In a book that ministers of a certain
denomination must study in preparation for the ministry, it is said, in
reference to Matt. 25:46, that the punishment of the wicked is endless
if the bliss of the righteous is endless, because the same word,
AIONION, is used to describe both.
Yet the same book, in commenting on Rom. 5:19,
"For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the
obedience of one shall many be made righteous," says the first
"many" means all mankind, but the second "many"
means all who believenot the whole human family.
Consistency is about as rare in the average orthodox
comment on scripture, as the proverbial hen's teeth. Such nonsense
would not be resorted to, were it not for the supposed necessity of
defending a creed, in defiance of common sense. If the word,
"aionion," used twice in one sentence, has the same meaning
both times, why is this not true of the word, "many," when used
twice in one sentence?
The first passage reads, in the King James Version:
"And these shall go away into everlasting punishment; but the
righteous into life eternal." It is admitted by all who know
what they are talking about, that the Greek word AIONION is the one that
is translated everlasting and eternal in that verse. A study of
the contextthe setting of the storywould convince any unbiased
person that the question of endlessness is not in the word either time
it is used in that verse.
See verse 31. When shall the Son of Man come in
His glory and all the holy angels with Him, and sit on the throne of His
glory? It is at the beginning of that eon which the Jews so often
mentioned as THE eonthe one in which the millennium shall run its
course. This is necessarily true in view of Rev. 20:4, 5.
The saints shall reign with Christ a thousand years, while the rest of
the dead remain dead for that period.
Will individuals be judged at that time? The
Bible says NATIONS. As Christ will have become King of one nationIsraelHe
will deal with other nations as suchnot with individuals of the
nations. Where is the throne of His glory? Since He is to have the
throne of His father, David, Like 1:32, it is in Jerusalem. It is
there that He shall summon all nations to appear before Him.
Is grace or faith mentioned in the story? Not
one time! There is to be a time of great trouble just preceding
this, Matt. 24:21, and during that period the gospel of the kingdom
shall be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations, Matt.
24:14. Jews are the only ones who can preach the gospel of the
kingdom. They are the Lord's brethren. The nations that
treat them well during that time, will be on the right, and the others
shall be on the left. Read the entire passageverses 31-46.
Remember, the lord is called the Son of Man, in this
passage. As such He takes the place of Adam as Lord of the
earth. His is the right to deal with the nations. The
righteous nation will be given a place of blessing in the thousand-year
kingdom; the others shall under go chasteningfor the word that is
translated "punishment" in verse 46, is the Greek word
KOLASIN, which means chastening. The word for punishment is
TIMORIAS. It is not in this passage.
The word, kolasin, denotes a continuing
process. The suffix sin is equivalent to the English-ING.
The word used here is not chastisement. It is chastenING. It
will continue as long as the "life" mentioned here
continues. And how long is that? It is for THE EONtherefore
the adjective, AIONION, or, as it is in English EONIAN, is proper.
Eonian means belonging to the eon, or to the eons, depending on the
context. In this case one eon is under considerationthe
kingdom eon. What is to take place after the thousand years is not
in view at all, in this passage.
The "life" relates to nationsnot to
individuals of the nations. The United States has had life for 166
years. But no citizen of this nation has lived that long.
The fire could well have a figurative meaning, for fire is so used many
times in scripture. However, I will not insist on that at this
time. The point is, some nations shall be chastened as long as
other nations have the life promised in the passage. And that is
for the eon. It is eonian life for nations.
The question of final destiny is not in the passage
at all. It could not be in a passage dealing with a
thousand-year perioda period which begins more than a millennium
before the judging at the great white throne, and ends some years in
advance of the sitting of that august tribunal.
