In this article, Eric Landstrom denounces Universalists for going to extra-biblical sources yet at the same time he wants his readers to go to extra-biblical sources concerning “aion” and “aionion.”
In this short reply to Eric, my words will be in Roman type and Eric's in italic.

Eric begins:

The Hebrew Concept of Time
“Aionios” and “Aion”

By Eric Landström

Universalists all promote that unsaved sinful man can come into a state of salvation in the after life. Yet this belief would directly conflict with Scripture. The strongest proof against this belief is a comparison of Revelation 14:11; 19:3; 20:10 and 20:15, which leads the reader to believe that those whom are cast into the lake of fire remain there for ever.

Tony's reply: I would not consider myself a “Universalist” but I am a believer who believes that “God will have all mankind to be saved” (1 Tim.2:4-6). The Bible says (according to Romans 5:18 & 19) that all mankind will be changed from being made (or constituted) sinners to being made (or constituted) righteous. Right now, due to death entering into all mankind, all humans sin as Romans 5:12 states. That is our constitution. We are constituted to sin. In the future, all mankind will be made alive or vivified (given immortality) and they all will be subjected to Christ and God will be All in all, not All in some. So how can they remain sinners with God All in them? Death will no longer be operating in humanity then.
    I don't know why Eric quotes Revelation 14:11; 19:3; 20:10 and 20:15 as the strongest proof against this belief. If that is the strongest proof he has, then his proof is actually weak. We believe that people are headed to those judgments. The Bible does not say those judgments last “for ever,” but, depending upon the bible version you use, they are there “for ever and ever,” which is more properly translated as: “for the ages of the ages,” or more literally: “for the eons of the eons.”

Here is a chart detailing this:

    Notice near the bottom of the chart where it says “Christ reigns for ever and ever” and how this lines up with “the eons of the eons.” Christ does not reign for eternity. He gives up the kingdom to His God and Father and quits reigning when all are subjected to Him (see 1 Cor.15:24,25). There shall be no consummation to that which is OF His kingdom per Luke 1:33 because He hands it over to the Father. So since these poor souls are in the lake of fire for “ever and ever,” which is the same length of time Christ reigns, they cannot be in there for eternity.

Eric continues: To refute this understanding, universalists are fond of reaching right past their Bibles to extra biblical works to support their refutation of the problem overcoming the Greek word for “eternal.” They quote such and such said this and who and who thinks this, and so on and so forth. They exhaust all their resources to refute this, because quite literally if the word does indeed mean eternal, in regards to the after life­-the age to come, the case for Christian universalism evaporates before their very eyes. However, it is wise to note that anything that is extra biblical is just that­-extra biblical. As such we are not to base our doctrines upon the musings and words of uninspired men. Commentators are only useful in so much as to draw our attention to a doctrine that either is or is not represented in the Scriptures. However, if you are not educated enough to use Greek as a vehicle for study, you must trust that God did not fail to deliver the Scriptures to you in a language that you can understand. Furthermore, the argument the universalists promote, this ages of ages business, flies in the face of the Hebrew concept of time. When taking into account the different concepts of time that Western civilization holds in comparison to the Hebrew concept of time, the rendering of the Hebrew and Greek into “for ever and ever” and the like is correct when it refers to the age to come. Anything different is scholarly pride and ambition as if to say, “Look everybody else is wrong, this should be 'ages of ages.'” Doing this amounts to nothing more than a half truth as I will explain below.
Tony's reply: Notice that Eric says we who believe the truth of God saving all reach right past our Bibles to extra biblical works. Have I? Surely not. I don't need to. But if you will notice, Eric does that which he accuses us of doing! He does not want us “to base our doctrines upon the musings and words of uninspired men” while at the same time he wants you, the reader to seek out an uninspired rabbi as an extra-biblical source! You will read that below.
    Can we help it if the Sacred Scriptures, (the Greek text from which we get our Bibles) say: “eis tous aionas twn aionon” or “for the eons of the eons”? Both the “aionas” and “aionon” are plural (meaning more than one) and it is in the genitive case meaning “of”. For instance “king of kings” is genitive. Of all the kings that went before, Christ is the greatest king. Likewise, of all the eons that went before, the two final eons will be the greatest because Christ will rule among men on the earth during the coming eon and then Christ and God will rule together among men on the earth during the final new earth eon (see Revelation 20:4 and then Rev.21:22; 22:1). It is during these two final eons that the lake of fire is in force; near the end of the coming eon (1000 year reign) and the new earth eon to be exact. How Eric ascribes believing what the Bible says to “scholarly pride” is beyond me.

