.T. are those of Peter and of the Revelation, which speaks of a new heaven and new earth (2 Pet. 3:13, Rev. 21:1).

The new heavens and the new earth spoken of by Isaiah are related to Jerusalem (Isa. 65:17-18). Where we read in Revelation 21 of a "first heaven" and a "first earth," the word translated "first," protos, is rendered in Rev. 21:4 as "the former things," and we should possibly translate Revelation 21:1, "the former heaven and the former earth," the reference to "no more sea" being an evident allusion to Genesis 1:2. In connection with the subject before us, let us turn to the words of Paul as found in 2 Corinthians 12:1-4. In direct connection with the visions and revelations he had received, he refers to an extraordinary experience. Whether he was "in the body or whether out of the body," he could not tell, but he did know that he had been caught up to the third heaven . . . caught up into paradise.

First, we must be clear as to the meaning of the term "caught up." The word "up" in this passage has no equivalent in Greek, and to attempt to make it have any bearing upon the subject betrays as much ignorance of the original as would be betrayed by anyone seeking to extract the idea of direction upward, from such idiomatic phrases of the English language as "shut up," "wash up," "lock up" and the like. We can omit the word "up" for the Greek word arpazo is translated as "take by force," "catch away," "pluck," "caught away," and "pull." The phrase "in the body" translates as en somati, which is very like the phrase en pneumati "in spirit" used on the occasion when John was translated to "The Day of the Lord" (Rev. 1:10). The closest parallel is that of the experience of Philip, who was "caught away" by The Spirit of The Lord and was "found at Azotus," some miles away.

Evidently, the third heaven to which Paul was "caught away" was Paradise. Otherwise, his reiteration would need a deal of explanation. Paradise has been located in different regions by different teachers, mainly in accordance with their peculiar beliefs concerning the intermediate state. If we keep close to the Scriptural meaning of Paradise, we shall know that it is derived from the Hebrew pardes (Neh. 2:8, Song. 4:13) and means "a garden or orchard," and when we meet the word in the Book of Revelation, it has no connection whatever with an intermediate state but is still a garden and orchard, it is indeed the garden of Eden restored and extended.

In what way, we may ask, can this Paradise at the end of the age be in any way related to the "third" heaven? If we count the third heaven as being like the third story of a building, it will certainly appear incongruous. But Revelation 21 has already spoken of "a new earth" and a "former earth," consequently it would be true to say, even as Peter in 2 Peter 3 has indicated, that there was a first heaven in the beginning (Gen. 1:1); a second heaven, at the making of the earth ready for mankind (Gen. 1:8); a third heaven, at the end when redemption shall be finished (Rev. 21:1). It was to this "heaven" and this "paradise" that Paul was caught away, and as he stresses more than any other writer in the N.T. the blessings of the New Creation, it is quite understandable that he should associate this great goal of the ages with the visions and revelation he had received in connection with his apostleship.

The great lesson that forces itself upon our attention, however, is the fact that, apart from Paul's ministry, and especially his prison ministry, there is scarcely any reference in the Scriptures, either Old or New, to The Heaven of Genesis 1:1. The Hope of The Mystery alone pierces the intervening firmament and places the believer "Far above all" even where Christ sits at the right hand of God. We must now consider the special term "Heavenly Places," but we will devote separate studies to this.

All God's Blessings,
The Believers

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