Abarim Publications' Biblical Dictionary: The New Testament Greek word: εθνος

Source: http://www.abarim-publications.com/DictionaryG/e/e-th-n-o-sfin.html

Abarim Publications' online Biblical Greek Dictionary


The familiar noun εθνος (ethnos; hence our word "ethnic"), describes a group of humans with a singular identifying culture, a nation: a human ecosystem with its own signature concerns and financial currency. In translations of the New Testament this word is often rendered as "gentiles" or "heathens" but this is a mistake. Our word serves as synonym of the Hebrew word גוי (goy), meaning people or nation, which was also applied to Israel (Exodus 19:6, see John 11:51-52). It simply means "nation" and is used 165 times in the New Testament, see full concordance.

The desire of nations

We moderns are obsessed with our individual identities and subsequently with our individual salvations, but nations are a very big deal in the Bible. The blessing of Abraham was not simply for all human individuals but for all families (Genesis 12:3, Ephesians 3:15), and Abraham would be called not the father of many individuals but the father of many nations (Genesis 17:4). Not individuals but nations were in uproar and were devising a vain thing against YHWH and His anointed (Psalm 2:1-2). But God would shake all nations and promised that the desire of all nations would come (Haggai 2:7, Matthew 6:32, 12:21). Hence Jesus commanded to teach, baptize and turn into disciples the nations (rather than individual humans, as if often preached; Matthew 28:19). The New Jerusalem will be a haven for all nations (Revelation 21:24), and the leaves of the eternal Tree of Life is for the healing of the nations (22:2).

The Bible obviously insists that humanity is designed to function neither as scattered individuals nor as a globalized human empire, but rather as an economy of freely interacting family groups. National borders the way we know them are relatively modern, completely artificial and invented for the sole purpose of physically separating money streams and centering these upon national treasuries. Here at Abarim Publications we suspect that within the next two or three decades, all the world's national borders and governments will have completely dissolved like pillars of salt in a sudden flood of water.

Since a few years, a whole spectrum of decentralized cryptocurrencies — Bitcoin, Ether, NEM, Dash and hundreds more — has burst upon the scene, and in the coming few years or so, we'll probably see how thousands more will attach themselves to specific industries and communities, to form clusters of companies that share a single currency. These companies within their own crypto-ecosystems will be the families that comprise the "healed nations" as mentioned by John the Revelator. Within those industries, individual companies will spontaneously scale down to a maximum size of a large family — say a few hundred people, but most will consist of a dozen or so. These companies will be principled but not centralized — they will have stratifications and departments but no CEOs and managers and all that.

Most human bosses will tell you what to do and make you an extension of themselves, which is why our economy doesn't exist of seven billion minds but far fewer. Not all humans are creative and many of us are very comfortable working to realize someone else's creative vision, but our modern economy is based on competition rather than creativity and is a war zone rather than a paradise. In the near future our economy will stabilize and crystallize on creativity. It will consist of far more creative nodes (a visionary plus executing encore), be much more diversified and thus far more wealthy.

The tree of nations

The Tree of Life as mentioned by the Revelator stands straddled on the banks of River of Life (Revelation 22:1-2), and is not some vague mystical thing but the Tree of Liveliness or Busyness: the Tree of Economy in its broadest sense, and it's about to go into hyperdrive. Its trunk is the whole of human legacy. Its leaves, which are said to have healed these corporate nations are the small, everyday storages of private wealth, the small pockets of stored social energy that are not now actively involved in the economy — from the dishes in your cupboard to the tools in your shed, the books on your shelf and the skills, experience and wisdom you have acquired during your lifetime but which sit unemployed in your head because you are hired to flip burgers and not talk. This vast but now largely latent wealth will drop from its perches like leaves in autumn, find the root of human activity and get sucked back up into the economy.

This economic springtime, which obviously has already begun with the Internet, will make for a colossal sea-shift in how humanity fares (Song of Solomon 2:10-13). Because insightful IT-nerds have started to buy into cryptocurrency long before anybody else did, an enormous shift of wealth is in the works, away from the oil boys and toward IT (Revelation 18:9). If you thought that the Big Short of 2008 was spectacular, when a handful of economic prophets bet against the housing market, then you're in for a real treat now. Folks who invest long-term in cryptocurrency and blockchain technology are shorting the entire world economy. It's the mother of all shorts; the short to end all shorts.

