REV 22-5

5 And since there won’t be any more night, they won’t need lamps or sunlight, because Jehovah God will shine on them and they will rule as kings for ages of ages.

Forever, Long Ago, of The Age?

The Greek word aionos is what the English word eon is derived from. It means an indefinite period. However, there is no exact English word to translate it. The best equivalents are age(s) or era(s). Please note that where the plural form of the word (ages) is used, it refers to a long time, at least multiple generations. However, where the singular form is used (age or era), this appears to mean a much shorter period, such as a lifetime, generation, or era. And where the term ages of ages is used (such as at Ephesians 3:21), which is usually said in reference to God, we would assume that this truly means forever.

It is noteworthy that aionos is the word that is used in the Greek Septuagint in place of the Hebrew word ohlam, which is also translated as forever and time indefinite in popular versions of the Hebrew Scriptures. So, this one word (aionos) is translated as forever, everlasting, eternal, system of things, time indefinite, [end of] the world, long ago, from of old, etc. Obviously, something is very wrong here, because the word can’t mean a period having a definite end in one place and infinity in another.

Take for example, the unique way that aionos is used in the question that Jesus’ Apostles asked him, which is found at Matthew 24:3, ‘Tell us, when will these things happen? What will be the signs when you are near and this age will finally end?’

The word aionos (which we have translated as this age here) is also translated as world (KJ) and as system of things (NW) in other Bibles. However, if the Apostles had meant any of those words, they would have used the Greek word cosmos, not aionos for world or system of things.

You can see that the word aionos obviously doesn’t mean forever, everlasting, or eternal in this case, nor did it mean world or system of things. It simply meant the age or the time before the end would come. And for them, that meant the age when the Temple at Jerusalem would be destroyed, because that’s what Jesus had just told them.

The ancient Hebrews viewed everything (and rightly so) as having a beginning and an end. For that reason, you will only find three places in the Bible where words are used that imply no end and none that imply no beginning. An interesting possible insight on the reason for this can be found at Hebrews 1:10-12, which says:

‘Long ago, O Lord, You laid the foundation of the earth and Your hands made the heavens. They will destroy themselves, but You will remain. They will grow old just like clothes do. Then, as [You would do to] a robe, You will wrap them up and repair them like clothes. Yes, You are the One, and Your years will never run out.’

The problem with most Bible translations is that when they encounter the word aionos in all its different tenses, they interpret it according to accepted doctrine, not according to the way that Jesus and his disciples used it. So, the common renderings forever, eternal, and everlasting are used even when the word is in its singular form (aioni, aiona, aionos, aionion, aionian, aionios, aioniou), and this totally distorts the meaning of the text.

Take for example, the scripture at John 5:24, where Jesus said, ‘I tell you the truth; the one who hears what I say and believes in the One that sent me will have life in this age. He won’t have to be judged, but has crossed over from death to life.’

Most Bibles translate Jesus as saying that those who believe in the One who sent him will have everlasting life (or the equivalent). However, the words that Jesus used there were, zoe aionion (life age – singular), not zoe aionion (life ages – plural).

Notice how Jesus explained the meaning of these words with his next statement, ‘He won’t have to be judged, but has crossed over from death to life.’

So, what Jesus was saying here, wasn’t that they would have everlasting life, but that they would (in their current life) be considered among the living, not among the dead (see Revelation 20:12). This doesn’t necessarily mean that they won’t live forever; it’s just that Jesus wasn’t really saying that.

From consideration of the evidence found in the bulk of Jesus’ words about life, the conclusion might be logically reached that he never taught the hope of ‘life eternal,’ ‘everlasting life,’ or ‘immortality,’ in those specific words. However, the concept is still there. What he taught was that (unlike those whom God considers to be ‘dead’) living people will receive ‘life in the age,’ meaning, they will be considered worthy of life by God during their lifetimes. And, as Jesus said, everyone who puts faith in him will be given this life.

Two words imply infinity in the Bible. One is the Greek word athanasia, which means undying or immortal and is only found in two places, 1 Corinthians the Fifteenth Chapter, where it mentions resurrected ones as clothing themselves with immortality, and at 1 Timothy 6:16, where Paul speaks of Jesus as having received it. The other Greek word, aidios, which is found at Romans 1:20 and at Jude 6, is used to describe God’s Power and Might as eternal.

For more information, select the linked documents, The Hereafter, and Does the Bible Promise Everlasting Life?

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Soul or?

The Greek word psyche (as in psychology) has been translated many ways, including soul, life, spirit, etc. However, psyche actually means something that breathes – a breathing animal or a breathing person. So, by definition, souls cannot leave the body, because a soul is what the living body is.

