by Deanna Reynolds M.D. (ret.), Corpus Christi, TX
This article is MOST IMPORTANT. It exposes a dangerous heretical Christian doctrine which has been widely preached, taught, and accepted as orthodoxy since the 6th Century. Since then, Christ has been sending forth a small number of torch-bearers to fully expose the leavened gospel widely taught throughout the centuries (Matt. 13:33; 16:12), which obviously lacks much of His miraculous power which operated in the 1st Century. Nothing of myself, the Lord has made clear that He’s sending me out alongside the other bearers of His full gospel which has FAR greater power to save than the leavened one widely taught.
PLEASE MAKE TIME TO STUDY THIS. It likely will blow your mind at first. Yet, as the Lord progressively exposes the deceptive doctrine and raises you above it, you will become a far more effectual disciple – more joyous, peaceful and steadfast – directed and empowered by His omnipotent Spirit of Truth within. I attest to this for Christ has graciously been doing it with me!
So let’s get into this! PLEASE READ IT ALL. DELIBERATELY. May God reveal His buried truth in your hearts that you may have great joy in knowing greater depths of His love while His pure light exposes and demolishes false doctrine. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Main Causes of Faulty Translation
First, understand that the Scriptures have been twisted for centuries via faulty translation of the inerrant Greek New Testament (NT) Scriptures and the Hebrew and Aramaic Old Testament (OT) Scriptures. Three primary reasons are apparent:
(1) Men translate according to their limited understanding of what God inspired other men to record in those Biblical languages.
(2) Men’s understanding of the Scriptures they translate is marred by numerous false doctrines having been promulgated throughout the centuries before them, including the blasphemous one being exposed in this series. Jesus warned us about false doctrine spreading among His people in His parable of the leaven:
He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.”Matt. 13:33 NIV
It matters that the Lord told this parable (and a similar one) between His parable of the wheat and the tares (weeds), and His explanation (to disciples only) that the tares are sown by the devil to spoil the wheat crop of the kingdom. Leaven (yeast) is used throughout the Scriptures as a metaphor for sin – false doctrine in this case, and also in Matt. 16:12:
Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.Matt. 16:12 NIV
Please ask the Lord to open your eyes fully to His parables about false doctrine spreading throughout His Church (if they aren’t already) before proceeding with the study.
(3) Lack of consistency in translation of the inspired words by the translators throughout the centuries has resulted in a plethora of varied meanings – some grossly inaccurate – being assigned to God’s actual words (as all students of the Bible who use dictionaries and concordances such as Strong’s should have realized). The literal translations of the Bible such as the Concordant Literal New Testament (online version provided here) keep the confusion to a minimum by assigning a single English word for a single Greek or Hebrew word (except for idiomatic usages). In doing so, the significance and application of each inspired word can be determined from their inspired contexts.
These literal translations obviously are less fluid to read than the popular (but impure) translations. (Since our church uses the NIV, the Lord still has me using it for my everyday Bible reading, Scripture memorization (with occasional modifications from the Concordant), and a starting point for teaching. So, I’ll use it herein except in the actual “Internal Proofs” study in the heart of this article.)
We Will Eventually Be Mature in Christ and Immortalized in Glory
Rest assured that all people whom the Father enables to receive Jesus Christ as Savior will eventually be fully matured (sanctified) and resurrected in immortal glory, living in unity with each other, face-to-face with our beloved Bridegroom, restored to His image (Rev. Chs. 21-22). Hallelujah!
We will be immortal because Christ will have destroyed death, the last of all His enemies, before turning His literal 1,000-year kingdom here on earth (Rev. Ch. 20) over to God the Father:
For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. THE LAST ENEMY TO BE DESTROYED IS DEATH. For he “has put everything under his feet.” Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.1Cor. 15:22-28 NIV [emphasis added]
By the end of this study, you should gain eyes to see amazing truths in that passage to which this appalling doctrine we are exposing has blinded us all…
Nevertheless the Holy Scriptures Do Not Contain Words Meaning Forever, Eternal, Everlasting, etc.
