Foreverorlongtime

John Gill’s comments on Jeremiah 23:40 are telling. But first, who was he?

2941016._UY630_SR1200,630_Wikipedia says John Gill was an English Baptist pastor, biblical scholar, and theologian who held to a firm Calvinistic soteriology. Born in Kettering, Northamptonshire, he attended Kettering Grammar School where he mastered the Latin classics and learned Greek by age 11

 Jeremiah 23:40  And I will bring an everlasting reproach upon you, and a perpetual shame, which shall not be forgotten.’ “

Here are Gill’s comments 

And I will bring an everlasting reproach upon you,…. Which was a just retaliation for reproaching, vilifying, and bantering his word: they who had been honoured so much and so long as the people of God, and their city counted the glory of the earth; yet now both they and that should be the byword of the people, and had in the utmost contempt, and that for ever, or at least a long time, even for a series of ages; which has been their case ever since their destruction by the Romans, and still is; for this cannot be restrained to the short captivity of seventy years in Babylon; though this reproach began then, and they never recovered their former honour and glory;
and a perpetual shame, which shall not be forgotten; the same thing in different words, to heighten their disgrace, and confirm the perpetuity of it.

Everlasting reproach upon Jerusalem is not forever…but as Gill says a long time even a series of ages. Let the reader understand that the words translated as everlasting, forever, eternal in the English Bible have been translated WRONGLY!! Gill knew that in his time for he had studied Greek.

What on earth am I saying!?

Look a bit deeper please dear reader. What is the Hebrew word that has been translated as everlasting in this text? It is the word “olam olam”.

Here is the verse in Hebrew with Strong’s numbers.

ונתתיH5414 עליכםH5921 חרפתH2781 עולםH5769 וכלמותH3640 עולםH5769 אשׁרH834 לאH3808 תשׁכח׃H7911 

The Greek old testament uses the comparative word in Greek to olam…which is aionian or aionios from the root word aion from which we get the English eon…or an age of time.

Screenshot from 2019-04-25 07-57-48

“Apostolic Bible Polyglot” – a Septuagint version or Greek translation of Hebrew Old Testament on left —with King James Version on Right.

The Greek Septuagint uses G166 aionios in Jeremiah 23:40 to convey the meaning of the Hebrew Olam olam H5769.

Of G166 Vine says   ” aionios describes duration, either undefined but not endless, as in Rom 16:25; 2Ti 1:9; Tit 1:2; or undefined because endless as in Rom 16:26, and the other sixty-six places in the NT.

The translators use aionios to convey the same meaning as olam olam.

All throughout the old testament olam olam has been given the meaning of forever, everlasting, eternal. Yet it only means that when it is applied to God or His attributes.

Thus a literal version will not twist the meaning of olam to be forever or everlasting. For example The Young’s Literal Translation of Jer 23:40 reads…

Jer 23:40  And I have put on you reproach age-during, And shame age-during that is not forgotten! 

And Rotherham’s Emphasized Bible has

23:40 and will give unto you reproach age–abiding,––and disgrace age–abiding, which shall not be forgotten.

If the reproach God placed upon Israel is truly everlasting then how can Israel ever be saved? How can God’s words to them and indeed to all of us be fulfilled?

Is the sacrifice of Jesus truly able to take away all our reproach for all our sins or not? Not according to the translation teams of most versions of the Bible!!

According to most translators everlasting reproach shall be upon Israel forever!! We know as Christians that that simply cannot be the case for God has said He will restore and save Israel.

Instead of pointing at and examining the translation we make up all kinds of theologies to explain how God can still place reproach everlasting upon Israel and save them at the same time. It is absolute BALONEY!!

We desperately want to protect our assumed definition of olam and aionios as forever and everlasting because the false definition undergirds our ‘Eternal punishment in burning fire’  doctrines. If olam and aionios do not mean everlasting in Jer 23:40…then friends, it does not mean eternal and everlasting in the New Testament either!!

It was St Augustine who was raised in the Latin classics just like John Gill was over a thousand years after him. But the difference was that John Gill was also well trained in Greek…whereas Augustine knew nothing of the language…or Hebrew for that matter.

And it was Augustine who argued that if our salvation is eternal then the punishment allotted to the wicked must also be equal..that is eternal punishment. This is based upon Matthew 25:41 and 46.

But as I have briefly shown you, aionios and olam do not mean everlasting, they properly mean an AGE OF TIME…LONG OR SHORT DURATION BUT NEVER ETERNAL!!

Matthew 25:41 and 46 in Rotherham’s Emphasized Bible.

25:41 Then, will he say unto those also, on his left hand: Depart ye from me, accursed
ones! Into the ageabiding fire, which hath been prepared for the adversary and his
messengers;

25:46 And, these, shall go away, into, age–abiding, correction, but, the righteous, into, age–abiding, life.

Age abiding is not eternal or everlasting. Rotherham knew Greek. Even the so called everlasting life the believer has is not technically eternal. It is the Life of the Age to come…or ‘life pertaining to the age'(aion).

But because the Life we have received is Jesus Christ in us…then that Life is eternal Life for it is the Life of God Himself.

But the correction in Mtt 25:46 is not eternal everlasting correction…..Think!!

God corrects patiently so that the one being corrected changes. The word is not punish….but correct. Do you correct your child…or just punish him? God is Love, and He does correct us…faithfully and patiently…until , as long as it takes, until we repent.

The translators have sown a monstrous tare into God’s word and blasphemed His heart and name. They have caused His children to have the wrong view of Him. They have made of God our loving Father a tyrant, a heartless torturer…which is not the Father, but Lucifer himself.

