A Preliminary Study of the Greek Words
Xilias and Xilioi
By Kenneth Fortier
This study of Biblical words was initiated because of a difference in various renderings and copying of the words in Greek manuscripts from which translations are made of the Bible into our English language. By no means should anyone take what is said herein to be the “absolute” last words, or even “authoritative” words. What is to be discussed is to
open minds up to things that 99.9% of Christian scholars, and students, never seem to consider and blindly accept what others say these words mean as “gospel.”
The Greek words to be addressed in this preliminary study are the ones translated into our English language as “thousand” and “thousands” singular and plural. These words are Greek terms that, in my opinion, are translated under the bias and/or ideological philosophy of the ones translating. These Greek terms are: Xilias, Xilioi, Murias and Murioi. All occurrences of these terms in the New Testament will be examined. First of all, lets define both of these terms as defined by Lexicons (dictionaries) of the Greek New Testament (and all of them agree with the following definitions).
Xilias: (English spelling) chilias, pronounced, khil-ee-as’ a feminine noun, plural, meaning “thousands,” although put into English as a “singular,” i.e., “thousand.”
Xilioi: (English spelling) chilioi, pronounced, khil’-ee-oy an adjective, plural, meaning “thousands,” although put into English as a “singular,” i.e., “thousand.”
Murias: (English spelling) murias, pronounced, moo-ree’-as a feminine noun, plural, meaning 1) ten thousands (a questionable number given by translators), 2) an innumerable multitude, an unlimited number, and 3) innumerable hosts; although in the Greek meaning an unknown number to great to count, or many.
Murioi: (English spelling) murioi, pronounced, moo’-ree-oy an adjective, plural, meaning 1) a plural of an apparently primary word (properly meaning very many), 2) innumerable, countless, and 3) ten thousand (a questionable number given by translators).
An interesting thing should be observed in the above four Greek terms. Compare the construct of “chilias” with “murias,” and of “chilioi” with “murioi.” Also notice the pronunciations of the terms.
For those who have access to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, with its Greek to English Dictionary appended, the Dictionary word numbers are shown below of these four terms:
1) Chilias, #5505
2) Chilioi, #5507
3) Murias, #3461
4) Murioi, #3463|
Following are all the references in the New Testament that use the above four terms. Strong’s Dictionary numbers are also referenced. I hope you will notice the prefixes and suffixes attached to the terms when present.
# 1367. Mark 5:13 dischilioi,
# 2035. Rom. 11:4 heptakischilious, “επτακισΧιλιορς ανδρας”
# 3461. Acts 19:19 arguriou muriades pente, “αργυριου μυριαδας πεντε”
Rev. 5:11 muriades muriadon, “μυριαδες μυριαδων"
# 3463. Matt. 18:24 murion taganton, “μυριων ραλατων”
I Cor. 4:15 murions paidagogous, “μυριονς παιδαγωγους”
I Cor. 14:19 murions logous, “μυριους λογους"
# 4000. Matt. 14:21, 16:9, Mark 6:44, 8:19,Luke 9:14, John 6:10
pentakischilioi, “πενταισσιλιοι” in all occurrences.
# 5070. Matt. 15:28, 16:10, Mark 8:9, 8:20, Acts 21:38
tetrakischilioi, “τετρακισχιλιοι” in all occurrences.
# 5153. Acts 2:41 trischilioi, “τρισχιλιοι”
# 5505. Luke 14:31 (twice) deka chiliasin,
“δεκα χιλιασιν” and eikosi chiliadon,
Acts 4:4 chiliads pente, “χιλιαδες”
I Cor. 10:8 eikosi treis chiliades, “εικοσι τρεις χιλιαδες”
Rev. 7:4 ekaton tesserakonta tessares chiliades,
“εκατον τεσσηρακοντα τεσσαρες χιλιαδες”
Rev. 7:5 (3-times), 7:6 (3-times), 7:7 (3-times) 7:8 (3-times) —
dodeka chiliades, “δωδεκα χιλιαδες”
“ημερασ χιλιοι διακοσιας εζηκοντα”
Rev. 11:13 anthropon chiliades hepta, “ανθρωπων χιλιαδεο επα”
* Rev. 12:6 (same as Rev.11:3)
Rev. 14:1, 14:3 (same as Rev. 7:4)
* Rev. 14:20 stadion chilioi eeakosion, “οταδιων χιλιοι εξακοσιων”
Rev. 21:16 dodeka chiliadon, “δωδε.”
