AN ANALYTICAL STUDY OF WORDS - by Louis Abbott
Chapter 1 - Definitions of Aion,
Chapter 2 - Usage of Aion
Chapter 3 - The Scholars Speak
Chapter 4 - Apparent Bible Contradictions
Chapter 5 - "Forever and Ever"
- A Poor Translation
Chapter 6 - What Saith The Translations?
Chapter 7 - Eonian Means What?
- A Search For Truth
Chapter 8 - Greek Tools
Chapter 9 - Aion in Greek Literature
Chapter 10 - Bibles Without "Everlasting
Chapter 11 - Verses "Proving" Punishment
Will be Everlasting
Chapter 12 - Scholars Acknowledge Restitution
Chapter 13 - Punishment? Yes
Chapter 14 - A Long, But Not Eternal
Visit To "Hell"
Chapter 15 - The "Chosen," Not "I have
Chapter 16 - Clearing Things Up
Chapter 17 - The Complete Revelation
Appendix 1 - Commentary of Previous
Appendix 2 - Do You Believe ALL in
Appendix 3 - Reconciliation Scriptures
Appendix 4 - What Pleases the Father?
Appendix 5 - What if we are Wrong?
Since the printing of the King James Bible in the year 1611,
English Bible translations have departed from the "Authorized Version"
in many ways. The English word "Hell," for example no longer finds a valid
place in the Old Testament. Most leading English translations no longer
justify the Hebrew word "Sheol" to be translated "Hell," "grave," and "pit,"
as does the King James Version. In the more accurate modern English versions,
"Hell" has disappeared from most of the Bible. As a matter of fact, presently,
the word only occurs 12 to 14 times in such translations as New International
Version (the leading selling Bible) and the New American Standard. Even
in the New Testament, words which used to be translated "Hell" are now
being replaced with other words which do not conjure up the image of a
fiery place of eternal torment.
Scholars are uncovering an image of the Creator much
bigger than has been traditionally taught. This book contains the conclusions
of some of the greatest Christian minds and why they arrived at those conclusions.
This will be helpful to those who seek to enter into their "rest."
About This Book and its Author
Louis Abbott was born in 1915. In 1928, he received Christ.
One day, while pastoring a church, a man challenged Louis regarding his
teaching about eternal torment. Louis accepted the challenge.
For three years Louis searched the Scriptures, searched
the Greek and Hebrew words behind the English words "Hell, "eternal punishment,"
"everlasting destruction," etc. At the end of those three years, he realized
he had been taught error regarding the ultimate fate of mankind. Feeling
he could not longer preach the doctrines of his denomination, Louis gave
up the pastorate, but he never gave up studying.
Taking Greek courses from Moody, Loyola University, and
other places, he finally came to the place where, in order to get further,
he had to teach himself. At the present day, his personal library consisting
of thousands of Bible references books, probably has more reference books
on the New Testament Greek than many Bible Colleges and Seminaries.
For almost 50 years now, Louis has been spending many
of his evening hours and weekends studying the subject matter of this book.
There would be few in the world today who would have spent as much time
studying these words as Louis has.
Louis has given me some of the books in his personal
library. On the inside cover, he would put the date he finished the book
and note the pages on which he made notations. I am amazed at how many
reference books he has read. Most people, including scholars usually use
these kind of books to look up a subject when needed. they usually do not
read these kinds of books from cover to cover making notes along the way.
But that is how Louis read many of these very difficult books.
Whether the reader will be given the grace to see the
wonderful truths contained in this work, is up to the Holy Spirit. I only
want to make it clear in this introduction to Louis Abbott, that the research
contained in this book comes from over 50 years of thorough, dedicated
years of "searching to see if these things be so." Louis Abbott has come
to the conclusions in this book, not because of his religious background,
but because he was willing to test his traditions. May the reader be given
the grace to put "fear of God" above "fear of man and his traditions" and
read this book with an open mind and willing heart.
Gary Amirault, editor
There are three destinies taught in Christendom regarding
the ultimate judgments of the wicked: Eternal Torment, Extermination, and
Universalism. This book is the result of my research on this subject.
I thank the following for reading and editing this book:
Nova Richardson, Pat Phillips, Tony Hinkle, and Gary Amirault. Tony Hinkle
first put my paper in electronic format. Without this step, this book would
not have been printed.
I thank Fay, my wife for her patience all these years
while I was studying theology.
I pray this book will be a blessing to all who are struggling
with this subject.
My hope in writing this book, is to conclusively show that
there is no valid evidence supporting the translations of the Hebrew word
and the Greek words aion and aionion with English words expressing
unlimited time or eternity. Each of these Hebrew and Greek words expresses
a limited period of time, an eon or an age. Furthermore, I want to show
that the several Greek and Hebrew words traditionally translated into the
single English word "Hell" in many English Bibles, carry no meaning closely
resembling the images projected by many of the modern theological schools
of thought. While the works of eminent scholars of Scripture, past and
present, and those of secular writers will be cited, the final and only
authority for determining the meaning of the words rests in their inspired
usage by God as recorded in the sacred Scriptures.
Dr. R.A. Torrey wrote, "Usage is always the decisive
thing in determining the meanings of words." An examination of the usage
and aionion follows. Such a study should
clear from our minds the seeming inconsistencies or contradictions in the
Scriptures where these words are used.
Much of the confusion resulting in splitting into different
denominations stems from mistranslation of a handful of words in some of
our commonly used Bibles. While some Christians are satisfied with accepting
carte blanche their denominations' doctrinal positions, many Christians
are seeking for a purity which can only be found beyond man-made institutions.
One key area various denominations are divided over,
is the final destiny of the ungodly, the wicked, the unsaved, the unregenerated
or however one wishes to phrase it. There are three views on this subject.
Each position claims Scriptural support: (1) eternal torment; (2) eternal
destruction; and (3) the ultimate salvation of all. It is obvious that
all cannot be correct.
Dr. C. Ryder Smith, a teacher of eschatology for twenty
years, says in his book, The Bible Doctrine of the Hereafter(p.
258): "In an earlier chapter, it has been shown that the New Testament
teaches everlasting punishment. On a review of the whole evidence, therefore,
it follows that throughout that book there are two doctrines, which, to
the human mind, are irreconcilable: The doctrine of universalism and the
doctrine that there are those who will not be saved." The Scriptures do
not teach two different destinies for mankind They only seem to do so because
of mistranslations. The Scriptures are the inspired words of God and therefore
cannot be contradictory.
Another church leader, a professor, author, and doctor
in his field, comes to the uncertain conclusion that, to use his words,
"Eternal punishment is a half-truth and universal restoration is a half-truth."
A study of the words olam and aion as used by God should
dispel such confusion.
May this study help many to become acquainted with the
Author of the Scriptures, and to know Him as the Savior of ALL. Truly understanding
the meaning of these words should result in one's seeing the harmony of
the Scriptures as well as the perfect harmony of the attributes of God
with His Love for all mankind. "For God so loved the world ..." --Louis
Chapter One - Definitions
of Aion, Aionios
"Usage is always the decisive thing in determining the
meanings of words."
"Over time, words often change meaning, sometimes even
taking on an opposite one."
There will be a couple of places in this publication
where a long list of references are cited which may be dull reading to
some of you. But due to the importance of clearly understanding the meaning
of these words, I ask that you bear with me in those two or three places.
I want the reader to be absolutely certain that what I am presently in
this book has been thoroughly researched.
Dictionaries only give the meaning of a word as it is
used at the time the dictionary is written. Over time, words often change
meaning, sometimes even taking on an opposite one. The word "let" in the
20th century usually means "to allow." But in King James' England, the
word "let" often meant just the opposite- "to restrain." The word "suffer,"
had the meaning "let" in the 16th century. This meaning has been removed
from the modern use of the word. As word meanings change, so will the definitions
found in the dictionaries of that time period. "Carriage" was cargo four
hundred years ago today it describes the vehicle which carries the "carriage."
At one time, a "gazette" was a low value coin which could purchase a newspaper.
Today, the meaning of "a certain coin" has disappeared.
A dictionary, unless it contains the etymology of the
word, is usually of little to no help in determining the meaning of a word
hundreds of years ago. Lexicons, concordances, and etymology books are
needed to ascertain the true meaning of a word within a given culture and
period of time.
Listed below are the definitions modern dictionaries
give to the first set of words we want to look at. Keep in mind ... what
they mean today and what they meant two thousand years ago, are two different
Olam, aion, and aonion are defined
in dictionaries, lexicons, commentaries, and the like, as follows: (Here
is one of those long listed I mentioned)
Page and Company's Business Man's Dictionary and Guide
to English: Eon: A long space of time; cycle; forever; eternally;
always; at all times.
New World Dictionary: Eon: Period of immense
duration; an age; endless; for eternity.
Webster's Collegiate Dictionary: Eon (n.):
An immeasurable or indefinite period of time; incessantly; synonym of constantly,
continuously, always, perpetually, unceasingly, everlastingly, endlessly.
Standard Unabridged Dictionary: Eon: An age
of the universe; an incalculable period, constituting one of the longest
conceivable divisions of time; a cosmic or geological cycle; an eternity,
or eternity. The present age, or eon, is time; the future age, or eon,
Shedd Theological Dictionary (vol. II, p. 683):
Eonian: pertaining to, or lasting for eons; everlasting; eternal.
Liddell and Scott's Greek-English Lexicon:
Aion: A period of existence; one's lifetime; life; an age; a generation;
a long space of time; an age. A space of time clearly defined and marked
out; an era, epoch, age, period or dispensation.
Thesaurus Dictionary of the English Language:
Eon: An age of the universe.
Earnest Weekly's Etymological Dictionary of Modern
English: Aeon: Age.
Universal Dictionary: Aeon: A period of immense
duration; an age.
Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon: Aionios: (1)
without beginning or end; that which has been and always will be. (2) without
beginning. (3) without end, never to cease, everlasting.
Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Bible: Eternity:
The Bible hardly speaks of eternity in a philosophical sense of infinite
duration without beginning or end. The Hebrew word olam, which is
used alone (Ps. 61:8) or with various prepositions (Ge. 3:22; 13:15, etc.)
in contexts where it is traditionally translated "forever," means, in itself,
no more than "for an indefinitely long period." Thus, me-olam does
not mean "from eternity," but "of old" (Ge 6:4, etc.). In the N.T., aion
used as the equivalent of olam.
The New Testament in Modern Speech, by Dr.
R. F. Weymouth: Eternal: Greek: "aeonion," i.e., "of the ages." Etymologically
this adjective, like others similarly formed, does not signify "during,"
but "belonging to" the aeons or ages.
The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible (vol.
IV, p. 643): Time: The O.T. and the N.T are not acquainted with the conception
of eternity as timelessness. The O.T. has not developed a special term
for "eternity." The word aion originally meant "vital force," "life;"
then "age," "lifetime." It is, however, also used generally of a (limited
or unlimited) long space of time. The use of the word aion is determined
very much by the O.T. and the LXX. Aion means "long distant uninterrupted
time" in the past (Luke 1:10), as well as in the future (John 4:14).
Ellicott's Commentary on the Whole Bible (Matt.
25:46): Everlasting punishment-life eternal. The two adjectives represent
the same Greek word, aionios-it must be admitted (1) that the Greek
word which is rendered "eternal" does not, in itself, involve endlessness,
but rather, duration, whether through an age or succession of ages, and
that it is therefore applied in the N.T. to periods of time that have had
both a beginning and ending (Rom. 16:25), where the Greek is "from aeonian
times;" our version giving "since the world began." (Comp. 2 Tim. 1:9;
Tit. 1:3) -strictly speaking, therefore, the word, as such, apart from
its association with any qualifying substantive, implies a vast undefined
duration, rather than one in the full sense of the word "infinite."
Triglot Dictionary of Representative Words in Hebrew,
Greek and English [this dictionary lists the words in this order:
English, Greek, Hebrew] (p. 122): Eternal (see age-lasting). (p. 6): English:
age-lasting; Greek, aionios; Hebrew, le-olam.
A Greek-English Lexicon, by Arndt and Gingrich:
(1) Aion: time; age; very long time; eternity. (2) A segment of
time; age. (3) The world. (4) The aion as a person: aionios,
eternal. 1. Without beginning. 2. Without beginning or end. 3. Without
Manual Greek Lexicon of the New Testament,
by Abbott-Smith: Aion: A space of time, as a lifetime, generation,
period of history, an indefinitely long period-an age, eternity.
Hasting's Dictionary of the New Testament (vol.
I, p. 542, art. Christ and the Gospels): Eternity. There is no word
either in the O.T. Hebrew or in the N.T. Greek to express the abstract
idea of eternity. (vol. III, p. 369): Eternal, everlasting-nonetheless
"eternal" is misleading, inasmuch as it has come in the English to connote
the idea of "endlessly existing," and thus to be practically a synonym
for "everlasting." But this is not an adequate rendering of aionios
varies in meaning with the variations of the noun aion from which
it comes. (p. 370): The chronois aioniois moreover, are not to be
thought of as stretching backward everlastingly, as it is proved by the
chronon aionion of 2 Tim. 1:9; Tit. 1:2. BACK
Chapter Two - Usage of Aion
As can be seen from these examples, some of the dictionaries,
lexicons, and commentaries consider such words as eternal, forever, and
everlasting to be synonymous to the words age, or eon. In addition to the
foregoing, some Bible translations such as the King James Version, use
the words "forever," "eternal," everlasting," etc., where a period of time,
an age, a limited period, is clearly indicated. Some examples of this are
given below. I will give the Greek transliteration first, followed by a
literal translation. Before we begin I want to stress a very important
point. What follows must be read very slowly and probably several times.
I have made it as simple as I possibly can. One does not need to learn
Greek to see what I hope will become plain to the average reader, but one
does need to go to their translations and to a good concordance to verify
that what I am writing is actually in the text. A Greek-English Interlinear
would also be helpful, but not necessary. Furthermore, there may be some
texts I will deal with that I may not be able to make plain enough what
I want to express. If there are some passages you do not understand, just
set them aside. I will present enough material that it should be easy for
anyone to at least see that these words are not adequately translated in
the King James Bible and many others which have followed the King James
tradition. With that said, let us begin.
The Greek word aion will be translated consistently
with the English word "eon," which is but the Anglicized form of the Greek
Hebrews 1:2 says: di hou kai epoiesen tous aionas,
"through Whom also He makes the eons." Notice the Greek word aionas
rendered "worlds" in this passage in the KJV. The ASV margin says "ages;"
and the New Scofield Bible reads "ages." Ephesians 3:11: "according to
the purpose of the eons which He makes in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Both these passages state that God makes the eons; therefore
they had a beginning, and so were not "eternal" in the past. Yet the KJV
translates the passage at Ephesians 3:11: "According to the eternal purpose
which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord." A purpose carries the idea
that there is a goal in view, a plan, an aim, a design. Are we to think
that God has a purpose He will never accomplish? That is what such a translation
implies. God has the wisdom and power to accomplish whatever purpose He
has conceived. Notice that in the KJV translation, the Greek word aionon,
a noun, has been translated as though it were an adjective. That is a serious
liberty to be taking with the inspired words of God, aside from using "eternal"
where it is clear that limited time is in view.
In Ephesians alone, aion has been translated in
the KJV the following ways: 1:21 "world;" 2:2 "course [of this world];"
2:7 "ages;" 3:9 "beginning of the world;" 3:11 "eternal;" 3:21 "world without
end;" 6:12 "world." This seems to be a strange assortment of English words
to represent just one Greek word! As we look at other verses, the confusion
even gets worse! Translate aion consistently as "age" or "eon" and
we do not have this confusion. Notice how aion, "eon" and aionios,
"eonian" are translated in the following: 1 Cor. 2:7 pro ton aionon
(before the eons), KJV "before the world," New Scofield "ages," ASV margin
"age." 2 Timothy 1:9 and Tit. 1:2, pro chronon aionion (before times
eonian), KJV "before the world began." In these verses (2 Tim. 1:9 and
Tit. 1:2) the adjective "eonian" in the Greek text is translated in the
KJV as though it were a noun.
Before you go on with this book, please read and re-read
this section until you clearly see that the King James Bible and its sister
translations have not translated these words properly. Pro, in these
verses is a preposition which means "before." chronon is a genitive
plural of the noun chronos which means "time." Aionion is
a genitive plural adjective of the noun aion. Dear reader, please
stop and think this section thoroughly through. It may dramatically change
your life for the better. The only thing the King James Version got right
here was the preposition "before." The translators of the American Standard
and the Revised Version, which are revisions of the King James Bible, realized
there were problems in the King James Bible with these words. They therefore
made a consistent rendering based not upon the Greek, but upon tradition!
They translated that verse in Titus 1:2 "before times eternal." Now what
is the world is that supposed to mean? How can there be times (plural)
before eternity? This is not translation, this is nonsense. But you see,
they had to stay true to the tradition of an eternal "hell" in which many
people would be "forever" punished. Realizing how ridiculous a literal
rendering of this phrase sounded based upon "tradition," the American
Standard translators put in the margin, "or, long ages ago." Now here
is a phrase that makes sense to the Greeks and to the English. Why not
put it into the English text, since that is a rendering which is far more
true to the Greek and English than "before times eternal?" Tradition!!!
It is interesting to note that the Revised Standard Version (a revision
of the Revision of the King James Bible) finally put into the text
itself "ages ago," not quite correct, but certainly much closer than its
predecessors. The New American Standard Version, (a revision of
the American Standard of 1901, an American version of the Revised Version
is a revision of the King James Bible) "long ages ago." It took
almost 400 years to break this incorrect "tradition"! They are still dragging
their feet in several others places in the English text where they have
still translated through the "tradition of the elders," and not according
to the Greek text. If it took 400 years for them to come this far with
Titus 1:2, referring to a passage which does not touch their "sacred cow,"
the doctrine of eternal torment in Hell, then how long do you think it
will take for them to treat honestly and objectively the other passages
we will discuss in this book? We must remember, their very jobs, their
very creeds, their very foundation and power of their denominations, that
being the fear of "eternal torment" is at stake here. Surely, we
can expect a fight to the end. "Tradition" has too much to lose in this
fight and the heads of the institutions of the church which have been built
upon the fear of hell instead of the love of Christ will war with those
who demand sound and correct translations to the very end. My dear reader,
I repeat: please do not leave this section until you clearly see that the
Bibles in the King James tradition are dragging their feet unwilling to
handle these two words, aion and aionios correctly.
These Scriptures show God made the eons (Eph. 3:11 and
Heb. 1:2), and that there was a time before the eons, or before eonian
times (1 Cor. 2:7; 2 Tim. 1:9; and Tit. 1:2). Since they had a beginning
and there was time before they were made, there could not have been "endless"
or "eternal" time in the past. When does "eternity" begin?
The Scriptures also speak of the end of the eon
and ends of the eons. Matt. 24:3 reads: sunteleias tou aionos,
"conclusion of the eon". The KJV here says "end of the world." The ASV
has "consummation of the age," telling us of a time when this eon will
end, this present wicked eon during which Satan is theos tou aionos
toutou, "god of this eon."
First Corinthians 10:11 tells us of tele ton aionon,
"consummations of the eons." Here the KJV says "ends of the world;" the
ASV "ends of the ages."
The Greek word used here is in the genitive plural, yet
the translators of the KJV have changed the plural to a singular word,
"world." How many ends can a single world have?
Hebrews 9:26, epi sonteleia ton aionon, "at the
conclusions of the eons." KJV: "in the end of the world;" ASV: "end [margin:
consummation] of the ages." So we see the eons cannot be endless in the
future, for they will end individually and collectively.
The Greek word for eon is used both in the singular and
in the plural in the Scriptures. We are told of the past eons, a present
eon, and future eons: Col. 1:26, apokekrummenon apo ton aionion,
"having been concealed from the eons." KJV: "which has been hid from the
ages;" ASV margin: "which has been hid from the ages." So there must be
a least two eons past.
Luke 20:34, hoi huioi tou aionos, "the sons of
this eon." KJV: "the children of this world;" ASV margin: "the sons of
In Matthew 12:32 Jesus said, oute en touto to aioni
oute en to mellonti, "neither in this eon nor in the impending." KJV:
"neither in this world, neither in the world to come;" ASV margin: "neither
in this age, nor in that which is to come." (See also Galatians 1:4 and
2 Cor. 4:4.) Matthew speaks of two eons: (1) the present eon, and (2) the
impending one. The impending eon is that one in which Christ is to obtain
His kingdom and rule for the millennium.
In Ephesians 2:7 Paul writes, en tois aiosin tois
eperchomenois, "in the on-coming eons." KJV: "in the ages to come;"
ASV: "in the ages to come." So there are past eons, a present one, and
the coming eons, at least five in all. Included in these eons are all the
eonian times that are mentioned in Scripture. The adjective aionios
comes from the noun aion and is defined: "pertaining to or belonging
to the eons." It is an axiom of grammar that an adjective derived from
a noun cannot mean more than its parent word. It must retain the essential
meaning pertaining to the noun. As it has been shown, the noun refers to
limited time, which had a beginning and will have an end. The adjective,
then, should not be translated by such words as "everlasting" or "eternal."
The adjective cannot take on a greater meaning than the noun from which
it is derived. For example, hourly, an adjective, pertains to an hour,
not to a year. BACK
Chapter Three - The Scholars Speak
"Even if aion always meant 'eternity,' which is not
the case in classic or Hellenistic Greek-aionios could still mean only
'belonging to eternity' and not 'lasting through it.'"
"That the adjective is applied to some things which
are "endless" does not, of course, for one moment prove that the word itself
meant 'endless;' and to introduce this rendering into many passages would
be utterly impossible and absurd."
Dr. R.F. Weymouth, a translator who was adept in Greek,
states in The New Testament in Modern Speech (p. 657), "Eternal,
Greek aeonian, i.e., of the ages: Etymologically this adjective,
like others similarly formed does not signify, "during" but "belonging
to" the aeons or ages."
Dr. Marvin Vincent, in his Word Studies of the
New Testament (vol. IV, p. 59): "The adjective aionios in
like manner carries the idea of time. Neither the noun nor the adjective
in themselves carries the sense of "endless" or "everlasting." Aionios
means enduring through or pertaining to a period of time. Out of the 150
instances in the LXX (Septuagint), four-fifths imply limited duration."
Dr. F.W. Farrar, author of The Life of Christ
and The Life and Work of St. Paul, as well as books about
Greek grammar and syntax, writes in The Eternal Hope (p.
198), "That the adjective is applied to some things which are "endless"
does not, of course, for one moment prove that the word itself meant 'endless;'
and to introduce this rendering into many passages would be utterly impossible
and absurd." In his book, Mercy and Judgment, Dr. Farrar
states (p. 378), "Since aion meant 'age,' aionios means,
properly, 'belonging to an age,' or 'age-long,' and anyone who asserts
that it must mean 'endless' defends a position which even Augustine practically
abandoned twelve centuries ago. Even if aion always meant 'eternity,'
which is not the case in classic or Hellenistic Greek-aionios could
still mean only 'belonging to eternity' and not 'lasting through it.'"
Lange's Commentary American Edition (vol.
V, p. 48), on Ecclesiastes chapter 1 verse 4, in commenting upon the statement
"The earth abideth forever" says, "The preacher, in contending with the
universalist, or restorationist, would commit an error, and, it may be,
suffer a failure in his argument, should he lay the whole stress of it
on the etymological or historical significance of the words, aion,
and attempt to prove that, of themselves, they necessarily carry the meaning
of endless duration." On page 45 of the same work, Dr. Taylor Lewis says:
"The Greek aiones and aiones ton aionon, the Latin secula,
and secula seculorum, the Old Saxon, or Old English of Wicliffe,
worldis or worldis (Heb. XIII 21), or our more modern phrase, for ever
and ever, wherever the German ewig, was originally a noun denoting
age or a vast period, just like the Greek, Latin, and Hebrew words corresponding
The Rev. Bennet, in his Olam Hanneshamoth
(p. 44), says, "The primary nature of olam is 'hidden,' and both
as to past and future denotes a duration that is unknown." Olam
is the Hebrew word for the Greek aion.
The Parkhurst Lexicon: "Olam (aeon)
seems to be used much more for an indefinite than for an infinite time."
Dr. MacKnight: "I must be so candid as to acknowledge
that the use of these terms 'forever,' 'eternal,' 'everlasting,' shows
that they who understand these words in a limited sense when applied to
punishment put no forced interpretation upon them."
Dr. Nigel Turner, in Christian Words, says
(p. 457), "All the way through it is never feasible to understand aionios
The Pulpit Commentary, vol. 15, p. 485,
says, "It is possible that 'aeonian' may denote merely indefinite duration
without the connotation of never ending."
The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible,
vol. 4, p. 643, says, "The O.T. and the N.T. are not acquainted with conception
of eternity as timelessness." Page 644: "The O.T. has not developed a special
term for eternity." Page 645: "The use of the word aion in the N.T.
is determined very much by the O.T. and the LXX. Aion means long,
distant, uninterrupted time. The intensifying plural occurs frequently
in the N.T. ...but it adds no new meaning."