In ancient Greece, philosophers added another meaning to the word: The person within. And with time, the pagan religion of Greece started to teach that this person within is immortal, and if that person is bad, is sent by the Gods to Hades (see Hades below), where the person is tortured eternally.

Over the centuries, this pagan Greek doctrine crept into the Christian religions. However, such Greek philosophical thought never influenced Jesus and his Apostles, so, they consistently used psyche to indicate a living person or animal.

The word immortality (Gr: athanasia or undying) is only mentioned twice in the Bible and in neither case is it applied to souls. Immortality is only given by God as a reward for righteousness.

Unfortunately, no single word can be used to replace that misleading term (soul) in every possible Bible application, so various other terms are used herein, depending on the circumstances, but always in an attempt to harmonize with the meaning.

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Hades: Hell or the Grave?

The Greek word hades (pronounced hah des) has been translated both as Hell (which is thought of as a place of torture) and as the Grave in other Bible versions (such as the King James). Since one word can’t mean two very different things, which translation is correct?

Hades (like the English word Hell) actually means the place of the dead. However, as pagan Greek philosophy started to develop, then creep into Christianity, the later-day Greek view of hades (a place of torture) was applied to it. Was this a correct application?

An insight into how the ancient Hebrews and the early Christians understood the word can be gained by looking at how the word was applied in the Greek Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Scriptures (the Bible that Jesus and his disciples read). There, the Hebrew word Sheol is translated into Greek as hades in every instance, yet, in each case, these are obvious references to the grave (the place of the dead), not to a place of conscious torture (see Ecclesiastes 5: 9, 10).

Another revealing application of the word hades is found at Revelation the 20:13. It says there, ‘The sea (gr. he thalassa) gave up its dead, death and the grave (gr. thanatos kai ho hades) gave up those dead in them, and they were all judged by the things they did.’ Notice that those who die at sea are differentiated from those who are buried in graves (hades) and in other places (thanatos).

So, Hades is better translated as grave.

For more information, see the linked document Is there a Burning Hell?

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Living Creatures or Animals?

Here in Revelation, we read of four heavenly creatures that picture the major qualities of God (wisdom, justice, love, and power). The Greek word that is used to describe them here is zoo (pronounced Zō-ah), as in the place where people go to see animals today. This word simply means animals, but it is translated in most Bibles as living creatures, which was likely done for ‘politically-correct’ reasons. However, John just wrote animals, so that’s how the word is translated here.

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Spirit, Breath, or Inspirations?

The Greek word pneuma (as in pneumonia, a breathing disease) means breath or wind – the movement of air. In other Bible translations, this word is often translated as spirit or ghost – as in Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost. However, spirit is just a shortened form of the Latin word espiritu, which just means breath in Latin. And ghost conveys another meaning altogether.

The most common use of the word pneuma in the Bible is to imply an unseen force (such as breath or wind). And the problem with translating it as spirit or ghost is that many people have started believing that the unseen force that is called [God’s] Holy Breath herein, is another God-like person and part of a Divine Trinity. This can’t be true, because the only scripture that can be used to support this theory (that is, where the Father, the Son, and the Holy Breath are supposed to be ‘one’) is found at Matthew 28:19, which simply says that baptism should be done ‘in the name of’ (or, in recognition of) these three, and there is good reason to believe that even these are spurious and added in the Third Century C.E. And all other scriptures that are used to prove the Trinity theory fail to mention the Holy Breath as part of that group. Notice that the King James wording of 1 John 5:7 (which was used for years to attempt to prove the Trinity) is definitely spurious (something that was added to the Bible).

So to prevent confusion, the Greek word pneuma is usually translated as breath here. The only exceptions would be in instances where the Bible refers to demons as ‘spirits,’ for translating pneuma as breath in these cases, although correct, might just be confusing. And there are also instances where we have used the word spirit to indicate a person’s inward inclinations or feelings.

Another important use of the word pneuma is in the phrase, ‘Breath of Life.’ This phrase means more than just breathing, it refers to the entire mechanics of life itself. It’s the unseen force of life for all creatures… it’s what makes each cell alive. However, nowhere does the Bible describe the ‘pneuma’ as immortal, nor is it the same as the soul (a breathing thing), so it can (figuratively) ‘return to God’ at death,’ because all hope of future life depends on God and His promise of a resurrection. For more information, see the attached link, The Powers of God’s Holy Spirit.

One more word that is translated from pneuma here is inspirations (found at Revelation 16:13). This is a perfectly valid substitution, because the word, inspire, means breathe in.

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