DISRUPTING THE FOUNDATIONS
ETERNAL GOD -- ETERNAL LIFE
ETERNAL or EONIAN
MODERN AND ANCIENT GREEK
"THEREFORE LEAVING THE PRINCIPLES OF THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST, LET US GO ON UNTO PERFECTION; NOT LAYING AGAIN THE FOUNDATION OF...ETERNAL JUDGMENT" (Heb. 6:1-2).
Leaving the principles of the Doctrine of Christ, as we had learned from the two previous studies, is to LEAVE BY BUILDING UPWARD FROM those vital first things we learned of Christ. We also saw, after examining the Greek texts, that "NOT TO LAY AGAIN THE FOUNDATION" is in effect saying, "NOT TO DISRUPT AGAIN THE FOUNDATION" (like they had before) once it has been established. We will look into the last foundation mentioned in the above verses and see if we have it firmly laid, and if so, we can continue on building upward from it and on to perfection..."if God permits." However, if we do not have it laid, then we should spend time in prayer, study, and meditation until we not only believe and understand the FOUNDATION of ETERNAL JUDGMENT by the inworking of the Spirit, but we should remain in it until the foundation becomes a part of our very lives. When the foundation starts being a REALITY to us, and that part of the LOGOS becomes FLESH, then we can build upon it and not have to worry about taking a tumble when the shakings start -- and the shakings, Brethren, if we will remember, shall come, for they are something that has been promised (Heb. 12:25-28).
Eternal is such an awesome but often misunderstood word that deserves some attention, and judgment is a word which most people recognize as having to do with authoritative power, but it seems there are not many who really grasp its true meaning. ETERNAL, in the true sense of the word, means something that has ALWAYS BEEN, ALWAYS IS, and ALWAYS WILL BE! Something that is eternal has NO BEGINNING, and it has NO ENDING. With an eternal thing, THERE IS NO CHANGE.... E - V - E - R.
Christendom, especially since the 4th century, has painted the picture that gives very graphic details of the fate of the people who have not conformed to how they have interpreted the Bible. Not only have their interpretations been somewhat amiss, but some areas of their translations have not been quite accurate either. Matthew 25:46 is one such scripture, which reads, "And these shall go away into EVERLASTING PUNISHMENT: but the righteous into LIFE ETERNAL." (We might note: This punishment is due to NOT DOING good things to the least of Christ's brethren, rather than what constitutes one being saved, i.e. BELIEVING IN THE HEART & CONFESSING WITH THE MOUTH THE LORD JESUS, Rom. 10:9).
Because of the way this verse has been translated (EVERLASTING PUNISHMENT along with LIFE ETERNAL), people who are familiar with the Greek have reasoned, since both words come from the same Greek word, AIONION, and it has been assumed the life spoken of in this verse is "eternal," then the punishment must also be without end. This type of reasoning is very logical but in the context of this verse, and comparing it with what is taught THROUGHOUT the Bible, it is not practical to translate it as it has commonly been done. It should have been translated AGE-LASTING according to the Greek word (AIONION) and in order to convey the actual thought of the Spirit here, but we will talk about this a little later on.
From an EVERLASTING PUNISHMENT concept, we have been taught various things, including what type of punishment it is supposed to be. For instance, how many times have we heard, if people are not saved by the time they take their last breath (by saying the proper prayer, being baptized, or whatever is required by the church they may belong to), they will be facing a judgment that is worse than death itself? Hapless souls are preached to and told that God, in His unforgiving wrath, is going to cast everyone who doesn't measure up into a literal eternal, burning, seething, tormenting lake of fire they call HELL (not realizing Rev. 20:14 tells us hell is cast into the lake of fire). Whosoever is thrown into this fire will be lost forever, with no possible way of escape. It is presumed that this lake will scorch and blister their flesh as the blood boils in their throbbing brains, and their tongues will swell and fill their parched throats from the excruciating thirst generated by the intense heat of the blistering flames. In this eternal tormenting place, Satan is portrayed as a two horned, tail swishing, pitch-fork wielding devil who is gleefully standing watch over the mass of mankind who are being eternally tormented. Regardless of how one begs and pleads and repents of their past life, we are told, IT IS TO LATE, for God gave them a chance, but they blew it and now will have a long, long time to think about how they missed "heaven" and will be paying for it throughout "all eternity" in the blazing fires of hell.
