The Times of the Ages
Translated from Dutch
In Out of Israels Prophecy we wanted to open the eyes to the future fulfillment of a large part of the prophecy, in this part we wanted to give a rounded overview of the Times of the Ages insofar as it pleased God to give us an insight into this. The unlocking of the prophecy already gives much light. This is greatly enhanced by a look at the counsel of God, which He works out in the Times of the ages. This part is therefore a necessary addition and continuation of the first, forms a whole in itself but supports the first and is necessary to learn to see the Scripture even more widely.
As far as we are aware, there is no work in English, which explains and processes the Scriptures in their entirety about the aions. Is it any wonder that there is so much misunderstanding and darkness? Without a well-defined understanding of the words, « for ever », Scripture is a chaos of contradictions. Only deeper research and consistent adherence to the once discovered and unshakable fixed meaning of the words, « for ever », makes the beautiful « purpose of the aions » discovered. We gain a perspective that goes far beyond Chiliasm, the doctrine of the future millennial kingdom. Anyone who has understood what God's Word means by « for ever » and learns to order the Scriptures in this matter will receive a broad understanding of God's plan. It makes him look back and ahead in the aions and brings many things, which first seemed to be problems, to a simple solution.
Only, here too, as in the prophecies, one is consistent. Do not get stuck halfway, but continue until the end and only then make the conclusion.
For the guiding principles, the spelling, etc. see Part I.
That this study may also serve to enrich Scripture's insight, to further liberate the tradition and above all to more knowledge of God and His glorious virtues, is the desire of
1933 — The Writer.
Difficulties and inaccuracies. The Scripture is a problem in more than one way. That already appeared with respect to the interpretation of prophecy. The different opinions about it prove that.
The same is the case with the concept of « for ever » in the KJV. There is a swarthiness about it of which the darkness of this aion is not strange. Western theology has taught us to speak of a « never-begun eternity », of « the endless eternity », and more such terms that are foreign to Scripture. Now terms that are not borrowed from Scripture, but display a Scriptural concept or summarize it, are not inadmissible. If the Scriptural concept of « for ever » was summed up in the above terms, then we could have peace with it. That however is not the case. With such terms one has introduced concepts that have never been said or meant by God. Thus the Scripture is darkened and made into an inextricable Book. And that she is not at all.
Satan is always trying to throw God's Word about. He is also called Diabolos, that is traducer. He uses Scripture to veil God's revelation. In the prophetic field he does so through « spiritualization », which amounts to distortion, in this field by casting a lid on what God has said. That cover is already taken away in part by the insight into the prophetic interspace. But not yet fully. It can be further removed by examining what Scripture means by « for ever ».
A great difficulty to better understand these is the not staying to itself in the translation, proof, how the translators themselves did not have sufficient or even little light on this important point. The original words have been arbitrarily translated, taken over according to their own insight or from other translations and bound to the insight of the tradition of those days.
New research necessary. The opening of the prophetic Word has as consequence a new investigation into the Scriptural concept of « for ever ». Every Bible reader can set this up, with the help of a good concordance, and without knowing the source languages, which makes the investigation much easier, to a more accurate insight. In any case, he can check whether things are so when we bring the source text's data to the fore. The whole that we then obtain will turn out to be much deeper and more constricted than it was thought to be at first, and Scripture will gain inordinately in Divinity and strength. The reality gives more to see than the vagueness of tradition.
Some may think that this is all too intellectual, too much to the intellect. Against this, it should be noted, 1° that God always reveals Himself to the mind, to reason; 2° that the floating on feelings without knowledge of God's Word is even more dangerous than being led by the mind; 3° that we do not bring these things out of our minds, but that they are given in God's Word and God has wanted to enlighten our minds to see them and to combine them; 4° that Scripture speaks of the coming to full assurance of understanding (Col. 2:2), so that no one, the apostle adds, beguile you with enticing words (2:4).
Who once has seen the Scriptural understanding on « for ever », God's Word will be further unlocked and thereby gain a strengthening of faith, which spans both reason and feeling as will and extends to our whole being.
Our writing will mainly deal with the times of the ages. At the end we give the Scriptural Chronology, which leads to remarkable results. With time calculations about the second coming of Christ, we won't bother ourselves. We are averse to all calculations applied to future events. All that have been given until now have failed, and all that are going to be established in this dispensation will also do that. With respect to the times of the ages, one make no calculation outside the Scriptures. Even though our work is called: The Times of the ages, one does not seek a chronological explanation for the future. It is completely missing.
The eternal purpose. God has made an « eternal purpose ». The Greek says: the purpose of the aions. Whom understands what « for ever » means in Scripture can understand the purpose of the aions. This is necessary in order to make known the manifold wisdom of God to the authorities and the powers in heaven (Ephesians 3:10, 11). From this it is seen that the insight into the « eternal purpose » leads to the glorification of God. We therefore hope that at the end of this work with Judas 25, the reader may say: « To the only God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both before every aion and now and unto all the aions. Amen ».