Dr. Lammenois, a man adept with languages, states, "In
Hebrew and Greek the words rendered 'everlasting' have not this sense.
They signify a long duration of time, a period; whence the phrase, during
these eternities and beyond." BACK
Chapter Four - Apparent Bible Contradictions
"If it is insisted that aionios means everlasting, this
statement is absurd. It is impossible that anything should take place 'before
everlasting times.' "
"Sodom and her daughters, shall return to their former
"Endlessness is expressed by such particles as 'not,'
'un-,' 'in-,' '-less.' "
The Scriptures, the ultimate authority for God's use
of words, use the adjective aionios in the Greek New Testament thus:
2 Timothy 1:9 and Titus 1:2 "pro chronon aionion," "before times
eonian." KJV: "before the world began." ASV: "before times eternal." As
mentioned previously, since these verses tell of time before the eons,
eonian times cannot be "eternal." Eternity has no beginning, so nothing
can be pro, "before."
The ASV is one of our better translations in the English
language. With all due respect to the committee which worked at making
that version, let it be said its members missed the meaning of this phrase
and translated it with nonsensical terms. Dr. Marvin R. Vincent, in his
Studies of the New Testament (vol. IV, p. 291): "If it is insisted
that aionios means everlasting, this statement is absurd. It is impossible
that anything should take place 'before everlasting times.'" The phrase
"before times eternal" is actually a contradiction in three words. The
ASV margin reads: "long ages ago;" a much better translation.
Ezekiel 16:55 says, "When thy sisters, Sodom and her
daughters, shall return to their former estate." Since this scripture refers
to a restoration of Sodom, its judgment cannot be for "eternity." In Jude,
the Greek adjective aionios, eonian, is used when the judgment of
Sodom is mentioned.
Jude 7 states that Sodom is an example of puros aioniou
dikên hupechousai, "experiencing the justice of fire eonian."
KJV: "suffering the vengeance of eternal fire." In this translation, the
KJV at Jude 7 contradicts that of Ezekiel 16:50-56. Those visiting the
area today see no fire, for if our archaeologists are correct in locating
its former site, it lies beneath a sea. Many such seeming contradictions
would not exist in the KJV had the Greek word been translated correctly
to express limited time, instead of "eternal."
Philemon tells of a runaway slave who was converted by
Paul to believing in the risen Christ. This slave was returned to his master,
Philemon. Paul writes to Philemon, saying (v. 15), echoristê pros
horan hina aionion auton apechês, "he was separated for an hour
that you may be receiving him as an eonian repayment." The KJV says: "He
therefore departed for a season that thou shouldst receive him forever."
This translation seems to teach "eternal slavery." Correctly translated,
there is no problem.
At Romans 16:25, the ASV reads, "Now to him that is
able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus
Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept
in silence through times eternal." If this verse is teaching of a mystery
kept in silence through "times eternal," the mystery would never
have been made known. The context in which this verse lies shows that aiÖnios,
eonian, cannot be referring to "eternal" or "endless" time, for the verse
following (v. 26) says: "but is now manifested." If we are to understand
"eternal" to refer to unlimited time, then how could the mystery now be
manifested? The KJV says, "which has been kept secret since the world
began, but is now manifested." The translators recognized that limited
time was in view.
The Greek text of this passage reads, "to de dunameno
humas stopixai kata to euagelion mou kai kêrugma iêsou christou
kata apokalupsin musteriou chronois aioniois sesigemenou phanerothentos
de nun." "Now to Him Who is able to establish you according to my evangel,
and the heralding of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of a secret
having been hushed in times eonian, yet manifested now." Again, there
is no contradiction when the translation is faithful to the Greek text,
by simply transliterating the word aionios into the English word
"eonian." The world is not that which is in view here, but time.
Many present the argument, "If aionios, eonian,
does not mean endless time, then the believers do not have eternal, or
everlasting life. The word is used at Romans 16:26 concerning God, and
surely He is 'eternal;' therefore, the word must mean unlimited." As has
been shown, the word in itself refers to limited time. However, the Greek
does have a way of expressing endlessness by using words other than eon
or eonian, such as in Luke 1:33: ouk estai telos, "there will be
no end." Endless life is spoken of at Hebrews 7:16 thus: zoâs
akatalutou, "indissoluable life." The margin of the ASV: "indissoluable
life." KJV: "endless life."
Believers do have endless life, for 1 Cor. 15:42 says
the dead will be raised in "incorruption," and 1 Cor. 15:53 speaks of "deathlessness,"
or "immortality" (Greek: aphtharsia and athanasia) Endlessness
is expressed by such particles as "not," "un-," "in-," "-less." Death will
ultimately be abolished (see 1 Cor. 15:16), and when death is abolished,
all that can remain is endless life for all. First Corinthians 15:22 in
its context says that life will be IN CHRIST, where there will be no more
dying, and those in the resurrection here mentioned will be incorruptible
and immortal (see 1 Cor. 15:42, 53). BACK
Chapter Five - "Forever and
Ever" -- A Poor Translation
"If the Greek words eis tous aionas ton aionon mean
endless time, as translated in the KJV, 'forever and ever,' we have a contradiction
-Dr. William Barclay
"This view (Restitution of All) is so clearly Scriptural
that the only surprise is that it has not been more definitely and widely
-Dr. A.T. Pierson
There is no doubt that God has always existed, but the
statement at Romans 16:26 speaks of Him as an eonian God. The Scriptures
say He made the eons, so He existed before they were made, and He will
exist after the eons have been concluded (1 Cor. 10:11; Heb. 9:26). He
is endless. To argue that "eonian God" makes the "eonian" unlimited time
because God is unlimited is illogical. Isaiah 54:5, KJV, calls Him "the
God of the whole earth." This does not preclude Him from also being the
God of the entire universe. In the context of Romans 16:26, He is called
the "eonian God," but He was God before the eons were made; He is God during
all the eons, and in post-eonian times. In other words, just because the
Scriptures refer to Him as the "God of the ages" does not preclude Him
from being the God of eternity. The Scriptures declare Him the "God of
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob," and "the God of Israel." Does that mean He
cannot therefore be the God of the gentiles, of the whole universe? Of
As for the KJV translation, "forever and ever," there
are some students of the Greek who admit that this is not a faithful translation
of the Greek words found in the text. The Greek uses three distinct
phrases, all of which are translated the same in the KJV.
Hebrews 1:8: ho thronos sou ho theos eis ton aiona tou
aionos, "Thy throne, O God, is for the eon of the eon." In both occurrences
in this verse, the Greek word we translated "eon" appears in the singular.
Ephesians 3:21: auto he doxa en te ekklesia kai en Christo
Iesou eis pasas tas geneas tou aionos ton aionon, "To Him be the glory
in the ecclesia and in Christ Jesus for all the generations of the eon
of the eons. Amen." Here the Greek word for eon is used twice. The first
time it is in the singular; the second time it is in the plural.
Galatians 1:5: ho he doxa eis tous aionas ton aionon,
"To Whom be glory for the eons of the eons." Here the Greek word for eon
appears twice in the plural.
Philippians 1:10 says (ASV margin), "so that ye may distinguish
the things that differ." Since the words of God are inspired and are used
precisely, to ignore the differences in these passages is to ignore what
He is saying.
Hebrews 1:8 is a quotation from Psalm 45:6, LXX, where
the Greek text says, eis ton aiona tou aionos, "into the eon of
the eon," - the singular form for eon in both occurrences. The preposition
is translated "into" or "unto;" idiomatically, "for." Bagster's
Greek Lexicon and Concordance defines it: "eis, into, to
as far as, to the extent of."
Dr. E.W. Bullinger's Lexicon and Concordance
says (p. 804), "eis, unto, when referring to time, denoting either
the interval up to a certain point, during; or the point itself as the
object or aim of some purpose, up to, for."
Dr. Nigel Turner, in his book, Grammatical Insights
into the N.T., says (p. 91), "eis involves a movement for
development toward a goal." If eis means as far as, to the extent
of, or a movement or development toward a goal, then it cannot be used
with words meaning endless or unlimited time.
Ephesians 3:21: eis pasas tas geneas tou aionos ton
aionon, "for all the generations of the eon of the eons." KJV: "throughout
all the ages, world without end." ASV margin: "unto all the generations
of the age of the ages." Young's Literal Translation: "into the age of
the ages." The "eon of the eons" refers to a crowning eon of another which
So what is meant by this expression? Many KJV tradition
scholars say that these three different Greek phrases are idiomatic expressions
for "eternity." Idiotic, perhaps, but not idiomatic! Similar expressions
used in the Scriptures are cited in order to illustrate the meaning: Song
of Solomon 1:1, "song of songs;" Eccl. 12:8, "vanity of vanities;" Gen.
9:25, "servant of servants;" Ex. 26:33, "holy of the holies;" Deut. 10:17,
"God of gods and Lord of lords;" Dan. 8:25, "prince of princes;" Phil.
3:5, "Hebrew of Hebrews;" 1 Tim. 6:15, "King of kings and Lord of lords."
Most students of the Scriptures understand what is meant by such expressions,
so why is Eph. 3:21, "eon of the eons" an enigma? The eon of the eons refers
to the final and greatest of all eons. That it cannot refer to "eternity"
is shown by the statement that there will be "generations," which implies
procreation, which will not happen in eternity since we will then be like
the angels. This eon succeeds the millennial eon, and is previous to the
There are others who teach the same. Dr. A.T. Pierson
supports this view in his book, The Bible and Spiritual Life:
"This view is so clearly scriptural that the only surprise is that it has
not been more definitely and widely held. It adds immeasurably, both to
the glory of Christ as the coming King, and the Father as the former and
framer of the ages. It is the period typified by the eighth day of the
Mosaic Code: the perfect glory of Christ, reserved for 'the morrow after.'
The millennial 'Sabbath.' And while the millennial period is limited to
a thousand years, there are no definite limits to this final age of glory."
Mr. George Saltau, in his book, Past, Present and
Future, adopts the same view.
Clarence Larkin, Dispensational Truth, or God's
Plan and Purpose in the Ages, shows (p. 3, chart "The Ages") an
age succeeding the kingdom age, which he calls the "perfect age." This
"perfect age" is also shown in other charts in Mr. Larkin's book.
The expression, "eon of the eons," is not limited to
its use at Eph. 3:21. In the LXX at Dan. 7:18 we see, heos aionos ton
aionon, "until eon of the eons." In the Song of the Three Children
(LXX, Septuagint), at the end of verse 68, there is, kai eis ton aiona
ton aionon, "and into the eon of the eons." In the book of Enoch there
is a similar expression: "until the judgment of the eon of the eons be
Windet, in De Vita Functor Statu, states,
"However you understand the phrase, it could not be used unless it signified
something less than endlessness; for 'completion' does not accord with
true endlessness." Therefore, the expression "eon of the eons" and "eon
of the eon" mean the last and crowning eon in which Christ will hand everything
to His Father, entirely subjected (1 Cor. 15:22-28). We know that the millennial
eon will not be one of such complete subjection, for Christ will rule with
a rod of iron, and at its close, after the most wonderful and beneficial
rule by His sceptre, at the instigation of Satan, loosed from the pit,
large numbers of those who have been blessed under Christ's gracious reign
will revolt against Him (Rev. 20:7-9). While there may be many different
interpretations about this "thousand year period," clearly we have time,
and things not yet subjected. This revolt shows that the subjection spoken
of at 1 Cor. 15:22-28; Eph. 1:9-11; Phil. 2:10-11; and Col. 1:10-20 has
not been completed. It will take yet another eon, following the millennial
one, with Christ reigning to end all insubordination in all His realms,
before He will finally surrender to His Father all completed, so that the
Father can be "all in all." The final eon is that of new heavens and the
new earth wherein reigns righteousness (2 Pet. 3:13). That is the one called
the "eon of the eon" (Heb. 1:8). It is also called the "eon of the eons"
at Eph 3:21, because it is paramount to all preceding eons, including the
millennial eon in which Christ Jesus reigns as Messiah and King. Paul writes
(Eph. 2:6,7) of the blessings of the coming eons. He says: "And He rouses
us together and seats us together among the celestials in Christ Jesus,
that in the oncoming eons, He may be displaying the transcendent riches
of His grace in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus" (see also Eph. 3:20-21).
Thus, in the coming eons, the millennial and the succeeding
eon, Christ Jesus will be displaying His transcending riches to us. We
must be careful when talking about what God will do in future generations
and ages. For too often we project our own ideas onto the plan of God.
I hope I have not crossed that line. Yet when it comes to the correct rendering
of these words, I feel certain what you are reading sheds much light which
many Bible translations have hidden from us.
Let us get back to "forever and ever." The Greek phrase
tous aionas ton aionon, "for the eons of the eons," occurs about twenty
times in the Greek New Testament in this combination. The ASV margin and
some other versions, lexicons, dictionaries, and commentaries translate
the phrase correctly.
Windet, in De Vita Functora Statu, of 1633
says (p. 170), "eis tous aionas ton aionon, of the New Testament
meant a finite period."
At 1 Cor. 15:25, where the Greek text shows, dei gar
auton basileuein achri hou thê pantas tous echthrous hupo tous podas
autou, "For He must be reigning until He should be placing all His
enemies under His feet." This clearly states that Christ's reigning is
limited. There is no Scripture to contradict the statement when aion
and aionios are correctly translated.
Dr. William Barclay concurs in his commentary (p. 166-169)
on The Letters to the Corinthians. If the Greek words eis tous aionas
ton aionon mean endless time, as translated in the KJV, "forever and
ever," we have a contradiction in Scripture, for Rev. 11:15 says, in the
same version: "The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of
our Lord and His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever." That
contradicts 1 Cor. 15:25, which says: "He must be reigning till..." If
Rev. 11:15 is translated "eons of the eons," or "ages of the ages," there
is no contradiction. The ASV says (1 Cor. 15:24-25), "Then cometh the
end, when He shall deliver up the kingdom to God., even the Father; When
He shall have abolished all rule and all authority and power. For He must
reign till He hath put all His enemies under His feet;" consequently,
the reigning of Christ Jesus and the saints (Rev. 22:5) will be "for the
eons of the eons" or "for the ages of the ages" (see the ASV margin here).
Eis tous aionas is accusative plural, "for the
eons," or "for the ages," and these words are not "forever and ever," which
are in the singular. The word ton is the genitive plural article,
and in our syntax should be translated "of the." In this Greek clause,
there is no word that means "and," as the Greek conjunction
"and," is not in this clause. The word aionon is the genitive plural
of the noun aion, and the genitive plural in this syntax should
be translated "eons," or "ages;" hence ton aionon, "of the eons."
Anyone can study these words and see that "forever and ever" is not a good
translation of these Greek words. As eis is used in this clause
and as eis involves a movement or development toward a goal, this
clause cannot mean endlessness.
As mentioned previously, there are several analogous
expressions in the Scriptures which should show the meaning of the words
under discussion. In Ex. 26:33 (LXX), tou hagiou ton hagion, "in
the holy of the holies." This is similar to the "eon of the eons" of Eph.
3:21. In II Kings 8:6 (LXX) we see, eis ta hagia ton hagion, "for
the holies of the holies"- similar to "eons of the eons." The "holy of
the holies" and "holies of the holies" refer to the tabernacle. Psalm 44:7
says, ho thronos sou ho theos, eis ton aiona tou aionos, "Thy throne,
O God, is for the eon of eon"- similar to Heb. 1:8. Daniel 7:18: "until
eon of the eons" and similar to that of Eph. 3:21, where a singular is
followed by a plural, "eon of the eons." In these expressions we see the
eons corresponding to the holies in the tabernacle. While there are many
different teachings on the types in the Tabernacle of Moses, it should
not be too difficult to see that there were at least five divisions: (1)
without the camp; (2) in the camp; (3) in the court; (4) in the holy place;
and (5) in the holy of holies. These may be likened to the five eons we
find in the Scriptures (past eons, present eon, future eons). The last
eon is called the "eon of the eons," because it, like the "holy of holies,"
is the climax of the others. In Hebrews chapter 9, the Greek text of Nestle
reads (margin v. 25), eis ta hagia ton hagion, "into the holies
of the holies," and (v. 3), hagia hagion, "holies of holies." Just
as the two holy places in the tabernacle are called the holies of holies,
so the last two eons are often called the eons of the eons. As the tabernacle
illustrated man's approach to God, it corresponds closely with the eonian
times, which also brings man to God. The "holy of holies" was a single
holy place. The "eon of eons," a single eon. It was the pre-eminence of
the "holy of holies," in relation to the other holy places, which caused
it to be so designated. So the pre-eminence of the "eon of the eons" lies
in its being the fruitage and harvest of previous eons. The same is true
of the "holies of the holies" of Heb. 9:25. They may be likened to the
"eons of the eons" of Rev. 11:15; 22:5. Luke 1:33 says of Christ's "kingdom
there shall be no end." While the kingdom itself will not end, but the
reign of Christ for the eons of the eons will end when He delivers up the
kingdom to the Father (1 Cor. 15:24-26).
Mr. W. Kelly, in his book, Lectures on the Book
of Revelation, commenting upon the saints' reign, states (p. 435-436),
"Supposing that God's Word speaks of the earthly state of things and uses
the expression 'reigning forever and ever,' as in Daniel 7 and Luke 1,
it cannot be understood absolutely. The words must be limited by the subject-matter
of which God is speaking, so in Daniel 7:27 the kingdom under the whole
heaven, which is given to the people of the saints of high places, is said
to be an everlasting kingdom. This, I apprehend, is the same period that
is called here the thousand years."
The sentence in Rev. 22:5 saying: "They will be reigning
for the eons of the eons" shows that the expression has no reference either
to the present or to the preceding eons. The Greek verb basileusousin,
"they will be reigning" is a third-person plural future active indicative
form; so this reigning must be future. In this present eon, as in those
preceding ones, the slaves, or servants, of God are not reigning. Similarly,
that God and Christ are living for "the eons of the eons" (Rev. 1:18; 4:9;
10:6; 15:7) has reference to the eons of the future, not to the present
eon. That is not to say that God and Christ Jesus are not living during
the previous eons. God was the living pre-eonian God. He is the living
eonian God, and He will be the living post-eonian God. Paul, when writing
to Timothy, said (1 Tim. 4:10), "For this we are toiling and being reproached,
for we rely on the living God, Who is the Saviour of all mankind, especially
Two scriptures state positively that the eons will end:
1 Cor. 10:11, tauta de tupikos sunebainen ekeinois egraphê de
pros nouthesian hêmon eis hous ta telê ton aionon katêntêken,
"Now those things befalls them typically, yet it was written for our admonition,
to whom the consummations of the eons have attained." Paul had said what
those things are, which befalls them typically, in the preceding verses.
Yet "it was written" is in the singular, for "our" (plural) admoniton-
the "our" referring to the saints, who are the present believers. "To whom,"
referring to the saints, "the consummations of the eons have attained."
The Corinthian saints had attained the consummations of eons in spirit
because they were a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17). Some day all will be a
new creation (Rev. 21:5). Now, only the saints who are in Christ are of
the new creation, but it is God's goal for the eons to head up all in the
Christ, as stated at Eph. 1:9-11. Salvation for all is God's plan
for the eons. Those saints believing now have attained that purpose, so
have attained the consummation of the eons.
While some doubt such an exegesis of 1 Cor. 10:11, others,
such as the writer of the New Dictionary of the N. T. Theology,
concur (vol. 1, p. 324): "Paul also speaks of a movement from God to man.
1 Corinthians 10:11 speaks of us 'upon whom the end of the ages has come.'
Hebrews 9:26 contains a similar expression, 'at the end of the ages' (time,
art. aion). Christ appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of
Himself. The movement directed by God towards its end; with us it has now
attained its goal. The thought also contains the certainty that with Christ,
Who inaugurates the end of the ages, a new world era and order of things
has begun. Admittedly, this is apparent only to the believer."
Consequently, with the saints it is possible in spirit
to taste the powers of the ages to come (Heb. 6:5). At Hebrews 9:26 the
Greek says, epei edei auton pollakis pathein apo kataboles kosmou nuni
de hapax epi sunteleia ton aionon eis athetêsin tês hamartias
dia testhusias autou pephanerotai, "Since then, He must often be
suffering from the disruption of the world, yet now, once, at the conclusion
of the eons, for the repudiation of sin through His sacrifice, He has been
manifested." In the clause, "He has been manifested," the verb is a
third-person singular perfect passive indicative. The Greek perfect tense
denotes the present state, resultant upon a past action. There is no English
tense which corresponds to that of the Greek perfect, so this form is a
difficult one to convey into English. It may be translated: "through His
sacrifice, He is manifested." But it is clear His sacrifice was not at
the "end of the world," as the KJV says, since the world continues. But
it is equally clear that His sacrifice was not at the "conclusion of the
eons," since Paul wrote of "this present wicked eon" and the "on-coming
eons" (Gal. 1:4; Eph. 2:7). Sin still remains, and there is a world of
sinners; but when the eons come to a conclusion, sin will be repudiated
by virtue of His sacrifice.
In Romans 4:17 Paul says, "According as it is written
that, a father of many nations I have appointed you, facing which, he believed
it of the God Who is vivifying the dead and calling what is not as if it
were." Here Paul is writing of Abraham, that Abraham believes God.
The God Abraham believes is the God "who is vivifying the dead and calling
what is not as if it were." God did not say, "I will appoint
you a father of many nations," but "I have appointed you," using
a Greek perfect verb, which indicates a completed action with a resultant
state of being. As God stated it, it is already an accomplished fact, yet
at the time, Abraham did not even have a son, and he was nearly one hundred
years old. So God was there calling what was not as though it were. God
speaks so of us, when He says: "Now whom He designates beforehand, these
He calls also, and whom He calls, these He justifies also, now whom He
justifies, these He glorifies also" (Rom. 8:29-30; see Eph. 1:3-8).
Are we glorified now? Certainly not! But God is following the same pattern
of dealing with us as with Abraham, in that He is calling what is not as
if it were. God says that He "seats us together in heavenly places in Christ
Jesus" (Eph. 2:6), yet we are still in this world, and a part of an ecclesia
on the earth. He can make such a statement because He can, and will, do
what He says.
Because we are a new creation in Christ Jesus (2 Cor.
5:17), we have attained to the consummations of the eons (1 Cor. 10:11).
At the conclusion of the eons, sin will be repudiated. At present God is
"calling what is not as if it were." Only God is able to do that.
The Scriptures teach that during the eons mankind is
experiencing evil, sin, sickness, death, judgments, generation, opposition
from sovereignties, authorities and powers, all of which will be nullified
or abolished, as stated in 1 Cor. 15:22-28.
Luke 1:50 says, kai to eleos autou eis geneas kai
geneas tois phoboumenois auton, "and His mercy is for generations
and generations, for those who are fearing Him." In the phrase, "for
generations and generations," there is an example of two plural nouns being
used with the conjunction kai, "and;" but in the expression aionas
ton aionon, there is no conjunction. The word ton, "of the,"
is the genitive plural article, and should not be translated "and," as
is done in the KJV's "forever and ever." The LXX, at Psa. 90:1, states,
genea kai genea, "in generation and generation." Another example of
the use of the conjunction
kai, "and," between the two words for
"generation" in the singular. At Heb. 1:8 the noun aion, "eon,"
is used twice in the singular form, but with no "and" between. At Ex. 15:18,
basileuon ton aiona kai ep aiona kai eti, "the Lord is reigning the
eon and upon eon and longer." Eon, as used here, cannot refer to time without
end, for there could be nothing beyond, or longer than, endless time. Here
the Latin Vulgate says,
Dominus regnabit in aeturnum et ultra, "The
Lord will reign unto [or into] eternity and beyond." The Latin word
when used with an accusative aeturnum, has the meaning of placing
His reign in eternity, but the ultra, "beyond," shows it did not
stop when it was placed there, but continued beyond the time of the placing.
The English words, "forever and ever," unfortunately, do not convey the
The Hebrew text shows, "to the eon and further." Similar
expressions appear frequently in the Hebrew, Greek, and Latin texts (see
Daniel 12:3, for example).
Wycliffe's version, the first translation into English,
did not use the words "forever and ever." Several versions in modern English
do not use those words either: The Emphasized Bible, by J.B.
Rotherham; The N. T., A Translation, by E.L. Clementson;
Emphatic Diaglott, by Benjamin Wilson; Young's Literal Translation,
by Professor Robert Young; and The Concordant Literal New Testament,
by A.E. Knoch as well as others.BACK
Chapter Six - What Saith The Translations?
"Because 'orthodox' scholars contradict themselves
even within their own organizations, when it comes to these words, it often
becomes difficult for sincere students to get their true original meaning."
