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Pilate was about to sit in the judgment seat of the "world" of Rome and judge Jesus in court but Jesus' kingdom was not of Pilate's kosmos.

What world?

"Ancient texts require ancient dictionaries."

When people try to talk about the kingdom of God being a real system or way of righteousness many modern Christians respond with the "kingdom of God is not of this world" as if the kingdom is not on the planet?

When Jesus told Pontius Pilate, who was about to sit in the judgment seat,[1] that His Kingdom was not of the “world” we see one of five different Greek words found in the New Testament which have all been translated into the single word “world”.

The word was kosmos, and it is defined in Strong's Concordance as an “orderly arrangement” but without knowing the historical etymology and common usage this definition by itself can be deceptive.

In Thayer's Greek Lexicon and "The Outline of Biblical Usage" [2] we see κόσμος [Kosmos] is primarily defined as:

  1. “an apt and harmonious arrangement or constitution, order, government.”[3]

The Kingdom of God was not of the world of Rome and Pontius Pilate but it is at hand. People need to change the way they think about that kingdom. It is not about going to a church and just loving those who love you.[4] It is about gathering and loving even those who hate us. That is repentance.

The Kingdom of God is the "harmonious arrangement or constitution, order, government" operating by faith, hope and charity by the perfect law of liberty according to the doctrines of Jesus.

Once we are willing to understand that the kingdom of God is now, here on this planet, for the living, in this world just not of the worlds like Rome our thinking about the gospel of the kingdom must change. That too is repentance.

We should be seeking the "harmonious arrangement" of the kingdom of God by striving[5] and persevering[6] to do what Christ commanded that the people should do.

To find the righteousness of God we need to seek His Holy Spirit by coming in the name of Christ, who came to serve not be served,[7] who came to set men free not impose heavy burdens upon the people,[8] who came to lay down his life that others might be saved.[9]

Jurisdiction of God and men

There is the "world" or "kosmos" of Cain, Nimrod, Egypt and Rome and there is the world of Christ, His kingdom of righteousness. One functions by the rule of force and fear and the other serves righteousness through freedom and faith.

Christians were not to be "of" the world of Rome but "in" it. Early followers of Christ knew what that meant because they understood the word "Kosmos". There seems to be an actual effort to avoid the true meaning of that word to evade the truth that the kingdom of God is actually at hand.

That "Kosmos"/world of Rome had become a system of covetous practices where the people were biting one another through the power of governments for personal benefits and gain which made the people human resources. Early Christians understood that and in their pursuit of the righteousness of Pure Religion and The Way of Christ the difference in what they did caused conflict and persecution.

In the 7th century BC the term "kosmos" was used in constitutions to describe the jurisdictional "office of magistrate".[10]

In the Greek and Roman view of the term Kosmos “... meant originally the discipline of an army, and next the ordered constitution of a state.”[11]

The word κόσμος came from the Greek “komizo” meaning “to care for, take care of, provide for” or “carry off what is one’s own.”

Kosmos did not mean planet, inhabitable place, or age. It had to do with courts, militias and armies organized to establish and maintain governments.

The Constitutional Law of Dreros

The Earliest Surviving Greek Law on Stone
(Circa 650 BCE – 600 BCE)

Meiggs & Lewis, A Selection of Greek Historical Inscriptions to the End of the Fifth Century B.C. (1969) No. 2 (pp. 2-3 provide the following translation of the law:

"May God be kind (?). The city has thus decided; when a man has been kosmos, the same man shall not be kosmos again for ten years. If he does act as kosmos, whatever, judgements he gives, he shall owe double, and he shall lose his rights to office, as long as he lives, and whatever he does as kosmos shall be nothing. The swearers shall be the kosmos (.e. the body of kosmoi) and the damioi, and twenty of the city."

Meiggs & Lewis p. 3 provide the following technical commentary on the law:

"The law forbids the repeated tenure of the office of kosmos, presumably, as elsewhere in Crete, the chief magistracy, before ten years have elapsed. The provision is paralleled at Gortyn[12]... sixth century, and it has generally been explained there by the need to make a break in the financial and legal immunity of a magistrate. The length of time which has to elapse in Dreros, however, suggests strongly that the motive was rather to limit the possibilities of using the office as a stepping-stone to tyranny (the first editors) or to bolster the power of an individual family (Ehrenberg, Willets)."

Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2017.09.47

Reviewed by James Kierstead, Victoria University of Wellington

"The Gortyn Law Code mandates that an heiress can only marry someone outside her phylē[13] once she has exhausted all the options within it (col. 7.50-8.35). For Grote, this was to ensure a rotation of the powerful office of kosmos among all the city’s great families. The kosmos was rotated through the phylai, and the great families needed to be kept within their phylai if the system was not to be circumvented. The system eventually broke down in the fourth century, probably because the phylai were never equal in power, and the most powerful phylai came to find waiting for office intolerable. The Gortynian phylai also sent members to a Council."
"The situation at Dreros is less clear, but a seventh-century inscription (Koerner no. 91) contains the phrase πόλι ἔϝαδε διαλήσασι πυλᾶσι, ‘the city decided after consulting the phylai.’ Grote takes this to imply that representatives from each phylē met in a deliberative Council, which he identifies with the ‘Twenty of the polis’ mentioned in the famous inscription limiting iteration of the office of kosmos (ML 2)."

Kosmos: "regulator", a magistrate (or group of magistrates) in the cities of Crete.

Kosmoi and the Gerusia
Gerusia or gerousia was a council of old men which had a similar position in the Cretan constitution, according to which only the members of the highest magistracy, called the kosmoi, or regulators, could enter the council, and that only after a blameless term of administration.[14]

We can see in the Sylloge Inscriptionum Graecarum[15] where there was a Treaty between Praisos an Stalai in Crete around the early 3rd century B.C. where there is a reference to "chief kosmos, along with the other kosmoi" who were magistrates of the Praisians along with twelve citizens under oaths were settling territorial boundaries.

In the first half of 2nd century B.C. there was the decree attributed to the reign of Attalos I[16] designating "the award of the crown shall be announced at one of the games" by the kosmoi who were magistrates. Besides the crown they would grant "privileged seating and inviolability and freedom from taxes and security both in war and in peacetime, both in the city and in its harbours... for his descendants, and the other privileges that are granted to other benefactors."

This was much like swearing in the president by the judges of the Supreme court.


  1. John 19:13 When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha.
  2. [The Outline of Biblical Usage was created by Larry Pierce], creator of the Online Bible, and is used with permission. For further information on this tool...Larry Pierce combined what Dr. Strong cited with Smith's Bible Dictionary and Dr. Thayer cited in his abridged Thayer's 1889 Greek-English Lexicon. It is keyed to Kittel's “Theological Dictionary of the New Testament.” This resulted in the Greek Definitions module for the Online Bible [OLB] Concordance, Winterbourne, Ontario, Canada. Online Bible Software.
  3. https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G2889&t=KJV
  4. Luke 6:32 For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them.
  5. Luke 13:24 Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.
  6. Ephesians 6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
    Luke 9:62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
  7. Luke 22:27 For whether [is] greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? [is] not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth.
    Luke 15:19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.
    Luke 16:13 No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.:
    John 12:26 If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will [my] Father honour.
  8. Matthew 23:4 For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.
    Isaiah 58:6 Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?
  9. John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
    John 10:15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. 17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. 18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father. 19 ¶ There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings.
  10. “For example, a very early constitutional inscription shows that 7th-century Drerus on Crete prohibited tenure of the office of kosmos—a local magistracy—until 10 years had elapsed since a man’s last tenure.) That is a refreshing approach and surely contains some truth. “ The Later Archaic Periods, The rise of the tyrants https://www.britannica.com/place/ancient-Greece/The-later-Archaic-periods
  11. John Burnet's Early Greek Philosophy: Section A: Introduction
  12. Gortyn is an archaeological site on the Mediterranean island of Crete
  13. Phyle is an ancient Greek term for clan or tribe. They were usually ruled by a basileus. Some of them can be classified by their geographic location: the Geleontes, the Argadeis, the Hopletes, and the Agikoreis, in Ionia; the Hylleans, the Pamphyles, the Dymanes, in the Dorian region.
  14. Perseus: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities (1898)
  15. Sylloge Inscriptionum Graecarum: 524 http://www.attalus.org/docs/sig1/s524.html
  16. http://www.attalus.org/docs/ogis/s270.html

Matthew 4:8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world <2889>, and the glory of them;

Matthew 5:14 Ye are the light of the world <2889>. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

Matthew 13:35 That it might be fulfilled 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 foundation of the world <2889>.

