Monday, April 20, 2015

Where is Eternal Torment Taught in the Scriptures?

The idea that the unsaved will be tormented perpetually is dependent upon the idea that the human spirit is still immortal after the fall. However, God declared that because of sin Adam would die the day that he ate of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. In order to keep this belief that the soul is immortal, proponents argue that because Adam did not physically die the day he ate of it, that the death suffered by Adam was a permanent separation from God, and that therefore those who are not saved will not die but live perpetually separated from God. It is true however that if the spirit died there would indeed be perpetually separated from God. The apostle Paul told us clearly, as do many passages in the Old and New Testaments that we are mortal because of the fall, and that God has taken away both the immortality of the body and that of the soul. First he explains that all those who have physically died will all be sleeping in the earth but those who have not physically died will be walking the earth when Christ returns and we are resurrected:

1Corinthians 15
[51] Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

He then explains that when resurrected, the saved will be "changed".

[52] In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

We see also the change of the saved from corruptible flesh to incorruptible at the resurrection in Job:

Job14[14] If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.

Paul then explains that the earthly body we once had, which had decayed and disappeared, will be replaced with a new, incorruptible body, and that we then become physically immortal and our sprit will become immortal as well:

[53] For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

We know from a great many passages in the Old and New Testaments that this immortality is not only bodily, but also the immortality of the spirit because of Christ, that we live because He lives, for without Him we would die:

Romans6[23] For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Paul explains that this means the saved will be immortal and never die, but the wicked, because they have earned the wages of sin, will die:

[54] So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

Without the belief that the spirit is eternally living though it has not received the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ even though it is a sinner and has earned the wages of sin, the idea that the unsaved will live perpetually in a place of torment cannot be supported. The perpetual torment idea completely depends upon the idea that the spirit is immortal even without the gift of eternal life, and that the sinner who dies without Christ as the payment for their sin will also have the gift of eternal life!

The Greek word aion and the term "eis aion aion", which literally reads "into age age" have been mistranslated by those who translated the scriptures into English. The translators did not know that this Greek word's meaning depended upon context. Because they did not know this, they indiscriminately translated aion as perpetuity (ever). The ancient Greeks used this word to mean either "age" or "perpetuity" (ever, forever, eternal). Had the translators known this, they would have used the word correctly. If you will patiently read what I am writing, you will see that this is the truth because the texts will bear it out. The incorrect translation of the word aion has produced a slander against the character of God, making it seem as though God will torment the wicked perpetually and never stop doing so. This is a contradiction to the merciful, compassionate character of God. It makes God into a monster who's vengeance cannot be satisfied, and who is incapable of bringing a conclusion to his justice. Proponents of the eternal torment idea argue that the unsaved must be tormented perpetually because God Himself is eternal, though this is a non-sequitor. It does not logically follow, and argues that God is somehow bound to the necessity of eternally tormenting the unsaved and has no power to determine the exact punishment anyone receives! This idea is absurdity, and has no explanatory power whatsoever.

You know as well as I that there is no contradiction in scripture, which atheists falsely claim. However, if you study the passages that have translated the word aion into "ever" or "forever" or "forever and ever", you will discover that there is a contradiction in your English Bible. Some of these passages contradict other passages. This is because the word aion has been incorrectly translated. When we understand what some of these passages mean, we see the contradiction. If we change the translation of aion from "ever" to "age" in certain passages, their contradiction of other passages disappears!

This is because there is no contradiction in scripture, and the word has been translated to it's secondary meaning when it should have been translated as it's primary definition, which is "age".

The ancient Greeks wrote that the meaning of word aion was determined by the nature of the thing about which it is used. If that thing is finite, the meaning of aion is of a finite period of time. If that thing is eternal, such as the kingdom of God or God Himself, then the word means "perpetuity" or "eternal". Those who translated the scriptures into English were not aware of what the ancient Greeks themselves said of the meaning of the word aion or how they used it in their works. Had they been aware of the fact that context determines the meaning of the word aion, they would not have incorrectly translated it.

Before going to the scriptures themselves to see for ourselves the problems that the incorrect translation of aion has created, let's consider a few things. If Christ is the sacrificial payment for the sins of the saved, and if as the old testament teaches, the wicked are their own sacrifice for their sin because they do not have the sacrificial Lamb of God (Christ) as the payment for their sin, then in order for God to pay for the sins of the saved, Jesus Christ would have to be on the cross enduring torment for eternity! It would be absolutely necessary for Christ to perpetually suffer on the cross if sin cannot be completely paid for by sacrifice. If it were necessary for the unsaved to pay eternally for their sin, in order to be consistent with this doctrine of eternal torment, it would likewise be necessary for Christ to suffer eternally on the cross for the sins of the saved! This is of course a preposterous idea, which scripture clearly teaches is not the case. Christ's finished work on the cross paid in full our debt for our sins. So to God will make the unsaved pay in full the debt they owe to Him for their sins.

The Old Testament makes it clear that destruction resulting in death is the judgment upon the wicked:

Job21[30] That the wicked is reserved to the day of destruction? they shall be brought forth to the day of wrath.

Isa13[6] Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty.

Joel1[15] Alas for the day! for the day of the LORD is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come.