So, what the Lord and I will demonstrate beyond a shadow of a doubt here to those who will diligently study this material (not just read it lightly!) is that the Greek NT does NOT contain words meaning eternity, forever, for ever and ever, etc. or derivatives such as eternal, everlasting, and world without end. Linguistic historians assure that NO language had such words until the 2nd Century. That includes Hebrew…
Now, given that the Septuagint (~3rd Century B.C.) translated the Hebrew root word olam and its derivatives into the Greek as aion and its derivatives, AND given what our Lord and His apostles taught us about aion in the Scriptures we’ll study below, we can rest assured that the OT Hebrew indeed does NOT contain words meaning eternity, forever, everlasting, etc., despite what Strong’s Concordance and similar external Bible helps falsely imply. (They actually help expose the ridiculous inconsistencies in translation.)
The Internal Proofs from the NT Scriptures that “Aion” is a Long Interval of Time, Not Eternity
Following are internal proofs from the NT that an aion is a particular period, long interval of time, or age, and is not forever or eternity (modified from a simple chart compiled by L. Ray Smith; see link** provided at end of this article). The bold and italicized Scripture translations I’ve provided in this section are from the Concordant Literal New Testament* mentioned above, one of a few translations which intentionally translate one English word for each Greek word (where possible, for the Greek is far richer), wherein the Greek root word aion and its derivatives are consistently translated eon, eons, and eonian.
As you compare this translation with your favorite one while studying this (or, even better, as you use a Greek Interlinear Bible which shows the inspired Greek alongside a literal translation of it, such as this online one or the one provided via the “INT” tab on BibleHub), your eyes will be opened to translational inaccuracies perpetuated throughout the centuries causing Christian doctrinal heresy of the utmost consequence.
This is how we renew our minds and are transformed into His image! Let the studying begin!
• This PRESENT AGE IS CALLED AN AION in Gal. 1:4, consistently translated in the Concordant as an eon: ...so that He might extricate us out of the present wicked eon. The present wicked eon is of course limited in time, and cannot be eternal or forever or for ever and ever etc., as aion is inaccurately translated in many different verses in most Bible translations. (This particular verse is translated satisfactorily in most popular translations, but some errantly translate aion as “world.” Consider why these men, who obviously knew aion did NOT mean eternity (as they didn’t translate it as such in this case and many others), would give aion an entirely different meaning in other Scriptures. The three key reasons were given above – please reread them if needed before proceeding.)
• This PRESENT AION WILL END per Mat. 24:3: …what is the sign… of the conclusion of the eon? Eternity cannot end, so aion should NOT EVER be translated eternity. (Again, most popular translations translate this verse satisfactorily, but some errantly translate it world.)
• GOD MAKES THE AIONS through Christ per Heb. 1:2: …through Whom He also makes the eons. Eternity, however, cannot have a beginning, and cannot be made. Therefore, even aions cannot be eternity.
• THERE WAS TIME BEFORE THE AIONS, as demonstrated in 1Cor. 2:7: …wisdom which has been concealed, which God designates before — before the eons. Therefore, again, aions cannot be eternity.
• THERE WERE AIONS IN THE PAST, as revealed in Col. 1:26: the secret which has been concealed from the eons and from the generations, yet now was made manifest. There cannot have been multiple eternities in the past. Again, aions should NOT ever be translated “for ever and ever,” “forever,” etc. (Note that eons are not generations – two different inspired words were given.)
• AIONS ARE CONTRASTED WITH OTHER AIONS in Eph. 3:21: …for all generations of the eon of the eons. Therefore, aions are not eternal, let alone multiple eternities! (Other translations translate this “for all generations for ever and ever,” or, even less accurately, “throughout all ages world without end,” etc.)
• There are MORE THAN ONE FUTURE AIONS, as demonstrated in Eph. 2:7: that, in the oncoming eons He should be displaying the transcendent riches of His grace… This is an impossibility with eternity – there cannot be future eternities. (NOTE: this verse indicates there will be at least two future eons.)
