ALL THINGS IN CHRIST
In all wisdom and prudence making known to us the mystery of His will according to His
good pleasure which He purposed in Him the plan for the fullness of the times
TO HEAD UP THE ALL THINGS IN THE CHRIST ,
the things in the heavens and the things upon the earth, in Him ….
(Ephesians 1:8b-10)
By – Stuart H. Pouliot
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In accord with the purpose of the eons [ages], which He makes in Christ Jesus, our Lord….
(Ephesians 3:11 Concordant Version [CV])
To those on the one hand who, by lives of persistent right-doing, are striving for glory, honour
and immortality, the Life of the Ages [eonian life, eternal life]…. (Romans 2:7 WNT [CV, NASB])
In the Greek language, the transliterated noun a iōn is equivalent to the Anglicized word eon or
age , meaning an indefinite period of time . The adjective form of a iōn is aiōnion ; its Anglicized
equivalent is eonian or age-during , meaning it qualifies something that exists in or lasts for a
period of time .
Transliterated means to write or spell words, etc. in the characters of another alphabet that
represents the same sound or sounds. Thus, a iōn is the transliterated word for the Greek word
αίωυ, pronounced ahee-ohn .
Anglicized means the item in question has been changed to an English idiom, pronunciation,
custom, manner, word, etc. Thus, eon is the Anglicized word for a iōn . Notice how the two
words are similar in spelling and pronunciation.
Systematizing the Deception
In the early fifth century, Jerome translated the Greek New Testament into what is known as
the Latin Vulgate . There were two Latin words that he could have used as equivalents for the
Greek word aiōnion ─ aeternum and speculum , from which we derive our words eternal and
secular (or, worldly), respectively. He chose aeternum ; however, it has a double meaning, either
unending time or an age or eon , as in a limited period of time.
Augustine, a contemporary of Jerome, was virtually ignorant of Greek so that when he read the
Vulgate he took the word aeternum to mean eternal or unending time, rather than an age or a
period of indefinite time. Due to his great influence in the Latin church, the word eternal came
to be the equivalent of the word aionian or eonian . It appears that Augustine was later shown
the error of his interpretation, but due to his influence, the concept of unending or eternal took
root in the mind of many and has continued mostly unabated to our day.
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Quoting from Dr. F.W. Farrar's book Mercy and Judgment (page 178): "Since aion meant 'age,'
aionios means, properly, 'belonging to an age,' or 'age-long.' And anyone who asserts that it
must mean 'endless' defends a position which even Augustine practically abandoned twelve
centuries ago."
With the exception of four English translations ( Concordant Literal New Testament [CV],
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible [REB], Wilson's Emphatic Diaglott [WED], and Young's Literal
Translation [YLT]), English translations render the word aiōnion as eternal . As will be shown, the
word a iōn is translated into many different words, further robbing it of its meaning, in what
could be called interpretative bias .
Interpretative bias means that in translating from the original languages into another language,
the translators used words based on tradition and interpretation of what they believe to be the
meaning behind the words. The term is not meant to question the integrity or honesty of any
translators. It seems that a certain amount of interpretation is inevitable. Unfortunately, some
of the bias has resulted in incorrect understanding of the truth of God's Word and has fed what
Paul called "the systematizing of the deception" (Ephesians 4:14 CV).
It appears that a iōn and aiōnion have fallen victim to the type of deception that Paul warned us
about. The incorrect interpretation of these words has become so pervasive that it has become
part of the foundation of the gospel itself upon which doctrines are built. The result is that a
deception has been systematically built it into what many blindly and falsely accept as truth.
Down through the centuries, the concept of eternal (eternity) has been so systematically
cemented into Christian doctrine that it has greatly obscured the truth of God's purpose of the
eons to the point that eternity has become more like a tradition of men . We need to be
reminded that Jesus was most critical of the elite religious rulers of Judah for this very thing
(Mark 7:8).
Dear brethren, challenge your understanding. It is time to come out of the tradition of men and
all deceptions. We need truth! Actually, we need spirit and truth!
What if the fundamental tenet of Scripture is actually the concept of ages or eons ? Wouldn't
this change the way you view Scripture and God's purpose and plan, or at least add some
dimension to it that would otherwise be missed? I think so.
God's Purpose of the Eons
This article is not about God's purpose; although, it is touched upon. However, to make the
point, the Concordant Literal NT (CV) and the King James Version (KJV) are presented in the
following with special note of verse 11.