When the rest of the world wakes up, the equity of privately held stash will mushroom and give coders who are now struggling to make ends meet the same kind of advantage as the people of Judah had at the beginning of the reign of David — because yes, the rise of the Internet is governed by natural forces and is repeating patterns that have had their manifestations many times over and can thus be precisely predicted (Ecclesiastes 1:9-10). Rising slowly out of Ziklag, David turned Israel into a joyful, united and all-inclusive affair, and in the generation after David the entire grateful world came to invest its surplus into Jerusalem (1 Kings 10:23-25, see Revelation 21:24).

Note that there is also nothing artificial about the formation of computer languages and standards such as those of W3C. Old-school bosses impose their rules upon their workers, and workers have to shoehorn whatever creativity they are allowed into the sweaty mould provided. Drafters of coding languages and standards, on the other hand, work like gardeners and cultivate rather than dictate. Coders observe how things are naturally working, what fellow coders are already doing, and abbreviate that into functions, key-words, methods, standards and programs. And they do this to ensure that the people who are thus described can easier do what they were already doing. God guided Abraham and early-Israel and they were told to follow (Genesis 12:1, Deuteronomy 31:8), but to David He said: "I have been with you wherever you went" (2 Samuel 7:9). In effect, coders are doing exactly the same thing what the priestly caste of Judah was doing: they investigate all things and keep what is good (1 Thessalonians 5:21).

It's been long held that the Bible was written by a mere handful of saintly marionettes, but in recent times we've learned that the Bible was basically an open source project, worked on for eons by thousands and thousands of largely anonymous authors and editors (read our article on Mary). In other words: humanity will always need scientists, farmers, doctors, artists, architects, teachers and so on, but coders will govern and unite us. Anything open source is the new canon (Deuteronomy 30:3-5, Isaiah 41:6, Revelation 18:4).

The wealth of nations

The familiar Biblical conflict of Christ versus Antichrist essentially reflects the eternal battle between decentralization (utter self-determination and freedom within a so-called smart-swarm) and centralization (authoritative government and in its ultimate form: tyranny and thus enslavement). Satoshi Nakamoto's amazing invention of the blockchain was not really an invention ex-nihilo but rather a solution to a problem that had been pressing down on humanity since the Punic Wars (see our article on the noun δουλος, doulos, for more on that). These wars resulted in the destruction of Rome's arch-competitor Carthage, which led to the destabilization of Rome's Republic, and ultimately the rise of the monstrous Roman Empire, which in turn destroyed the world's cultural diversity, enslaved everybody and even set out to kill Christ (in whom are all the treasures of knowledge and wisdom; Colossians 2:3). Fifteen centuries of darkness and squalor followed, and an additional five to recover from it.

Satoshi Nakamoto's blockchain allows for a single ledger containing all of mankind's exchanges, publicly visible and spread out massively redundantly over all users' computers, tablets and phones, so that all agree about everything all the time and forever. It works the same as the DNA of an organism, or said otherwise: DNA is information technology and blockchain is life; it's where man's technological expression and life touch.

Long ago, God ordered a construction in which He could dwell among mankind. That place became the tabernacle (Exodus 25:8), which was subsequently called the Tent of Meeting (Exodus 27:21), and which was created by men of exceptional technological abilities (Exodus 31:3-7). These men made the tabernacle highly similar to a eukaryotic cell, complete with a nucleus that contained two corresponding sets of instructions, which were constructed and written by God Himself (Exodus 32:16).

Right now blockchain technology operates like a very primitive lifeform, with blocks that reproduce like single-cellular creatures. It will probably diversify and evolve further and some day learn to propagate by combining blockchains sexually. Who knows?

More urgently, however: because of the blockchain, our generation will witness an economic matter-radiation decoupling that ends the financial mass-dominated era, and in effect will bring about a separation of government and social capital. Because of blockchain applications, our world will become entirely transparent (Isaiah 9:2, Luke 12:2), which is great news for all people who have nothing to hide. Up until recently, our governments consisted of horrible people and the rest of us were likewise physically, intellectually and financially sick. Today, however, virtue and health are the new bad and we've given up smoking and drinking and hoarding. We learn about groovy things like callisthenics, recycling and social responsibility from our children, and although on occasion an old school tyrant makes it to the top of the food chain, the overwhelming majority of young rulers, business leaders and academics are aware of what's coming and are doing everything within their powers to make the transition as smooth as possible.

