Word Study: FOUNDATION

To begin our study of the spiritual word, “foundation”, let us start with the Greek word, καταβολη (Strongs 2602, pronounced, katabolae). This word is found in the New Testament, 11 times, ten times translated “foundation” and one time “conceive”. It is not found in the Greek Old Testament (LXX).

Matt 13:35 – “That it might be fufilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables. I will utter things which have been kept secret from the  καταβολη of the world.”

Matt 25:34 – “Come you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the καταβολη of the earth.”

Luke 11:50 – “That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the καταβολη of the world, may be required of this generation.”

John 17:24 – “Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory, which You have given Me. For Thou lovest Me before the καταβολη of the world.”

Eph 1:4 – “According as He has chosen us in Him before the καταβολη of the world.”

Heb 4:3 – “Although the works were finished from the καταβολη of the world.”

Heb 9:26 – “For then must He often have suffered since the καταβολη of the world.”

Heb 11:11 – “Through faith also Sarah herself received strength for the throwing down of seed.”

1 Pet 1:20 – “Who verily was foreordained before the καταβολη of the world.”

Rev 13:8 – “Whose names are not written in the scroll of life of the Lamb slain from the καταβολη of the world.”

Rev 17:8 – “Whose names were not written in the book of life from the καταβολη of the world.”

Let us more closely examine the Greek word, καταβολη. It is derived from two Greek words, κατα (2596) meaning “down” and βολη (1000). Βολη is used only one time in the New Testament in Luke 22:41, “And He was withdrawn from them a stone’s βολη.” It is also used one time in the Greek Old Testament (LXX) in Genesis 21:16, “And she sat herself a good way off from him, as it were a bow βολη.” In both instances whether of a stone’s throw or the throw of an arrow,  the throw is a certain distance. Thus, βολη is not just “to throw”, but a measured and purposed throw. There is also a word derived from βολη which is βολιζώ (1001). When the –ζώ (zo) is added at the end of verb it strengthens the word. In this instance it gives a sense of  repetition to βολη, thus, the repeated throwing or sounding as to find the depth of water. It is used twice in Act 27:28, “The shipmen deemed they drew near to land, and βολιζώ , and found twenty fathoms, and when they had gone a little further, they βολιζώ again, and found it to be fifteen fathoms. Then fearing they should fall upon the rocks, they cast four anchors out the stern, and wished for day.” The act of sounding is repetitious, a measured throw with purpose. This gives proof that the Greek word βολη is more than just “a throw” but “a measured and purposed throw”.

Now, the Strong’s Concordance states the Greek word, καταβαλλώ, kataballo (2598) is the root word of καταβολη. Καταβαλλώ is found three times in the New Testament:

2 Cor 4:9: “Persecuted, but not forsaken; καταβαλλώ, but not destroyed.”  

Rev 12:10: “And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, ‘Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Mashiach. For the accuser of our brethren is καταβαλλώ, which accused them before our God day and night.” 

It can be seen that these two uses of  καταβαλλώ are not the measured throw of a stone or an arrow as with the use of καταβολη. (But all things are purposed of God, even when things do not seem measured or with purpose). The third passage where καταβαλλώ is used is unique and I will examined it by itself.

Heb 6:1: “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of the Mashiach, let us go unto perfection, not καταβαλλώ again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God.”

What makes this passage unique is the use of καταβαλλώ with the word “foundation”. Foundation is the translation of a unique Greek word, θεμελιος, themelios (2310). θεμελιος is found 15 times in the New Testament in the following passages: Luke 6:48, 49; Luke 14:29; Acts 16:26; Rom 15:20; 1 Cor 3:10, 11, 12; Eph 2:20; 1 Tim 6:19; Heb 6:1; Heb 11:10, Rev 21:14,19. Without θεμελιος being used with καταβαλλώ, καταβαλλώ would mean simply mean to “cast or throw down”. But when the two words are used together, it is the “laying down” or “throwing down” of a foundation in an orderly way.

Καταβαλλώ is found in the Greek Old Testament (LXX) 32 times in the following passages: 2 Sam 20:15; 2 Kings 3:19, 25; 6:5; 19:7; 2 Chron 32:21; Job 12:14; 16:9; Ps 37:14; 73:18; 106:26, 27; 140:11; Prov 7:26; 18:8; 25:28; Is 16:9; 26:5; Jer 19:7; Ez 6:4; 23:25; 26:4, 4, 9, 12; 29:5; 30:22; 31:12; 32:12; 39:3; Hag 2:22. As these passages are read, the reader will see that καταβαλλώ is not  “a measured throw” as of καταβολη, but simply a throwing or casting down. Thus, the Strong’s Concordance referencing καταβολη derived from καταβαλλώ is incorrect.

The spiritual word καταβολη in 10 of the first 11 passages would literally mean “God throwing down creation in a measured way”, thus, the foundation of the earth. This is contrary to the carnal mind that cannot comprehend the Creator God throwing down creation in a measured way.  The creation by God is beyond understanding, but we have spiritual understanding by grace and can speak of these things. We can speak of things which are beyond our understanding, for this is given to us by His Spirit.  In Hebrews 11:11 it speaks of “Sarah receiving strength for the throwing down of seed” or the conception of an individual. The creation of an individual is also God throwing down in a measured way in the creation an individual. This is a mystery as all creation is, but we have the mind of the Mashiach. “We might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things we speak not in words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of the Mashiach.” (1 Cor 2)

Looking at Matt 13:35 again, and in particular that which is quoted from the Psalms 78:2:  “I will open my mouth in parables. I will utter things which have been kept secret from the  καταβολη of the world.”

 In Psalms 77:2 of the LXX, “I will open my mouth in parables. I will utter dark sayings which have been from the beginning. All which we have heard and known, and our fathers have declared to us”

In the KJV, “I will open my mouth in a parable. I will utter dark saying of old, which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us.”

In the literal Hebrew, “I will open in a parable my mouth.I will pour out dark sayings of old; we have heard and known them, and our fathers have told to us.

Spiritually “dark sayings” are one and the same with “sayings of old”. And “sayings of old” are from “the beginning” and the “beginning” is from the “foundation of the world”. They too are one and the same. The Lamb is slain from the beginning, the old, times past, the foundations of the world.

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