Forever And Ever
Hebrew Owlam -- Strongs # 05769
Translated as: ever, everlasting, old, perpetual, evermore, never, time, ancient, world,
always, alway, long, more, never 2, miscellaneous 6
Greek Aion -- Strongs # 165
Translated as: ever 71, world 38, never 6, evermore 4, age 2, eternal 2, miscellaneous 5
Greek Aionios -- Strongs # 166 (adjective of aion)
Translated as: eternal 42, everlasting 25, the world began 2, since the world began 1,
for ever 1
Here is where the words eternal, and everlasting come from in the BIble that cause us
to believe that unbelievers will be punished endlessly. But just looking at the different
ways the words are translated we can see descrepancies.
I don't even pretend to know how all this Greek and Hebrew stuff works but I can read
the findings that have been made available to us by the scholars who do understand
it. I am ever so grateful to them too.
A dear friend of ours, Dr. Harold Lovelace, in his book, "Read And Search God's Plan"
says about "aion and aionios":
the truest sense, aion and aionios are time words. All the English words and expressions, no
matter how cleverly they are used, represent time periods, some short and some long. Each
and all, however, have a beginning and and end. Notice that in the Strong's Concordance,
Young's Concordance, and The Englishman's Concordance you find that the root word and
number for aion is # 5550 kronos, and is used fifty three times in the KJV NT. The words time/s
and season/s are the most used words for this word. Also, you will notice that another word is
used for it's root word, and that is #2540, kairos. It is used 86 times, and the words time/s and
season/s are the most used in these verses for this word.
In the Bible there are about 700 times that the words for Olam, # 5769 in the OT, and Aion, #
165, are used to represent time period/s by using over fifty different English words or
expressions. This is one of the reasons for the difficulty in understanding and interpretation. It
takes a diligent effort to rightly divide the Word of Truth. Now you can begin to see why there is a
lack of understanding and why there are so many different views.
To put it simply, even though the word may be eternal or everlasting, it is not referring
to endlessness but to a time period, or as one of the words correctly translated from
aion, an "age". Aion is a time period, an age. Aionios, it's adjective, modifies aion. A
modern day word of ours, eon, is used by some for the word aion. To me, eon
represents a very long time only, while aion can mean a period of time as short as a
man's life or the time Jonah spent inside the whale's belly.
For those of you who are totally unfamiliar with this concept of the ages, here is a
chart to look at that might give you more of an idea of the situation.
I sort of see the aions or ages like dispensations. They are periods of time that God is
using to accomplish His purpose.
Here are some of the purposes of the ages(aions):
Ephesians 3: 8-11
Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should
preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;
And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the
beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: To
the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be
known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose
which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:
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, F1 and
which are on earth; even in him:
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above
every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven,
and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and
invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things
were created by him, and for him:
And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the
dead; that in F2 all things he might have the preeminence.
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. And
you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet
now hath he reconciled
1 Corinthians 15:22-28.
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at
Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the
Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.
The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him,
it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.
And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be
subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.
You know, THIS JUST MAKES SO MUCH SENSE TO ME! To think that
there is something to serving God other than going to church three times a week.....I
can't help but think...where was this information when I was growing up? How much
different would my life have been if I had know it then? Or, because God is the
sovereign being that He is, did I know exactly what He wanted me to know at that
time? That is probably the case.... Now, more about the aion word.
Here is a quote from G.T. Stevenson's " Time And Eternity"
(Page 63) Since, as we have seen, the noun aion refers to a period of time, it appears
very improbable that the derived adjective aionios would indicate infinite duration, nor
have we found any evidence in Greek writing to show that such a concept was
expressed by this term.
(Page 72) In 1 Cor. 15:22-29 the inspired apostle to the Gentiles transports his readers'
thoughts far into the future, beyond the furthest point envisaged elsewhere in holy
writ. After outlining the triumph of the Son of God in bringing all creation under His
benign control, Paul sets forth the consummation of the divine plan of the ages in four
simple, yet infinitely profound words, "God all in all." This is our God, purposeful, wise,
loving, and almighty, His Son our Lord a triumphant Savior, Who destroys His enemies
by making them friends.