# 5507. ** II Peter 3:8 (twice) and Rev. 20:2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 chilioi etos, “χιλιοι ετος”
* = Problem Verses. The best and oldest manuscripts have “chilioi” (χιλιοι), while The Zondervan Parallel New Testament in Greek and English changes “chilioi” to “chilias” wherever it stands alone in a verse see the verses above. Also see the verses listed above following #5507 where the term is changed from “chilioi” to “chilia.” In Rev. 14:20 instead of following the best manuscripts it is changed from “chilioi” to “chilion.” One should ask WHY?
** = More Problem Verses. Strong’s gives these verses the Greek term “chilioi”, while Zondervan’s substitutes them (as do many other translators) with the term “chilia” (χιλια). Yet, most translators readily agree that the term is actually “chilioi” (χιλιοι), which they say is found in the best manuscripts of the Greek. Nestles and Wescott & Hort are the translators who are mainly cited for insertion of “chilia” in place of “chilioi,” as far as we have noticed. Of all the Greek scholars we have mentioned this to, they all agree that “chilioi” is the correct term, but then most also accept the use of the term “chilias” and some accept “chilia” in these verses; but then a few only accept “chilioi” as
the term to use.
As most Greek scholars tell us, i.e., the ones we have talked to, our English language does not read as does the Greek. Therefore, it is essential to be cautious in our dealings with Scripture phraseology, and to remember that, whereas we are accustomed
to Western modes of thought, the writers of the Bible were not. They were all Oriental's, and the languages employed by them, via the Greek, did not, and still do not, lend themselves completely to modern Western terminology, i.e., our modern English. The true sense has to be discovered by careful study of 1) the context in which a term is used, 2) the parallel passages (if any) in corresponding terms and in corresponding wording, and 3) similar Oriental terms in classical and Biblical writings of the ancient Greeks of Jesus day.
Lets look at the Greek terms “chilias” and “chilioi” found in Strong’s Dictionary attached to his Concordance. We find him defining “chilias” as “a thousand” or “one thousand,” which is correct as found in some translations of the Scriptures; but not
correct as to its meaning, which is “thousands.” As to “chilioi,” he correctly defines it as “thousands.”
However, when we look at Vines Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, page 1300, we find that he defines “chilias” as our English word “thousand,” and “chilioi” as “thousands.” These are correct definitions in his mind. But you really have to pay attention to how he acknowledges those definitions. What these two individuals say
about these two terms also apply to the terms “murias,” a plural, and “murioi,” a plural adjective. They both agree that they mean “myriad” and “myriads” both “uncountable” or “innumerable.” So far, so good, however there are problems with their explanations of these terms because of how they are translated in our English Bibles. We will look further at what Vine says further on in this little preliminary study.
Note: As a standard of most known languages of the world, as concerns a
numerical number of things or people, words do, in some manner, reflect whether they
are singular or plural. Remember, our modern English usage of words varies from the
way the Greek language used them.
I have in front of me The Zondervan Parallel New Testament in Greek and
English. I turn to II peter 3:8 and am confronted with the Greek word “chilia” substituted
for the Greek word “chilioi.” The same thing happens in Revelation 20:2–7. I have found
in my research that when the term “chilioi” is used alone it simply means “thousands.”
The same occurs in Rev. 11:3, 12:6 and 14:20. To let one know how many thousands are
meant, it must be prefixed with a number or followed with a term depicting OF WHAT
or HOW MANY it refers to. Lets look at those occurrences as shown in the Numbered
(#) references of Strong’s.
# 5507, II Peter 3:8 “But this one thing let not be concealed from you, beloved, that
one day with the Lord is as chilioi years and chilioi years as one day.” (Literal
translation from the old Greek manuscripts.)
Greek, II Peter 3:8
Chilioi means “thousands” in the above verse from Peters letter, and to find out
the number of “what” or “how many” it refers to, one has to look at the terms preceding
or following the term, or the terms prefix. In the above quote we see that in the first
occurrence of the term the word preceding it is “as,” and following it the word is “years,”
also a plural. In the second occurrence of the term the word preceding it is “and,” and
following it is the word “years,” again a plural. Thusly, the term references an unknown
number of “years,” — although it is a plural thousands. And from the time Peter wrote
his letter, almost two thousands of years have passed. “A thousand” or “one thousand”
years is not in view according to the Greek language Peter used. So, in reading the quote
from Peters letter, we could literally translate it into our English language as:
"Εν δε τουτο μη λανθανε τω υμας αγαπητοι οτι υια ηυτοα παυα
κυοιω ωϛ χιλιοι ετη χιλιοι ετη ωζ ηυεοα μια"
In our translation we have inserted the answer to “of what does the ‘thousands’
refer to?” The answer is “years,” which is why we have inserted the “of” above.” We now look at Rev. 20:2–7.
