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*Eternal* punishment?
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TOPIC: *Eternal* punishment?

Re: *Eternal* punishment? 3 years, 1 month ago #3192

  • kowsmic
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You are right about this word aionios meaning 'final'. For the past fifteen years I have been using information theory to translate the Greek NT. Almost finished with the lexicon. What I have found on this word was the subject of one of my Endnotes which I will quote here:
NT:0166 -
Before discussing NT166, we first need to note the meaning of a different word - NT126. Thayer says that the English translation of this Greek adjective aidios (NT126) is "eternal" or "everlasting", as in "the eternal God". Adjective NT126, aidios, is derived from the Greek word for "ever/always". Thayer says of NT126, "Aidios covers the complete philosophic idea - without beginning and without end; [it can also mean], either without beginning or without end." (from Thayer's Greek Lexicon) Now we will return to the subject of this endnote, which is NT166.

Strong's number NT166, aionios is a completely different Greek adjective from NT126 aidios described above. Adjective NT166 means literally "permanent/unchanging" and figuratively "final", and is derived from the noun meaning "a time, a lifetime, an age". Now, why did I begin this entry for NT166 with the Strong's number NT126? Because in the KJV and in many English bibles derived from the KJV, the adjective NT166 has been translated into English with adjective NT126's English meaning! In these bibles NT166 is almost always translated into English as "eternal/everlasting" or even as the adverb "forever", even though that is not its meaning, and NT166's noun form (NT165) does not mean "eternity" but means "a time, a lifetime, an age", as noted in the entry for NT165.

You might think that it's not important, that the meanings are similar enough and probably overlap. But if so, why did bible translators bend over backward with the Greek sentences containing NT166? They did it so that the false meaning would not be noticed in translation. The true meaning does not conform to traditional Church doctrine. At some time before any English translations, the Roman Church in its own eyes became the custodian of the Word of God and is known to have acted at various times in its own interests at the expense of accurate translation. This word under discussion was an early Church translation error. The earliest existing biblical translation from Greek into Latin - the Codex Vercellensis - is from 350AD, and even Jerome's creation of the Latin Vulgate, a contemporary living language at the time, was begun in 382AD. When this error arose in translation is beyond my knowlege or time to investigate; I can only point it out.

In the Greek Septuagint, Num 25:13 is translated using NT166. "And he shall have it, and his seed after him, even the covenant of a [NT166 - permanent] priesthood; because he was zealous for his God, and made an atonement for the children of Israel." This speaks of a Hebrew priest, Phinehas, not of Yeshua. The priestly family line of Phinehas was to remain unchanged, but it could not be called "eternal" or "everlasting" as it has been translated in KJV. Only Yeshua's priesthood is eternal. Why then was it translated in English as "eternal/everlasting"? The error gets worse.

Translators, with an agenda or simply ignorantly, must have desperately wanted NT166 to mean "eternal". Though it might have saved them headaches, their desire or ignorant assumption misrepresents the Word of God. Both Rom 16:25 and 2Tim 1:9 are grossly contorted to change the meaning of the literal words: "final times" [NT166 + pl. of NT5550] into phrases like "since the world began" (pulling the "since the" out of a hat and distorting the other two), or "long ages past" or "through times eternal" or "from the beginning of time". It is literally "final times" in both Rom 16:25 and 2Tim 1:9 because the error is repeated in 2Tim: 1:9. Let's take a closer look at these verses.

The meaning in the KJV of Rom 16:25 - "...the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,...(KJV)", should be corrected to "...the mystery, having been kept quiet before final times,...". And in the KJV, 2Tim: 1:9 - "... given us in Christ Jesus before the world began (KJV)", should be corrected to "...being given to us in Anointed Yeshua before final times." We have been in the last/final times for almost two thousand years, because in 1 Peter 1:20, Peter describes his own day as "the last times". But if "final times" and the last two thousand years are basically the same thing, does it make a difference? It makes a huge difference because it allows the KJV to entirely miss the point in both verses.

The point? The "final times" (the last two thousand years) require our understanding the mystery in Rom16:25 of the One New Man (from Rom11:25;Eph2:11-15;3:3,4,6,9;Col1:26,27) and also, in 2Tim1:9, our knowing the ever present help of God. Most believers today know the importance of the ever present help of God, but how many know the mystery of the One New Man? An antichrist spirit and an anti-Semitic spirit walk hand in hand. If we do not realize Israel's importance to God in "final times" we will succumb to the doctrine of demons that is called replacement, or fulfillment, theology. We are grafted into Israel's olive tree (Rom11:17,18); Israel is not grafted into our Christmas tree. Of course the Enemy wants this truth obliterated. This is a sample of the errors resulting from the faulty translation of only one Greek word translated "eternal/everlasting" when it really means "permanent/unchanging/final". But even that is not the worst of it.

