Kingom of Heaven

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by J. Jump, Dec 5, 2006.

  1. J. Jump

    J. Jump
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    In another thread the topic was brought up of the phrase the "kingdom of heaven." If one will notice that in very mention of this phrase in the Gospel of Matthew and even in John 3, according to the aleph text, the word used for heaven is always plural and there is always a definite article in front of it.

    So the correct word-for-word rendering is not the kingdom of heave, but rather the kingdom of the heavens. Yet to date I have not seen a translation of the Bible that correctly renders this phrase as it was originally given.

    My question was why is that? I don't know if we can talk about what it means, maybe that is for another section of the board.

    By the way I have some conclusions, but brought it up for others to ponder. This was brought to my attention about a year ago and I have been studying through the matter ever since. I even showed it to one of my aquaintances, who had studied Greek, and he was unfamiliar with it.

    Looking forward to the discussion.
     
  2. robycop3

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    I thought about it after I first read your post, and I remembered that the sky is still called "the heavens", even to this day. And Paul said he was taken up to the "7th heaven".

    It may be OUR concept of the abode of God being called 'heaven', which is actually a term for the SKY. It may be that MAN has wedded the two terms, as he believes that God's abode is up above, and therefore should be called heaven...while believing there is more than one heaven, the successive layers of the sky each being a heaven, with God's abode being the hioghest heaven, the 7th one.

    Or, it may be that I am full of beans on this one. After all, I'm just GUESSING.
     
  3. Keith M

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    I wouldn't touch that with a 20-foot pole, Cranston!

    :laugh: :thumbs: :laugh:
     
  4. J. Jump

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    That's funny :tongue3:.
     
  5. Deacon

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    It’s primarily the gospel of Matthew where you see the phrase “kingdom of heaven”.

    As you noted, the word is plural in the Greek but translated in most versions into a singular form.

    Although in the book of Hebrews (4:14) the word is translated in the plural form in all the versions I’ve examined.

    "Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession." (ESV)

    (also see Hebrews 7:26 and 9:23).

    It’s interesting that the Hebrew form of the word “heaven” is a duel noun which is sometimes translated in a singular tense too.
    For example the KJV translates the plural (duel) noun in Genesis 1:1 (שָׁמַ[FONT=&quot]֫[/FONT]יִם ) in a singular sense.

    “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” KJV

    Here’s my guess:

    >Matthew uses the Greek word as the Hebrews might have used the word.


    >The Greek word for heaven is in the plural form but is understood to be in a singular sense, like a plural of heavenly majesty.


    >It may be similar to the way the word for God is plural in Hebrew but translated and understood in the singular sense.


    Rob
     
  6. J. Jump

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    Or it could be a gross mistranslation (for what reason I am unsure) that has led to a great misreading of Scripture over the years . . . just a thought.

    Doesn't it at least seem odd that the Perfect Holy Spirit would choose a plural word, yet translators want us to understand it as a singular word when the Holy Spirit could have just as easily chosen the singular form of the word instead of the plural.

    IMVHO if the Holy Spirit chose a specific word then instead of re-writing the Scriptures, it would behoove us to understand what the Spirit meant by choosing that word. God told us that there is life in every word that has proceeded out of His mouth, so there is life in understanding the kingdom of the heavens as it was originally given to us, right?
     
  7. tinytim

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    RobyCop, Paul was caught up into the 3rd Heaven, not 7th Heaven...That is a TV show....

    And not that I would suggest this version, but the Recovery Version by Witness Lee translates those verses as "Kingdom of the Heavens"
     
  8. robycop3

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    Thanx, TT...I didn't read the scripture before I posted, nor had I counted the heavens...which leads me to ask what the SECOND heaven is.

    The TV show was OK for entertainment only, as it certainly didn't follow Scripture.
     
  9. robycop3

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    I'm also thinking that the KINGDOM OF GOD, and the New Jerusalem will be ON EARTH. Plus, Jesus went to prepare a home for us. This must be the New J, as John saw it descending from heaven to earth.

    The words coulda been used in the same sense that we use WATERS; I.E. "The waters of the Mediterranean Sea touch both Europe & Africa" while the Med is actually one big hunk of water.
     
  10. Keith M

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    I have always thought of it in this way: the 1st heaven is the sky/skies we see with our naked eyes; the 2nd heaven then would be the expanse we cannot see with our naked eyes; and, of course, the 3rd heaven wouild be the heaven of Scripture. There is no concrete evidence for these views - they are only my opinion. I, too, am guessing. A lot of that goes on here! (Ouch! Gotta get my tongue out of my cheek!)

    :wavey: :smilewinkgrin: :tongue3:

    So you noticed that too, huh Cranston? Well, at least the entertainment was more wholesome than a lot of what passes for "entertainment" these days!
     