Verse 2: χιλιl;οι ετος, “thousands years,” which does not have an article before it,
an “a” or a “the”, and likewise, does not have any terms that would signify the “number”
of years it covers. Verse 4 shows the same expression. However, verses 3, 5, 6, and 7 do
have an article before the term chilioi — τα, which is translated with the word “the.”
Thusly, the translation is expressed by “the thousands ‘of’ years.” To find out how many
“thousands” are involved, we have to realize that none are given to us, with the exception
that we have a plural term, which is readily admitted by all Greek scholars to indicate
“more than one.” As for what the term refers to, we also know that it is “years,” another
plural in the context it is used in, indicating “more than one.” As we have already brought
out before, the word “chilioi” itself requires us to ask the question, “of what or how many
does ‘thousands’ refer to?” Seeing as how no numbers of years are literally indicated, we
have to take the term “chilioi” at its plain meaning of “thousands.” Being a plural, it has
to be “more than one,” and as we know for sure that almost two of these “thousands of
years” have already passed since this passage was written by John, we know that it
cannot be, nor should be, translated “a” or “one” thousand years. Reading it in the Greek
one would almost automatically insert our English word “of” between these two terms,
letting it say, “thousands of years,” which answers the question of “how many” years are
involved — which actually remains unanswerable, for no number has been given to the
term. All we really know is that the term indicates more than one thousand, and it is paired with the term years.
However we are not yet done with our study. As said before, “chilioi” must have
a prefix attached to it to reveal the number of “thousands” it references; or it must have a
word or words following it that tells us what the “thousands” refers to — things, people
or time. In Rev. 20:2–7 we know it refers to “time,” i.e., “years.” But there are other
passages using this term that reveal more to validate the idea that “chilioi” means more
than one thousand. Lets look at them now.
#1367. Mark 5:13 — δισχιλιοι, dischilioi. “Dis” in Greek means “two.” This is in
reference to about two thousand evil spirits who were put into the pigs and drowned in
the sea at Jesus command. One can see that the term tells the number the thousands refer
#2035. Rom. 11:4 —
ερτακισχιλιοι, heptakischilioi. “Heptakis” in Greek means
“seven.” This is in reference to the “number of men” who had not bowed their head to
Baal. One can see that the term tells the number the thousands refer to.
#4000. Matt. 4:21, 16:9, Mark 6:44, 8:19, Luke 9:14 and John 6:10 —
“Pentakis” in Greek means “five.” This is in reference to the number of “men” who were
fed with five loaves of bread and two fish under the command of Jesus. One can see that
the term tells the number the thousands refer to.
“But one thing let not be concealed from you beloved, that one day with
the Lord is as thousands of years and thousands of years as one day.”
#5070. Matt. 15:38, 16:10 Mark 8:9, 8:20, Acts 21:38 — τετρακισχιλιοι, tetrakischilioi.
“Tetrakis” in Greek means “four.” This is in reference to the “number of men” who were
fed with seven loaves of bread and a few fish under the command of Jesus. One can see
that the term tells the number the thousands refer to.
#5153. Acts 2:41 — τρισχιοι, trischilioi. “Tris” in Greek means “three.” This is in
reference to the number of people who responded to Peters sermon on Pentecost and got
baptized. One can see that the term tells the number the thousands refer to.
As you can see, the prefixes attached to the term “chilioi” tell us the number of
thousands involved, and what they refer to. It’s as simple as that. We now will address
Strong’s #5505 and the verses that contain the Greek term “chilias, χιλιος” Again, we
will not quote the Greek of the full verse, but only the terms being examined. I would call
to your attention that the numerical modifiers are not prefixed to the term. This is unlike
what is done with the adjective “chilioi,” Strong’s #5507. The “oi” suffix to “chili,” the
stem, makes the term a plural.
