This study shows that Hell is not endless punishment. The doctrine of endless punishment was not Jewish, but rather a pagan Egyptian doctrine that Jews and Christians adopted.
This is part 5, the last part.
by Mitch Kuhn
Audio Player:Play Hell is not endless punishment part 5 Bible Study
The Greek Word Translated as Eternal
Most Bible translations that Christians use today have terribly mistranslated the word “aion” and “aionios” as eternal or forever and ever.
Here is the strong’s definition of this word.
αἰών aiōn ahee-ohn’
From the same as G104; properly an age; by extension perpetuity (also past); by implication the world; specifically (Jewish) a Messianic period (present or future): – age, course, eternal, (for) ever (-more), [n-]ever, (beginning of the, while the) world (began, without end). Compare G5550.
Here is another form of “aion” that we will look at as well. It is basically the adjective form of “aion”. So for example: hour is to hourly as aion is to aionios.
αἰώνιος aiōnios ahee-o’-nee-os
From G165; perpetual (also used of past time, or past and future as well): – eternal, forever, everlasting, world (began).
In order to support the false doctrine of eternal punishment in hell these words have been distorted from their original meaning. Properly it means “an age” as Strong’s indicates above. However, the translators and commentators “extend” the definition to perpetuity.
Here are some examples of how different Bible versions translate this one word. First let me point out that the same word G165 is used in both places in this verse. The first time it is “eternal” then the SAME WORD is used for “time” or “world”.
Titus 1:2 in the hope of eternal (G166) life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time (G166),
Tit 1:2 NKJV in hope of eternal (G166) life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time (G166) began,
Tit 1:2 ESV in hope of eternal (G166) life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages (G166) began
Tit 1:2 (New Living) This truth gives them confidence that they have eternal(G166) life, which God—who does not lie—promised them before the world (G166) began.
Do you see how conflicting this is? Here is the definition of our English word “eternal”.
Eternal- “without beginning or end; lasting forever; always existing (opposed to temporal): eternal life.”
– Dictionary .com
How can the same word that supposedly means “without beginning or end” be translated as time, ages, and world. All of these have a beginning and as we will see later the ages and the world will come to an end.
Here are two literal translations that are far more accurate:
(Tit 1:2 CLV) in expectation of life eonian, which God, Who does not lie, promises before times eonian
(Tit 1:2 YLT) upon hope of life age-during, which God, who doth not lie, did promise before times of ages,
To underscore this point, let’s look at a few other verses:
Rom 16:25 KJV Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world (G166) began,
(Rom 16:25 CLV) Now to Him Who is able to establish you in accord with my evangel, and the heralding of Christ Jesus in accord with the revelation of a secret hushed in times eonian (G166),
I want to show you how badly the translators twist the Greek in order to make it fit their doctrine. Notice that there are TWO Greek words behind the translation of the word “world”.
Rom 16:25 NowG1161 to him that is of powerG1410 to stablishG4741 youG5209 accordingG2596 to myG3450 gospel,G2098 andG2532 theG3588 preachingG2782 of JesusG2424 Christ,G5547 accordingG2596 to the revelationG602 of the mystery,G3466 which was kept secretG4601 since the world began,G5550 G166
The first word is “G5550 – chronos” meaning time, and the second “G166- aionios” meaning pertaining to an age. In the KJV they just ignore both words, and translate it as “world”. To demonstrate the inconsistency, there is a different word used to refer to the world:
Κόσμος kosmos kos’-mos
Probably from the base of G2865; orderly arrangement, that is, decoration; by implication the world (in a wide or narrow sense, including its inhabitants, literally or figuratively [morally]): – adorning, world.
Eph 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world (G2889), that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
Mat 5:14 Ye are the light of the world (G2889). A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
Aionios and kosmos are clearly two very different words with very different meanings. When the writers of the New Testament wanted to talk about the physical world, they used kosmos, and when they wanted to discuss the ages they used aion or aionios. To translate both as world is very misleading. Remember, God has caused this to hide the meaning from the masses.