(8) To me, less than the least of all saints, was granted this grace: to bring the evangel of the
untraceable riches of Christ to the nations, (9) and to enlighten all as to what is the
administration of the secret, which has been concealed from the eons in God, Who creates
all, (10) that now may be made known to the sovereignties and the authorities among the
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celestials, through the ecclesia, the multifarious wisdom of God, (11) in accord with the
purpose of the eons, which He makes in Christ Jesus, our Lord; (12) in Whom we have
boldness and access with confidence, through His faith. (Ephesians 3:8-12 CV)
(11) According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: (12) In
whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him. (Ephesians 3:11-12
KJV)
The CV correctly translates the word a iōn as eon or age ; the KJV incorrectly translates it as
eternal . One tells us is that God's purpose is age-during or having to do with time, and the other
tells us it is endless or having to do with outside of time. Which is it?
Frankly, I do not believe Scripture tells us much, if any, of what God has in store for us beyond
the eons. The entire Bible is about God working out His purpose in the eons which He made
through His Son (Hebrews 1:2 CV).
The most encouraging truth revealed in Scripture is that God has a purpose, and a multi-faceted
plan to accomplish His purpose, which is all being worked out in the eons through His Son,
Christ Jesus, our Lord. This purpose and plan extends to all mankind, but it does not stop with
mankind, for it embraces all God's creation and created beings, both visible and invisible, in the
heavens and on the earth.
The word all best sums up the purpose of the eons, for out of Him and through Him and for
Him is all: to Him be the glory for the eons! Amen! (Romans 11:36 CV).
The eons are driving toward a glorious consummation, so that God may be All in all throughout
His creation as He makes all things new (1 Corinthians 15:28; Revelation 21:5).
The Challenge
As already noted, there is a challenge to coming into the truth of the eons in that the word eon
does not appear in most English Bibles. However, there is a second challenge, for most
translations use the words eternal , everlasting , eternity , eternal , forever , world , or age for the
same Greek words a iōn and aiōnion . Do you notice something odd about this list of words?
They have different meanings. For example, an age refers to an indefinite period of time but
with an end in view. Eternal refers to endlessness or that which is outside of time and has no
end. World refers to an orderly arrangement or system. How is one to make any sense out of
God's Word?
In the Greek text, the word aiōn is used 128 times (singular [ aiōn ] and plural [ aiōnōn ] forms),
and the word aiōnion is used 71 times.
Aiōn (and its forms) is translated in many English New Testaments nearly 40 different ways,
including: age, ages, ago, age-lasting, age-long, duration, earliest ages, last ages, latest ages,
remote age, remotest age, always, ancient, any more, beginning, does, end, eternal, eternity,
ever, forever, and ever, for evermore, first, very first, Immortal, life, never, nevermore, never
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while the world lasts, never to the end of my days, of old, permanently, time again, all time, old
time, today, universe, world, yonder world.
In the King James Version , the Greek words aiōn and aiōnion are translated using the following
English words (the number of times each word appears is noted):
aiōn (eon)
aiōnion (eonian)
Ages
2
Never
7
Everlasting
25
Course
1
Evermore 4
Eternal
42
World
40
Eternal
2
World
3
Ever
72
Ever
1
These statistics, alone, should be a red flag to anyone who is diligently seeking for the truth.
How can nearly forty English words for two Greek word not produce confusion or, worse,
downright error? How can two words have such divergent usage and maintain the true
meaning of the Greek? If the Greek word meant world , then why do the translators not use the
word world in all places for the word aiōn ? The answer is that it would not make sense in all
cases. Conversely, the same argument is made with the English word eternal .
Isn't it far better to use the words eon (noun) or eonian (adjective) every place that the Greek
words aiōn and aiōnion appear in the original language and leave it to the seeker of truth to
discern the meaning of the verses?
From this point forward, the words age , eon , and eonian are used exclusively with the
understanding that they are the English equivalents of the words aiōn and aiōnion , respectively.
Concordant Method
Most who read the Bible daily do not have a working knowledge of Hebrew or Greek. However,
there is a way to study Scripture, and it is called the concordant method , which takes a Hebrew
or Greek word, finds all the places it is used in Scripture, and then determines its usage, and
thus its meaning based on all the texts in which it is discovered. Anyone can do this with a
concordance in hand, such as Strong's Exhaustive Concordance , The Englishman's Greek
Concordance, or Young's Analytical Concordance , to name a few.
The editors of The Concordant Literal New Testament with Keyword Concordance (CV) followed
the concordant method in order to produce the most literal rendering of Scripture as possible.
