The English word “world” appears in the New Testament 242 times. There are basically three Greek words that are all translated into the English as “world”, yet each one of these Greek words carries with it a distinct meaning. It is good that we pay attention to which one of these words is used or else we could misunderstand exactly what is being taught in each case the “world” is mentioned.
Translation from one language to another is always problematic in the same fashion as listening to men speak the same language with different dialects. Often one must pay close attention to the speaker and the context to which he is referring, in order to understand his meaning. When someone from Boston says he is going to “park the car”, those of us from the deep south might think that he means he is putting a pock mark onone of our cattle.
One of the Greek words is “oikoumene” (appearing 15 times) and generally means the inhabited world such as the “Roman Empire” as we see in Luke 2:1; “And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.” (see also Mat.24:14, Acts 17:6; Rom. 10:18) Another of the Greek words is “kosmos” (which is by far the most commonly used, appearing 187 times) which generally means the “world system or order” as we see it displayed in the inhabitants of the world, Jew and Gentile alike. “ He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.” (John 1:10) (see also John 3:16; I Cor.11:32; Phil. 2:15)
The third Greek word is “aion” and can be most often understood to be speaking of an era or an age. It is the word from which we get our English word “eon” which means a certain period of time, generally an extended one. In fact, this word is also translated in the KJV as ever (71 times) and evermore (5 times) such as “Fear not; I am the first and the last: and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore.” (Rev 1:17-18)
Our text (Gal.1:4) tells us that JESUS CHRIST, died in order to deliver us from this present evil “age”. This “age” began at creation and shall indeed come to an end and the “world” (or kosmos) which we presently see shall be destroyed along with this “world” (oikoumene) which shall melt with a fervent heat. It is this age and its resultant destruction that those for whom CHRIST died are delivered. They are not appointed unto this destruction. “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1Thess 5:9)
This present “age” (i.e. world) is evil by and according to the design of HIM who does all things according to the good pleasure of HIS will. HE has appointed one to “rule” over it, who is in his very being opposed to all that is good and would (if it were possible) destroy all that belongs to the Sovereign GOD who made him. “In whom the god of this world (aion) hath blinded the minds of them which believe not.” (2 Cor 4:4) “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world (kosmos) be cast out.” (John 12:31) The certain doom and manifest judgment of GOD upon this “prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.” (Eph 2:2) is declared and displayed in the triumphant death and resurrection of JESUS CHRIST. “And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” (Col 2:15)
Just as Satan thought to enslave the LORD JESUS when he took HIM to the top of the mountain and showed HIM the “world” (kosmos) (see Mat.4:8), so he determined to slay HIM. (see John 13:27). Yet unbeknownst to him (see I Cor.2:8); every move that HE made towards that end was ordained by the hand of HIM who does all things according to HIS will.
Evil men move at the bidding of Satan but every step which they take is determined by HIM whose purpose cannot fail. While they mean these things for evil, yet HE orders them all to “work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Rom 8:28) This is clearly demonstrated in the case of Joseph being sold into Egypt and Satan’s affliction of Job, and then openly demonstrated in the betrayal and ultimate crucifixion of JESUS CHRIST. “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain” (Acts 2:23)
This age serves the exact purpose for which it was ordained by HIM who creates all ages. “Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. (aion) Amen.” (Eph 3:21) It is manifested in the scriptures that while this particular world (or age) in which we presently dwell, is temporary; there are other ages unto which the children of GOD are appointed to inhabit, which are without end, to the glory of the ONE who is their REDEEMER. “Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, by (grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages (aion) to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” (Eph 2:5-7)
The ultimate destruction of this world and its inhabitants is death, for which there is no remedy. “The soul that sinneth shall die”, “It is appointed unto men once to die”. Death spares none since it is in its very essence the result of sin. Yet there is ONE who has power over death. HE demonstrated it when HE came into the world born of a woman and did subject HIMSELF to the pains of death in order to bear the sins of HIS elect. HE proved it when HE lay for three days and nights in the belly of the earth, arising on the third day and manifesting the destruction of death for all those for whom HE died. “Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” (Rom 1:3-4)
This is HE who came to deliver HIS people from this present evil world. “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; (who is the god of this age) And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” (Heb 2:14-15) There is no bondage to which the sons of GOD have been subjected that JESUS CHRIST has not delivered them from, most especially death which is the calling card of this present evil world.
Sons we are, through God’s election, Who in Jesus Christ believe;
By eternal destination, Saving grace we here receive;
Our Redeemer Does both grace and glory give.
Every soul of man, by sinning, Merits everlasting pain;
But thy love, without beginning, Formed and fixed salvation’s plan.
Countless millions Shall in life through Jesus reign.
When in that blest habitation, Which my God for me ordained;
When in glory’s full possession, I with saints and angels stand;
Free grace only Shall resound through Canaan’s land!
Hymn #69 Gadsby’s