I. The Scriptures teach more than
one « for ever » ↑
The translation of the original words. Generally speaking, the words « for ever » is understood to mean an endless duration, a time without beginning and without end. This is the general traditional teaching. Now one would with respect to that, when Scripture is accurately read, may well come to other thoughts if the KJV did not contribute to ignorance and confusion. She nonetheless translates the Hebrew word « olam » and the Greek « aion » sometimes into world, mostly into for ever, then again through never, sometimes in a different way (ages, end, eternal, etc.). The Translation does not remain the same in itself, much to the loss of insight.
God's Word is completely inspired. This must be treated serious, also with respect to the translation. Although the original manuscripts no longer exist, nevertheless God has ensured that we have good transcripts that reliably represent His revelation. When translating this, one must, if at all possible, display the same basic word by the same English or German or Dutch word. That demands God's Scripture. God remains equal and although the words are human, their union and meaning is Divine. Only the Holy Spirit could do this for about a period of ± 1500 years with ± 40 writers.
What do we see now with the Translation. This: the KJV does not consistently display the Hebrew word olam and the Greek word aion. Now we admit that a self-consistent translation is virtually impossible due to the incompleteness and imperfection of our language (and also of others). Yet the Scriptures must be translated better by means of a study than the KJV does, and this is not done with respect to the words « for ever ». Although the KJV is a first rank work which stands in many respects above many other earlier transitions, it now appears that it has gaps and inaccuracies that misrepresent God's scriptures.
The KJV and the words for ever. The Hebrew word Olam and the Greek Aion are, especially now, rather difficult to properly translate. We want to try it. If they are translated by « century », which is what the Dutch translation does more than once, then the confusion with the period of 100 years, which we also call this, is somewhat obvious, but even more the objection that we in the adjective eternally think of an infinity, which in the Hebrew and Greek words is excluded.
If they are translated by « eternity », which is what the Dutch Bible also does more than once and which makes them unequal to themselves, they express an endless duration, because we now connect that concept to that word.
If they translate them by « world », what the KJV confusingly does also, we think of the created ordered universe.
Therefore, in this case and in relation to our time, we prefer the untranslated word and prefer to take the word aion, which is not entirely unknown in our dictionaries and derived from Greek. We leave this untranslated, because there is currently no suitable English word for it, which clearly reflects its meaning. We want to prove this.
World time says too little or nothing. We think of something else or a world unknown to Scripture
World period is less correct, because a period is actually part of an era or an aion and does not coincide with the duration of a world.
Century means 100 years, eternally endless, eternity endless duration. One is too limited, the other too spacious, infinite big.
World time run and world time course or world course do not exactly reflect what olam or aion express, they approach the concept, but are more made English.
What does olam or aion then mean? With these words, Scripture expresses a progressive development of the world, starting in a starting point, broadening itself into a ray of facts and events and finally contracting, concentrating in a final goal or endpoint. In the progressing course, the time-character is decided, in the development of the world its gradual development. Non-translation promotes research into the meaning of these words. So we speak as a rule of olam and aion or olamim and aions.
More then one aion. What does the Scripture teach us in this matter? This, that there is more than one aion, more than one « for ever », so that for ever does not contrast with time, but is itself time. We shall prove that from a few expressions, first from the obvious, then from those which can be found by means of a concordance. Successively we go after:
1. This world and the coming.
2. The end of the world.
3. For ever and ever. I.
4. For ever and ever. II.
5. For ever in plural.
1. This world and the coming. ↑
That world. In Luke 20:34 — 36 we read: « And Jesus answering said unto them, The children (sons) of this world (aion) marry, and are given in marriage: But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world (aion), and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children (sons) of God, being the children (sons) of the resurrection ».
The Lord Jesus teaches here that this world (Greek: aion) is followed by another, which He calls « that world ». That, that aion has not yet begun, shows that the resurrection has not yet taken place. So this world has not yet ended, as long as the resurrection has not happened. Only then does the next one begin. The word aion, translated here by world, has been translated elsewhere by for ever. If KJV had also done this here, it would say: To marry the children of this for ever ... etc., but who will be deemed worthy to attain that for ever ... etc. and we would have seen that we already live in a for ever.
The term: This world also occurs in 1 Cor. 1:20: « Where is the disputer of this world? » (Aion). In 1 Cor. 2:6 and 8 it is also translated by: world. It should have been here: the princes of this aion, for in the coming aion the Lord will reign. In 1 Cor. 3:8 the term is again written: « If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world (aion), let him become a fool ». Although seemingly less of a disorder, the translation is not pure. One can also read here: in this aion.
In 2 Cor. 4:4 we read: the god of this world. Satan is not the god of this world, but of the present evil aion.
Gal. 1: 4 reads: « Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world ». Here the Greek has: From this present evil aion. Paul is probably looking at the taking up of 1 Thess. 4. Then a group of believers from this aion, from the world process that now has its course, is pulled out, but not from this world, the system of things, as they go to meet the Lord in the air.