Eric continues: Remember when you mix truth with lie, you still end up with a lie. The more truth you mix with your lie, the better the lie is because it is likely more people will believe your lie is the truth. Furthermore, the longer and the louder you say a lie as the truth the more likely people are going to believe it is the truth. This works because people are basically sinners, and as such desire to hear what they want to hear which is not necessarily the truth. But the facts remain: Truth is more than our subjective feelings of what we feel is right. It has objective existence. It has common application.

Truth is true -even if no one knows it.
Truth is true -even if no one admits it.
Truth is true -even if no one agrees what it is.
Truth is true -even if no one follows it.
Truth is true -even if no one but God grasps it fully.
Tony's reply: What I would say to the above is that, no matter how much louder and longer one proclaims the unadulterated truth, no one will believe it unless it is given to them from above to believe it. No one can get anything unless it is given from above (John 3:27). So it does not surprise me if one speaks the truth and it is against all scholarly works and not many get it.

Eric continues: Since none of the universalists I've discussed this with possess a working knowledge of Greek, they are in no position to determine who is right regarding this issue. As such, unless they gain the knowledge to make an informed call of judgment, they should stick with what they can verify themselves rather than parroting the uninspired words of men­-which happens to be the universalist party line.
Tony's reply: Just because one possesses a working knowledge of Greek does not mean that they are going to get understanding from God. The scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees of Christ's day knew Greek better than most and yet it was not given to them to understand Christ's words (see Matt.13:11 and Matt.11:25). Also, have I been “parroting uninspired words of men” as Eric claims and as Eric does? No, just the Scriptures.

Eric continues: Something that is within their ability to understand is the Hebrew concept of time. To understand the Hebrew concept of time, you must grasp the idea that the Hebrew mind did not think of the passage of time as a medium onto itself like the Greek mind or how western civilization views time. Rather, to a Hebrew, the passage of time was life. God's plan, in the Hebrew mind, consisted that man participated in two great ages. One age was this temporal in nature, the other great age was the age to come. Each of these great ages were divided up into smaller ages by events that occurred through life. Ultimately the sum of the temporal age was finite, and the sum of the age to come was infinite, which is to say, everlasting.
Tony's reply: To say that an age is infinite is a contradiction in terms. That is like saying “unending ending” or to sometimes ascribe unendingness to a yardstick and sometimes just the length of three feet. God is not the author of confusion. This just goes to prove that we should take Eric's advice and not listen to uninspired men and to Eric who are “parroting uninspired words of men.” An age cannot be for a while and then another age for eternity. No one can know God's revelation to mankind if that is how God used His words. Thank God He has told us that all the eons end as Hebrews 9:26; 1 Corinthians 10:11 and Matthew 24:3 state. The KJV used the word “world” in those verses but I assure you the Greek word is “aion” and not “kosmos” It is true that the Scriptures show that there are epochal eons as well as eons pertaining to the duration of one's life . . . for instance, an example of a short eon would be the time a slave would serve his master. Exodus 21:6:

Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall serve him for the eon.”
    The servant cannot serve his master if he dies. So the servant will not serve the master for eternity once the awl is bore through his ear. The eon or “duration” the servant serves is within the larger epochal eon. This occurs during the long epochal eon which began after the flood and continues still today and is called “the present wicked eon” (Gal.1:4). But the servant's eon in which the servant serves is only for the lifespan of either his life or the life of the master. If the servant dies, he quits serving. If the master dies he quits serving as well.

