“What man can live and not see death? Can he deliver his soul from the power of Sheol? Selah.” (Psalm 89:48, NASB)
“while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:18, NASB)
A more literal translation:
“we not looking to the things seen, but to the things not seen; for the things seen are temporary, but the things not seen are age-during.” (2 Corinthians 4:18, YLT)
The actual word used means ‘age-during’ (means lasting to the ‘age’). So, does it mean that the ‘unseen’ doesn’t last beyond the age?
Not necessarily! But rather, some of the ‘Unseen’ doesn’t last ‘forever’ (e.g. Death & Hell will be ‘destroyed’, cease to exist eventually) while some of the other parts of the ‘Unseen’ will be in ‘current same state’ only to the age and after this age, these will be ‘renewed to something new’ (e.g. new heavens and a new earth) as verses clearly describe regarding ‘all former created things’ as we shall see, all as ‘it is written’.
Next, we list some Scriptural facts (with verses for each claim) which might help understand why these things are said to be to the age in the ‘current state of existence’ (an often missed point in popular exegesis causing a great misunderstanding to the meaning of ‘lasting to the age’, and hence they miss-translate it to mean ‘forever’ when the actual word in Greek does “not” mean that at all in Scripture).
‘Let Scripture interpret Scripture’ – Clement of Alexandria
Both the ‘Seen’ and ‘Unseen’ part of the World will “pass away” (not be in current state ‘forever’) and is contrasted to the ‘age’ (regarding one who does the Will of God) in verse below:
“and the world doth pass away, and the desire of it, and he who is doing the will of God, he doth remain — to the age.” (1 John 2:17, YLT)
Firstly, it means that only the ones who do the Will of God (from the world) will last ‘in their current renewed state’ to the ‘age’ as anyone who does His Will (becomes a ‘new creation’, 2 Corinthians 5:17) and are ‘born of the Will of God only’ (John 1:13).
Does it mean that they ‘die’ after remaining to the age?
No! They live to the age (John 6:51) and ‘never die’ (John 8:51, John 11:25 – 26). The phrase ‘remain to the age’ is “not” a definition of ‘how long we are going to live’ but rather it is a ‘highlight’ of a ‘time period’ which is contrasted against the ‘things not in the Will of God’ (by inherent contrast) which will NOT last in their CURRENT STATE beyond ‘this age’. Can you see the intended meaning when seen with ‘other verses’ pertaining to this?
Thus it clearly implies that the part of the ‘world’ which passes away (i.e. not be in the “current state” forever) refers to the ones who do NOT do the Will of God and hence they don’t ‘remain ‘to the age’ in ‘their current against the Will-of-God-state’. These will be sent for ‘kolasis’ (age-during, not forever —> afterlife punishment, Matthew 25:46) for ‘their betterment’.
That is, the meaning of ‘remain to the age’ must be understood in the context of the phrase ‘one who does the will of God’ as both phrases are found within this same verse (1 John 2:17)!
God ‘Alone’ has ‘Immortality’:
“that thou keep the command unspotted, unblameable, till the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ,
which in His own times He shall shew — the blessed and only potentate, the King of the kings and Lord of the lords,
Who only is having Immortality, dwelling in light unapproachable, whom no one of men did see, nor is able to see, to whom [is] honour and might age-during! Amen.” (1 Timothy 6:14 – 16, YLT)
In verses above, it is clear that God Alone is having Immortality (1 Timothy 6:16). Immortality in Greek has also the meaning of ‘incorruptibility, deathless’ with it. This also means that only God needs NO renewal because He alone is ‘not corrupted’ by the taint of sin.
‘All created things’ (Colossians 1:16) are affected by the ‘decay’ (corruption of sin & its effects) and hence will be liberated from it by Lord Jesus Christ taking away the ‘sin of the whole world’ (1 John 2:2, John 1:29) setting ‘all creation’ free eventually to the ‘freedom from sin’ (Romans 6:18, 2 Corinthians 3:17).
But is there an actual verse which implies that ‘creation’ or ‘all creation’ will be ‘set free from the servitude of decay (sin & its effects)’?