The Old Scofield Bible, using the KJV,
made 35 marginal notations for the noun aion, "eon," and three for
the adjective aionios, "eonian."
The late Oxford University Press Sunday School
Teacher's Bible corrected the noun eighteen times, and the adjective
not at all. In the Companion Bible, Dr. E.W. Bullinger noted
every occurrence of the noun and the adjective, and showed the corrected
translation either in the marginal notes or in the appendix.
In the New Analytical Indexed Bible, by
John A. Dickson, there are but three marginal corrections for the noun
(1 Cor. 10:11; Heb. 6:5; 9:26). For the adjective only two marginal corrections
are given, where "before times eternal" is offered, instead of "before
the world began," as in the KJV.
The Newberry Bible gives many excellent
marginal notes. Correct marginal readings appear for the noun, aion,
more than 100 times. The adjective is left with no marginal notes, except
at 1 Tim. 1:9 and Tit. 1:2, where "eternal times" is given.
In Rotherham's 1872 version, the word "age" is used consistently
for the noun. In his later edition, 1897, the word "age" is used about
90 times. The adjective for aion is translated "age-abiding" quite
consistently in both editions.
The ASV of 1901 translates the noun correctly in the
text or in a marginal reading in 90 of its 123 occurrences. The adjective
was translated "eternal" at Rom. 16:25; 2 Tim. 1:9; and Tit. 1:2, where
the KJV used "world."
Professor Robert Young, author of Young's Analytical
Concordance, as well as his Literal Translation of the Bible,
uses "age" as the translation for the noun. The adjective is translated
"age-during" in all except three of its occurrences. At 2 Tim. 1:9 and
Tit. 1:2 he uses "time of the ages" and in Philemon, "age-duringly."
J.N. Darby's translation of the New Testament uses "age"
65 times for the noun, but in several instances a correct translation in
the text is contradicted in his footnotes.
The Concordant Literal Translation of the New Testament
uses "eon" for the noun consistently, and "eonian" for the adjective in
The preface of the Numeric English New Testament,
by Ivan Panin has this comment (p. 16): "Aionios can safely be rendered
eternal, but its noun in eis ton aiona cannot be rendered 'into
eternity' or 'forever;' hence the aion phrases are rendered literally."
Panin follows his rule, except at Acts 3:21 where he translates the phrase
aionos "from of old," and in John's Evangel, where in eleven occurrences
out of thirteen he does exactly what he had said could not be done. The
adjective is translated "eternal," except at Rom. 16:25; 2 Tim. 1:9; Tit.
1:2; and Philemon 15.
In the New Testament or Covenant, by E.E.
Cunnington, the noun is translated correctly either in the text or in the
footnotes twenty-eight times, but "forever" in Matt. 21:19, where it is
followed by his note, "Lit. For the age and elsewhere." "For evermore"
in this version at Rev. 1:6 is followed by this note: "Lit. to the ages
of the ages (and elsewhere)." The first occurrence of the adjective eonian,
at Matt. 18:8 he translated "eternal," but this is followed by his note:
"Lit. age-long (aeonian) and elsewhere." Thus in Cunnington's version,
if the notes are overlooked, one will not see the truth expressed by the
Following, are some of the more modern English versions'
renderings of these words. For reference purposes, we have listed all the
different rendering of the words we are studying. The reader may skip this
section if they desire. The manuscript for this book was prepared before
several of Bibles which appeared in the 1980's and 1990's came out. That
is why they are not included included in this section.
The New International Version of the New Testament
translates aion, "eon," as the following: "forever" 27 times; "age"
(including the plural "ages") 25 times; "forever and ever" 22 times; "never"
9 times; "world" 6 times; "eternal" twice, "the universe" twice, "ever"
twice; "life" twice; "long ago" twice; and once each with "enduring," "forevermore,"
and "time began." The adjective is translated "eternal" 60 times; "everlasting"
4 times; "beginning of" twice, as well as once each with "ages past," "forever,"
life," and "good." This version translates Eph. 3:11, "according to His
eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord." Can one
explain how God could have an "eternal purpose which He accomplished?"
An "eternal purpose" can never be accomplished, and if a purpose has been
accomplished it cannot be "eternal."
In The Holy Bible, an American Translation,
by William E. Beck, aion, "eon," is translated "forever" 50 times;
"world" 29 times; "never" 8 times; "long ago" 3 times; "ever" 4 times;
"ages" 4 times; and once each "time," "beginning," and "everlasting." At
1 Cor. 2:6, the noun was not translated, or the translation was so vague
one could not tell what word might have been used, although it appears
twice in this verse in the text. The adjective is translated "everlasting"
58 times; "forever" 6 times; and once each "long ago," "lasting forever,"
"world began," "eternally," and "ages ago."
In The Jerusalem Bible, aion, "eon,"
is translated "forever and ever" 23 times; "forever" 21 times; "world"
19 times; "never" 9 times; "age" 4 times; "time" 3 times; "assured" twice;
and once each "eternal," "ever," "ancient times," "world began," "long
age," "today," "age began," "last age," "all eternity," "centuries," "world's,"
"life," and "everything there is." For the adjective there are these: "eternal"
60 times; "everlasting" twice; "eternity" twice; and once each "eternally,"
"long ago," "endless ages," "beginning of time," and "forever."
In The New American Bible, The New Testament,
by the St. Anthony Guild, 1971 edition, aion, "eon," is translated
"forever" 24 times; "age" (including the plural "ages") 23 times; "forever
and ever" 15 times; "never" 10 times; "world" 9 times; "worldly" 3 times;
"endless ages" twice; and once each "enduring," "worldly way," "life demand,"
"ancient times," "ever," "always," "long ago," "of old," "world's goods,"
"age-old," "eternity," "without end," "the universe," and "unending ages."
The adjective is translated "eternal" 44 times; "everlasting" 17 times;
and once each "endless," "without end," " last forever," "endless ages,"
"ages," "lasting," "lasts forever," and "world began."
In The Good News Bible, aion, "eon,"
is translated "forever" 23 times; "forever and ever" 22 times; "age" 13
times; "never" 7 times; "long ago" 3 times; "life" 3 times; "eternal" 3
times; "the universe" twice; and once each "now or ever," "live," "all
time," "ages of time," "world's," "ever," and "time." The adjective is
translated "eternal" 63 times; "beginning of time" twice; and once each
"long ages," "lasts forever," " last forever," " all time," and "unfailing."
In The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek
Scriptures, the noun "eon" is translated "system of things" 33
times; "forever" 28 times; "forever and ever" 20 times; "never" 6 times;
"of old" 3 times; "eternity" twice, and once each "of old time," "eternal,"
"ever," and "indefinite past." The interlinear was translated consistently
"age" for the singular and "ages" for the plural. The adjective "eonian"
is translated "everlastingly" 65 times; "longlasting" 3 times; and "forever"
once. In the interlinear, it is incorrectly translated "everlasting," except
at Philemon 15 where it is "everlasting(ly)."
This is a time of apostasy, so while some groups do teach
and believe the truth concerning the eons, others have departed from what
the Scriptures say, not only about the eons, but also about equally vital
Although it would seem several translators, such as those
cited above, realize that aion and aionios cannot be construed
to mean endless time, yet they refuse to use a word which more closely
expresses the Greek. Rather, they have chosen to use the inconsistent renderings
that have been shown in this book. The learned Catholic men who translated
and authorized The Jerusalem Bible and The New American
Bible seem to be oblivious of the fact that the large Catholic
Bible dictionary titled, The Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Bible
ETERNITY: The Bible hardly speaks of eternity in the
philosophical sense of infinite duration without beginning or end. The
Hebrew word olam, which is used alone (Ps. 61:8; etc.) or with various
prepositions (Gen. 3:22; etc.) in contexts where it is traditionally translated
as 'forever,' means in itself no more than 'for an indefinitely long period.'
Thus me olam does not mean 'from eternity' but 'of old' (Gen. 6:4, etc.).
In the N.T. aion is used as the equivalent of olam.
Here the translators have consistently ignored what their
own "authorities" tells them, and have used words which do convey
the idea of endless time. Because "orthodox" scholars contradict themselves
even within their own organizations, when it comes to these words, it often
becomes difficult for sincere students to get their true original meaning.
The following letter illustrates the point. BACK
Chapter Seven - Eonian Means What?
A Search For Truth
"By this point in my studying I had begun to think
that possibly these theologians were employing more subterfuge than enlightened
honesty in dealing with the issue."
Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! I
read that you are to be a speaker at the upcoming Bible conference close
to Springfield, MO. I'm writing to say that I now plan on attending on
Saturday, if possible. I look forward to meeting you.
I enjoyed our correspondence of three years ago and
have not forgotten the nature or substance of your thoughts expressed then.
Here is the result of my thinking and studying on aiwnioj in recent times.
For some years (I'm 32 yrs. old) certain passages had made me wonder as
to the scope of their meaning; i.e. Romans 5, 1 Cor 15, Colossians 1, etc.
In 1976 I received some sample literature, among which were tracts on the
Salvation of All. Being a "Bible believing" orthodox evangelical, I rejected
the idea. The year 1979 found me just having completed a year of studying
the Koine (Greek) language at a theological seminary. Thus new tools were
provided to eventually consider the idea of God being All in all.
As I began to seriously ponder this concept (which
I felt no particular desire to adopt), I began to read more literature,
books, pamphlets by others that were well reasoned from Scripture. I began
to be convinced in spite of my previous feelings. I decided I had better
read the "pro-eternal torment" position.
What do scholars of this position present? Clouded
and confused thoughts. First I read a classic by William G.T. Shedd entitled
Doctrine of Endless Punishment. This was supposed by evangelicals to
be the best defense of the foregoing doctrine. His first section in which
he appealed to the "Church Fathers" I soon discounted, for as anyone who
is even marginally aware of "the Fathers" can testify: they proclaim many
diverse and even esoteric doctrines. The book did help me realize that
one of the keys to resolving the question was the meaning of the word aionioj..
Does it mean eternal (endless) or eonian (age-lasting)? This is very critical.
After much discussion, Shedd's conclusion as per page 84: anything,
endless or limited, can be denominated aionioj! Both ways! It depends
on the passage. And, of course, only a competent exegete such as Shedd
can determine which of the two opposite meanings is to be chosen in a particular
passage. There was no help for me here. What other conclusions did he come
to? Page 145, "'If there were no God, we should be compelled to invent
one' is now a familiar sentiment. 'If there were no hell, we should be
compelled to invent one' is equally true." What else does this scholar
say? Page 159, "the Bible teaches that there will always be some sin, and
some death, in the universe." It's as if he had never read 1 Corinthians
15:26. One final quote from Shedd, Page 119: "Nothing is requisite for
(doctrine of endless torments) maintenance but the admission of three cardinal
truths of theism; namely, that there is a just God; that man has free will;
and that sin is a voluntary action." He did not give a Scriptural
reverence of Romans 11:32 for this statement. In fact, he gave no reference
to the Scriptures at this point.
I thought I might read a more recent book of Endless
Punishment--so I read a highly recommended Doctrine of Eternal Punishment
to gather more information on aionioj. Page 49, "No sound Greek scholar
can pretend that aionioj means anything less than eternal." I decided he
must not have read Shedd's book. Also the very highly esteemed translators
of the New International Version must not have read the latter book (or
must not be "sound Greek scholars") because their rendering in Romans 16:25
speaks about, "the mystery hidden from long ages past." "Long Ages Past"
being their translation "eonian times." I was confused--one meaning only
(eternal) or two (opposite) meanings?
Well, in our Greek class we learned to trust the Arndt-Gingrich
Lexicon to settle the questions that came to mind. I was curious--would
Arndt-Gingrich say one or two meanings? The answer: three
meanings: 1) endless past with definite ending point in the future, 2)
definite beginning point in past with endless future, 3) endless past and
endless future! Ingenious! By this point in my studying I had begun to
think that possibly these theologians were employing more subterfuge than
enlightened honesty in dealing with the issue. Most other reference works
fall into one of the afore-mentioned categories when dealing with aionioj.
Of course, there are the King James Version's "world began" phrases.
I cannot yet give you a conclusion to this whole matter
from a personal perspective, but I think it will be obvious to you which
direction my thinking is headed. In search of truth, Mike BACK
Chapter Eight - Greek Tools
"...concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning
the righteousness which is the law, blameless. But what things were gain
to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all
things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord,
for whom I suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish,
that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness,
which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness
which is from God through faith; that I may know Him and the power of His
resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to
His death, if by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
The man who wrote the words above was Paul, the apostle.
Paul, was a theologian. He studied under one of the all-time greats in
his day. Gamaliel, Paul's professor, so to speak, knew the Scriptures in
their original language. He was the head of what today we would call a
seminary. Gamaliel was an outstanding scholar. Yet Gamaliel could not bring
Paul to the truth. Paul counted his Hebrew studies as rubbish.
Now Paul did not throw all his training away. But apart
from the spirit of revelation, the Scriptures did not reveal the truth.
Paul tells us that God is love. Paul did not know such a God under Gamaliel.
Once Paul received that love, he was able to use that
which he learned from scholars to the good of those who Paul would teach.
The Book of Romans is a perfect example of the right balance between revelation
I urge those of you who are reading this book to learn
the difference between revelation and scholarship. The church world is
full of Gamaliels, Hillels, and Shammais (great ancient Hebrew scholars).
They write many books which are but rubbish apart from the spirit of revelation.
So then, a word to the wise. Set your priorities. Knowing
Christ will not come from scholarship; it will come from relationship.
Once the intimate relationship is established, language tools can become
very valuable to instruct the hungry.
While not everyone has the time to study Hebrew and Greek,
which require years of study before one can become proficient in either
language, there are excellent study aids available to the English reader
with which one can check to see how each Greek or Hebrew word has been
translated in its every occurrence in the Scripture. Christian book stores,
or book stores for the denominational groups, have such study aids as these:
Word Study N.T., in two volumes. Volume one shows the translation
of each word used in the KJV in large print with a code number under each
English word. That number is keyed to volume two and to several other Greek
lexicons and concordances. Volume two is titled The Word Study Concordance.
It is a copy of the old Englishman's Greek Concordance of the New
Also available are Strong's Exhaustive Concordance;
Young's Analytical Concordance; The Englishman's Greek
Concordance of the New Testament; The Englishman's Hebrew and Chaldee Concordance
of the Old Testament and Smith's Greek-English Concordance.
These works contain a complete listing of each New Testament Greek word,
or each Old Testament Hebrew word, so that one may see at a glance how
the words were translated in the KJV.
The Concordant Literal New Testament with
Keyword Concordance lists each word of the Greek text and shows how it
was translated in that version.
Word Study volumes, of which there are many are also
very helpful. Vincent's Word Studies of the New Testament
is one that I would highly recommend.
Careful study of some of the volumes previously mentioned
will glean facts often overlooked or purposely avoided in traditional "Bible
Study." For example, the Young's Analytical Concordance plainly
reveals what I have been saying about the words we are looking at. A search
under "eternal" will reveal that Dr. Young clearly saw that the King's
translators did not handle the word aion correctly. A look in Smith's
Greek-English Concordance under entry number 165b will reveal much
which the average person who reads the King James Bible will never become
While interlinear Bibles are not the complete answer,
they often help to at least look at the Greek and Hebrew underlying the
translations. The Greek New Testament (UBS4 with NRSV & NIV)
edited by John Kohlenberger III, The Greek-English Interlinear New
Testament edited by J.D. Douglas which contains the United Bible
Society's fourth edition of their Greek text along side the NRSV, and the
Parallel New Testament in Greek and English which contains the
Nestle's Greek text, a literal translation, the KJV, and the NIV, are helpful
with the New Testament. The Interlinear NIV Hebrew-English Old Testament
is helpful in the Old Testament.
Throughout this book, I have quoted many dozens of scholars
adept in the languages of the Bible. It would behoove the readers to acquaint
themselves with some of these very valuable resources. BACK
Chapter Nine - Aion in Greek Literature
"If by 'eonian,' endless time were meant, then what
could be more than endless time?"
"All the way through it is never feasible to understand
'aionios' as everlasting."
-Dr. Nigel Turner
"In Hebrew and Greek, the words rendered 'everlasting'
have not this sense. They signify a long duration of time, a period; whence
the phrase, during these eternities and beyond."
Ancient writings, other than the Scriptures, show how
and aionios were used in the ordinary affairs of that time period.
Long ago in Rome, periodic games were held. These were referred to as "secular"
games. Herodian, who wrote in Greek about the end of the second century
A.D., called these aionios, "eonian," games. In no sense could those
games have been eternal.
Adolph Deissman gives this account: "Upon a lead tablet
found in the Necropolis at Adrumetum in the Roman province of Africa, near
Carthage, the following inscription, belonging to the early third century,
is scratched in Greek: 'I am adjuring Thee, the great God, the eonian,
and more than eonian (epaionion) and almighty...' If by eonian,
endless time were meant, then what could be more than endless time?"
In the Apostolical Constitutions, a work
of the fourth century A.D., it is said, kai touto humin esto nomimon
aionion hos tes suntleias to aionos, "And let this be to you an eonian
ordinance until the consummation of the eon." Obviously there was no thought
in the author's mind of endless time.
Dr. Agar Beet, in his article "On the Future Punishment
of Sin," published in The Expositor, carefully examined the
meaning of the word aionios, and the only passage in which Dr. Beet
could adduce the word could possibly mean endless was from Plato's
Laws (p. 904 A). But there is a question there as to whether Plato was
referring to endless time.
The noun and adjective we are studying were used repeatedly
in the Septuagint in relation to ordinances and laws which were limited
as to time. A check of these usages as given in a concordance to the Septuagint
will show there is no instance in which these words can refer to endlessness.
There are those who insist that the "punishments" of
God are "forever and ever." The Greek word for punish and punishment appears
just three times in the N.T. Each time, the punishing comes at the hands
of humans, not from God. There is no word meaning "punish" or "punishment"
in the Hebrew. However, our common version translates two Greek words,
"punish," and kalazo, "chastise," with the same English word, "punish."
Chastising carries the idea of correcting with a view to amendment of one's
mistakes, while punishment is penal action. These two words were defined
by Aristotle in his Rhet. 1, 10, 17, as, "kolasis is corrective,
alone is the satisfaction of the inflictor." Archbishop Trench states in
his synonyms of the N.T. (p. 23-24): "timorio indicates the vindictive
character of punishment; kolasis indicates punishment as it has
reference to correcting and bettering the offender."
the word our Lord used as recorded at Matt. 25:46 which the King James
tradition mistranslates "everlasting punishment". Timoreo is used
at Acts 22:5; 26:11; and timoria at Heb. 10:29.
In Ex. 15:18, where the KJV says: "The Lord shall reign
forever and ever," the Septuagint shows, kurios basileuon ton aiona
kai ap aiona kai eti, "The Lord is reigning the eon, and upon eon,
and longer," and the Latin Vulgate, in aeternum et ultra, "into
eternity and beyond." The Hebrew says, "Jehovah shall reign to the eon
and beyond." Our conception of the English "forever and ever" allows for
no time to be "beyond."
Some insist that while the noun in the singular does
mean "age," in the plural it means "forever," or "eternal." But notice
how both the singular and the plural are used in the Septuagint. At Micah
eis ton aiona kai epekeina, "for the eon and beyond,"
and at Dan. 12:3 (plural), eis tous aionas kai eti, "for the eons
and longer." If the plural means forever, eternity, endless time etc.,
there can be no time longer than that. In the Book of Enoch there is, heos
suntelesthê krima tou aionos ton aionon, "until the judgment
of the eon of the eons may be accomplished." The Greek word suntelesthê
is a compound word (sun + telesthê). Without the sun,
appears at Luke 12:50; Rev. 10:7; 17:17; 20:3,5, and 7 where it should
be translated: "should be accomplished" (or "finished" or "consummated").
The heos of the above is a conjunction of time, which limits the
judgment to a period called "the eon of the eons." Paul uses both the singular
and the plural form in one sentence (Eph. 3:21), "to Him be glory in the
ecclesia and in Christ Jesus for all the generations of the eon of the
eons" (CV). Understand that as long as there are "generations," we are
not at the end of all things and therefore "eon of the eons" cannot refer
to eternity, everlasting, forever and ever, etc.
At Isa. 60:15, the adjective is used: "I will make you
an eonian (aionion) excellency." This is followed by, "a joy of
many generations." Eonian cannot mean endlessness here, for when the eons
close, generations cease for there will be no more procreation.
Dr. Mangey, a translator of the writings of Philo, says
Philo did not use aionios to express endless duration.
Josephus shows that aionios did not mean endlessness,
for he uses it of the period between the giving of the law to Moses and
that of his own writing; to the period of the imprisonment of the tyrant
John by the Romans; and to the period during which Herod's temple stood.
The temple had already been destroyed by the time Josephus was writing.
St. Gregory of Nyssa speaks of aionios diastêma,
"an eonian interval." It would be absurd to call an interval "endless."
St. Chrysostum, in his homily on Eph. 2:1-3, says that
"Satan's kingdom is æonian; that is, it will cease with the present
St. Justin Martyr repeatedly used the word aionios
as in the Apol. (p. 57), aionion kolasin ...all ouchi chiliontaetê
periodon, "eonian chastening ...but a period, not a thousand years."
Or, as some translate the last clause: "but a period of a thousand years
only." He limits the eonian chastening to a period of a thousand years,
rather than to endlessness.
In 1 Enoch 10:10 there is an interesting statement using
the Greek words: zoên aionion, "life eonian," or, as in the
KJV, "everlasting life" (at John 3:16 and elsewhere). The whole sentence
in Enoch is, hoti elpizousi zêsai zoên aionion, kai hoti
zêsetai hekastos auton etê pentakosia, "For they hope to
live an eonian life, and that each one of them will live five hundred years."
Here, eonian life is limited to five hundred years! In the N.T. eonian
life is limited to life during the eons, after which death will be destroyed
by making ALL alive IN CHRIST, incorruptible and immortal. BACK
Chapter Ten - Bibles Without "Everlasting
"And these shall go away into punishment of the ages,
but the righteous into life of the ages."
-New Testament in Modern Speech
"And these shall be coming away into chastening eonian,
yet the just into life eonian."
-Concordant Literal Translation
"And these shall go away to punishment age-during,
but the righteous to life age-during."
-Young's Literal Translation
It is sad to note, but nevertheless true, that most Christians
do not realize there are very dramatic differences in translation from
one Bible to another. We have heard so often that the "inspired" or "inerrant"
Word of God is basically the same in all translations. This is just not
true. But one will not see this unless they place several side by side
and make some comparisons. Listed below are a few translations which we
will compare to the King James Bible on the verse Matthew 26:46.
Concerning the duration of chastening, Matt. 25:46 says
"And these shall go away into everlasting punishment,
but the righteous into life eternal."
Scarlett's New Testament written in 1792
has "aeonian punishment" in place to "everlasting punishment."
"And these will go away into aeonian punishment: but
the righteous into aeonian life."
The New Covenant by Dr. J.W. Hanson written
in 1884 renders Matt. 25:46:
"And these shall go away into aeonian chastisement,
and the just into aeonian life."
Young's Literal Translation first published
in 1898 and reprinted many times since uses the following words:
"And these shall go away to punishment age-during,
but the righteous to life age-during."
Professor Young also compiled Young's Concordance,
wherewith one can check the translation of each Hebrew or Greek word as
translated in the KJV.
The Twentieth Century New Testament first
printed in the year 1900 has:
"And these last will go away 'into aeonian punishment,'
but the righteous 'into aeonian life.'"
The Holy Bible in Modern English by Ferrar
Fenton first published in 1903 gives the rendering:
"And these He will dismiss into a long correction,
but the well-doers to an enduring life.
The New Testament in Modern Speech, by
Dr. Weymouth, says:
"And these shall go away into punishment of the ages,
but the righteous into life of the ages."
Dr. Weymouth most frequently adopts such terms as "life
of the ages," "fire of the ages;" and in Rev. 14:6, "The good news of the
ages." It is a matter to regret that the editors of the most recent edition
of Dr. Weymouth's version have reverted to the KJV renderings for the passages
containing the Greek word aion, eon, or age.
The Western New Testament published in
1926 renders Matt. 25:46 as follows:
"And these will go away into eternal punishment, but
the righteous into life eternal."
The translation, however, has a footnote on Matthew 21:19
on the word "forever" which is the same word for "eternal" which says:
for the age (and elsewhere) This Bible does not use the word "Hell"
Clementson's The New Testament (1938) shows,
"And these shall go away into eonian correction, but
the righteous into eonian life."
Wilson's Emphatic Diaglott (1942 edition)
translates the verse,
"And these shall go forth to the aionian cutting-off;
but the righteous to aionian life."
It should be noted that the "cutting-off" refers to pruning
a fruit tree to make it bear more fruit. The idea behind the word is not
destructive but productive! Had Jesus wanted to emphasize a destructive
end, He would have used the word "timoria."