When they have been in this burning pit for TEN BILLION TRILLION EONS, in payment for their short 60 or 70 years on Earth without Christ, their time has not even yet begun when eternity is considered. If this is really the way God's judgment is to be, then let us pose this question: Why in God's name are we still bringing babies into this world and taking the chance that everyone of them, our own children, will be saved rather than choosing sin and burning forever? These may be uncomfortable thoughts, but they are legitimate questions, and we should at least give our minds thirty seconds of their time. Brethren, there has certainly been a marring of the beauty and purpose of God in creating mankind along with how He plans to carry it out to the END, who happens to be CHRIST. From such views, it is evident, even though God requires His people to forgive seventy times seven (Mt. 18:22), He is not required to live by the same standards he imposes on everyone else and will not forgive even one time after natural death has taken a person. We are expected to abide by Proverbs 11:1, which says, "A false balance is an abomination to the Lord," but what about the one who inspired that thought, is He above the law He has established? Must we do justly by measuring out an equal balance, but our Father, our example of righteousness, can take a grain of sand of 70 years of a man's life and balance it with the expanse of ETERNITY, something that swallows up billions of ages like micro-seconds of time? To eternity, countless eons are nothing, but to tormented, mortal men of time, a thousand years is inconceivable. Beloved, think about these things!
For myself, if this is the way God's "eternal judgment" is to be, then I must confess, I would neither want to serve Him nor be called by His name. Oh, it is possible that I would serve Him to some degree or another but certainly not in love, honor, and reverence. Such a serving, that of tormenting fear, just hoping I wouldn't slip up an stub my toe some day and find myself in that boiling, fiery pit, is not what He wants. BUT WE PRAISE GOD! -- FOR WE KNOW WHAT HE DOES WANT! HE WANTS AND DELIGHTS IN THE SONS OF GOD WHO SERVE OUT OF LOVE AND JUST BECAUSE THEY WANT TO! What a wonderful Father! Servants of tormenting fear would be something more like Satan, the father of lies, would want, but not the One who IS Love.
This is NOT to say there will be no judgment, for "Woe to the man who falls into the hands of the living God," and "Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven in the time of thine anger: the Lord shall swallow them up in His wrath, and the fire shall devour them," and also, "Out of His mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations: and He shall rule them with a rod of iron: and He treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God." (Heb. 10:31, Ps. 21:9, & Rev. 19:15). Yes, we have a wonderful and loving Father, but He is also a God who cares about His creation, and whatever it takes to bring them to their senses and a Godly sorrow which works repentance unto salvation (2 Cor 7:10), He will do it. There may be some who would scoff at the judgments of God, thinking He is so full of love that He would never bring pain or suffering upon those He has created, but if this is their concept -- they do not know God or anything about His Love nor His judgments! We should be aware that the continual judgments of God upon His submissive ones are gentle judgments, yet firm and very effective. However, to the rebellious, they are VERY SEVERE and exact and just as effective -- judgments no one should look forward to or lightly upon. Although there will come an end to all judgments, I would not want to find myself in the midst of His wrath for one minute, much less throughout an age that it will take to bring the results He demands of the those in aversion to Him.
It seems that on one hand we have people who see God as an unforgiving, diabolical tormentor, who will forever shut off His compassion once He sends the judged to their woeful, everlasting doom; while on the other hand we have the ones who imagine Him to be some namby-pamby, wishy-washy, whimpy God who really doesn't care what we do or how we do it -- saying "God is LOVE" and believing love will never correct or chastise. I do not hesitate to loudly declare, both views are as hay-wired as a Kentucky mule and as out of balance as a drunkened tight-rope walker in a driving wind storm! Neither of these thoughts are conducive to GOD'S JUDGMENTS and can never be reconciled to His character, intent, and will -- not to mention the sound doctrine of His written word. Therefore, if you will bear with us, I believe we will see what is that balance and will be a foundation we can stand and build on. If there are some shakings because of it, then PRAISE GOD -- let the shakings come, for it is good to be shaken, not only to be tested and proven in what is true, but so that which is not true will fall and never again usurp authority over Christ. (Heb. 12:25-29).