Eric continues: Hence, the rendering of “ages of ages” while technically correct, completely fails to convey the meaning to the western reader. Therefore, to render the English as “for ever and ever” is correct, because this does explain the idea of the passage. However, if you are a universalist whom disbelieves this explanation, I encourage that you don't trust me, instead learn of the truth for yourselves from an expert. To accomplish this, I ask that you seek out your local synagogue and speak with the rabbi you find there. For starters, the rabbi is a completely neutral source of information; because his view will most likely be that we are both members of a really big cult called Christendom, and as such, he won't care one way or another. Get the rabbi to explain how Old Testament Hebrews viewed time. While ages of ages is a correct possible grammatical construction from an Old Testament Hebrew's point of view ­this means “forever and ever” to the same Old Testament Hebrew when it refers to the age to come, the after life. Thus any translator interested in translating what is meant by the phrase in the original language will render the Greek “for ever and ever” or the like when applicable in English.
Tony's reply: See what I mean concerning what Eric just wrote above? Eric says we are wrong to go to uninspired men. Remember where Eric said this earlier?: “To refute this understanding, universalists are fond of reaching right past their Bibles to extra biblical works to support their refutation of the problem overcoming the Greek word for 'eternal.'” Eric does the very thing he demeans us for doing (even though I have not even done that which he accuses me of doing!). While Eric may be correct that an uninspired Jew in a synagogue might believe as Eric states, that does not make it right. You can find Jews who do not believe as Eric states. Just go to “" web site and read this paper: The Messianic Time Table According to Daniel the Prophet About half way down you will read what they have to say about “everlasting.” When you are on that page do a search for "everlasting righteousness." It will take you right to the spot I am writing about. These are non-Universalist Jews by the way.     But I don't want you to believe what they say because they say it. I'm just showing you that Eric is not correct to think that all Jews think alike on this matter. Some do think like us.
    Translators can improperly translate the Greek words “aion” and “aionion.” However, when these words are brought over directly in their Anglicized form as “eon” and “eonian” all bias is left out and the reader can decide what the words mean by how God used them. That is often the best way. By the way, the Concordant Literal New Testament is the only version that brings over aion as “eon” and aionion as “eonian.” and so is the only bible that does NOT translate these two words!

Eric continues:
The objections of Universalists

    Universalists have raised six objections to understanding aionios and aion properly rendered to convey the meaning of the words in English. The first of these is that only the scholarly can understand it. This is fallacious thinking. There is no need to be a scholar to understand the Hebrew concept of time, but having no knowledge precludes any information of special revelation. It is written in the Book of Hosea, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge...” (Hesea 4:6). As a Christian in the pursuit of maturity, your profession is to gain more knowledge of the Lord and to freely share that knowledge with others. Secondly, if you need to be a scholar to properly understand this, then you are not placing your trust in God, but in people whom are most agreeable to your theology.
Tony's reply: I don't know which Universalists Eric has been talking to lately but I have never stated that “only the scholarly can understand it.” I believe that the wise and ignorant, the young and old, educated and non-educated can understand it if God gives it to them. Otherwise no amount of learning or ignorance will grant understanding. Please also see 1 Corinthians 2:14.

Eric continues: The second objection involves the figurative fallacy on the part of the universalist. The Figurative Fallacy is: Either (1) mistaking literal language for figurative language or (2)mistaking figurative language for literal language. The question is not, “Should we interpret the passage literally or symbolically?” The question is “Which part must be interpreted literally and which part symbolically?” Like onto that, universalists further error by failing to discern that the Bible often times speaks of spiritual things rather than temporal things. In a nutshell, the only rebuttal the universalist offers with this argument against rendering these words as to mean “endlessness” and the like, is from verses where the rendering “forever” or “endless” is obviously figurative or spiritual. The universalist, by making this argument insults both the reader and their own intelligence in a desperate attempt to cling to their unscriptural position.
Tony's reply: Again, I am surprised by what Eric writes above. First of all there is no linguistic fallacy called “the figurative fallacy.” I have done neither numbers one nor two above, to arrive at the meaning of aion and aionion. I just take the plain statements of the Sacred Scriptures to arrive at the meaning of words. If the Scriptures show that the eons end and never says that any eon or age is eternal, who am I to question God? “Let God be true and every man a liar.”