Matthew 13:38 The field is the world <2889>; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;

Matthew 16:26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world <2889>, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

Matthew 18:7 Woe unto the world <2889> because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!

Matthew 24:21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world <2889> to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

Matthew 25:34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world <2889>:

Matthew 26:13 Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world <2889>, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her.

Mark 8:36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world <2889>, and lose his own soul?

Mark 14:9 Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world <2889>, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.

Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world <2889>, and preach the gospel to every creature.

Luke 9:25 For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world <2889>, and lose himself, or be cast away?

Luke 11:50 That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world <2889>, may be required of this generation;

Luke 12:30 For all these things do the nations of the world <2889> seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.

John 1:9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world <2889>.

John 1:10 He was in the world <2889>, and the world <2889> was made by him, and the world <2889> knew him not.

John 1:29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world <2889>.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world <2889>, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

John 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world <2889> to condemn the world <2889>; but that the world <2889> through him might be saved.

John 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world <2889>, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

John 4:42 And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world <2889>.

John 6:14 Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world <2889>.

John 6:33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world <2889>.

John 6:51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world <2889>.

John 7:4 For there is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou do these things, shew thyself to the world <2889>.

John 7:7 The world <2889> cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.

John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world <2889>: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

John 8:23 And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world <2889>; I am not of this world <2889>.

John 8:26 I have many things to say and to judge of you: but he that sent me is true; and I speak to the world <2889> those things which I have heard of him.

John 9:5 As long as I am in the world <2889>, I am the light of the world <2889>.

John 9:39 And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world <2889>, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.

John 10:36 Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world <2889>, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?

John 11:9 Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world <2889>.

John 11:27 She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world <2889>.

John 12:19 The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? behold, the world <2889> is gone after him.

John 12:25 He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world <2889> shall keep it unto life eternal.

John 12:31 Now is the judgment of this world <2889>: now shall the prince of this world <2889> be cast out.

John 12:46 I am come a light into the world <2889>, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.

John 12:47 And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world <2889>, but to save the world <2889>.

John 13:1 Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world <2889> unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world <2889>, he loved them unto the end.

John 14:17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world <2889> cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

John 14:19 Yet a little while, and the world <2889> seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.

John 14:22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world <2889>?

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world <2889> giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

John 14:30 Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world <2889> cometh, and hath nothing in me.

John 14:31 But that the world <2889> may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.

John 15:18 If the world <2889> hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.

John 15:19 If ye were of the world <2889>, the world <2889> would love his own: but because ye are not of the world <2889>, but I have chosen you out of the world <2889>, therefore the world <2889> hateth you.

John 16:8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world <2889> of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:

John 16:11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world <2889> is judged.

John 16:20 Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world <2889> shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.

John 16:21 A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world <2889>.

John 16:28 I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world <2889>: again, I leave the world <2889>, and go to the Father.

John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world <2889> ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world <2889>.

John 17:5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world <2889> was.

John 17:6 I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world <2889>: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.

John 17:9 I pray for them: I pray not for the world <2889>, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.

John 17:11 And now I am no more in the world <2889>, but these are in the world <2889>, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.

John 17:12 While I was with them in the world <2889>, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.

John 17:13 And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world <2889>, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.

John 17:14 I have given them thy word; and the world <2889> hath hated them, because they are not of the world <2889>, even as I am not of the world <2889>.

John 17:15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world <2889>, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.

John 17:16 They are not of the world <2889>, even as I am not of the world <2889>

John 17:18 As thou hast sent me into the world <2889>, even so have I also sent them into the world <2889>.

John 17:21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world <2889> may believe that thou hast sent me.

John 17:23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world <2889> may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

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 thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world <2889>.

John 17:25 O righteous Father, the world <2889> hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me.

John 18:20 Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world <2889>; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing.

John 18:36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world <2889>: if my kingdom were of this world <2889>, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.

John 18:37 Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world <2889>, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.

John 21:25 And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world <2889> itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.