Rom. 12:2 says: « And be not conformed to this world ... ». Greek: be not conformed to this aion. That is what Demas did, having loved this present world, Greek, loved the now being aion. 2 Tim. 4:10. The same term: this present world, Greek the now (being) aion, also has Tit. 2:12: « Teaching us that, ... and godly, in this present world ». Greek: the now (being) aion.
In all these texts the word « this » or « now » denotes a contradiction with « that » namely that aion, of which Luke 20:35 speaks, that is, in the future.
The coming aion. Of the coming aion the Lord speaks in Mat. 12:32: « And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world (aion), neither in the world (aion) to come ».
Mark also speaks of that aion. Mark 10:30 « ... who may not receive an hundredfold now ... and in the world (aion) to come eternal life », that is, life, belonging to, appropriate to, enjoyed in that aion. Similarly Luke 18:30.
Eph. 1:21 is joint proof: « Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world (aion), but also in that which is to come ».
It thus appears from these Scriptures that this aion is in contrast with the future. Where now this aion is a time course, so is the future too. Time does not pass into the « endless eternity », as one faithfully believes and teaches in tradition, but in a new era. Then there is a new aion before us. Even then there will be time, days and weeks and months and years. However, the conditions and circumstances will change. Then Christ has returned to the restoration of the foretold things. (See Part I Out of Israels Prophecy).
The transition. At the end of our aion the resurrection takes place that many believers in Israel longed for. Daniel will rest and stand up in his lot in the end of days, Dan. 12:13. Martha and Mary longed for the resurrection « at the last day », John 11:24. Those last days of this aion will be incredibly turbulent times. « Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days », says Daniel 12:12. That is the last day of the aion, counting from the second half of Daniel's 70th year week, which is future. (See Part I, The book of Daniel). Who then lives and believes in Christ; will not die for ever, that is in the coming aion and who has died will then be resurrected, John 11:24.
However, the completion of the aion precedes, after that comes the end, the end point. If those days were not shortened, the Lord says, no flesh would be saved. Mat. 24:22. The outcome is therefore bleak, the beginning of the next aion starts fortunately happy; the first resurrection of Rev. 20 takes place and aionic life begins, Mark 10:30, Luke 18:30.
2. The end of the world. ↑
The entire completion of the world. That the present aion has an end, the Greek teaches better than the KJV. The term appears 5 times exclusively in Matthew. When Christ has come with the disciples on the Mount of Olives, the youngsters ask for three things, namely: Tell us when these things will be (the destruction of the temple) and which will be the sign of Your coming and of the end of the world (aion). Mat. 24:3. Here the « end of the world » is connected with the coming, that is return of Christ.
The incorrect translation is the cause that people have come to believe that at Christ's return the world will perish. This is not the case. The disciples ask for the completion of the aion, Greek sunteleia tou aioonos, the joining-into-one-point of the currents and things of this aion.
From that sunteleia, the « entire or full completion » or « consummation », the Lord had already spoken to His disciples before and in Mat. 13. There He uses the term three times, namely in v. 39, 40 and 49.
Mat. 13:39 « ... the harvest is the end of the world », says the KJV. The Greek has: sunteleia tou aioonos, the entire completion of the aion.
In v. 22 the Lord had already spoken of « the care of this world ». Greek: « the carefulness of the aion »; in v. 39 He speaks of the entire completion of the aion.
In v. 40 the term appears again: « so shall it be in the end of this world ». The Greek has: sunteleia tou aioonos.
In v. 49 we find the term for the third time: « So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just ».
For: « the end of the world » has the Greek: « sunteleia tou aioonos ».
One sees the translation is at least consistent here, however it does not say what the Greek says.
The disciples knew that a future aion would come, a new olam. That is the doctrine of the O.T. By the parables of Mat. 13 the Lord had taught them that the transition from one into the other would be accompanied with a crisis. As the Lord in Mat. 24 says that the temple will be destroyed, they see this crisis in it and ask Him further. So we read:
Mat. 24:3 « ... Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? » Greek: sunteleia tou aioonos. On these three questions the Lord gives the answer in chapters 24 and 25.
In Mat. 28:20 the term occurs the fifth (last) time. We read there: « I am with you always, even unto the end of the world », Greek sunteleia tou aioonos. The commission, which the Lord now gives, is future (see Part I The Gospels). Then, when the conjunction comes, the Lord will be near His believing remnant from Israel all the days of the consummation (entire completion) of the aion.
So we have the term 5 times in Matthew (exclusively), namely:
13:39 The harvest is the end of the aion
3. For ever and ever. I. ↑
Ten times: for ever and ever. Where this for ever (olam or aion), is not endless, it is not strange that in the O.T. the expression occurs: For ever and ever, (from olam to olam, also translated everlasting to everlasting). With this falls the traditional concept even in the translation. After all, if there is: from (one) for ever to another, how can for ever be endless. If one for ever is followed by the other, there must be an end to all for ever, as well as the terms: from day to day, from month to month, from year to year, that the one day, or month, or the one year follows on the other, but that each is finite and therefore ends.