# 5505. A plural feminine noun depicting “thousands” but translated into our English
language as “thousand.” Also, terms preceding and following the term “chilias” give us
Luke 14:31 (twice) deka chiliasin, the first occurrence. “Deka” in Greek means
“ten.” This is in reference to an army of men. The second occurrence is “eikosi
chiliadon.” “Eikosi” in Greek means “twenty.” This is also in reference to an army of
men. These terms tell us the number of men in each army. Literally, “ten thousands” and
Acts 4:4 chiliades hepta. “Hepta” means “five.” This is in reference to the
number of people who believed the message of Peter and John as they preached in the Temple grounds. The number is 5,000. Literally, “five thousands.”
I Cor. 10:8 eikosi treis chiliades. “Eikosi” means “twenty.” “Treis” means
“three.” This is in reference to the number of men who died as mentioned in Exodus 32:6. The number is 23,000. Literally, “twenty three thousands.”
Rev. 7:4 ekaton tesserakonta tessares chiliades. “Ekaton” means “hundred.”
“Tesserakonta tessares” means “forty-four.” This is in reference to the total number of Isrealites who have been sealed by God’s angels as being his slaves (servants). The total
number of these is 144,000. Literally, “hundred and forty four thousands.”
Rev. 7:5, 7, 8 (three times each verse) dodeka chiliades. “Dodeka” means
“twelve.” The number is 12,000 in all 12 occurrences; which is also what Rev. 7:4 tells
us of the total, 144,000.
Rev. 11:13 chiliades hepta. “Hepta” means “seven.” This is in reference to the
number of people killed in a great earthquake. In this instance the number of “chiliades” follows instead of preceding. The number of people is 7,000. Literally, “seven
Rev. 14:1, 3 this is the same as spoken of in Rev. 7:4. The number is 144,000.
Rev. 21:16 dodeka chiladon. Again, “dodeka” means “twelve.” This is in
reference to the size of the city mentioned: 12,000 furlongs high and 12,000 furlongs
along each of the four sides.
There are three other verses that are somewhat of a problem: some modern
scholars, since the 1400’s (AD), record that the word used is “chiliades.” Those verses are Rev. 11:3, 12:6 and 14:20. in Strong’s numbered list previously shown, We have
recorded them accordingly. We have noted them as “Problem verse” because of some interlinear Greek to English renderings.
Rev. 11:3 and Rev. 12:6 refer to the 144,000 people sealed or set apart by God.
These 144,000 are the total of 12,000 set apart form each of the 12 tribes of Israel in Rev. 7:5–8. Rev. 14:20 refers to the distance (furlongs) the blood from the winepress flowed (a
figurative expression of the anger of God).
The Zondervan Parallel New Testament in Greek and English, in its Dictionary,
defines both of them as our English word “thousand,” although agreeing with us that “chilioi” is a plural. However, Vine, in his Dictionary, uses “chilioi” as a singular, while
also defining it as a plural with “chilias.” We will address this shortly, but in the meantime, we want to call attention that Vine takes the suffixes attached to “chilias” to
mean that the term is a plural; something we don’t agree with. Here are what the suffixes tell us about the term:
χιλιαδες, chiliades Noun: nominative feminine.
χιλιαδων, chiliadon Noun: genitive feminine.
χιλιασιν, chiliasin Noun: dative feminine.
The Greek terms “murias” and “murioi” are treated the same as “chilias” and
“chilioi.” Because these two terms also sometimes addressed as “thousands,” we shall
look at them next.
μυριας, murias: myriad in English: by extension a “myriad” or indefinite number. Both
Strong’s and Vine’s rendering make it read “ten thousand.” The term is an accusative feminine noun. The same endings as in the case of “chilias” are used: “es, on, and in.”
We now look at how it is defined by Strong’s and Vine’s translations.
Murias Part of Speech: Feminine noun.
Murioi Part of Speech: Adjective.
1) Ten thousand (a questionable number. It is a late subjective translation).
2) An innumerable multitude, an unlimited number.
3) Innumerable hosts.
If you will notice, the endings of “chilias” and “murias” use the same ones, “es,
on, and in.” These are 1st Declension Nouns. If I remember my Greek correctly, the “as”
or “ad” added to the stem of the term, “chili” and “muri,” make these two terms a
feminine plural. Likewise, as The Zondervan Parallel New Testament in Greek and
English does in II Peter 3:8 and Rev. 20:2–7, adding just an “a” to the stem of these two
terms makes them a feminine singular. To me that is not the mark of a good translator.