Leviticus 9[24] And there came a fire out from before the LORD, and consumed ('a^kal) upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces.

'a^kal (aw-kal'): to eat (literally or figuratively): burn up, consume, devour, dine, eat, feed

. . . they will be consumed because they become their own sacrifice to God since they do not have the lamb of God to take away their sins . . .

Psalms37[20] But the wicked shall perish (ka^la^h), and the enemies of the LORD shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away.

A primitive root; to end, whether intransitively (to cease, be finished, perish) or transitively (to complete, prepare, consume): - accomplish, cease, consume (away), determine, destroy (utterly), be (when . . . were) done, (be an) end (of), expire, (cause to) fail, faint, finish, fulfil, X fully, X have, leave (off), long, bring to pass, wholly reap, make clean riddance, spend, quite take away, waste.

. . . and consumed, nothing will be left of them. They will exist no more . . .

Malachi[1] For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.

. . . because the wages of sin is death, not eternal life in torment . . .

Ezekiel 18 [20] The soul that sinneth, it shall die [mu^th].

mu^th; to die (literally or figuratively); causatively to kill: -  X at all, X crying, (be) dead (body, man, one), (put to, worthy of) death, destroy (-er), (cause to, be like to, must) die, kill, necro [-mancer], X must needs, slay, X surely, X very suddenly, X in [no] wise.

Romans6[23] For the wages of sin is death [thanatos]; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

thanatos; (properly an adjective used as a noun) death (literally or figuratively): - X deadly, (be . . .) death.

. . . because God is a consuming fire says the OT and the NT . . .

Deut4[24] For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.

Heb2 [29] For our God is a consuming fire.

...and that fire wherein their spirit will die, after their bodies have long since died is a lake of fire . .

Job4[8] Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same.[9] By the blast of God they perish, and by the breath of his nostrils are they consumed.

They will die the death of the soul (Ezekiel 18 [20] The soul that sinneth, it shall die.) because the 1st death is common to all, the death of the flesh:
Rev20[14] And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

Revelation 21[8] But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

Revelation 20[10] And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever (eis aion aion).[14] And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.[15] And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

eis aion aion means: "into age age" which translates literally as "into an age long age" or "a long age". This is a finite measure of time because they will be CONSUMED, DESTROYED, AND (Malaki 1) "it shall leave them neither root nor branch."

Consider the following passage. Where is says "And the smoke of their torment ascended up for ever and ever" literally reads,  "And the smoke of their torment ascended up EIS AION AION. The term "eis aion aion" literally reads "into age age". This means "into an age long age". In other words, into a long, long period of time - a long age. It does not mean eternal (never having a beginning or end) or perpetuity (having a finite beginning but never having an end).

Revelation 14
[11] And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for (eis) ever (aion) and ever (aion): and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.

Rev 20:10  And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for (eis) ever (aion) and ever (aion).

eis: into

aion:  properly an age; by extension perpetuity

It reads, "into age age" which means "and age that lasts an age" or "a very long time".

It does not mean eternal as the context here is a created thing: the angels and Satan, which are creations of God. If the passage referred to God, it would mean "eternity" because God is eternal. The meaning of "aion" is determined by CONTEXT.

Now here is where the contradiction is produced by the incorrect translation of aion, which disappears if we translate the word correctly. God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. They burned up and their fires went out and ceased producing smoke. They are not on fire today, nor are they producing smoke:

Genesis 19
[28] And he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace.[29] And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in the which Lot dwelt.

What happened to those cities is an example of what will happen to the unsaved:

Jude1[7] Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal (aion) fire.

aion:  properly an age; by extension perpetuity

So does "aion" mean "eternal" or "eternity" here too? It cannot. It means "an age" or "long duration". Why? Because of context. Aion here means a finite period of time because Sodom and Gomorrah are creations of God, not God himself or his kingdom, which are eternal.

So - if the idea of perpetual torment were true, that aion always meant "eternity" then Sodom and Gomorrah must still be burning and smoking to this day. But are they?

2Tim2[15] Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Jonah 2:6, the prophet prays for deliverance out of the belly of the great fish. He says:

6 I descended to the roots of the mountains. The earth with its bars was around me forever [olam], But Thou hast brought up my life from the pit, O LORD my God.

The oldest lexicographer, Hesychius, (A. D. 400-600,) defines aion thus: "The life of man, the time of life."

Sophocles: "Endeavor to remain the same in mind as long as you live." Askei toiaute noun di aiónos menein.

Hippocrates. "A human aión is a seven days matter."

Empedocles, An earthly body deprived of happy life, (aiónos.)

Euripides: "Marriage to those mortals who are well situated is a happy aión." "Every aión of mortals is unstable." "A long aión has many things to say," etc.

Theodoret (A. D. 300-4--) "Aion is not any existing thing, but an interval denoting time, sometimes infinite when spoken of God, sometimes proportioned to the duration of the creation, and sometimes to the life of man."

John of Damascus (A. D. 750,) says, "1, The life of every man is called aion. 3, The whole duration or life of this world is called aion. 4, The life after the resurrection is called 'the aion to come."

Thucydides: "othen aidion misthophoran uparchein" referring to his expectaion of perpetual salary. But this could be only a salary during his life time, therefore the word in Thucydides means a period unknown, though it will certainly end.

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