Concerning NT166, Hogg and Vine say: "Aionios is also used ...of the judgment of God, from which there is no appeal, Heb 6:2, and of the fire, which is one of its instruments, Matt 18:8; 25:41; Jude 7, and which is elsewhere said to be 'unquenchable,' Mark 9:43. The use of aionios here shows that the punishment referred to in 2 Thess 1:9, is not temporary, but final, and, accordingly, the phraseology shows that its purpose is not remedial but retributive." [From Notes on Thessalonians, by Hogg and Vine, pp 232-233, quoted in Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, c. 1985, Thomas Nelson Pub.]

Aionios, NT166, refers to the status or condition that is final, permanent, unchanging and unchangeable. When the final condition is destruction, aionios cannot mean "everlasting." Something that has perished or been destroyed cannot continue to be destroyed, but the action is final and irreversible.

The evidence here against "eternal torture" concerns not a case of wishful thinking, but of early agenda-driven mistranslation nurtured by centuries of authoritarian Church power and tradition. One major evidence for this is found in the OT. YHWH taught the Hebrews, the original custodians of Scripture, no such teaching as "eternal torment" for any human being. Throughout the Hebrew Scripture, destruction/perishing, is the promised final end of the wicked, not unending torture. Final destruction is good and bad enough; unending torture is a blasphemous doctrine of demons that drags through mud the merciful reputation of God. Such a corrupted view of God rightly holds no attraction for thinking nonbelievers, and coupled with the now obsolete translation of Greek Hades (NT86) as "hell" instead of its literal meaning of "the grave/death", the error has been disastrously magnified. Today's English language idea of "hell" is NT1067- "Gehenna", and is largely equivalent to the "lake of fire". Its fire is forever, not the things that go into it. (see Endnote NT:1067 for a full discussion of "hell")

Christian evangelism based on traditional Church error has been hobbled by these mistranslations for well over a thousand years. These errors even escaped through the hands of the reformers and Puritans and into Strong's Concordance until the present day. With such prestigious backing for these errors, bringing them to light elicits indignation in those scholars who "trust" the KJV along with the twisted traditional Church doctrine of everlasting torment for unbelievers. A predictable backlash has come upon scholars of integrity who have not been afraid to speak out. But my hope is that the consistent and contextual Experimental NT translation possible today will encourage the faith of those who can reason rightly, as God intended.

Traditional translations are no longer the last word. Is it right to consider any English NT translation infallible any more than it is right to consider the Pope infallible? Today's bible study tools can bring truth to light if they are used honestly and without compromise. Here is a sample, using just NT166, of what they can teach us:
In MT 25:46, a mistranslation of NT166 + NT2851 as "everlasting punishment" has contributed to, if not spawned, the horror. The KJV has it, "...these shall go away into everlasting punishment." It literally in Greek is: "...these will go away into final cutting-off/destruction". "Cutting-off" (NT2851) is a Greek Hebraism for destruction. The following KJV verses which contain NT166 translated wrongly as "everlasting/eternal" have also been used to support the false teaching of eternal torture:
Mk 3:29 - "...but is in danger of eternal damnation," [corrected translation: "...instead, is deserving of final condemnation,"]
2Thes 1:9 - "...who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord," [corrected translation: "who will pay justice at a final destroying from the Lord's presence..."]
Heb 6:1-2 - "(...not laying again the foundation of)...eternal judgment". [corrected translation: "...of final judging/condemning"]
Jude 7 - "(as Sodom and Gomorrah)...suffering the vengeance of eternal fire" [corrected translation: "...having justice by final fire."]

A few places in the NT seem at first to offer support for unbelievers' eternal torment in "hell", but only because of translation mischief. In Yeshua's story in Lk 16:23-25, about Lazarus and the Rich Man, Yeshua says, according to the King James version, "And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments,..." "Hell" here is hades: death/the grave, and is probably the "place" after death of the wicked and the place separated from the Hebraic "Abraham's bosom/embrace". "Torments" here is NT931 - "causes-of-pain/distress", and is used in the NT for scenarios of extreme exertion, such as hard rowing or childbirth. If Lazarus was in "hell" and having a conversation with Abraham then this cannot be the lake of fire. Though he complains that he is pained/distressed in "this blazing heat", that is not enough to consider it the same as the lake of fire. This story is only meant to illustrate its reason for existence: to make the point that Moses and the prophets give sufficient warning about what happens after death. No other teaching can be founded on such an illustration alone. Remember, this hot and dreadful place the old KJV here calls "hell" will also eventually be destroyed in the lake of fire! (Rev. 20:14)