Especially since both Strong’s and Vine’s definition of the terms insists that they are
“plural.” I would ask them, “Why can’t you make up your mind?” And another question,
“Why not render the terms by their real meanings, or is there something that you don’t
want us to know?”
1) Innumberable, countless.
2) Ten thousand (A questionable number. It is a late subjective translation).
“Και ειδον και ηκουσα θωνην αγγελων πογγων του κυκλω του θρονου και των ζωων και τωνMMM πρεσβυτερων και ην ο αριθμος αυτων μυριαδες μυριαδον και χιλαδες χιλιαδον
Let’s look at Rev. 5:11 — (in the Greek)
“Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon
thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living
creatures and the elders.”
Here is Zondervan’s (NIV) translation:
“And I saw, and I heard a sound of many angels around the throne and the living
creatures and the elders, and the number of them was myriads (of) myriads and thousands
Notice in the above translations the words Zondervan uses, i.e., upon and times.
These terms do not appear in the Greek Scriptures! Neither does the term (of) that we
have injected appear in the Greek Scriptures! However, Zondervan’s terms are
subjective, with no Scriptural warrant, while the “(of)” we have used does answer the
question of “how many?” myriads and how many thousands were meant both of
which are not stated in the Greek, but indicated by logical questioning.
One could, and should, read these numerical descriptions of the angels John saw
in the vision he was given as being unimaginable large. In fact, so many angels that John
depicted them as uncountable, innumerable. That is what he was trying to get across to us
in that verse! While Zondervan’s description of the numbers is also uncountable, they
correctly use the plural meaning of “muriades and muriadon.” But by putting the number
as “ten thousand times ten thousand” in place of the literal “thousands (of) thousands,”
they have effectively given us a real number 100,000,000 to work with. We’ve
italicized “times” that the NIV injects between the terms “chiliades chiliadon,” with no
indication of support for doing so. On the other hand, We’ve given the reason why we put
the “of” between those two terms previously. It’s in answer to the question the term
indicates to us: of what, or how many? In this case, we know the “of what” angels!
but we don’t find the answer to “how many.” Just that it’s unknown but large, larger than
we can really imagine! The Greek terms do not reveal, nor insinuate any particular
number unless it is expressly mentioned, as we have shown before.
Now we turn to Vine’s Expository Dictionary of new Testament Words and see
what it has to say, and what we will say about what he has to say. On page 1283 of
Vine’s Index, with the following note prefixed at the start, we read:
“Note: The English words in the Index are not necessarily the meanings of the Greek
words which are found under the English headings.”
Vine’s note is very revealing. We should be aware that what he defines he does
not necessarily mean!
We now turn to pages 1300 and 1343 to see what English words he used to define
the Greek terms with:
Here is a literal translation of the Greek:
We now will reproduce what he says on the word(s) THOUSAND (-S). (Page
1. CHILIOI (χιλιοι), a thousand, occurs in 2 Pet. 3:8; Rev. 11:3; 12:6; 14:20; 20:2–7.
2. CHILIAS (χιλας), one thousand, is always used in the plural, chiliades, but translated
in the singular everywhere, except in the phrase “thousands of thousands,” Rev. 5:11.
Notes: (1) The following compounds of No. 1 represent different multiples of a thousand:
dischilioi, 2000, Mark 5:13; trischilioi, 3,000, Acts 2:41; tetrakischilioi, 4,000, Matt.
15:38, 16:10, Mark 8:9, 20, Acts 21:38; pentakischilioi, 5,000, Matt. 14:21, 16:19, mark
6:44, 8:19, Luke 9:14, John 6:10; heptakischilioi, 7,000, Rom. 11:4.
CHILIAS — thousand
CHILIOI — thousands
MURIAS — company, innumerable, thousand(s)
MURIOI — ten thousand
(2) Murias, a myriad, a vast number, “many thousands,” Luke 12:1, RV (revised
version); Acts 21:20, it also denotes 10,000; Acts 19:19, literally, ‘five ten-thousands;’
Jude 14, “ten thousands;” in Rev. 5:11 “ten thousand times ten thousand” is, literally,
‘myriads of myriads;’ In Rev. 9:16 in the best texts, dismuriades muriadon, “twice ten
thousand times ten thousand” RV. (AV, “two hundred thousand thousand”); see
(3) Murioi (the plural of murios), an adjective signifying numberless, is used in
this indefinite sense in 1 Cor. 4:15 and 14:19; it also denotes the definite number “ten
thousand,” Matt. 18:24.