The editors investigated each and every Hebrew or Greek word found in ancient manuscripts in
order to find the single most exact English equivalent for each and every word. For example,
instead of having many English words for one Greek word, they assigned only one English word
for each Greek word, and this English word was not used for any other Greek word. Further,
they chose English words based on the most accurate and consistent meaning as presented
every place the words appeared in the available manuscripts.
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Thus, when one reads an English word in the CV, no matter where it is discovered in Scripture,
the word presumably has the same meaning. This method helps to reduce interpretative bias;
however, it does not eliminate it entirely. After all, the editors of all translations are but weak
vessels, as we all are, especially those of us who attempt to write exposition of Scripture.
The CV is not perfect, and undoubtedly, there is interpretative bias built into it, as there are in
all translations; nevertheless, it is quite helpful. Keep in mind that the English Bibles of our day
are translations of manuscripts written mostly in Hebrew or Greek. These manuscripts are
copies of the original text, which were lost long ago. To claim that one English Bible is the
inspired Word of God over all other translations, as if it were an exact replica of the original
text, is dangerous, if not error. I find it helpful to compare the several translations that attempt
to remain as literal as possible to the Hebrew or Greek. However, the CV is recommended as a
useful tool in studying God's Word.
Before moving on, we need to touch upon the Hebrew language in light of the eons.
Olam = Aiōn [Eon] or Aiōnion [ Eonian ]
In the Hebrew of the Old Testament, the word olam , which means "to hide, keep secret,
obscure," is equivalent to the Greek word aiōnion. The Hebrews often used the term to indicate
a long duration of time, such as an age or eon.
The Gesenius' Lexicon defines olam as "what is hidden; specially hidden time, long; the
beginning or end of which is either uncertain or else not defined."
In other words, olam implies that the length of time in question is unknown or even hidden
from man. Thus, it could mean an age, or it could mean a period of time with no end, at least as
far as man can see. The context must determine which it is.
Actually, the Hebrews had no word for eternal or eternity . It was not in their language.
However, much like with aiōnion and aiōn , interpretative bias has yielded to the words
everlasting , forever , or eternity .
For example, people often quote the portion of Ecclesiastes 3:11 about eternity in one's heart.
However, consider the whole verse: He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has
also set eternity [ olam ] in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God
has done from the beginning even to the end [NASB].
Notice that the subject of the verse is actually time and the beginning to the end. It is clear that
translators have struggled over how to translate the word olam , since the Hebrew has no
equivalent for the word eternity . Obviously, some were not bothered by this and chose the
word eternity anyway. However, other translations use the words knowledge , understanding ,
world , or obscurity , the latter lining up the most with the meaning of olam .
A footnote in The Companion Bible states: "Heb. olam = the ages; or the world (in relation to
time). Here, put by Fig. Metonymy (of Subject) for that which is inscrutable by man, viz,
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obscurity as to the past and the future ages, resulting in man's incapacity for finding out, or
comprehending the whole of what God doeth."
This actually makes more sense in light of the context of the verse. Simply, Solomon, who had
great wisdom and knowledge from God, also knew that some things relative to what God has
done and is doing in time from beginning to end are obscure to man. Can anyone truly say that
he understands all that God has done since He began to make the eons through His Son?
It seems to me that the phrase He has also set the ages in their heart is an appropriate way to
translate this, especially in light of the context. Simply, God set the ages in man's heart so that
he could not figure out everything that God has done or will do before and beyond the ages, as
well as in the ages. This should remind us of something Paul quoted from Isaiah 64:4.
According as it has been written, "Eye has not seen, and ear has not heard," nor has it risen
up into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those that love Him. (1
Corinthians 2:9 LITV)
Take special note of Paul's emphasis on the ages leading up to this quote.
(6) But we speak wisdom among the perfect, but not the wisdom of this age , nor of the rulers
of this age, those being brought to nothing. (7) But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery,
having been hidden, which God predetermined before the ages for our glory, (8) which none
of the rulers of this age has known. For if they had known, they would not have crucified the
Lord of glory…. (1 Corinthians 2:6-8 LITV)
What Solomon saw as obscure, Paul saw as a mystery. The difference between the two men is
that the mystery of the ages was revealed to Paul.
Another example of the meaning of olam is discovered in Psalm 45:6 (NASB): Your throne, O
God, is forever [ olam ] and ever [ va ad ]. Surely, God's throne is forever, but notice how the
psalmist had to add va ad to olam to indicate something beyond or in addition to a long period
of time. In other words, the psalmist had to add va ad to olam to bring in the concept of forever
or, perhaps, additional eons.
The more literal renderings of this verse read "the eon and further," "the age and beyond," and
"age-during and forever." One example comes from Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (REB): Your
throne, O God is to times age-abiding [ olam ] and beyond [ va ad ].
