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Greek Word Study - Meteorized

“Ezekiel saw the wheel, way up in the middle of the air.” The old Negro spiritual, based on Ezekiel 16, found a fascination with the wheels which rose and were suspended in mid-air. The Greeks had a word for “mid-air,” meteoros (meh TEH oh ross). This is the same word from which we get our word meteor.

Aristotle once wrote a whole treatise on meteors. These “shooting stars were known to be in the upper reaches of earth’s atmosphere, not as high as actual stars, so they were called objects of “mid-air,” or meteors. The same word for “hanging in mid-air” was also applied to a lot of other things: wind, water vapor, and clouds. (This is why a trained weatherman is called a meteorologist. He studies the activity of clouds, wind currents, and all the “mid-air” phenomena.)

There was also a verb form of this word, which would be equivalent to English form meteorize (Greek: meh teh oh RIDZ oh). To be “meteorized” was be suspended in mid-air, to be left hanging. Thucydides spoke of it as “hovering between hope and fear.” Josephus told how the Jewish people were politically unsettled and in suspense during the reign of Herod the Great, because he was giving conflicting signals about which of his sons might be designated to follow him on the throne. All the country was meteorized, caught in limbo between hope and fear. .

All of this brings us to Luke 12 :29, the only time this word is used in the New Testament. Knowing how “up in the air” people can be with all their anxieties, Jesus gave us this very good piece of advice: “Do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and don’t be meteorized!”