ETERNAL GOD ETERNAL LIFE
In reality, GOD is truly the only thing that can fit the description of being ETERNAL. Unrealized by most, the Bible is not a book of eternal things but is one that relates to TIME, being that it is a message to mankind who happens to be a creature of TIME. Very seldom does the Bible make reference to ETERNITY at all -- that is, not according to the original manuscripts. Our many corrupted translations (no malice intended, but many have been corrupted) often speak of "eternal" things, but this is not the case with the original Hebrew and Greek. When we read LORD (printed in all upper case letters) in the King James version, which is JEHOVAH in the original, we get a glimpse of ETERNITY, for the name Jehovah means SELF-EXISTENT ONE, THE ETERNAL ONE, i.e THE ONE WITHOUT BEGINNING NOR END OF DAYS WHO SUSTAINS HIMSELF. He also calls Himself at least eleven other names (El, El Shaddai, Adonai, etc.). Each name speaks of how He relates to and deals with man in particular fashions in various eras of time. When He is called the LORD of Hosts (Jehovah Sabaoth; Self-existent One or God of the Warriors) we are being told He has injected Himself into time and His relationship to His people is as LORD OF HIS ARMY OF WARRIORS (I Sam 1:3). Another place will tell us He is the Almighty God (El Shaddai), which means the STRONG BREASTED ONE. As El Shaddai we can see He is relating to man as a NOURISHER.
Regardless of how we view or experience Him, He is still the ETERNAL GOD who enters into the realm of time so man can perceive and learn from and find their way back into Him. When He injects Himself into the element of time, it is not unusual for Him to be called EL OLAM or EL OLAMIM (GOD OF THE AGE or AGES -- EVERLASTING GOD in the KJV, Gen. 21:33). Just because He is the ETERNAL GOD does not in any manner keep Him from being the GOD OF THE AGES as well. Knowing this should give us some added encouragement, for what god could be more reliable in the ages than the ETERNAL GOD?
Other than the word JEHOVAH, the book of Hebrews is the only other place where the scriptures refer to anything being eternal, and that is His LIFE. ALL OTHER areas that speak of His Life (or judgment) are in relation to KIND, and it is a kind or type of life that CHANGES. His life changes in the sense of GROWING and MATURING unto FULLNESS. Certain aspects of His Life will end, not because it ceases to be, but because it grows into something greater, like when a green apple grows to be a ripe apple. For instance, what we know and experience in Christ today is not the full expression of Himself to us -- if it was, we would be totally content with what we have and never press toward the mark of the prize of the high calling of God. However, His Life, THE VERY ESSENCE OF GOD will never end in us, for it has come out of the ETERNAL GOD!
Paul left us a message in Romans 11:36 that tells us, "For OUT OF HIM, and through Him, and INTO HIM are ALL THINGS" (Grk). With this being the case, and we are persuaded that God is eternal, then we should be safe in saying all things are eternal, for there is nothing that is that has not come out of God. However, ACTIONS, DEEDS, WORKS, QUALITY, FORMS, etc. are NOT ETERNAL. God worked for six days and then He rested -- His work ended, but that which He created did not end, nor did it begin at the commencement of His work. It had ALWAYS been, for it was in God who is eternal, but the form he placed upon this earth as man had a beginning, but it was lacking something -- he was not complete. This was his beginning of incompleteness, however, in Christ we experience the end of that lack and at the same time a beginning of a completion. It is also in Him we find the End of our process of being made complete. Truly, He is the BEGINNING and the END to everything in our lives -- the AUTHOR and FINISHER of our faith! (Rev. 22:13 & Heb 12:2).
Yes, when man was placed here in his incomplete state, it was the beginning of a deficiency for him but there will be an END to this type of existence, for Acts 3:21 declares there will be a RESTITUTION OF ALL THINGS. The Greek word for "restitution" is APOKATASTASEOS and it should be read, "RECONSTITUTION OF ALL THINGS." When something is RECONSTITUTED, it means the ingredient that had been removed is REINSTATED, PUT BACK IN, MADE AGAIN LIKE IT WAS -- such as when WATER IS ADDED BACK to orange pulp, thereby, making it RECONSTITUTED ORANGE JUICE. When man was placed upon Earth, an essential ingredient was left out -- the Spirit of God that would enable him to be obedient, trustworthy, faithful, patient, righteous, holy -- GODLINESS was left out of him. However, we now see CHRIST, and He is that ingredient that was removed when Adam was formed from the dust of the earth. He does not breathe into us to give us a breath of Life, but we are impregnated by His life and become that breath; hence, we are RECONSTITUTED, and after the Firstfruits are reconstituted alive there will come the rest, but everyone in their own order, with the end rank being the last to be made alive (I Cor. 15:22-24).