Apparent Contradictions
Now, to further prove the points made so far, consider two verses from the King James Version
in which aiōn is translated as world .
So shall it be at the end of the world. (Matthew 13:49)
Throughout all ages, world without end. (Ephesians 3:21)
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If these two verses are allowed to stand unchallenged, then there is a clear contradiction of
Scripture. However, the problem lies not with the inspired Word of God but with the man-
inspired translations of God's words.
Just in case you have missed the inconsistency in the KJV, answer this question: How can the
world have an end and also have no end? In other words, the KJV clearly states that the world
has both an end and is endless.
The problem starts with the fact that the word world has no place in these verses, for the Greek
word is aiōn . The Greek word for world is kosmos ; however, this word is not in these verses in
the original Greek. Following the concordant approach, these verses literally should read:
Thus shall it be in the conclusion of the eon.
For all the generations of the eon of the eons.
Note that the concordant rendering of these verses has no contradiction, even if one has no
understanding of the word eon . The eon in the first verse has a conclusion, but there is no
direct reference to an end of the eon of the eons in the second verse. We need to see that the
focus of these verses is on a period of time, an eon , and not on the world. The world must
either end or go on endlessly, but eons have a beginning and an end. In considering verses
dealing with eons , we need to understand which eon is in view, and when we do, there is no
contradiction of Scripture.
Forever and Ever
A fact that is lost in most English translations is that in some expressions in which the word aiōn
appears in the Greek text, it is in both the singular ( aiōn ) and plural ( aiōns ) form. Using the
Anglicized word eon or eons , we discover the phrases the eons of the eons , the eon of the eons
and the eon of the eon . These phrases specifically refer to the last two eons; that is, the
oncoming or impending eons that follow our present wicked eon. Reading most English Bibles
one would never see this and would never be able to even question its meaning, for these
phrases generally appear as forever and ever (e.g., Romans 16:27; Galatians 1:5; Philippians
4:20; 1 Timothy 1:17; 2 Timothy 4:18; Hebrews 13:21; 1 Peter 4:11; all in the KJV).
Those who have understanding of the Greek language state that it sometimes uses the plural
and singular forms differently than we do in the English language; that is, the plural can refer to
the singular. I must confess that I am not sure if this is the case with these words; however, if
the translators rendered forever and ever in the singular or plural form, as in the Greek, the
result would have been the phrases forevers and evers , forever and evers , and forever and ever .
Perhaps, realizing the difficulty of such renderings, most translators have chosen to ignore the
plurality of the Greek.
By using the phrase forever and ever , the translators are trying to convey the idea of eternal or
eternity . Just for the sake of argument, if the Greek does refer to the concept of eternity, then
why use the phrase forever and ever ? Would not the phrase forever be sufficient to convey the
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thought of eternal? It is an unneeded redundancy to add the word ever . Some argue that it is
used to add force to the idea of being forever or eternal. If this alone were the issue, then there
might be some credence to such a notion; however, it is not the only issue, for we would still
have to answer the question of why the Greek words are in the singular or the plural.
Let us put aside the traditions of men for a moment and see if Scripture has another answer for
us. If we allow Scripture to stand on its own, we discover the expressions the oncoming eons
(Ephesians 2:7), f rom the eons (Ephesians 3:9; Colossians 1:26), for the eons (Luke 1:33; Romans
1:25; 9:5; 11:36; 2 Corinthians 11:31; Hebrews 13:8), the eons (Ephesians 3:11; 1 Timothy 1:17;
Hebrews 1:2; 11:3; Jude 25), the conclusion of the eons (Hebrews 9:26), and the consummation
of the eons (1 Corinthians 10:11; see 1 Corinthians 15:24).
These verses alone should resolve any doubt in one's mind as to the concept of an eon, for they
clearly reveal that there is more than one eon, there are eons to come, and there is a
conclusion or a consummation of the eons. All one needs is an understanding of the meaning of
the word eon , and these verses begin to make sense.
However, this is not the case if we were to substitute the words forever , everlasting , or eternal
in these phrases because in the plural form they would read the oncoming forevers , or the
oncoming eternals , or the consummation of the forevers , or the consummation of the
everlastings . In these examples, what would forevers or everlastings mean? It would imply that
eternity consists of many eternities. How can forever have a consummation? It would imply
that forever truly is not forever. Do you see the problems created by such translations of the
Greek words aiōn and aiōns ?
Let us consider a few points.