"Who destroys His enemies by making them friends." Novel idea huh? Maybe that's
what happens when we feed our enemy when he is hungry...he stops being our
enemy and starts being our friend.
When we look at little more closely at the word aion, we see that it starts to really not
make sense to treat it like it means endlessness. For instance the phrase "forever and
ever" . Yep, you guessed it...ever comes from the word aion. In this particular place in
the Bible (Revelation) it is plural. So, it would read forevers and forevers.
Gary Amirault does a really good job with this point in his article,
"Does ForeverS And ForeverS Make Any Sense To You?"
I have just a little of the article here but I really recommend reading the whole thing.
He starts by saying, " Many English speaking peoples have heard and used the
English expression "forever and ever." This phrase has become an idiomatic
expression meaning to most English-speaking people "eternity, perpetuity or
everlasting." This is an English rendering of SEVERAL DIFFERENT phrases found in
the Greek New Testament. However, if one told the original writers of the Greek New
Testament that by this phrase one meant "eternity," they would say that you are not
using an "idiomatic" expression, but an "idiotic" one. They would NOT recognize our
"forever and ever" as anything remotely representing what the Greek actually meant
to them AND they would tell you that the Greek behind our "forever and ever" is NOT a
Greek idiomatic expression meaning "eternity." You see, the Greek construct of this
term would make it extremely difficult for a first century Greek to see how we moderns
ever concocted "forever and ever" from these Greek phrases and words."
Gary goes on to explain, " Revelation 20:10 is one of several places where we find the
English phrase "forever AND ever."
In the original it is written:
kai okarnos tou basanismou auton eis aionas ton aionon anabainei
and smoke the torment of them into eons of the eons is ascending.
Our English word "ever" appears in the singular form. We have no plural form for
"ever." Putting another "ever" next to an "ever" does NOT add anything to the
meaning. It's a nonsensical thing to do. We merely do it because of the tradition of the
elders we have swallowed without thinking it through.
We get our English word "eon" and its plural "eons" from the Greek word "aion" and
its inflections. Note that our English "eon" DOES have a plural form "eons" unlike our
English word "ever."
In the Greek, both words which were translated "ever" are in their PLURAL form.
(aionas, aionon) "Ton aionon" is in the genitive form meaning "of" or "belonging to"
or "what comes out of" the aionon.
The Greek word for "and" is "kai," NOT "ton." Why did some of the leading
translations replace the Greek "of the" with "and?" There is no linguistical reason for
them to do so. "Of the" works perfectly fine and MANY English translations contain
such rendering in the very text itself and many others show it in the margins,
footnotes or appendixes.
Given this information, we see that if the King James Bible and its cousins wanted to
translate the Greek word "aion" as "ever," AND stay true to the Greek forms of
speech, they should have come up with the following rendering:
"And the smoke of their torment is ascending for the evers and evers."
As we can plainly see, this is getting pretty messy. But it gets much more messy than
that. Any beginning Greek student knows that the Greek word for "and" is "kai," NOT
"ton." So why do many modern English Bibles use the expression "forever AND
ever?" There is only one answer--TRADITION!!
There are MANY English Bibles who have broken the "tradition of the elders" in this
regard in order to bring forth the true meaning of the Greek. They have translated this
Greek phrase "aionas ton aionon":
"for the eons of the eons." Concordant Literal New Testament
"for the ages of the ages." Young's Literal, and others
"for the aeons of the aeons." The New Covenant by Dr. J.W. Hanson
"unto the ages of the ages.: Rotherham's Emphasized, and others
"through the ages of the ages." The Holy Bible in Modern English
I will be adding more information all along on the subject of aion, as I learn more. But,
for now there is another aspect I would like to bring up and that is the fact that
because God's punishment of unbelievers is for the "ages" it is not endless. If it was
endless it would not harmonize with the rest of the Bible. And, if it was endless, there
are words in the Greek language that do mean endless. None of them are ever used to
speak of the punishment of people.
