Are there four corners of the earth?  Not really.  We know from the Word, from science, and from observation that the earth is round.  We read of the Lord in Isaiah 40:21-22, “Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is he that sitteth upon THE CIRCLE OF THE EARTH, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in.”  Isaiah was written somewhere between 740-680 B.C.  We see the Lord gave knowledge way back then of the roundness of the earth.

The Hebrew word for ‘corners’ in Isaiah 11:12 is ‘kanaph’, which means ‘an edge or an extremity.’  That same word is translated ‘ends’ in Job 37:3 which says, “He directeth it under the whole heaven, and his lightning unto the ends of the earth.”  It is translated ‘breadth’ in Job 38:18, “Hast thou perceived the breadth of the earth? declare if thou knowest it all.”  We can easily see that in Isaiah 11:12 (and Ezekiel 7:2), that reference is being given to the extremities or breadth of the earth.

It’s interesting and instructive to see that the word ‘corner’ is used many times in the Bible.  Let’s look at a few of them:

  • Exodus 25:26, “And thou shalt make for it four rings of gold, and put the rings in the four corners that are on the four feet thereof.”
  • Leviticus 21:5, “They shall not make baldness upon their head, neither shall they shave off the corner of their beard, nor make any cuttings in their flesh.”
  • Leviticus 23:22, “And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make clean riddance of the corners of thy field when thou reapest, neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them unto the poor, and to the stranger: I am the LORD your God.”

In each of these verses, and others, the Lord uses the word ‘peah’ which literally means ‘corner or angle.’  However in Isaiah 11:12 and Ezekiel 7:2, He uses the different word ‘kanaph’ which literally means expanse.

Although, it is commonly known that the earth is round, the expression ‘the four corners of the earth’ is a common expression that ALL people use.  It is used to express completeness of the earth.  For example, if one were to say, “I searched the four corners of the earth for you,” everyone would understand that this meant that someone searched the whole earth for someone else.

As far as the expression ‘ends of the earth’, the Bible includes this phrase 28 times in its pages.  Often, the word for ‘ends’ is ‘kanaph’, which is also translated as ‘corners’ in several places.  There are several Hebrew words that are translated as ‘ends’ in the Word.  Each one has a thought of expanse, and does not really mean an ‘end’ of the earth.  Now, we can measure the distance from the North to the South poles.  However, we cannot measure the distance from the East to the West.  With that in mind, Psalm 103:12 says, “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.”  When we put our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, He removes our sins permanently and casts them so far away.  When we have Christ as our savior, our sins have been completely paid for and removed from us.  We rejoice in the truth of Romans 8:1 that assures us, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.”  (197.8)