Isa 40:22 It is he that sitteth <yashab> upon the circle <chuwg> of the earth, <‘erets> and the inhabitants <yashab> thereof are as grasshoppers; <chagab> that stretcheth out <natah> the heavens <shamayim> as a curtain, <doq> and spreadeth them out <mathach> as a tent <‘ohel> to dwell in: <yashab> {It is…: or, Him that}

 

H2329

חוּג

chûg

khoog

From H2328; a circle: – circle, circuit, compassive

Total KJV occurrences: 3

 

 

The first line of Isaiah 40:22 reads, “It is he [i.e. God] who sits above the circle of the earth.” Some have argued from this that Scripture teaches the earth to be a flat disc, rather than a globe. However, even if the original Hebrew is correctly understood to refer to a circle, this doesn’t necessarily indicate something flat; a sphere appears as a circle when seen from above—and indeed from whatever direction it is viewed. Moreover, there is good reason to believe that the word translated ‘circle’ might be better translated ‘sphere’.

 

There is good reason to believe that the word translated ‘circle’ might be better translated ‘sphere’.

 

The Hebrew word in question is khûg (חוּג) which is also found in Job 22:14 where, in many Bible versions, it is translated ‘vault’. For example, the New American Standard Bible reads, “Clouds are a hiding place for Him, so that He cannot see; and He walks on the vault of heaven.” Clearly ‘vault’ carries the sense of something three-dimensional and is given as the primary meaning of khûg in the well-known Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon.1 In modern Hebrew, a sphere is denoted by khûg, along with kaddur, galgal, and mazzal.2 In Arabic (another Semitic language), kura means ball and is the word used in the Van Dyck-Boustani Arabic Bible (1865) to translate khûg in Isaiah 40:22.

 

Clearly ‘vault’ carries the sense of something three-dimensional and is given as the primary meaning of khûg in the well-known Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon.

 

A case can also be made from modern European terms denoting sphericity. Philologists have discovered a number of Indo-European words that appear to be related to Semitic words, whether of shared origin or having been borrowed in the distant past.3 While there is no specific evidence confirming a link in the case of the Hebrew word khûg, it may be significant that, in Indo-European languages, there are similar-sounding words that definitely refer to a spherical object, examples being kugel (Middle High German), kula (Polish), kugla (Serbo-Croatian) and gugā (their Proto-Indo-European root).

 

Various sixteenth century Latin Bibles indicate that medieval scholars understood khûg in Isaiah 40:22 to refer to the sphericity of the earth. For example, Santes Pagnino translated this sphaera, and Benedictus Arias Montanus and François Vatable globus. The seventeenth century Giovanni Diodati Bible also used globus and the eighteenth century Dutch Hebraist Campeius Vitringa used orbis.7 More recently, the Spanish Jerusalem Bible used ‘orb’ and the Italian Riveduta Bible ‘globo’.

 

While most modern Bible versions translate khûg as ‘circle’, a good case can be made that ‘sphere’ was the sense intended by the original Hebrew. Historically, scholars have often taken this view, preferring the Latin words sphaera, globus and orbis. The recent preference for ‘circle’ may have arisen from the belief that people living in Isaiah’s time were too primitive to realise the true nature of the earth. This would seem unlikely, however, as Job 26:7, probably written several centuries before, states that God “hangs the earth on nothing,” indicating that the ancient Hebrews had quite a sophisticated understanding of cosmology.

 

Everyone is in agreement that khûg carries the sense of roundness, and common usage makes clear that this can refer to either a two or three dimensional geometry. Hence, it cannot be argued that Isaiah 40:22 clearly teaches the earth to be a disc. Moreover, even if khûg does refer to a circle here, this doesn’t necessarily indicate flatness as a globe appears as a circle from whatever direction it is viewed.

 

Deuteronomy 29:29: The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.