In the Hebrew we find the expression for ever and ever in the following texts:
1 Chron. 16:36 « Blessed be the LORD God of Israel for ever and ever ». Also 1 Chron. 29:10 and Psa. 41:14 and 106:48. Neh. 9:5 « Stand up and bless the LORD your God ever and ever ».
Psa. 103:17; Psa. 90:2 « ... even from everlasting to everlasting ... » Psa. 103:17 « But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting ... ».
Jer. 7:7 « Then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever ».
Jer. 25:5 « ... and dwell in the land that the LORD hath given unto you and to your fathers for ever and ever ».
Dan. 2:20 « ... Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever ... ». So ten times the same expression in the Hebrew.
Not in the KJV. One sees how this is translated in Psa. 90:2 and 103:17 from everlasting to everlasting. If it would have stayed equal to itself it would have said: for ever and ever. Or the other way around, in the other texts from everlasting to everlasting. The Hebrew has no distinction in these words that the KJV translates in for ever or from everlasting. One can see how the Scripture would increase in power if their was regularity. Israel will have the Land for ever (olam) and ever (to olam).
4. For ever and ever. II. ↑
After the coming aion. The aion or olam, in which we now live, has an end, for it is followed by another. The expressions point to this: this aion and the coming, the end of the aion and for ever and ever.
The question now arises: And what if that aion or olam has ended. Or does it not end. Not all O.T. believers knew an answer to this. Some see already further, but first Paul learns the conclusion of the aions better. With many O.T. believers there was still a veil left.
They then spoke of: in perpetuity that is in the future aion and beyond. The Hebrew term for this is in the KJV often translated by: forever and ever, Hebrew olam va ed, literally « for ever » and beyond. This expression is found 15 times, 12 times in the Psalms. We write these texts first.
Exo. 15:18 « The LORD shall reign for ever and ever ».
Psa. 9:5 « ... thou hast put out their name for ever and ever ».
Psa. 10:16 « The LORD is King for ever and ever ... ».
Psa. 21:5 « He asked life of thee, and thou gavest it him, even length of days for ever and ever ».
Psa. 45:6 « Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever ... ».
Psa. 45:17 « ... therefore shall the people praise thee for ever and ever »
Psa. 48:14 « For this God is our God for ever and ever ... ».
Psa. 52:8 « ... I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever ».
Psa. 104:5 « Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever ».
119:44 « So shall I keep thy law continually for ever and ever ».
Psa. 145:1 « I will extol thee, my God, O king; and I will bless thy name for ever and ever ».
Psa. 145:2 « Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever ».
Psa. 145:21 « ... all flesh bless his holy name for ever and ever »
Dan. 12:3 « And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever ».
Micah 4:5 « ... we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever »
The O.T. vision. If you want to explain these texts, you have to take the position of the O.T. believers. The basic text is Gen. 13:15. « For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever », that is the entire duration of the future aion (see also Part I, chapter II). This is already a long, almost endless field. However, this was also explained by the light of the Spirit until the end. Moses saw further. For the first time he uses the term: olam va ed, in the aion and even longer, even further. He oversees the coming aion and sees that another begins. He does not oversee this, he only looks into it, and thus speaks of: for ever and beyond, in the aion and beyond.
Now first something about the term olam va ed.
Ed. The KJV always falls short with respect to the consistent translation of olam and ed. Once olam is translated by: for ever, by: world, then again by: everlasting.
The word ed indicates a duration. Is it before the word olam, like for example in Gen. 13:16 then one can roughly translate as: the whole duration of the aion and points to an uninterruptedness. If it stands behind it and is preceded by the conjunction of va, then it can be translated in the aion and longer, further. If it stands alone, ed indicates the future aion e.g. Isa. 9:5: The everlasting Father that is Father of the coming aion. It is noted that there is no olam here, which one might think; it says: Father of the ed. That also occurs in Isa. 57:15: « One that inhabiteth eternity », that is will live with Israel in the future aion. We can not go deeper into this. More about that later.
Who translates for olam va ed: in the (future) olam and even longer, gets the clearest and simplest look at these statements. Where we have already shown that there is more than one for ever and it will become clear that Scripture does not know the Westerner concept of endless eternity, we put ourselves on the Scriptural, here O.T. standpoint and believe that olam va ed must be declared with the basic text Gen. 13:15, forever and even further, going on even longer. The word ed is namely derived from a verb, which means to continue. The texts mentioned above do see the end of the coming aion, but not that of the then due. Only Paul indicates in a few texts that this too comes to an end. We will discuss them in the next chapter.
