CALL OF THE KINGDOM
HOW LONG IS FOREVER?
How long is "for ever" in our King James version of the Bible? How long is its synonyms "always, eternal, everlasting, continual, perpetual, ever and ever, for ever more"? When believers answer, "endless!" They are wrong in many instances. In our familiar version of the Scriptures, these apparently permanent words refer to differing time periods. This is because these English words were translated in most cases from the Hebrew word "olam" which is akin to our word "age." And age has differing time periods, just as "olam" did. Many believers don't realize this, so they are faced with direct contradictions as they read their bibles.
How long is "for ever" (or its synonyms) then? Surprisingly, this is much like the old question, "How long is a piece of string?" No one could know the answer generally, for each piece of string has to be measured. Just so, each "for ever" (or its synonyms) has to be measured before knowing the answer. Some of these texts seem to refer to that which is endless, but there are at least 100 texts which could not be possibly endless! The translators knew "olam" could not always mean "endless", so they translated 37 texts in the Old Testament alone to other wording, to indicate temporary time periods! We have to research outside our King James version to determine which texts these are, so we could term these "hidden texts" to the average reader. The translators had an obvious dilemma, for some of the for ever" texts which are temporary periods, the translators did not change.
A THREE DAYS "FOR EVER"
1. Jonah said of his three days and nights in the Whale- "The earth with her bars was about me for ever." Jonah 2: 6. This is the shortest "for ever" text in the bible.
A LIFE TIME'S "FOR EVER"
2.The slave was to serve his master "for ever." Ex. 21: 6.3. The bondman was to serve "for ever." Lev. 25: 46.
THE ORDINANCES ARE "FOR EVER" "UNTIL"
Many of the "for ever" texts in the K.J. version are "for ever", "until."
4. The lamp in the tabernacle was to "burn always." Ex. 27: 20. To "burn continually."Lev. 24: 2, "It shall be a statute for ever." Lev. 24: 3.
5. "The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out." Lev. 6: 13.
6. The heave offering was a "statute for ever." Lev. 10: 15, Ex. 29: 27, 28.
7. "So shall they was their hands and their feet", "a statute for ever." Ex. 30: 20, 21.
8. The "piece offerings", were "a statute for ever." Lev. 7: 34, 35.
9. They were to bake and burn incense "continually." Lev. 24: 8.
The O. T. scriptures gave no hint that these ordinances were only until another time, but the New Testament tell us they were only "until the reformation." Heb. 9: 8-10.
AARON'S TEMPORARY PRIESTHOOD WAS "FOR EVER"
10. Aaron and his seed were to serve in the Tabernacle "for ever." Ex. 27: 21, 28: 43, 29: 28, Num. 18: 23, Deut. 18: 5, 1 Chron. 15: 2, 23: 13.
11. The priests were to wear "linen breeches" a "statute for ever." Ex. 28: 43.
12. They were to sacrifice "for ever." Lev. 6: 22, 7: 34, 10: 15. To offer, "an ordinance for ever." Num. 18: 8, 11, 19, To offer "burnt sacrifices continually." 1 Chron. 23: 31.
13. They were to dress in "girdles" and "bonnets" "for a perpetual statute.' Ex. 29: 9.
14. In the Tabernacle were not to "drink wine nor strong drink-a statute for ever." Lev. 10: 8, 9. Since the O. T. teaches that only Aaron and his seed were to be priests "for ever" we would naturally expect that the New Testament High Priest would be a descendant of Aaron; but no, He "sprang out of Judah," of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood." Heb. 7: 14-24. Aaron's "for ever" then was "until" Jesus death, resurrection and ascension.
THE FEAST DAYS "FOR EVER"
15. The Passover "shall be unto you for a memorial-ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever." Ex. 12: 14, 17, 24.
16. The feast of unleavened Bread, to be observed "for ever." Ex. 12: 17.
17. The Day of Weeks (Pentecost), "do no servile work, "for ever." Lev. 23: 21.
18. The Day of Atonement was to be a day of fasting, "once a year," an "everlasting statute." Lev. 16: 34.
19. The Feast of Tabernacles, "to dwell in booths," "for ever." Lev. 23: 41.
20: The New Moons and solemn feasts "an ordinance "for ever to Israel." 11 Chron. 2: 4. What is going to be the believers answer who maintains that the feast days are done away with, if "for ever means through all "eternity?"
THE TRANSLATORS PREDICAMENT
These foregoing are some of the direct contradictions in our King James Bible. these contradictions have caused untold confusion. We believers know that scriptures were inspired of God, but the translators were not. They tried to make the Hebrew word "olam" mean throughout eternity, so wrong doctrines arose. They usually translated "olam" into the "for ever" concept, but other texts had to be changed, or the translation would have sounded ridiculous. Let's examine just three of their changed texts putting them in their "for ever" and see how they sound. (I will quote their change in brackets after each sentence.):
21. "Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood "for ever." (in old time) Joshua 24: 2.