 

 

I first read Gerry Beauchemin’s book about 6 or 7 years ago and it confirmed in my spirit what my heavenly Father had been trying to show me. The internal contradiction of a loving heavenly Father who threatens us with eternal rejection if we do not obey Him had been bringing me into a pit of depression and anger, mixed with self accusation and self loathing…turning to despair. Gerry’s book-Hope Beyond Hell is one that God gifted me with in those dark days and set me free!  The other is The Savior of the World series by Preston Eby.


Further Study Links (Below)

From “Hope Beyond Hell” Chapter 1 pages 21-31

By Gerry Beauchemin- Hope Beyond Hell

Aion

The Greek word “aion” (and its adjective “aionian”) is mostly translated “eternal,” “everlasting,” and for “ever” in the King James Version. However, some translations read “age-abiding,” “age-during,” or “eon,” as noted below. “Robert Young, author of the highly respected Young’s Analytical Concordance, in his literal translation of the Bible, always translates them as ‘age’ and never once as ‘everlasting,’ or ‘eternal.’”1

Old Testament (Greek Septuagint)

In History of Opinions on the Scriptural Doctrine of Retribution, Edward Beecher, D.D., pointed out:

The Septuagint is the Greek translation of the Old Testament and was the Bible of the early church. The word aion occurs in it about four hundred times in every variety of combination. The adjective aionios derived from it, is used over one hundred times.…Aion denoted an age, great or small, so the adjective aionios expressed the idea pertaining to or belonging to the aion, whether great or small. But in every case this adjective derives its character and duration from the aion to which it refers.2

In the Septuagint the Greek word, aion, is used to translate the Hebrew word olam. Thus, if we want to get a sense of the N.T. meaning of aion, we need to understand the meaning of olam in the O.T. Numerous passages referring to olam show clearly it cannot mean “never-ending” in those texts. Note these few:

¨ Jonah was in the fish forever [olam]. But only until he left three days later (Jon. 1:17; 2:6).

¨ Sodom’s fiery judgment is eternal [olam]. But only until God returns them to their former state (Ez. 16:53-55; Ju. 7).

¨ A Moabite is forbidden to enter the Lord’s congregation forever [olam]. But only until the 10th generation. (De. 23:3).

¨ Hills are everlasting [olam]. But only until made low and the earth is burned up (Ge. 49:26; De. 33:15; Is. 40:4; 2Pe. 3:10).

¨ Mountains are everlasting [olam]. But only until they are scattered (Hab. 3:6).

¨ A slave serves his master forever [olam]. But only until death ends his servitude (Ex. 21:6).

¨ The Mosaic covenant is everlasting [olam]. But only until it vanishes away (Le. 24:8; He. 8:7-13).

¨ The Aaronic priesthood is everlasting [olam]. But only until the likeness of Melchizedek arises (Ex. 40:15; Nu. 25:13; He. 7:14-22).

¨ These “stones” are to be a memorial forever [olam]. Where are they now (Jos. 4:7)?

¨ The leprosy of Naaman shall cling forever [olam]. But only until his death, of course (2K. 5:27).

¨ God dwells in Solomon’s temple forever [olam]. But only until it is destroyed (2Ch. 7:16; 1K 8:13; 9:3).

¨ Animal sacrifices were to be offered forever [olam]. But only until ended by the work of Christ (2Ch. 2:4; He. 7:11-10:18).

¨ Circumcision was an everlasting [olam] covenant. But only until the new covenant (Ge. 17:9-13; 1Co. 7:19; Ga. 5:6).

¨ Israel’s judgment lasts forever [olam]. But only until the Spirit is poured out and God restores it (Is. 32:13-15).

¨ I will make you an eternal [olam] excellence. But only until many generations (Is. 60:15).

As we can see, olam does not mean “eternal” though it can last a very long time. Also, “forever and ever” is not an accurate translation. How can you add “ever” to “forever?” The literal translation is “for the eon [olam] and further.” This makes sense. The Concordant Version Old Testament is consistent here. Consider two examples:

¨ He [David] asked life from You; You will give it to him: Length of days for an eon [olam] and further (Ps. 21:4 CVOT).

¨ He has founded the earth on its bases. It shall never slip for

the eon [olam] and further (Ps. 104:5 CVOT).

Even passages that do not use the word olam, but signify unchanging, are not so when God is involved. Nothing can deter Him from achieving His purposes. For example:

¨ Israel’s affliction is incurable. But only until the Lord restores health and heals her wounds (Jer. 30:12, 17).

¨ Samaria’s wounds are incurable. But only until the Lord brings them back and restores them (Mic. 1:9; Ez. 16:53).

¨ Egypt and Elam will rise no more. But only until the Lord brings back their captives (Jer. 25:27; 49:39; Ez. 29:14).

¨ Moab is destroyed. But only until the Lord brings back the captives of Moab (Jer. 48:4, 42, 47).

New Testament

Consider the N. T. use of aion. Does “eternity” make any sense in the following passages? To make my point unmistakable, I have translated the Greek word aion with the English word “eternity.”

¨ What will be the sign…of the end of the eternity (Mt. 24:3)?

¨ I am with you…to the end of the eternity (Mt. 28:20).

¨ The sons of this eternity are more shrewd (Lu. 16:8).

¨ The sons of this eternity marry (Lu. 20:34).

¨ Worthy to attain that eternity (Lu. 20:35).

¨ Since the eternity began (Jn. 9:32; Ac. 3:21).

¨ Conformed to this eternity (Ro. 12:2).

¨ Mystery kept secret since the eternity began but now made manifest (Ro. 16:25-26).