As we mentioned above, the Bible is a book composed of things that deal with "time" with very few exceptions. Other than the name Jehovah declaring God being an Eternal God, we have chapter seven of Hebrews which gives us these exceptions: "Without father, without mother, without descent, HAVING NEITHER BEGINNING OF DAYS, NOR END OF LIFE...Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of AN ENDLESS LIFE" (Heb. 7:3 & 16).
Verse three makes it clear that there was NO BEGINNING NOR END of Life of Melchisedec (and Christ) -- he simply was, is, and will be. In verse sixteen, for ENDLESS, we have a Greek word that is used only one time in the entire Bible. The word is AKATALUTOS and means, INDISSOLUBLE, IMPERISHABLE, PERMANENT. This indicated the Life of Christ is to REMAIN THROUGHOUT ETERNITY, it can not be dissolved, and is passed on to us; but even so, this does not mean it cannot become a greater reality to the one who possesses it. Therefore, when we are first born of God, as wonderful as it is, the experience of the very Life and Essence of God, IT WILL CHANGE AS WE MATURE IN IT, but we will never "lose" it for we will live by it FOREVER. Because of this change, we can truthfully say, His ETERNAL Life is AGE-LASTING. We can change it but cannot destroy it. It is age-lasting by being able to "last through the age," and it is age-lasting because it "lasts for an age." Another example is when we grow from babyhood to manhood, the babyhood age is gone, for it is replaced by the manhood age, but that life has always been -- the life that was in the baby is the same as the one in the man. It is indissoluble but it is not unchangeable. Do you see what we mean? This is what we have in the other scriptures that speak of Christ's Life being AIONION (AGE-LASTING). And as we mentioned earlier about God, just because it refers to HIS LIFE as being "age-lasting" does not in any form do away with it being eternal, as some have supposed it would do.
It is good to believe and have knowledge of these things, but for a firm foundation we should also understand and know why we believe them. Therefore, we will take time and see what is written concerning some of these thoughts. In doing this, let's keep in mind that God's creation is eternal, for it is a product of Himself, but not necessarily His acts. The ETERNAL GOD can say "yes" today, but tomorrow He may say "no'. Just because He is an eternal God does not mean everything He does continues on throughout all eternity (past, present, and future), if it did He could never get anything done, for everything would already be finished.
Let's do some thinking now. If eternal has been accurately translated, have we ever wondered what such a statement would be saying in reference to judgment? It would be telling us THE JUDGMENT is not only to CONTINUE THROUGHOUT THE NEVER ENDING FUTURE ETERNITY, but being "ETERNAL," of necessity it must also REACH BACK INTO ETERNITY PAST as well. It would be a judgment that has A L W A Y S BEEN....E-T-E-R-N-A-L-L-Y. . . . . . . .!
Yes indeed, if this word is authentic, we would then be compelled to conclude, the judgment spoken of in Heb. 6:2 is something the wicked found themselves in before time had ever begun, for this is what "ETERNAL" JUDGMENT would signify. Well, this is what it says, doesn't it, "ETERNAL JUDGMENT?" At least, this is what the King James version of the Bible has recorded as well as many more English, German, and Spanish translations, along with others. We won't go into the history, its decedent influences, and origin of our modern Bibles, for that was covered in Part I of "The Word," but it behooves us to look a little deeper into this mysterious word ETERNAL. Please take the time to consider these thoughts, for they do speak of vital, foundational truths that must be laid, and once they are firmly established they must not be disrupted if we ever expect to build anything that will stand...forever.
ETERNAL, as mentioned above, has to do with HAVING NO BEGINNING NOR ENDING. Something that is eternal continues on WITHOUT ANY CHANGE OR INTERRUPTION WHATSOEVER, and it is NOT SUBJECT TO TIME NOR IS IT AFFECTED BY IT. If it changes to any degree, then it is NO LONGER ETERNAL; and it makes no difference whether the change is to a negative or positive state of being, if it changes either by decaying or by growing, it ceases to be eternal. In reality, if it ever does or ever can change, it was never eternal to begin with.