 

When God is seen as He is, the blessed truth shines with a new and clearer light. That which kept the mind in perplexity is cleared away by the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness. And yet there are many things we shall not comprehend; but we have the blessed assurance that what we know not now, we shall know hereafter.– Letter 15a, 1890.

 

I have been shown that it is the device of the enemy to lead minds to dwell upon some obscure or unimportant point, something that is not fully revealed or is not essential to our salvation. This is made the absorbing theme, the “present truth,” when all their investigations and suppositions only serve to make matters more obscure than before, and to confuse the minds of some who ought to be seeking for oneness through sanctification of the truth.–Letter 7, 1891.

 

You are saying that EGW material was edited, here is a scanned letter from her writing:

“God is perpetually at work in nature. She is His servant, directed as He pleases. Nature in her work testifies of the intelligent presence and active agency of a Being who moves in all His works according to His will. It is not by an original power inherent in nature that year by year the earth produces its bounties and the world keeps up its CONTINUAL MARCH AROUND THE SUN. The hand of infinite power is perpetually at work guiding this planet. It is God’s power momentarily exercised that keeps it in position in its rotations. The God of heaven is constantly at work. It is by His power that vegetation is caused to flourish, that every leaf appears and every flower blooms. It is not as the result of a mechanism, that, once set in motion, continues its work, that the pulse beats and breath follows breath. {Ms4-1882}

 

About the earth being a globe here another of her writing scanned from her handwriting:

“Now here we can see our appointed work. When Christ went away, He left His blessing upon those He left behind. He was parting from them, and He gave them to understand that their field extended to the uttermost parts of the world. They were not to confine their labors to their own home or to their own country, but they were to widen until it should COMPASS THE GLOBE, it should go to the uttermost parts of the earth.. {Ms21-1887}”

 

I wish to see Jerusalem when the fires of the last great day shall have cleansed it from all sinful defilement. Jerusalem is now no more sacred to me than any other PLACE ON THE GLOBE. {Lt44-1894}

 

God furnished the matter and the properties with which to carry out His plans. Nature is but the Lord’s agency. The hand of God is continually GUIDING THE GLOBE IN ITS MYSTERIOUS MARCH AROUND THE SUN. {Ms92-1898}

 

Missionaries are raised up in those dark quarters of the earth, and they teach their own people the gospel of Christ. Light begins to shine in all parts of OUR GLOBE. {Ms157-1907}

 

God rested on the seventh day, and set it apart for man to observe in honor of His creation of the heavens and the earth in six literal days. He blessed and sanctified and made holy the day of rest. When men are so careful to search and dig to see in regard to the precise period of time, we are to say, God made His Sabbath for a ROUND WORLD; and when the seventh day comes to us in that round world, controlled by the sun that rules the day, it is the time in all countries and lands to observe the Sabbath –{[Letter 167, 1900}

 

The cultivation of certain faculties to the neglect of others makes Bro. Andrews a one-sided man. WHEN ON THE SUBJECT OF THE ROUND WORLD, Bro. Andrews could scarcely think or talk without dwelling upon this subject. He carried this matter to extremes. He wearied the readers and listeners to his lengthy arguments upon that subject. Precious time was used up in talking and writing upon that subject, which needed to be canvassed, but did not require so great thoroughness. Bro. Andrews was wearying himself and others, and at the same time was leaving undone the weightier matters. And more recently, months of precious time have been used up in wearisome labor, chasing after the dishonest quibbles of a man who once kept the Bible Sabbath, but afterward rejected it. His opposition is so great upon the Sabbath question that he is insane upon the subject. The time spent in following Preble so closely and thoroughly has been a mistake. The readers of the Review have become wearied with the subject. A set of quibbles have been furnished the readers of the Review of no special weight only to deceive and darken minds. In these things, Bro. Andrews could not see his failings. He has pursued the subject with the greatest satisfaction to his own mind. Bro. Andrews has needed the help of his brethren. He should have had their counsel. They should have supplied his deficiency by their more equally balanced minds. When Bro. Andrews gets upon a train of thought following a subject, he knows nothing about leaving off when all has been said that is required, and that is profitable. The people of God are suffering for the truth which he should bring out at once upon the history of the Sabbath.  {PH159 188.1}

 

Sister uses the word round and globe interchangeably in her own signed letters which have been scanned and is available.

