Is the Punishment Eternal?

Kolasis refers to the punishment in relation to the punished person. 2 The 1:9Such people will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction by being separated from the Lord’s presence and from his glorious power”. – Is the separation from the Lord’s presence truly eternal?

What I have written, does not mean that there would bot be eternal perpetual time. The words describing the essence of God can surely be considered to portray God as such an endless time God.

Take  Rev 10:6 for example: ”and swore by him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and the things that are in it, the earth and the things that are in it, and the sea and the things that are in it, that there will no longer be delay,” – Nonetheless, I do not understand how a man’s action against God’s will during a person’s short life span could lead to a perpetual torture in the lake of fire. Is it right, that Satan and a man who has proved to be a liar, both receive the same punishment? Rev 21:8 … and all liars, their part is in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur …”

2 Tes 1:6 since it is a just thing with God to pay back tribulation to the ones troubling you,
7 and to give you, those being troubled, relief with us at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from Heaven with angels of His power,
8 in flaming fire giving full vengeance to those not knowing God, and to those not obeying the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ,
9 who will pay the penalty: everlasting destruction from the face of the Lord, “and from the glory of His strength,” 

Destruction aiōnios olethros ὄλεθρος G3639 Strong’s definitions: for the destruction of the flesh, said of the external ills and troubles by which the lusts of the flesh are subdued and destroyed. 1 Cor 5:5 deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh… 1 Tim 6:9 … into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.

This Thessalonian verse 1: 9 has been used to prove the punishment of annihilation instead of the eternal torture punishment of a fiery lake. However, it is clear from the earlier verses that this punishment faces those sinners who are not obedient to the gospel of the Lord Jesus at the second coming of Jesus. These punished ones seem to be those who know about Jesus and the gospel, but little care about it. So they don’t know Jesus in their hearts. Eternal damnation or destruction forever is their punishment. It is the ultimate punishment, not just God’s teaching for repentance.

It seems that many of the Bible translations have often been used to punish, even if it would be better to say to chastise, because this word has implications for teaching and educating.

Strong’s defines the adjective “aionios”: perpetual, eternal, forever, everlasting. Strong’s Greek Dictionary gives the Greek word “aion” meanings like forever, eternity, (Messianic) era, without end. 

Flavius Josephus was an officer of the Roman Army, in the first century. During his army career, he participated in the siege and destruction of Jerusalem. He later became a writer. According to his understanding, aion did not mean eternity, but describing the time from the law of Moses to himself. Josephus also uses the word aionios for the existence of the temple in Jerusalem. The temple was destroyed in his time, so Josephus cannot have meant eternity with the word aionios.

The New Testament in Modern Speech, by Dr. R. F. Weymouth: Eternal: Greek “aeonion,” i.e., “of the ages.” Etymologically, this adjective does not mean “during,” but “belong to” the aeons or ages.”  I.e. belonging to a specific time or era. 

The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible (vol. IV, p. 643): OT and NT do not know the concept of eternity as endlessness or timeless. VT has not developed a specific term for “eternity.” The word aion originally meant “vital force,” “life,” then “age,” “lifetime. 

Elliot’s Commentary on the Whole Bible:  Mat 25:46 and the words everlasting punishment, life eternal: These two adjectives come from the same Greek word aionios — It must be admitted that the Greek word interpreted as eternal in itself does not include endlessness, but rather duration, either through time or succession of ages, and therefore applied in the NT in periods that have had both the beginning and the end.

Rom 16:25 “Now to him who is able to establish you according to my gospel, and the proclaiming of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery having been kept unvoiced during eternal times,” 

”Pro cronos aionios” πρὸ χρόνων αἰωνίων (textus receptus) e.g in 2 Tim 1:9; WEB: which was given to us in Christ Jesus before times eternal, KJV: before the world began, NKJV: before time began, ESV  before the ages began, YLT before the times of the ages,

Titus 1:2 in hope of eternal life, which God, who can’t lie, promised before eternal times;

If there has been a time before eternal times, then there is not even eternal time (aionios), which is said to mean eternal. Did “eternity” begin after these times? The Bible uses words describing the oldest events “since the foundation of the world”. For example: Rev 17:8 … whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world…

These will go away into eternal punishment, and the righteous into eternal life. (Mat 25:46)

– In this as in many verses are clearly two different types of outcomes: sinners go to the punishment and the righteous gain eternal life. If, then, sinners do not receive eternal life, there remains only a question to be resolved; what is their eternal punishment?

These go to eternal separation from God. Eternal punishment is in original Greek text αἰώνιος κόλασις, aiōnios kolasis. Verb κολάζω kolazō means pruning (e.g. trees), as well as rectification, punishment. R.C.Trench considers the word kolasis to mean: punishment, trouble, which does not involve the idea of getting it better.