22. "Behold, these are the unrighteous, who prosper "for ever." (in the world) Ps. 73: 12.
23. "For since "for ever men have not heard..." (beginning of the world) Isaiah 64: 4.
Believers know how wrong it is to add or take away from the Word, but here the translators changed one Hebrew word "olam" into as many as four English words! Did the translators have any right to add to or take away from the Word than we as believers do? We don't, and they certainly did not! When they did, they violated a sacred trust, complicating bible study, making the bible contradict itself, and resulting in contradictory doctrines being considered scriptural opposing groups!
Strong's exhaustive concordance lists "olam" as # 5769 in the Hebrew Lexicon. We counted 19 different ways that "olam" was translated into English! The non-permanent temporary ways "olam" was translated were: "ancient" five times. "Old" 25 times. "Long" 3 times. "In old time" 1 time."World" 2 times. "In the world" 1 time.
Then they translated it 12 other ways, into permanent sounding words: "Everlasting" 57 times. "For ever more" 13 times. "Lasting 1 time. "Perpetual" 22 times."World without end" 1 time. "Alway" 1 time. "Always" 3 times."Continuance" 1 time."Eternal" 1 time."For ever" 232 times."Ever 8 times. And "Never" or "never any more" altogether 12 times.
Is this consistent translation? No. Here, we are referring just to the Old Testament, but when we get to the New, we realize the translators bogged down! The Greek word "eon" or "aionios" is roughly the same as our English word "age."We get our word "eon" from this Greek word, and it means "age."
Again the translators thought "eon" meant "for ever" and they translated it that way 51 times, but there were 40 other texts where "for ever" could not possibly have fit in, so they translated it "world" 40 times! We list a few of these texts, so that you can see for yourself how ridiculous "for ever" would have sounded-Rom. 16: 25, 11 Tim. 1: 9, Titus 1: 2, Rom. 12: 2, Mark 4: 19.
"FOR EVER", "UNTIL!"
If "for ever" is endless (as most bible readers think) could it be "until"? Isaiah 32: 10-15 presents to us the paradox in the King James version:
24. God told Israel, "Many days and years shall ye be troubled, - for the vintage shall fail-upon the land of my people shall come up thorns and briars; yea, upon all the houses of joy-the forts and towers shall be dens for ever - until the spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field." Isaiah 32: 10-15.
DESOLATE PLACES, "FOR EVER"?
25. Babylon is to be "desolate "for ever." Jer. 51: 26, 62, "It shall never be inhabited "for ever." Isaiah 13: 19, "Be no more inhabited "for ever." Jer. 50: 39. The Lord will make "perpetual desolation's." Jer. 25: 12.
26. Mount Seir will become "perpetual desolation's, and the cities shall not return." Ezek. 35: 9.
27. Hazor will be "a desolation for ever: and there shall no man abide there, nor any son of man dwell in it."Jer. 49: 33.
28. Idumea will be desolate with streams turned into pitch- "It shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up for ever: - shall lie in waste; none shall pass through it for ever and ever." Isaiah 34: 9, 10.
29. Edom "shall be cut of for ever." Obadiah 10.
30. Moab will become "a perpetual desolation." Zeph. 2: 9.
EVEN ISRAEL, DESOLATE "FOR EVER"
31. "I - will utterly forget you, and I will forsake you, and the city that I gave you and your fathers, and cast you out of my presence: and I will bring and everlasting reproach upon you, and a perpetual shame."Jer. 34: 39, 40.What a cause for rejoicing is ours when we realize that His forgetting, His forsaking, and His "everlasting" reproach are only "until" "spirit be poured upon us from on high!" Isaiah 32: 10-15. Of course, the earth will not have desolate places for ever.
A NEW EARTH?
Is the present earth to stand for ever? Or is it to be destroyed? Bible students have and still line up against each other, quoting for ever texts.
32. "- the earth abideth for ever." Ecc. 1: 4.
33. The foundations of the earth were laid so "that it should not be removed for ever." Ps. 104: 5.
Is there a contradiction? "The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed out of her place."Isaiah 13: 13. There will be a "New heavens and a new earth."Isaiah 65: 17, 66: 22, Rev. 21: 2.
ABRAHAM'S "FOR EVER"
34. The Lord said to Abraham- "Look from the place where you are northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the land which you see, to you I will give it, and to your seed for ever."
Gen. 13: 14, 15. Abraham's seed possessed it until they became disobedient. Note the "for ever" promised to those for their disobedience:
35. If they were not obedient, they would "Be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth." Deut. 28: 25. So they were scattered. This is a "sign and a wonder, and upon thy seed for ever." Deut. 28: 46.