Let’s look at one more example, this time in the NIV.
2 Tim 1:9 NIV He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,
This is the exact same phrase as Romans 16:25, chronos aionios. This should be translated as “times eonian”, or the “times of the ages”. However NIV inserts a word that is not in the Greek. There is not a word for “beginning” in the Greek. Look for yourself below:
2Ti 1:9 Who hath savedG4982 us,G2248 andG2532 calledG2564 us with an holyG40 calling,G2821 notG3756 accordingG2596 to ourG2257 works,G2041 butG235 accordingG2596 to his ownG2398 purposeG4286 andG2532 grace,G5485 which was givenG1325 usG2254 inG1722 ChristG5547 JesusG2424 beforeG4253 the world began,G5550 G166
G5550- chronosG166- aionios
Nowhere in all of the scriptures does “aionios” ever mean the beginning or began, yet this is how they are translating the word here. These are just a few of the examples of how “aionios” is not translated correctly.
Here is a section of Mr. Thayer’s paper that describes how Greek authors use the words aion and aionios, which clearly demonstrates that it does NOT mean eternal.
2. Usage of Greek Authors. The Greek writers constantly employ these words in a way to exclude the idea of endless, and to illustrate the meaning of indefinite time, the duration to be determined by the general scope of the subject.
Plato has the phrase “eternal (aionios) drunkenness;” but one can hardly believe he meant endless drunkenness.
Eusebius, one of the early Christian writers, speaking of the Phoenician philosophy as presented by Sanchoniathon, says of the darkness and chaos which preceded creation: “They continued for a long eternity” – (dia polun aiona). Here the word is qualified by long, showing that eternity means simply age or time indefinite, long or short.
“And these they called aionios, eternal, hearing that they had performed the sacred rites for three entire generations.” In Solom. Parab. This eternity was three generations long, or about one hundred years. “Alter not the eternal boundaries.” If “eternal” implied endless, they could not be altered.
In a poem ascribed to Errina Lesbia there is a similar use of the adjective “greatest” in connection with aion – “the greatest eternity that overturns all things,” &c., ho megistos aion. The greatest eternity implies a less one; and is demonstrative proof that the noun aion and the adjective aionios convey the idea not of strictly endless duration, but only of duration indefinitely continued.
Philo and Josephus wrote in Greek, though Jews by birth. The former uses the very phrase found in Matt. xxv 46, “everlasting punishment” – kolasis aionios – as follows: – Speaking of the manner in which certain persons retaliate an injury, he designates it as “a deep hatred and everlasting punishment.” Of course the everlasting punishment in this case is inflicted by men in this life, and cannot, therefore, last much above “three-score years and ten.”
Josephus employs the word in such phrases as these: “the everlasting name of the patriarchs;” “the everlasting glory of the Jewish nation,” which ended two thousand years ago; “the everlasting reputation” of Herod; “the everlasting worship” in the temple, which also ceased nearly eighteen hundred years ago; “the everlasting imprisonment” to which John, the tyrant, was condemned by the Romans, though it could not continue but a few years at most.
These Jewish-Greek authors were contemporary with the New Testament authors, and are therefore good authority for the usage and meaning of the words in review, embracing both the Greek and Jewish elements. Philo and Josephus, Matthew and Luke, allowing for the difference in education, stood in the same relation to the Greek language, and the Jewish usage of it, and what may be affirmed of one may be affirmed with equal force of the others. And, surely, nothing is more obvious than that the first named did not understand the words aion and aionios as meaning anything more than indefinite time.
Another decisive fact is this: The Sibylline Oracles, Clemens Alexandrinus, Origen, and others of the Christian Fathers, who are acknowledged believers and teachers of the final restoration, often use the phrases “everlasting fire,” “everlasting punishment,” &c., in regard to the wicked. Nothing can more conclusively show that the expressions are not to be taken in the sense of endless; for, though they believed in everlasting punishment, they also believed it would end in the restoration of those who suffered.