– It should be noted that the word “παιδεύωv paideuo” is not used here; paideuo, which was used when the punishment was intended to teach, educate, etc., which at least was not the ultimate separation from God in nature. The ultimate or perpetual pruning from God’s connection, nevertheless leaves the exact meaning of the word aionios to be solved. If aionios does not mean eternal, endless, then the elimination is also not final. For example, John speaks of pruning in 15:2 “Every branch in me that does not bear fruit, he takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, he prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. ”

These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power (2 The 1:9) – Does God really want this?

Linguists argue about do the Hebrew owlam and the Greek language aion/aioniosmean, eternal, infinite, always been. I do not know Greek and Hebrew, so I have to resort to translations and dictionaries (such as Strong’s). All of us can when reading the Scriptures, use our common sense. Here’s an example:

Jde 1:7 Likewise, Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities near them, which like them committed sexual sins and engaged in homosexual activities [lit. went after other flesh], serve as an example of the punishment of eternal fire,” δίκη αἰώνιος πῦρ dike aiōnios pyr.

– The Bible tells how God rained on Sodom and Gomorrah regions of fire and brimstone. The fire, however, has been off for ages; at least this punishment cannot possibly be eternal or everlasting! Fire and Brimstone were raining on Sodom and Gomorrah, it is a concrete punishment. Speaking of fire as a punishment it can also be a figurative one. There was an example of a few pages earlier, also in relation to Sodom and Gomorrah.

The Hebrew language ‘owlam’ and the Greek ‘aionios’ do not mean eternal or endless time.

Another example: Exo 21:6 then his master shall bring him to God, then he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost. And his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him permanently. (עוֹלָם `owlam) KJV ”he shall serve him forever”

Does the Hebrew word ‘owlam’ really mean eternity, or a shorter period of time. Perhaps it is best to find out from looking at those verses. For example, Exo 21: 6 tells how the slave’s ear is marked so that the slave becomes the master’s property forever. This is by no means possible! In Israel, there was also a rule that, in every jubilee celebration, every 50th year, a slave was given his freedom. Nobody was a slave for over 50 years.


A Jubile and ‘Owlam’ (eternal)

Hebrew ‘owlam’ and Greek ‘aion’ and ‘aionios’ do not mean eternal or endless time.

An example of the use of the word owlam: Exo 21:6 then his master shall bring him to God, and shall bring him to the door or to the door-post, and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl, and he shall serve him forever.(עוֹלָם owlam)

Does the Hebrew word owlam really mean eternity, or some shorter period of time is perhaps best explored by looking at the verses where the word occurs. Exo 21: 6, for example, tells how the slave’s ear is marked so that the slave becomes the master’s property forever, or owlam. This is by no means possible! There was a rule of jubilee in Israel, according to which a slave was released every 50 years.

The “eternal” i.e. owlam used by the Old Testament and the Hebrew language appears in Exodus, Chapter 21, about God’s system. However, everyone in ancient Israel knew that slavery was not eternal, even though the word owlam is considered to mean just that. Such slaves were liberated by the ordinance of God (Exodus 21:2) normally in the seventh year of service, but in the jubilee those, who had not yet served full time, were also released. All the hereditary possessions that had been forced to sell were returned, and every debtor could return to his fathers’ lands.

God created a system in which the jubilee year guaranteed the people of Israel and even the slaves the liberation: at that time man could sell himself as a slave because of his debts. 21:6 … and he shall serve him forever(owlam). ASV: and he shall serve him forever. Septuaginta: …εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα. In Septuaginta ‘owlam’ has been translated in many places by the word aionios.

Strong’s (of future) H5956: forever, always continuous existence, perpetual everlasting, indefinite or unending future, eternity. –

Although many translations say “forever”, the translators certainly have known that slavery was not forever. Not even “your whole life” as NIV translates. It should be noted that the Septuagint uses the word αἰῶνα, so it could have been very well translated “by [God-imposed] time.”

The question, therefore, was a theocratic organization of God: by following this arrangement, the entire nation of Israel was restored each Jubilee Year to the theocratic state to which God meant it, and which he had revealed through Moses. This did not result in inequality between the different groups of the people, but each jubilee leveled the situation.

Jesus Christ said in Luk 4:18, ”He has sent me … to proclaim release to the captives”. Joh The question was not about the release of prisoners, but about the slavery of sin: 8:36 ”If therefore the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”  Paul says Rom 8:2 ”For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made me free from the law of sin and of death.

During the millennial kingdom, the administration of Christ restores the earthly paradise in which the righteousness and the love of God prevail. Everything is finally ready for a New World where God is all in all.

Rev 21:4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. And death shall be no longer, nor mourning, nor outcry, nor pain will be any longer; for the first things passed away. 5 He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” He said, “Write, for these words of God are faithful and true.  6 He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give freely to him who is thirsty from the spring of the water of life. 7 He who overcomes, I will give him these things. I will be his God, and he will be my son.

The system described above was intended for God’s chosen people. However, Jesus Christ came to proclaim the Word of God to be spread to the whole world. The second coming of Jesus means a new return of the theocratic kingdom of God. The jubilee and the theocratic government of God show that the power of sin is not eternal, nor is the punishment endless, but ‘owlam’.