David was faithful, but his seed after him was not:
36. David "shall build me an house, and I will establish his throne for ever." 1 Chron. 17: 12.
37. "David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of Israel." Jer. 33: 17.
ANGRY FOR EVER?
Here are some texts which teach an unloving concept of God, that He is unforgiving and will always be angry. Contrast them with the texts which show that He is forgiving and will not always be angry.:
38. "For you have kindled a fire in my anger, which shall burn for ever." Jer. 14: 4.
39. The Lord is angry against Edom, and His "indignation for ever." Mal. 1: 4. Is that a contradiction??
40. "He will not always chide: neither will He keep His anger for ever." Ps. 103: 9.
41. "For I will not contend for ever, neither will I be always wroth: for the spirit should fail before me, and the souls which I have made." Isaiah 57: 16.
TORTURE FOR EVER"?
The scriptures are plain that only a "few" will find the way now. For many centuries believers have thought it is scriptural that the rest of humanity (the majority) will suffer endless punishment in hell. The King James translators thought so. Note the texts they handed down to us, which teach this very unscriptural concept.:
42. "And these shall go away into everlasting punishment." Matt. 25: 46.
43. The devil, the beast and the false prophet "shall be tormented day and night for ever and for ever." Rev. 20: 10.
44. This torment is "in the presence of the Lamb." Many maintain it is away from Him that this torture ascends up "for ever and for ever." Rev. 14: 10, 11.
45. "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire." Matt. 25: 41, 46. Here Jesus called punishment for sin aonian kolasin (age long chastisement). Philo a contemporary of Christ, used the word aidion to denote endless, and aionian temporary duration. He used the exact phraseology as Jesus Matt. 25: 46.
Josephus said of the Pharisees that they believed wicked spirits are to be kept in eternal imprisonment (eirgmon aidion). And bad men are subjected to eternal punishment (aidios timoria).
46. Sodom suffered "the vengeance of eternal fire." Jude 7.
47. "Let them be confounded and troubled for ever." Ps. 83: 17.
48. "To whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever." Jude 13.
49. "And her smoke rose up for ever and ever." Rev. 19: 3. Compare Isaiah 34: 10.
50. It is better to be maimed now, "rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire." Matt. 18: 8.
Good bible students know that the punishment ahead for the unrepentant is grievous, and that it can be long, but is it "for ever?" This awful "for ever" concept is deeply ingrained within most believers minds, so much so, that they even refuse to consider that the unrighteous will ever be corrected by punishment! Simply, we believers take corrective punishments here and now. The wicked later. But it is all for correction!
Many believers have reacted against the "for ever" torture, but then they go on to equally unscriptural concepts. When the scriptures teach a "for ever" forgetting of the wicked, many believers maintain that wicked people won't even rise for judgment! Note that it matters not whether the unrighteous lived in times past, or will be living in the future, all are forgotten "for ever." Note nine (9) following texts which indicate the past dead are "for ever" forgotten:
51. When the Egyptians pursued the Israelites, then drowned in the sea, they will be seen "no more for ever." Ex. 14: 13.
52. Asshur and Eber perished "for ever." Numbers 24: 24.
53. "Thou hast rebuked the heathen, thou hast destroyed the wicked, thou hast put out their name for ever and ever." Ps. 9: 5.
54. The 26th, 27th, and 28th chapters of Ezekiel speak of the wicked Tyre and Sidon, which later were destroyed, about 2200 years ago. Note that all three chapters say of Tyre and Sidon that they will "never be found again." Ezek. 27: 36, 28: 19. Some of the 28th chapter is misapplied to Satan.
55. Speaking of the ones now dead, "Neither have they any more a portion for ever in that which is done under the sun."Ecc. 9: 5, 6. That which is done under the sun is still in time, not eternity.
56. Sodom and Gomorrah "Suffered the vengeance of eternal fire." Jude 7.
58. "Like the slain that lie in the grave, whom you remember no more." Ps. 88: 5.
59. "The virgin of Israel is fallen; she shall no more rise: she is forsaken." Amos 5: 2.
60. Upon Israel will be brought "an everlasting reproach upon you, and a perpetual shame."The Lord will "utterly forget you." Jer. 23: 39, 40.
61. The wicked and the hypocrite shall "perish for ever like his own dung." Job 20: 7.
62. "They that trust their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches-their soul is precious, and it ceases for ever." Ps. 49: 8.
63. "God shall likewise destroy thee for ever." Ps. 52: 5.
64. Of future destruction, many believe it is permanent: the unrighteous "shall be punished with everlasting destruction." 11 Thess. 1: 8, 9.
65. "And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt." Dan. 12: 2.
66. The wicked "shall be destroyed for ever." Ps. 92: 7.
CHILDREN SUFFERING FOR EVER FOR THEIR FATHER'S SINS!