The words are:
Amarantos= Unfading, Not fading away. Perennial
Amarantinos= Unfading. Composed of amaranth. A flower so called because it never
withers or fades, and when plucked off revives if moistened by water.
Akatalutos= Endless, not subject to destruction. Indissoluable.
Aphthartos= Incorruptible. Not subject to decay. Imperishable.
1Corinthians 9:25, 15:25; 1Peter 1:4, 23; 1Peter 3:4, 1Timothy 1:17
Athanasia= Immortality. Undying. Literally: deathlessness.
1Corinthians 15:53,54; 1Timothy 6:16
Aphtharsia= Incorruption/ perpetuity.
Romans 2:7; 1Corinthians 15:42,50,53,54; 2Timothy 1:10
Aperantois= Endless, unpaired through
Aidios= Endless, ever during, perpetual ( I have my own doubts about this word as it
appears to be used exactly like aionios is used...does not seem to indicate endless
Romans 1:20; Jude 6
Dianekes= Perpetual. For as long as the need or circumstance dictates.
Hebrews 10:12, 14
Pantote= Always, at all times
John 6:34; 1Thessalonians 5:16( thanks to someone on Tentmaker Forum for
compiling this list )
Forever "Until" ? How Can That Be?
There is the "forever until" principle where the word aion is concerned. If I said, I am a
nurse forever, until I am too old to hold a license, then I am not a nurse forever am I?
My "forever" would come to an end.
Here are some examples of "forever,everlasting and/or eternal" coming to an end:
Sodom's fiery judgment is "eternal" (Jude 7)--until--God "will restore the fortunes of
Israel's "affliction is incurable" (Jer. 30:12)-until--the Lord "will restore health" and
heal her wounds (Jer. 30:17).
The sin of Samaria "is incurable" (Mic. 1:9)-until-- Lord "will restore ... the fortunes of
Samaria." (Ez. 16:53).
Ammon is to become a "wasteland forever" and "rise no more" (Zeph. 2:9, Jer. 25:27 --
until--the Lord will "restore the fortunes of the Ammonites" (Jer. 49:6).
An Ammonite or Moabite is forbidden to enter the Lord's congregation "forever"-until--
the tenth generation (Deut. 23:3):
Habakkuk tells us of mountains that were "everlasting", that is -until-- they "were
shattered" Hab. 3 3:6).
The Aaronic Priesthood was to be an "everlasting" priesthood (Ex. 40:15), that is-until-
it was superceded by the Melchizedek Priesthood (Hebrews 7:14-18).
Many translations of the Bible inform us that God would dwell in Solomon's Temple
"forever" (1 Kings 8:13), that is,--until the Temple was destroyed.
The children of Israel were to "observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for
a perpetual covenant" (Exodus 31:16)-until--Paul states there remains "another day"
of Sabbath rest for the people of God (Heb. 4:8,9).
The Law of Moses was to be an "everlasting covenant" (Leviticus 24:8) yet we read in
the New Covenant the first was "done away" and "abolished" (2 Corinthians 3:11,13),
and God "made the first old" (Hebrews 8:13).
The fire for Israel's sin offering (of a ram without blemish) is never to be put out. It shall
be a "perpetual"-- until-- Christ, the Lamb of God, dies for our sins. We now have a
better covenant established on better promises (Lev. 6:12-13, Heb. 8:6-13).
God's waves of wrath roll over Jonah "forever"-until--the Lord delivers him from the
large fish's belly on the third day (Jonah 2:6,10; 1: 17); Egypt and Elam will "rise no
more" (Jer. 25:27)-until--the Lord will "restore the fortunes of Egypt" (Ez. 29:14) and
"restore the fortunes of Elam" (Jer. 49:39).
"Moab is destroyed" (Jer. 48:4, 42)-until--the Lord "will restore the fortunes of Moab"
Israel's judgment lasts "forever"-until--the Spirit is poured out and God restores it (Isa.
So, narrow is the way to life and few find it-until-- and His church confiscate the
"strong man's" booty, setting the captives free so God becomes all in all (Isa. 61, Luke
11:21-22, Matt. 7:13; 16:18, 1 Cor. 15:24-28).
