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Particulars of Christianity:
303 Bible Cosmology


Heaven and Earth, Replaced or Restored:
More on the Creation of Angels (Part 2)

Cosmology: Introduction and Definitions
Part 1: The Old Testament - Buildings in Heaven
Bodies in Heaven: Angels and Spirit Bodies
Humans and Angels: How Similar are We?
Hell in the Old Testament
Part 2: From Christ's Death to His Return
Part 3: Christ's Return Through His Millennial Reign
Part 4: The Final Judgment and Eternity
Replaced or Restored: "Restarts" vs. the First Start
Replaced or Restored: Genesis 1 and Angels
Replaced or Restored: Precedent Reveals Restoration (Part 1)
Replaced or Restored: Precedent Reveals Restoration (Part 2)
Replaced or Restored: More on the Creation of Angels (Part 1)
Replaced or Restored: More on the Creation of Angels (Part 2)
Cosmology: Composite Chart
Cosmogony Illustrations



We have now arrived at our last "loose end" concerning the question of when the angels were created. In our investigations into this question we took note of Hebrews 9.

Hebrews 9:11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; 12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.

Hebrews 9:23 It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: 25 Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; 26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

Hebrews 9:11-12, 23-26 speak clearly of Jesus Christ entering into a heavenly sanctuary of which the earthy sanctuary was only a copy, and purifying that heavenly sanctuary by presenting his own blood and the sacrifice of himself. So, we know Hebrews 9 is talking about a heavenly tabernacle into which Jesus entered, not the human temple.

However, what is most significant about this passage is lost in the King James Version from which the above quotes were taken. Look again at Hebrews 9:11, this time quoted from the New King James Version, and pay close attention to the word formerly translated "building" in the phrase "not of this building" at the end of verse 11.

Hebrews 9:11 But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. 12 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.

While the King James Version described the heavenly tabernacle as "not of this building" the New King James Version describes the heavenly tabernacle as "not of this creation." The obvious question is, if the heavenly tabernacle is not of the earthly creation, then what creation is it apart of?

Now, obviously the Greek is the key here. So, what is the Greek word and definition translated "building" in the King James and "creation" in the New King James? Is "creation" accurate? Or is "building" more a appropriate rendering of the Greek text?

The Greek word translated "building" in the King James and "creation" in the New King James is the word "ktisis" (Strong's No. 2937.) We should note that not only is "the act of creating" and "creation" a primary and dominant part of the definition of ktisis, but ktisis itself occurs 19 times in the New Testament, which gives some insight into how that Greek word was employed by the authors of the New Testament.

And, before we get to the statistical breakdown of how ktisis is used in the New Testament, we should note that the King James Version of the Bible is the only version which translates "ktisis" as "building." The New King James, NIV, NASB, RSV, and ASV all translate this same Greek word "ktisis" as "creation."

When it comes to how ktisis is used and translated throughout the New Testament, this is what we find. 6 out of 19 times, ktisis is translated as "creation." Two of these six times are spoken by Jesus himself in the following 2 passages.

Mark 10:6 "But from the beginning of the creation [2937] God made them male and female."

Mark 13:19 "For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation [2937] which God created unto this time, neither shall be."

Jesus also used ktisis another time in which it is translated "creature" but which the context reveals could easily refer to "all creation."

Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every [3956] creature [2937].

(The word "every" is the Greek word "pas," Strong's No. 3956, and also means "all." In fact, "pas" is translated "all" 748 out of the 1243 times it occurs in the New Testament, and only 117 times is it translated "every.")

"Ktisis" is also used to refer to "creation" by Paul in Romans 1:20 and Romans 8:22.

Romans 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation [2937] of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

Romans 8:22 For we know that the whole creation [2937] groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.

In fact, Paul uses "ktisis" a total of 7 times during Romans, including 5 times in Romans 8. At least 6 out of these 7 occurrences "ktisis" could easily refer to "creation" as a whole and not just individual "creatures."

"Ktisis" is also used by Peter to refer to "creation" in 2 Peter 3:4.

2 Peter 3:4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation [2937].

Likewise, John uses "ktisis" to refer to "creation" in Revelation 3:14.