3. Scripture Usage. The Scripture usage will be found in perfect harmony with the foregoing facts. The Hebrew word, which is the equivalent of the Greek, is thus used: “I will give thee the land of Canaan for an everlasting possession.” Gen. xvii 8. And in verse 12, the covenant of circumcision is called “an everlasting covenant.” And yet the Jews were driven from the land of Canaan, and the covenant of circumcision was abolished, eighteen hundred years ago! So the priesthood of Aaron is called “an everlasting priesthood,” and yet it was put aside by God’s authority, and the priesthood of Christ set up in its place. Exod. xl. 15.
Now, did Jehovah use this word “everlasting” to mean endless? If He did, then He has broken His promise to the Jews in three several instances; or, if not this, the priesthood of Christ is an imposture, and the old Covenant of the Law is still in force! See, also, Levit. xvi 34, xxv 46; Exod. xxi 6.
Jonah ii 1-6, is another illustration, where “forever” lasted only three days and three nights! showing the folly of arguing for the endlessness of punishment on the strength of such elastic words as these. The punishment of Jonah is described by the term “forever,” though it lasted only seventy-two hours; and there is no more reason for supposing the term to mean endless in other cases, when applied to punishment, than here. There is no more authority for saying the “everlasting punishment” of Matt. xxv 46, is endless, than for saying the “forever” punishment of Jonah, or the “everlasting priesthood” of Exod. xl. 15, is endless.
from: http://aionios.com/study_notes/origin.of.endless.punishment.pdf Pg. 70
Here is a marvelous quote from Mr. Thayer’s paper that demonstrates thoroughly that the Greek and Hebrew words translated as everlasting without a doubt do not have that meaning in scripture.
“We see the word everlasting applied to God’s covenant with the Jews; to the priesthood of Aaron; to the statutes of Moses; to the time the Jews were to possess the land of Canaan; to the mountains and hills; and to the doors of the Jewish temple. We see the word forever applied to the duration of a man’s earthly existence; to the time a child was to abide in the temple; to the continuance of Gehazi’s leprosy; to the duration of the life of David; to the duration of a king’s life; to the duration of the earth; to the time the Jews were to possess the land of Canaan; to the time they were to dwell in Jerusalem; to the time a servant was to abide with his master; to the time Jerusalem was to remain a city; to the duration of the Jewish temple; to the laws and ordinances of Moses; to the time David was to be king over Israel; to the throne of Solomon; to the stones that were set up at Jordan; to the time the righteous were to inhabit the earth; and to the time Jonah was in the fish’s belly. We find the phrase forever and ever applied to the hosts of heaven, or the sun, moon, and stars; to a writing contained in a book; to the smoke that went up from the burning land of Idumea; and to the time the Jews were to dwell in Judea. We find the word never applied to the time the fire was to burn on the Jewish altar; to the time the sword was to remain in the house of David; to God’s covenant with the Jews; to the time the Jews should not experience shame; to the time the house of David was to reign over Israel; to the time the Jews were not to open their mouths because of their shame; to the time those who fell by death should remain in their fallen state; and to the time judgment was not executed.
But the law covenant is abolished; the priesthood of Aaron and his sons has ceased; the ordinances, and laws, and statutes of Moses are abrogated; the Jews have long since been dispossessed of the land of Canaan, have been driven from Judea, and God has brought upon them a reproach and a shame; the man to the duration of whose life the word forever was applied is dead; David is dead, and has ceased to reign over Israel; the throne of Solomon no longer exists; the Jewish temple is demolished, and Jerusalem has been overthrown, so that there is not left “one stone upon another;” the servants of the Jews have been freed from their masters; Gehazi is dead, and no one believes he carried his leprosy with him into the future world; the stones that were set up at Jordan have been removed, and the smoke that went up from the burning land of Idumea has ceased to ascend; the righteous do not inherit the earth endlessly, and no one believes that the mountains and hills, as such, are indestructible; the fire that burnt on the Jewish altar has long since ceased to burn; judgment has been executed; and no Christian believes that those who fall by death will never be awakened from their slumbers. Now, as these words are used in this limited sense in the Scriptures, why should it be supposed that they express endless duration when applied to punishment?”
from http://aionios.com/study_notes/origin.of.endless.punishment.pdf Pg. 70-72
So now with this new understanding of the words aion and aionios let’s examine all the scriptures that supposedly support the doctrine of eternal torment.