• ANOTHER AION WILL FOLLOW THIS PRESENT AION per Mat. 12:32: …it shall not be pardoned him, neither in this eon nor in that which is impending. Again, there cannot be another eternity following this eternity! (Now the message Christ relays herein is KEY: forgiveness is NOT limited to this aion! Christ is teaching that people be forgiven in the NEXT eon as well as this one. Understanding that the Scriptures addressing God’s disciplining of His children confirm this (and some will be addressed shortly), it proves that the teaching that men must repent before dying the FIRST death in THIS eon in order to be saved in Christ is FALSE. All who don’t overcome in this eon WILL be brought to repentance / effectually disciplined OUTSIDE Christ’s Millennial kingdom where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. This ties in with the second death (Rev. 2:11; 20:6,14; 21:8), and was studied regarding non-overcoming believers in a previous Bible study on this site, Part 2 – Non-Overcoming Christians: Disciplined via The Tribulation or During the Millennium and Part 3 of that series, and will be studied as regards the wicked/unbelievers in future articles, God-willing.)
• That ANOTHER AION WILL FOLLOW THIS PRESENT AION is also revealed in Luke 18:29-30: Verily, I am saying to you that there is no one who leaves house, or wife, or brothers, or parents, or children on account of the kingdom of God, who may not by all means be getting back manyfold in this era, and in the coming eon, life eonian. SUCH WORTHY MEN WILL HAVE AIONIAN ZOE (which is God’s life) IN THAT COMING AION. (Notably, the coming eon will be the long-awaited kingdom of God prophesied by many prophets in the OT; it is Christ’s coming 1,000 year kingdom per Rev. Ch. 20, studied in Overview of The Millennial Kingdom (The Sabbath-Rest of God) on this site. God holds us accountable for our actions, and rewards us accordingly. Note also a different Greek word denoting a shorter time than an aion was more accurately translated therein as era. Most translations translate aion as age in this verse, but errantly translate aionian as eternal!)
• ALL AIONS WILL COME TO THEIR ENDS per 1Cor. 10:11: …to whom the consummations [note the plural form] of the eons have attained. Obviously, eternity cannot be consummated, let alone multiple eternities be consummated!
• THIS FACT THAT ALL THE AIONS WILL END IS KEY! Knowing this, please behold Rev. 20:10,15 now, allowing this vital truth to expose the most vicious of all doctrinal heresies by which we all have been deceived: And the adversary [devil] who is deceiving them was cast into the lake of fire and sulfur, where the wild beast and where the false prophet are also. And they shall be tormented day and night for the eons of the eons [even THEIR suffering WILL end eventually – a very informative second witness for those with ears to hear it now is Col. 1:15-20]… And if anyone was not found written in the scroll of life, he was cast into the lake of fire. (That last verse pertains to people judged at the great white throne on the last day of Christ’s millennial kingdom, which is also the last day of the present heavens and earth, before they are “destroyed by fire.” This is the group to which this heresy of “endless punishment” applies.)
The examples of Scriptural usage of the words aion, aions, and aionios provided above hereby prove incontrovertibly that Greek aions are not English eternities, but are eons which end. The proof is inherent within God’s elegant word itself. We have no need for Bible dictionaries, lexicons, etc. for this matter; they are of men, and are hampered by men’s limited understanding of God’s word.
It bears repeating, NO language including Hebrew had words meaning endless time such as eternity, forever, endless, etc. until the 2nd Century. Per Alexander Thomson in his highly detailed linguistic account, Whence Eternity? (1953), “Had our old English Bibles been translated directly out of the Greek, instead of from the Latin Vulgate Version of Jerome (380 A.D.), it is very probable that the word eternal would never have been found in our modern Bibles and in theological terminology at all.” Let that sink in.
“Endless Punishment” Heresy Spread by Justinian’s Influence in the 6th Century and Errors in the Latin Vulgate
Distilling from Thomson’s tremendous details in Whence Eternity, it is gleaned that Jerome inconsistently rendered the Greek aion into Latin as either seculum or aeternum. From this soil, false doctrine grew in manifold ways. Two of the most influential were Emperor Justinian’s success in having his unscriptural view of “eternal punishment of the wicked” accepted as dogma via the Council of Constantinople in 544 A.D., and then Wiclif’s translating of the Bible into English from the Catholic Latin Vulgate (instead of directly from the Greek for the NT) in 1380 A.D, which did not correct the Latin translation errors (these errors were subsequently propagated by other English translators who used his Bible).