For ever and ever not endless. An objection that could be raised against the above interpretation is something we want to overcome here. Whoever examines the texts might think that, where it is said of the Lord, that He is King forever and ever, it must be meant to be: into endless eternity. We answer three things on this.
First, that there is a purpose of the aions, an expression which in Eph. 3:11 is incorrectly translated by: eternal purpose. The purpose of the aions point to a certain number of aions, not to an infinite number of aions that would follow each other in an endless series. God did not make an unlimited number of aions, with a certain number of world development courses. A street plan is a certain number of streets to be constructed, so the purpose of the aions a certain number of aions. When it says of Him that He is king, for ever and ever, then it must be given a different explanation than the traditional one.
Second, no one knows what is meant by a timeless eternity. It will become apparent that there will be successive generations in an eternity, that is, periods of human ages. We must look at it from us, that is from a human point of view. All those 15 statements were made by Israelites, who took into account what was revealed. Moses was the first to go beyond the eternity of Gen. 13:15. All the other statements are based on that. We must not explain Scripture from behind and then still interweave it with Western ideas, but from the front and thus check what was already known. Thus the expression is: olam va ed, in the aion and even longer of Exo. 15:18 on Gen. 13:15.
Thirdly, something has to be taken into account. Who was known in Israel as the Lord Jehovah? Was it not He who would later reveal Himself as Christ, thus the Person of the Son? According to Heb. 1:8 yet the Son was the Lord, the revealing Jehovah of O.T. « But unto the Son he saith », Heb. 1:10: « And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands » See Psa. 102:26 — 28. He had revealed himself to Abraham Gen. 18:1. In this way we must also consider these statements, from this point of view. The revealing Jehovah, is the later Son. And where He will only reign until He gives the Kingdom over to the Father, 1 Cor. 15:24 — 28, there He is not endlessly King, but in the aion and beyond, at most two aions. He is therefore King in eternity, that is in the aion to come and beyond, even longer, but is once subjected Himself. That is why these texts not only give no rise whatsoever to objection of the interpretation, but rather to a harmonious whole.
From Psa. 45:7 the same applies: « Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever ... ». According to Heb. 1:8 this is said of the Son. Heb. 1:8 expresses this differently. It is therefore not a pure quotation from Psa. 45. It says: Your throne, O God, is in the aion of the aion. Here it will be: va ed, is rounded off longer to: the aion resulting from the future aion, so the second future aion. What in Psa. 45 still hidden in the morning mist of the O.T. day, the Holy Spirit places Hebrews in full afternoon light. What the Psalmist does not see limited, the Apostle sees completed. He also sees the second next aion having an end. It is not: in the aion and beyond, but: in the aion of the aion. The second is also finite because it occurs from an ending aion. What in many O.T. believers did not have a horizon, at least none that was seen, here the full light breaks through and one sees to the farthest time borders. If this or that Greek reader make us aware that Heb. 1:8 quote is from the Septuagint, then we admit it, but also indicate that we only count with the inspired scriptures.
Psa. 21:5 views Christ from His human nature. The Psalmist sees that He has been given eternal life and that this extends beyond the coming aion in which the believing Israelite was so willing to be moved on the basis of Gen. 13:1, All the land ... I have given you and your seed for ever. Seen in this way, the term indicates « for ever » and beyond that, and therefore greater glory.
Psa. 45:17 speaks of the nations who will praise God « for ever and ever ». From this it follows that the earth will not be fierce and void in the next aion, as Adventism wants, but will contain people. These will be made known to God through Israel and therefore praise Him in that aion and even longer. See Psa. 96, 98; Rev. 21:24.
Psa. 104:5. The earth will not stagger in the olam and longer. If it were: eternally endless, Isa. 24:19 — 20 can not be fulfilled: « The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again ».
But now it means: in the coming aion and beyond, the solution is simple. Certainly, there will be a new heaven and a new earth, but that will be more a different condition than another basic form. The earth as a celestial body does not stagger in the aion and beyond, although its scenes change.
Psa. 119:44. David will keep God's law for ever and ever. Christ says sideways, that the Law will pass by fulfillment, Mat. 5:25. The statement of Psa. 119:44 is therefore perfectly true. Also that of Mat. 5. He sees at the end of the aions, that is, the course of it. David will keep God's law as long as he is theocratic king. Once all power and strength ends, 1 Cor. 15. Then comes the time in which God will be all in all directly, without any intermediary. Then the law is over by fulfillment.
The other texts all speak of a broader view than the next olam gives, but they don't see the end of the next, that of the second coming olam.
Time and for ever. So it turns out from this point that according to Scripture, « time » and « for ever » do not exclude each other as two incompatible, incomparable concepts, but that time is for ever and for ever is time. The for ever is a long worldly course, in which the forces in which they work develop and which are then followed by another. Then there is time again. One aion moves into the other. They are not separate, but distinct. If for ever were endless, how could it have an: and beyond. Can the endless have a « further »? After all, no.