The King James Bible, as well as many others, tells us that a bondslave was to serve
his master "forever" (Exodus 21:6), that is,--until--his death.
God is now calling out "a people for His name"--an "elect" or chosen priesthood
people who will represent and reflect His loving nature. Many are called and few are
chosen--until--the small chosen priesthood people, by the Spirit, restore "David's
tabernacle" so ALL mankind may inquire of the Lord. Thus we see that the church is
the first-born, the beginning--until--in ALL (later born new creatures in Christ) our Lord
will have supremacy (Amos 9:11-12, Matt. 22:14, Acts 15:14-18, Eph. 3:15, Col. 1 18).
All manner of sin will be forgiven in this AGE as well as in the AGE (not eternity) to
come, except blasphemy against God's Spirit-until--such blasphemy finds pardon in
the fullness of the times (or ages) when God unites all in Christ. For the Lord does not
retain His anger forever because He delights in mercy (Matt. 12:32; 18:11,21-22, Eph. 1:
9-11, Rev. 4:11; 5:13, Mic. 7:18-20).
God's wrath has come upon Israel "to the uttermost" (1 Thess. 2:16). So there is a gulf
between "the rich man in purple" (Royal Covenant "Son", Israel) and the saved
gentiles (Lazarus) which no man can cross--until--Christ Himself crosses it to bring
His promised restoration. For again, Scripture promises that ALL Israel will be saved
(Jer. 50:5, Luke 16:19-26, John 12:32, Romans 11:26-29).
Christ's fallen apostle, Judas, will be restored just as surely as fallen Israel (of which
he is a member) will be restored. For the gifts and callings of God are irrevocable, and
He has purposed to unite all in Christ. For Scripture assures us that He who calls us is
'faithful". He will surely perform it. So Judas is lost-until--the Lord restores Him (John
15:16, 1 Thess. 5:24).
So, Christ will say to unrighteous NATIONS, "Depart from Me into 'everlasting' fire."
And these nations will go away into "everlasting" (original language: age-lasting)
punishment or pruning, that is--until--by God's severe mercy shown in judgment, ALL
nations He has made glorify and worship Him. Thus God will fulfill His covenant with
Abraham that in Christ all the families of ALL the nations will be BLESSED (Gen. 12:3,
Ps. 62:12, 67:4, 86:9, Matt. 25:41,46). For according to Paul (Gal. 3:8), God's covenant
with Abraham means that ALL will be justified and set right with God. So all flesh will
bless His name forever and ever (Ps. 145:21).
Therefore, ALL scriptural references that speak of everlasting fire or judgment MUST
be understood in light of God's (Love's) clearly expressed heart, promise, desire,
purpose and will. They ARE "everlasting"; that is, they are continuous and on-going--
until--God's judgments serve to accomplish His unchanging will and purpose to unite
ALL creation in Christ. (Gen. 12:3, Romans 4:13, Heb. 6:17).
Truly God’s judgments are in the earth-until-mercy shall triumph over those
judgments. (James 2:13)
In Adam ALL died, that is,--until-in Christ shall ALL be made alive, but each in his own
order. (1 Cor. 15:22) Paul reemphasized this important truth in Romans 5:18.
"Through the one man’s offense judgment came to ALL men, resulting in
condemnation, that is,--until-through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to ALL
men, resulting in justification of life." It is righteous AND fair that because all were
condemned to death through Adam’s one act of disobedience that God undo that
unrighteous act and give us all live. We didn’t ask to die and we should have to ask to
live. God is God. We do we get mad when He becomes good to all just because He
delights in doing good? There is a parable about some workers who worked all day
yet were given the same wages as those who only worked a short while. Perhaps we,
Christians, should learn the lesson of that parable. (Matt. 20:1-16) What is in us that
doesn’t think it’s fair if God gives us all eternal life? After all, did we earn ours? Maybe
that’s where the real problem lies. Many of us have been duped into mixing law and
works with grace thereby falling from grace and becoming unrighteous judges just
like the Pharisees of old.