Eternal, in Hebrews 6:2, comes from the Greek word AIONIOS which is the primary adjective of the noun AION. The equivalent English word for aion is EON (or AGE). The dictionary says EON is "An unspecified long period of time and comes from the Latin, AEON, and the Greek, AION." EONIAN, as it is with AIONIOS or AIONION, is an adjective that is derived directly from EON. However, aion and its adjectives have been translated fourteen different ways by the King James translators which were picked up and carried on by other translators since that day. This was primarily due to King James' wishes, tradition, popular church doctrine, and spiritual blindness, or thinking the average layman couldn't take the truth. Whatever the reasons, these are the words the 17th century translators have given us for this one word AION: "AGE, COURSE, ETERNAL, EVER, FOR EVER, FOR EVERMORE, EVER, NEVER, WORLD, BEGINNING OF THE WORLD, WHILE THE WORLD, WORLD BEGAN, WORLD WITHOUT END, and EVERLASTING." With such a menagerie of inconsistent words recorded in our Bibles of today, it makes it very difficult to form a definite thought concerning some of God's truths, much less to be able to stand on any kind of firm foundation without wavering when testings and opposition arise.
One of the first things the Lord impressed upon me when I was called to minister His Word, whether it was by speaking or writing, was continuity and consistency. He brought it to my attention of the importance of continuing with a flowing thought and being CONSISTENT in using words that reflect the TRUE MEANING of the subject being taught. We can see, however, that most of our Bibles of today are lacking in this, and it is not only from this one word AION being abused, but there are many other inconsistencies as well, but we will not take time to draw attention to others at this time, for it would not serve the purpose at hand. With such a variety, however, it isn't any wonder that the churches have such varied concepts of many of the doctrines found in the Bible. Hopefully, in this study we can at least alleviate some of the myths that are associated with this word.
Here is a grammatical rule of language we should be aware of: A WORD DERIVED FROM ANOTHER WORD CANNOT CARRY MORE STRENGTH OR HAVE A DIFFERENT MEANING THAN THE ROOT WORD IT IS DERIVED FROM. THE DERIVATIVE MUST ALWAYS REFLECT THE ESSENCE OF ITS PARENT WORD. For example, daily has something to do with a DAY and is not a stronger word than DAY. It is a word that is telling us about the noun it is associated with; such as, when referring to a paper which is usually printed every day but will not be printed and published on a certain day. "The DAILY PAPER will not be published on the DAY of DAYS." Likewise, yearly is no longer than a YEAR, lively living does not extend beyond ones LIFE, nor does eonian have a greater span of time than the eon it is referring to. Eon does not cease to be time and become eternal by making it an adjective. It would be utter nonsense to hold to such a thought. We know when we make mention of the BOOK OF BOOKS, we are not saying the Bible is ALL THE BOOKS EVER WRITTEN or is something entirely the opposite of a book. And if we use the term THE AGE OF THE AGES, it would not mean a never ending or eternal thing, as many suppose, but simply tells us there is ONE AGE that STANDS OUT among the OTHER AGES. It speaks of QUALITY rather than QUANTITY, and to say otherwise would be foolish to say the least.
AION and AIONION, according to some of the recognized Hebrew and Greek authorities, have been translated: "AGE and AGE-DURING (Young's Analytical Concordance & Young's Literal Trans. of The Bible), AGE and AGE-ABIDING (Rotherham's Emphasized Bible), EON and EONIAN (Concordant Literal Trans. of The Bible), and AGE and AGE-LASTING (The Emphatic Diaglott -- Dr. J.J. Griesbach). These men were thorough and consistent with the usage of these two words, and they all agreed that they deal with undisclosed TIME PERIODS of particular QUALITIES that have a beginning and an ending. With study aids as these, it makes it much easier to see that the adjective AIONION is not only something that takes place in the realm of time, but it carries the thought of possessing the QUALITY of whatever AGE or EON is being referred to.