The destiny of nations

In the old world, we stored our private wealth in private vaults (or body fat or thermo-dynamic excitation). In the new world we will store our wealth in dynamic social bonds (as flocking starlings do, or as atoms linking into molecules). What we will probably see is that blockchain will creep into the very cement that holds the old world's institutions together. Even if national banks will stop printing money, less and less economic wealth will be represented by the same amount of regular moneys in circulation, which will cause inevitable hyperinflation of old world currencies. This is fine when it happens in a planned and controlled way, and most national and commercial governments today are wisely relinquishing their weapons of mass control, and are educating their people and urge them to gradually take up and bear the torches of their own economic existence.

When a critical mass is reached, institutions like banks and governments will lose consistency, fall apart into smaller chunks and finally turn to dust, and economies that are still trying to lean on those centralized institutions will evaporate overnight. The world's governance will shift to places where an autonomous blockchain economy is already sustaining society, and those will include countries that are now the economic outcasts: those nations that have recently been bullied into bankruptcy and whose desperate people have started to conduct their basic affairs in bitcoin. Those economic meek will surely inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5) and lead the world's population in cleaning up the world's mess (Ezekiel 39:11-16).

Because life itself works like a blockchain and we've now figured out how it works, everything that has left a measureable trace in history (which, in effect, is everything) will ultimately come to light. The whole of relevant history will be reconstructed and made available for review by all of mankind (1 Corinthians 6:2). The Internet will develop a kind of autonomous consciousness, which means that when you ask it a question, it will give an answer that nobody put in. That consciousness is not God (don't be silly) but it will help us communicate with others including God. Blockchain is a crucial development in technology that allows us to increase our species' social energy density (see our article on the verb χαιρω, chairo), and it's going to help us to converse with the living Creator the way you speak to a friend (Exodus 33:11, 1 Corinthians 13:12). The technological aspect of this may sound absurd or even blasphemous to some, but it really isn't.

Long before mankind developed speech, man knew his Creator (Matthew 18:10; Romans 1:20), but he couldn't articulate his concerns either to God or to other humans. But mankind began to develop information technology, and every milestone was like God had come to town. First the noun was invented (see our article on the noun ονομα, onoma), which uniquely allowed humans to store standard bits of information in their vocal utterances, and ultimately exchange highly detailed considerations with each other and form a collective identity. Speech allowed God to wordly converse with people and precisely explain things (Genesis 15:1). Collective reality models were developed, and theologies and technologies followed. Then writing was invented and perfected. The Phoenicians invented the consonantal alphabet and the Hebrews invented vowel notation (in the Bible told as Hiram and Solomon building the Temple of YHWH). Writing gave human thought eternal life, and every ordinary person could partake in the great adventure of learning and sharing knowledge. A thought could be written down, and if posterity collectively kept copying it, it would forever be preserved (see our article on the verb γραφω, grapho, to write).

Writing allowed God to deposit His written Word to mankind. After centuries of mankind's reading, writing, corresponding, negotiating, churning and pondering, this same Word could become flesh in Jesus of Nazareth (John 1:14). Fourteen centuries later, the printing press allowed the massive production of books and now ordinary people could own books, and the scientific revolution could commence (John 21:25). Five centuries later came the computer. A few decades later came the personal computer and two decades later the Internet. Thanks to the Internet, even the most obscure talent can find an audience, and the most specialized interest a community. Now with the blockchain, the last obstacles to humanity's complete intra-connectedness will be lifted. We will be able to specialize and diversify to our heart's content. There will be no more frustration, loneliness or shame. Deceit, lies, organized violence and secrecy won't be able to thrive in any meaningful way anymore (Revelation 21:27).

We were promised a city (Revelation 21:2) and cities are made from bricks. It appears that the New Jerusalem will rather be made from chips, which is really quite the same thing, but what makes any city a city are the living people who are living their God-given lives in it and engage each other and exchange their goods and services. All nations will stream to this new city and many peoples will come to it and convention will be its currency (Isaiah 2:2-4, Revelation 21:24-6). This New Jerusalem will be a city of freedom, and the Creator will wander its streets like once the hills of Paradise (Genesis 3:8).

