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The Oikoumene in the NT

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Jim Jordan has pointed out that the Greek word "oikoumene" is used in the NT to refer to the Hellenistic and Helleno-Roman world, rather than to the entire inhabited earth. It could be translated as "empire." Against this background, the usage in Heb 2:5 is very striking, since it talks about the "coming oikoumene" being subjected to Jesus. This is NOT a reference to the eschatological order, but to a new "world empire," the empire of the Son of Man (Dan 7), the stone that grows into a mountain (Dan 2). The world-empire that follows the Hellenistic oikoumene, Christendom or the church, is the one subjected to Jesus.

posted by Peter J. Leithart on Tuesday, January 27, 2004 at 05:29 AM

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