There are, however, some authorities who disagree with these definitions. Most of them will agree that the noun AION means an AGE, but when the word is changed to the adjective form AIONION they say it can then mean ETERNAL, EVERLASTING, FOR EVER, WORLD, WORLD BEGAN, etc, and this evidently depends on the discretion of the translator. For instance, it is said by some, "When this word becomes `plural' and is extended (a suffix added to it or used more than once in the same phrase) it means FOR EVER and EVER." They say it is implying that "TOUS AIONAS TON AIONON" is speaking of a NEVER ENDING SITUATION, rather than it meaning "THE AGES OF THE AGES," which according to proper research would prove AGES OF THE AGES to be accurate and would bring more harmony to the scriptures. IF FOR EVER really means ETERNITY, then we wonder why another "EVER" is applied to the first EVER -- "for e-v-e-r AND e-v-e-r?" We would think it to be a hard thing to do, to add ONE MORE "FOR EVER" on to the FIRST FOR EVER. There must be an end to a thing if we are going to attach something else on to it. Wouldn't you agree? Therefore, if the first "for ever" has an end, it stands to reason the second one will also end, and when aion is translated AGE we have just that.
Preston Eby says it very well in his book Just What Do You Mean...ETERNITY: "Once we understand that AION and all the compounds of that word denote TIME, how clear everything becomes! And how ridiculous the ignorant prating of men! In an effort to harmonize the scriptures with the false doctrines of the apostate church, the translators rendered `the ages of the ages' as `for ever and ever.' This one little mistake exposes their folly. Even in English we can see that `for ever' cannot be endless if `and ever' may be added to it. Eternity cannot be added to! Only time may be compounded. Eternity is absolute timelessness. Eternity is without either beginning or end. There cannot be more than one eternity. You cannot add a second eternity on to a first eternity. For ever in English means `for eternity; always; perpetually; endlessly.' Now if `for ever' is `eternity' how can you add `and ever,' attaching ANOTHER ETERNITY to an already existing eternity? That isn't even correct English grammar! Ah -- but ages are time, and time, beloved, can be added to! When the Greek speaks of `the ages of the ages' it is speaking of AGGREGATED PERIODS OF TIME -- not eternity! And you cannot get eternity by compounding all the time periods of the past and the future, for time began and time ends. The ages and all the time and times combined do not equal eternity. There simply is no such thing as `the endless ages of eternity' as the preachers love to say, for the phrase is a complete contradiction of itself. No one who is sane and reasonable can maintain otherwise. To do so is to contradict all known facts and to contradict God's own Word." -- End quote.
Why do people defend such binding lies of "ETERNAL" JUDGMENT, when the entire Bible is A BOOK OF TIME? Travesties as these have sown such confusion and uncertainty in the majority of Christian's minds, that they have become almost totally dependent upon the "clergy's" interpretation of the Bible. The result has been a worldwide case of "the blind leaders of the blind and both falling into the ditch." Breeding of such atrocious inconsistencies in the Bible has been one of the surest ways of keeping people under the bondage of their diabolical rule. Wake up, Saints, and quit being slavish puppets to the fantasies of the corrupted church who sits upon the multitudes and nations (Rev. 17:15), and stop parroting every whimsical lie she can imagine, for it only leads to more bondage and greater darkness!
If we are going to go along with such pagan philosophies that Rome and Greece have propagated and abuse the laws of grammar in one area, then we might as well embrace anything else we want to believe and justify our beliefs by merely translating the scriptures however we choose in order to fit our fancy. It may sound a little unreasonable and hard to accept, but this is exactly what has happened. In order to keep from changing church dogma and tradition, they had to change the scriptures. It is sad, Brethren, but nonetheless, IT IS TRUE! We wonder how anyone could get away with such flagrant miscarriages of faithfulness to God's written word to man, but when we consider what goes on in our own governments (municipal, state, & federal), and very rarely are they found out about, we can understand somewhat why they have been so successful. The Roman Catholic Church, King James and the Church of England, and now the National and World Council of Churches, as well as with the others, have had powers that knew no restraints -- they were, and still are, drunken with their powers. Even so, they are not likely to repent and change. And no doubt, there will be many who will not heed the warning and continue riding astride the back of the beast with their scarlet lover -- THE WHORE THAT SITS UPON THE WATERS OF THE WORLD -- but their judgment WILL COME in one day along with this infamous harlot. (Read Rev. 17 & 18, especially 18:4).