 

All these truths are immortalized in my writings. The Lord never denies His Word. Men may get up scheme after scheme, and the enemy will seek to seduce souls from the truth, but all who believe that the Lord has spoken through Sister White, and has given her a message, will be safe from the many delusions that will come in in these last days. {Lt50-1906}

 

“That which the FATHER  and SON ALONE  can reveal is A KNOWLEDGE OF GOD , and THIS KNOWLEDGE OF GOD , IS THE SEAL  placed IN THE FOREHEADS  of the chosen generation.  The seal then is the KNOWLEDGE  of the TRUE GOD ,  and THIS , JEHOVAH has placed in His Sabbath. “Hallow My Sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between Me and you, that ye may know that I am the Lord your God.”  …..This seal is a sign of sanctification, and it is a sign forever.” —  {SSP 132.2}”

 

FLAT OR ROUND EARTH: With this is issue being agitated I thought to start assembling some quotes as we seek to know the truth

 

It is better to pray and humble the soul before God and let the world, round or flat, be just as God has made it. Try most earnestly by faithful continuance in welldoing to seek for a clear title in the inheritance in the earth made new. Better lead the flock of God to drink at the higher streams; better by precept and example seek God while He may be found. Call upon Him while He is near. There is a revival needed in the church. When the teachers are drinking fresh draughts from the well of Bethlehem, then they can lead the people to the living stream. My soul is weighed down with the burden of the condition of things in New York. May the Lord raise up helpers, men whom He can teach, humble men whom He can lead to bear a clear, sharp testimony in faith. God help you to seek His face, to walk carefully, to put self out of sight, and exalt Jesus. {21MR 413.2}

 

I hope Brother Wilcox will be a truly converted man. This is his great need at the present time. He wants meekness, he wants humility, he wants genuine piety, and without it he is as sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal. His soul and your soul need the indwelling of Jesus. Whether the world is round or flat will not save a soul, but whether men believe and obey means everything.–Letter 43, 1887.I am pleased to tell you the Lord strengthened me on Sabbath to bear a decided message. To His name be all the glory. I know the impression was made by His Holy Spirit. On Sunday afternoon I urged the truth with more decided firmness and power. A man was present who had expressed a desire to see me and talk with me in regard to the round and flat world. I sent him a message that when Christ gave my commission to do the work He had placed upon me, the flat or round world was not included in the message; the Lord had taken care of His house, His world here below, better than any human agency could care for it, and until the message came from the Lord, silence was eloquence upon that question. {21MR 414.2}

 

The great question is, What shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? This is the science of what constitutes the higher education, and when this question is properly adjusted, the capabilities of the whole man are called into full exercise. There will be no agitation of the question whether the world is round or flat, but the whole burden of the soul is: What shall I do to inherit eternal life? We need now to make every talent that God has given us to be employed to His name’s glory. {21MR 414.5}

 

Melrose, Mass., Sunday, August 28, 1904: I speak to the people that shall assemble in the tent meeting in Melrose. My mind is deeply exercised this morning. I have had matters presented to me to give to our people. An urgent request came to me from a man who desired to discuss with me in regard to the round world–to him a very important matter. {21MR 421.3}

My answer was, “I have a message to this people in regard to the life they must live in this world to prepare them for future life which measures with the life of God. We have nought to do with the question whether this world is round or flat. [The important thing] is to serve God with full purpose of a renewed heart, sanctified and made holy by the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ.” {21MR 421.4}

 

God has qualified His people to enlighten the world. He has entrusted them with faculties by which they are to extend His work until it shall encircle the globe. In all parts of the earth, they are to establish sanitariums, schools, publishing houses, and kindred facilities for the accomplishment of His work. CME 30.1