¨ Where is the disputer of this eternity (1Co. 1:20)?

¨ Wisdom of this eternity, nor of the rulers of this eternityordained before the eternitieswhich none of the rulers of this eternity (1Co. 2:6-8)

¨ Wise in this eternity (1Co. 3:18).

¨ Upon whom the ends of the eternities have come.
(1Co. 10:11)

¨ God of this eternity has blinded (2Co. 4:4).

¨ Deliver us from this present evil eternity (Ga. 1:4).

¨ Not only in this eternity but also in that which is to come (Ep. 1:21).

¨ Walked according to the eternity of this world (Ep. 2:2).

¨ In the eternities to come (Ep. 2:7).

¨ From the beginnings of the eternities (Ep. 3:9).

¨ Hidden from eternities…but now…revealed (Col. 1:26).

¨ Loved this present eternity (2Ti. 4:10).

¨ Receive him for eternity (Ph.1:15). Does this mean forever or only until Onesimus dies?

¨ Powers of the eternity to come (He. 6:5).

¨ At the end of the eternities (He. 9:26).

¨ We understand the eternities have been prepared by a saying of God (He. 11:3).

How can we say…

¨ “Before eternity” or “eternity began”? Eternity has no beginning (Jn. 9:32; Ac. 3:21; 1Co. 2:7; Ep. 3:9).

¨ “Present eternity,” “eternity to come,” and “end of eternity?” Eternity transcends time. Only God is eternal (Mt. 24:3; 28:20; 1Co. 10:11; 2Ti. 4:10; He. 6:5; 9:26).

¨ “This eternity,” “that eternity,” or “eternities”? There is only one eternity (Lu. 16:8; 20:34-35; Ro. 12:2; 1Co. 1:20; 2:6-8; 3:18; 10:11; 2Co. 4:4; Ga. 1:4; Ep. 1:21; 2:2, 7; 3:9; Col. 1:26; 2Ti. 4:10; He. 11:3).

¨ “Eternal secret” if the secret is revealed? (Ro. 16:25-26; Col. 1:26). It is no longer a “secret” at that point.

¨ Onesimus will be Philemon’s slave for eternity? Is he still his slave (Phil. 1:15)?

Scores of passages demonstrate that aion is of limited duration. In his book God’s Methods with Man, G. Campbell Morgan (scholar, associate of D.L. Moody, and a highly respected expositor of Scripture), said:

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 use 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. The strongest Scripture word used with reference to the existence of God, is—“unto the ages of the ages,” which does not literally mean eternally.3

In his Word Studies in the New Testament, Marvin Vincent, D.D., Baldwin Professor of Sacred Literature at Union Theological Seminary, New York, explained:

Aion, transliterated aeon, is a period of longer or shorter duration, having a beginning and an end, and complete in itself. Aristotle (peri ouravou, i. 9, 15) said, “The period which includes the whole time of one’s life is called the aeon of each one.” Hence, it often means the life of a man, as in Homer, where one’s life (aion) is said to leave him or to consume away (Il v.685; Od v.160). It is not, however, limited to human life. It signifies any period in the course of the millennium, the mythological period before the beginnings of history. The word has not “a stationary and mechanical value” (De Quincey). It does not mean a period of a fixed length for all cases. There are as many aeons as entities, the respective durations of which are fixed by the normal conditions of the several entities. There is one aeon of a human life, another of the life of a nation, another of a crow’s life, another of an oak’s life. The length of the aeon depends on the subject to which it is attached.…The adjective aionious in like manner carries the idea of time. Neither the noun nor the adjective, in themselves, carry the sense of endless or everlasting. They may acquire that sense by their connotation….Aionios means “enduring through” or “pertaining to a period of time.” Both the noun and the adjective are applied to limited periods….Out of the 150 instances in LXX, [Greek Old Testament] four-fifths imply limited duration. For a few instances, see Gen. xlviii. 4; Num. x. 8; xv. 15; Prov. xxii. 28; Jonah ii.6; Hab. iii. 6; Isa lxi. 17.4

So what if the Greek word aion has been erroneously translated “eternal” instead of “age”? What does that have to do with everlasting punishment? It has everything to do with it, since one of the key texts used in defense of the Augustinian view of hell is Mt. 25:46: “And these will go away into everlasting [aionian] punishment.” If this passage as translated here is accurate, then I would have to admit the Bible teaches that punishment is forever. But what if it is not? What if aion does not mean “everlasting”? What would that do to the “biblical support” of an infinite hell? It would negate the use of any verses resting on the word aion used in its defense.

Consider how the following translations word this phrase:

¨ Young’s Literal Translation: “punishment age-during.”

¨ Rotherham Translation: “age-abiding correction.”

¨ Weymouth Translation: “punishment of the ages.”

¨ Concordant Literal Translation: “chastening eonian.”

These reputable translations use the word “age” and not “eternal.” These two concepts are diametrically opposed to one another. They are not the same by any means. An age has a beginning and an end; eternity does not.

Augustine raised the argument that since aionios in Mt. 25:46 referred to both life and punishment, it had to carry the same duration in both cases.5 However, he failed to consider that the duration of aionios is determined by the subject to which it refers. For example, when aionios referred to the duration of Jonah’s entrapment in the fish, it was limited to three days. To a slave, aionios referred to his life span. To the Aaronic priesthood, it referred to the generation preceding the Melchizedek priesthood. To Solomon’s temple, it referred to 400 years. To God it encompasses and transcends time altogether.