The Son Makes the Eons
The first point is that the eons and the Son of God are inseparable. We must never lose sight of
God's Son in our understanding of the eons or in our understanding of all Scripture, for that
matter. It is essential that we understand that through His Son, God makes the eons, and that
the eons begin and end in His Son . It is in Him that we see the purpose of the eons.
(1) God, speaking to the fathers in the prophets, (2) in the last of these days speaks to us in a
Son, Whom He appoints enjoyer of the allotment of all, through Whom He also makes the
eons [ages] . (Hebrews 1:1-2 CV [REB])
Interpretative bias is clearly seen in this verse. Most translations render this as "through whom
He made the world [ aiōn ]" (NASB). Note that the Greek word is aiōn (eon), not kosmos (world).
Truly, the Son created the world, but He also created time or the eons along with the world. We
could say that He created the time-space continuum in which we live today.
He [the Son] brightly reflects God's glory and is the exact representation of His being, and
upholds the universe by His all-powerful word (Hebrews 1:3 WNT).
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Remove the Son from the universe and there is no universe. It is like removing the sun from our
solar system. Remove the sun that shines upon our earth and human life on earth will cease to
exist. Likewise, remove the Son from God's purpose and there is no purpose of God. All creation
is held by the powerful word of the Son of God, who is the Word of God. The eons are nothing
apart from the Son of God. He is the Origin and the Consummation of the eons.
Let this one truth be indelibly engraved on our hearts and in our minds: God established His
purpose in His Son before He even brought forth the eons, and His purpose for the eons has
been, is being, and will continue to be worked out in His Son until the glorious consummation
of the eons (1 Corinthians 1:10), and God is All in all (1 Corinthians 15:28).
Before Times Eonian
In light of this truth, the second point is discovered in Paul's epistles where he refers to before
times eonian or before the eons . God's purpose and promises in Christ were set before times
eonian. Another way of stating this is that they were set before the eons were made by the
Son. In fact, the eons are made (past, present, and future) to accomplish God's purpose in
Christ.
Who saves us and calls us with a holy calling, not in accord with our acts, but in accord with
His own purpose and the grace which is given to us in Christ Jesus before times eonian …. (2
Timothy 1:9 CV)
(1) Paul, a slave of God, yet an apostle of Jesus Christ, in accord with the faith of God's
chosen, and a realization of the truth, which accords with devoutness, (2) in expectation of
life eonian, which God, Who does not lie, promises before times eonian [age-during times] ….
(Titus 1:1-2 CV [REB])
(6) Yet wisdom are we speaking among the mature, yet a wisdom not of this eon, neither of
the chief men of this eon, who are being discarded, (7) but we are speaking God's wisdom in
a secret, (8) wisdom which has been concealed, which God designates before– before the
eons, for our glory, which not one of the chief men of this eon knows, for if they know, they
would not crucify the Lord of glory. (1 Corinthians 2:6-8 CV)
All the Eons
The next point is Scripture establishes that there are eons, meaning that there is more than one
eon. In concluding his epistle, Jude referenced all the eons .
(24) Now to Him Who is able to guard you from tripping, and to stand you flawless in sight of
His glory, in exultation, (25) to the only God, our Saviour, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be
glory, majesty, might and authority before the entire eon, now, as well as for all the eons .
Amen! (Jude 24-25 CV)
Notice how Jude also refers to the entire eon , which refers to our present eon.
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Meaning of Eon
The fourth point is the English meaning of the word eon . Webster's Dictionary defines it as
"an extremely long, indefinite period of time, thousands and thousands of years."
Interestingly, this same dictionary defines eonian as "lasting forever; eternal." How can the
noun form be a long period of time and the adjective form be eternal, when the adjective
derives its meaning from the noun? The adjective cannot properly go beyond the meaning
of the noun.
Adlai Loudy, in his book God's Eonian Purpose (Concordant Publishing), defines the word
eon as " a period of time between two great physical and moral cataclysmic judgments of
the earth and its inhabitants. Each of these long periods of time has a beginning and is
punctuated by an end. "
We might debate when these eons begin and end, but this does not negate the fact that
Scripture clearly refers to eons or ages of time. After all, is not the next eon one that will last
1,000 years?
Eonian God & Eonian Gospel
The fifth point involves the concept of God being eternal.
But now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the
commandment of the eternal [ aiōnios ] God, has been made known to all the nations, leading
to obedience of faith…. (Romans 16:26 NASB)
Some translations use the word everlasting instead of eternal . The more literal translations use
the phrases eonian God (Concordant Version), age-abiding God (Rotherham's Emphasized), and
age-during God (Young's Literal).