Thomson’s details of Justinian’s letter convening that council will follow, but the bottom line of the Byzantine emperor’s influence on Christendom was teaching “endless life for the just” and “endless punishment of the wicked” by ADDING in his letter a word meaning endless (ateleutetos) before aionian (eonian in English), knowing that it was not endless, but limited in time, and before the word meaning punishment. That should alert your spirit, Christian readers! Adding a new word meaning endless before a word in the inspired language that cannot mean endless violates Christ’s warning to His Church not to add to God’s word (Rev. 22:18).
From Whence Eternity?, “In the year 540, Justinian made arrangements for the calling together of the famous local council of four years later. He was determined that certain doctrines must be suppressed. In setting forth the position when writing to the Patriarch Mennas of Constantinople, he discussed the doctrines with great ability. In particular, he wished it made very plain that the life of the saints was to be everlasting, and that the doom of the lost was to be likewise. Yet he did not argue that the word eonian meant everlasting. Nor did he claim that the word eonian had hitherto been misunderstood.
“In setting forth the orthodox position of the Church of that time, he did not say, “We believe in eonian punishment,” as this was exactly what Origen, three hundred years before, had maintained and believed. In fact Origen, who exulted in the truth of the reconciliation of the universe, definitely used the word eonian with reference to fire and doom as meaning a limited time. But writing in the very expressive Greek language, Justinian says, ‘The holy church of Christ teaches an ENDLESS eonian (ateleutetos aionios) life for the just, and ENDLESS (ateleutetos) punishment for the wicked.’ Justinian knew quite well that by itself eonian DID NOT signify endless, and he therefore added a word the meaning of which is quite unequivocal, a word not found in the Scriptures.
“This letter of Justinian, which is still in existence, ought to convince anyone who is in doubt, regarding the true scriptural meaning of the word eonian. It may be added that the Council, though expressly convened in order to stigmatize the teachings of Origen, one of which was that punishment was only temporary, condemned his views generally, but did not anathematize his teaching regarding the reconciliation of all. It was not until the year 696, at Constantinople, that a Council publicly condemned this doctrine of Origen [God’s reconciliation of all] for the first time, the glorious teaching being called ‘drunken ravings as to the future life of the dead.’ ” [uppercase emphasis and bracketed details added], page 19
Justinian’s heresy prevailed over Origen’s Scriptural understanding of God’s reconciliation of all through Christ, and so the seed of the diabolical doctrine of “endless punishment for the wicked” was planted and promulgated – failure of Christ Jesus to fulfill His Father’s purpose of saving the world.
This is utter blasphemy of our Lord, the Savior of the world! He who has ears, let him hear!
The Savior of the World Is a Consuming Fire – He Disciplines Those He Loves, but Detests Literal Burning of His People
Now that the deception has been exposed by God’s light and some history lessons, we can start apprehending the TRUE GOSPEL that’s been debased by that heresy (as well as by heresies regarding “hell” and the afterlife, which I hope to address in future parts, God-willing). The actual gospel is far greater than we’ve understood amidst all the false doctrine – leaven! Please take this slowly. Even our popular translations relay this:
HE [Christ] HIMSELF IS THE ATONING SACRIFICE for our sins, and not only for ours but also FOR THE SINS OF WHOLE WORLD.1John 2:2 NIV [emphasis and brackets added]
FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD THAT HE GAVE HIS ONE AND ONLY SON, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal [eonian] life. For God did NOT send his Son into the world TO CONDEMN THE WORLD, BUT TO SAVE THE WORLD THROUGH HIM.John 3:16-17 NIV [emphasis and the more accurate translation of aionian added]
This loving Father, however, disciplines those He loves, not sparing the rod (Rev. 3:19; Prov. 23:13-14; 13:24), and is Himself the consuming and refining fire (Heb. 12:5-11,29; Mal. 3:2-5) which will eventually discipline ALL His precious people through firey trials (1Peter 1:6-7; 4:12). These firey trials sanctify us, and as we know by experience ourselves, they are NOT literal flames which burn. Know that God despises literal burning of His children (Jer. 7:31; 32:35; 19:5)! Suffering these trials we die to self and to this world; we thus share Christ’s sufferings and are brought to glory (Rom. 8:17; Phil. 3:10-11).
God grants us repentance via His discipline in this age and/or the next (Matt. 12:32), that we may all suffer sufficient sanctifying death to self and come to a FULL mature knowledge of Christ – Truth (Eph. 4:13; 2Pet. 3:18).