Thus, the word cannot have a set value. It is a relative term and its duration depends upon that with which it is associated. It is similar to what “tall” is to height. The size of a tall building can be 300 feet, a tall man six feet, and a tall dog three feet. Black Beauty was a great horse, Abraham Lincoln a great man, and Yahweh the GREAT God. Though God is called “great,” the word “great” is neither eternal nor divine. The horse is still a horse. An adjective relates to the noun it modifies. In relation to God, “great” becomes GREAT only because of who and what God is. This silences the contention that aion must always mean forever because it modifies God. God is described as the God of Israel and the God of Abraham. This does not mean He is not the God of Gentiles, or the God of you and me. Though He is called the God of the “ages,” He nonetheless remains the God who transcends the ages.

In addition, Augustine’s reasoning does not hold up in light of Ro. 16:25, 26 and Hab. 3:6. Here, in both cases, the same word is used twice—with God and with something temporal. “In accord with the revelation of a secret hushed in times eonian, yet manifested now…according to the injunction of the eonian God” (Ro. 16:25, 26 CLT). An eonian secret revealed at some point cannot be eternal even though it is revealed by the eonian God. Eonian does not make God eternal, but God makes eonian eternal. “And the everlasting mountains were scattered.…His ways are everlasting” (Hab. 3:6). Mountains are not eternal, though they will last a very long time. God’s ways however, are eternal, because He is eternal.

Matthew 25:46 contains an additional clue confirming the temporary nature of God’s judgment. The Greek word, translated “punishment,” is kolasis. William Barclay, world-renowned Greek scholar, translator, and author of the popular Bible commentary, The Daily Study Bible and New Testament Words, noted:

The Greek word for punishment here [Mt. 25:46] is kolasis, which was not originally an ethical word at all. It originally meant the pruning of trees to make them grow better. I think it is true to say that in all Greek secular literature kolasis is never used of anything but remedial punishment.6

Thomas Talbott, philosophy professor at Willamette University in Oregon and author of The Inescapable Love of God, explained:

According to Aristotle, there is a difference between revenge and punishment; the latter (kolasis) is inflicted in the interest of the sufferer, the former (timōria) in the interest of him who inflicts it, that he may obtain satisfaction. Plato also appealed to the established meaning of kolasis as support for his theory that virtue could be taught: “For if you will consider punishment (kolasis)…and what control it has over wrong-doers, the facts will inform you that men agree in regarding virtue as procured.” Even where a punishment may seem harsh and unforgiving, more like retribution than parental chastisement, this in no way excludes a corrective purpose. Check out the punishment that Paul prescribes in I Corinthians 5:5. One might never have guessed that, in prescribing such a punishment—that is, delivering a man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh—Paul had in mind a corrective purpose, had Paul not explicitly stated the corrective purpose himself (“that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus”). So as this text illustrates, even harsh punishment of a seemingly retributive kind can in fact serve a redemptive purpose.7-9

“And these will go away into everlasting [aionian] punishment [kolasis], but the righteous into eternal [aionian] life” (Mt. 25:46). Isn’t it ironic that the passage most often used to support everlasting punishment is in fact one strongly opposing it when accurately understood?

Dr. Helena Keizer is a trustworthy authority on the definition of aiōn in ancient Greek literature, including the Bible in the time of Christ. Keizer published a 315-page doctoral dissertation titled: “Life, Time, Entirety – A Study of Aiōn in Greek Literature and Philosophy, the Septuagint and Philo.” Presented on September 7, 1999 in Holland, at Amsterdam University. Keizer stated:

Olām and hence aiōn in the Biblical sense is time constituting the human temporal horizon.”29 “Our study has led to the conclusion that infinity is not an intrinsic or necessary connotation of aiōn, either in the Greek or in the Biblical usage (‘olām).”30 “To speak of ‘this aiōn’, its ‘end,’ and ‘the aiōn to come’ clearly lends to aiōn the meaning of a limited time.”31 “The following description of Gregory of Nyssa…makes a good finishing point for now: ‘Aeon designates temporality, that which occurs within time.’”32

I am pleased to say that Dr. Keizer has given me permission to share her book with others in electronic format.

Terms for Eternity is another scholarly work on aiōn by David Konstan and Ilaria Ramelli. Konstan is the John Rowe Workman Distinguished Professor of Classics and Professor of Comparative Literature, at Brown University in R.I. Ramelli is Assistant Professor of Ancient Philosophy at the Catholic University of Milan, Italy. They agree with the conclusions of Dr. Keizer. They wrote:

“Apart from the Platonic philosophical vocabulary, which is specific to few authors, aiónios does not mean “eternal”; it acquires this meaning only when it refers to God, and only because the notion of eternity was included in the conception of God: for the rest, it has a wide range of meanings and its possible renderings are multiple, but it does not mean “eternal.” In particular when it is associated with life or punishment, in the Bible and in Christian authors who keep themselves close to the Biblical usage, it denotes their belonging to the world to come.” (Page 238)

These scholarly works are important, as the key defense of eternal punishment depends on this word meaning absolute eternity. For more on the meaning of aiōn, see our website: HopeBeyondHell.net; Further Study; Eternity, and Church History.