This automatically changes the whole vision. We live in a for ever. It has a consummation, Mat. 24:3. It is followed by another. That too has an end, because the O.T. speaks of: olam va ed, that is in the (future) aion and beyond. The question arises whether « further » also has an end. According to Heb. 1:8 it apparently does: in the aion of the aion.
And even more according to Heb. 9:26. That speaks of the consummation of the aions. It says: sunteleia toon aióonoon, so the plural of the term of Mat. 13:39, 40, 49, 24:3 and 28:20. Here the KJV says world, in Hebrews aions, another proof of the inconsistent translation.
Time is part of for ever, for ever is unfolding, ongoing time.
5. For ever in plural. ↑
The plural form. The fifth proof that eternity is not endless gives the plural form. There are olamIM (Hebrew plural form), aioonES (Greek plural form). So more than one aion.
With respect to the Hebrew plural form should generally be noted that this form does not always have to indicate a plural. Nevertheless, we think where possible, the plural must comes to its own. That this can and must be done with the word « olam » has already become clear to us from the expression: For ever and ever. The plural form in olam is not an intensity form here, to indicate something pre-eminently large, or infinite duration, but an essential plural form, since the N.T. teaches that there are aionS and the Greek does not know this form of intensity.
O.T. texts. We first give all the O.T. texts which contains the plural form. They are these:
1 Kings 8:13 « I have surely built thee an house to dwell in, a settled place for thee to abide in for ever ».
Psa. 61:4 « I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever ... ».
Psa. 77:5 « I have considered the days of old, the years of ancient times ».
Psa. 145:13 « Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom ... ».
Isa. 26:4 « ... For in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength »
Isa. 45:17a « But Israel shall be saved in the LORD with an everlasting salvation ».
Isa. 51:9 « Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the LORD; awake, as in the ancient days ... ».
Dan. 9:24 « ... and to bring in everlasting righteousness ... ».
Ecc. 1:10 « ... it hath been already of old time ... »
Psa. 77:8 « Will the Lord cast off for ever? ... »
Isa. 45:17b « ... ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end ». Hebrew: through the duration of the olamim, the duration of « for ever ».
What they teach us. Lets look at these texts. In 1 Kings 8:13 and 2 Chron. 6:2 speaks of Solomon's temple. Solomon had built the Lord a home for a house of the aions. We know that the temple will not last indefinitely, to infinite duration. There is no more temple on the new earth. Rev. 21. Solomon does not mean to express an endless duration, but says to have built a house for the aions, eternities. Which can they be? This aion, in which he built it and in which we now live (running from Noah to Christ's return) and the future one that follows after ours. Because of Israel's sins, the temple did not stay for two aions: it must be replaced by that of Ezekiel and it will continue throughout the next aion. So sin has caused a break, the house of the aions is a house that will stand in two aions, but not those two aions long or through.
In Psa. 61 says David: « I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever ... ». Here the Hebrew uses the plural. David calls to God of the end of the land v. 2; He had to flee there for Absalom. He is the type of Israel that has to flee to the desert, Rev. 12:6 and will be miraculously maintained. God is his strong tower for the enemy just as God will be the refuge for the Woman, to whom also a place is prepared. David will also be in God's hut in the aion to come. In this and the coming aion God will be David's refuge, in eternities, in 2 aions. Where in the coming aion also the last revolt of Satan takes place and the camp of the saints is surrounded, Rev. 20, it is understandable that even then this word has meaning for David.
Psa. 77:5 « I have considered the days of old (Hebrew: which were before me), the years of ancient times » We have already indicated that in the Hebrew also here has olamim. Now one pays attention to the translation. The same word, in the same form, is first translated by for ever (1 Kings 8:13, 2 Chronicles 6:2 and Psalm 61:5), and here by ancient times. One can therefore ask with all right, what it is, and has again proof that the KJV is not steadfast. Furthermore, it appears that the olamim have years, so are times. If now the one olam is time, then so is the other. Why the former olamim would be times and the future not, can not be seen. That this olam would have years and the future does not, is as implausible as one year would have days and the other not.
Attention falls on something else. The text speaks of the years of olamim. It follows, therefore, that at least one olam or aion has preceded ours. After all, only this way the psalmist can speak of the years of olamim. There are at least two, namely this and that preceded it. What that was, we will see later.
Psa. 145:13 speaks of all the olamim, one can see that the KJV translated everlasting and in Psa. 61 by for ever.
Isa. 26:4 speaks of the eternal Rock, Hebrew: the Rock of the olamim, of for ever. That eternal Rock is Jehovah-Christ. He is the Rock of the aions, after that God is all in all and the kingdom is surrendered, 1 Cor. 15:24. This word from Isa. 26 explain in view of the future aions of Eph. 2:7 because v. 4a says: Trust in the Lord forever. That is the duration of the (future) aion, for the Lord is a Rock of the aions, but also sees it more broadly, as through the aions, so also for now.