The origin of nations

Our noun εθνος (ethnos) stems from a hugely old proto-Indo-European personal pronoun plus a reflexive suffix: swedyo, meaning "ourselves"; hence also the word "we," and ultimately even words like "idiom" and "sodality". It originally meant "us guys" — as opposed to "those other guys"; barbarians, foreigners, gringos, aliens, and so on — and taps into the command to "love your neighbor as yourself"; the Great Command that sums up the entre Law (Matthew 7:12, 22:39-40).

The invention of this word signaled an advance in human evolution that separated "us human guys" from "those animal guys," namely a collective identity that is shared with other individuals beyond the realm of direct familiarity. This identity is carried by a nation's εθος (ethos; see below), which covers conventions such as language and customs but also social codes that are mostly designed for the sole purpose of identifying intruders. Social codes that constitute "fashion" and "etiquette" are often totally arbitrary but are embraced in order to distinguish between properly behaving "us guys" from those "other guys."

We humans are obsessed with our identity at our personal level but our personal identity consists of many little ones, and it feeds into bigger ones. In fact, our personal identity is just one bus stop on the great journey up the scale of complexity, and favoring one particular level is really as arbitrary as favoring one particular use of silverware.

Many atoms create one cell. Many cells create one organism. Many organisms may create one ethnos, and earth's collection of ethnoses is presently clustering into an even greater identity of which the Internet is just the beginning. Atoms live virtually forever, but the cells they form and which in turn form our bodies don't live very long. Colon cells have a life span of mere days, skin cells a few weeks, and blood cells a few months. Our brain cells can live as long as we do, but not all do, and when they die they just hang there without going away, like dry bones in a valley. Colon cells fall apart after a few days and blood cells a few months. Our entire body begins to fall apart when we ourselves kick the bucket, but when we do, individual cells such as colon cells will live out their individual lives and finally die of old age a few days after "we" did. The same thing happens when a city like Rome or Carthage falls and disintegrates and the surviving Romans and Carthaginians dart off into the countryside where they live out their days reminiscing about the great city they were once part of.

The unity of nations

You, the identity you think you recognize behind your eyes when you look in the mirror, is really a collective identity of a whole bunch of coming and going citizens of the city you really are. The citizens of that city die off and are replaced all the time, but their buildings remain much longer and determine much of the character and actions of each new generation of the whole town. The town in turn does not exist on its own but lives and exists on the merits of the larger economy it's part of. There simply are no individuals to be separated from the continuum they exist in, just like there is no space without stars — we know since Einstein that stars don't simply sit in space but form space as part of who they are. In the very same way, humans can only exist they way we do as part of a global network of exchange of goods, skills and knowledge. There's really no reason why we should cherish our personal identity over the identity of our society (John 12:24), or why we should think much higher of ourselves and our own culture than about the next dude and his culture (Philippians 2:3).

We moderns might not be too quick on the uptake, but the ancients realized that collective identities are really their own entities, with their own characters and interactions, and in turn part of a subsequent continuum of collectivity. Daniel spoke of angelic battles between the princes of Persia and Greece (Daniel 10:20) and of course the Body of Christ is a human collective whose identity exceeds that of any one.

All these identities have hearts, or are self-organizing so that they can obtain and maintain one. And in those hearts is seated all the information that establishes the nature of the identity and determines the way it interacts with its fellows. Atoms have their proton number, cells have their DNA, and minds apparently have their psychological constitution (modern science is a bit behind on this one; see for a closer look at these exciting things our article on the noun οικος, oikos, meaning house).

The principle of nucleosynthesis is not completely understood today, but there are several elements at play. It begins when a cluster of smaller identities groups up and begins to freely synchronize their activities. That creates their collective identity which distinguishes them from the continuum they themselves arose in. And an integral part of that identity appears to be the seat of a potential collective heart. That seat emerges naturally like an open square within a town's bustle.