The most common argument against these phrases is they imply that God is not eternal or
outside of time. Actually, there is no such inference in referring to God as the eonian God. In
fact, it is a glorious assurance that our God has been working in time or in the eons through His
Son. In no way does this take away from the fact that God is eternal. He is both eonian and
eternal.
The same thing is discovered in reference to the gospel which is eonian.
And I saw another angel flying in midheaven, having an eternal ( aiōnios ) [eonian; age-abiding]
gospel to preach to those who live on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue
and people…. (Revelation 14:6 NASB [CV, REB])
Is the gospel truly eternal as most are taught? Perhaps, it is not, for at the consummation of the
eons all will be made new. It seems that once all is made new the good news changes as well.
Clearly, there is an eonian gospel going forth, that is, good news related to the eons or ages to
come.
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Eonian [Eternal] Life
The sixth point is probably the most difficult to grasp for most who have been taught that the
gospel is all about eternal life. But, does Scripture truly promise eternal life in the sense that
most think of it? Let us look at Jesus' word that has formed the basis of countess gospel
messages.
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in
Him shall not perish, but have eternal life . (John 3:16 NASB)
For God did so love the world, that His Son--the only begotten--He gave, that every one who
is believing in him may not perish, but may have life age-during [life eonian; life age-abiding;
aionian Life] . (John 3:16 YLT [CV, REB, WED])
The classic rendering is eternal life , but the literal rendering is age-during or eonian life .
Obviously, one rendering promises life outside of time and the other promises life in time.
Which is it? Before answering, let us consider another passage.
(29) And Jesus answering said, 'Verily I say to you, there is no one who left house, or
brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or fields, for my sake, and for
the good news', (30) who may not receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and
brothers, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and fields, with persecutions, and in the age
that is coming, life age-during [aionian Life]; (31) and many first shall be last, and the last
first.' (Mark 10:29-31 YLT [WED])
Clearly, Jesus made no mention of life outside of time. He promised His disciples life in the age
or eon that was coming. What age is this? It is the very age that all of Judah was looking for
when the Anointed One stood in their midst. Even Paul referred to the age to come, as well as
the ages to come (Ephesians 1:21; 2:7).
The Age to come is called by several names, such the Messianic Age, the Kingdom Age, and the
Tabernacles Age. This age comes when heaven proclaims: "The kingdoms of the world did
become those of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign to the ages of the ages"
Revelation 11:15 YLT). It is the thousand-year age that follows the first resurrection (Revelation
20:6) or out-resurrection of which Paul longed to be a part (Philippians 3:11).
The Age to come is about who will enter it to reign with Christ, seated upon His throne. This is
all about the conquerors, for they are the ones who will receive eonian life in the Age to come.
To the one who is conquering , to him will I be granting to be seated with Me on My throne as
I, also conquer , and am seated with My Father on His throne. (Revelation 3:21 CV)
Those who are counted worthy of the Age to come are the ones who have conquered in our
present wicked age. The rest of the dead will have to wait until the completion of the Age. The
ages to come commence with the Great White Throne when many believers will be saved, yet
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so as through fire, and unbelievers will be judged by the fiery law of God, not for the purpose of
torture but for discipline and correction, as well for salvation.
The conquerors will come into eonian life as immortals. In other words, they will receive
immortal life. But the main point is that they will receive it because they are given eonian life in
the Age to come. Eonian life is a matter of timing, whereas immortality is a matter of quality.
Eonian life is immortal life in the Age to come.
Do you realize that the ecclesia, which is His Body, is His complement, that is, His likeness and
that His Body will be intimately engaged with their Head in the summing up or heading up all
things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth (Ephesians 1:10). Who would
want to miss out on the Life of the Ages?
Another way to explain this is that eonian life is dependent on the eons, for it speaks of life in
time and, more specifically, life in the coming eons, starting with the Kingdom Age, the eon
when Christ, through His conquerors, rules over our present earth as the inhabitants of the
world learn righteousness (Isaiah 26:9). Eonian life for the conquerors starts at the end of our
present wicked or evil eon [age] (Galatians 1:4). Others will follow in God's Day which follows
the Lord's Day or Kingdom Age, when a new heaven and a new earth come into view.
Eonian life is promised to all believers; the question is when each one will enter into this life, in
the Age to come or in the age after the Age.
Again, let us consider the companion verse to Mark 10:30. Notice that the CV has chosen to use
the expression life eonian , which is the same as eonian life . The traditional rendering is
presented from the NASB, for comparison.
