Revelation

The Way It Happened

Revelation 7:1, The Four Corners of the Earth

After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree.

//Ever wonder where the four corners of the earth hide? It’s a little hard to find a corner on a sphere. Even if we grant that Bible writers imagined a flat earth, they never imagined it to be square! Take this verse in Isaiah 40:22, speaking of God:

He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in.

Thus, God chooses a vantage point above a circular earth, where he can keep an eye on all its inhabitants. He stretches the heavens over the earth like a tent, protecting a flat surface. This matches the description in Genesis of a flat earth, covered by a dome of sorts. The sun and the moon ride tracks daily across the underside of the dome. Yes, the Bible often assumes a flat earth. But where are its corners?

Let me ask you this. When you hear the phrase today, do you imagine corners on the earth? Of course not. It’s a figure of speech, meaning from all over the globe. It was a figure of speech in Bible days as well (see Ezekiel 7:2 and Isaiah 11:12) where it came to mean from all over the flat circle of the earth. Tell any ancient Hebrew that the earth is square, and he’ll laugh you to scorn. You don’t see any corner edges in the sky dome, do you? 

Moreover, the Hebrew word Kaneph is better translated as “edge” or “extremity” than “corner,” for which more precise Hebrew words exist if the writers really meant corner. And “four” in today’s verse surely refers to the four directions, North, South, East, and West, as attested by its reference to the four winds. There is no insinuation that the land has four sides. In fact, anyone can see that the creation continues on beyond the edge of the land, and can feel the winds originating from over the water beyond the land’s edge.

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1 Comment

  1. The very reason I am into changing my house’s roof to skylights in brisbane is to have a closer perspective of the universe and appreciate God’s wonders all the more, especially at night. Thanks for such an insightful writing that you shared here. Cheers!

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