INNUMERABLE (Page 602)
2. MURIAS (μυρας) denotes either ten thousand, or, indefinitely, a myriad, a
numberless host, in the plural, Acts 19:19; Literally ‘five ten-thousands,’ Rev. 5:11, 9:16;
in the following, used of vast numbers, Luke 12:1, AV, “an innumerable multitude,” RV,
“the many thousands” (RV margin “the myriads”); Acts 21:20, “thousands;” Heb. 12:22,
“innumerable hosts;” Jude 14, “ten thousands” (RV margin, in each place, “myriads”).
See Company, Thousands. Compare the adjective murios, ten thousand, Matt. 18:24, 1
Cor. 4:15, 14:19.
COMPANY (Noun and Verb) (Page 218)
Notes: (3) Murias, a noun connected with the adjective murios (numberless,
infinite), signifies a myriad (whence the English word), and is used hyperbolically, of
vast numbers, e.g., Heb. 12:22, AV, and innumerable company; RV, “innumerable
hosts.” (Contrast murioi, 10,000, Matt. 18:24).
We are somewhat amazed and perplexed by Vine’s “note” prefaced in his Index
wherein he gives the basic meaning of the Greek terms as used in the New Testament. I
would draw your attention to “Chilias thousand” when in his deeper look at the term
he admits that it is a plural, i.e., “more than one” thousand; thusly, his definition of a
“singular” thousand is erroneous. Likewise, his definition of “Murias company,
innumerable, thousand(s)” should not have the “s” bracketed, for he later admits that it
means numberless, infinite; for it also is a plural noun. As far as his definition of “murioi
ten thousand” is concerned, that is subjective, and not objective, for the term itself
does not indicate a certain number as he translates it. The only one he has absolutely
correct is the term “chilioi thousands,” which, along with the other three terms, never
indicates by the term itself how many thousands it refers to. That has to be told us by
other terms that are connected to it (as was demonstrated previously).
Looking at number “1” under his explanations of “Thousand(-S)” we see him now
defining “chilioi” as a singular “thousand” instead of the plural “thousands” as he has in
his Index. He doesn’t explain why he adds the English word “a” before it, for the word
“a” insinuates to one’s mind a singular “one.”
Looking at his “notes: (1),” we see that he shows that it means a plural number,
even though he asserts that it is singular above. He gives many examples, in fact, all the
uses of the term in the New Testament. Each one of his examples shows how many
“thousands” the term “chilioi” has reference to. Example: “dischilioi,” means two
thousands in the Greek; but in our English language it is correct to say two thousand.
However, when “chilioi” is used without any reference to how many are involved, it
would be correct, both in the Greek and in our English, to say “thousands,” for that is the
meaning of the Greek term (the term itself doesn’t indicate how many thousands are
involved). Standing alone in a verse it means “thousands, of an unknown number.” We
realize that we are a little critical of Vine’s explanations, but in his “Notes: (1),” we are in
complete agreement: the prefixes DO tell us the number of “thousands” that are meant by
the word “chilioi.”
Looking at number “2” under his explanations of “Thousand(-S)” we find him
admitting that the term “chilias” is a plural and points out the term “chiliades” to prove it.
And he correctly points out that the term is translated in the singular everywhere it is
used, with one exception, Rev. 5:11, which we have addressed already. I disagree with
his use of “chiliades” for the suffix doesn’t tell us that it’s a “plural,” as we have already
discussed and shown previously. This is all he has to say about this term. But what he has
to say is confusing to most people: it’s a plural, but translated and used as a singular
(true) with the exception to one solitary verse where it is translated and used as a plural
(true). If the term is a plural, why is it not always used as a plural? It is very correct to use
it in our English language as a plural, even when it has another term or terms telling us
how many thousands it refers to.
Now concerning the terms “murias” and “murioi,” which Vine devotes five times
as much space to explain, we find him using the English words “thousand” and
“thousands” as being descriptive of the Greek terms; those are strictly subjective English
terms that don’t really define the Greek terms. Our English has words to put in place of
these Greek terms; they are our words “innumerable, countless, numberless, infinite, etc.”
In other words, descriptive terms that are unimaginably large, and the actual numbers are
unknowable. It’s that simple!