Who may not by all means be getting back manyfold in this era, and in the coming eon, life
eonian [aionian Life]. (Luke 18:30 CV [WED])
Who will not receive many times as much at this time and in the age to come, eternal life .
(Luke 18:30 NASB)
Again, eonian life is joined with the age or eon to come. This is significant; Jesus does not make
the point that it is about dying and going to heaven where, as far as we know, there is no time.
In other words, there is reward in the Age to come for those who are faithful to the Lord and
bring forth Kingdom fruit in this age. The reward is to have eonian life, that is, to come alive to
live on the earth, as well as in the spirit realm, in the next age, which is the age of the Kingdom
of Christ.
This may be difficult to grasp, given what so many of us have been taught; but, for the most
part, eonian life is not about a life in eternity or in heaven, for that matter, but a life in the Age
to come and the ages leading up to the consummation of the eons. We have not been taught to
think in terms of ages, but it appears that Scripture makes the point for us.
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Paul referred to the ages to come (Ephesians 2:7), meaning that there is more than one. It is
possible that before the consummation of the eons comes there are many eons. After all, God's
plan calls for all mankind to be purified by His righteous law described as a lake of fire, a
consuming fire that judges works, not bodies. This may take many millennia to accomplish until
all have paid the last farthing (Matthew 5:26; Luke 12:47-48).
Immortal Life
The seventh point is that immortality ensures one has the Life of the Ages, referring to all the
unknown ages or eons yet to come. Don't think for a moment that this means that there is no
eternal life, for there most certainly is; immortality demands a life beyond death, that is, an
endless life or a life outside of time altogether. Immortality ensures that one will enjoy all of
what God will be doing in the ages leading up to the consummation of the ages and beyond.
However, technically speaking, eonian life is not the same as immortal life. Eonian life is life in
an age , and immortality is life beyond death, regardless of the age . Immortal life is not
dependent on the eons, or time, and space. Immortal life is the promise for all believers. The
issue is when one enters into immortal life in the true and full sense.
The Greek word athanasia is translated as immortal , which means "deathlessness" or "beyond
death" as seen in the following verses.
(53) For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on
immortality . (54) But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal
will have put on immortality…. (1 Corinthians 15:53-54 NASB)
(15) He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, (16) who
alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or
can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen. (1 Timothy 6:15-16 NASB)
Clearly, immortality is life beyond death, never to be subjected to the possibility of death. This
should be the hope and expectation of all believers. However, it would be remiss if we did not
add that it also is the ultimate destiny of all mankind when, at the consummation of the eons,
God the Father is all in all.
Contrary to the tradition of men, immortality does not come about when one dies, that is,
through death of the mortal body. It comes about with the redemption of our body that occurs
with resurrection and transfiguration; a future event for which Christians should be waiting
eagerly (Romans 8:23). No one has immortality at this point in time, for as shown above , the
King of kings and the Lord of lords alone possesses immortality [ athanasia ].
The redemption of the body comes with the placing or adoption as sons (Romans 8:23) when
this mortal puts on immortality (1 Corinthians 15:53). It is when we put on our dwelling from
heaven so that what is mortal is swallowed up by life (2 Corinthians 5:1-5). It is when we are
glorified into the image of the Son of God. This does not take place in death; it takes place with
resurrection and transfiguration.
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However, even among believers, all will not put on immortality at the same time . Some will put
it on at the first resurrection that commences the Lord's Day, and others will put it on at the
second resurrection that commences God's Day. The first fruits anointed of Christ (1
Corinthians 15:23) will be the first to come into immortality as they are raised from among the
dead in the first resurrection (Revelation 20:5-6) or the out-resurrection (Philippians 3:11), also
referred to as the better resurrection (Hebrews 11:35). The rest of the believers will follow
1,000 years later, brought forth from death in the second resurrection to appear before the
Great White Throne , where they will be saved, yet so as through fire (1 Corinthians 3:15), and
the unbelievers will face the judgment of the lake of fire where they will be justified by faith.
The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the
first resurrection. (Revelation 20:5 NASB)
Another reference to immortal life is found in Paul's explanation of Melchizedek. In the Greek,
the word akatalutos is properly used to express immortality, and Paul uses it to contrast the
Levitical priesthood with the Melchizedek priesthood. The Levites were placed as priests based
on a law of physical requirement, that is, based on their genealogy or bloodline that was traced
to Levi. These priests died and had to be replaced with other mortals of the same genetic line.
But God's Son is a high priest of an entirely different order based on the law of life.