Eric continues: The third objection is that there are alternate theories available as to what the Hebrew concept of time is and that these alternate theories would tend to support the universalist position. Obviously when the authors wrote the epistles and Gospels they were to be understood by the author's intended audience. Since for the most part they were written to the Jews first and to the Gentiles second, we really should leap the historical gap between our cultures and understand the Hebrew concept of time rather than tickle our ears with theories.
     Since the Hebrew concept of time has been preserved by an entire nation of Jews, it is rather easy to find out what they thought then and still what the non westernized Jews think now rather than attempt to lay the foundations of our faith on the sand of theory and speculation. Before the fact of what the Hebrews did believe then, and do believe now, the alternate theories argument evaporates.
Tony's reply: Jews disagree on many things relating to the Scriptures. The Jews in Christ's day could not agree on many things. The Pharisees and Sadducees were at each other's throats pertaining to theological issues of the Scriptures. Furthermore, how is it that when one puts their sole faith upon the Sacred Scriptures and how God used the words aion and aionion that this is attempting “to lay the foundations of our faith on the sand of theory and speculation”? If what the Jewish rabbi says does not accord with the Sacred Scriptures then his words should be discounted.

Eric continues: The fourth objection universalists present is that several verses point to there being “ages” for believers yet to come in the after life, citing Ephesians 2:7 for example. The Bible refers to past ages in order to exalt God in His knowledge as the divine Creator in parallel with human ignorance (Isaiah 64:4; Deut. 4:32). The New Testament reveals the hidden wisdom of God, the Gospel, is a mystery that is revealed after long ages (1 Corinthians 2:7; Colossians 1:26; Romo[n]s 16:25; 2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 1:2).
     With that in mind, the present era is the end of the ages according to 1 Corinthians 10:11; Hebrews 9:26; and 1 Peter 1:20. In reference to Ephesians 2:7, the church as it lives in this age looks forward to the age of future consummation. Though the saved exist in this age, they are born from above as new creatures at the moment of their salvation. Now is the dawn of a new age for them while they live in an age that is yet to end. These believers also look forward to the next age in which they will be incorruptible, conformed to the image of Christ (ref. Romans 8:29). Therefore when Ephesians 2:7 speaks of ages to Christians, it speaks righteously because Christians whom are born from above participate in two ages with the blessings of the Lord -the end of this age, and the coming kingdom of God.
     Hence, Ephesians 2:7 isn't speaking of multiple ages that take place in the coming kingdom of God in the after life as the universalists must have occur to support their unscriptural position of purgatory.
Tony's reply: Let's really think about this. Let us quote Ephesians 2:7 since Eric lays great stress upon it: “that in the oncoming eons (KJV has “ages to come”), He should be displaying the transcendent riches of His grace in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” Please note that the apostle Paul was not bankrupt for words. He did not say “in the oncoming eon.” He said “in the oncoming eons.” That means that more than one eon is coming. For there to be more than one eon to come, one of the eons to come must end so that the other can begin. Therefore, the coming eon is not endless. Eric says above: “With that in mind, the present era is the end of the ages” and he references 1 Corinthians 10:11; Hebrews 9:26 and 1 Peter 1:20. So let us look at those verses and see if they mean what Eric supposes they mean.
     “Now all this befalls them typically. Yet it was written for our admonition, to whom the consummations of the eons have attained” (1Cor.10:11).

     And how have the consummations of the eons attained to us? What will happen at the end of the eons that we have already?

     * All mankind will be reconciled in the future (Col.1:20)
     * We are reconciled NOW (Col.1:22) So reconciliation has attained to us believers.

     * All mankind will be headed up in the Christ in the future (Eph.1:10)
     * We are in Christ already (Eph.1:11)

     * All mankind will be justified in the future (Romans 5:18)
     * We are justified now in His blood (Romans 5:9)

     * The rest of mankind will be saved in the future
     * We (especially the believer) are saved now (1Tim.4:10)

     * God's righteousness is for all
     * and it is presently on all who are believing (Romans 3:22)

     These are just some of the blessings that attain to us believers now and which will come to all humanity at the consummations of the eons.