67. "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because you have rejected knowledge; I will reject you, that you shall be no priest to me: seeing you have forgotten the law of your God, I will also forget thy children." Hosea 4: 6.
68. "An Amorite or a Moabite shall not enter into the congregation - even to their tenth generation for ever." Deut. 23: 3.
NOT RISING FOR JUDGMENT?
Do these for ever texts mean what they say? Many believers teach that all heathen are dead for ever, every man, woman and child, will not rise again. Not understanding these "for ever" texts as only "until" another time causes our heavenly Father to appear unjust! Other believers maintain that all must rise and be judged, and these believers have many texts to prove their point.
Can we reconcile these differing concepts? We must teach that no one has ever, or is ever going to perish "for ever" literally! Each and ever one who ever lived will rise to be judged. All are remembered by God, the Creator! What a beautiful concept is taught by Scripture that is rightly translated. Mistranslation of scripture is at fault, not the original text! "Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee." Isaiah 59: 15.
THE WORTH OF EACH SOUL
Ministers love to teach about the value of each soul, but their doctrine often denies it! Are not each of us of more value than many sparrows? The Lord said so. Ezekiel tells us that the Lord declares "All souls are mine!" Ezek. 18: 4. Is Satan the Lord's? Job will tell you: "The deceived and the deceiver are His." Job 12: 16. So, going on to tiny creatures, Jesus said of the sparrows "Not one of them is forgotten before God." Lk. 12: 6.
RECONCILIATION OF FORGETTING FOR EVER TEXTS
69. "For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." Jer. 31: 34. He says he will cause them to walk in His laws here! Thank God.
70. Let us again contrast to forgetting for ever:"Thou shalt be no more remembered: for I the Lord have spoken it." Ezek. 21: 32. He does seem to forget for a time, but after that He remembers ALL!
TYRE AND SIDON
Tyre and Sidon were destroyed about 300 years before Jesus' earthly time. these cities have not been inhabited since. "Olam" was used in Ezekiel 26, 27, and 28th chapters; that they will be no more is indicated by mistranslation. Will they be in the judgment? Of course, Jesus said it would be more tolerable for them in the judgment than for the Israelite cities. He will correct all iniquities. He said of Sodom and Sidon, that if they had the opportunity Capernaum had, "they would have repented long ago." Matt. 11: 21. Many believers maintain that if you are not converted before death, it is for ever too late! Should death end hope? Is God powerless to deal with human kind after death? The "spirit of (of man) shall return to god that gave it." Ecc. 12: 7. Paul gives us a pretty lucid description of this when confronted with the problem of an adulterous Christian at Corinth:
"I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that has so done this deed,
"In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,
"To deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus."1 Cor. 5: 3-5.
The word "Sodom" has become a by-word of all that is evil. So all were destroyed. Many believers point to Sodom as an example of the end of the wicked, for they were destroyed by fire "for ever."If they are an example of what happens to the wicked, then there is hope for the wicked. For Sodom will RISE, be judged, and will RETURN to their former estate. The Lord will be pacified toward them "for all thou hast done." Ezekiel the whole 16th chapter, especially verses 55 and 63. In the Lord's sight, Israel was "more corrupted" than Sodom "in all thy ways." Ezek. 16: 47. So in the end, the Lord will be pacified towards Sodom, Samaria and Israel! And Tyre and Sidon could not be forgotten, for the Lord never completely forgets for ever any individual!
For hundreds of years believers have been plagued with these "for ever" texts, which caused mental blocks to shut out scriptures which could have reconciled them. "For ever" must be measured every time in the King James version. Some times the passage explains the time element, but at other times, a lot of scripture has to be compared before we can measure accurately how long is meant. "A little knowledge is dangerous," it is said, so a lot of knowledge is needed here, or else we assume wrongly that "for ever" is endless.
Will everyone who ever lived arise to be rewarded or judged? Of course! No one has been forgotten, nor will anyone ever be! Failure to recognize this causes false doctrines to spring up. Will anyone's death be final? No, our Savior was victorious over every death! All who have been created have been redeemed, but it is going to be very hard on those who must go through long correction! Many believers resist measuring these for ever texts. But it is all so simple! The righteous (who are a minority, as a few) will receive life which is not subject to death. Rev. 2: 11. This thrives on and on until death is destroyed. In effect then, life is ETERNAL life, and there is not one thing to worry over! So as believers, let us rejoice that we receive such LIFE, none will be tortured for ever, nor destroyed for ever. ALL of us are safe in our heavenly Father's hands! Praise Him. Oh, how we can trust such a loving Creator.
Scott & Louise Paris
Author's Call Of The Kingdom, a monthly news letter that goes out internationally, by snail mail, at no charge for the asking.
Scott & Louise Paris, 2037 Del Rio Dr, Stockton CA 95204-1620