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

August 18, 2015, 03:26:25 AM
The idea that God, being all-powerful and all knowing, would create a world and populate it with beings that he supposedly loves- but has predestined them to fail in the great majority and spend eternity writhing in torment in hell, is an abhorrent idea….even to most of those who believe it.
The idea that God would so value free will in His creations that He would allow them to choose to reject Him, with a consequence of spending an eternity in torment in hell, and watch as a majority of them do so, is just as abhorrent, and implies that God somehow created them awry, seeing that so many would choose such a fate.
In either case this God would seem to be of a nature so callous as to be an idol of His own harshness and indifference to what he had created. His poor result making a mockery of the value of His love, and exposing the impotence of the power of the cross of Jesus Christ, through which He supposedly expressed the greatness of His love for all mankind in its purest form.
Yet those two philosophies govern the majority of theologians in contemporary Christianity. Somehow, for them, the words, “If I am lifted up from the earth I will draw all men unto me” did not really mean what they said, even though they were spoken by the Lord and Savior, Jesus the Messiah.
The one who said, “Behold, I am making all things new” was apparently given to making statements both before and after His death, burial and resurrection, that could not be relied upon as factual or as actual prophecy. They were merely platitudes of His best intentions that would go unfulfilled. Desires that He shared with His Father that were predetermined to fail, either because of the power God had delivered into the will of man, or because He never intended for most people to taste the beauty of eternal life anyway.
Such reasoning is absolutely unavoidable within the philosophy of mainstream Christianity today, and it is a large reason why, in a thinking world, Christianity is losing its meaning- and losing its appeal.
Who wants to worship such a God?
But what of Jesus words? “Father forgive them, they don’t know what they are doing.” “If I am lifted up from the earth I will draw all men unto me.” “Behold, I am making all things new.”
While so many Christians use the inerrancy of the Bible as justification (for views that must in some measure be in error since they disagree with one another on so many issues of doctrine, practice and faith) one must ask, “How could Jesus be in such error, or be so naïve, or be so reckless in His language?”
In every other case we would say, “If the Lord says “ALL” it is “ALL”- until He says, “I will draw all men unto me”… or “Behold(see, understand), I am making all things new”.
Yet one of His apostles, Paul, from whom most of modern doctrine is drawn, and whose words are sprinkled like holy salt upon every theological paper or book, took Jesus at His word- even tho he is not credited for doing so.
Col 1:19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.
Eph 1:9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
1 Cor 15:25 For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. For “He has put all things under His feet.” But when He says “all things are put under Him,” it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted. Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.
Phil 2:9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
While we have been taught that every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord- just before they are cast into hell to be destroyed or to suffer eternal punishment, Paul did not seem to explain himself in that way. According to the first three portions of scripture Paul saw “all things gathered into one in Christ”; “all things reconciled to Himself by the blood of His cross”; and every adversary subjected to Him, “that God may be all in all”.
In Ephesians 1 Paul equates this with, “the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure(kind intention NAS) which he has purposed in himself”.
God’s will as a kind intention? The dispensation(administration) of the fulness(completion) of times gathering “all things into one in Christ”?
Apparently Paul took Jesus at His word, that He is making “all things new”, and that by the blood of His cross(If I am lifted up) He is reconciling all things- drawing all men to Himself.
Paul does say it is a mystery….Yet he also says it is a mystery that has been revealed, and before you close your mind to the idea that when time is complete, and the ages of God’s plan for man are fulfilled- all will be reconciled and made new, consider these words written by Paul.
Rom 11:32-36
For God has shut up all in disobedience so that He may show mercy to all.
Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again?
For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.
God created all things. All things came into being through Jesus Christ. According to Jesus and Paul, all things are being gathered back into God, and God shall be all in all-even those who were once His adversaries. But that ought not surprise us. We were once all His adversaries.
For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.
“And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach”
And Paul says every adversary will be subjected, and God will be all in all.
“Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.” (Col 1:21)
“…every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
“For God has shut up all in disobedience so that He may show mercy to all.”
Perhaps what we will be doing in the ages to come is not watching our adversaries burn in hell forever, but rather- gathering all things into one in Christ Jesus.
Eph 2:4-10 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
Paul, in Romans 8, speaks of the whole creation eagerly awaiting our resurrection, and the resulting liberation of the entire creation from futility/corruption..
Romans 8:18-22
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.
Peter, preaching on the day of Pentecost, the birth of the true church, the body of Christ, also connects this restoration of all things to a period of time after the second advent, the return of Jesus Christ(who will come in the clouds with ten thousands of ten thousands of His holy ones).
Acts 3:19-21
Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.
Paul called this the mystery of the gospel.
Rom 16:25-27
Now to Him who 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 secret for long ages past, but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith; to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be the glory forever. Amen.
Did God create this world, and billions of souls who have lived on it throughout the ages, and billions more who will live on it in ages to come, only to torment most of them forever, or destroy them from being at all.
Why would He conceive such a futile plan?
And how could the word of God be true?
“….I will draw all men unto me”. “…I am making all things new”. “….gathering together of all things into one in Christ” “…..that God may be all in all”.
If there is an alternative to this horrible philosophy it ought to be examined, and not because it is to be desired- but because the scriptures of the apostles and the prophets give voice to a larger, more reasonable and compassionate vision for God’s “kind intention” for the world, which He “purposed in Himself” for the ages.
These verses in Revelation 5 look like the fulfillment of Phil 2:9-11 to me.
11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice,
“Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.”
13 And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying,
“To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.”