Now let us look at the next verse above which Eric brings up how that Hebrews 9:26 “proves” the end of the eons has already happened:
Here is what Hebrews 9:26 says:

since then He must often be suffering from the disruption of the world, yet now, once, at the conclusion of the eons, for the repudiation of sin through His sacrifice, is He manifest.”
    This is not saying that He is manifest at the conclusion of the eons. Rather, it is saying that He is manifest so that when the eons end sin will be repudiated. Did the eons end when Christ came and died? Surely not! We are still living in the “present wicked eon” (Gal.1:4) (KJV has “present evil world”) but “aion” is used here and not “kosmos.” This present evil eon began after the flood and will continue until the 1000 year reign of Christ on the earth begins.

    And finally, does 1 Peter 1:20 which Eric references prove that when Christ came that the eon ended? Here is what 1 Pet.1:20 says: “foreknown, indeed, before the disruption of the world, yet manifested in the last times because of you, who through Him are believing in God,”
    Where does it state in that verse that when Christ came the eon ended? It doesn't. The phrase “last times” is not equivalent to “end of the eon.” Now I will say that according to the believers back then that they thought that they were living in the last days or last times of the eon. Had Israel accepted her King and had Christ come back and set up His kingdom then the eon would have ended and the 1000 year eon would have begun. But the Jews did not think that when Christ came and died on the cross that the eon ended.

Eric continues: The fifth objection is based on the semantic range of the Greek words. While it is technically true that the words need not always be rendered forever and the like, this is only true when the Greek word refers to this world age. Therefore, I'm not arguing that the Greek, when referring to this temporal world or age, means eternal--that is not the point of contention. The point of contention is how long is the age to come going to last. The universalists insist that the next age is also finite to support their doctrine of purgatory. This is what the universalist argument supports, and their argument has no basis outside of the semantic range of the grammar.
Tony's reply: I don't believe in purgatory. And I don't insist that the next eon is finite to support the “doctrine of purgatory.” The next eon is finite because it lasts 1000 years. Read Revelation 20:6 & 7 if you don't believe me. Then when that eon ends the new earth eon begins. Eric should ask himself some questions such as: “Is Christ and the twelve reigning on thrones on the earth now? Are the nations subjected to Israel now? Is Satan locked up now and not messing with the nations? These are just some of the things which will be very apparent when Christ sets up the 1000 year reign on the earth.

Eric continues: If for example if I say to you, “bar,” what am I talking about? A salad bar? A drinking establishment? Atmospheric pressure? A metal bar? What? Just because the semantic range of a word encompasses several different meanings doesn't allow you to say the text alone determines meaning. Rather the author alone determines the meaning of the text. Therefore, we must jump the historical gap and understand the Hebrew concept of time, which is understood to be that the next age is without end in order to properly understand the message that was to be conveyed.
Tony's reply: Actually it is the context which determines the meaning. If the Bible shows that all eons end, that should establish that the eons are not eternal. The Author of the Bible has established the meaning of aion. But Eric would rather have you go to a rabbi rather than the Great Author.
    While it is true that in the Bible words often carry different shades of meaning and that these shades should be carried over by the use of synonyms, it is, however, highly suspect when a translation gives shades to meanings of words that carry no semblance to the original intent of the Author. For instance, if we take the Greek word “aion” in the Bible and see how a popular translation translated this one word we get this:

aion was translated as:
age 2x
beginning of the world 2x
course 1x
eternal 2x
ever 2x
for ever 27x
for ever and ever 21x
for evermore 3x
never 7x = not for the eon
world 32 x
world began 1x
world without end 1x
while the world standeth 1x

     Now I ask you, is God the author of such sloppy confusion? Can one word actually have such disparate meanings as “never,” “eternal,” “age,” and “world”? Those are not even synonyms! How can a word that has a beginning and an end (i.e. age) at the same time have no beginning and no end (i.e. eternal) and at the same time have neither of those attributes “world”? This is absurd. First of all the Bible already has a Greek word for “world” and that word is “kosmos.” The Author of the Bible did not use aion this way. When the Author used “aion” He actually meant “aion” or “eon.” If aion means “eternity” did the disciples ask Jesus when the eternity would end in Matthew 24:3? If aion means “eternity” is there more than one eternity coming when Ephesians 2:7 would state “in the oncoming eternities”? Do you see how a bad translation causes people to have a disqualified mind as to the truth?

