A look into the word “seek” is well worth the time. As with many words, seek changes in the number of times it is used and how it is rendered, depending on the translation you use. KJV has it almost 300 times, while the NIV has it about 150 times. Part of this study is to look at the word seek in the Greek-zeteo and its variation-epizeteo. I will reference Luke 12:30-31; Matthew 6:32-33 is the favored verse because it has “and His righteousness” in it. The biggest reason for using Luke is that it has the word seek in both verses. (Free thought-righteousness in Matthew is almost redundant because the only way to seek His kingdom includes looking for His righteousness. It is not a separate thing that stands out by itself or something separate.) Luke 12:30 For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. 31 But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. (KJV)
The first seek, associated with the world and pagans, is epizeteo. The prefix “epi” adds a lot to the meaning of zeteo. Epizeteo occurs thirteen times in the New Testament according to Mounce and is Strong’s # G1934. (PLEASE, do not look at just one reference source or dictionary for a meaning of a word.) A very general idea is that by adding “epi” it becomes intensified and is at an extreme level of seeking or wanting something. Matthew uses epizeteo two more times-12:39 and 16:4. Both refer to a wicked and adulterous generation that wants miraculous signs and all they will get is the sign of Jonah. (May I suggest you look at all the times epizeteo is used in the Gospels and the Epistles.) First, “the sign of Jonah” may not have been understood by those listening. We get it because the story has been narrowed down to the part where he was in the whale and “dead”. Second, the need for miracles on demand is and was a problem. Jesus used miracles to show that He had the power/authority of God working in Him so that they would seek God and His kingdom, not just the miracle. The Jews, by the first century, had developed a list of things the Messiah would have to do to be the Messiah. John in his Gospel speaks about the miracles. We have stressed seven, but there are more written in that book than just seven. We may need to see miracles, but God loves righteousness and wants us to enter His kingdom with a changed heart and life.
The second verse tells us to seek the kingdom of God, that seek is zeteo, it is Strong’s # G2212. So, why not switch the two words? The writer used epizeteo in Hebrews 11:14 and 13:14 when it talks about looking for the land and city of our own. I feel the important word in the second verse is “first” (proton) and not just the seek This word “first” is in Matthew 6:33. If we will first seek God because He wants a relationship with us and has given us Jesus on the cross, His blood that covers us, and grace for everything (pas) else; we may not care about going crazy for what the world has to run after.
In the First Covenant (Old Testament) God starts in Deuteronomy and goes to Malachi telling us to seek Him, that He loves it when we do, that we will be found by Him. One verse, however, stood out-Malachi 2:15. This speaks about what God seeks after-Godly offspring. That explains the attacks of the woke and ungodly against children in the womb and at such early ages of four and five years old.