Jud 1:7 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 fire.
We discussed this verse much earlier in this paper and saw that the fire that burned Sodom and Gomorrah is certainly not burning today and therefore it is NOT eternal.
Jud 1:12 These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead,plucked up by the roots;
Jud 1:13 Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever (aion).
We saw earlier in 2 Peter 2:4 that the disobedient are reserved in darkness to be reserved for judgment. How can this mean forever if it is a temporary state of bondage in darkness until judgment?
2Pe 2:4 For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell (Tartarus) and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment;
2Th 1:8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
2Th 1:9 Who shall be punished with everlasting (aionios) destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
This destruction is thorough and complete resulting in our salvation, and undoubtedly it is not a perpetual never ending punishment.
Rev 14:11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
Here is a better translation of this verse:
Rev 14:11 YLT and the smoke of their torment doth go up to ages of ages; and they have no rest day and night, who are bowing before the beast and his image, also if any doth receive the mark of his name.
In Greek ages of ages is aionios aionios, which is the same grammatical construction as holy of holies, hagion hagion. Just as holy of holies indicates that of all the holy places this is the most holy, so does ages of ages point out that of all the ages, the ages of judgment is the most important. The ages of judgment are when our process of salvation begins. This study covers this topic in far greater detail.
Heb 6:2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
Eternal judgment is the last of the Milk Doctrines which describes a process of judgment that lasts for a period of time long enough to chasten us from all evil and make us like Christ.
Our last verse is a quote from Christ himself.
Mat 25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting (aionios) punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
It has been clearly demonstrated that Christ did not mean the punishment was eternal but rather an intense process that destroys all of the evil within us.
So this question follows, “If punishment is not eternal, then is life in Christ not eternal?”
The life of this age is to know Jesus Christ and his doctrine, and to do what he commands.
Joh 17:3 And this is life eternal (aionios), that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
This age is the age in which all of mankind is brought to the knowledge of Christ and saved. After this is accomplished, the age of salvation is over, but that does not mean that we cease to know Christ or dwell with him because we will then be immortal.
1Co 15:53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
After death is destroyed and everyone has been redeemed, then the fullness of God’s spirit will be within all.
1Co 15:28 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.
God has no beginning and no end. If his Spirit is within us and we are immortal then we will forever dwell with him and the rest of humanity in perfect unity.
Here is an article by Mike Vinson for more on this topic.
What is Life Aionios
I hope and pray that God will give you the ability to see that he is not going to torture anyone forever, but rather desires that all men will be saved and accomplishes this through his righteous judgment.
1Ti 4:10 For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.
God wills that all men are to be saved, and he does all his pleasure.
Isa 46:10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:
Here are Jesus Christ’s own words.
Joh 12:32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
The understanding that hell is not eternal torment and that God is going to save all men through a process of judgment is part of the Milk of the word of God. If you are just now realizing this marvelous truth, then it is a joyous time to finally see the true Gospel of God. You are now a babe in Christ. You will need to study and learn the Milk Doctrines, and then progress beyond that to strong meat of the word. There are many more mysteries of God hidden in his word to be discovered.
1Pe 2:2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby
Heb 5:13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
Heb 5:14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
Heb 6:1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,
Please study these doctrines thoroughly: Milk Doctrine Studies
Pray that the Lord would make you humble and teachable like a little child, for you have only scratched the surface of the mysteries of God.
Mat 18:3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Mat 18:4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Please feel free to write or call with any questions you may have.
You will probably want to read the following article about the truth of heaven in light of this new understanding of hell.
What and Where is Heaven
With much love in Christ,