Isa. 45:17 Israel is redeemed by the Lord with a redemption of the olamim, in the aions to come. When the Lord returns, those aions begin and Israel's salvation begins.
In Isa. 51:9 is the KJV unclear. The translators did not fully understand the word olam or did not carry through the meaning consistently. In: « awake, as in the ancient days, in the generations of old » Hebrew: in the olamim, they replaced: in the generations of old. Completely unnecessary and also wrongly. Isa. 51:9 should have been: Generations of the olamim. Thus it appeared that there is succession of generations in the olamim, so that the for ever are periods of time, which Psa. 77:5 also indicates, only with this difference, that it says: years of the olamim. The families of the olamim looks on the generations that preceded the time, when Israel will call, that is ours and those that preceded them.
Dan. 9:24 speaks of the application of the righteousness of the olamim, the aions, the righteousness, which is made in, or with a view to the aions to come.
Psa. 77:7. Why did You cast away for ever, in the foregoing aion, when the Flood took away all, and this one, whose end shall be as the days of Noah. Nevertheless, God will remember His covenant of the aion of Gen. 17:7. He will not keep His anger for ever, Psa. 103:9.
Ecc. 1:10 teaches us that even more than Isa. 51:9 and Ps 77:6. It speaks of the olamim who have been before us. That is not one, but at least two. Ours therefore was not only preceded by the olam from Adam to Noah, but there must have been another one. Those are the olamim before us, for ours. Had there been only one, then it should have been here, the olam that has been before us. In this way too, we see that there was a world before the earth became fierce and void. Thus we come to the conclusion that there are 5 aions, 5 olamim in Scripture: 2, which preceded ours, Ecc. 1:10, 2, who follow it, Isa. 45:17, Dan. 9:24, Eph. 2:7. Furthermore, in connection with this, Ecc. 1:10 is better understood. With the aions that have been before us, there has been one in which things occurred, completely unknown to ours. We will elaborate this further in chapter. III.
From all these texts it appears that the O.T. teaches us that there are olamim, that this word in the plural has a plural meaning, so it must be transferred as a plural form. Further it follows again, that where there is more than one olam, the olamim must be finite. And all of them. Thus, in the term the olamim, relating to the future, is also proof that the aions will once end.
N.T. texts. In the N.T. the plural form occurs in the following texts:
Mat. 6:13 « ... For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever ... ». Greek: in the aions.
Luke 1:33 « And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever ... ». Greek: in the aions.
Rom. 1:25 « ... the Creator, who is blessed for ever ... ». Greek: in the aions.
Rom. 9:5 « ... Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever ... ». Greek: in the aions.
Rom. 11:36 « ... and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever ... ». Greek: in the aions.
2 Cor. 11:31 « The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore ... ». Greek: in the aions.
Heb. 13:8 « Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever ». Greek: in the aions.
As we already indicated, the same term is used in all these texts: eis tous aioonas, in the aions.
Eph. 2:7 speaks therefore of the future aions.
What they teach us. An overview of these texts shows that they do not exceed the O.T. revelation and relate to the aions to come. They are timestamps, certain, although very long, but not endless aions.
We would particularly like to discuss one text.
In Luke 1:32 — 33 the angel says to Mary: « He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever (Greek: in the aions); and of his kingdom there shall be no end ».
This text is remarkable because of the interpretation that is given from different sides.
Conception of the moderns. The Moderns take the « Son of the Highest » in the ideal sense and see in the Lord Jesus only a perfect man, be it the highest man, the ideal man. They thus hold this part for a figurative expression. But then we must be consistent and let the figurative also pass for David's throne and of course for, for ever. They will certainly have to do the first, because Christ has not risen for them. He is not actually Son of God in the right sense, God is not His essential Father. Now reasoning further like this, He is also ideal king and — for ever is therefore ideal. The logical reasoning must therefore solve everything, naturally also life in the future. But then this promise is misleading and it is better not to appeal to Scripture at all than to tire with things that do not exist.
The orthodox conception. A large part of Christendom takes the first half of the promise literally. God is Christ's real Father and not only in a figurative sense. When they come to the second part of the text: to be King on the throne of David over the House of Jacob. That is being spiritualized. Christ becomes the King of the Church and the throne of David is in heaven. Let us see. It does not say: He will be King over the Church and the throne of David is in heaven. Neither: He will be King over spiritual Israel; but: about Jacob's House. Whoever spiritualizes this term now also becomes modern, that is does not take the word in its real sense. David's son is then in a real sense Son of God, but the throne of David is in heaven. Israel however had not heard of that. The House of Jacob is the Church, in other words to whom this promise is made fall outside.