Gehenna's fires are not quenched and its worm does not die--until--the restoration of
all things which has been spoken of by all God's holy prophets (Christ included) since
the world began. For our Savior did not come to contradict His own prophets. Our
Good Shepherd and Faithful Deliverer came to fulfill the law and the prophets! Thus
our Lord does not cast off forever (Lam. 3:31-32, Heb. 13:8). He who taught us to
forgive and bless our enemies will surely do the same for His. For every tongue will
give thanks that in Him they have righteousness and strength. All flesh will bless His
name forever and ever! For our Lord will not fail or become discouraged until He
fulfills all of God's purpose, word and will. For He tells us that everyone will be
"seasoned" with fire (Matt. 5:17, Mark 9:42-49, Acts 3:21).
Those who disobey the gospel and persecute Christians will be repaid with
"everlasting" (that is, continuous) tribulation, destruction and punishment-until--by
such persistent correction God shows them their need for Christ. So what is written in
the prophets will come to pass, that ALL shall be taught of God, and everyone who
has heard and LEARNED from the Father (eventually) comes to Christ. Thus, all the
families of the nations will remember Him and worship before Him. And all will submit
to Him and sing His praise. So God's promise will be fulfilled that ALL men shall
reverence Him proclaim His works, and wisely consider His doing (Ps. 22:27-28, 64:4-
5, 64:9, 2 Thess. 1:7-10).
Paul the apostle understood the "forever until" principle at work in God's redemptive
judgments. He knew the heart of God, and Paul also knew God's will, purpose and
plan. His knowledge of God's character, will and purpose governed his understanding
of Scripture. That is why Paul could appear to contradict the prophet David! Have a
look at Romans 11:9-12 in the NIV translation, where David prophesies in Psalm 69:22:
"May their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution to
them. May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see and their backs be bent
And observe how Paul responds:
"Again I ask: Did they (Israel) stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? NOT AT ALL!
Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the gentiles (pagans, all
who are spiritually unenlightened) to make Israel envious. For if their transgression
means RICHES for the WORLD, and their loss means riches for the gentiles--how
much greater riches will their (Israel's) fullness bring?"
Wow. . . ! In the next three verses Paul assures us:
that Israel's fall is the reconciliation of the WORLD;
that Israel's fall will be (for them and all the world) life from the dead! (Ez. 37);
that because the FIRST fruit (Israel) is holy, the whole world ("lump" or "harvest field")
Read all of Romans chapter eleven, and the Scriptures will clearly speak for
themselves. Practice reading all of God's Word in light of His character, commitment,
purpose and reliable good pleasure and will. Get God's "forever until" policy of
judgment settled in your heart--and get ready!
More Explanations of Aion
While reading "Creation's Jubilee" by Dr. Stephen Jones I found that he has a really
good explanation of how the Greek word "aion" came to be used as a word meaning
See what you think....
Jesus Will Reign for the Ages of the Ages
In Luke 1:33 we find that “OF His kingdom there shall be NO END.” If Luke had used
the term aionian here, he would have been incorrect. The things OF the kingdom shall
truly be everlasting, not age-lasting. But Jesus’ reign lasts only until all enemies are
subdued, including death itself (1 Cor. 15:25-28). At that point the Kingdom is turned
over to the Father, and the perfected universe enters a timeless realm of which we
In Hebrews 7:16 the writer refers to Jesus’ coming “according to the power of an
indestructible life.” The Greek word translated “indestructible” is akatalutos, which
means “indissoluble, not subject to destruction.” The King James Version translates it
“endless,” which is also accurate. He would have been wrong if he had said Jesus
only had aionian life. So he chose his words carefully.
In 1 Timothy 1:17 we are told that Jesus is the King of the Ages. That is, He is the
rightful Ruler of the earth who shall reign during the final two ages of time. There is
first the Tabernacles Age, which culminates the plan of God in the present world-
order, followed by the Age of the New Heavens and the New Earth. These are the ages
of the ages, or the ages to come.