The Concordant Version (1930):
"And these shall be coming away into chastening eonian,
yet the just into life eonian."
The New Testament of our Lord and Savior Jesus
Anointed printed in 1958 says:
"And these shall go away into agelasting cutting-off
and the just into agelasting life."
Rotherham, in his Emphasized Bible (1959),
translates this verse,
"and these shall go away into age-abiding correction,
but the righteous into age-abiding life."
The Restoration of Original Sacred Name Bible
copyrighted in 1976 has "age-abiding correction" instead of the incorrect
and quite frankly, blasphemous "everlasting punishment." This phrase "everlasting
punishment," when one really thinks about it, renders the work of Christ
worthless. It says that His forgiveness, His love, His grace, His mercy,
the power of His blood, all these and more become limited when one translates
"aionion kolasin" as "everlasting punishment."
"And these shall go away -abiding correction, but
the righteous into age-abiding life."
There are other Bible translations besides these which
have either completely eliminated the concept of eternal punishment from
their pages, or have made great strides towards wiping this pagan concept
off God's Word. Even some King James Study Bibles will show the reader
in the margins or appendixes that the King's translators were incorrect
in their rendering of "eternal punishment" and "Hell." The great Companion
Bible by Dr. Bullinger is an example of that.
In summary, then, as we gain more knowledge of the Greek
and Hebrew languages, the pagan concept of "eternal punishment" is becoming
manifest as a pagan concept which cannot be found in the original languages
of the Bible. Therefore, more and more of the translations printed since
the King James Bible of 1611 have dramatically departed from the King's
translators translations for words closer to the actual Greek and Hebrew
meanings rather than "tradition." The word "Hell," for example, has almost
completely disappeared from most translations in the Old Testament. It
occurs in most translations only 11 to 14 times and not at all in many
translations. The day will come when the pagan concept of "Hell" will no
longer be found in any Bible translation. It wasn't in the original languages.
The foundation of the Bible, that is, the Old Testament, knows of no such
place. Why should we perpetuate Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Babylonian, and
Anglo-Saxon mythology? This is where the concept came from. Here is where
the word "Hell," the goddess of the underworld, came from. Leave it there.
This idea does not belong on the previous pages of our Bibles. BACK
Chapter Eleven - Verses "Proving"
Punishment Will be Everlasting
"Professor A.T. Robertson and A.B. Bruce agree that
'kolasis aionion' of the KJV has a literal meaning of 'age-lasting correction.'"
"Let me say to Bible students that we must be very
careful how we use the word 'eternity.' We have fallen into great error
in our constant usage of that word. There is no word in the whole Book
of God corresponding with our eternal..."
-G. Campbell Morgan
Matthew 25:31-46 concerns the judgment of NATIONS, not
individuals. It is to be distinguished from other judgments mentioned in
Scripture, such as the judgment of the saints (2 Cor. 5:10-11); the second
resurrection, and the great white throne judgment (Rev. 20:11-15). The
judgment of the nations is based upon their treatment of the Lord's brethren
(verse 40). No resurrection of the dead is here, just nations living at
the time. To apply verses 41 and 46 to mankind as a whole is an error.
Perhaps it should be pointed out at this time that the Fundamentalist Evangelical
community at large has made the error of gathering many Scriptures which
speak of various judgments which will occur in different ages and assigning
them all to "Great White Throne" judgment. This is a serious mistake. Matthew
25:46 speaks nothing of "grace through faith." We will leave it up to the
reader to decide who the "Lord's brethren" are, but final judgment based
upon the receiving of the Life of Christ is not the subject matter of Matthew
25:46 and should not be interjected here. Even if it were, the penalty
is "age-during correction" and not "everlasting punishment."
Dr. J.D. Dummelow, in his commentary on Matt. 25:31-46,
says, "Christ here speaks of the judgment of Christians alone, because
that was the question which most concerned the apostles and their future
converts... A common interpretation, however, is that the judgment of all
mankind is meant."
Professor A.T. Robertson, in his Word Pictures
in the N.T., and Prof. A.B. Bruce, in The Expositor's Greek
Testament, agree that the kolasis aionion, the "everlasting
punishment" of the KJV, has a literal meaning of "age-lasting correction."
Dr. F.W. Farrar says: "It may be worthwhile, however,
to point out once more to less educated readers that aion, aionios,
and their Hebrew equivalents in all combinations are repeatedly used of
things which have come to an end. Even Augustine admits (what, indeed,
no one can deny), that in Scripture aion and aionios must
in many instances mean 'having an end,' and St. Gregory of Nyssa, who at
least knew Greek, uses aionios as the epithet for 'an interval.'"
Dean Farrar also states: "The pages of theologians in all ages show a startling
prevalence of such terms as 'everlasting death, everlasting damnation,
everlasting torments, everlasting vengeance, everlasting fire' - not one
of which has Scriptural authority." Dr. Farrar was well versed in the Biblical
languages, author of books on the life of Jesus, the life of Paul, and
Greek grammar, as well as others.
Dr. Edwin Abbott, headmaster of the City of London School,
wrote in his Cambridge Sermons (p. 25), "And as for ourselves,
though occasionally mentioning in language general and metaphorical, states
of eonian life and eonian chastisment awaiting us after death, the Holy
Scriptures give no detailed information as to either condition." Dr. Abbott's
conviction, as expressed, showed he thought the received dogma was untenable.
An argument was introduced by Augustine, and since his
day incessantly repeated, that if aionios kolasis does not mean
"endless punishment," then there is no security for the believer that aionios
zoe means "endless life," and that he will enjoy the promise of endless
happiness. But Matt. 25:46 shows the "eonian chastisement" and "eonian
life" are of the same duration-lasting during the eons, and when the eons
end, as Scripture states they will (1 Cor. 10:11; Heb. 9:26), the time
called "eonian" is past and the life called "eonian" is finished, but life
continues beyond the eons, as Paul teaches at 1 Cor. 15:26: "The last enemy
that shall be destroyed is death." That is, the last, the final one in
order. How will it be destroyed? First Corinthians 15:22 gives the answer:
"For as IN ADAM ALL are dying, even so IN CHRIST ALL shall be made alive."
Death is destroyed when ALL have been vivified, or made alive, IN CHRIST.
There will then be no more death. Just as life is destroyed by death, so
death is destroyed by life. Our present bodies are mortal and corruptible
(1 Cor. 15:44-55), but when mankind is made alive IN CHRIST they will be
raised immortal and incorruptible.
Those who believe in a universal salvation as is spoken
of at Col. 1:15-20, and see the purpose of God's love and His plan for
the eons, are secure in their belief that the same number of those who
are now dying as a result of Adam's disobedience will be made alive in
Christ. The ALL of these verses represent exactly the same number of mankind.
Romans 5:18-19 says, "by the offense of one, judgment came upon all men
- by the righteousness of One the free gift came upon all men - by one
man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the obedience of One
shall the many be made righteous." The "all men" and the "many" in these
verses include the same number of humans in both cases.
The "all" in 1 Cor. 15:22; Col. 1:15-22; and Rom. 5:18-19
mean the same in every case. God's eonian purpose is to head up ALL in
the Christ, as is stated in Eph. 1:9-10 and 3:11.
Dr. Alford Plumer's An Exegetical Commentary on
the Gospel of Matthew (pp. 351-352): "It is often pointed out that
'eternal' (aionios) in 'eternal punishment' must have the same meaning
as in 'eternal life.' No doubt, but that does not give us the right to
say that 'eternal' in both cases means 'endless.'"
Dr. G. Campbell Morgan, preacher, teacher, evangelist,
and author; sometimes called the "prince of expositors," wrote in his Studies
of the Four Gospels concerning Matt. 25:31-46, "Then, moreover,
we must be careful not to read into this section of prophecy things which
it does not contain; for while it has been interpreted as though it were
a description of the final judgment, the Great White Throne-These shall
go away into age-abiding punishment; but the righteous into age-abiding
life-the terms are co-equal in value, and whatever one means the other
means. Only remember that here Christ is not dealing with the subject of
the soul's destiny either in heaven or hell. They are terms that have to
do wholly with the setting up of the kingdom here in this world..." In
Dr. Morgan's, God's Methods with Men, he says (pp. 185-186),
"Let me say to Bible students that we must be very careful how we use the
word 'eternity.' We have fallen into great error in our constant usage
of that word. There is no word in the whole Book of God corresponding with
our 'eternal,' which as commonly used among us, means absolutely without
end." In his book, The Corinthian Letters of Paul, the same
author states concerning 1 Cor. 15:22 (p. 191): "The word Adam is used
here in the sense of headship of a race, the one from whom the race springs.
But God's second Man was the last Adam. If we say second Adam, we presuppose
the possibility of a third Adam, another from whom a race shall spring.
There will be none such. It is 'first Adam' and 'last Adam.' What does
relationship with Him mean? In the program of God all are to be made alive
Sir Robert Anderson, a writer on eschatology, says, "The
N.T. unfolds an economy of times and seasons; many ages head up in the
one great age, within which the manifold purpose of God, in relation to
earth, shall be fulfilled. Here, these words eon, age are applicable, and
Dr. Edward Plumptre, an eschatologist, wrote, "I fail
to find, as is used by the Greek Fathers, any instance in which the idea
of time duration is unlimited."
Dr. William White says, "That of the widely different
subjects to which aeonian is applied in the N.T., in 70 they are of a limited
and temporary nature."
Professor Knappe of Halle wrote, "The Hebrew was destitute
of any single word to express endless duration. The pure idea of eternity
is not found in any of the ancient languages."
Professor Hermann Oldhausen said, "The Bible has no expression
for endlessness. All the Biblical terms imply or denote long periods."
Dr. Oldhausen was a German Lutheran theologian.
Lexicographers note the fact that it was not until the
fifth century A.D. that theologians began to read the sense of endlessness
into Bible words. Dr. Lewis S. Chafer deplores the difficulty that the
average reader of the Bible will encounter in seeking to understand the
real meaning of these passages, when he notes how hopelessly the KJV has
obscured the word aion. He said, "The word, which in common usage
has a limited meaning, is used by the translators as the one English rendering
for at least four widely differing ideas in the original. So that if the
truth contained in this important body of Scripture is to be understood,
the student must not only know the various meanings which are expressed
by the one word, but also be able to determine the correct use of it in
the many passages in which it occurs. Therefore, the KJV has placed the
simple truth they contain beyond the average reader of the Bible. The English
word 'world,' as used in the New Testament, may mean a distinct period
of time, commonly known as an age (as its original is a few times translated),
or it may refer to the things created: the earth, its inhabitants, or their
institution. The ages are often referred to in Scripture, and the study
of the exact conditions and purposes of each of them are not fanciful;
but it is rather the only adequate foundation for any true knowledge of
Dr. W.H. Griffith Thomas wrote in The Christian,
in a comment upon Heb. 11:3, "the word rendered 'worlds' is 'ages' and
refers not so much to the material creation as to the world regarded from
the standpoint of time... The last mentioned (age, aion) is the
name used here, and it seems to refer to what may be called time-worlds,
the idea being that of various ages or dispensations being planned by God
with reference to a goal toward which all are moving."
Dr. Thomas' notes on Rom. 5:18-19 were, "As mankind's
connection with Adam involved him in certain death, through sin, so his
relation to Christ insures to him life without fail. The double headship
of mankind in Adam and Christ show the significance of the work of redemption
for the entire race."
Professor Max Muller says in reference to the Latin word
aeternum, "that it originally signified life or time, but has given rise
to a number of words expressing eternity-the very opposite of life and
time." He says the Latin aevum, that is, the Greek word "ainon,
later aion, became the name of time, age, and its derivative, aeviternus,
or aeternus, was made to express eternity."
Dr. Isaac Watts says, "There is not one place in Scripture
which occurs to me, where the word death necessarily signifies a certain
miserable immortality of the soul."
Professor Taylor Lewis states, "The conception of absolute
endlessness as etymological of olam or eon would clearly
have prevented plurals." He continues, "'ever' (German: ewig), was
originally a noun denoting age, just like the Greek, Latin and Hebrew words
corresponding to it." Dr. Lewis wrote an interesting article for Lange's
Commentary about the use of the words olam and aion
as used at Ecc. 1:4.
Jeremy Taylor, a hell-fire advocate wavers, and after
his ebullient flashes of Systematic Hellology, is constrained
to the following modification in Jeremy Taylor's Works (vol.
3, p. 43), "Though the fire is everlasting, not all that enters it is everlasting,"
then adds, "The word everlasting signifies only to the end of its period."
Would that other hell-fire advocates were so honest. BACK
Chapter Twelve - Scholars Acknowledge
Restitution of All
"(ta panta) all men: The phrase must not be limited
in any way. It cannot mean merely 'Gentiles as well as Jews,' or 'the elect,'
or 'all who believe.' We must receive it as it stands."
-Dr. Brooke Foss Westcott
"Under the instruction of those great teachers many
other theologians believed in universal salvation; and indeed the whole
Eastern Church until after 500 A.D. was inclined to it."
Dr. Brooke Foss Westcott says of John 12:32, in the Speaker's
Commentary: "(ta panta) all men: The phrase must not be
limited in any way. It cannot mean merely 'Gentiles as well as Jews,' or
'the elect,' or 'all who believe.' We must receive it as it stands (Rom.
5:18; 8:32; 2 Cor. 5:15; Eph. 1:10;
1 Tim. 2:6; Heb. 2:9; 1 John 2:2). The remarkable reading
'all things' (omnia) points to a still wider application of Redemption
John MacIntyre, in his book Christian Doctrine
of History, wrote (pp. 5-6), "What we regard as the Biblical view
of time and history can only by anachronism be said to be that of the biblical
writers themselves, yet that is the anachronism of which so many of our
contemporaries are guilty."
G.T. Stevenson, in his Time and Eternity,
says (p. 63), "Since, as we have seen, the noun aion refers to a
period of time, it appears very improbable that the derived adjective aionios
would indicate infinite duration, nor have we found any evidence in Greek
writing to show that such a concept was expressed by this term." And on
page 72, "In 1 Cor. 15:22-29 the inspired apostle to the Gentiles transports
his readers' thoughts far into the future, beyond the furthest point envisaged
elsewhere in holy writ. After outlining the triumph of the Son of God in
bringing all creation under His benign control, Paul sets forth the consummation
of the divine plan of the ages in four simple, yet infinitely profound
words, 'God all in all.' This is our God, purposeful, wise, loving and
almighty, His Son our Lord a triumphant Savior, Who destroys His enemies
by making them friends."
Professor William Barclay comments in his The Letter
to the Corinthians, concerning 1 Cor. 15:22-28, "God sent forth
His Son to redeem the world so in the end God will receive back a world
redeemed and then there will be nothing in heaven or in earth outside the
love and power of God."
From The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious
Knowledge comes (vol. 12, p. 96), "Under the instruction of those
great teachers many other theologians believed in universal salvation;
and indeed the whole Eastern Church until after 500 A.D. was inclined to
it. Doederlein says that 'In proportion as any man was eminent in learning
in Christian antiquity, the more did he cherish and defend the hope of
the termination of future torments.'" Many more church historians could
be quoted with similar observations.
Concise summaries of universal salvation appear in the
Encyclopedia, vol. 12, pp. 95-97; and in the McClintock and Strong
of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature, vol. 10,
Karl Barth, in his book Christ and Adam, Man and
Humanity, wrote concerning Romans 5 (p. 109), "But in vv. 12-21
Paul does not limit his context to Christ's relationship to believers,
but gives fundamentally the same account of His relationship to all men.
The context is widened from church history to world history, from Christ's
relationship to Christians to all men. ...What is said here applies generally
and universally, and not merely to one limited group of men. Here 'religious'
presuppositions are not once hinted at. The fact of Christ is here presented
as something that dominates and includes all men." On page 112 of the same
work: "vv. 12-21 are revolutionary in their insistence that what is true
of Christians must also be true of all men."
Professor Marvin Vincent, in his Word Studies in
the N.T., commenting upon Col. 1:20 wrote (vol. 3, p. 471), "All
things (ta panta) must be taken in the same sense as in vv. 16,
17, 18. The whole universe, material and spiritual. The range of discussion
opened by these words is too wide to be entered upon here. Paul's declarations
elsewhere as to the ultimate fate of evil men and angels, must certainly
be allowed their full weight; yet such passages as this and Eph. 1:10 seem
to point to a larger purpose of God in redemption than is commonly conceived."
And in vol. 4, p. 291, about 2 Tim. 1:9: "Before the world began (pro
chronon aionion) Lit. Before eternal times. If it is insisted that
means everlasting, this statement is absurd. It is impossible that anything
should take place before everlasting times." In vol. 4, pp. 58-62, commenting
upon the Greek word aion, he says, "Aion, transliterated
aion, is a period of time, of longer or shorter duration, having a beginning
and an end, and complete in itself... The word always carries the notion
of time and not eternity. It always means a period of time. The adjective
in like manner carries the idea of time. Neither the noun nor the adjective,
in themselves, carries the sense of endless or everlasting...
means enduring through, or pertaining to, a period of time. Both the noun
and the adjective are applied to limited periods."
Dr. S.S. Graig, in The Presbyterian, Jan.
30, 1930, wrote, "According to the latter (Dr. B.B. Warfield), there is
no warrant for saying that the Scriptures teach that but few are saved,
and that while some will be lost, yet that when the Scriptures say that
Christ came to save the world, that He does save the world and that the
world shall be saved by Him. They mean that He came to save and does save
the human race, and that the human race is being led by God to a racial
salvation, that in the age-long development of the race of men, it will
attain at last to a complete salvation, and our eyes will be greeted with
the spectacle of a saved world. Thus the human race attains to the goal
for which it was created, and sin does not snatch it out of God's hands;
the primal purpose of God with it is fulfilled; and through Christ the
race of men, though fallen into sin, is recovered to God, and fulfills
its original destiny."
Dr. Warfield believed what Paul taught in 1 Tim. 4:9-11:
"This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. For therefore
we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God,
Who is the Savior of ALL men. Specially of those that believe. These things
command and teach." While Dr. Warfield spend most of his life teaching
the Calvinist "election doctrine" which usually meant few would be saved,
it seems Dr. Warfield softened up quite a bit in his latter years. This
is a phenomenon which seems to occur quite frequently with dogmatic minds.
Time and wisdom have a way of tempering the zealot's demand for justice.
As the zealot wanders through his own sins and lifelong character flaws
which he seems never to be able to overcome, he looks for mercy for himself,
and in so doing, discovers that same fountain of mercy flows to all mankind.
God becomes bigger as we become smaller.
Dr. J.R. Dummelow, in his commentary of Col. 1:20: "The
Son's atoning death, availed for the whole angelic world, as well as for
the world of men, since the Son is head of both. Very difficult." Although
the Dr. admits the truth of universal reconciliation, it is "very difficult"
for him to do so from his denominational position.
St. Clemens of Alexandria says, "He saves all, but converting
some by punishment, and others who follow by their own will-that every
knee may bend to Him, of things in heaven and earth and under the earth."
(See Phil. 2:9-12)
St. Isadore states, "When the Lord says 'neither in this
world nor in the world to come' He shows that, for some, sins are there
to be forgiven." (Read Matt. 12:31-32)
John Scotus Erigena said, "This, however we say, not
that nature will be happy in all, but that in all it will be set free from
death and misery."
St. Anselm: "It is not just that God should altogether
suffer to perish His creatures which He has made. God demands from no sinner
more than he owes; but since no one can pay as much as he owes, Christ
alone paid for all more than the debt due."
Professor Friedrich D.F. Schleiermacher says, "Through
the force of the Redemption, a universal restoration of souls will follow."
Perrone stated, "All agree in saying that it is too violent
to admit at once into heaven all those who only repented of their past
evil life at the end, and who indulged too much in the sensualities of
this life, since nothing defiled enters there; also it is too harsh to
assign all such to eternal torments."
Dr. Thomas Guthrie: "My belief is that in the end there
will be a vastly larger number saved than we have any conception of. What
sort of earthly government would that be where more than half the subjects
were in prison? I cannot believe that the government of God will be like
Dean Richard W. Church: "I should be disloyal to Him
whom I believe is as the Lord of truth if I doubted that honest seeking
should at last find Him here, man's destiny stops not at the grave, and
many, we may be sure, will know Him there who did not know Him here."
Dean A.P. Stanley says that: "In the 'world to come'
punishment will be corrective and not final, and will be ordered by the
Love and Justice, the height and depth of which it is beyond the narrow
thoughts of man to conceive."
Professor Challis says: "...so that the end of divine
punishment is for correction, and for giving effect to the establishing
William Law: "As of the purification of all human nature
either in this world or some after ages, I fully believe it." And again,
"Every number of destroyed sinners ...must through the all-working, all
redeeming love of God, which never ceases, come at last to know that they
had lost, and have found again, such a God of love as this." (Read Psa.
103:9; Mic. 7:18; Lam 3:31-33; Isa. 57:16)
Dr. Lightfoot: "In our English translation the word 'hell'
seems to speak what is neither warrantable by Scripture or reason."
Rabbi Loewe: "Olam simply signifies for a long
time. The Hebrew Scriptures do not contain any doctrine referring to everlasting
Philippson, in his Israel Religionslehre,
says (11:255), "The Rabbi teach no eternity of hell torments; even the
greatest sinners were punished for generations."
Charles H. Welch wrote in An Alphabetical Analysis,
(vol. 1, p. 279), "Eternity is not a Biblical theme." And (vol. 1, p. 52),
"What we have to learn is that the Bible does not speak of eternity. It
is not written to tell us of eternity. Such a consideration is entirely
outside the scope of revelation." Welch was the editor of The Berean
Expositor, and a man well versed in Greek.
A.E. Knoch wrote in his small booklet What are
the Facts, Eternal Torment or Universal Reconciliation? (page 51),
"To sum up: though the Bible and the various views are contradictory on
this subject, an accurate inquiry into the grammar, the scope and the application
of each text shows us that most of them refer to the process, not the goal;
they are temporary, not eternal; they include few, not all, therefore we
can believe all that God has said. The last and highest revelation through
the apostle Paul stands as it is written, that ALL mankind shall be saved
(1 Tim. 2:4; 4:10), justified (Rom. 5:18), vivified (1 Cor. 15:22), and
the universe (Col. 1:20) in heaven as well as on earth, will be reconciled
with God through the blood of His cross." Mr. Knoch worked with the Hebrew
and Greek texts for more than fifty years. He is the author of so many
articles concerning the Scriptures that his writings make a complete library.
While our versions in common use vary where the English
translation of the words "eon" and "eonian" occur in relation to "punishment;"
nevertheless, where universal reconciliation is in view, all are translated
similarly, including the KJV. (See Rom. 5:18-19; 8:18-25; 11:25-36; Eph.
1:9-11; 3:11; Phil. 2:10-11; Col. 1:15-20; 1 Tim. 2:3-6; 4:9-11; Heb. 2:9;
1 John 2:2; Rev. 4:11.)
Those who see and believe the truth of universal salvation
as the purpose of God's plan for the eons, or ages, say those verses in
some versions which are translated so they teach endless punishment have
been incorrectly translated; yet no one seems to suggest that the verses
which teach universal reconciliation have been. It would seem that many
of the "translators" were simply commenting upon what they believe, rather
than translating what the Greek and Hebrew convey. The work of a translator
is to literally and faithfully bring over into another language what the
text of the Greek and Hebrew say, and to let the commentators make of it
what they will.
Paul told Timothy (2 Tim. 3:16) that "all Scripture is
inspired by God and is beneficial for teaching, for exposure, for correction,
for discipline in righteousness, that the man of God may be equipped, fitted
out for every good act." Each word in the whole of the Scriptures was carefully
chosen by God that He might reveal to mankind His plan and purpose for
it. Jesus spoke of the importance of even the smallest letter of the law
(Matt. 5:18). Paul's instruction to Timothy emphasized the importance of
having a "pattern of sound words which you hear from me" (2 Tim. 1:13).
The writers of the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures were inspired to write exactly
what God told them to write. Unfortunately, no translator was so inspired.
One cannot see the truth of the word aion as it is translated in
our common version without the aid of a knowledge of the Greek and Hebrew
themselves, or without some study aid, such as a concordance, lexicon,
or a faithful literal translation or other such help. Such versions as
Rotherham's Emphasized Version, or the American Standard
Version with marginal notes, are of help, as are the concordances
previously mentioned, to those who do not know the languages of inspiration.
Chapter Thirteen - Punishment?-Yes--Everlasting?-No
"He saves all, but converting some by punishment,
and others who follow by their own will-that every knee may bend to Him,
of things in heaven and earth and under the earth."
-St. Clemens of Alexandria
"As of the purification of all human nature either
in this world or some after ages, I fully believe it."
