A Non Scriptural Logic – Forever – Olam
The word “Olam” (in Hebrew) and its equivalent “Aion” (in Greek) means ‘eternal’. The analysis of the ‘eternal Hell’ scholars is based on their claim that though the ‘literal meaning is age-during only’, we must take it as an ‘idiom’ and thus it means forever. The strongest reason for that is because since it is used for ‘God’ & ‘duration of punishment’ (the same word), it must mean ‘forever’ in both cases for ‘God cannot be age-during only’.
At first glance, their intention to create the idiom excuse ‘seems noble’ as they seem to try to prove that God is eternal & we who claim that the meaning of that literal word is age-during ‘seem’ to say that God is not eternal.
Fact is, there is ‘no’ such meaning implied by the usage.
Firstly, please note that each of the verses quoted below are ‘factual’ and thus there is “no” figurative speech nor an allegorical one intended but only a ‘literal’ meaning in each case. There is an allegorical spiritual implication as these are ‘shadows’ regarding the ‘real substance’ which is Christ (Colossians 2:17) but we refer to the usage for the ‘literal shadows’ here to understand the meaning of ‘Olam’ as it was intended in Holy Scripture.
Let’s consider the following verses (a brief analysis) & explanation for each thereafter where each verse uses those equivalent words from that ‘same root word’ (‘Olam or Aion’ derivations):
(i) The same word ‘Olam’ is used for God & Hills in the ‘same’ verse
“He stood, and measured the earth: He beheld, and drove asunder the nations; and the everlasting mountains were scattered, the perpetual hills did bow: His ways are everlasting.” (Habakkuk 3:6, KJV)
So based on their logic, are God’s Ways lasting only as long as those ‘everlasting hills’?
Fact is in the verse above itself, we see that the ‘everlasting hills’ are ‘scattered’ (‘no’ more) meaning that the translation is wrong as those mountains are ‘not’ everlasting, being ‘scattered’.
The correct meaning is ‘age-during’ where ‘His Ways’ are emphasized (or highlighted) to the ‘age’ with the analogy of the mountains lasting to the ‘age’ as by His Ways, the mountains were scattered thereafter ‘after the age’ & ‘fulfilling His Purpose in His Ways’ (an analogy drawn in verse above clearly).
The fact that ‘nothing’ of the current creation remains ‘eternally’ (e.g. those ‘everlasting mountains too’) may be clearly seen from Scripture because He makes a ‘new earth’ (Revelation 21:1) removing all these eventually! Yes, ‘all the former things’ will be gone as He does (Isaiah 43:18, Revelation 21:4) this & will be replaced anew as Scripture promises and agrees perfectly (Revelation 21:5)!
(ii) The same word ‘Olam’ is used for a ‘servant’ & God
“Then thou shalt take an aul, and thrust it through his ear unto the door, and he shall be thy servant for ever. And also unto thy maidservant thou shalt do likewise.” (Deuteronomy 15:17, KJV)
“And Abraham planted a grove in Beersheba, and called there on the name of the LORD, the everlasting God.” (Genesis 21:33, KJV)
So again by their logic, if the latter verse means that God is ‘everlasting’, then the ‘sevanthood’ being defined by that ‘same’ word must mean ‘forever’ too. So, is the Bible teaching everlasting slavery into the afterlife? Of course not!
The servanthood practice was to that ‘Old Testament age’ only and for the ‘Jews only’ who were Covenanted to obey that procedure. That Law lasted for that ‘age only’ and was to be practiced as such.
Abraham called God the ‘age during God’ or ‘God of the age’ to highlight (emphasize, and ‘not’ limit) His God-ship because Abraham knows that His Covenants are from ‘age to age’ (one time period to the next) as even the verse below shows when translated ‘literally’:
“Before mountains were brought forth, And Thou dost form the earth and the world, Even from age unto age Thou art God.” (Psalm 90:2, YLT)
(iii) The same word ‘Olam’ is used for ‘Oil or to keep the lamp burning’ or ‘burn incense before the LORD’ in the ‘Levitical priesthood’ with its other practices too and for God as well
“And thou shalt command the children of Israel, that they bring thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamp to burn always.
In the tabernacle of the congregation without the vail, which is before the testimony, Aaron and his sons shall order it from evening to morning before the LORD: it shall be a statute for ever unto their generations on the behalf of the children of Israel.” (Exodus 27:20 – 21, KJV)
“And thou shalt gird them with girdles, Aaron and his sons, and put the bonnets on them: and the priest’s office shall be theirs for a perpetual statute: and thou shalt consecrate Aaron and his sons.” (Exodus 29:9, KJV)
“The sons of Amram; Aaron and Moses: and Aaron was separated, that he should sanctify the most holy things, he and his sons for ever, to burn incense before the LORD, to minister unto him, and to bless in his name for ever.” (1 Chronicles 23:13, KJV)
“He (God) ruleth by His Power for ever; His eyes behold the nations: let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah.” (Psalm 66:7, KJV)
‘for Oil or to keep the lamp burning’ —> must kept ‘Olam’ (for ever) —-> ‘forever’ (Exodus 27:21)
‘burn incense before the LORD’ —-> must be practiced ‘Olam’ (for ever) —> ‘forever’ (1 Chronicles 23:13)
‘Levitical priesthood’ —-> exists for the time period ‘Olam’ (‘perpetual’) —-> forever (Exodus 29:9)
That same word is translated here as ‘for ever’ or ‘perpetual’ in each of the verses above. Unless, one views the Original Scripture or its interlinear, one may not be able to ‘see’ or ‘realize’ it.
