The Truth About Eternity
I grew up believing in Eternal Hell Fire. After all, Hell is the only descriptive word we have in the English language for the place where bad people go when they die. Even our dictionaries confirm Eternal punishment as the destination of the wicked after death.”
Like most, I used to believe everything the religious experts taught, even though Eternal torment never set right with me. Something actually made me cringe inside every time I heard someone callously describe the fate of the people they thought were condemned to burn eternally.
Finally I took the time to study the origin of the word Eternal and what I found in the original Hebrew and Greek confirmed my gut feeling, our translations didn’t match up to God’s original Word.
Man-made doctrines are those teachings that we discover, as we begin to search, are no where to be found in the Bible. Granted, the word Hell and Eternal are in our English translations. Thanks to today’s technology we all have access to look up these word definitions in their original languages.
Depending on your translation you may be as surprised as I was to find the following English references have all been translated as Hell: The Abyss, Bottomless Pit, Gehenna, Lake of Fire, the second death and The Outer Darkness.
As I asked God for Wisdom and to lead me in Truth, I began to learn more about Hebraic idioms, metaphors and word puns and how difficult they are to translate.
Our Flesh Returns to Dust, Our Spirit Returns to God
King Solomon was a man blessed by God with wisdom and knowledge above anyone before or after him. As we read from his books of wisdom it is interesting how King Solomon simply repeats the original Wisdom of Scripture. When the body dies it returns to dust and the breath or spirit returns to the One Who gave it. He also concludes his writing with; “Revere God and obey His Instructions, this is the wholeness of man. God will bring every action into judgment, every hidden thing, whether it is good or bad.”
The Day of Revealing
It is clear in the scriptures there will be a Day of Revealing and a Day of Judgment, a day of Recompense for our every action whether good or bad. Even more interesting is that every action, not only the bad, is revealed by Fire.
If our physical bodies have returned to the dust, then fire would be figurative. Metaphors represent the effects of how a fire would reveal the flammable and the inflammable. Contrary to the idea of an eternally burning fire, every bad thing will simply no longer exist. Just as “wood, hay and stubble” perish, (are consumed) in a physical fire.
Believing Mythology it Doesn’t Make it True
It is necessary to understand the history of mythology in order to see how it became mixed in with God’s Truth.
Dating back to ancient civilizations such as Mesopotamia, India and Greece, prior to first century B.C., long before Virgil’s writings influenced Dante the Roman poet, Strabo, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. Myths were commonly woven into their philosophies. By the third and fourth century A.D. Bishop Augustine had sealed Plato’s distorted philosophies about the immortal soul, and its eternal punishment in Hell.
It is humbly we seek the implanted Truth that is able to save us, says Y’acob, James 1:21.
Pride is like a veil over our spiritual eyes. Our opinions actually keep us from seeing past our personal beliefs into God’s Reality. God’s Word has not changed, it was and always will be the plum line of Truth.
“The Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” Acts 17:11
Like the Berean’s, we are to examine every teaching in Light of the Torah, including the prophets and writings that line up, before accepting anything as Truth. Truth can stand any test and we have been warned from the beginning that our loyalty to God’s Word will be tested by those who distort Truth.
Let’s Examine the Original Hebrew Meaning of Eternity
It is helpful to understand that in Ancient Hebrew thinking there was no concept for eternity, the future was simply unknown to them. Ancient Hebrew was a concrete, picture word, descriptive language, full of metaphors, idioms and word puns. In other words, it used physical descriptions to describe something abstract. For example, Fire would have been described by what it does. For more information click on my link:
The Hebrew word, Olam #5769, is translated as perpetual, a length of, or distant time, long duration, ages, permanently, forever… but the Ancient Hebrew would have simply used the five senses to describe the Unseen, Beyond the horizon. http://www.ancient-hebrew.org/vocabulary_definitions_eternity.html
The Greek equivalent for Olam is Aion. Although both refer to a period of time, an eon, an age, a generation, a point of time in the past or future. Neither word means eternity the way it has been translated from Latin, (aeternitatem) into English.
The Hebrew phrase, l’olam va’ed, is used to express God as one who transcends time, from the distant Horizon and Beyond, and again and even further. The Greek equivalent would mean, from age to ages and the English, forever and ever.
“For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, (what is hidden from or beyond our view, transcending time) whose Name (character) is Holy, (set apart from the physical world): ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, (humble) to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite (truly repentant).” Isaiah 57:14-16