Let us consider some of those passages used to refute
universal salvation. Jesus, speaking to the Jews, said, "I go My way and
ye shall seek Me, and shall die in your sins; where I go, ye cannot come"
(John 8:21). This has been used in argument and in sermons as a verse to
attempt to show some will go into eternal punishment. But Jesus was telling
those to whom he spoke that He would be returning to His Father, but they
could not go with Him there. He also used the words "ye cannot come" when
He spoke to His believing disciples (John 13:33-36). In neither
case was he speaking of their final disposition.
At John 3:36: "He that believeth on the son hath everlasting
life; and he that believeth not on the Son shall not see life, but the
wrath of God abideth on him." Here Jesus is speaking of eonian life,
not eternal life. As shown previously, there are those who will
not enjoy the life of the two eons following the present one, but they
will be raised at the consummation of the eons, reconciled to God, and
He to them, as a result of the white throne judgment. Again, Jesus was
not speaking of their final state.
Some refer to the "eternal damnation" of the KJV as proof
of eternal punishment. The Greek words apollumi and krino,
correctly translated, mean: appolumi, "destroy," "lose" (in the
active voice) and "perish" or "be lost" (in the passive); krino,
"judge" (in the active voice), and "am being judged" (in the passive).
The noun derived from apollumi, apoleia, means "destruction"
or "waste." But this word was translated "damnation" at 2 Peter 2:3 in
the KJV, and "damnable" at 2 Peter 2:1. Apoleia is used in the Textus
Receptus Text in Acts 25:16. This is the text supposedly used by the King
James translators. However, the truth of the matter, is that the Greek
text used by the King's translators differed with the so-called Textus
Receptus in at least 287 places. (See Facts on the Textus Receptus and
the King James Version by Dr. Allan A. MacRae and Dr. Robert C. Newman,
Biblical School of Theology, Hatfield, Pa.) They translated apoleia
"die." It is obvious that any man the Romans delivered to "die" apoleia,
will be resurrected and judged. (See John 5:28,29; Acts 24:15) Therefore,
cannot mean "no future life," it cannot mean the ultimate annihilation
of any man. Krino, the word for "judge" occurs 14 times, and is
once rendered damned (2 Thes. 2:12). The noun derived from it, "judgment,"
occurs 24 times and in seven of these occurrences was translated "damnation,"
yet in 13 instances in the same version it was translated "judgment." Krisis,
another form derived from the verb, and meaning "judging," occurs 49 times
in the Greek text. The translators of the KJV rendered it "judgment" 41
of those times, "condemnation" 3 times, "damnation" 3 times, and "accusation"
twice. All those judged are not condemned nor are they damned. Judging
involves setting affairs right between two parties in a suit, deciding
an issue, coming to a conclusion. The English words "damn," "damnation,"
and "damned" have no equivalent in the Greek text, and should not have
been used as the translation of any word appearing there. There is a compound
of the word for "judge," katakrino, "condemn" which occurs 24 times
in the N.T. Twice the KJV translated it "be damned." To condemn means to
judge adversely, but again, the final state is not in view where the word
appears in the text.
Perhaps the best summary against the use of the word
"damn" and its derivatives in the Bible come from the pen of F.W. Farrar,
a Canon of the Church of England. He writes in his Mercy and Judgment
on page 369:
"The words 'damn' and its derivatives do no once occur
in the Old Testament. In the New Testament they are the exceptional and
arbitrary translation of two Greek verbs or their derivatives which occur
308 times. these words are 'appolumi' and 'krino.' 'Apolleia' (destruction
or waste) is once rendered 'damnation' and once 'damnable.' (2 Peter 2:3,
and 2 Peter 2:1); 'krino,' (judge) occurs 114 times, and is only once rendered
'damned.' (2 Thess. 2:12) 'Krima,' (judgment or sentence) occurs 24 times,
and is 7 times rendered 'damnation.' 'Katakrino,' (I condemn) occurs 24
times, and is twice only rendered 'be damned.'
Now turn to a modern dictionary, and you will see
'damnation' defined as 'exclusion from divine mercy; condemnation to eternal
But to say that such is the necessary meaning of the
words which are rendered by 'damn' and 'damnation,' is to say what is absurdly
and even wickedly false. It is to say that a widow who marries again
must be damned to endless torments (1 Tim. 5:12, 'having damnation,' krima),
although St. Paul expressly recommends young widows to do so two verses
later on. It is to say that everyone who ever eats the Lord's Supper unworthily,
eats and drinks "eternal punishment' to himself, though St. Paul adds,
almost in the next verse, that the judgment (krima) is disciplinary and
educational to save us from condemnation. (1 Cor. 11:29-34) It is to say
that 'the Day of Judgment' ought to be called 'Day of Damnation' (John
5:29) It is curious that our translators have chosen this most unfortunate
variation of 'damn' and its cognates only fifteen times out of upwards
of two hundred times that krino and its cognates occur; and that they have
it for 'krisis' and 'krima,' not for the stronger compounds 'katakrima,'
etc. The translators, however, may not be to blame. It is probable that
'damn' was once a milder word than 'condemn,' and had a far milder meaning
than that which modern eschatology has furnished to modern blasphemy. We
find from an Act passed when a John Russell was Chancellor (in the reign
of Richard III or Henry VII), that the sanction of an Act against extorted
benevolences is called 'a damnation' - that is, 'the infliction of a loss.'
This is the true etymological meaning of the word, as derived from damnum,
'a loss'; and this original meaning is still found in such words as 'damnify,'
'indemnify,' and 'indemnity.' In the margin of 1 Cor. 11:29, we find 'judgment'
for 'damnation'; whereas in verse 32 the 'judgment' of the Lord is milder
than His 'condemnation.' Dr. Hey, in his lecture on the Ninth Article,
says that the phrase, 'it deserveth God's wrath and damnation,' is used
in the milder sense of the word which was originally prevalent. However
this may be, the word has, as the Bishop of Chester says, undergone a modification
of meaning from the lapse of time, and it is an unmixed gain both it and
its congeners will wholly disappear from the revised version of the English
Bible. 'Judgment' and 'condemnation' are the true representatives of 'krisis'
and 'katakrisis,' and they are not steeped, like the word 'damnation,'
in a mass of associated conceptions which do not naturally or properly
belong to them. Equally unfortunate is the word 'hell.'"
The above writing was penned before the first major revision
of the King James Bible was printed. His words came true. The Revision
of the KJV removed the "damn" words from the pages of the Word bringing
us a few steps closer to removing the tarnish the church has put upon the
character of the Creator of all human beings.
Another argument against Universalism is Matthew 7:13,14.
ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that
leadeth to destruction, and many there be with go in thereat: because strait
is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there
be that find it." (King James Version)
This passage must be interpreted according to its context.
The context of the Gospels is the kingdom in which Jesus will be reigning
on this earth. Matthew 7:13,14 is in the context of the Sermon on the Mount.
This sermon presents the principles and the rule of Jesus in His Kingdom
on this earth. "Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth."
(Matt. 5:5) This passage tells us the real nature of this sermon, for the
meek have never inherited the earth nor have they ever reigned. It is important
that we do not confuse events which will happen here in earth in future
ages with what happens in eternity. Generally, revelation about events
far into the future are not revealed by God until it is time.
(Editor's note): Unfortunately, the doomsday preachers
of all generations have made this mistake over and over again. Tertullian,
a leading third century theologian who, unfortunately gave us many of our
theological words that we never seem to be able to understand, was certain
Jesus was going to come in his life-time and set up his kingdom. They were
even certain where it would begin and it was not Jerusalem. He and the
rest of the Montanist sect were obviously wrong. Martin Luther stated he
was certain the world would end within 50 years. Martin Luther was wrong.
There are dozens of denominations of Christianity that were founded by
people who were certain enough of when Jesus would return that they set
exact dates. They were wrong, but many of the denominations which were
formed based on their false dates are still with us.
The entrance way into the fullness of the Life Jesus
Christ desires for us to have is certainly strait and narrow. There
is room for only one person to pass through and that is Jesus Christ Himself.
No one apart from being crucified with Him an becoming one with Him will
enter into this realm. Our pastors, elders, Popes cannot stand besides
us. There is room for only one. Our traditions, creeds, "correct" doctrines
cannot come with us. There is only One Word. There is room for only Him.
Our prejudices, anger, bitterness, self-righteousness, self-pity etc.,
cannot come with us. There is only room for Love.
While millions of Christians think that their denomination
is the way ...that is why they are it, they are greatly mistaken, and are
on the road that leads to destruction, that is, they will suffer great
loss. That is what that word translated "destruction" means. We will have
to let go of our denominational titles to get in. We will have to let go
of our self-righteousness which came from our theology, our traditions,
our heritage, our "correct" keeping of His laws. All that will have to
go. The list is endless of the things we will have to let go of which actually
keeps us from experiencing the fullness of His Life. The carnal Christian
will suffer great loss when facing The Door Who is the door. It is truly
best to let go of these things now. Then we may enter into that "aionion
zoen" right here on earth.
While it is outside the focus of this paper, I want to
make a brief comment on the subject of aionion life, translated by the
King James translators "eternal life." In the 16th Chapter of John's Gospel
verses 32 and 33, Jesus leaves some departing words for his disciples.
"Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that
you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone. And yet
I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. These things I have spoken
to you, that in Me you my have peace. In the world you will have tribulation;
but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." Jesus spoke these words,
lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: "Father, the hour has come. Glorify
Your Son, that the Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority
over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have
given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true
God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent."
So then aionion zoen, incorrectly translated "eternal
life" is knowing God, the Father, and Jesus Christ, His Son. How well do
you know God, the Father and His Son? The Bible tells us that to be carnally
minded is death. (Rom. 8:6) The Scriptures say we can grieve and quench
the Holy Spirit. They tell us our traditions can make the word of God of
none effect. (Matt. 15:6; Mark 7:13) They tell us that the "Kingdom of
God" is "righteous, peace, and joy." (Rom. 14:17)
Unfortunately, for most Christians too much of their
"relationship" or "knowing" God, the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ is
nothing more than memorizing the Scriptures and believing their church
traditions. "Knowing" someone is not the same as knowing the Scriptures
or church traditions about Jesus. There is a real intimacy which we can
enter with Them even while here on earth. This intimacy varies with each
individual, and it varies from day to day within a believer's life. To
be carnally-minded cuts off the flow of "aionion zoen." Does that mean
we have lost our place in heaven after this life? Of course not! But the
quality of our Christian life here on earth is at jeopardy. "Righteousness,
peace, and joy" as words are nothing more than words. But the reality of
those words when we truly abide in Him are beyond words, nevertheless,
very real. Aionion Zoen, translated by some of the more accurate translations
with "age-lasting life" "age-during life," "life of the ages," or "eonion
life" emphasize that Jesus is not only interested in redeeming everything
lost, but those who have been brought into the kingdom in this dispensation,
should taste and experience some of the reality of His life right now!
It should manifest! We should be able to get to know more and more each
day the reality of Him because we have a relationship with Them beyond
words on a page in a Bible. The mistranslation of the word aionion to "eternal"
has robbed millions of Christians of the fact that God wants us to experience
His life now. Most Christians think of "eternal life" as something we get
after we die. This is sad, because as a result of this concept, we are
not manifesting a quality of life that we should presently be walking in.
"Righteousness" is not just being moral. His peace far exceeds being calm
during tough times. And His joy leaves the "happiness" the world lusts
for, far behind. The fruit of the Spirit unfortunately for many Christians
are empty words memorized in a Bible study. A proper understanding of "aionion
zoen" will restore to us a key to "knowing" Jesus Christ, the Savior of
the Whole World and His Father. The reality of this "life" which He gave
us, will speak much more to the inhabitants of this world than words "about"
Jesus. (End of editor's note) BACK
Chapter Fourteen - A Long, But Not
Eternal Visit To "Hell"
"In our English translation the word 'hell' seems
to speak what is neither warrantable by Scripture or reason."
"'Olam' (the Hebrew for aion) simply signifies for
a long time. The Hebrew Scriptures do no contain any doctrine to everlasting
"The writers of Hebrew and Greek Scriptures were inspired
to write exactly what God told them to write. Unfortunately, no translator
was so inspired."
When I tell church members about God's victorious love
and grace, that God through Christ Jesus "will draw all men" (John
12:32); "all men to justification of life" (Rom. 5:18,19); "in
Christ shall all be made alive" (1 Cor. 15:22-28); "to head up all
in the Christ" (Eph. 1:10); "That in the name of Jesus every knee
shall bow...every tongue should be acclaiming that Jesus Christ is Lord,
for the glory of God" (Phil. 2:10,11); "Who will have all men to
be saved" (1 Tim. 2:4); "We have our hope set on the living God
Who is the Savior of all men" (1 Tim. 4:10); "The all is created
through Him and for Him" and "Through Him to reconcile the all to
Him (making peace through the blood of His cross" (Col. 1:16, 20).
When I declare God's glorious plan to restore all back to Himself, church
members ask, "But what about hell?"
Jesus never used the English word "hell" and He never
used any Greek, Hebrew, or Aramaic word meaning what most people believe
"hell" means. For years I have asked preachers, "How many times is the
word "hell" in the Bible, and how many Hebrew and Greek words are translated
"hell" in your King James Bible?" None of them answered the question. Therefore,
I will now present for the reader a summary of the original Hebrew and
Greek words which the King James' translators rendered into the English
The transliterated spelling of these words comes from
Analytical Concordance to the Bible.
The only Hebrew word translated "hell" in what is commonly
called the Old Testament, is the word "Sheol." "Sheol" occurs 65 times.
It is translated "hell" 31 times, "grave" 31 times, and "pit" 3 times in
the King James Bible. It is obvious that if "Sheol" means "hell," it should
not be translated "grave." "Sheol" means the same as the Greek noun "Hades."
"Hades" is derived from the Greek verb "horao." "Horao"
"I am seeing." The Greeks then prefixed the word with "a" (alpha) which
negates "to see" thus coining the noun "Hades" meaning "unseen." Therefore,
"Sheol" and "Hades" mean "unseen." These two words do not describe what
the English theological word "hell" means to convey.
That the King James translators did not understand what
"Sheol" and "Hades" meant is proved by the following:
"Out of the belly of hell (Sheol) cried I." (Jonah
2:2) Verse 1:17 tells us he was "in the belly of the fish for three
days and three nights." Where was Jonah - in Hell or in a fish? If
"Sheol" is translated "unseen" we have no problem. Jonah was in the "belly
of the fish" and was "unseen." We know that Jonah was "in the belly
of the fish for three days and three nights." (Jonah 1:17) This agrees
with the words of Jesus, for He said, "For as Jonah was three days and
three nights in the belly of the great fish." (Matt. 12:40) In the
Greek Septuagint, (the Hebrew Old Testament translated into Greek around
200 B.C.) we find the Greek adjective aionios translated "forever"
in Jonah 2:6 in the King James Bible. It is obvious that aionios "forever"
mean more than three days and three nights. There is a problem here.
In 1 Cor. 15:55, the King James' Greek text contains
the Greek word "Hades." They translated the Greek word "Hades" into the
English word "grave," but they gave an alternative translation "Hell" in
the margin. In Rev. 20:13,14, The Greek Text contains the word "Hades"
which they translated into the English word "Hell." In the margin they
put the alternative translation of "grave." It should begin to appear to
the objective reader of the King James Bible that the translators were
uncertain as to the meaning of the words "Hades" and "Sheol." The modern
reader of a King James Bible printed in this century will not know this
because many of the modern editions of the KJV have removed the marginal
readings the original King James contained. Does something smell a little
"Hades" occurs 11 times in the King's Greek Text (often
misnamed "Textus Receptus"). When we study "Hades," let us remember that
according to the KJV, Jesus was in "Hell." (see Acts 2:27, 31) Obviously
Jesus' soul was not in "hell-fire."
Another Greek word "Gehenna" occurs 12 times in the New
Testament; 11 times in the Gospels and one time in the Epistle of James.
Jesus used "Gehenna" about 7 times. Some of the occurrences of "Gehenna"
are in parallel passages, that is, they refer to the same event. "Gehenna"
is the Greek form of the Hebrew "ge-hinnom." It literally means "valley
of Hinnom" Sometimes it is referred to as the "valley of the sons of Hinnom."
In the Old Testament "Tophet(h)" also refers to this place. (See Young's
Concordance under Hinnom) "Gehenna" is a valley that lays on the west and
southwest of Jerusalem. In the valley, Israel offered up its children as
a burnt offering to a god who came to be known as Moloch. (The spelling
(Editor's note: Knowing there would be many questions
about the Greek and Hebrew words incorrectly translated "Hell," we felt
it appropriate to give a few more details to answer some of those questions.
There are entire books just on these words. We certainly do not have the
space in this work to answer all questions, but hopefully we have included
enough material to let the reader see that there are reasonable Scriptural,
historical, and scholarly support for our conclusions. The next few pages
have been added to Mr. Abbott's work with his permission.)
In Jeremiah, we hear Yahweh speaking to Jeremiah regarding
this sacrifice, "And they have turned to Me the back, and not the face;
though I taught them, rising up early and teaching them, yet they have
not listened to receive instruction. but they set their abominations in
the house which is called by My name, to defile it. And they built the
high places of Baal which are in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to cause
their sons and daughters to pass through the fire to Molech, which I did
not command, nor did it come into My mind that they should do this abomination,
to cause Judah to sin." (Jer. 32:33-35) Jeremiah says this valley would
one day be called the "Valley of slaughter." (Jer. 7:30-33) This Scripture
had its literal fulfillment in 70 A.D. at the destruction of Jerusalem.
King Josiah, in his days, desecrated this place by tearing
down all the idols, crushing or burning them, and burning human bones on
them (probably those of the priests who presided over these rituals). A
Jew was not allowed to touch anything that touched a dead human being.
Please note, it was God's own people who were doing the burning, not God,
and He said such a thing never entered His mind. Also note, not one single
time in the entire Old Testament was this word "Ge-hinnom" translated "hell."
In Jesus' day, this valley was a city dump very much
like modern dumps-always being filled, and therefore always having something
for the fire to consume and worms to eat. ("where the worm dieth not,
and the fire is not quenched.) It was a place fit only for waste. Should
a Jew, God's "chosen" people ever be given a burial in "Gehenna," it would
be the most humiliating thing that could ever happen to him. It would be
like saying that one's life here on earth was completely worthless, fit
only for the dump. For Jesus to tell a religious Jew, such as a Pharisee,
that his life, his religious works, his devotion to God were fit only for
the city dump, was to insult him in the worst possible way. Jews went to
great efforts to make their funerals great events. Some even hired professional
"mourners" to cry at their funeral. Herod was going to have the leaders
of Israel killed on his day of death so that Israel would mourn on his
death. This is the kind of mentality Jews had regarding their life and
they way they should leave this world. Even today, one will hear Jews say
that the most important thing a person owns is his name. They will go to
great lengths to keep their name alive. They will name buildings, start
foundations, etc., to keep their name alive. Many, who no longer believe
in a resurrection feel this is the only way they can stay alive beyond
the grave - to have their name remain in the minds of future generations.
Returning to "Gehenna," one can walk through this valley
even today and return unscathed by its fires and untouched by the worms
which actually consumed a good part of the religious Priestly community
of Israel in the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Their bodies were
piled up and their blood ran down into this very valley which Jesus prophesied
would be the disgraceful burial place for hundreds of thousands of Jews
of that very generation Jesus was speaking to. Please remember, it was
not the heathen, not the street sinner, not the Roman who found themselves
in this "hell" as the KJV wants to render it - it was God's own people
- even more - it was those who thought they were closer to God than anyone
else on the earth. Beware, Christian, that you do not find yourself committing
the same mistake!
Whatever this valley represented in the Old Testament
must be carried over to the New Testament. Nowhere in the Old Testament
is this place translated "Hell" and nowhere in the Old Testament is there
a hint that this place referred to a place of eternal punishment after
death. The word which Jesus referred to most often which the King James
Bible unfortunately chose to render "hell," in the New Testament, but did
not do so in the Old Testament, is this word "Hinnom" or Ge-hinnom
(valley of Hinnom) or "Ge-ben-hinnom" (valley of the sons of Hinnom) which
was transliterated into the Greek as "gehenna." A thorough study of this
place in the Old Testament will dispel much myth regarding its significance.
The Scriptural references for such a study are: Josh. 15:8; 18:16; 2 Kings
9:7; 15:3,4; 23:10, 36, 39; Ez. 23:37,39; 2 Chr. 28:3; Lev. 18:21; 20:2;
Jer. 7:30-32; 19:2-6; 32:35. Remember, this place is never referred
to as "Hell" in the Old Testament. References to this very same place in
the New Testament are: Matt. 5:22; 5:29, 30; 10:28; 18:9; 23:15; 23:33;
Mark 9:43; 9:45; 9:47; Luke 12:5; James 3:6. It should be mentioned that
most of these references come from Jesus' mouth and every reference to
this word "gehenna" was addressed to God's own people, not to the nations
The Greek word "tartarus" occurs one single time in the
entire Bible and it is found in 2 Peter 2:4. It is the place where sinning
messengers (angels) are reserved unto judgment.
The English word "Hell" occurs 54 times in the King James
Bible, and is a translation of 4 Hebrew and Greek words. Not one of the
words has a meaning even closely related to the meaning theologians have
given the English word "Hell." Many Bibles translated in the last one hundred
years do not contain the English word "Hell." Almost all of them have found
no justification for translating "Sheol" into "Hell." Therefore, almost
all English Bibles do not contain any references to our modern concept
of "Hell" in the Old Testament. From Genesis to Malachi, "Hell" has disappeared
as a result of better translating. Many Bibles have eliminated the word
entirely and the day will come when all Bibles will no longer teach this
pagan concept which should never have been in our translations in the first
The King James translators were honest enough to admit
in their "To the Reader" found in the original printings of the King James
Bible that they built upon other men's work and that others would build
up theirs. They did not claim inerrancy nor infallibility. Their many marginal
readings proves that. Unfortunately, most modern King James Bible printings
have removed that letter as well as the marginal readings. Why? Well, modern
Fundamentalists and many Evangelicals have created a doctrine entitled
"The Doctrine of Biblical Inerrancy." Since the letter reveals that the
translators did not believe they were writing an "inerrant" translation
and the alternative readings in the margins would substantiate that, these
connivers have removed the letter "To the readers" and the marginal readings
to hide this fact. An example of the kind of marginal readings these "inerrancy"
advocates have removed: the marginal reading of Luke 17:36 read, "This
36th verse is wanting in most of the Greek copies." They weren't sure
of the original Greek for this verse and let the reader know. This kind
of honesty is impermissible in the "Inerracy" camp.
The "Doctrine of Inerrancy" is a myth of the most diabolical
kind perpetrated by religious leaders seeking to keep God's people in darkness.
The King James Bible today will differ from the one printed in the year
1611 in thousands of places. From one publisher to another there will be
differences in the KJV.
Returning back to the subject of "Hell," we have found
that the Hebrew word "Sheol" should never have been translated "Hell."
The Jews today, whose Bible consists of the Old Testament do not translate
it "Hell" because in no way does "Sheol" correspond with the images and
doctrines the church associates with the word "Hell." The Greek word "Hades"
is the equivalent of "Sheol" and has the same meaning.
The Greek mythological place the Greeks called "Tartarus"
occurs one time in the Biblical text to denote a holding place for messengers
(angels) "til" judgment which indicates an eventual release from this place.
The case against "Gehenna" being translated into "Hell" is very aptly summarized
by Dr. J.W. Hanson in his The Bible Hell when he listed the following
regarding "Gehenna" :
1. Gehenna was a well-known locality near Jerusalem,
and ought no more to be translated Hell, than should Sodom or Gomorrah.
See Josh. 15:8; 2 Kings 17:10; 2 Chron. 28:3; Jer. 7:31,32; 19:2.
2. Gehenna is never employed in the Old Testament
to mean anything else than the place with which every Jew was familiar.
3. The word should have been left untranslated as it
is in some versions, and it would not be misunderstood. It was not misunderstood
by the Jews to whom Jesus addressed it. Walter Balfour well says: 'What
meaning would the Jews, who were familiar with this word, and knew it to
signify the valley of Hinnom, be likely to attach to it when they heard
it used by our Lord? Would they contrary to all former usage, transfer
its meaning from a place with whose locality and history they had been
familiar from their infancy, to a place of misery in another world? By
what rule of interpretation, then, can we arrive at the conclusion that
this word means a place of misery after death?
4. The French Bible, the Emphatic Diaglott, Improved
Version, Wakefield's Translation, and Newcomb's, retain the proper noun,
the name of a place as well-known as Babylon. (Many other Bibles since
this was written, have also removed "Hell" and put "Gehenna" back.
5. Gehenna is never mentioned in the Apocrypha
as a place of future punishment, as it would have been, had such been its
meaning before and at the time of Christ.
6. No Jewish writer, such as Josephus, or Philo, ever
used it as the name of a place of future punishment, as they would have
done had such then been its meaning.
7. No classical Greek author ever alludes to it, and
therefore, it was a Jewish locality, purely.