Alternative Views

Aionian (eternal), when associated with God, may simply refer to that which comes forth from Him and relates to His purposes; a quality of essence rather than of duration. Is this not what our Lord intends in John 17:3: “And this is eternal life, that they may know You.” If this is so, perhaps the Matthew passage could be para­phrased this way: “And these will go away into the chastisement of God, but the righteous into the life of God.” Professor Talbott confirmed this:

When the letter of Jude describes the fire that consumed Sodom and Gomorrah as “eternal fire,” the point is not that the fire literally burns forever without consuming the cities; it is not that the fire continues to burn even today. The point is that the fire is a form of divine judgment upon those cities…that has its causal source in the eternal God himself. And similar for Jesus’ reference to “eternal fire” in Matthew 25:41 and to “eternal punishment” in Matthew 25:46. The fire to which he alludes is not eternal in the sense that it burns forever without consuming anything—without consuming, for example, that which is false within a person (see 1 Co. 3:15)—and neither is the punishment eternal in the sense that it continues forever without accomplishing its corrective purpose. Both the fire and the punishment are eternal in the sense that they have their causal source in the eternal God himself.10

Similarly, Barclay wrote:

The simplest way to put it is that aionios cannot be used properly of anyone but God; it is the word uniquely, as Plato saw it, of God. Eternal punishment is then literally that kind of remedial punishment which it befits God to give and which only God can give.11

Talbott continued:

The Gospel writers thought in terms of two ages, the present age and the age to come, and they associated the age to come with God himself; it was an age in which God’s presence would be fully manifested, his purposes fully realized, and his redemptive work eventually completed. They therefore came to employ the term, “αίώνίος,” [aionios] as an eschatological [doctrine of end times] term, one that functioned as a handy reference to the realities of the age to come. In this way, they managed to combine the more literal sense of “that which pertains to an age” with the more religious sense of “that which manifests the presence of God in a special way.” Eternal life, then, is not merely life that comes from God; it is also the mode of living associated with the age to come. And similarly for eternal punishment: It is not merely punishment that comes from God; it is also the form of punishment associated with the age to come. Now in none of this is there any implication that the life that comes from God and the punishment that comes from God are of an equal duration.”12

Likewise, Beecher demonstrated that in the days of the early church the idea was “punishment of the world to come.” The early Church establishes that fact through the ancient creeds. In fact, in none of its creeds did the early Church teach everlasting punishment.13

Arguing that eternal punishment must be of unending duration because it is contrasted with eternal life (Mt. 25:46), misses the point. It fails to recognize that eternal life is a quality of relationship with God (Jn. 17:3), and is an end in itself; while eternal punishment is God’s corrective discipline and a means to an end. In any case, whether aion means “age-abiding,” “of God,” or “of the world to come,” none of these expressions state, imply, or require that the punishment be never-ending.

So then, if aion does not strictly mean eternal, what word does? There are a number of Greek words that imply eternal. They are usually translated “indestructible,” “imperishable,” “unfading,” “immortality,” and “incorruptible.” See Ro. 1:23; 2:7; 1Co. 9:25; 15:42, 51-54; He. 7:15-16; 1Pe. 1:3-4; 5:4; 1Ti. 1:17; 6:16; 2Ti. 1:10.

Our hope of immortality does not reside in the word aion but in God’s very nature (unfailing love and unlimited power) and promises. (See Appendix I). So long as we have a flawed understanding of this four letter Greek word, we will remain blinded to the truth in relation to God’s judgments.

I recommend that you also read The History of Opinions on the Scriptural Doctrine of Retribution by Dr. Edward Beecher. I found his findings conclusive. You may read it on our website: HopeBeyondHell.net, Further Study, Church History.

Taken from chapter I of Hope Beyond Hell – Revised Edition (pages 21-31) Free book download: HopeBeyondHell.net

References:

1 Hurley, Loyal F. The Outcome of Infinite Grace. Santa Clarita, CA: Concordant Publishing Concern, n.d. 19.

2 Beecher, Edward. History of Opinions on the Scriptural Doctrine of Retribution. New York: Appleton, 1887. Chapter 17. Put into Electronic Format by Naomi Durkin, 2000.

3 Morgan, G. Campbell. God’s Methods with Man. New York: Revell, 1898.

4 Vincent, Marvin. Word Studies in the New Testament. 1887. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1973. 58-59.

5 Bonda, Jan. The One Purpose of God. Grand Rapids, MI: Publishing Co, 1998. 18.

6 Barclay, William. William Barclay: A Spiritual Autobiography. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1977. 65-67.

7Talbott, Thomas. “A Pauline Interpretation of Divine Judgment” in Robin Parry and Christopher Partridge (eds.) Universal Salvation? The Current Debate. Grand Rapids. MI: Eerdmans, 2003. 47. Note 27; In Rhetoric 1369b,13; Note 28; In Gorgias 477a.

8 Ibid. 51. Note 28; In Protagoras 324.

9 Talbott, Thomas. “Eternal Punishment.” Online posting. 2005. 2 May 2006. http://www.willamette.edu/~ttalbott/aionios.htm.

10 Talbott, Thomas. The Inescapable Love of God. Salem, Oregon: Universal, 2002. 87-88.

11 Barclay. Ibid.

12 Talbott. Ibid. 89-90

13 Beecher, Edward. History of Opinions on the Scriptural Doctrine of Retribution. New York: Appleton, 1887. Chapter 19. Put into Electronic Format by Naomi Durkin, 2000.

29 Keizer, Heleen M. Life, Time, Entirety – A Study of “AIŌN” in Greek Literature and Philosophy, the Septuagint and Philo; Doctoral dissertation University of Amsterdam. 1999. Slightly amended version 2005. Chapter VI, Sec. I. 241. Personal note from Dr. Keizer: “Dear Mr. Beauchemin…please use this electronic document as you would a paper copy in your possession or borrowed from a library.” Email us for more information.

30-32 Keizer. Ibid. 244. 31 Keizer. Ibid. Sec. II. 246. 32Keizer. Ibid. 247.

