Owlam And Aion  

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":

    How long have we all been laboring under a false assumption of what these words represent? In
    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:  

    Ephesians 1:9-10

    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:  

    Phillipians 2:9-11

    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.  

    Colossians 1:15-21

    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
    his coming.   
    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.

    Please note:

    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
    1Peter 1:4

    Amarantinos= Unfading. Composed of amaranth. A flower so called because it never
    withers or fades, and when plucked off revives if moistened by water.
    1Peter 5:4

    Akatalutos= Endless, not subject to destruction. Indissoluable.
    Hebrews 7:16

    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
    1Timothy 1:4

    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
    Sodom" 16:53-55).

    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"
    (Jer. 48:47).

    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")
    is holy.

    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
    know little.

    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
    Timothy 1:17:

    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
    words interchangeably.

    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.

    It was a glorious day when I realized my doctrine of eternal torment
    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.

    Some Universalitsts say these words never mean endless but it does seem to me
    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?

    Aionion (everlasting) life is the end result of all mankind once we come to the end
    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.