As Christians we know that these things have ‘ended’ under the New Covenant (the ‘ending’ of it is progressive as the ‘real part’ is fulfilled spiritually by Christ, till all things are subjected to Him; so, either way these ‘shadow’ things are ‘not forever’ but only till the ‘age’ into which they are to be ‘fulfilled by Christ’):
“In that He saith, A New Covenant, He hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.” (Hebrews 8:13, KJV)
The ‘Levitical priesthood’ has ‘changed’ & ‘ended’ (not modified into ‘spiritual Levites’; the Order of Mechizedek is in Force now with Christ being the ‘only’ mediator between God & Men, 1 Timothy 2:5):
“If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?” (Hebrews 7:11, KJV)
Because the priesthood has ‘changed’, even the ‘Law’ has ‘changed’:
“For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.” (Hebrews 7:12, KJV)
A ‘change’ in the ‘Law’ is that those ‘Aaronic rituals’ ends and need not be practiced anymore (a ‘disannulling of the commandment’ which relates to the ‘Aaronic priesthood practices primarily’, context established by Hebrews 7:11 – 17 first; consecutive verses speaking of ‘priesthood’ implying these aspects or ‘priesthood duties only’):
“For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof. “ (Hebrews 7:18, KJV)
Does that imply that ‘God’s Lovingkindness’ will ‘end’ too because the ‘same’ word (‘Olam’) is used to describe it in verse below too?
“Maschil of Ethan the Ezrahite. I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever (‘Olam’): with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations.” (Psalm 89:1, KJV)
Is this a contradiction in the Bible as atheists often claim?
No! The one meaning which fits each of these without any human wisdom (such as ‘context’ to ‘change the meaning to mean forever or age at times’) is ‘age only’.
Yes, His Love to the ‘age’ speaks of ‘His Love till the end of that Covenant’ as the prophets certainly viewed God’s Covenant on an ‘age by age’ basis (e.g. Psalm 103:17, Psalm 90:2) even prophesying that a ‘New Covenant’ was to be made in the future too (e.g. Hebrews 8:8, Hebrews 8:13, Jeremiah 31:31 – 33). Thus, this implies that they knew that the Old Testament Covenant is ‘not forever’ & Jews rejecting Christ as the Messiah often insist that Christianity does ‘not’ keep these Old Testament practices ‘forever’ and so claim that it must be false.
Please note that all these ‘problems’ only exist when the word ‘Olam’ is translated as ‘forever’ against its ‘literal meaning as age or ages only respectively (based on singular vs plural considerations)’. Even Satan is described as ‘a god’ using the Greek equivalent, ‘aion’ word (2 Corinthians 4:4) and if it means ‘forever’, then is Satan ‘god’ forever? NO!!! We discuss these and more in other write-ups in the links at the end of this article.
Thus, we see that just like the phrase ‘God of Abraham’ does not mean that He is God of Abraham ‘only’, similarly we should not ‘add’ the word ‘only’ when reading Scripture which equivalently state Him as the ‘age during God’. That is, the phrase ‘age-during God’ or ‘God of the age’ does NOT mean that He is ‘God for the age only’ (the word ‘only’ in their logic is added by them and not found in Scripture).
Thus, we see Holy Scripture highlighting His Glory, Power and even His Ways to the age or ages in Fulfilling His Purposes till ‘all things are subjected to Him’ (Hebrews 2:8, 1 Corinthians 15:24 – 28) till ‘God becomes all in all’.
Here’s a set of verses reflecting God’s Purposes from ‘age to age’ (revealing that He is God from ‘age to age’, i.e. from one time period to the next according to ‘His age-during Covenant’ till ‘His Will is Fulfilled’; Indeed, ‘Thy Will be Done’):
“Before mountains were brought forth, And Thou dost form the earth and the world, Even from age unto age Thou art God.” (Psalm 90:2, KJV)
“And the kindness of Jehovah Is from age even unto age on those fearing Him, And His righteousness to sons’ sons,” (Psalm 103:17, KJV)
‘age to age’ (English) = ‘ ‘ō·w·lām ‘aḏ ū·mê·‘ō··lām ’ in Psalm 90:2 and ‘‘ō·w·lām wə·‘aḏ- mê·‘ō·w·lām’ in Psalm 103:17 (Hebrew, transliterated) which uses a combination of the ‘same’ Hebrew word ‘Olam’ in discussion.
For further read-up regarding these discussing other related verses in like manner, please consider the write-ups in links below for edifiaction:
‘Boasting only ends when we recognize that ALL things are from God and will head back to God through God in Christ Alone in the time period of the ‘ages’ as it is written’ – Anonymous
Please note the word ‘ages’ in verse below where these time periods are highlighted in the context of the conclusion stated here which is for ‘All things’ originating from Him —-> are to be ‘reconciled through Him & back to Him’ —-> agreeing perfectly which Colossians 1:16 & Colossians 1:20 too.
“because of Him, and through Him, and to Him are the ALL things; to Him is the glory — to the AGES. Amen.” (Romans 11:36, YLT)
“because in Him were created ALL things in the heavens and upon the earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or lordships or rulers or authorities; ALL things have been created through Him and unto Him.” (Colossians 1:16, BLB)
“and by Him to reconcile ALL things to Himself, having made Peace by the Blood of His Cross through Him, whether the things on the earth or the things in the heavens.” (Colossians 1:20, BLB)