8. The first Jewish writer who ever names it as a place
of future punishment is Jonathan Ben Uzziel, who wrote, according to various
authorities, from somewhere between the second to the eighth century A.D.
9. The first Christian writer who calls Hell, Gehenna,
is Justin Martyr, who wrote about A.D. 150.
10. Neither Christ nor his apostles ever named it to
Gentiles, but only to Jews, which proves it a locality only known to Jews,
whereas, if it were a place of punishment after death for sinners, it would
have been preached to Gentiles as well as to Jews.
11. It was only referred to twelve times, on eight occasions,
in all the ministry of Christ and the apostles, and in the Gospels and
Epistles. Were they faithful to their mission to say no more than this,
on so vital a theme as an endless Hell, if they intended to teach
12. Only Jesus and James ever named it. Neither Paul,
John, Peter, nor Jude ever employ it. Would they not have warned sinners
concerning it, if there were a Gehenna of torment after death?
13. Paul says he 'shunned not to declare the whole counsel
of God,' and yet, though he was the great preacher of the Gospel to the
Gentiles he never told them that Gehenna is a place of after-death
14. Dr. Thayer (author of Thayer's Lexicon and
also on the translation committee to the American Standard Bible)
significantly remarks: 'The Savior and James are the only persons in all
the New Testament who use the word. John the Baptist, who preached to the
most wicked of men, did not use it once. Paul, wrote 14 epistles, and yet
never once mentions it. Peter does not name it, nor Jude; and John, who
wrote the gospel, three epistles, and the Book of Revelation, never employs
it in a single instance. (the Greek words of "lake of fire" in Revelation
is not Gehenna) Now if Gehenna or Hell really reveals
the terrible fact of endless woe, how can we account for this strange silence?
How is it possible, if they knew its meaning, and believed it a part of
Christ's teaching, that they should not have used it a hundred or a thousand
times, instead of never using it at all; especially when we consider the
infinite interests involved? The Book of Acts contains the record of the
apostolic preaching, and the history of the first planting of the church
among the Jews and Gentiles, and embraces a period of thirty years from
the ascension of Christ. In all this history, in all this preaching of
the apostles of Jesus, there is no mention of Gehenna. In thirty
years of missionary effort, these men of God, addressing people of all
characters and nations, never, under any circumstances, threaten them with
the torments of Gehenna, or allude to it in the most distant manner!
In the face of such a fact as this, can any man believe that Gehenna
signifies endless punishment, and that this is a part of divine revelation,
a part of the Gospel message to the world? These considerations show how
impossible it is to establish the doctrine in review on the word Gehenna
All the facts are against the supposition that the term was used by Christ
or his disciples in the sense of endless punishment. There is not the least
hint of any such meaning attached to it, nor the slightest preparatory
notice that any such new revelation was to be looked for in this old familiar
15. Jesus never uttered it to unbelieving Jews, nor to
anybody but his disciples, but twice (Matt. 23:15-33) during his entire
ministry, nor but four times in all. If it were the final abode of unhappy
millions, would not his warnings abound with exhortations to avoid it?
16. Jesus never warned unbelievers against it but once
in all his ministry, ((Matt. 23:33) and he immediately explained it as
about to come in this life.
17. If Gehenna is the name of Hell then
men's bodies are burned there, and well as their souls. (Matt. 5:29; 18:9)
18. If it be the name of endless torment, then literal
fire is the sinner's punishment. (Mark 9:43-48)
19. Gehenna is never said to be of endless duration,
nor spoken of as destined to last forever, so that even admitting the popular
ideas of its existence after death, it gives no support to the idea of
20. Clement, a Universalist, (of the early church) used
to describe his ideas of punishment. He was one of the earliest of the
Christian Fathers. The word did not then denote endless punishment.
21. A shameful death, or a severe punishment, in this
life, was, at the time of Christ, denominated Gehenna, (Schleusner,
Canon Farrar, and others), and there is no evidence that Gehenna
meant anything else, at the time of Christ." (end of insert from The
Note: While all this historical and etymological information
is very helpful, I am sure it will raise many questions which cannot fully
be dealt with in such a short work. However, to show the reader how easy
it is to answer some of these answers, I will deal with a couple of what
many feel are the most troublesome. The reader should write to us for further
works on this most important subject. We have many volumes which deal with
this subject very thoroughly.
"Jesus says that the fire of Gehenna is "unquenchable"
and one in which God can 'destroy the body and the soul.' That does not
sound like a fire of a 'city dump.'"
As we go through some of these passages, I cannot over
stress that fact that Jesus did not utter these words at the local bar,
or house of prostitution. He did not go to Rome, Babylon, or Athens and
utter these strong warnings. He boldly declared these warnings to God's
own people soon to be called for a season "not God's people." (see Hosea
1:9; 2:23; Rom. 9:25)
The physical fires of "Gehenna" have long since gone
out. Therefore theologians conclude that these fires must refer to spiritual
things. This is called "adding to the word." In one sense, they are correct,
that is, the stigma associated with the horrible way the nation of Israel
was destroyed, the humiliation of being called "Christ-killers" would stay
with the name "Jew" throughout the centuries, even to this day. While the
physical fires and worms have passed, the humiliation, the hatred, the
torment and abuse which comes with the name "Jew" has remained to this
day. Remember the Holocaust, only one generation ago? But this stigma will
not last into eternity. The label of "not my people" will not be carried
into kingdom of God. So while there is a higher meaning and significance
to "Gehenna" than the physical destruction of Jerusalem, it is not
a symbol of "eternal torment." The shame and persecution will one day be
The Greek word behind the English word "unquenchable"
is the word "asbestos." This word has been brought over into the English
language describing a substance. Examples of how the word was used in Greek
should prove that this word did not define a "fire that would never go
"Strabo calls the lamp in the Parthenon, and Plutarch
call the sacred fire of a temple "unquenchable," though they were extinguished
ages ago. Josephus says the fire on the altar of the temple at Jerusalem
was "always unquenchable" (asbestos aei), though the fire had gone out
and the temple was destroyed at the time of his writing. Eusebius says
that certain martyrs of Alexandria 'were burned in unquenchable fire,'
though it was extinguished in the course of an hour."
The above examples should prove the word in the original
Greek did not mean a fire that would burn forever. It meant a fire that
could not be put out until it consumed that which it was burning. The purpose
of the fire on the alter in Jerusalem ended in 70 A.D. when the types and
shadows of the rituals in the Law of Moses were replaced by the true light
- Jesus Christ, the Light from above and His body of believers who Jesus
called the "light of the world."
As to "Gehenna" being a place where God can destroy the
"body and the soul," it should be noted that God could also "raise up children
to Abraham from these stones," but He didn't. (Luke 3:8) He is able to
blot a person out of the Book of Life, but that doesn't mean He will. We
must be careful not to add to His Word what is not there.
Jesus' warnings were extremely strong about the fires
of "Gehenna." Again, speaking to the "chosen" people,
"And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and
cast it from thee; for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members
should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into Hell (Gehenna).
And if thy right eye offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee; for
it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not
that thy whole body should be cast into Hell." (Matt. 5:28,29; see
also Matt. 18:9 and Mark 9:43,49)
If these Scriptures are to be taken literally, and if
the consequences are eternal torment, then the church should be full of
one-eyed, one-armed, one-footed members. The pulpits should have chairs
behind them for the multitude of one-footed preachers who have problems
with lustful eyes and hearts, and greed never being satisfied with the
amount of money they raise.
I met a Christian who took these Scriptures literally
and tried to take out one of his eyes. How many preachers would dare be
bold enough in their so-called "faith" to counsel such a man that he was
doing the right thing because he was following Scriptures? The justice
systems would have those preachers behind bars in no time. Can you see
the hypocrisy in this kind of reasoning? If Jesus meant what he said and
if the consequences were what preachers tell us they are, then they should
teach it all from a literal point of view, but they don't. They
don't believe their own teachings.
Jesus rebuked God's "chosen people" evangelists declaring
they were making their converts "two times the sons of Hell (Gehenna) as
yourselves." (Matt. 23:15) If eternal torment is what is implied here,
then God has a serious problem. He chose them to be His "evangelists."
From the very beginning of Israel's history, God told them that they would
forsake Him and become rebellious. (Joshua 23:16 and many other prophesies)
If God knew that Israel was going to misrepresent God to the nations, that
they would accept false God's and images and make their converts two times
the sons of Hell (Gehenna) as themselves, then God is ultimately responsible
for the fate of the peoples of this world because He knew in advance that
Israel would misrepresent the Truth. If "Gehenna" is eternal torment, God
has indicted Himself in being an accomplice to making the world full of
people who are "two times the sons of Hell." God Himself chose these people
as a nation of priests to the world. It was their responsibility to show
the world His standards. They miserably failed. But God knew they would
fail before they even began. Therefore, since He had foreknowledge of this
fact, He is directly responsible for the world being deceived by His own
priests. The buck stops at the top. If eternal torment is the punishment
for not living up to God's standards, then God will ultimately have to
be blamed for those who are in "Hell." When one studies the church record
as being a standard of righteousness and truth in the world, we have even
a worse example than Israel. The church, for a long time in its history,
forbid people even owning a Bible at the penalty of death! Study church
history from a non-denominational point of view and one will see liars,
hypocrites, fornicators, murders, covetous, whoremongers, incest, false
doctrines, power hungry leaders, Christians killing Christians etc. How
can a human being make a reasonable decision regarding the truth when presented
with such a miserable example of righteousness and holiness? Ultimately
God will have to take the blame if "Hell" is full of "two-times the sons
of 'Hell.'" His own evangelists made them that way.
"The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. But into
whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you not, go your ways out into
the street of the same, and say, 'Even the very dust of your city, which
cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you: not withstanding be ye sure
of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.' But I say unto
you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that
city. Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty
works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you, they
had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it
shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment, than for you.
And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down
to hell." (Luke 10:9-15)
This portion of Scripture will reveal how distorted the
Bible becomes when literalists refuse to acknowledge that the Hebrew language
is a rich one full of idiomatic expressions. It also reveals some major
differences between God's judgments and much of the modern churches concept
of judgment. The Greek word behind the word "hell" is this passage is the
word "hades" meaning "the unseen." Almost every translation since the KJV
of 1611 has eliminated the word "hell" in this passage and substituted
the word "Hades" or "the depths," (NEB) or "the dead," (Goodspeed) or "realm
of death" (NAB). Even the New King James Bible, in the KJV tradition,
has abandoned "hell" for "Hades," the unseen.
Most English Bible translations have abandoned "hell"
in this passage because there is obviously a problem here if one takes
this passage literally. When was an entire city (Capernaum) ever in literal
heaven? It never was! And neither will it ever be in the "Hell" of our
modern theologians. But Capernaum did experience "heaven" in the idiomatic
language of Hebrew and Capernaum also experienced the Biblical experience
of the meaning of the Greek word "Hades."
Capernaum means "village of Nahum." The Book of Nahum
is a short prophetic book which contains a strong prophesy against the
city of Ninevah, capitol of Assyria. It prophesied its utter destruction.
Capernaum was abandoned in the Islamic invasion in 638 A.D. No one knew
the exact location of the city until Tell Hum was excavated in 1968.
In what way was Capernaum ever in "heaven?" Looking into
a Concordance and studying all the Scriptural references relating to Capernaum
will bring forth great understanding. I will only touch the surface here.
If you recall, after His temptation in the wilderness,
Jesus went to Galilee. Either the first city, or at least among the first
cities He visited was Capernaum. Prior to entering the city, he preached
outside the city. Many people from as far a Sidon and Tyre came to hear
Him. Sidon and Tyre were not part of Israel, they were pagan cities! Visiting
Capernaum was a fulfillment of Isaiah 9:1,2 declaring a light to the Gentiles.
(Matt. 4:13-17) It was here Jesus began to preach the Kingdom of God. It
was here He healed the Centurion, a non-Jew and said of the Centurion,
"I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!" It was here Jesus
said, "But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness.
There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matt. 8:5-13) It was here
Peter, the apostle of the Circumcision lived. It was here Jesus said, "Come
to Me, all you who labor and are heavy ladened, and I will give you rest."
(Matt. 11:28) It was here He preached the principles of the kingdom. (Matt.
Chapter 18 and other references) It was here the demons declared in public
who Jesus was and He cast them out. (Mark 1:21-36)
Being the home of Peter the apostle, who apparently had
a large house, Jesus spent a great deal of time in this city. It was in
this city that many of the things Jesus did and the words He spoke which
were recorded in our Bibles were spoken. It was here the disciples disputed
among themselves who was the greatest. (A pastime still in favor among
God's present people) (Mark 9:33,34) It was here He raised the dead. (Luke
7:1-17) It was here Jesus said, "Do not labor for the food which perishes,
but for the food which endures to everlasting (aionios) life, which the
Son of Man will give to you, because God the Father has set His seal on
Him." (John 6:26,27)
Is it too difficult to see that Capernaum was indeed
a very privileged, an honored, an exalted, no - even further - a city in
which the very kingdom of God on earth was not only declared, but manifested!?
What a glorious privilege! It was indeed in "heavenly places" without being
lifted up to some place millions of miles away with golden streets!
In the same manner, when Capernaum was covered up by
the sands of Galilee's seashore after the Moslem's took over the region,
can we not see the word "Hades" (unseen because it was covered up, forgotten,
and abandoned) perfectly describes the condition of Capernaum after 638
A.D.? Does this city have to go to a physical fiery eternal place to fulfill
Most Bible translations have abandoned their attempts
to maintain modern Christianity' concept of "Hell" regarding Capernaum
because they see it doesn't work very well. One day, they will discover,
the modern concept of "Hell" doesn't work in any part of the Bible because
this pagan myth doesn't exist.
Which brings us to the English word "Hell" itself. Just
a little study into the etymology of this word should throw up a warning
flag. But Christians are really not taught to study past their own denominational
doctrines, and therefore remain "in outer darkness!"
The Origin of "Hell"
It is always amazing to me how much knowledge we have of
ancient times. It seems God, in His wisdom, tucked bits and pieces of information
aside in the forms of an inscription, a piece of papyrus, a ruin, etc.,
and man, with his God-given abilities, has been gathering together in recent
years these bits of ancient knowledge and reconstructing the past.
The study of word origins (etymology) is a very developed
science few Christians spend any time studying. If one were to take the
main theological words used in church and study their origins, one would
Remember, the Greek word "Hades" literally meant unseen.
The pagans then turned a perfectly good usable word into the name of a
God named "Hades" and created a place of the underworld called "Hades."
They turned an everyday word with easy to understand meaning into a theological
pagan word which, if one studies the "underworld" mythology of the Greeks,
into a mass of confusion.
The English word "Hell" suffered the same unslaught,
but not from pagan Greeks, but from pagan Christians! According to Arcade
Dictionary of Word Origins by John Ayto, the etymology of the word
"hell" is as follows:
hell (OE) Etymologically, "hell" is a 'hidden place.'
It goes back ultimately to Indo-European 'kel' (cover, hide), which has
contributed an extraordinary number of words to English, including 'apocalypse,''
cell,' 'cellar,' 'conceal,' 'helmet,' 'hull,' 'pod,' 'occult,' and possibly
'color' and 'holster.' Its Germanic descendant was 'khel-,' 'khal-,' whose
derivatives included 'khallo' and 'khaljo.' The first became modern English
'hall,' the second modern English 'hell-'-so both hall and hell were originally
'concealed or covered places,' although very different ways: the 'hall'
with a roof, 'hell' with at least six feet of earth. Related Germanic forms
include German 'Holle' (O with an umlaut), Dutch 'hel,' and Swedish 'helvete'
(in which 'vete' means punishment').
Isn't it rather interesting that the place where people
met under a roof and therefore "covered," (hall) and the place where people
are "six feet under" and therefore "unseen," come from the same word? A
church and a grave yard therefore have much in common. This book will not
go into other theological words such as the word "church," but I assure
you, there are many embarrassing surprises hidden in theological word origins.
We have found then, that the modern English word "Hell"
was originally not a specific region for those eternally damned, as theologians
would term it, but a common everyday word which basically meant "covered
up" and therefore often "unseen." This word was useful to describe a number
of different things.
But as with "Hades," and "Gehenna," a superstitious religious
priestcraft used these normal everyday words and concocted images to hold
people in their power. They used their deceptive power-hungry minds to
tell the ignorant what was in the "unseen" place of the grave (hell).
They created a goddess in charge of affairs in "hell."
She was called "Hel." The hole in the ground became a huge underground
empire of which she was ruler. The word with a little "h" became a place
with a capital "H."
This information I am bringing forth is not hidden away
in some ancient monastery. It can be found in almost any book on word origins,
regular dictionaries, and encyclopedias. But when Christians have been
taught to stick their heads into a "hole" or "hall" called our "church
building" and not to look at anything which does not conform to "their"
teachings, it leaves most Christians in "gross darkness" - in other words
in a "hell" of their own.
Even excellent study Bibles such as the Companion Bible
by Dr. E.E. Bullinger, perhaps the best KJV Study Bible available, brings
out the fact that these words have been greatly tampered with by the priestcraft.
Under his appendage number 131 The synonymous words for "Hell", etc.
"The English word is from the Anglo-Saxon 'hel', Genitive
Case 'helle'=a hidden place, from the Anglo-Saxon 'helan'=to hide."
Dr. Bullinger covers the others words we have just been
discussing. His appendages bring great light into a darkness many Christians
have been placed into, allowing themselves to be "covered" by false shepherds.
A quick tour through the Norse and Germanic mythologies
of the goddess Hel and her domain Hell should be a wake up call to any
person whose mind is still functioning. The Encyclopedia Britannica tells
us of "Hel":
"Hel or Hela, in Scandinavian mythology, goddess of
the dead, a child of Loki and the giantess Angurboga, dwelt beneath the
roots of the sacred ash, Yggdrasil (q.v.), and ruled the nine worlds of
Helheim. In early myth all the dead went to her: in later legend only those
who died of old age or sickness; she then became synonymous with suffering
and horror." It is common knowledge to anyone who has studied church
history even just a little bit, that the Roman Catholic church made it
a practice to absorb the pagan traditions of the nations which it tried
to covert. She, the Roman Catholic church, by the power she claimed, just
Christianized them. From this practice, we Christians have inherited all
the superstitions of the world. Under the word "Hell" they incorporated
the mythologies of the Romans, Greeks, Babylonians, Egyptians, Teutons,
Druids, and only God knows what else.
This work cannot go into the thousands of pagan words,
myths, rituals, artifacts, originating in pagan religions which have been
brought into the Christian religion. Reading Hislop's Two Babylons,
published by Loizeaux Brothers, or Babylonian Mystery Religion by
Ralph Woodrow would be two good places to begin. For those of the Protestant
persuasion who think they are immuned to the influence of Romanism, think
again, the entire Protestant Sunday morning church ritual, including the
structure of the building and its interior furniture, will not be found
among the early believers in Jesus Christ.
While the Scriptures correctly translated have nothing
to say about the modern theological concept of "Hell," nor do they speak
of "eternal punishment," they do have much to say about "judgment."
-end of editor's note.
Those who believe in "hell" as a place of punishment
(although the two words never appear together in the Scriptures,
even in mistranslations) do not seem to remember the verse which says Jesus'
soul was in "hell" three days and three nights. For what was He being punished?
In the KJV at 1 Cor. 15:55, the word translated "grave" in the text is
changed to "hell" in the margin, and at Rev. 20:14-15, the word "hell"
in the text is changed to "grave" in the marginal reading! Apparently the
translators could not make up their minds which word should be used. The
word in the text used by the translators of the KJV is hades, meaning
"unseen." It means neither "grave" nor "hell."
The evangel, or gospel, contained GOOD NEWS, for that
is the meaning of the Greek word euaggelion, good news "which shall
be to ALL people" (Luke 2:10). There is little "good news" in condemning
the majority of humanity to eternal damnation, or punishment and saving
just a few. It is noticeable that those who are so eager to condemn others
to "hell" eternally do not include themselves, their families, or their
friends in such a fate. Most, however, object to the idea that God loves
ALL of mankind. Instead, they believe God loves only those whom He calls,
but not the sinners. BACK
Chapter Fifteen - The "Chosen"--Not
"I have chosen"
"Many today are like the Jews we read about in the
book of Acts, who were jealous, and believed God loved them alone, and
who were boasting in their works."
Paul tells us in his writings at Rom. 9:1-5 of his great
sorrow, and that he wished himself to be anathema from Christ for the sake
of his brethren, the unbelieving Israelites, but there are those who believe
most of mankind is "lost eternally" who do not show such concern. These
good people do not have the sorrow Paul expressed. O that they might know
that all we have, our faith, our salvation, and our calling come only through
the grace of God and the faith of His Son Jesus Christ! It is not through
our own works, but through God's working in us that we have this marvelous
grace (Eph. 2:8-10; Phil. 2:13; Rom. 8:28-31; 1 Cor. 1:26-31; 4:7; Heb.
Many today are like the Jews we read about in the book
of Acts, who were jealous, and believed God loved them alone, and who were
boasting in their works. We must not be like the man who said he had accepted
Christ, that he chose to believe the gospel, hence he was saved, but those
who would not accept Christ were lost and on their way to hell. Our Lord
said (John 15:16), "Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you."
Romans 8:29 says: "...whom He foreknew, He designates beforehand, also,
to be conformed to the image of His Son. Now whom he designated beforehand,
these He calls, these He justifies also; now who He justifies, these He
glorifies." And Ephesians 1:4 says, "...according as He chooses
us in Him before the disruption of the world...in love designating us beforehand
for the place of a son for Him through Christ Jesus." Jesus said (John
12:31-41) of those who did not believe He would be exalted out of the earth
and would be drawing ALL to Himself that "they could not believe," seeing
that God "hath blinded their eyes and calloused their heart." But
again, this condition was not to last eternally, as verse 32 shows. We
should be boasting in Christ Jesus (Rom. 15:17) and the faith of Jesus
(Rom. 3:26) rather than in our own works.
1 John 4:8 tells us: "God is love," and 1 John 2:2 that
"He is the propitiation for our sins and not for ours only but also for
the sins of the whole world;" 1 John 4:11, "God so loved us," and John
3:16, that "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son,"
that is Christ, Who (Heb. 2:9) "by the grace of God tasted death for EVERY
man." Revelation 4:11 says of Him, "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive
glory and honor and power, for Thou hast created ALL things, and for THY
pleasure they are and were created." Is there pleasure to be gained in
knowing beforehand that those who were created would never hear the GOOD
NEWS of the gospel, would never believe and would be sent to "hell" forever
to be tormented? All this for His pleasure? If we are instructed to love
our enemies (Matt. 5:44) can we expect God to do less? BACK
Chapter Sixteen - Clearing Things
"I am convinced that God loves all, (John 3:16, Rom.
5:6-10), and that 'love never faileth.' (1 Cor. 13) Therefore, if one sinner
is endlessly lost, that sinner has defeated the LOVE of God and that is
In Dr. W.E. Vine's Dictionary of New Testament
Words there appears under the subject "Ever, For Ever, Evermore,
Everlasting" (vol. 2, pp. 46-47), "The following phrases are formed in
aion, an age: They are idiomatic expressions betokening
undefined periods and are not to be translated literally." He follows by
listing several instances in which the word occurs, and gives a literal
and accurate translation. Yet he calls these "idiomatic expressions!" All
languages have idiomatic usages for words, that is true, but we must not
consign literal statements to idiomatic meanings. Paul tells us we must
have a pattern of sound words, which we hear from him (2 Tim. 1:13). Using
the translating of "forever and ever" instead of the "age of the age,"
or "ages of the ages," or "age of the ages," as the case may be at such
places as Eph. 3:21, Heb. 1:8, or Gal. 1:5, as Dr. Vine does, saying they
are not to be taken literally, is not using a pattern of sound words. Why
are they not to be taken literally? They certainly are understandable when
so done. Dr. Vine also says that (p. 47) "Everlasting. Aionias
should always be translated 'eternal' and aidios 'everlasting.'"
To translate 2 Tim. 1:9 and Tit. 1:2 with what he calls "idiomatic" words
of the English is the only way to make sense out of them. To use "forever"
or "forever and ever" there makes nonsense.