Eternity: Further Study Links 

Jeff A. Benner: Ancient Hebrew Word Meanings Eternity ~ olam
Dr. Marvin Vincent: The Greek Meaning of “Eternal Destruction”
Dr. John W. Hanson: The Meaning of the Greek “Aion” and “Aionios”
Dr. Edward Beecher: Church History Testifies to the Limited Nature of God’s Judgment


 

GO TO AUTHORS WEBSITE – HOPE BEYOND HELL

Gerry Beauchemin has served in missions since 1986 in Mexico, the Philippines, and Senegal, West Africa. He was a missionary with Youth With A Mission (Y.W.A.M.), The Luke Society, and Philippine Health Care Ministries. Since 2001, he has directed Dental Training For Missions in Brownsville Texas. He and his wife, Denise, (of 32 years), have three daughters and two granddaughters.
What qualifies Gerry to write on this theme? He has extensively reflected upon, read the works of others, and for many years wrestled with and studied the Scriptures on this topic. He has found solid Biblical evidence for his conclusion of hope. Having agonized for most of his life over hell he understands the contradictions it brings upon the Christian faith. Gerry thought, “Who am I to write such a book?” Then he recalled 1Co. 1:26-29, “God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise…that no flesh should glory in his presence.” This along with Mt 10:27 and 11:25 spurred him on.
“Knowing Gerry as a close friend, I can say that he has wrestled with God and his conscience over the issues presented in this book. “Hope Beyond Hell” is the result of many years of introspection, Bible study, and prayer.  Gerry’s enthusiasm for what he has discovered is evident on every page. To read this book is to know the author.” Gary A. Fenwick, Missionary, Teacher, Mexico

One of the biggest tares in the modern church , for the last 1500 years is the wrong translation of a few key words in Hebrew and Greek. I can already feel the oppression on my head from offended brothers and sisters as they pray “for” me! Never mind that,  as a brother in Jesus Christ I will continue to share the good news in the hope that someone may hear.

It was St Augustine who reasoned that if we have been given eternal life then those who do not believe in Jesus must receive eternal death.

Is it as simple as that dualistic approach?

Believe it or not the Bible says very little about eternal life…and for that matter eternal death.

The hope of the saints living in  Old Covenant times was to be raised up or resurrected in the end times so as to enjoy the Life of the Age to come.

The hope of those who believed in Jesus was and is the same….Our hope is not to die and go to a faraway place called heaven…The hope clearly revealed by the Jesus and His Apostles is to be resurrected to immortality reigning with Him in the Age to come.

When Augustine presented his reasonings that we must have eternal life and so Hell must also of necessity be forever, it was adopted by the church council of the day and later stamped as official church dogma by the Emperor Justinian. What better way to control the masses than through the threat of eternal torture and punishment in a literal burning fire?

The Scriptures simply do not teach such a thing. You think they do because there has been 1500 years of compounded teaching along these lines and anyone who dares say differently is thought of as a heretic. The simple meaning of a heretic is one who causes division so in a sense I fit that bill because I am presenting the majority of people with something that will bring down the whole stack of cards.

Hell is all about controlling you and the masses of those like you. Hell is all pervasive and all over everything a Christian does. Without Hell what would a Christian do?

There will be a resurrection of all those chosen and faithful saints who shall receive immortality for reigning with Jesus Christ upon this earth. They shall also be able to go into the heavens with this new immortal body. These shall be called priests of God and they shall teach and preach upon the earth to the nations during the 1000 year reign of Jesus on this earth.

Those who died before that resurrection but who were not counted worthy to attain to that resurrection shall stay sleeping in the grave until the second resurrection at the end of the Age. We are told that that age lasts for a 1000 years. At the end of it, then ALL who sleep in the graves shall hear the voice of the son of man and shall be raised up to stand before Him. At that time they shall see Him who they pierced and shall believe upon Him and confess Him as their Lord and Saviour.

All their sins are forgiven and washed in the blood sacrifice of Jesus. Every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess Jesus as their Lord. Oh happy day!!

Then in the Ages to come they shall learn as we have been learning….they shall be put under authority and taught by the Holy Spirit….even as we have been. This is the Lake of Fire that burns age to age. The fire is the Holy Spirit as he deals with each one individually even as we have been immersed into His fire during our time. God chastens those whom He loves and He loves ALL PEOPLE. He chastens us all so that we may be sharers in His holiness and come to inherit as sons do.

The hope of the Gospel is that all shall be saved and all shall believe in Jesus until all His enemies are made His footstool…then God shall be all in all.

How big is your God? Will your God save all or will He only save a few?

Your view of all this has been influenced greatly by saints of old…even 1500 years ago.

Saint Augustine did not know Greek or Hebrew!!

Although Augustine had a good mind yet he never fully mastered the the Greek language, and he later had reason to regret this fact.

Contrary to the custom in Rome of his day, the classical schooling that Augustine received in colonial North Africa was conducted principally in Latin rather than in Greek. Augustine later wrote in his Confessions that his first Greek teacher was a brutal man who constantly beat his students. As a result, Augustine rebelled by vowing never to learn Greek.

“The after-effect of his having had in his childhood a teacher of Greek who was cruel to his students far outlasted the seventy-six years that Augustine spent on this earth. Because Augustine was such an influence on the thought and scholarship of the Church in the West during the Middle Ages, his dislike of Greek had lasting consequences. His low motivation towards the Greek language and his recourse to Greek texts less frequently than would otherwise have been the case unduly influenced subsequent Christian authors of the West.source

Augustine wrongly thought that the Hebrew word Olam meant forever and the Greek word Aionian the same. Yet he himself did not know Hebrew or Greek so had to rely upon men like Jerome the author of the Latin Vulgate version adopted by the Roman Catholic Church. Yet a close look at their usage in Scripture plainly reveals that these words do not mean forever but  an unknown length of TIME. Time and eternity are two different things altogether. Eternity is not a very long time. Eternity is nothing to do with time. Yet all these ideas have been hidden by Augustine and Jerome.