After the 7th thousand-year period (Sabbath millennium), God will kindle the lake of
fire to purify the wicked. The believers will simply receive “few stripes” or “many
stripes,” up to 40, according to Bible law (Deut. 25:1-3). God prohibits beatings of
more than 40 stripes. Why?
1 If there is a dispute between men and they go to court, and the judges decide
their case, and they justify the righteous and condemn the wicked, 2 then it shall be if
the wicked man deserves to be beaten, the judge shall then make him lie down and be
beaten in his presence with the number of stripes according to his guilt. 3 "He may
beat him forty times but no more, lest he beat him with many more stripes than these,
and your brother be degraded in your eyes.
God’s judgments are carefully measured in order to prevent us from being
“degraded.” They correct us, rather than destroy us. This is true for both believers
and unbelievers, for it is the same law that is used for all lawbreakers. Paul says in 1
17 Now to the King eternal [ton aionion, “of the ages”], immortal, invisible, the only
God, be honor and glory forever and ever [aionas ton aionon, “ages of the ages”].
The way this verse is usually translated leads most people to believe that Paul was
informing us of God’s “eternal” existence. God is, of course, “eternal.” No one
disputes that, for it is always assumed. But Paul is bringing out another aspect of God’
s character and position. He is the “King of the Ages” and shall rule in the final
glorious ages of the earth. It says that He shall reign “for the Ages of the Ages.”
The Greek phrase (see above) is aionas ton aionos. The word, ton, means “of-the.” It
NEVER means “and.” Dr. Young translates the above verse correctly and literally:
17 And to the King of the Ages, the incorruptible, invisible, only wise God, is honour
and glory—to the ages of the ages! Amen.
If we stop and think about it, the phrase “ever and ever” really makes no sense,
because it implies that it is longer than a mere “ever.” Some translators do a song-and-
dance routine, attempting to show that the phrase is an idiom meaning “forever and
ever.” They say it signifies ages tumbling upon ages. If that were the case, then Holy
of Holies ought to be idiomatic of “Holy AND Holies.” The Song of Songs should then
be idiomatic for “Song AND Songs.” Or perhaps we should say that the Holy of Holies
is a Holy Place tumbling upon countless other holy places. The Song of Songs should
be a Song with an infinite number of stanzas.
No, the Bible talks about the MOST Holy Place and the GREATEST Song and the
GREATEST of the Ages.
Jerome’s Latin Vulgate
The early Church was mainly divided between Greek and Latin culture and language.
We read from secular histories that the Roman Empire had conquered the Greek-
speaking world shortly before Christ’s birth. The Romans borrowed a great deal from
the Greeks, but the language and cultural barrier always remained in place. The
thinking was just plain different.
The Greek philosophers were mostly concerned with the perfect (ideal) man. The
Romans were mostly concerned with a perfect government. The Greeks pursued the
ideal man by studying virtue and beauty; the Romans pursued their perfect
government by studying law and order.
These differences surfaced in the early Church as well. Both cultures had a tendency
to interpret the Bible through the colored glasses of their own cultures. As time went
on, they got farther and farther away from the Hebrew perspective. And so both
Greeks and Romans had their own unique shortcomings and blind spots, even as we
do today in our own cultures.
The blind spot of the Latin Christians was their belief that in order to maintain law and
order, it was necessary to threaten men with the worst possible tortures in the afterlife.
This obsession with maintaining law and order appears to have been a motivating
force behind the Latin idea of God’s eternal retribution upon sinners.
I do not know when the Old Latin version of the Bible was translated for the benefit of
the Romans. It was not a good translation by any scholar’s standard. But finally, a
scholar arose who was well qualified to revise the old version. His name was Jerome.
Jerome was born in 347 A.D. in Italy. His parents were wealthy Christians who sent
him to Rome for a secular education. After his studies he was baptized in the Church
at the age of 19. When he decided upon the monastic life, his parents opposed it, and
he had a falling out with them. Having a bad temper, Jerome never saw them again,
nor did he ever mention them again in his writings.