Revelation 3:14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation [2937] of God;

In fact, of the remaining 12 times "ktisis" occurs, 11 times it is translated to the closely related English word "creature," and only 1 time out of the entire 19 occurrences is "ktisis" translated "building" in the King James Version, and that is here in Hebrews 9:11. Consequently, "creation" would be a proper translation of "ktisis" in Hebrews 9:11.

From this point forward, the line of reasoning was that if Hebrews 9:11 should properly be translated to say that Christ Jesus entered into "the greater and more perfect" heavenly tabernacle, which is "not of this creation" as the New King James reads, that could strongly suggest that the angels and their heavenly abode had a wholly separate creation event than the creation week described in Genesis 1.

However, this line of reasoning also does not provide much weight for the idea of a creation of the angels prior to Genesis 1. There are 2 alternatives to this interpretation that "not of this creation" infers another creation, a creation of heavenly things including the angels and where they reside, prior to Genesis 1. And both of those 2 alternatives are not only just as valid interpretations of the text of Hebrews 9, but they are far less complicated and extraneous than assuming an entirely new segment of history prior to Genesis 1.

First, it is possible that even if translated as "creation," "ktisis" in Hebrews 9 might simply refer to the act of creation or creating.

Hebrews 9:6 Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God…11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building…23 It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: 25 Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; 26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

The phrase "not made with hand" in verse 11 seems to be juxtaposed to the idea of the earthly tabernacle being made with human hands as stated in verse 24. Thus, it is quite possible that the phrase "not of this creation" is meant to be juxtaposed, not with creation of the universe, but with the creation of the earthly tabernacle. Conversely, the description that the heavenly tabernacle is "not of this creation" would simply mean that it was created at a different time than the creation of the earthly tabernacle. If this is the case, it would not infer any creation prior to Genesis 1 because the creation of the earthly tabernacle was not made in Genesis 1 but thousands of years afterward under Moses. Therefore, to say that the heavenly tabernacle is not a part of the creation of the earthly tabernacle would only imply that it was made at a different time than the tabernacle of Moses. And even if that meant it was created thousands of years before the tabernacle of Moses, that would still places its creation well within or well after the creation week of Genesis 1.

Second, to borrow language from Peter, it is also possible that the phrase "not of this creation" in Hebrews 9 is meant in the sense of the "heavens and earth which were of old" as opposed to the "heavens and earth, which are now."

2 Peter 3:5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: 6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: 7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men…10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

Here in 2 Peter 3, Peter uses this distinction between "the heavens and earth of old" before the Flood and "the heavens and earth which are now" as a model for interpreting the phrase "new heavens and new earth," which he says will occur at the return of Jesus Christ. Since the heavens and earth that exist after the fiery return of Jesus Christ are deemed "new heavens and new earth" from those that exist now before Jesus' return, in the same way, the heavens and earth which exist now can be considered "new heavens and earth" from those before the Flood. Would it then be acceptable to refer to the current heavens and earth as a "new creation" from the world that existed before the Flood?

The answer to this question appears to be a resounding, "yes." In 2 Corinthians 5, Peter uses this same Greek word "ktisis" (Strong's No. 2937) to refer to the condition of a man after repenting and receiving Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new (2537) creature (2937): old things are passed away (3928); behold, all things are become new.

Here in verse 17, Paul says that if a man is in Christ, he is a new "ktisis." In this passage, like the heavens and earth before the Flood, the individual man isn't replaced with a whole new man, but simply the condition of that man is renewed or rejuvenated. In fact, Paul is speaking of a man being regenerated or reborn. His life is renewed. And even though it is the same man, he is deemed a "new creation" since the "old" condition is "passed away" and has "become new" or rejuvenated. Therefore, "ktisis" can be used to refer to when an existing item is recreated, regenerated, or rejuvenated. And if this is the case, since the present heavens and earth since the Flood can be considered a "new heavens and new earth" from those before the Flood, it is also proper to think of the present heavens and earth as "a new creation" in the same sense that reborn man is "a new creation" from his former self.

Furthermore, this correspondence between the usage of "ktisis" in 2 Corinthians 5:17 and the destruction and recreation of the earth at the Flood is demonstrated by the phrase "passed away." The Greek word for "passed away" in 2 Corinthains 5:17 is "parerchomai" (Strong's No. 3928). And this is the same word used in 2 Peter 3:10, when Peter describes the present heavens and earth as "passing away" by fire at the return of Christ Jesus.

