It is commonly believed that many in the ancient world thought the earth was flat. Most people, however, for a variety of good reasons, understood that the earth was round. Even to this day, though, some claim that the Bible itself taught that the earth was flat.
Read Revelation 7:1 and Revelation 20:7-8. What is the context of these verses? More importantly, do they teach a flat earth?
John, the author of these texts, is writing end-time prophecy describing the four angels of heaven “standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds” (Rev. 7:1, NASB). He repeated the word “four” three times to tie the angels to the four compass points.
In short, he’s just using figurative language, as we do today when we say, for example, that “the sun is setting” or that the wind “rose from the east”. To insist on a literal interpretation of these prophetic texts when the context indicates a figurative idea of north, south, east, and west, is to take these passages out of context and make them teach something that they are not teaching. After all, when Jesus said, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (Matt. 15:19, NKJV), He was not talking about human physiology, or the literal human heart. He was using a figure of speech to make a moral point.
Read Job 26:7-10; and Isaiah 40:21-22. What do they teach us about the nature of the earth?
In Job 26:7 the earth is depicted as being suspended in space: “He stretches out the north over empty space and hangs the earth on nothing” (NASB). The earth is a “circle” or sphere (Job 26:10, NASB). Isaiah 40:22 states, “It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, who stretches out the heavens like a curtain” (NKJV).
|Put yourself in the position of someone who lived thousands of years ago. What evidence would you have that the earth moved? Or would you find the evidence that it stood still more convincing? Or what evidence would you find that it is flat, or round?|