You may not have even heard of Augustine yet his thinking and doctrinal understanding has influenced you and all Christians since 500AD. A full 1000 years after Augustine’s views of eternal punishment became official church dogma the King James Version team of translators got together. They were a product of the same Augustinian thought which majored on Latin understanding and not Hebrew or even the Greek version of the Old Testament. Is it any wonder that these men translated time words such as Olam and Aionios and aionian to mean forever and eternal?

As a result of the wrong translation of these time words to mean forever the Bible does not declare the Good News as fully as it should. Thankfully though, God is beginning to bind the Tares into bundles to burn them at the end of the Age. One of those tares is the eternal punishment dogma which has ruled over the minds of dear Christians for centuries and driven them to strive in the flesh in all that they do. This has worked to stunt fruit bearing for unless we abide in Jesus we cannot bring forth fruit. Fear of Hell keeps the Church from being able to rest in Jesus for long.

 

 

Fear of Hell is an insidious and destructive poison that controls and motivates millions of people. On my 50th birthday some years ago my heavenly Father(God) set me free from the torment of Hell. Even though I had been a born again Christian for 22 years at that time, underneath my Christian faith was the driving fear of failing to please God and ending up in Hell.

First take a look at current and prevailing teaching by one of the best proponents of it – Jack Chick. These pictures and words are from his long ministry as a hell preacher. The ideas presented in these cartoons are standard “Christian” teaching on the subject.

It is an embarrassing teaching which is THE most dominant aspect of modern Christian thinking. This God who sent His son Jesus to die for our sins, even the sins of the whole world (1John 2:1)so that all our trespasses are now forgiven and sinners are now reconciled to God has his nose bent out of joint for our destruction. He is so upset that we did not choose to believe in Jesus that he has gone back on forgiving us and now wants to torture us in a literal torture chamber which he apparently designed to torture the Devil in.

This God who held little children in his arms and blessed them will torture those same children in a literal burning fire forever and ever if they grow up and die without choosing to follow Jesus.

This god of Christianity will sit back and throw millions of Moslem people into a burning hell, a torture chamber, and their children,,,all because they never believed Jesus is the Son of God. 

This god of christianity who taught his followers to forgive their enemies yet his father will never forgive those who do not believe.

This fake god of christianity happily sends missionaries to foreign lands to instill in them the same fear of Hell that they have and thereby make those new converts twice as much sons of Hell as themselves.


Am I saying there is no judgement? No…there will be a judgement and there is a fire. And that judgement and that fire will set all sinners free!! When that fire purges and does its work then all will see   the Father for Who He is. A loving heavenly Father full of grace and truth, forgiving and merciful but correcting us in love so that we may know Him and His wonderful freedom.

The christianity that teaches an eternity in Hell fire shall itself be burned up until all those tares are removed and the Love of God comes through instead.

Blessed are the feet of those that preach good news.

Is this good news? —

Believe in Jesus or God shall see that you are tortured for eternity!

If you cannot see that this idea is a monstrous blasphemy against the Father then read what the prophetJeremiah wrote..

Jer 7:30  For the children of Judah have done evil in My sight,” says the LORD. “They have set their abominations in the house which is called by My name, to pollute it. 
Jer 7:31  And they have built the high places of Tophet, which is in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom(Ge’henna in Greek), to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, which I did not command, nor did it come into My heart. 

Judah did evil by bringing into the Lord’s house idols to pollute it. The Church has done the same by bringing into herself the teaching of sinners burned alive forever and ever in a place called Hell. Judah built the high places of Topheh. High places speak to us in the New Covenant of High things–ideas, words, arguments that exalt themselves against the knowledge of God. Such high places are strongholds that must be cast down.

The High place Judah built was in the Valley of the sons of Hinnom….which in Greek is translated as Ge’henna. The King James translators simply changed Ge’henna to Hell when Jesus used the place name in his teaching.

Why didn’t those same translators change the valley of the sons of Hinnom to Hell? Because they knew it would be a gross mistranslation to do so. IT IS A GROSS MISTRANSLATION to change the same name-Ge’Henna in the New Testament as well!!

The Church has built the high place of Tophet which is rooted in Ge’Henna–the Valley of the sons of Hinnom. It is a place for burning dead corpses and rubbish.

The Church worships at the high places they have built –such places are under the judgement of God.

God Himself said through Jeremiah that burning children in fire IS NOT SOMETHING HE ENDORSES NOR DID IT EVEN ENTER HIS PURE MIND TO DO SUCH A HEINOUS THING!!

If you believe in types and shadows my brother or sister..?..Then how is it you cannot see that this type or shadow CLEARLY tells you that ‘eternal torment in a literal Hell fire’ is not OF GOD!!??? It never even enters the Father’s mind to burn anyone in a fire!

So why is it that the Church of Jesus Christ believes such an abominable thing?

Mat 13:24  Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; 
Mat 13:25  but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. 

God shall cleanse His house–the Church of Jesus Christ–of this blasphemous tare and show forth His goodness and love to all people.

At the end of the Age Jesus said that the tares would be gathered together into bundles to burn them.