Yes, it’s clearly written in verses below (a general verse):
“for to vanity was the creation made subject — not of its will, but because of Him who did subject [it] — in hope,
that also the creation itself shall be set free from the servitude of the corruption to the liberty of the glory of the children of God;
for we have known that all the creation doth groan together, and doth travail in pain together till now.” (Romans 8:20 – 22, YLT)
Please note that ‘all creation’ is affected by the ‘corruption’ (sin & its effects) and thus it is ‘travailing in birth pain’ —> to be ‘born again’ or made New, Revelation 21:5 (which includes the ‘unseen too which will not last forever in the ‘current state’ but to the age) —-> where this ‘born again’ state implied by the phrase ‘birth pain’ or ‘labor pain’ which is present before one gives birth to something new (can you understand it?) —-> and eventually when they are ‘born again’ (implied), creation becomes ‘set free’ in the ‘liberty’ of the ‘children of God’ (referring to the part of creation which has already undergone this by accepting Him, e.g. ‘believers’).
Thus, ‘the unseen lasts to the age’ refers to ‘creation unchanged in its current-against-God-state only to the age’ because after this age, some shall go into age-during correction first whilst the righteous into age-during life after which eventually, all creation will be set free to become ‘children of God’ again in Christ all as it is written.
(iv) Death and Hell
The Unseen (2 Corinthians 4:18) cannot be eternal since even Death & Hell will be destroyed (cease to exist eventually).
Hell (afterlife punishment regions in Hades or Sheol, the “Unseen”) will be destroyed too eventually (cease to exist after fulfilling its purposes for Judgment) as Holy Scripture prophesies:
“From the hand of Sheol I do ransom them, From death I redeem them, Where is thy plague, O death? Where thy destruction, O Sheol? Repentance is hid from Mine eyes.” – God (Hosea 13:14, YLT)
God Will not change from doing it = meaning of ‘repentance is hidden from My Eyes’
God Will save them from Sheol first before destroying it = meaning of ‘Ransom’ (Save, 1 Timothy 2:6 with 1 Timothy 2:4 too in context) from the Power of ‘Sheol’
God Will save them from ‘Death’ too (including all type of Death, even the Second Death too) = meaning of ‘from Death I Redeem (Save) them’
Please ponder deeply and be surprised to see that this is what it means when these “factual” verses are ‘literally’ translated. Simple and Deep.
“The LORD kills and makes alive; He brings down to Sheol and raises up.” (1 Samuel 2:6, NASB)
*Sheol (Hebrew) = Hades (Greek) = Realm of the Dead
Please notice that the “ending” is “making alive” (of the dead) and “raising up” (of those bound in Sheol first).
Yes, the verse clearly mentions the generality that any who goes to Sheol (including the punishment regions of Sheol called Gehenna or Hell in English, Luke 12:5 or from the reward location of Sheol called Paradise too, Luke 23:43),—> He Will “raise up” (Resurrect it Perfect) but for those in Hell, only after the necessary Judgments & Evil destroyed from it first, e.g. Matthew 10:28.
“‘See now that I, I am He, And there is no god besides Me; It is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded and it is I who heal, And there is no one who can deliver from My hand.” – God (Deuteronomy 32:39, NASB)
Please notice the order of “death” (will be followed by ‘life’) and “wounded” (will be followed by ‘healing’) in the “End” (order specified by Holy Scripture as it is written).
“Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:4, KJV)
“And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.” – Lord Jesus Christ (John 12:32, BSB)
More details, please consider:
(v) Heavens & the Earth
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1, NASB)
The Unseen (2 Corinthians 4:18) part of the “heavens and the earth” too is ‘not eternal’ as Christ Himself Prophesied that these will ‘pass away’:
“The heaven and the earth shall pass away, but My Words shall not pass away.” – Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 24:35, YLT)
Yes ‘the Heaven and the Earth’ certainly includes both the ‘seen & unseen’ part and it passes away at the ‘end of this age’ (proving again that the Original Word ‘age-during’ is correct in 2 Corinthians 4:18 and not forever) as implied in verse below too:
“But the Day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.” – apostle Peter (2 Peter 3:10, NASB)
Please note “both” the words ‘heavens and the earth’ (which certainly includes both its visible & invisible parts) in verse above to understand this correctly “as it is written”.
Eventually, God Will restore a “New” heaven and a “New” Earth and thus the ‘current Unseen in this-state is not eternal but to that age only’ as described prior (it’s part of His Restoration to make ‘all things New’ eventually, Revelation 21:5, Acts 3:21):
“And I saw a New heaven and a New earth, for the first heaven and the first earth did pass away, and the sea is not any more;” (Revelation 21:1, YLT)
“Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher, “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity.” (Ecclesiastes 1:2, NASB)
All Creation was subjected to ‘Vanity’ (Romans 8:20) and God promised Its deliverance from it too eventually (Romans 8:21).
