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Monday, January 12, 2009
The Meaning of Everlasting, Eternal and Forever in the Bible
What are the true meaning of the words everlasting, eternal and foreverin the bible? Do you know the meaning of these words?
It seems obvious that these words mean the same thing right, which is “never ending, non stop, continuously and forever with no end.”
Ok these are our modern day words meaning forever but The Greek word translated “forever and ever” is the word ‘aion’ which has a limit, and doesn’t mean forever.
These words were always used in reference to time when used in Hebrew and Greek writings. It could be used to describe a person’s lifetime (their age), or even a longer time period, like the 1,000 years in the millennia, or even an unknown time period, but however long the period is, it does has an end to it.
Let’s look at one of the verses that are commonly used to prove the doctrine of everlasting punishment.
Take a look at Revelation 14:11. “And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.”
The words “for ever and ever” comes from the Greek word “aion” which has a limit and doesn’t mean eternality, so in Rev. 14:11 there’s a time period to be tormented. How long? Only God knows.
The word "aion" has been used by Greek classical writers to reference to “limited duration” and not “eternal.”
Although this word doesn't mean “eternal or forever” but there were only one word that came the closest to our English word “eternal” and that word is “aidios”.
Here is a scripture where “aidios” is used in Romans 1:20
"For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse”
As you can see why this makes so much sense. “Eternal” literally means “eternal” because it’s translated from “aidios”.
The Bible always uses the word “aion” (age, limited time) when speaking of the future punishment of unrepentant sinners.
Check out this verse in Matthew 25:46"And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal."
The thing is, at first glance most people would think that this means eternal, which is does, but “everlasting punishment” is definitely everlasting, but the punishment is death, meaning their death will last forever with NO hope of a resurrection. That the purpose of a second death right?
Is there a reason to be resurrected after a second death?
The purpose of the first resurrection is to be judged, so sinners involved in the second death have no purpose for another resurrection because they've already been judged in the first resurrection.
Here’s a few verses that speaks about the second death for un-repented sinners…
"And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death." (Revelation 20:14)
"Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years." (Revelation 20:6)
"He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death." (Revelation 2:11)
What’s this about the second death? We can discuss more about that in another post.
Knowing the meaning for "AION" and other Greek and Hebrew words when translated to everlasting, forever and eternal is a must to get a full understanding.
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