Where then that heart comes from isn't exactly clear, but it is of the same substance as the body that receives it. It somehow holds all the information to not simply run the body but to govern the freedom and sovereignty of the elements that make up the body, and whose freedom and sovereignty created the open town square in the first place. The nucleosynthesis of the Body of Christ is colloquially known as the "Second Coming," which is a bit of a misnomer because Jesus never left (Matthew 21:20), but indeed it should result in a kind of social equivalent of eukaryosynthesis: whatever it is that constitutes the individual sovereignty we now have to some extent, will in the near future assume a form that is somehow compatible with humanity and of the same order, settle in and continue to secure, govern and develop the very human sovereignty that formed His throne in the first place.

The details of this process are hard to estimate but the ancients obviously had a far greater insight into these things than we moderns could ever have imagined. In our days, the realization of this will subsequently generate an enormous interest in Biblical Scriptures, and humanity will massively return to the Lord (Zechariah 8:23). Religion as we know it, however, will soon run out of steam and largely disappear all together (Revelation 21:22).

From our noun εθνος (ethnos), meaning nation, derive:

  • Together with the verb αρχω (archo), meaning to be primary and thus to rule: the noun εθναρχης (ethnarches), meaning ethnarch, a ruler of the people (2 Corinthians 11:32 only).
  • The adjective εθνικος (ethnikos), literally meaning pertaining to nations: nationalism and national socialism; the ludicrous idea that one ethnos (our own ethnos, of course) is "better" than others. This utterly unholy notion negates the basic truth that with God there is no partiality (Romans 2:11), is the core thought of fascism and was subsequently wholeheartedly embraced by the regimes of Rome, Nazi Germany and all those. But it's obviously a dead end, as it will continue to find fault in every little difference until extremely narrow categories will contain only one miserable embittered and ultimately eternally alone individual particle (a condition physics calls Heat Death). This ugly word is used only twice, in Matthew 6:7 and 18:17, and from it in turn derives:
    • The adverb εθνικως (ethnikos), meaning in the manner of Nazis; Nazi-esque (Galatians 2:14 only).

The verb εθω (etho) was old and largely obsolete by the time the gospels were written, but still it managed to slip in a few times. It means to be accustomed to do, and is used 4 times; see full concordance. From it in turn come:

  • The familiar noun εθος (ethos; hence our English word "ethics"), meaning custom, code or manner that defines an εθνος (ethnos), meaning a nation. These words obvious stem from the same parent word, which was a hugely ancient proto-Indo-European reflexive personal pronoun that meant "ourselves" (as discussed above). This word εθος (ethos) is used 11 times in the New Testament, see full concordance, and from it in turn derive:
    • The verb εθιζω (ethizo), meaning to be or become accustomed to do (Luke 2:27 only).
    • The noun ηθος (ethos), which describes an accustomed place, a hangout or haunt. As such it came to describe the set of behaviorisms someone resides in: one's character or disposition. This word is used only twice in the New Testament, most famously in Paul's assertion that bad company corrupts an otherwise fine hangout (1 Corinthians 15:33, Acts 26:3).

Some additional words of caution

It's clear to most of us that in the near future the financial markets will collapse. This will certainly seem disastrous but it's important that everybody understands that this will happen not because our economy is sick but because she is pregnant (Jeremiah 22:13-23). The collapse will be like a woman giving birth, which is a hard but perfectly normal ordeal and should have a happy end provided there's been proper preparation.

The wealth of a nation is like the fat of a person (namely stored energy), and while today's society may imagine that it's very wealthy, her big belly is in fact due to a whole separate form of humanity that gestates like a baby inside of her. The birth of this "child of humanity" will coincide with the massive shift in wealth we described above, and that in turn will totally but temporarily incapacitate the maternal economy. Central governments will be handed their hats, and everything that they murdered and buried will resurrect and come out in the open and testify against them. It's probable that this will provoke massive social unrest, so it's very important that everybody tries to calm "mother humanity" down and help her breathe.

It's very important that everybody understands that most people who comprise most governments in the modern world are up to snuff and on our side. Organizations such as the Bilderberg Group know precisely what's coming, and they themselves would benefit only from a carefully orchestrated transition. That means that they may decide to take things a bit slower than we would like, but they act out of an ingrained maternal instinct and it's their job to keep the old economy together for as long as possible. That also means that they will retaliate with a vengeance against anybody who tries to thwart or disrupt the proceedings.