2 Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away (3928) with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

Since Peter is explaining the destruction of the present earth by fire as following the same pattern as the destruction of the former heavens and earth before the Flood by water, it is likewise appropriate to say that "the heavens and earth of old" before the Flood "passed away" as well. Consequently, like the reborn man in 2 Corinthians 5:17, "the world that was then" before the Flood "passed away" (parerchomai) and became a "new creation" (ktisis), which is the present world that we know today. If this is the case, then it would make perfect sense to refer to the heavenly tabernacle as "not part of this creation." Moses tabernacle was made 900 years after the Flood. Consequently, Moses' tabernacle is part of this creation. It is part of "the new heavens and new earth" which came during the recreation event of the Flood. The heavenly tabernacle, however, is "not of this creation," not of the same creation as Moses' tabernacle. The heavenly tabernacle is part of the original creation of Genesis 1, along with the rest of the "hosts" or components of heaven. Consequently, we have one tabernacle, the heavenly tabernacle, which was made along with the rest of "the heaven and earth of old" that were before the Flood and one tabernacle, the tabernacle of Moses, which is more recent and was made during the "present heavens and earth" since the recreation at the Flood.

Since the distinction "not of this creation" in Hebrews 9, is very likely to simply be about the original creation as opposed to the "new creation" of the world into a "new heavens and earth" at the Flood, there is no reason necessitating another creation before the Genesis 1 creation week. If Hebrews 9 implies more than one "creation," then we already have more than one. We already have a model that will suffice: the original creation and the recreation of the world at the Flood.

This interpretation is confirmed in 3 ways. First, it is already a part of the Biblical model as exhibited in 2 Peter 3 and 2 Corinthians 5. Second, it is confirmed by historical details. The Flood took place in the 24th century BC and Moses did not receive instructions to build the tabernacle until the 15th century BC, around 900 years later. As such, the tabernacle of Moses is clearly a tabernacle built during "the present heavens and earth" created by the Flood. If the heavenly tabernacle is part of a previous creation, then we already have an earlier creation in terms of "the heavens and earth" as they were created before the Flood.

Third, this interpretation fits perfectly in line with Paul's larger theme throughout the book of Hebrews. Hebrews is largely about demonstrating that the Law of Moses, with its priesthood, tabernacle, temple service, and certain precepts were only temporary and have been replaced by the eternal covenant through Jesus Christ. To establish the temporary nature of Moses' covenant and the eternal nature of the covenant brought by Jesus Christ, Paul will frequently refer to Jesus Christ's covenant as pre-dating the Law of Moses in some way. More specifically, Paul will present the covenant inaugurated by Jesus Christ as a fulfillment of promises and elements from the ages before Moses. In chapters 5 and 7, Jesus is shown to supersede the Levitical priesthood of Moses' Law by identifying Jesus as a member of the priesthood of Melchizedek, which was contemporary with Abraham, which pre-dates Moses and the Levites, and which is a fulfillment of long-standing prophecy and covenants made by God. This line of argument presented by Paul in chapters 5 and 7 flows directly into chapters 8 and 9 where Jesus is presented as that high priest of the order of Melchizedek, who is not only of a priestly order older and superior to the Levites but who entered into a tabernacle (the heavenly tabernacle) that is older than and supersedes the tabernacle built under Moses' instructions. In this framework, identifying the heavenly tabernacle as part of the original creation of Genesis 1 as opposed to Moses' tabernacle, which was made after the Flood, Paul is once again affirming the antiquity and surpassing nature of the priesthood of Jesus Christ over the priesthood of the Levites who attended in the tabernacle of Moses.

In conclusion, any indications of a creation prior to Genesis 1 that might stem from the timing of the devil's sin, the timing of the fall of man, the phrase "not of this creation" in Hebrews 9, and the apparent silence of Genesis 1 on the topic are seen to hold no weight. Other options are available to explain all of these factors, which require far less extraneous suggestions than the assumption of an earlier creation and additional history before Genesis 1. And all of the other available options are either consistent with or are asserted by what we already know in scripture, whereas the idea of another creation prior to Genesis 1 is wholly unmentioned anywhere in scripture. Consequently, we are left to conclude that the angels and the their heavenly abode were created in the creation week of Genesis 1.



Related Images



Cosmology
(Days of Creation)
(Figures 1-6)




Cosmology Chart