MODERN AND ANCIENT GREEK
Those who are accomplished in modern Greek tell us "the ages of the ages" (in that language) is how they express "eternal." However, using "MODERN GREEK" is not an effective tool to use to argue this point, for languages change with time. For example, in English the word "hell" was once used in reference to something hidden; even today, especially in Ireland, when potatoes are buried on the side of a hill to keep them through the winter -- the term "HELLING THE POTATOES" is used. If a boy takes his girlfriend to some secluded place, it is said that he is "TAKING HER INTO HELL," and this is not because it is a place of torment but because it is UNSEEN or is IMPERCEPTIBLE to everyone else, which is the true meaning of hell or HADES. Any unseen realm can most certainly be a place of torment, but it does not necessarily have to be. The Church of Rome influenced the meaning of this word, which originated with the apostate Greek Orthodox Church, and it has been carried right into our modern world. They were also responsible for "ETERNAL" being made synonymous to "the ages of the ages," but the writers of the scriptures never had such notions when they were first penned. -- And this can be proven by just seeing how the term is used throughout the Bible. It is USAGE that determines the meaning of words -- not tradition or myths, even if they seem to be the most effective tool to get and keep converts. However, if it is through fear that converts are made, they are more likely to become lifeless slaves to their church than becoming LIVING WARRIORS OF GOD.
Hell (hades, Grk) and eternal took on their change about 1500 years ago, although some sectors of civilization retained a few original word meanings, one being Ireland as mentioned above. Other words have changed in our more recent times within the last 350 or so years. From the old King James's English we have replaced "thee" and "thou" with "you," "suffer" in that day meant "to allow," and "let" meant "to restrain or prevent." At times it is very difficult to read from past eras and be able to understand exactly what is being said, and this is because of the evolving of our language from the old English into what we have today.
To compare modern Greek with ancient Greek would be like taking someone from England 2,000 years ago and transporting them into our day and expecting them to be proficient in modern English. Languages continue to change, but to make matters more difficult, ancient Greek was a lost language until the 15th century. It was almost unknown or forgotten in most of Europe. Even in Italy, which formerly had been dominated by the Greek language, it became almost unknown. Ancient Greek has been a dead language for 1500 years -- it is a dead language, while modern Greek is a living language, with about as much similarity as there is between German and English.
The following is a 14th century, English translation of a portion of the Song of Solomon (2:7-8 & 10-11) taken from Clark's Commentary (Page 850 & 851). This is a good example of what we mean...and incidentally, there are no typographical errors here, although it appears as if my fingers were on the wrong keys while typing this: "I adjure gou, gee dogtris of Jerusalem, by the capretis and the hertis of feeldis, ne rere gee, ne makith my leef to waken, to the time that sche wille. The voice of my lemman: Loo, this commith lepinge in mounteynes, and over lepinge hilles. Loo, my lemman spekith to me: Rus go thou my leef, my culver my schappli and cum. Now forsothe winter passide, wedir geed fro, and is gon awei." English has changed somewhat, hasn't it? In some respects it was more like German than the English we know today. Can we now understand Greek has also changed with the passing of time? If it has changed as drastically as English, which it has probably changed more, and since it is a dead language and was lost for so long, to use modern Greek as a criteria to understand ANCIENT GREEK would certainly be an unwise thing to do.
Therefore, disregarding modern Greek, let us concentrate on that which is applicable to Christ and sound reason of the pure doctrines of the ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPTS. In this it would be good for us to not forget, regardless of the language being considered, no matter how many adjectives, verbs, adverbs, or whatever are derived from a ROOT WORD, as long as they originate from that root word, the meaning of those words must reflect the character and nature of the word it came from. This basic rule follows the principle of anything bringing forth after their own kind (Gen. 1:21). We will use one more example, hoping we are not being too redundant: When a chimpanzee gives birth, its baby is a chimpanzee, and when she has twins, they are still all chimpanzees. Just because more than one is born at a time does not mean her babies become human beings. It is the same with AION; whether we use AION, the PARENT word, or AIONa, AIONas, AIONon, AIONion, AIONios, AIONiou (all of which are AION'S OFFSPRING) it makes not one wit of difference, the prognosis is the same -- we are still saying something that has to do with AION, and all the scholars agree, "AION" first means an AGE or EON. It is too bad, however, some of them refuse to carry this truth all the way to the goal line. Sure, there would be repercussions and shakings in their churches if they did, but praise God, let the shakings come, for it would do the sleeping giant of Laodicea some good to be aroused from her long sleep so she can be judged.
