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Stoicheion #4747, Greek word study



4747. stoicheion ►
Strong's Concordance
stoicheion: one of a row, hence a letter (of the alphabet), by ext. the elements (of knowledge)
Original Word: στοιχεῖον, ου, τό
Part of Speech: Noun, Neuter
Transliteration: stoicheion
Phonetic Spelling: (stoy-khi'-on)
Short Definition: a heavenly body, an element
Definition: (a) plur: the heavenly bodies, (b) a rudiment, an element, a rudimentary principle, an elementary rule.
HELPS Word-studies
4747 stoixeíon– properly,fundamentals, like with the basic components of a philosophy, structure, etc.; (figuratively) "first principles," like the basic fundamentals of Christianity.

[4747 (stoixeíon) refers to "therudiments with which mankind . . . were indoctrinated(before the time of Christ), i.e. the elements of religious training or the ceremonial precepts common alike to the worship of Jews and of Gentiles" (J. Thayer).

The RSV however renders stoixeiaas "elemental spirits," i.e. spiritual powers or "cosmic spirits" (DNTT, 2, 828). This views 4747 /stoixeíon("elements") as ancient astral beings associated with the very beginning (make-up) of the earth.]

2 Peter 3:8-9 is simply saying that God keeps his promises. In 2 Peter 3:10, what is "the day of the Lord"? It is a time of judgment on Israel, it is the end of the Old Covenant age. We have a parallel passage in Matthew 24:42-44. Peter is talking about Jesus second coming at the end of the Jewish age. When the Lord comes, the heaven and earth of the Old Covenant age will pass away. Let me give you a question here to think about -- where is the millennium in Peters discussion? Peter is talking about the Lord coming and when He does we go right into the New heaven and earth.

When we read the word "elements" in 2 Peter 3:10,12, we think of the scientific idea of the elements of matter, all the atoms of the universe burning up. But is this what the word "elements" means? The Greek word for elements is stoicheia, it is only used seven times in the New Testament.

Galatians 4:3, "Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:"

Galatians 4:9, "But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?"

Colossians 2:8, "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ."

Colossians 2:20,22, "Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from therudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances… after the commandments and doctrines of men?"

Hebrews 5:12, "For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principlesof the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat."

In other words, this is the elements of religious training, or the ceremonial precepts that are common to the worship of Jews and of Gentiles. Obviously, this stoicheia is not about atoms or destruction of the universe.

What is being dissolved in 2 Peter 3:11-13? The Old Covenant system is being dissolved, not the universe. Where do we have a promise about a new heaven and earth? Peter was surly thinking of the book of Isaiah, chapters 65 and 66 (read Isaiah 65:17).

If you read Isaiah 65 and 66, you will notice that, before God creates the new heavens and a new earth, God predicted that Israel would fill the measure of her sin (65:7); he would destroy them (65:8-15; 66:3-6,15-18,24); create a new people with a new name (65:15-16); then create a new heaven and earth with a new Jerusalem (65:17-19). When God created the new heavens and earth, notice that physical death will remain (Isa. 65:20, 66:24), home construction and agriculture will continue (Isa. 65:21-22), we will have descendants (Isa. 65:23, 66:22), the Lord will hear their prayers (Isa. 65:24), there will still be sin (Isa. 65:20, Mat.12:32, Rev.22:15 ), and it is depicted as a time of evangelism when the Jew and Gentile will be brought together under the banner of God (66:19). The new heavens and earth, therefore, cannot be referring to the eternal state; it must be referring to a period in man's history. This is the period of the Kingdom of God which Christ rules in the hearts of the believers. The Kingdom of God is made without hands (spiritual - Dan. 2:34, 44-45; c.f. Col. 2:10-11). If we take the statements from the scriptures at face value, then we should conclude that the first heavens and the first earth passed away and was replaced by the glorious reign of the Lord Jesus Christ, the kingdom without end. Notice that in this New Heaven and Earth, righteousness dwells, as it does in the New Covenant (2 Corinthians 3:9).