Eric continues: The sixth objection universalists raise, like onto the fifth objection, is that the Greek word that is translated into eternal is “aionion.” It comes from the Greek root “aion” meaning “age” which while true is not a reasonable objection because, while technically the word does mean “age,” linguistically with the intent to convey the meaning the word “age” had to a Hebrew of the biblical period it should be understood as to mean eternity. As Tom Logan rightly pointed out the beliefs of an Old Testament Hebrew; “Man lives his life in two periods or worlds. There is the temporal here and now. This of course is finite and an age or ages in this life are of necessity finite. Then there is the afterlife which takes in man's existence after death. Since these are the only two forms of existence man participates in and God has made provision for an unending existence for man; the age i.e. duration or ages of this period is infinite.”
Tony's reply: I wonder why Tom and Eric don't believe the Bible when it states “the oncoming eons”? It is because their theology of Last Things does not allow them. In the future in Revelation it is stated that Christ and those with Him reign for the eons (plural . . . more than one). This is after this eon ends. So how can the next eon (of Eric's so-called “afterlife”) be eternal “as Tom Logan pointed out” if it is followed by another eon? The major mistake in logic both Eric and Tom make is when they say that since man will have an unending existence in the next life, this proves the age to come is infinite? Well, first off, if there are ages to come, one must end for another to begin. So they can't all be infinite, now can they? Secondly, the major mistake in their logic is that they believe the lifespan of a person or persons in the future determines the length of the eon. But this is incorrect thinking. Right now, Christ is immortal and living during our eon. Is the present wicked eon eternal? No. When we believers put on immortality when Christ reappears and then the 1000 year eon begins a little later, will the 1000 year eon therefore be eternal since we won't die? No. That eon will end but we continue to live. Then the eon of the new earth comes. When that eon ends will we die? No. So since the Bible says that the eons end and NEVER states that any eon is eternal, this should be the logic Tom and Eric use, that even though the eons end we continue to live on.

Eric continues: As Tom continued, “The fact is as lexicons acknowledge the respective cultures (Greek and Hebrew), both had a belief in an endless afterlife and used terms based on aion and olam to refer to it.”
Tony's reply: Well, heck, let's not stop there! If Tom and Eric want to import pagan ideas into the Bible let's import their idea of THEOS (Greek for god) as well! To some of the Greeks and Hebrews Theos could be Moloch or the multi-breasted deity or Zeus or idols of metal, wood or stone. So let's just import those ideas into our Bible. Here, this should do it: “For the multi-breasted deity so loved the world that she gave her only begotten son.” Or how about “Zeus sent his son into the world to save sinners.” I could have all kinds of fun with this!

Eric continues: The universalist argues that age implies that it is a period of time that comes to an end. To really examine if the universalists interpretation of age carries weight, we ought to be consistent with their application and meaning of the word “age.” Therefore if we apply their argument consistently, all of the following shall also come to an end:

Greek word “aion” used of God's glory

1. Philippians 4:20 “Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
2. 1 Timothy 1:17 “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
Tony's reply: “Now unto God and our Father be glory for the eons of the eons. Amen.” “for ever and ever” is an improper translation. First of all both aion's are in the plural form and the second usage of “aion” is in the genitive case. If “ever” is proper it would have to be “for the evers of the evers.” But does this prove, as Eric insinuates that if aion begins and ends that God's glory will end? No it just proves that the eons end. It just is saying that God will get glory for the two greatest final eons.
    1 Timothy 1:17 should be: “Now unto the King of the honour and glory for the eons of the eons. Amen.” Why should the term “King of the eons” limit God? Does the term “Lord of the earth” limit God only to the earth? Does this mean that He is not the Lord of heaven as well? It is just saying that God is the King of the eons. He is the ruler over the eons. Again, does the verse prove that God's glory will end when the eons end? No. It just means that in the greatest eons to come that God will receive glory in them.

Eric: Greek word “aion” used of God's throne
Hebrews 1:8 “But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.”

Tony's reply: “But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for the eon of the eon . . . .” In this verse both aion's are in the singular form, and the second one is the genitive case. So if “ever” is to be used it would be “for the ever of the ever.” Furthermore, this corroborates 1 Corinthians 15:24 and 25 where He gives up the kingdom and quits reigning.