 

As the rays of the sun penetrate to the remotest corners of the globe, so God designs that the light of the gospel shall extend to every soul upon the earth. If the church of Christ were fulfilling the purpose of our Lord, light would be shed upon all that sit in darkness and in the region and shadow of death. Instead of congregating together and shunning responsibility and cross bearing, the members of the church would scatter into all lands, letting the light of Christ shine out from them, working as He did for the salvation of souls, and this “gospel of the kingdom” would speedily be carried to all the world. MB 42.3

 

The hand of God is continually guiding the globe in its continuous march around the sun. The same hand which holds the mountains, and balances them in position, guides and keeps in order the respective planets. All the wonderful glories in the heavens are but doing their appointed work. Vegetation flourishes because of the agencies employed by the great and mighty God. He sends the dew and the rain and the sunshine that verdure may spring forth, and spread its green carpet over the earth; that the shrubs and the fruit – trees may bud and blossom and bring forth fruit. It is not to be supposed that a law is set in operation for the seed to work of itself, – that the leaf appears because it must do so of itself. It is through the immediate agency of God that every tiny seed breaks through the earth, and springs into life. Every green leaf grows, every flower blooms, through the working power of God. Christian Educator April 1, 1899, par. 5

 

The cultivation of certain faculties to the neglect of others makes Bro. Andrews a one-sided man. When on the subject of the round world, Bro. Andrews could scarcely think or talk without dwelling upon this subject. He carried this matter to extremes. He wearied the readers and listeners to his lengthy arguments upon that subject. Precious time was used up in talking and writing upon that subject, which needed to be canvassed, but did not require so great thoroughness. Bro. Andrews was wearying himself and others, and at the same time was leaving undone the weightier matters. And more recently, months of precious time have been used up in wearisome labor, chasing after the dishonest quibbles of a man who once kept the Bible Sabbath, but afterward rejected it. His opposition is so great upon the Sabbath question that he is insane upon the subject. The time spent in following Preble so closely and thoroughly has been a mistake. The readers of the Review have become wearied with the subject. A set of quibbles have been furnished the readers of the Review of no special weight only to deceive and darken minds. In these things, Bro. Andrews could not see his failings. He has pursued the subject with the greatest satisfaction to his own mind. Bro. Andrews has needed the help of his brethren. He should have had their counsel. They should have supplied his deficiency by their more equally balanced minds. When Bro. Andrews gets upon a train of thought following a subject, he knows nothing about leaving off when all has been said that is required, and that is profitable. The people of God are suffering for the truth which he should bring out at once upon the history of the Sabbath. {PH159 188.1}

 

In every place [are] God’s memorials of His Sabbath and of His glory in creating the heavens and the earth. God rested on the seventh day, and set it apart for man to observe in honor of His creation of the heavens and the earth in six literal days. He blessed and sanctified and made holy the day of rest. When men are so careful to search and dig to see in regard to the precise period of time, we are to say, God made His Sabbath for a round world; and when the seventh day comes to us in that round world, controlled by the sun that rules the day, it is the time, in all countries and lands, to observe the Sabbath. In the countries where there is no sunset for months, and again no sunrise for months, the period of time will be calculated by records kept. But God has a world large enough and proper and right for the human beings He has created to inhabit it, without finding homes in those lands so objectionable in very many, many ways. {Lt167-1900}

 

Let those who are presenting theories as to whether the earth is round or flat leave this question—for God has not given it to them to solve—and earnestly inquire: “What shall I do that I may have everlasting life?” Let them heed the answer: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.” Nonessential questions will be brought in by those who do not purify their souls by obeying the truth. They fall far short of the standard of loving God supremely and their neighbor as themselves. I am bidden to say that sophistries will be brought in to take the place of the pure gospel of Jesus Christ. The message is given, “Some will depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils.” This word has been fulfilling among our people. {Lt280a-1904}

 

 

Blessings

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