Mat 13:30  Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.” ‘ ” 

There are many tares which make up the high places in Tophet. They are all connected together around the central high exalted thing called”The Valley of the Sons of Hinnom” which in the New Testament has been erroneously translated as Hell. These tares shall be bundled together and burned out of the consciousness of the Church by the holy passion of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. He is raising up preachers and teachers and prophets to preach His fiery love which shall demolish these false gods and false words.

I recommend everyone should read J Preston Eby’s wonderful words of fire to demolish these idols of Tophet.

savior of the world – eby   Download Savior of the World series


Almost every time you read eternal in most Bibles you are reading a translation error. Does that scare you?

The Greek word aion means an age of time…and it’s adjectives like aionios and aionian like all adjectives, describe the noun…they describe the age of time.  

The words Eternity and eternal are NOT TIME WORDS. Most people today think that eternity is a very long time…time without end. But eternity is outside of time. Time was created by the Father. Eternity is.

God is the I AM. He is not a very old person. You cannot measure how old God is for He has NO BEGINNING AND NO END. He is the Eternal One…who created time as part of His whole creation.

When you die your spirit leaves your body and as such–is in eternity proper. There is No time in the spirit it is God’s realm. But God’s plan is that we be resurrected into physical bodies again. Those in heaven now long to be in a new body again. Without a body the spirit cannot express itself. A spirit can not eat and drink as Jesus Himself said. A spirit cannot touch or be touched. A spirit cannot tell someone they love them. A spirit cannot build anything –We need a physical body and a soul to unite with our spirit to make us complete humans in the likeness of God.

Thus heaven is NOT THE GOAL of the believer! The resurrection is our goal. Coming back into the physical world that God made, but this time in a resurrected body like Jesus has. Back to time…I got diverted, thx Lord Jesus!

Time that has already passed is HIStory…and History is broken up or expressed during many eons or aions or ages of time. Just as there are yet more ages of time in the future. For instance we are told that there will be a 1000 year age of time when Christ Jesus returns. Paul also says God shall declare(show) the Good news of His saving grace  in the ages to come–Eph 2:7

When we talk about receiving eternal life we do so because that is what most Bible translations say. It is not correct. It is correct to say that we receive the life(zoe) of the age to come.

That age to come is what all Jews look forward to –the Age of Messiah as spoken of in the Psalms and the Prophets. We call it the Messianic reign or the Millenium.

The life of the age to come ensures that we rule and reign with Jesus during that age.

However we can miss that Age, hence Jesus’ many warnings. But if we think in terms of eternal life and eternal punishment then much of the Scriptures do not make sense.

Eternity is not given much attention by God in the Scriptures. We are only given a peek into what the future ages still yet to come shall be like. But these are all periods of time…unknown lengths of time at that.

After the last Age has come to it’s end and all things have been accomplished which God set out to do…THEN…eternity.

I wrote it that way—then eternity…because eternity does NOT BEGIN. It is not related to time in any way!! Eternity is!! Trouble is we have had centuries and centuries of wrong teaching and wrong definitions from the wrong word used by translators –who by the way were humans just like you and me.

Now I know I am treading on toes and touching sacred cows here…Many will say that the Holy Bible–the English version they mean…is without error, infallible!! No. The Greek and Hebrew versions were without error — but translators ever since have been influenced by their learning and church background as to what they thought a word meant.

Anyway…  ?

Mat_19:16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal(aeonion) life?

Mat_25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting(aeonion) punishment: but the righteous into life eternal(aeonion).

Mar_3:29 But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal (aeonion)damnation:

Mar_10:17 And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inheriteternal(aeonion) life?

Mar_10:30 But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal(aeonion) life.

Luk_10:25 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal (aeonion)life?

Luk_18:18 And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal (aeonion)life?

Joh_3:15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but haveeternal(aeonion) life.

Joh_4:36 And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life(aeonion)eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.

Joh_5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal(aeonion)life: and they are they which testify of me.

Joh_6:54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal(aeonion)life; and I will raise him up at the last day.

Joh_6:68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal(aeonion) life.

Joh_10:28 And I give unto them eternal(aeonion) life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

Joh_12:25 He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life(aeonion) eternal.

Joh_17:2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should giveeternal(aeonion) life to as many as thou hast given him.

Joh_17:3 And this is life eternal(aeonion), that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

Act_13:48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal(aeonion) life believed.

Rom_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( aidios)power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

Rom_2:7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal(aeonion) life:

Rom_5:21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal(aeonion) life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

Rom_6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal(aeonion)life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

2Co_4:17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal(aeonion) weight of glory;

2Co_4:18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal(aeonion).

2Co_5:1 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal (aeonion)in the heavens.

Eph_3:11 According to the eternal(aion) purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:

1Ti_1:17 Now unto the King eternal(aion), immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

1Ti_6:12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal(aeonion) life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.

1Ti_6:19 Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal (aeonion)life.

2Ti_2:10 Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal(aeonion) glory.

Tit_1:2 In hope of eternal(aeonion) life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;

Tit_3:7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal(aeonion) life.

Heb_5:9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal(aeonion)salvation unto all them that obey him;

Heb_6:2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal(aeonion) judgment.

Heb_9:12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal(aeonion)redemption for us.

Heb_9:14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal(aeonion)Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Heb_9:15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal(aeonion)inheritance.

1Pe_5:10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal(aeonion)glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.

1Jn_1:2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal(aeonion) life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)

1Jn_2:25 And this is the promise that he hath promised us, eveneternal(aeonion) life.

1Jn_3:15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal(aeonion) life abiding in him.

1Jn_5:11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal(aeonion) life,and this life is in his Son.

1Jn_5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal (aeonion)life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.