This is not the first instance where Vine confuses the meanings of the Greek
Terms used in the New Testament. In my book, Church Doctrines: Right or Wrong? (You
Decide), pages 109-110, I bring up another instance in which he attempts to redefine
Greek terms. I will not mention that instance in this article read my book. There are
many instances like these wherein what Vine says is more of a commentary than a
definition. He is within his right to comment on whatever, and he does, thankfully,
remind us that he is just a fallible man attempting to help others in their study of the New
Testament (see his Preface). For this, his work is appreciated.
However, consider this. χιλιας, is a noun: χιλι is the stem. An “α” ending would make the stem a singular. An “ας” would make the stem a plural. χιλιοι'.is an adjective. An “οι” ending makes it a plural adjective. As you can see in II Peter 3:8, The Zondervan Parallel New Testament in Greek and English, in place of χιλιοι, substitutes the Greek singular term “χιλια.”Another thing, never once does the Greek term “χιλια” appear as a single (singular) word in the NT Manuscripts as far as we know, and we never find the Greek term “χιλιας” used as a singular (plural) word. This same thing is done in Revelation 20:2-7, in all six places once in each verse. Doing this changes the meaning from “thousands” to “a thousand” or “one thousand.” The next term “ετος,” which follows, tells us “of” what it refers to, which is “years.” In other words, in both II Peter 3:8 (twice) and Revelations 20:2-7 (six times) scripture show us that the word is “χιλιοι”thousands, and when one asks “how many?”, it states “ετος” years.
The Greek compound term χιλιαδες does appear 19 times, along with χιλιαδον (3 times), χιλιαοιν (1 time)..As to it being a “plural” compound term,
questions come up to its usage in our English language versus the Greek language of Jesus’ day. These terms, as you can see in the listing at the start of this exercise, always refer to the term(s) before or following them. As a plural, the term means “thousands,” and its modifiers tell us how many “thousands.” It is only in the English that we drop the “s” from the word “thousands.” We do that because of our English sentence construction, whereas the Greek does not.
Both Vine and Strong admit that “χιλιοι” is the plural of “χιλια” The same
goes for the term “μυρια” (singular) and “μυριοι” (plural). These are both nouns
(singular) with their adjectives (plural) cases. The stem of these terms is “μυρι” to which
the designated endings are appended to tell us their cases (This goes for all Greek stems).
Every Greek stem has letters attached to them that tell us many things about the
word. It tells us if it is a noun (1st or 2nd declension), pronoun, adverb, verb, adjective,
singular or plural, (case) nominative, genitive, dative, accusative or vocative (only in the
singular), masculine, feminine, neuter (gender), and prepositions (which help nouns,
verbs and adjectives express themselves clearly), and if they are present, passive or
indicative. Koine Greek is said to be a very participle loving language, and so it is. The
writers of the New Testament had to know what they said in order to get their message
across to their recipients, and it still does today (if we but listen to it).
Concerning the First Resurrection and the “thousand years” found in the Book of
Revelation as translated in our English Bibles of today versus what is said in this
Preliminary study on the word “chilioi,” should be of no concern to those who have been
resurrected to “walk in newness of life” (KJV), or that “we too may live a new life” (NIV),
Romans 6:4. Those who have taken part in this “First Resurrection” can say the same
thing the Apostle Paul says in II Cor. 5:1–10 absent from the body is to be present
with the Lord. This does not mean that we enjoy the pleasures of Heaven with Jesus and
the Father the moment we die, but that we look forward to Jesus’ return to resurrect us
with a new, glorified, immortal, spiritual body so that we can be like Him (see I John
3:2–3). We look forward to having a new body, spiritual, but still a body.
Nothing in this study adds or detracts from the teaching of the Good News of
Jesus our savior the word of God made flesh, Jesus, God’s only begotten son whom
He made the Christ God’s Anointed One! The conclusions that may be drawn from
what is written herein only affect the thinking of those who speculate on the “end times.”
None of what is expressed herein contradicts anything the New Testament teaches
concerning the “First Resurrection” those whose spirits were dead while they live, and
have been resurrected to walk in “newness of life” upon believing and obeying the Good
News of Jesus as taught by His Apostles in their written words.
Here is something for one to think upon. The revelation which God has given
through the Bible begins with the creation of time “in the beginning” and ends with
the announcement that “time shall be no more” (Rev. 10:6), when there will be no need
of sun or moon to mark time, for all will be finished (Rev. 10:7). In between we find the
“ages,” and we live at the end of the “ages” (see I Cor. 10:11). The “end of the ages”
spoken by Paul did not refer to the “age” of the covenant given to Moses, for that ended
way before Paul wrote to the Corinthians; but Paul wrote about the end of the ages, a time
beginning with the resurrection of Christ and extending to the culmination of time at the
day of judgment.