All sinners thus will eventually come to desire and receive the blessed and long-awaited salvation of our souls in Christ Jesus (1Pet. 1:9), who IS the Savior of the whole world (John 4:42; 1John 4:14)!
It just won’t be in this eon for most people (read these scriptures and commentary deliberately please),
For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction [discipline outside the Millennial kingdom “where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth” after this eon], and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life [reigning with Christ in His Millennial kingdom in the coming eon, as Paul sought as a prize per Phil. 3:10-11,14] and only a few find it.Matt. 7:13b-14 NIV [bracketed comments added]
(Please see previous article, Jesus Repeatedly Taught Not All Servants (Believers) Will Enter His Millennial Kingdom if the Lord hasn’t revealed these widely ignored truths in plain sight in your Bible to you yet. They are a key part of the FULL gospel.)
By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity, a word that will NOT be revoked: Before me every knee WILL bow; by me every tongue WILL swear. They will say of me, “In the Lord alone are deliverance and strength.”Isaiah 45:23-24a NIV [emphasis added]
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus EVERY knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and EVERY tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.Philippians 2:9-11 NIV [emphasis added]
…no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.1Corinthians 12:3 NIV
…my word that goes out from my mouth… will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.Isaiah 55:11 NIV
What I have said, that I will bring about; what I have planned, that I will do!Isaiah 46:11b NIV
Hallelujah! Now, this last verse I’ll present herein is the single most succinct Scripture the Lord has shown me revealing His plans for mankind, the reason for planting the tree of the knowledge of good AND EVIL in Eden in the first place, and for intentionally putting the serpent in the garden with Adam and Eve. (None of it was unplanned, or an accident – our Lord God Almighty is Sovereign, and the devil is His instrument by which we learn evil and overcome it in Christ.) Are you ready?
Behold the wisdom and plan of God which can only be apprehended by His Spirit:
For God gave ALL men over to disobedience that he may have mercy on them ALLRom. 11:32 NIV [emphasis added]
His ways are sooo much higher than our ways! Hallelujah! To God be all the glory! Amen.
The Buried Treasure and the Pearl of Great Price
God willing, I will write more on this heresy, covering the issues of Gehenna, hades, and tartarus being mistranslated as “hell” (misunderstood as places of unending torture), and many more Scriptures revealing purifying and transformational truths to which we have been blinded by such false doctrines.
I encourage you to reread 1Cor 15:18-22 near the top of the article now – do you see truths therein that you were blinded to before studying this out? If so, please harken to our Lord’s loving call to give up everything you have been holding onto (Luke 14:33; Matt. 19:16-30) and wisely spend your precious time and efforts delving into the purifying word of God on this matter, that you may apprehend this glorious truth with the Lord Himself as your Teacher, not me or anyone else.
This FAR BETTER AND EMPOWERING GOSPEL has been leavened as Christ prophesied it would be (Matt. 13:33). It has remained hidden in His inerrant word where it was buried centuries ago. It is also the pearl of great price, which you have now been shown. Will you wisely sell all you have and purchase it (see Matt. 13:44-46) ?
Has God given you understanding of the value of this pearl, of how this revelation of Jesus Christ transforms believers into more joyous, peaceful, empowered, and effectual ministers of the good news – the TRUTH? Has He called and chosen you to be such a disciple?
Oh, worship Him with me now…
So very much love in Christ, the Savior of the world, your sister deanna
*These Concordant translations are just two of multiple more accurate translations available by which such heretical doctrines are more readily exposed. The Lord has taught me to use Interlinear Bibles (such as this online Greek one) (which reveal the actual inspired words and their most literal word-for-word English equivalents alongside the KJV) alongside the Concordant Version when searching key matters out such as this one; that’s how false doctrines are exposed!
**The first nine NT Scriptures analyzed in this article were compiled in simple chart form roughly two decades ago by L. Ray Smith in his long letter to John Hagee. I have merely built upon his research (and that of Concordant Publishing Concern) as to how the Scriptures themselves teach that “aion” does NOT mean “forever” or any other word meaning “endless time.” I am very grateful for and blessed by his many years of research and writing on this vital matter. I do not agree with or condone all of his interpretations on the website, however.