We mentioned earlier that word USAGE is what determines their meanings rather than tradition. Therefore, since there are some who insist AION can be translated ETERNAL, WORLD, EVERLASTING, etc., we will take the liberty and translated aion as ETERNITY in a few scriptures and see if this can be so:
1) "...Whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this ETERNITY [AIONI], neither in the ETERNITY to come." (Mt. 12:32).
2) "So shall it be at the end of the ETERNITY [AIONOS]...." (Mt. 13:49).
3) "...Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the ETERNITY [AIONOS]." (Mt. 24:3).
4) "Far above all principality...not only in this ETERNITY [AIONI], but also in that which is to come." (Eph. 1:21).
5) "But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the ETERNITY [AIONON]...." (1 Cor. 2:7).
6) "Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ETERNITIES, ETERNITY without end [TOU AIONOS TON AIONON]." (Eph. 3:21).
7) "...But now once in the end of the ETERNITY [AIONON] hath He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself." (Heb. 9:26).
When AION is translated ETERNAL in some of the scriptures at first glance it seems to be plausible; such as, in Mt. 25:46, for that is what we have been told all of our lives. However, when we do the same thing with other scriptures, like we have above, a different picture begins to form -- one that cannot be reconciled with known realities. It doesn't have to be explained to us that there can be no more than ONE ETERNITY as #1 would otherwise suggest (Mt. 12:32), and neither can there be an END to it (#3, Mt. 24:3). It is conclusive that there is only one eternity; therefore, to say "THIS ETERNITY and the ONE TO COME" (#4, Eph. 1:21) is very illogical. We know there is nothing that can possibly exist BEFORE ETERNITY, #5 (1 Cor. 2:7), because there is NO BEGINNING TO ETERNITY, and there would have to be a beginning of eternity for anything to be "before" it. MANY ETERNITIES is not a reality either, as it would have to be if #6 (Eph. 3:21) is translated the way other scriptures have been where AION is used. And likewise, if Jesus was sacrificed "in the END of the ETERNITY (#7, Heb 9:26), then what is it we are in today? Certainly not another eternity!
None of the above scriptures make sense when AION is translated "eternity," and neither do they agree with many other scriptures when "world" is used. However, when we translate the word properly, as AGE or AGES, then they fit into the mechanized machine of the Bible with such harmony there is no friction at all, no rattling, no clamoring or clattering of explaining things away, that we wonder why we never saw this before. It is so good to have a machine that runs so smoothly, and this is what we have with the Bible when we see everything in proper perspective, rather than looking through "rose colored glasses." -- Or should we say "Babylonish colored glasses?"
To find out how the Greek word AION and the Hebrew word Olam are USED in the Bible, take your Strong's Exhaustive Concordance or a Young's Analytical Concordance, and look up every scripture where these words are used, and be persuaded in your own minds how they should be translated. You will notice if they are translated the usual fourteen different ways, we can cause the scriptures to form to OUR OWN theology as WE CHOOSE and are no better off than before. If we make ETERNAL our choice, it won't take long to see this will not work either. However, if AGE is used, the light comes on and we begin to SEE what a marvelous thing God has planned for His creation throughout THE AGES. Knowledge of how WORDS are USED, Brethren, is a vital link to continuing on in the truths God has laid out for us. Let us not ignore it, please!
There are two points we want to consider while in this study of "eternal judgment." Number one, we need to know the true meaning of the Greek word aion and its Hebrew equivalent olam, which is age or eon and not "eternal." Number two, once we have this knowledge, we are not to leave this segment of the foundation by abandoning it, but we are to leave it by building upward from it. We should also be reminded to not allow this part of the foundation to become the whole structure of our building, for this is only one of the elementary doctrines of Christ -- not the walls and certainly not the capstone!
To some, the first thought may be totally alien and hard to accept; however, before it is discarded as not being true, please search out the matter. No doubt, there will be questions and seemingly conflicting thoughts to arise, but feel free to write and challenge me on these points, and if I cannot give you a satisfactory answer then do with it what you feel is best. If you believe you see something that would refute what has been written here but are afraid it might be destroyed by what I may have to say about it, then praise God! -- If it can be shaken and destroyed it needs to come down! You don't want it anyway if it can't stand the testings; but brethren, it needs to be tested, and if this short article is not sufficient to prove what you have, then search it out until you are persuaded one way or the other. We should always be willing to let the fire either refine or destroy the things we hold so dear to us.
To Be Continued...
Elwin R. Roach
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