It is common to hear the words earth, and world interchanged. But I believe a closer look at the meaning and proper contextual use is warranted.
Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2) The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.
In these verses, the word earth in Hebrew is erets, which means earth and land. It is a physical thing that can be touched and felt.
Let’s consider the word world in Hebrew. It is tebel and means world, but in its usage it lends itself to the inhabitants of the world and their system of living, not the physical earth.
There is another term that is often lumped in with these. That is age, such as the end of the age. Age is referring to a period of time. If someone says the end of the age is soon, you are talking about a period of time ending soon.
Why is this important? Let me explain why I believe it to be important. God created the earth. He created it for a purpose, and that purpose was for us. He created us in the image and likeness of Himself to reflect Him on His created earth. Gen 1:27. But something went awry early in the garden.
Can you see God’s original vision? Let’s view it as I believe He saw it. An earth filled with many millions of people created in the image of God who are actively reflecting Him in all His glory on the created earth. Can you see His glory covering the earth forever and ever?
Even though something went awry, I do not believe God has changed His purpose or goal. God is never changing, and He is certainly not daunted by a bump in the road. Instead, He just kept making new ways to get to His original goal.
When Adam changed his allegiance from God to Satan. The world, not the earth, changed. The inhabitants of the earth died (the light went out) and no longer reflected the glory of God. God reflected his glory in the garden, giving it life.
The world of two, Adam and Eve, were expelled from the garden to live in the earth's remainder. The lack of God’s reflection affected the earth. Adam gave over ‘ownership’ of the world to Satan. Now earth groaned for the world (inhabitants) to once again reflect the glory of God.
Romans 8: 19) The creation waits in eager expectation for the revelation of the sons of God. 20) for the creation was subjected to futility, not by its own will, but because of the One who subjected it, in hope 21) that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. 22) We know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until the present time. 23) Not only that, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24) For in this hope we were saved; but hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he can already see?
We are in a process of transformation, of which the ultimate culmination is being once again the complete and perfect reflection of God just as Adam and Eve were. We are too endeavor to become internally more like Christ every day, which in turn is reflected outwardly in our behavior.
Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.
But in the meantime, the earth is only partially covered with incomplete images which only reflect His glory partially. On a good day, we are still a dim light. But we are a light nonetheless, and we are told to shine and not put our light away, but let it shine as boldly as possible in the world, the inhabitants and their system of living on God’s created earth.
We have a mandate from Jesus to be salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16), and to GO and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19) . As long as the world still has inhabitants of darkness, we have not completed our assignment and we must all continue with our assignment. That doesn’t necessarily mean become a missionary in a third world country. It can mean, as you go about your daily life, let your light shine to all your meet, sharing and teaching about the Good News.
Love, show, and teach others about Jesus. Help them grow. Making disciples is so much more than just getting someone to say a prayer of allegiance to Jesus. A topic for another day is, is that even effective in reality.
As we do make disciples throughout the world, the light of God will shine greater and greater, eventually covering the earth. When we have no more disciples to go make, Jesus will return and our bodies will be transformed, both those dead and those still alive. And then the earth will no longer be confined and can be the garden fully alive and beautiful the way God first intended.
Jesus will reign in the new Jerusalem, and we will inhabit the garden, which covers the entire earth.
So, when we read the word of God, the Bible, I believe we must know the earth is a created physical object created by God’s loving hands for a purpose and the world is its inhabitants and its system of being, working, and governing that those inhabitants perpetuate upon the earth.
Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection did away with the old rickety bandaid covenant, so that now the new perfect covenant (which excluded no man, woman, or race) our sins are forgiven, the enemy Satan was disarmed and made a show of openly (Colossians 2:15). Now we are empowered to grow in Jesus and be increasingly transformed into the image of God.
The more disciples we make, the less darkness is covering the earth. Current stats show that more and more people are coming to profess Jesus as Lord every day, no matter what we are led to believe by the media. Let's get busy discipling them so God’s glory will increase.
If you believe things are getting worse and worse, you are focusing on the darkness and the perpetual toxic propaganda that the enemy pushes through the media. It is all lies and yet so many are addicted to watching it daily.
We are told to focus and think on whatever is true, honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace… think on these things. (Philippians 4:8 amp emphasis mine) The garbage that the media, both via tv and the internet, which is governed by the darkness still left in the world, is not worthy of respect and we are not following what we are told to do by feeding on it.
Ignore the darkness. We reflect on what we feed on. If you feed on the darkness, the light you carry will diminish, reflecting the darkness. Focus on becoming transformed to be a better reflection of God and so growing in the light you carry, make disciples of all those you meet by loving and teaching them in word and in deed. And the light you carry will increase and continue to cover the entire earth.
We are not of this world which still had so much darkness, but we are part of this earth. Let's get about the assignment we were given, and cover this earth in the reflection of God's light and take bath this earth that was created for us. The quicker we do, the quicker Jesus will come back to reign.
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Let me ruffle some more feathers here (I seem to be so good at it). I take issue with the little ‘ask Jesus into your heart’ prayers we tack on to the end of our religious box sessions. That does not lead to being born again. At best, it may allow those saying it to realize that there is a need in their life to allow Jesus to help them change and by saying that prayer sincerely they are acknowledging that something in their life needs to change and they give that to Jesus, which is amazing. But...