(15) And this is clearer still, if another priest arises according to the likeness of Melchizedek,
(16) who has become such not on the basis of a law of physical requirement, but according to
the power of an indestructible [ akatalutos ] life . (17) For it is attested of Him, "YOU ARE A
PRIEST FOREVER ACCORDING TO THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK." (Hebrews 7:15-17 NASB)
Some translations use the word endless in place of indestructible , but the meaning is the same,
for it means that death has no power over such a life. Death is what destroys (brings
destruction to) life, but the power of the indestructible life ensures that death has no more
power over such a life.
God declared that His Son is of this new order, but there are to be more king-priests to follow
of the same order. They are the conquerors who will reign with Christ for 1,000 years, but to do
so, they too must possess an indestructible life that comes about when this mortal will have put
on immortality. Again, this only comes through the first resurrection if one is to reign with
Christ in the next age.
Now, Paul joins immortality with eonian life.
(5) But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for
yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, (6) who WILL
RENDER TO EACH PERSON ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS: (7) to those who by perseverance in
doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality , eternal life [ life eonian; life age-
abiding] ; (8) but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey
unrighteousness, wrath and indignation. (Romans 2:5-8 NASB [CV, REB])
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In verse 7, Paul joins immortal life to eternal life, or, using the concordant method, immortality
is joined to eonian life or life eonian [CV], which means that the context makes the two terms
nearly synonymous with each other. However, consider how the Weymouth words it.
To those on the one hand who, by lives of persistent right-doing, are striving for glory, honour
and immortality, the Life of the Ages…. (Romans 2:7 WNT)
The Life of the Ages indicates that immortal life is a life for many ages not just for eternity. Of
course, it is for eternity as well, but the point is that there are ages to come, a point that has
been made repeatedly.
Chastening Eonian; Age-Abiding Correction
Finally, there is one other point that needs to be made that might seem a bit contradictory.
Eonian life is not restricted to those who will put on immortality as the next eon commences.
Simply, all who are immortal in the next eon will have eonian life in the next eon, but others
also will have eonian life in the next eon but not necessarily immortal life at that time.
In the oncoming eon, mortals (typified by nations) will continue to live on earth; some will
enjoy it by receiving an inheritance (i.e., a part) in the Kingdom, others will not. When the Son
of Mankind comes in His glory, seated upon His throne of glory, He will divide the sheep nations
from the goat (kid) nations.
"And these [kid nations] shall be coming away into chastening eonian [age-abiding
correction], yet the just [sheep nations] into life eonian ." (Matthew 25:46 CV [REB])
The King of Glory will reward the sheep nations with life eonian, meaning they will "enjoy the
allotment [inheritance] of the kingdom" (Matthew 25:34 CV). Chastening eonian does not
mean that the kid nations will be tormented in man's hell or annihilated altogether. They will be
ruled over with a rod or club of iron to teach them righteousness (Isaiah 26:9) with the ultimate
goal of restoring them, which is the purpose of fire eonian (Matthew 25:41 CV), which is the
divine law of God (the Word of the Lord). After all, the Lord declares: "Is not My word like
fire?" (Jeremiah 23:29). As Rotherham's Emphasized Bible states, it is for correction carried out
during the age.
The sheep nations will enter eonian life, which means they will have a part in the Kingdom on
earth, but it does not mean that they will be immortal at this point in time. Some will die during
the age and some, undoubtedly, will live for the entire 1,000 years. The resurrection to the
Great White Throne will lead the nations into immortality for the age commencing with a new
heaven and a new earth when New Jerusalem begins to fill the earth.
Contrary to much teaching, God's chastening or correction is not eternal; it is eonian, meaning
there is a limit to how long His chastening in His fiery law will last. It cannot last beyond the
consummation of the eons when a grand Jubilee is called for all of creation.
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Conclusion
The point of this article is not to challenge anyone's faith or teaching but to offer, perhaps, a
more accurate way to understand Scripture in light of the eons or ages to come.
As I have been in fellowship with many brethren over the years, I have seldom heard someone
looking forward to the ages to come. Without much doubt, the primary emphasis has been and
continues to be mostly on eternal life and going to heaven and walking on streets of gold.
Seldom do I hear that one is striving to be a conqueror so that he or she will be counted worthy
to rule and reign with Christ on earth in the next age and beyond.
I leave you with a word from Paul.
(4) But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, (5) even
when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you
have been saved), (6) and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly
places in Christ Jesus, (7) so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of
His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus . (Ephesians 2:4-7 NASB)
Notice the reason why we are seated with Christ in the heavenly places or among the celestials
(CV).
So that in the ages to come ….
Let us long for the Life of the Ages! God desires to show us something glorious!
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