Sometimes the KJV translates another word, aidios,
"imperceptible," with the word "everlasting." The Greek word appears twice
in the Scriptures, once at Jude 6 and again at Rom. 1:20. Literally translated,
the verse in Jude should be: "Besides, the messengers who keep not their
sovereignty but leave their own habitation, He has kept in imperceptible
bonds under gloom for the judging of the great day." (CV) Yet the KJV says:
"The angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation,
he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment
of the great day." The "everlasting" in this case is only "unto" the
time of their judging. Dr. Vine evidently believes the common teaching
of the denominational groups, rather than what his own knowledge of the
Greek should have revealed to him, had he not considered this to have been
We must remember that while God's words are inspired
and refined as though put through a crucible seven times, men's translations
of those words are not inspired. But with translations such as the Concordant
Version, Rotherham's Emphasized Version, the American
Standard Version (with marginal notes) and others, and by using
such aids as lexicons and concordances of the Hebrew and Greek, we will
be able to regain the truth concerning the eons, or ages, spoken of in
To continue with the Scriptures used to refute universal
salvation, let us look at John 3:36: "He that believeth in the Son hath
everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life,
but the wrath of God abideth on him." There was a time when all of
us were unbelievers and were without a knowledge of Christ, but when we
became believers, and came to be in Christ, we received life. Can we say
this Scripture teaches that those who die in their sins will never see
life, or will never be resurrected? Revelation 20:15 says they will, as
do John 5:25-30; Acts 24:15, 21; 26:8 and the fifteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians.
John 3:36 is speaking of not seeing "eonian life," or "life of the ages,"
not "eternal life."
The Emphasized Bible (Rotherham) translates
the verse, "He that believes on the Son hath life age-abiding; whereas
he that yieldeth not unto the Son shall not see life, but the anger of
God awaiteth him."
The Emphatic Diaglott (Wilson): "He
believing into the Son has aionian life; but he disobeying the Son shall
not see life, but the anger of God abides on him."
Young's Literal Translation: "He who
is believing in the Son hath life age-during; and he who is not believing
the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God doth remain on him."
Concordant Version: "He who is believing
into the Son has eonian life, yet he who is stubborn as to the Son, shall
not be seeing life, but the indignation of God is remaining on him."
The Greek word menei, a 3 person singular, present
active indicative form from meno, means "remaining," or "abiding,"
and has no meaning of endlessness. Should it have meant so, then our Lord
would still be abiding wherever He was when those came to question him,
as recorded in John 1:38, for the same word is found in that verse, and
was translated "dwellest" in the KJV.
That the Scriptures declare an end to God's anger should
dispel the notion that God's wrath will abide upon a mass of people "forever
and ever." Psa. 103:9 says: "He will not always chide, neither will he
keep His anger forever." His anger is "age-abiding," "age-during," or "eonian,"
not "forever." Even leaving the incorrect "forever" in this text proves
an end to God's wrath.
Believers in Christ have eonian life, life through the
ages. The ones not believing will not see that life, but will be raised,
judged and sent into death a second time. The second death of Rev. 20:14
and 21:8 is not endless, for Paul tells us in 1 Cor. 15:26 that death will
be destroyed. "Therefore, we both labor and suffer reproach, because we
trust in the living God, Who is the Savior of ALL mankind, specially of
those who believe." (1 Tim. 4:10) God is the Savior of ALL, but in this
eon He is offering a special salvation, that of life throughout the eons,
to those who believe. At the end of the eons, the remainder of mankind
will also be made alive in Christ. Those who believe that have no difficulty
with John 3:36.
Second Thessalonians 1:9 says (KJV), "Who shall be
punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord..."
The Greek text says, olethron aionion, "eonian extermination." The
word does not imply extermination beyond recovery, for it is limited to
the eons by the adjective modifying it. The word is used at 1 Cor. 5:5,
where it is recorded that Paul delivered "such a one unto Satan for
the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of
the Lord Jesus." There is no word in all of Scripture which even suggests
annihilation, eternal destruction, loss or death from which there is no
recovery, or a condition from which salvation is impossible. Always such
terms as "destruction," "perish," "be lost," and "death," are relative
to a period of time during an eon or during the eons.
The fire the KJV says "never shall be quenched" (Mark
9:43-44) and "where the worm dieth not" are regarded by some as the most
terrifying of all found in the Scriptures. To many this verse is "proof"
for the endlessness of "hell-fire" (Matt. 3:12; Luke 3:17; Mark 9:43-46,48).
But of what was the Lord speaking? The word "worm" is correctly translated
here, as well as at Isa. 66:24 and Jonah 4:2. It in no way can be construed
to mean it destroys the spirit, for that returns to God upon death (Ecc.
12:7; Luke 23:46; Acts 7:57). Neither can it destroy the soul, for it can
be destroyed in Gehenna (Matt. 10:28). Rather, the thought expressed here
is that just as worms feed upon partly decayed flesh, they will feed upon
the unburned portions of the bodies of the dead who are cast into Gehenna
during the millennial eon when some fail to observe the kingdom code. Those
will not be allowed to continue, lest they contaminate the kingdom. But
notice also that it is never said that any living being will be cast into
The word "unquenchable" occurs four times in the N.T.
(Matt. 3:12; Luke 3:17; Mark 9:43, 45). An unquenchable fire is one which
is not put out, but continues to burn until all is consumed. In the past
God brought unquenchable fire against Jerusalem and other places (Jer.
4:3,4; 7:16-20; 21:11,12, and Eze. 20:45-49). Those fires are not burning
today. Those who are cast into Gehenna will be suffering their first death,
and that for specific acts of wickedness. Some will pass directly into
the kingdom from this eon without dying first. This was the secret Jesus
revealed to Martha, as recorded at John 11:26. But those who are cast into
Gehenna will be raised after the thousand-year reign of Christ, at the
time of the white throne judgment, and will be judged and requited for
their deeds. Then all whose names are not found in the book of life will
suffer a second death (Rev. 20:1-5; Rom. 2:1-16), after which they will
be raised at the consummation of the eons, when death will have been destroyed,
and ALL will have been reconciled to God. The judgment of Gehenna has nothing
to do with the final state, nor are its consequences endless, nor of eternal
Another common argument against Universal Reconciliation
is the case of Judas. Advocates of everlasting punishment quote the KJV,
Mark 14:21, "The Son of Man indeed goeth, as it is written of him : but
woe to that man by whom the son of Man is betrayed! Good were it for that
man if he had never been born." The first question which must be settled
is whether Jesus uttered these words as translated in the KJV. As the last
clause in this verse is used in opposition to Universal Reconciliation,
let us look carefully at the Greek text: kalon en auto eiouk egennethe
ho anthropos ekeinos, "Ideal were it for Him if that man were not born"
or "It were ideal for Him if that man was not born." The question is asked,
Who is the Him? The answer is in the preceding clause. There we have the
pronoun autou, "Him," and anthropo ekeino, "that man," both
referred to in such a way that we cannot mistake them. "The Son of Man
indeed goeth as it is written of Him; but woe to that man by whom the Son
of Man is betrayed!" "Him" is the Son of Man, "that man" is Judas. The
Him cannot refer to Judas, therefore the text can be paraphrased as, "Ideal
were it for Him (the Son of Man) if that man (Judas) were not born." Notice
how the following versions translates this clause: The ASV, 1901 margin,
"Good were it for him if that man had not been born;" Rotherham's version,
"Well for him if that man had not been born;" Murphy's edition of the Douay
Version and the New Testament translated from the Latin Vulgate, 1898,
"It were better for him, if that man had not been born;" (the following
three versions are quoted in the original spelling) Wiclif, 1380, "It were
good to hym if thilke man hadde not been borun;" Tyndale, 1534, "Good were
it for him if that man had never bene borne;" Rheims, 1582, "it vvere good
for him, if that man had not been borne." Therefore, Mark 14:21 does not
contradict Col. 1:15-20; 1 Tim. 4:9-11; Rom. 5:18, 19; etc., all teaching
the ultimate salvation of Judas. John Albert Bengel in his New Testament
Word Studies, vol. 1, p. 290, says about this clause, "This phrase does
not necessarily imply the interminable eternal of perdition." Dr. Bengal
was a German Lutheran theologian.
When I quote the KJV in 1 Tim. 4:9, 10, "This is a faithful
saying worthy of all acceptation. For therefore we both labour and suffer
reproach because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all
men, specially of those that believe," I have been challenged. My opponents
say, "'Specially' means God is the Saviour only of those who are now believers,
therefore God is not the 'Saviour of all men.'" Let us look at this word
"specially" as it is used by Paul. The Greek word is malista. The
word malista, "specially," is a superlative preference adverb meaning
above all, particularly, chiefly, most, specially, especially. Let us look
at two other scriptures where Paul uses this adverb. Galatians 6:10: "As
we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially
unto them who are of the household of faith." Brethren, my question is:
"Is the doing of good unto all men or is it limited to the household of
faith?" 2 Timothy 4:13, "The cloak that I left at Troas with Carpus, when
thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments."
Were Paul's instructions in 2 Tim. 4:13 limited to the parchments? Surely
it is obvious from these two examples that this adverb malista,
"specially," cannot be used to limit the "all men" in 1 Tim. 4:10. In these
few examples that have been quoted herein as they are used in opposition
to God's ultimate purpose to save all mankind, I have given a scriptural
answer proving the truth of universal reconciliation. Now, I am sure that
all the arguments of the opponents can be answered by the Scriptures. I
am convinced that God loves all, (John 3:16; Rom. 5:6-10); and that "love
never faileth," (1 Cor. 13). Therefore if one sinner is endlessly lost,
that sinner has defeated the LOVE of God and that is impossible.BACK
Chapter Seventeen - The Complete Revelation
1 Corinthians 15:22-28
"The more one studies this Scripture as well as dozens
like it, it becomes abundantly clear that as in Adam all died, the
very same all will be made alive in Christ. There is not one in
Adam who will not be made alive in Christ." -
"Paul, in 1 Corinthians 15:22-28 takes us much farther
into the future than does the book of Revelation."
Some say that the teaching of universal salvation, or
reconciliation, gives one license to do as he wishes with no fear for the
consequences, and the "hell-fire" must be taught in order to keep them
in line and get them saved. Some say also that Paul's teaching of salvation
by grace gives license to sin, but consider this fact: Denominational teaching
has included threats of eternal punishment in hell for many centuries,
and it has not "saved" the masses of humanity as yet. Do men serve God
best when they realize He loves humanity, or when they fear He will send
them to "hell" forever? Romans 5:8-12 tells us God loved us while we were
yet sinners, and sent Christ to die for the sake of the irreverent. Although
most seem to believe the book of Revelation tells of God's ultimate goal,
Paul tells us it was given to him to complete the words of God and the
consummation was revealed to him, not to John, even though in human measurement
of time, Revelation probably was written after the books attributed to
Paul. Paul says (Col. 1:25), "...of which I became the dispenser according
to the administration of God, which was given to me for you, to complete
the word of God." He was not speaking in terms of time, but in matters
of revelation. It is through the writings of Paul that we get the truths
concerning God's ultimate goal for mankind, as well as for the entire universe.
Dr. J.B. Lightfoot, in his commentary on Colossians,
says (p. 67), "The word plerosai, to fulfill; i.e., to preach fully.
To give its complete development to." Luther used reichlich predigen,
"to preach fully," and Olshausen says: "That is, to declare the gospel
in all its fullness and extent." Each of these writers were commenting
upon the plêrosai, the completing of the revelation of God,
Mr. Ray A. Van Dyke, compiled a comparison between the
revelation given in Revelation and that given to Paul, as recorded in 1
Cor. 15:22-28. His comments are reproduced here:
"In the book of Revelation we do not have the final plan
of God. Paul, in 1 Cor. 15:22-28 takes us much further into the future
than does the book of Revelation. To illustrate this more clearly, study
the following: 1 Cor. 15:22-28 as compared with the new heaven and new
earth of Revelation 20:21-22:
In 1 Cor. 15:22-28, we have:
No more rule
No more authority
No more power
No more enemies
No more reigning
No more death, death destroyed.
All made alive, immortal
In Revelation 20:21-22, we have:
Still rule (20:6; 22:5)
Son still reigns (22:1-5; 11:5)
Power (21:24,25; 22:2
Saints reign (22:5)
Second death still exists (21:5)
The nations still mortal (22:2)
Christians who believe in universal reconciliation believe
that the Bible is God's Word, and His Word cannot contradict itself, hence
the inspired sacred Scriptures say in Rev. 11:15; 22:5, eis tous aionas
ton aionon, "for the eons of the eons." Thus, Christ our Lord "reigns
for the eons of the eons," not as the king's translators rendered, "forever
and ever." Therefore, Revelation 20:21, 22 fits into the framework of the
eons, and is truth relative to the eons. First Corinthians Chapter 15 fits
at the consummation (end) of the eons. We give the second Adam, Christ,
as much credit and numerical ability as the first Adam, and use 1 Cor.
15:22-28 also for this truth. (Read Rom. 5:18-19.
Consequently, Col. 1:16-20:
All in heaven and earth created in Him (verse 16)
All for Him (verse 16)
All estranged are reconciled (verse 20)
1 Corinthians 15:22:
In Adam all are dying
In Christ shall all be made alive
The literal Greek in 1 Corinthians 15:22 reads:
hosphor gar en to Adam pantes apothneskousin houtos
kai en to christo pantes zoopoiethesontai.
"Even as for in the Adam all are dying, thus also in
the Christ, all shall be made alive."
The more one studies this Scripture as well as dozens
more like it, it becomes abundantly clear that as in Adam all died, that
very same all will be made alive in Christ. There is not one in Adam that
will not be made alive in Christ. It is a perfectly balanced statement
which Jesus said was already set in motion. "And I, if I be lifted up from
the earth, will draw (drag in Greek) all mankind unto Myself. (John 12:32,
The following Appendixes were added
and written by Gary Amirault, the editor of this book.
It should be noted that the vast majority of the scholars,
historians, and Bible teachers cited above, come from the community generalized
as "orthodox." One will find the books written by these men and women in
the best seminaries and Bible colleges. As a matter of fact, many of the
scholars quoted are among the best the Christian scholastic community has
Appendix One - Commentary of
Had we quoted from the hundreds of qualified scholars
who have embraced the Doctrine of the Salvation of All Mankind from the
non-Orthodox communities, we would have certainly been accused of "stacking
the deck." The truth of the matter is, we have stacked the deck against
ourselves, and the outcome, I believe, should still be obvious to any open-minded
We could have quoted from outstanding non-Orthodox scholars
who left the mainstream Protestant community, but we quoted very few. Great
teachers of the Word of God like Thomas Whittemore, Charles Chauncy, Theodore
Parker, Hosea Ballou, Lucius R. Paige, Walter Balfour, and a host of others
who were known for their outspokenness of this subject could have been
cited, but we refrained. We could have drawn from the great national leaders,
men like Abraham Lincoln who embraced the "larger hope," but we allow them
for the most part, to be silent. When Lincoln was asked to comment in a
discussion on human destiny, he said, "it must be everyone or nobody."
We could have expanded that statement greatly with his own words on this
most important topic. The Cloud of Witnesses of soft-hearted Christians
from the poetic community is a train which would fill His temple, but we
did not quote the hundreds of works from great men and women who revealed
the all-embracing Love of God in their writings. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Lord
Byron, Thomas Moore, William Wordsworth, Samuel Coleridge, Robert Burns,
Alexander Pope, and a host of other great literary minds would have given
honor to the Savior of All Mankind. But we refrained. Signers of the Declaration
of Independence such as Benjamin Rush and Winthrop Sargent, believers in
the "Larger Hope," could have shown us that the Doctrine of the Reconciliation
of All Mankind was woven right into the fibers of our Constitution. Clara
Barton, founder of the American Red Cross, and Florence Nightingale could
been summoned to join us at our sides as we declared the "Everlasting Gospel,"
but we chose to do it the hard way. We went to Orthodoxy court and proved
our case there. We hope you will one day read the writings of some of the
many thousands who have come out of Orthodoxy (or perhaps I should say
"traditions of men"), and have separated themselves unto their Savior alone.
In their writings and lives, is truly "Good News"- the same "Good News"
the early believers declared - Jesus Christ, Savior of the Whole World.
the Spirit and the Bride say, 'Come.'" BACK
Appendix Two - Do You Believe ALL
in the Bible?
Most of us read our Bibles through thick glasses of church
traditions, social conditioning, prejudices, and various other things which
cloud our vision. There is more hatred and prejudice in our hearts than
we usually care to acknowledge. this was the problem the Pharisees had
when confronted with the object of the Scriptures they had been studying
all their lives. When he came, they didn't recognize Who He was because
of their traditions and cold hearts.
Would you like to test what is in your mind and heart
today? You know that eventually all that is hidden will come to light.
(1 Cor. 4:5) When Jesus told them, "What then is this that is written:
'The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone?'
Whoever falls on that stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it
will grind him to powder.'"
An invitation is given to you today to fall on the Rock.
It is much better to be broken to pieces, than to be crushed to powder.
The first choice invites our participation, the second comes unannounced,
at a time when we least expect it.
1 Peter 4:6:11 speaks of the "trial of your faith being
more precious that gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire." The
Scriptures often speak of fire in a spiritual manner rather than natural.
Testing one's faith may produce much more heat than we often care to experience.
but if we call on our Father, He will see us through the test.
"The God whom in your prayers you call Father does
not arrive at his verdict on any man by favoritism; he judges each man
by his actions. You are exiles of eternity, and you must therefore spend
your time on this earth in reverent living, for you know well what it cost
to liberate you from the slavery of that life of futility which you inherited
from your fathers. The price did not consist of things which are doomed
to decay, of silver or gold. The price was the precious life-blood of Christ,
who was, as it were, the sacrificial lamb with no flaw or blemish. He was
destined for this task before the creation of the world, and for your sakes
he came for all men to see as time comes to its end. It was for the sake
of you he came, for you who through him believe God, who raised him from
the dead and gave him glory. so then, your faith and your hope look to
God. (1 Peter 1:17-21, William Barclay translation)
The Holy Spirit invites you today to test your faith
and works to see what it is made of. There is an interesting rock used
in Biblical days to test the quality of precious metals called a touchstone.
It is quite unfortunate that most translations following the King James
tradition have hidden the Biblical references to this stone from us. The
King James Bible Concordances have also hidden its meaning. Using the Strong's
or Young's Concordances, when looking up the English word "torment," we
discover that the noun for one of these Greeks words is "basanos," Strong's
number 931. Strong's number 928 "torture," and 929 "torment" are derivatives
of this noun, "basanos," which Strong's Concordance says is a "touchstone."
Collegiate Dictionary 5th Edition, tells us that a touchstone is
"1. A black siliceous stone allied to flint; - used to test the purity
of gold and silver by the streak left on the stone when rubbed by the metal.
2. Any test or criterion by which to try a thing's quality."
Will you strike your Christian life on this Rock and
allow the results to be declared to you by your heavenly Father? Will you
allow it to reveal to you areas of impurity such as a false image of God,
prejudice, hate, unforgiveness, bitterness, following tradition instead
of Scripture and the Holy Spirit, etc.
All these things and more will be dealt with one way
or another. It is better to fall on the Rock yourself than to have the
Rock fall on you in judgment.
Another ingredient used to test the quality of gold is
nitric acid. The dictionary in Microsoft's Desktop program
says of acid test "a decisive or critical test, as of worth or quality
(from the testing of gold in nitric acid. As we begin to add these concepts
to our minds, perhaps we can begin to see New Testament images in a purer
way than we have been taught in the past. Perhaps we will begin to understand
then, why the early teachers of Christianity called the "lake of fire"
a place of "purifying fire," or "divine fire."
In the book of Revelation in the twentieth Chapter verse
ten we see the devil, the beast, and the false prophet cast into a lake
of fire and brimstone where they will be "tormented day and night 'forever
and ever.'" Those of us who dig deep enough will discover why the early
believers did not see the lake of fire as a place of "eternal torment."
They knew that the wording in this passages referred to a place of divine
testing and not a place of "eternal torment." The Greek word for "sulfur"
is "theeion" which is akin to "theos," which means god. Sulfur (brimstone)
was used to purify temples in ancient days. It was also used for healing
purposes. The fact that this passage of Scripture speaks of "day and night"
proves that "aionas ton aionon" in this passage should not have been translated
"forever and ever." Divine fire will test the works of men and angels.
Revelation 20:12 tells us that the dead were judged "according
to their works," not whether they "decided to follow Jesus." We know salvation
is "by grace, through faith, not of works, lest anyone should boast." (Eph.
2:9) We have made a serious mistake heaping dozens of different judgment
Scriptures under the "Great White Throne judgment." Throughout the Bible,
we find all kinds of judgments occurring throughout all ages. Many of these
have been assigned to the final judgment. This has caused serious error.
There are judgments of unholy angels, of Satan, of Israel, of cities, of
nations, of sin, of death, of the believer, of servants, of sons, of unbelievers,
etc., etc. Each takes place at different times, in different places, and
with different outcomes. Our mind-set about Biblical judgment has been
severely warped. We must disentangle this confusion, but it will take a
great deal of study, something many Christians have neglected.
How few Christians realize that Death and Hades (Hell)
will be emptied and thrown into the lake of fire. This lake of fire is
called in Revelation the "second death." Since "death and hell" are thrown
into it, one might say it is the death of death. Our entire teaching about
people going a eternal hell clearing contradicts the plain teachings of
the Bible that Hell, whatever we might think it is, will ultimately be
emptied! There is not a single passage of Scripture which tells us that
and the "lake of divine fire" is the same thing.
The very first verse in the Book of Revelation says this
book is full of symbols. Its message was sent from God by an angel who
"sign-ified it" to His servant John. If one does not understand
that the "signs," that is, symbols need to be interpreted, one will
never understand this book. The definition of the symbols are contained
in the Old Testament. Stars in a hand are not physical stars; frogs out
of a prophet's mouth are not physical frogs, candlesticks are not really
candlesticks. Do you really think there is a dead lamb laying on a throne
in heaven? If one understands these things are "signs," then understand
that the Book of Revelation is full of hundreds of "signs." The
carnal mind, especially the religious carnal mind will only twist the words
in Revelation into a pile of distorted confusion. I will conclude this
paragraph by saying that there will be far more "works" which will be cast
into the "lake of fire" coming from "orthodox" ministers who speak like
a dragon while claiming to represent the slain lamb than many care to acknowledge.
Clerical collars and ordination papers are no guarantee that one is hearing
the "Spirit of God."
You, who are reading this book right now - are you willing
to test your faith? Are you willing to strike it against the Rock, the
Word of God and allow the Holy Spirit to be poured out on that "gold" to
see what quality your gold (faith) is made of? Your Father will judge it
"without partiality." He will not take your years of being faithful to
your denomination, your financial contributions, your devoted service to
the organization into consideration. Your faith will be struck against
a slain lamb on a throne. The results may be absolutely shocking to you
- very painful - when our works are compared with the lamb's works, but
it must be done. His judgments are mixed with mercy, and when we ask Him
to judge us, He also will empower us to conform to His Word, His Will,
His Ways. So often people judge us in areas we know we need to improve
in, but their comments are not helpful because we seem to be incapable
of changing those areas in our lives. But the Holy Spirit will not only
reveal those areas we fall short in, He also gives power to change in those
As you go to the Rock, the Lamb, the Word of God, and
the Scriptures listed below, invite the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth,
Who the Scriptures declare will lead you into all Truth, to reveal to you
the fullness of the nature of our Father. Remember, He has many attributes;
omnipotence (all-powerful), omnipresence (all-present), omniscience (all-knowing),
and justice. These are His characteristics, but His nature is Love, for
God is Love!
As you strike your doctrines, church traditions, your
very life against the Word - these Scriptures - allow the Holy Spirit to
reveal the Word through the eyes of Love. Then, and only then, will all
the Word conform perfectly with all the characteristics of our Father.
His Love is the Key. Ask for it! Since we want to see if all the
characteristics of God are in harmony with all of the Bible so that
we may be able to conform our lives to it, concentrate on the word all.
As you study them, keep all the characteristics of our Father in mind.
Before beginning the test, please pray that your Father
and mine will allow you to read the Scriptures with His eyes and not through
man-made glasses clouded with church traditions, cultural prejudices, or
personal emotions. Then, after having prayed for this in sincerity in your
own words, slowly read the Scriptures listed in Appendix Three and allow
the Spirit of Truth to lead you into all Truth. (John 14:17; 15:26;
16:13) I pray that your joy may be made full. BACK
Appendix Three - Reconciliation Scriptures
1) 1 Tim 2:4 - God will have all to be saved. (KJV) -
His will be thwarted?
2) 1 Tim 2:4 - God desires all to come to the
knowledge of truth - Will His desire come to pass?
3) 1 Tim 2:6 - Salvation of all is testified in
due time - Are we judging God before due time?
4) Jn 12:47 - Jesus came to save all - Will
5) Eph 1:11 - God works all after the counsel
His will - Can your will overcome His?
6) Jn 4:42 - Jesus is Savior of the world
- Can He be Savior of all without saving all?
7) 1 Jn 4:14 - Jesus is Savior of the world
- Why don't we believe it?
8) Jn 12:32 - Jesus will draw all mankind unto
Himself - To roast or to love?
9) Col 1:16 - By Him all were created - Will
He lose a part of His creation?
10) Rm 5:15-21 - In Adam all condemned, in Christ
live - The same all?
11) 1Cor 15:22 - In Adam all die, in Christ all
live - Again, the same all?