‘Vanity’ refers to ‘creation’s will’ (which God determined by His Own Will first to allow creation to have choice). But it doesn’t end there as God subjected creation to the ‘Hope’ of being ‘delivered’ from ‘corruption’ (of sin & its effects too) which arises due to ‘creation’s will choosing against the Will of God or falling short of the perfection of the Will of God’ as Romans 8:20 – 21 reveals.
Creation’s will is called ‘vanity’ here because whatever creation does ‘against the Will of God’, it will NEVER last to eternity, thus ‘being vain’. Hence, sin & Hell being part of ‘vanity’ (against the Will of God) cannot last eternally either. Only God’s Will lasts and He Alone does His Will, some through His creation & Greater things by Himself (James 1:17).
‘All is Vanity’ (Ecclesiastes 1:2) itself proves that the ‘Unseen’ (2 Corinthians 4:18) cannot be eternal ‘in its current state’ but rather to the ‘age only’ as the original meaning means. This is because something that is ‘Vanity’ cannot remain in its current-state eternally. All creation will go from ‘Glory to glory’ (2 Corinthians 3:18) after they have been ‘set free to become children of God too’ (Romans 8:21), implied.
Now, ‘only God does NOT change’ (hence, He Alone is Immortal & Eternal in ALL sense):
“For I, the LORD, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed.” – God (Malachi 3:6, NASB)
Why? Because ‘God Alone is Perfect’ and hence He needs ‘no change’ while creation will be transformed from ‘Glory to Glory’ (ever increasing change, 2 Corinthians 3:18) as verses describe (we NEVER become God which is proven by the fact that we NEVER stop changing from “Glory to Glory” even after “our perfection” has been achieved) as verses below clearly imply:
“and we all, with unvailed face, the glory of the Lord beholding in a mirror, to the same image are being transformed, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 3:18, YLT)
“Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” – Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 5:48, NASB)
‘All is vanity’. Does it include God?
Absolutely NOT! “All” here refers to “All created things” (Colossians 1:16) and God being Un-Created (Hebrews 7:3) is NEVER included (“excepted”) in any context of all things as clearly distinguished in verse below too:
“for all things He did put under His feet, and, when one may say that all things have been subjected, it is evident that He is excepted Who did subject the all things to Him,” (1 Corinthians 15:27, YLT)
Please note the word “excepted” in verse above to ‘understand this’.
“but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,” (2 Timothy 1:10, NASB)
“but, according to thy hardness and impenitent heart, thou dost treasure up to thyself wrath, in a day of wrath and of the revelation of the righteous judgment of God,
who shall render to each according to his works;
to those, indeed, who in continuance of a good work, do seek glory, and honour, and incorruptibility — life age-during;
and to those contentious, and disobedient, indeed, to the truth, and obeying the unrighteousness — indignation and wrath,
tribulation and distress, upon every soul of man that is working the evil, both of Jew first, and of Greek;
and glory, and honour, and peace, to every one who is working the good, both to Jew first, and to Greek.
For there is no acceptance of faces with God,” – apostle Paul (Romans 2:5 – 11, YLT)
Is it fair?
“For, when nations that have not a law, by nature may do the things of the law, these not having a law — to themselves are a law;
who do shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also witnessing with them, and between one another the thoughts accusing or else defending,
in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men, according to my Good News (Gospel), through Jesus Christ.” – apostle Paul (Romans 2:14 – 16, YLT)
Has that ‘subjection of all things to Him’ (being reconciled to God, Colossians 1:20) been achieved or is it something happening from the past into the future?
It’s ‘from the past into the future’.
The ‘subjection (reconciliation) of all things’ back to Him is —> “Not achieved yet” (Hebrew 2:8) but eventually God’s Will in this Will come to pass too (1 Corinthians 15:24 – 27) till ‘God becomes all in all’ is achieved by Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:28) and this is to be ‘fulfilled’ into the ‘fullness of the dispensation of times’ in Ephesians 1:10 (which is commonly understood as the ‘ends of ages’ as even the example from the past helps us understand in 1 Corinthians 10:11).
This is a ‘Secret or Mystery of His Will’ (Ephesians 1:9) and that’s why it is both rare & hidden in Scripture.