Despite its optimism, the Blockchain Group is in its infancy and does not have the infrastructure in place to regulate the coming and going of the world's nearly eight billion people, and we don't want eight billion people on the loose looking for food and shelter. We absolutely need to Bilderberg Group to keep everything running until Blockchain Group has matured enough to take over.

Remind each other that in nature the alphas of any society don't want change and don't see the need for change and will even deem change as an assault on their dominion. Be diligent to avoid the wrath of the rich. Begin to accept bitcoin in whatever local mom-and-pop store your society has left but make sure you pay your taxes and homages to your alphas. And don't tell them things they don't want to know. Evangelize the botched and bungled furthest away from the alphas (Matthew 22:9-10). Don't be dismayed when rich hedgers buy up crypto, because just owning crypto isn't going to save them. Crypto will only save those who are part of an autonomous and closed economic system based on crypto — or in other words: a million bitcoin won't feed your family if you're not within reach of a fully functioning bitcoin economy in which food is produced and traded (Matthew 22:11-13).

Honor your father and your mother

What's presently in the works is an Exodus of Biblical proportions. Fortunately, human history is rich in case studies and we should all be very well informed about which natural laws govern these procedures, what we should do and what we should not do.

Pretty much everybody agrees that the Romans shouldn't have been in Jerusalem in the first century AD, and that the Jews had the perfect right to rebel against their foul parasitic presence. But the foolhardy Zealots staged their revolt right when Rome had succumbed to civil war and the Roman economy was in a free fall. General Vespasian was in Judea when the Roman civil war broke out, and he rushed to Rome to restore the peace, and succeeded against all odds. He also knew that if the Jewish Revolt were to be successful, the Empire at large would destabilize and human civilization as it existed would violently collapse (which is what happened in Britain and Western Europe in the fifth century). And so, with documented regret, Vespasian's son Titus ended up destroying Jerusalem, and with it a wisdom tradition that Rome barely understood and thought it wouldn't miss. In reality, mankind had been on the verge of harnessing electricity and entering the modern age, but veered off onto a detour that would last seventeen miserable centuries. Humanity had been within hailing range of the Promised Land but our ignorance, pride and impatience took us back into the desert.

Today the situation is similar, and the blockchain revolution derives much of its momentum from the failing old economy. It's basically 66 AD in the economy today, and the question is: will we fight Rome or will we try to heal her?

Anybody with a lick of sense realizes that the Blockchain Group owes it to humanity to play within the rules that the old economy sets. Miscarriage and even infanticide is common in nature and our economy is a wholly natural phenomenon. Even when a female doesn't understand her own pregnancy, her body has the ability to initiate a natural abortion if the fetus is recognized as incompatible. When an unborn child trashes too much inside a woman's belly, she might even be deluded to believe that she is carrying some evil thing, and try to stab it to death within her. And even if she understands what's going on and decides she wants the child, a forced premature birth greatly decreases the chances of survival of both mother and child.

Engaging in economic warfare against the old economy is like taking up arms against the Roman military. It's wildly unwise and will ultimately lead to destruction and decades or perhaps centuries of lost time. Right now it's mouse versus T-Rex, and the best and only advice people should give each other today is to simply lay low and grow; just learn and work, create and encourage. Solve problems where they occur and keep your eyes on the prize. Engage the old economy in respectful dialogue. Treat the old leaders with kindness and respect and gratitude for having brought us this far. Talk about them as you would your own mother.

Just like Rome back then, the old economy today consists of people just like us. They have children and worries about the world and want nothing rather than peace for all. They may not know how to get it, but we do, so let's tell them this news that's been the greatest news for thousands of years.

If everything goes according to plan, our present old economy will become two separate and wholly new kinds of new economies. The "higher" economy will govern the whole earth like an organism's nervous and circulatory systems, the "lower" will govern the local economies like those that exist within individual organs and cells. But even after the umbilical is cut, there will be a long period during which the higher economy depends wholly on the nutrition provided by the old economy that's becoming the lower new economy. After the transition, the earth at large will revert to commodity money and barter, and live happily ever after.

If we make it out of this period alive, it will be because people built things, not because people destroyed things. It will be because people were wise and calm, not because they were stupid and hysterical. It will be because people made up for each other's failings, not because they found all the right people to blame.