In 373 A.D. when Jerome was in his mid-twenties, he went East, because the Greek
world was the land of education and higher theological learning. He met Evagrius in
Antioch and began learning the Greek language. Later he also learned Hebrew
From 379 to 382 he lived in Constantinople, where he met Gregory of Nyassa. He also
took Gregory of Nazianzus as his “teacher.” Jerome began reading all the writings of
Origen as well as others that were recommended to him. When he re-translated the
Latin Bible in 390-406 A.D., he wrote in the preface an appreciation to Origen, who had
done much translation work as well. (Jerome also lived in Alexandria for a time. This
was Origen’s home town.) Finally, he settled in Bethlehem, where he headed a
monastery for the remaining years of his life.
It is unfortunate that Jerome’s personality was so vindictive and unforgiving. He was
truly one of the best Christian scholars of the day and was admired for this; but his
poisoned pen made people very cautious so as not to offend him in any way. His
senseless attacks on Pelagius finally resulted in his Bethlehem monastery being
burned to the ground in 416 A.D. Jerome died on September 30, 420 A.D.
As for the Latin Vulgate, Jerome did an excellent job over all. His translation became a
classic that has been used ever since. However, we must confine our remarks here to
the subject of “eternal” and “everlasting,” because it is through the Latin Vulgate that
we inherited these words in the English Bible.
When Jerome came to the Greek word aionian (“age-lasting”), he had two Latin words
to choose from in its translation: seculum and aeternum. Both of these words had
already been used in the Old Latin version that he was correcting. And, in fact, these
words were quite close in meaning to the Greek aionian. And so Jerome used both
There was just one problem. The Latin words had a DOUBLE MEANING. According to
a footnote in Augustine’s City of God, XXII, I, we read,
“The words ‘eternal’ and ‘eternity’ from Latin aeternus, aeternitas, are related to
aevum, which means BOTH ‘unending time’ and ‘a period of time;’ for the second
meaning the commoner word is aetas.”
This footnote was put in by modern Latin scholars to clarify the Latin terminology,
because Augustine was attempting to prove that aeternus and aeternitas in his Latin
Bible was unending time. Recall the verse we quoted earlier, Psalm 45:6,
6 Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever [olam va ad, “the age and beyond”]; A
scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Thy kingdom.
Jerome translated this phrase to read in Latin: in aeternum et ultra, (“into eternity and
beyond”). It is obvious that Jerome knew that aeternum referred to a limited period of
time, an age, rather than “eternity” as we know it today, for there is nothing beyond
At any rate, Jerome used both seculum and aeternus in the Latin Vulgate. Twelve
hundred years later, the King James translators simply followed the Vulgate in their
rendering of these words. Whenever the Vulgate said aeternus, the KJV said
“eternal;” whenever the Vulgate said seculum, the KJV reads “world.” This is why the
KJV in Matthew 13:39 and 40 reads “the end of the WORLD” instead of “the end of the
age.” Our modern word, secular, means “pertaining to this world-order, or to this age.”
It is not that Jerome’s translation was incorrect. His words were technically accurate.
The problem was that they apparently had a double meaning, and that Augustine
chose the wrong meaning to champion eternal torment. Latin scholars were thus
compelled to point out his bias.
had a hole in it! Knowing a little bit about the Hebrew word Owlam
and the Greek word Aion greatly helps one to understand the
premise for Universal Salvation.
that "endless" is what was meant by some of the writers of the Bible, even though
the make up of the words has to do with "time". Some argue that if everlasting life
is endless then everlasting punishment is also endless. This is, simply, not true.
Bringing us "life" is what Christ came to do. God has said that He created man
FOR Himself. He said Christ would draw all men to Himself if He was crucified on
the cross. Well, was He crucified on the cross? Turn loose of your ideas of Hell
long enough to rationalize this. If Christ is going to draw ALL to Himself, then
nobody can spend eternity in Hell, right?
of ourselves and repent, calling on and confessing Christ as our savior and Lord.
Aionion (everlasting) punishment is what it may take to get us to that point. Crisis
bring change. One of the words for God's judgment is "Krisis". He punishes for a
purpose not just to torture people.