Eric continues: Greek word “aion” used of God's duration
1. 1 Peter 1:23 “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”

Tony's reply: 1 Peter 1:23 does not speak of God's duration. It should be translated as:
     “. . . the word of God, living and permanent.” Where Eric's KJV has “. . . abideth for ever,” this is not speaking of “God's duration” as Eric would have us believe but that God's Word is “living and permanent.” The word aion is in the Robinson/Pierpont Byzantine Greek New Testament text. But it has “menontos eis ton aiona” which is translated: “permanent for the eon.” The three oldest manuscripts called the Sinaticus, Vaticanus and Alexandrinus do not have “aion” in this verse. Also in verse 25 aion is used there as “. . . the declaration of the Lord is remaining for the eon.” So it can be trusted to remain. There are many things which shall not remain for the eon but the declaration of the Lord will remain. That's important.

Eric: 2. 1 Peter 4:11 “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”
Tony's reply: I don't know why you say the above verse speaks of God's duration. It should be translated “ Whom be praise and dominion for the eons of the eons. Amen.” Again both “aion's” are in the plural, and the second usage is in the genitive case. It is just saying that God will have praise and dominion for the eons of the eons. When the eons end He will have dominion IN all mankind (cf 1 Cor.15:28) and I'm sure that He will have praise after the eons end.

Eric: 3. Revelation 1:6 “And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”
Tony's reply: Again, 1:6 should be “to Him be glory and dominion for the eons of the eons. Amen” Both aion's are plural, and the second is in the genitive case. This proves 1 Corinthians 15:24,25 where He gives up the kingdom and quits reigning later in time. The verse does not prove nor disprove the duration of God. I don't know where Eric gets that. Furthermore, kings and priests will all be done away in the future for 1 Corinthians 15:24 says so and even says that Christ gives up the kingdom to His God and Father and quits reigning (vs.25 also). This alone should prove that the eons are not endless.

Eric: Greek word “aion” used of the saints
1 John 2:17 “And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”

Tony's reply: “. . . but he that doeth the will of God abideth for the eon.” This is a way of telling the saint of the Circumcision that though many die in the coming eon, the saint will not. This is not saying that when the eon ends the saint dies.

Eric: Greek word “aion” used of heaven
Matthew 25:46 “but the righteous into life eternal.”

Tony's reply: I don't know why Eric ascribes this to heaven. This is when Jesus returns TO the earth when He comes back in Matthew 25:31. The sheep nations that help His brethren (note “His brethren”) get to enter into the kingdom which will be set up on the earth. Jesus does not call these sheep nations “brethren.” How can you call a nation a brother?
     Secondly, aion is not used in this verse but aionion is. So it should be “. . .but the righteous (sheep nations) into life eonian,” which is the life pertaining to the eon. That eon is the 1000 year reign Christ will set up on the earth (see Rev.20).      The righteous nations that helped Christ's brethren get to enjoy the life of that kingdom during that eon for the same amount of time that the bad nations suffer due to their treatment of Christ's brethren. When that eon ends the earth is destroyed by fire and then a new earth comes (see the book of Revelation).

Eric: Greek word “aion” used of hell
1. Matthew 25:46 “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.”
Tony's reply: I don't know why Eric says “aion used of hell” in 25:46. It isn't referring to hell at all. Secondly “aion” is not used in the verse but “aionion” is which is the adjectival form of the noun, aion. This judging takes place on the earth and is eonian punishment which is punishment pertaining to the eon. Remember when Israel was held captive in Egypt? The Old Testament says they were in a furnace of fire. Now, at this judgment, it is the nations' turn to enter into the fire. But I assure you, it is not eternal and is not a literal fire. That would contradict too many scriptures and you know, we can't have that!

Eric: 2. 2 Thessalonians 1:9 “these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord.”
Tony's reply: Here again, aion is not used as Eric suggests, but the adjective used is “aionion”. It is eonian destruction or destruction pertaining to the eon. It is not in hell since in the passage Christ comes to the earth and metes out judgment.