Please note that ‘His Mercy’ can ‘Triumph’ and ‘end’ any afterlife Judgment sentence (James 2:13) at ‘any time or place’ as He has the Keys of Both Death (any Death, including the Second Death too) & Hades (Hell) as the Mysterious verse below Reveals:
“and He who is Living, and I did become dead, and, lo, I am Living to the ages of the ages. Amen! and I have the keys of the Hades and of the Death.” – Lord Jesus Christ (Revelation 1:18, YLT)
Please note that ‘keys’ are for ‘unlocking’ (and hence Christ Saving from both Hell & Death is implied) to the highlighted ‘time period’ of the “ages of Ages” (which is the same phrase used for the longest punishment sentence for Satan too, Revelation 20:10). Can you see it?
I believe that Lord Jesus Christ (Who holds the keys of Death & Hell) will ‘unlock’ every ‘Prisoner’ setting ‘all creation free into the Glorious Liberty of the Children of God’ (as Promised in Romans 8:20 – 21) eventually, yes ‘Death’ (includes both the first & the Second Death too) till ‘Death is no more’ :
“Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:14, NASB)
“and God shall wipe away every tear from their eyes, and the death shall not be any more, nor sorrow, nor crying, nor shall there be any more pain, because the first things did go away.” (Revelation 21:4, YLT)
“He hath swallowed up death in victory, And wiped hath the Lord Jehovah, The tear from off all faces, And the reproach of His people He turneth aside from off all the earth, For Jehovah hath spoken.” (Isaiah 24:8, YLT)
Death (first & second Death) is NOT God’s Friend but His Enemy and will be ‘destroyed (cease to exist) eventually’:
“The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” (1 Corinthians 15:26, NASB)
This Mysterious Reconciliation from the Lake of Fire is described in a Beautiful way in verse below:
“The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.” (Revelation 22:17, NASB)
The Spirit = God’s Spirit
The Bride = His Church, ‘believers’ gathered in the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:2, Revelation 19:7, 2 Corinthians 11:2, Ephesians 5:25, Ephesians 5:31 – 32)
one who hears = angels or others in heaven
one who is thirsty = must refer to one who is separated from Him who was ‘punished first in the Lake of Fire’ as he is being called to take the ‘water of life for free’ (yes, the Lake of Fire must surely make one thirst spiritually too first, right?); It CANNOT refer to ‘any believer’ since believers never thirst nor are hungry again (both physically and spiritually) In His Kingdom (John 6:35, John 7:38, John 4:10, John 4:14). Believers eat NOT out of hunger & thirst anymore in His Kingdom.
Now, ‘all created things’ (definition, Colossians 1:16, including Satan & the enemies of God too right? 1 Corinthians 15:24 – 28) which includes both the “Visible (seen) & Invisible (Unseen)” [which includes the Lake of Fire too, right?] is said to be ‘reconciled back to Him’ eventually:
“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)
Are we able to accept it?
Yes, He makes ‘all things New’ eventually, post – Judgment too:
“He hath made every thing beautiful in His time: also He hath set the world [Age] in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11, KJV)
“And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these Words are Faithful and True.” (Revelation 21:5, NASB)
“But this happened so that what has been written in their Law might be fulfilled: ‘They hated Me (Jesus) for no reason.'” (John 15:25, ISV)
“whom it behoveth heaven, indeed, to receive [Jesus] till times of a Restitution of all things, of which God spake through the mouth of all His holy prophets from the age.” (Acts 3:21, YLT)
Please note the word ‘All things’ in verse above too to ‘understand this deep’ fact which is known to ‘all (not some of) His holy prophets’ from the ‘age’.
*Restitution = Restoration [Greek transliteration: apokatastaseōs or Apocatastasis]
Yes, we learnt this from His Prophets (chiefly apostle Paul Himself and the other Apostle’s Inspired Writings in New Testament Scripture), all ‘as it is written’:
“that is, the Mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints,” (Colossians 1:26, NASB)
His Mystery (Colossians 1:26) refers to Colossians 1:27 and also Colossians 1:16 with Colossians 1:20 (many aspects, please take note to understand accurately):
“that by revelation there was made known to me the Mystery, as I wrote before in brief.” (Ephesians 3:3, NASB)
Example: Apostle Paul wrote Ephesians 1:10 as part of this Mystery earlier as the ‘Mystery (Secret) of His Will’ as mentioned in Ephesians 1:9. Can we see it?
That ‘you can understand’ —> ‘Mystery (Secret) of Christ’:
“By referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the Mystery of Christ,” – apostle Paul (Ephesians 3:4)
‘As I ought to speak’ regarding this ‘Mystery (Secret) of the Gospel’:
“and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the Mystery of the Gospel,
for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.” – apostle Paul (Ephesians 6:19 – 20, NASB)