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Reply Topic: Re: *Eternal* punishment?
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[quote="Andrew32" post=4573][quote="Sherman" post=4082]Most words have multiple meanings and nuances, so one needs to determine the meaning by the context. The phrase "eternal punishment" is only used in one place in scripture that I'm aware of, Mat. 25.46. [i]Aionian [/i]is used to modify [i]kolasis[/i]. And kolasis would best be interpreted as chastisement, which is punishment with a remedial purpose. This fits the previous metaphor of the shepherd separating the kids from the flock. Oh, that's right, not many people notice that the issue in both examples given is maturity. In the metaphor of the shepherd the word mistranslated as Sheep is [i]probaton [/i]which actually references any small 4-legged animal. And shepherds in that area typically herd sheep, goats, donkeys, and, if the owner is rich enough, small cattle. The shepherd separates out the [i]eriphos[/i], the kids, the young goats from his flock; he is not separating out the goats from the flock, but the kids from the flock. Why does a shepherd separate out the kids from the flock? He does it so that he can train them which often involved chastisement. Goats by nature are very independent and need training so that they will listen to the shepherd and be able to function as a healthy part of the flock. And goats are just as valuable as sheep. They herd them together because they eat different plants and can feed off the same location without competing. The other example given are socially immature people, people who do not even see the needs of others around them, much less meet those needs. Socially immature people are self-centered and they too need disciplining so that they can become mature members of the family and society. It is also significant to note that Jesus is warning of the judgment of the nations, ethnos. This typically refers to the non-Jews, and usually, I think, speaks of groups of people, though it can speak of individuals also. And this judgment is based on how the nations treat "the least of these my brothers"; who is Jesus referring to here? From the literary context Jesus could be talking about the Jews who would be scattered to the nations again; this perspective calls to mind God's promise to bless those who bless the Jews and curse those who curse the Jews, children of Abraham. Or Jesus could be identifying with his followers, especially those who would be persecuted because of Him. Or Jesus could be identifying with the poor and needy of society highlighting how nations that do not take care of the poor will be judged. Or Jesus could be talking about all of the above perspectives -- Groups/Individuals and Jews/Poor/Believers. So when God judges groups or individuals, his judgment is for their good, like a shepherd that separates out the kids from the flock for chastisement. Now in that context, neither endless nor final seem to me to fit. So what does "aionian" mean? I think it was a means of referencing that which comes from God, that which is spiritual, not physical. It was "aionian" fire that destroyed Sodom, and Hebrews notes that it is aionian judgment that we shall all face. The Judgment that Jesus is speaking of is judgment and chastisement from God, whether that be in this life or the life to come. The phrasing is non-specific because the point of the passage is to call us all to repentance and maturity, especially in how we treat the Jews, the poor, and one another. And btw, Jesus says that aionian life is "knowing the father". It's not about length, but about source and quality.[/quote] Sherman, Do you know of a source for the information in paragraph 2 regarding the kids, goats, and shepherding...particularly in ancient times? Also do you happen to know the verse in Hebrews which speaks of aionian judgment of Christians? A simple google search doesn't turn it up easily... I'll look more if you don't happen to know.[/quote]
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