Two other passages usually used to teach ongoing torments in the lake of fire are Rev. 14:10-11, and Rev. 20:9-11. In the first, Rev. 14:10, an angel warns of the consequences of taking the Mark of the Beast. God's wrath falls on those taking the Mark. Anyone taking the Mark will be "pained/distressed" by fire and sulfur (nuclear warfare?), and in 14:11 the "smoke from their testing/pain ascends into the ages of the ages". It does not say they will be tested/pained/distressed for eternity. It says the "smoke" will go up for a long time. Some radioactive half-lives are in the millions - even billions of years. Could this "smoke" be radiation? And what earthly judgment from God does not happen in His presence and the presence of his angels (Rev14:10)? They will witness the testing/pain/distress that will not allow sleep - immense suffering, but this is not the lake of fire. This is the wrath of God on earth for those serving the antichrist 'Beast' seemingly around the same time as the harvest from the earth (Rev14:15).

In the second passage (Rev. 20:9) cited above, at the end of the Millennium when the Adversary has been released once more, his followers surround the ones seen as pure and the beloved city. Then fire descends from God out of the sky and consumes them. In vs. 10 prior to the Great White Throne judgment, the Accuser is thrown into the lake of fire, in which the Beast and False-Prophet had been thrown at the beginning of the Millennium. These three, the unholy trinity of spirit beings, will spend eternity without any human bodies they may have once possessed, but no less in anguish and in distress day and night forever in the lake of fire. Non-physical beings cannot be physically pained or destroyed, but, like YHWH who has spiritual emotion and mind, they can suffer like YHWH, and more than we could ever bear. Then comes the Last Judgment. The dead mortals are judged and all those not in the book of life are thrown into the lake of fire, where they are utterly destroyed. Mt 10:28 - "...fear Him who is able to destroy both self-life and body in Gehenna/(the-)place-of-destruction." Then death and the grave (NT86) are thrown into the lake of fire, and a new heaven and earth come.

None of the passages above describe humans tormented forever within the lake of fire, or tortures in "hell". All that can accurately be gleaned from Greek NT scriptures is the final judgment of destruction for those not written in the Lamb's book of life, and, we can at most possibly assume, the eternal anguish of the unholy trinity and their fallen angels. For human haters of God a final destroying is described in the Greek New Testament, just as also the Old Testament teaches.

Re: *Eternal* punishment? 1 year, 11 months ago #4082

  • Sherman
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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. Aionian is used to modify kolasis. 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 probaton 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 eriphos, 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.

Re: *Eternal* punishment? 1 year, 11 months ago #4083

  • kowsmic
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"Eternal destruction" is an oxymoron.

Re: *Eternal* punishment? 1 year, 11 months ago #4084

  • kowsmic
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My apologies, Sherman. I meant to reply to another poster, but hit the wrong reply button and could not edit it away. My "reply" to you was what I wanted to send someone else. I do want to reply, but I'm going to be tied up for a bit. Later.

Re: *Eternal* punishment? 1 year, 5 months ago #4573

  • Andrew32
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Sherman wrote:
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. Aionian is used to modify kolasis. 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 probaton 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 eriphos, 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.



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.

Re: *Eternal* punishment? 7 months, 3 weeks ago #5125

  • jeremiah
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Andrew32 wrote:

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.


This is simply a reference to Hebrews 6:2, it is only assumed by the reader that when the author says, "...of the resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgement...," that the judgement is solely referring to the wicked. But we should know better than to do that, for we shall all appear before the judgement seat of Christ.

I'm not sure if Sherman was alluding to this but I would like to point out the massive import this should have for how the NT writers understood and used the Aion word group. Since Christians will be subject to 'eternal' judgement just as the wicked, then it can more readily be seen why many UR advocates are not bothered in affirming eternal punishment, eternal destruction, and so on. While 'eternal' is a Latin derivative of words which certainly meant unending duration. In the bible, eternal is simply an English word translating a Greek one which certainly doesn't denote unending duration.

This is not by itself some battering ram to any view of hell. I do believe it is a substantial chink in the armor of both ECT and CI though, and it was one of the things that propelled me to look further as a conditionalist.

Whether the Apokatastasis ends in the restoration of all sinners by Jesus or the capital punishment of all who would not receive his love (I believe its the former) I hope we can as his church regain the ability she once had to speak of these things without suspicion of malice.
Also unto thee, O Lord, belongeth mercy: for thou renderest to every man according to his work.
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