We want to further examine the term House of Jacob. It occurs first in Gen. 46:27: « ... all the souls of the house of Jacob, which came into Egypt, were threescore and ten ». The term also appears in the following texts: Exo. 19:3; Isa. 2:5, 6; 8:17; 10:20; 14:1; 29:22; 46:3; 48:1; 58:1; Jer. 2:4; 5:20; Eze. 20:5; Amos 3:13; 9:8; Micah 2:7; 3:1 and then in Luke 1:33. Those who examine these texts will see that they always relate to Jacob's natural descendants. Not to anything else. Why Luke 1, which contains a promise to Israel, would make an exception to it, can't be seen by those who consistently hold on to Scripture. One knows the rule that we put for ourselves: where possible literally. (See further Part I, Out of Israels Prophecy). What is blamed on the Moderns with respect to the first part, one does oneself with the second part of the text, namely not literally accepting, what God says. For us Christ will be King over the House of Jacob, that is Israel. Not over the « Church ». To other believers Christ is in a different relationship, not as from King to nation or subjects.
The third conception. There is a third conception. With the Orthodox, this takes the first part for real, but also the second part. But for the third part one stands still and holds fast to the opinion, in which for ever means « endless ».
Why, however, we would not explain that part, as it says there, but not in the translation, but in the source text, namely during the aions. Christ does not continue to rule endlessly; once He gives the Kingdom over to God and the Father, 1 Cor. 15:24 — 28. He does rule in the aions, but not after that. That Kingdom is not broken, it will have no end, it is surrendered to God and the Father and thus continues to exist. Christ Himself, however, abdicates as Son and is subjected as such.
The real conception. So we take literally, real, what can be taken literally and nothing forces us to take it differently. Of course we do not think of the « throne of David » as the royal seat, which had long since disappeared, but as the royal power. History now compels us to take the second meaning of « throne ». The other can come into its own without figurative significance. And now the full sentence of the text comes out and we are consistent as far as possible. First of all, there turns out to be agreement between Luke 1 and 1 Cor. 15. Whoever allows the Son to be endlessly King over the House of Jacob, which he then still holds for the « Church », comes with 1 Cor. 15 in collision or contradiction. It is only by consistency that the three previous views are overcome and God's Word is strengthened in all parts and rights. Christ gives over the Kingdom once, so can not remain King endlessly.
The other texts. The other texts also apply almost all to Christ. He is the Creator, Who is praised in the aions, Rom. 1:25, Heb. 1:8, to whom be glory in the aions, Rom. 11:36, 2 Cor. 11:31. He remains the same in the aions, namely the Mediator of God and of men.
Mat. 6:13: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, in the aions is omitted in many manuscripts, but it appears in others.
One sees from all these texts that the Spirit here continues and confirms the O.T. teachings of the aions. It is always about the course of the aions. The plural proves that the O.T. plurals also have to be regarded as plurals.
Thus it appears from the plural form that there is more than one major world development course. Each has its course, its confluence, its end point. Each aion also has its purpose. God dominates all olamim, aions, for evers, Psa. 145:13. In His hand, the course is assured and they are taken to a certain endpoint, namely that God is all in all. 1 Cor. 15.
For ever, from generation to generation. For ever in the KJV is time. That this is so, appears from the 20 times occurring Hebrew parallelism: For ever and from generation to generation (KJV: all generations = generation to generation). We write the texts here:
Exo. 3:15 « ... my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations ».
Psa. 33:11 « The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations ».
Psa. 49:11 « Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue for ever, and their dwelling places to all generations ... ».
Psa. 79:12 « ... will give thee thanks for ever: we will shew forth thy praise to all generations »
Psa. 85:5 « Wilt thou be angry with us for ever? wilt thou draw out thine anger to all generations? »
Psa. 89:1 « I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations ».
Psa. 89:4 « Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations. Selah ».
Psa. 100:5 « For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting (olam); and his truth endureth to all generations ».
Psa. 106:31 « And that was counted unto him for righteousness unto all generations for evermore (ad olam) ».
Psa. 135:13 « Thy name, O LORD, endureth for ever; and thy memorial, O LORD, throughout all generations ».
Psa. 146:10 « The LORD shall reign for ever, even thy God, O Zion, unto all generations. Praise ye the LORD ».
Pro. 27:24 « For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation? »
Isa. 34:10 « It shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up for ever: from generation to generation it shall lie waste; none shall pass through it for ever and ever ».
Isa. 34:17 « ... they shall possess it for ever, from generation to generation shall they dwell therein. ».
Isa. 51:8 « ... but my righteousness shall be for ever, and my salvation from generation to generation ».
Lam. 5:19 « Thou, O LORD, remainest for ever; thy throne from generation to generation ».
Joel 3:20 « But Judah shall dwell for ever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation ».
Dan. 4:3 « ... his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion is from generation to generation ».
Dan. 4:34 « ... I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation ».
In Psa. 14:13 we find: « Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations »
For ever is seen as having generations, from generation to generation ongoing, so time-consuming. With this, again the provision lapses: For ever is endless duration. For ever (in these texts pointing to the aion to come) also has just as good times and generations as our aion has. Furthermore, one thinks that we have a limited vision here, which does not yet come to the full overview.
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