12) Eph 1:10 - All come into Him at the fulness
of times - Are you getting tired of seeing the word, all?
13) Phl 2:9-11 - Every tongue shall confess Jesus
is Lord - Will the Holy Spirit be given to everyone?
14) 1Cor 12:3 - Cannot confess except by Holy Spirit
See what I mean?
15) Rm 11:26 - All Israel will be saved - But
most Jews don't believe yet!
16) Acts 3:20,21 - Restitution of all - How
plain can you get?
17) Luke 2:10 - Jesus will be joy to all people
- Is there joy is "hell"?
18) Heb 8:11,12 - All will know God - How long,
19) Eph 2:7 - His grace shown in the ages to come - Have
we judged Him before the time?
20) Titus 2:11 - Grace has appeared to all - Experientially
21) Rm 8:19-21 - Creation set at liberty - How much
22) Col 1:20 - All reconciled unto God - There's
that word "all" again.
23) 1Cor 4:5 - All will have praise of God - What
24) Jms 5:11 - End of the Lord is full of mercy - Is
25) Rev 15:4 - All nations worship when God's
judgments are seen - Could His judgment be mercy?
26) Rm 11:32 - All subject to unbelief, mercy
on all - All?
27) Rm 11:36 - All out of, through, and into Him
- ALL into Him?
28) Eph 4:10 - Jesus will fill all things - Including
29) Rev 5:13 - All creation seen praising God
30) 1Cor 15:28 - God will be all in all
- What does that mean, preacher?
31) Rev 21:4,5 - No more tears, all things made
new - ALL made new?
32) Jn 5:25 - All dead who hear will live - How
many will hear?
33) Jn 5:28 - All in the grave will hear &
come forth - How will the "righteous" judge, judge?
34) 1 Cor 3:15 - All saved, so as by fire - How
can fire save you?
35) Mk 9:49 - Everyone shall be salted with fire
- Including you?
36) Rm 11:15 - Reconciliation of the world - Will
fire save the world instead of destroy it?
37) 2Cor 5:15 - Jesus died for all - Did He
died in vain?
38) Jn 8:29 - Jesus always does what pleases His
Father - What pleases the Father? (1Tim 2:4)
39) Heb 1:2 - Jesus is Heir of all things - Does
"things" include people?
40) Jn 17:2 - Jesus gives eternal life to all
that His Father gave Him - How many did the Father give Him?
41) Jn 3:35 - The Father gave Him all things -
for emphasis) Study the word "things" in the Greek.
42) 1 Tim 4:9-11 - Jesus is Savior of all! - Can't
seem to get away from that word "all."
43) Heb. 7:25 - Jesus is able to save to the uttermost
- How far is "uttermost?"
44) 1 Cor 15:26 - Last enemy, death, will be destroyed
- Including "lake of fire" which is "second death?"
45) Is 46:10 - God will do all His pleasure -
Old Testament agree with the New?
46) Gen 18:18 - All families of the earth will
be blessed - Here comes that word "all" again.
47) Dan 4:35 - God's will done in heaven and earth -
can defeat His will?
48) Ps 66:3,4 - Enemies will submit to God - Can any
stay rebellious in "hell?"
49) Ps 90:3 - God turns man to destruction, then says
return - How can one return from "destruction?"
50) Is 25:7 - Will destroy veil spread over all
nations - All nations?
51) Deut 32:39 - He kills and makes alive - Kills
to bring life?
52) Ps 33:15 - God fashions all hearts - "All"
hearts, including men like "Hitler?"
53) Prv 16:9 - Man devises, God directs his steps - What
about "free will?"
54) Prv 19:21 - Man devises, but God's counsel stands
- So much for "free will."
55) La 3:31,32 - God will not cast off forever - Why
does He cast off in the first place? (1 Cor 11)
56) Is 2:2 - All nations shall flow to the Lord's
house - ALL nations?
57) Ps 86:9 - All nations will worship Him - ALL
58) Is 45:23 - All descendants of Israel justified
- Including the wicked ones?
59) Ps 138:4 - All kings will praise God - Are
you catching on?
60) Ps 65:2-4 - All flesh will come to God - That
61) Ps 72:18 - God only does wondrous things - I wish
we would believe that.
62) Is 19:14,15 - Egypt & Assyria will be restored
63) Ezk 16:55 - Sodom will be restored to former estate
- Sounds impossible.
64) Jer 32:17 - Nothing is too difficult for Him - Nothing?
65) Ps 22:27 - All ends of the earth will turn
to Him - For what purpose?
66) Ps 22:27 - All families will worship before
Him - Praise His name!
67) Ps 145:9 - He is good to all - Including
your worst enemies.
68) Ps 145:9 - His mercies are over all his works
- Let's start believing that.
69) Ps 145:14 - He raises all who fall - Who
hasn't fallen in sin?
70) Ps 145:10 - All His works will praise Him
For "eternal torment?"
71) Is 25:6 - Lord makes a feast for all people - And
you are invited.
72) Jer 32:35 - Never entered His mind to torture his
children with fire. This came from the carnal mind.
73) Jn 6:44 - No one can come to Him unless He draws
them. You can't "choose" to follow Him.
74) Jn 12:32 - I will draw all mankind unto Myself
75) Ps 135:6 - God does what pleases Him - If it pleases
Him to save all that He might be in all, are you upset?
Appendix Four - What Pleases Our
This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,
who desires ("will have" in some translations) all men to be saved
and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one
Mediator between God and men the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom
for all, to be testified in due time . . . (1 Tim 2:3-6). 1 John
4:14 tells us that the Father sent the Son to be Savior of the world.
John 3:35 tells us that the Father has given all into Jesus' hands.
If it is the desire of the Father to save all and He has given Jesus
all power and authority to do his will, why don't we believe Him? "This
is the will of the Father Who sent Me, that of all He has given
Me, I should lose nothing, but raise it up at the last day." (John 6:39)
The Father has given all into His hands. (John 3:35)
The previous list of Scriptures speak very plainly of
the salvation of everyone born under the sun. So why doesn't everyone simply
believe these Scriptures and rejoice? There are three main reasons why.
First, most people are vengeful. They do not want all
to receive forgiveness. As racists always need someone to look down on,
so also, some Christians cannot enjoy their salvation apart from seeing
others being denied theirs. They do not want anyone hired at the last hour
of the day receiving the same wages as themselves. They do not think this
There was a time when I wanted vengeance. I wanted many
people to "get what they deserved." But then a day came in my life, when
I was brought to the realization that apart from God's grace, I was no
better or more righteous than anyone else on the face of this earth. Even
before God manifested Himself to us, His grace was present in different
Where we are born, tragic moments in our lives we did
not plan, our upbringing, the form and condition of our bodies which we
were placed in - all these a a host of many other things shaped how we
view ourselves, God, and others. I am no better than the worst of men.
In Adam, we are all consigned to death. Death is death. It is foolish to
speak of anyone being higher than anyone else in death. The size of one's
tombstone does not raise one above another. Dead flesh pretty much smells
the same. In Adam, we are all consigned to death, from Hitler to mother
Theresa. "By grace are we saved, through grace, it is a gift from God not
of works, lest anyone should boast."
When John and James wanted to bring fire down on the
heads of the Samaritans for not believing the Gospel, Jesus' words to them
are still appropriate for many church members: "You do not know what manner
of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's
lives, but to save them." Are these the words you will hear one day? (Luke
9:54-56) I don't.
The second reason we seem to be unable to see this wonderful
truth, and this is why it took me so long to clearly see this wonderful
truth, is that many Bibles have been tainted with the pagan doctrines of
the dark ages. Roman Catholicism absorbed every dark thought it came in
contact with. The early reformators, who first brought the scriptures into
every day languages, were still deeply entrenched with the false doctrines
of the dark ages. What the early reformators did to the Anabaptists perhaps
gives an indication of how little the reformation actually changed things
in Europe. Thousands of Anabaptists were killed by Lutherans, Calvinists
and followers of other reformators. These reformators brought forth the
early Bibles in common European languages. The imperfect and often intolerable
doctrines of some of these men found their way into the early Bibles. These
early Bibles still have a profound effect on modern translators. As a result,
there are still a few lingering passages grossly mistranslated in our Bibles.
Many leading English Bibles actually teach all three main concepts of salvation,
that is, eternal torment for many, annihilation for many, and the salvation
of all mankind. All three cannot be true.
Thirdly, mankind has a natural tendency to stay with
what we are most familiar with, even if it is untrue. The King James Bible
uses English which is almost four hundred years old. Word meanings often
drastically change, often within a short period of time. There are many
words in the King James Bible, for example, that have a different meanings
today than when this Bible was first written. Therefore we can no longer
determine the meaning of the original languages. The word "let" in modern
English, for example, means to "allow." In the seventeen century, when
the King James Bible was written, "let" often meant just the opposite.
In 2 Thess. 2:7, "he who now letteth will let," the word "let" means to
restrain, just the opposite of the modern definition of the word. Many
key words in Bibles such as the King James do not convey the meaning they
had when written and therefore do not convey the meaning of the original
Greek and Hebrew. A thorough study of the etymology of the word "damn"
will show this word no longer convey the meaning of that word as used in
sixteen century England. It was a legal term simply meaning "loss" and
did not contain the theological overtone we associate with the word due
to religious influence the church has had on this word. The word today
has a much stronger meaning than it once had.
Another reason people cannot see is because many political,
religious, and economic powers have found "fear of hell" to be an extremely
effective power to keep the masses in subjection. It was effective for
ancient monarchs who held their kingdoms together with fear, and it is
effective even today for modern political, business, or religious tyrants.Other
reasons would include:
Failure to hold on to clear statements of God's sovereignty,
foreknowledge, power, omniscience, purpose of creation, and unconditional
Failure to believe direct statements of Scripture declaring
the ultimate salvation of all through the saving work of Jesus Christ.
Pulling judgment Scriptures out of context and putting them
into an end-time scenario when, in fact, they deal with other ages. Scriptures
speak of at least two ages to come. (Eph. 2:7)
Injection of Roman/Greek concepts such as the immortality
of the soul into church teaching. Adam was removed from the tree of life
lest he eat it. He was not immortal.
Satan's power and authority to deceive.
Failure to see that "Love never fails!" (1 Cor. 13:8)
His mercy endures forever." (1 Chron. 16:41) "Mercy triumphs over judgment."
Failure to see our miserable condition. We speak about "God
love." We know we are supposed to have it, even for our enemies, but we
fall short without acknowledging it. Therefore, we become blind while saying
we see. We find ourselves boasting about our righteousness not seeing we
have become blind and naked.
There is certainly much boasting in the church. This
boasting will be dealt with when the Rock falls in judgment on His people.
It fell on Israel in 70 A.D. Too few Christians have read, far less learned
the lesson from Jerusalem's destruction. The Pharisee in Jesus' day was
no better than the Hitler of our times. When we truly see, we come to realized
that apart from the grace of God, we could have been, and perhaps we are,
the Pharisee disguised in Christian clothing. I know for certain, that
apart from His grace, I am not only no better than the worst of Pharisees,
but am also capable of being a Hitler. A Christian who cannot say that
about themselves still has room for growth. But more important than saying
it, is knowing it! Gary Amirault BACK
Appendix Five - What if we are Wrong?
Those who have seen the fullness of the Plan of Redemption
are often asked, "What if you are wrong? You will then find yourself in
the very 'Hell' which you preach against and furthermore find yourself
an accomplice to having led many to Hell. But if what you say is correct,
then my belief in Hell will still get me to heaven. I can't lose with my
beliefs but you can sure lose with your beliefs."
First of all, anyone with just a slightly open mind,
can see there are quite a few Scriptures to support eternal punishment,
annihilation, or the salvation of all mankind through Jesus Christ. Throughout
the centuries there have been sincere Christians in all these groups. Even
Augustine, the champion of eternal torment said in his day, "There are
very many (imo quam plurimi, which can be translated majority) who though
not denying the Holy Scriptures, do not believe in endless torments."
(Enchiria, ad Laurent. c. 29) St. Basil the Great (c. 329-379) in his De
Asceticis wrote: "The mass of men (Christians) say that there is
to be an end of punishment to those who are punished."
Now if all three positions seem to have Scriptural grounds,
this presents a problem for some. The solution to the problem is found
in Matthew 16:17.
You see, apart from the spirit of revelation, which comes
from above and not from ourselves, the Bible can really be made to say
anything we want it to say. Look at the thousands of denominations each
based upon differences of interpretation of basically the same Bible. Most
Christian cults are even more intense in Bible study than average church-goers
and they often come up with some very bizarre teachings. Most people are
usually sincere in their beliefs. They really believe they have the truth.
But until we have what Peter received when Jesus asked him Who He was ...
until then, we only have knowledge which gets filtered through our culturally
conditioned mind. The Scriptures, apart from the spirit of revelation often
produces horrible systems of belief. Few of us are honest enough with ourselves
to cry out to God to be completely set free from the traditions of men,
from cultural, parental, political mind-sets which effect how we read the
The teaching of eternal torment has permeated the Western
civilization for about 1500 years. Few realize the early believers were
not indoctrinated into this mind-set by Christian leaders. Today it is
not long before a child, even though never having read a Bible. is exposed
to the doctrine of eternal torment as fact. It is important to be absolutely
certain regarding such an important subject whether we are reading the
Bible through pre-conditioned eyes or through enlightenment by the Holy
Spirit. Ask God to reveal through the spirit of revelation all of His attributes
and character. One must not know His love, power, omnipresence, mercy through
words on a page, one must receive these things by the spirit. Then the
Bible will be read with clear eyes of understanding. Then the Bible will
confirm what the spirit has revealed.
Peter did not believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of
God because he properly interpreted the Scriptures prophesying a Messiah.
It was revealed to him by our Father. Upon this is the body of Christ
built, not upon Bible interpretation. Interpretation produces division,
revelation supported with Scripture produces unity. Revelation first, then
the Scriptures will witness to the revelation.
A person may read the Bible and believe what he reads
based upon the fact that people have told him it was the word of God. Some
may read it because it is the most widely published book in the world.
A person may decide to go to church and become a Baptist, Methodist, etc.,
as a result and yet still not have true understanding. The natural mind
may spend years studying the Bible and produce very carnal and often very
evil systems of belief. I was amazed reading a Ku Klux Klan paper at how
often they quoted Scripture to justify their hate. How are we delivered
from this deception? Humility, brokenness, sincerity of heart, child-like
faith, a willingness to acknowledge that we really know very little of
the ways of the Creator of the Universe, these are some of the steps to
deliverance. But true deliverance comes when the spirit of revelation brings
The problem with this method is that it smacks contrary
to the Bible study mentality based upon the creeds, articles of faith,
denominational position statements, etc. It contradicts the typical "Bible
study" mind-set of most fundamental evangelical systems. These systems
are full of leaders and laity who just pass on the tradition of the elders
through reading the Bible with preconceived ideas of what it should say.
Then, when one comes along reading the same Bible and comes to a different
interpretation, these people know they are right and the other individual
is wrong. Why, because it doesn't line up with what they have already decided
was the right interpretation. They become locked into the "tradition of
the elders." They have quenched the Holy Spirit. They will not stop talking
about the Holy Spirit, but nevertheless, they will have made the word of
God of none effect through their traditions. One should deeply reflect
upon the words of our Lord and Savior Who said, "Thus have ye made the
commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. [Ye] hypocrites, well
did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with
their mouth, and honoureth me with [their] lips; but their heart is far
from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching [for] doctrines the commandments
Now concerning most of those who believe in the salvation
of all mankind, most of those I have met who believe in this teaching,
have come to this conclusion by revelation and/or intense study of the
Bible, church history, language studies, etc. They often are severely persecuted
for their beliefs, not by the world systems, but by the church systems.
They have cried out in earnestness to our Father for truth because they
would have gladly abandoned this teaching to avoid the severe persecution
which their entire family suffers at the hands of the "orthodox." We are
not masochists. We do not long for cold stares, whisperings behind our
backs, hate letters, being called wolves, anti-Christ, and a host of other
defaming names. Could we wash away this humiliation and be accepted by
our other Christian brothers and sisters, we would most gladly give up
this rejection up, but not at the cost of maligning the precious name of
our Father. We would rather receive the praises from above than compromise
the glory of our Father and exchange it for the praises from man.
The Scriptures declare to, "Study to shew yourselves
approved." Having been in the "Hell-fire brand of theology and in the camp
of the Saints who have entered into their rest, I can say from years of
observation that those who believe in the Salvation of All Mankind are
usually more diligent in their endeavor to study the Scriptures and "sincere
prayers" with proper motives than those locked up in the fear of "eternal
torments." Those who embrace the Lamb of God slain for the "sin" (singular)
of the whole world, discover the truth that Paul was certainly correct
in his assessment that the height, length, breadth, and width of God's
Love was immeasurable. There is no end to it and "Love never fails." Those
embracing the Eternal Tormentor can never discover these and hundreds of
Scriptures to ever come true because their "heaven" is usually much smaller
than their "Hell."
And this should cause one to seriously think. When we
look at the ultra-fundamentalist whose judgments, whose finger pointing,
whose dogmatism has relegated the most to "Hell" through their supposed
"Scriptural proofs," these individuals are the ones who do not exhibit
the characteristic traits we find in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
The traits of those who have painted the largest "Hell" are those who look
more like the Pharisees who Jesus condemned as "sons of hell" making their
converts "two times the sons of hell (gehenna) as themselves." ("You will
know them by their fruit," not by their theology. There is the key.
Observe for yourself. Look at those preachers and Christians
who spend the most time warning of "Hell," and judgment day. The more "Hell
and damnation" they preach, the more unlike Christ they appear. This should
tell you something. The more an individual glorifies God and His power
to save, the more an individual rests from their labors, their boasts,
their judgmental ways, their vindictive spirits...in other words, those
who believe in an absolutely Sovereign God Whose Love has ceased striving
in their works and have entered into the "rest" promised them. They can
begin to enter into the labor of the Lord which brings forth fruits of
righteousness, not "self-"righteousness produced from labors of religion.
A person who is still in their own works cannot bring forth the fruit of
the kingdom. They can talk about "agape" love, but they can't manifest
it. They can only manifest "Moses, the law-giver" who is dead and can only
bring forth death. The "letter of the law" kills. Those who still serve
as "Hagar and her son" cannot receive the promises the Scriptures hold
out. Those who have ceased from their labors have an assurance built on
a substance which, although not seen, is more sure than the substance of
religion which is nothing more than the traditions of men brought forth
by carnal minds.
But what of those whose mentality says, "My belief in
a "Hell of torture" is "safer" to believe because at least that way I am
sure of being "in"-what can we ascertain from such a view? If they are
wrong, then they spent their entire life maligning God's name and character
to the whole of creation. But they will say, "Well, God will understand.
I just wanted to be sure I was in." What kind of spirit is this? Do not
the Scriptures tell us that the "fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom?"
The fear spoken of here is a reverence, a respect, a lifting up His being
above our own. It speaks of exalting Him, magnifying Him, glorifying Him.
Those who preach a "Hell" because it is "safer" reveal to the world they
are thinking of themselves, not of glorifying God in the highest. They
have given themselves away. It is clear this kind of person has not laid
down their lives. They are still very much into themselves. They cannot
enter into the promised "rest." Their "religious works" will hopefully
"earn" them a place in the kingdom.
A religious person is probably the most "stinky" thing
on the face of the earth. But amazingly, that kind of individual loves
their own stink and no one can dissuade them from it. This kind of individual
is locked in their own "hell" already and seek to enlarge it by bringing
others under their power. The church buildings of the world and the temples
of the world are full of these kind of people-putting burdens upon the
backs of God's people which the Lord did not command-placing fear into
their minds which never allows them to enter into the rest of the Good
Shepherd-fleecing and devouring the sheep for the benefit of their own
religious kingdom, no matter how small, even if it is as small as their
own family over which they can rule as a tyrant, locking out the love of
God by filling their little minds with fear. I am speaking right now, not
only from observing the lives of others, but from my own personal experience.
I am guilty of operating in this spirit. So please do not think I am throwing
stones at others.
What can I say about this self-serving mentality that
the religious mind is so poisoned by? A mentality that thinks preaching
"hell" is safer than to seriously study, truly cry out to the Lord, truly
lay down one's life that they may cease from striving in their own self-righteousness.
What can I say to dissuade such a narrow-minded and small heart, one who
cares more for themselves than the Name and Character of their God? I can
say nothing to that heart which it can hear. But I can say to you, dear
reader, that the Scriptures declare, "You will know them by their fruit."
Look at the life of such a person, and you will discover what kind of tree
it is. There are "Trees of Righteousness," and there are "trees of self-righteousness,"
commonly called "religious." Just because someone doesn't "drink, cuss,
or smoke," that doesn't make one "righteous." We have all seem that often
the greatest "law-keepers" are also the greatest tyrants.
Now our Father will certainly have to make some kind
of provision for these souls. Imagine, the very heaven they hope to attain
would become the very "Hell" they hoped to escape. How could anyone live
in a place of perfect love created by the One Who loved so much that He
gave His life-how could a person who told people here on earth that this
very One was going to torture many of His own sons and daughters in the
most diabolical ways and never cease this activity-how could that individual
live with themselves? Every time they saw Jesus lovingly embrace one of
those who surely should have been roasting in hell, the conscience would
gnaw at that individual, reminding them of the picture of Jesus they described
on earth, one who took His enemies and did to them what no human being
could ever do-torture them ceaselessly, forever and ever, without even
taking a break! Talk about a "worm that dyeth not." There is a worm
which would gnaw at their conscience and make heaven "Hell."
These "religious folks" often say that this world would
be a mess if we took away the teaching of an "eternal Hell." This shows
two things about this individual. First, they obviously do not study. If
they did, they would discover that there was a church which preached an
"eternal Hell" and had complete control of the government, economic system,
and religious system. It should have manifested the kingdom of God. But
what it produced was the "dark ages." The Roman Catholic Church has used
the doctrine of eternal torment for centuries and it has never manifested
the kingdom of God nor its righteousness, but just the opposite. Study
European history, which is nothing more than church history. See what thousands
of wars, killings, hatred, and decedent societies the doctrine of eternal
torment has wrought upon the earth.
Then spend some time studying the lives of some of those
who have embraced the "Larger Hope," those who have been redeemed by the
Lamb, those who have laid down their lives and exchanged them for the life
of Christ Who lays down His Life. Look into the fruit of their lives. Compare
the lives of those who have written the most about Hell, judgment, damnation
and compare them with those who write about love, glory, mercy. Look into
their lives and you will see we become what is the passion in our heart.
A heart full of hate will love to write about "Hell and judgment." A heart
full of love will want to write about glorious things. They try to live
in peace and seek to spread that peace to others. They look to the author
and finisher of their faith, the author of the love in their hearts and
hope to plant that love into another heart. They look into the very Kingdom
of God itself and express the joy of their salvation and that joy encompassed
all of creation. They do not lust after your possessions, for they have
been given the Kingdom. They do not seek to "sin" because they know that
the wages of sin is "death," death to the joy, love, and peace that is
in their hearts and they would not trade the short pleasures of sin for
the fruit of the kingdom because they have tasted of both and have developed
a taste for the fruit from above which is the only thing which will satisfy
the hunger of a spiritual person.
A religious mind cannot fathom that. It still is chained
to the lusts of the flesh and whips it to obedience through the Laws of
Moses. It does not understand the higher Law which Christ brought, the
Law of Love, the New Commandment. The Law of Moses says "Love your neighbor
as yourself." But most people are self-condemned. They do not love themselves
and so to "love their neighbor as themselves" gives them the right to actually
hate their neighbor and still fulfill the Law of Moses. But the New Commandment,
the Law of Life in Christ Jesus commands us to love our neighbor more than
ourselves. This can only be done by laying down our own lives and taking
on the Life Who laid down His life for the whole world, including the enemies,
ours and God's.
"He who clings to his life shall love it, but he who
loses his life for my sake will find it." Lay down your life today,
for "His sake," that He may be magnified in your life and declared to all
of creation, and you will also discover that He is indeed and in deed,
the Savior of the whole world.
Until then, remember, "you will know them by their fruit."
"This order of mine has no other object than to promote
the love which issues from a clean heart, a good conscience, and a sincere
and genuine faith. There are some people who have aimed at all the wrong
things. They have lost the right way and have ended up in a welter of arid
and futile speculative discussions. They would like to be instructors in
the Christian ethic, but in fact they do not know what they are talking
about, and they have no proper understanding of the things on which they
lay so much stress." (I Timothy 1:5-8, William Barclay Translation)
Pray for that genuine Love from above which will clean
our hearts, produce a good conscience, and establish a sincere and genuine
faith. Then the Scriptures will unfold in a new and wonderful way revealing
the plan of our Father's redemption of all things unto Himself through
Jesus Christ. BACK
Original article found at: http://www.members.cox.net/tmurr10/aswundivided.html