  11. J. Jump

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    I have never read that version, but I am not surprised to hear that it renders the phrase correctly as Witness Lee had at least somewhat of an understanding of what this phrase meant as he studied under Watchman Nee, which also had an understanding of it. While I don't agree with all that these two men proclaimed I do think they had an understanding of this issue.

    PS - Not to hijack this thread, but what is the issue/are the issues with Lee's Recovery edition. I've never read it, but there doesn't seem to be much positive that is said about it.
     
  12. tinytim

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    I have a problem with his study notes....
    If you remember a while back when we were discussing "Kingdom Exclusion" ( I think that is the right term) I mentioned that I felt he believed that Baptism was essential for salvation... I found that out by reading his notes... Of course the doctrine of Kingdom Exclusion is also in there. And you already know how I feel about that, so I won't hijack this thread.

    As for translational issues with the text, I remember reading and thinking... this is not right, then I started comparing versions and I could see his bias..

    Of course that is a problem when a version comes from only 1 man, instead of a committee.
    Look at the Living Bible, the Message, JB Phillips NT, etc.
    Most will not see them as valid, but only that man's opinion.

    I'm surprised you have not read it. I thought you had. My copy was sent to me free from some website. If I can find the website, I'll PM you. They were giving out free Bibles.
     
  13. J. Jump

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    Ah I remember you making mention of that now. And that would be one area that I would disagree with him if he proclaims baptism is essential for eternal (spiritual) salvation.
     
  14. Deacon

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    Tyndale Bible Dictionary (p775). The NT reports two different forms of the expression: “the kingdom of God” and “the kingdom of the heavens.” The latter is found only in Matthew, but Matthew also has “the kingdom of God” four times (Mt 12:28; 19:24; 21:31, 43). “The kingdom of heaven” is a Semitic phrase that would have been meaningful to Jews but not to Greeks. The Jews, out of reverence for God, avoided uttering the divine name, and contemporary literature gives examples of substituting the word “heaven” for God (1 Macc 3:18, 50; 4:10; see Lk 15:18).

    Figures of Speech used in the Bible by E. W. Bullinger, (1898) (p991).
    Matt. 3:2, etc.—“The kingdom of the heavens”: i.e., the kingdom which has its origin and source from the heavens. It might be taken as the genitive of character, “heavenly kingdom”; but still only in the above sense, as the words of the Lord teach in John 18:36: “My kingdom is not of this world.” The word “of” there is not the sign of the genitive case, but is the preposition ἐκ (ek), out of, from, as to its origin. The kingdom depends on the Person of the King. It is the king that makes a kingdom, and not the kingdom the king. It is king-dom, the termination dom denoting jurisdiction. Dom is an abbreviation of doom or judgment. Hence it denotes the sphere in which anything is exercised, as earl-dom, wis-dom, Christen-dom. Hence a king-dom is the sphere where a king exercises his rule and jurisdiction. In his absence, therefore, there can be no kingdom. When the Lord said to His enemies, “The kingdom of God is among you” (Luke 17:21, margin), He meant in the person of the king. He could not mean that it was “within” the hearts of His enemies, who rejected the King and sought His life.
    The kingdom for which we pray, therefore, is not “from hence,” but from heaven.
    The word “heaven,” here, is used, by Metonymy, for “God.” See further under the Figure Metonymy.

    A Commentary, Critical and Explanatory, on the Old and New Testaments Jamieson, Fausset, Fausset, Brown,
    Re: Daniel 4:25
    heavens do rule—The plural is used, as addressed to Nebuchadnezzar, the head of an organized earthly kingdom, with various principalities under the supreme ruler. So “the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 4:17; Greek, “kingdom of the heavens”) is a manifold organization, composed of various orders of angels, under the Most High (Eph 1:20, 21; 3:10; Col 1:16).

    Versions using “the kingdom of the heavens”:

    1. Darby Bible (1890)
    2. McCord’s New Testament Translation of the Everlasting Gospel (1989) (“heaven's kingdom”) * interesting

    3. New World Translation
    4. Restoration of Original Sacred Name Bible (1976)
    5. Weymouth New Testament(The Resultant Greek Testament by Baptist Richard Weymouth, ~1900)
    6. Young’s Literal Translation(the reign of the heavens”)
     
  15. J. Jump

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    I am surprised, but JFFB is not the right meaning. And it speaks more of the rule of where fallen angels are currently ruling under Satan, but ultimately they are all under the Most High so they are correct.

    However, if we are going to have a full understanding of the teaching of the kingdom of the heavens we must understand that this is the kingdom that Christ was offering to the nation of Israel. It is the kingdom that is now offered to Christians.

    And as Israel we can choose to accept the offer and what goes along with it, or we can reject the kingdom as Israel did and miss out on it.

    This unfortunately is a terribly misunderstood doctrine among Christendom today.
     

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