To understand this one should consider the Biblical “state of death” as portrayed
in many of the scripture verses and passages. The state of death lasts from the moment
that a man dies, to the moment that he awaken from death at the resurrection. The state of
death is not a point of time like the twinkling of an eye, but embraces all the period
during which the body lies in the grave, i.e., remains in “hades.” At death, the spirit of
man returns to Him who gave it, God. We see that in the remarks made by Stephen (Acts
7:59–60); which recalls the record of our Savior’s crucifixion (Matt. 27:50, Mark 15: 37,
Luke 23:46 and John 19:30). Hebrews, chapter eleven, is very clear on this; all who are
“in Christ” are asleep in Him until He returns and resurrects them from the dead. Read it.
None are now in heaven, regardless of the many funeral services that portray the
deceased as “being more alive than ever, flitting around playing a harp in happiness in
The deceased do not know anything in the grave or hades. They are unaware of
the amount of time that may pass before being resurrected. To them, time stops, it is no
more. But to the living, time continues and everyone is aware of it. Is it no wonder that
God calls those Christians who die to be looked upon as asleep, that they are alive in
God’s eyes even though in man’s eyes they are dead. When a Christian dies it is like he
fell asleep, and when he wakes up at the sound of Christ’s voice, it is as if time starts
again, even though many thousands of years have passed by to the living.
Many churches teach that the words of Paul are “proof” that one’s “soul” goes
immediately to heaven upon death. Those passages are found in II Cor. 1–10 and Phil.
1:21–23. But the problem they have is that Paul was not talking about immediately going
to be with Christ in heaven, rather, his hope was in being resurrected at the last day when
he looked forward to being given the “crown of life” immortality! Their other problem
is that they think a person has an immortal soul that can never die. When pointed out that
man himself is a “soul” and that there is no “entity” called a “soul” within them (a point
easily shown from many of the verses and passages of scripture, starting with Genesis
chapters one and two), they then seek to explain that they meant one’s “spirit.” Again,
they ascribe immortality to it as an entity within one’s body, forgetting that only Jesus,
God’s Anointed One, has immortality (I Tim. 6:16). To these church bodies, i.e., the
leadership, falling back on traditionalism is their only hope to back up their beliefs; and
the number of people that believe what they teach. However, numbers don’t actually
mean anything the number of those on the broad road that leads to destruction is far
greater than those on the narrow road that leads to salvation. Jesus has control of one’s
spirit, and the Father promised that He would lose none of those given Him; and Jesus
will raise up those at the last day to be with Him forevermore. In the meantime, His saints
are asleep until they are called out of the graves, their resurrection from among the dead
when He returns!
The apostle John in writing what Jesus told him to write (Rev. 1:19), tells us that
those who have taken part in the First Resurrection (the resurrection to walk a new life
while living here on earth) will not suffer the second death as will those who are not
raised until “thousands of years” have passed. When one dies the “thousands of years”
start. Look at Hebrews Eleven and see the list of individuals who have already been in
the grave “thousands of years” and don’t really know that long a period of time has
passed; their resurrection, along with us, will not take place until the last day of the “end
of the ages” we now live in.
My hope is that anyone reading this preliminary study will examine what is said
with an open mind to the failings of men who have translated and tried to explain the
reasons why they chose the words they used in the various versions of the New
Testament Books. May God’s spirit be with you and in you as you examine what is said,
and be like the Bereans mentioned in Acts 17:11, “…for they received the message with
great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true”
NOTE: While what is stated in this article is not the final word by any means, we
hope that more and more students of the Bible will investigate what is said. It is also
important to realize that 1,000 in the Bible can be understood as an undetermined
number, just as “the cattle on 1,00 hills” belong to God, and the cattle on all the hills they
are on also belong to God. It also can stand for “completeness.”
Copyright © 2009 by Kenneth Fortier. Permission is granted to reproduce and distribute
copies of this article provided that acknowledgement is given to the author. All other
rights reserved. This notice must remain with this article.
Copyright © 2009 by Kenneth Fortier. Permission is granted to reproduce and distribute
copies of this article provided that acknowledgement is given to the author. All other
rights reserved. This notice must remain with this article.
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