The place to look for God's ultimate is not in those
scriptures that deal with matters before and during the millennium, and
the first part of the eon that follows. None of the Circumcision
scriptures go to the consummation of the eons. Most of them stop
in the kingdom of the Son of David. A sew speak of THE EON AND
STILL. The writers had some knowledge that there would be an eon
after THE eon, but it was very obscure. "For the eon and
still," in the Hebrew scriptures, (Old Testament) is often
mistranslated "for ever and ever." The four
"gospels" deal with the kingdom, as do the Acts and the
epistles of James, Peter, Jude, John, and that of the writer of
Hebrews. The Revelation, (Unveiling of Jesus Christ), stops short
of the consummation, for it leaves kings still ruling, and nations
needing the leaves of the tree of life as medicine.
Paul says he is one who COMPLETES the word of God,
Col. 1:25. The King James Version says Paul was to fulfill the
word of God. Yet, in chapter 2:10 they render the same word by
"complete." This is correct. Paul takes us to the
consummation, and then lifts the curtain for a glimpse into the time
after the eons. In that brief glimpse we see GOD ALL IN ALL, I
Cor. 15:28. I quoted John Wesley on this in the last issue.
He correctly says, "Even an inspired apostle sees nothing beyond
We might as well look for higher mathematics in a
first grade arithmetic, as to look for finality in scriptures that deal
with the kingdom promised Israel. The place to find anything is to
look where it is. Finality is in the scriptures that complete the
word of GodPaul's epistles.
In the beginning of this article I referred to the
word, many, which is found twice in Rom. 5:19. I quoted it as it
is in the King James Version. As a matter of fact, Paul says THE
one; THE many; THE one; THE many. Properly translated, it reads,
"For even as through the disobedience of the one man the many were
constituted sinners, thus also through the obedience of the One the many
shall be constituted just." But I will not insist on this
now. Take it as the King James Version renders it. We are
still faced with the fact that if aionion has the same meaning when used
twice in one sentence, the same is bound to be true on many, then used
twice in one sentence.
In Rom. 8:9 the word "spirit" is used twice
in one sentence. Does it mean the same in both cases? In
verse 5 "flesh" in used twice, and "spirit" is used
twice. How do our orthodox brethren interpret this
The first "many" in Rom. 5:19 necessarily
means the whole human family. What part of the race of Adam was
not constituted sinners by the disobedience of Adam? Then the
second "many" means the entire family of Adam.
If asked about the garbling of this verse, ministers
usually reply, "We must interpret it that way, for the Bible
teaches that no one will ever be saved, except those who
believe." I ask, in all modesty, where does the Bible say
that? It says in I Tim. 4:10 that God is the Savior of all
mankind. This is a statement that stands as it is. Then the
writer says He is the Savior specially of believers. Believers
have eonian lifeor life that belong to the eons, John 3:16.
(Don't bring in Matt. 25:31-46 here. It refers to nations and not
to individual persons. Belief is not mentioned there). But
all mankind are to be saved. Not all will have eonian life.
Many will be dead, not only during the millennium, but also during the
last eon, )having been roused only for judging, which is followed by the
second death). It is at the consummation, or "the end,"
that death is abolished. This necessarily is the second death, for
that death, only is operative during the last eon. The abolition
of death means the vivification of those who were held by it. This
is life beyond the reach of death. It is after this is done, that
God becomes All in all, I Cor. 15:28. All Hell, death, outer
darkness, lake of fire and eonian chastening must come to an end, in
order for all to be vivified in Christ, and for God to become All in
Why are eternal and everlasting used in the King
James Version? That version is made from the Latin Vulgate.
There Two words were used to translate aionionseculum and aeternum.
This was for the sake of variety of expression, not to denote two
meanings. Seculum demotes sections, which could not mean what we
mean by eternal. The meaning of aeternum can be ascertained from
the fact that on tombstones of that period the grave was called the
aeternum home of the dead. As saints believed in resurrection,
they did not mean the grave is the endless home. The King James
Version simply transliterated aeternum into eternal. Then, because
the translators thought is proper to use two words as the Vulgate had
done, the changed seculum to everlasting. They used it as we do
when we speak of an evergreen treenot green endlessly, but green continuously
until it dies.