Eric: 3. Matthew 25:41 “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels”
Tony's reply: Again, aion is not used but aionion is. It is eonian fire or fire pertaining to the eon. Remember, just as the Israelites went into the fire when in Egypt did they get burnt? They actually came out a greater nation while in their “hell.” Furthermore, the “devil and his angels” do not go to a hell during this time. Revelation 20 says he goes to the submerged chaos or abyss.

Eric: Jude 13 “for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever”
Tony's reply: This should be “for whom the black darkness has been kept for an eon.” I don't know why Eric says it is talking about “hell.” And it says they are kept for an eon. What if it said they are kept for ten years? Would you think that when the ten years ends that they come out? I sure hope you would. An aion (eon) is longer than ten years to be sure but it is not endless.

Eric: Greek word “aionios” used of heaven
Luke 18:30 “in the age to come, eternal life.”

Tony's reply: Here is the verse in question:
Luke 18:29 Now He said to them, “Verily, I am saying to you that there is no one who leaves house, or wife, or brothers, or parents, or children on account of the kingdom of God, 30 who may not by all means be getting back manyfold in this era, and in the coming eon, life eonian.
     The coming age Jesus spoke about is the 1000 year age or eon. They will get life eonian which is life pertaining to that eon. It says it right there. Is this talking about heaven? No. Daniel talks about a resurrection of the just and unjust and that the just will enter into the kingdom which will be set up on the earth (see Dan.2:44; 12:2 and how they awake from the soil).

Eric: Greek word “aionios” used of hell
1. Revelation 14:11 “And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; and they have no rest day and night.”
2. Revelation 20:10 “they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”
Tony's reply: Revelation 14:11 should be:
“And the smoke of their torment goes up for the eons of the eons....” “smoke of their torment” is just a figure of speech' since the nations will be “drinking of the wine of the fury of God, blended undiluted in the cup of His indignation.” So “drinking of the wine” and “cup” are figures of speech. They don't literally drink wine nor from a cup to receive God's indignation. Furthermore, Revelation 14:11 occurrs many years prior to the great white throne judging. This verse is speaking of when Babylon falls. Also, it doesn't say they are tormented for the eons of the eons but that “the smoke of their torment is ascending for the eons of the eons.”

Rev.20:10 should be:
“they will be tormented day and night for the eons of the eons.”
     Remember, the Bible says that the eons end so they cannot be eternal. Or if you want to use Eric's “evers” then the Bible shows that the evers end and are not eternal.

Eric concludes: Conclusion
Despite the efforts of men to override the clear teaching of the Bible, the Bible is clear about the eternal nature of the punishment of the wicked. “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal” (Matt. 25:46). It is easy to see that Life is the same in duration as is the Punishment of the wicked. If one is temporary, so is the other. If the punishment of those held within the lake of fire is temporary, heaven is also temporary.
Tony's reply: This is so easy. I am glad that Eric can see that if the punishment of the goat nations is temporary then so is the life of the sheep nations. First of all, this judgment is not about “believers” vs. “unbelievers.” It is about when Christ returns to the earth and judges the nations as to how they treated HIS BRETHREN during their 3 1/2 years of great tribulation. These nations are current when Christ comes and does battle with them as Revelation 14 and 17:14; 19:19 state. It is true that both the punishment the goat nations get and the life the sheep nations get to enjoy are temporary for they are only during the 1000 year eon. When the thousand years is ending all are judged of the goat and sheep nations again per Revelation 20:7-15 and if one's name is not written in the Lamb's book of life they will be cast into the lake of fire which is the second death.
     Below Eric says that “the New Testament use of the words eternal and everlasting makes it clear what they mean.” But that depends upon which translation one uses. Quite a few translations use the words “age-lasting” and “age” and “eon” and “eonian” for the Greek words “aion” and “aionion.”

Eric continues: The New Testament use of the words eternal and everlasting makes it clear what they mean. It is “everlasting punishment” (Matt. 25:46). The fire is “everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt. 25:41). There will be “eternal damnation” for some (Mark 3:29).
Tony's reply: I don't know why Eric quotes Mark 3:29 to prove “eternal damnation.” It actually proves the opposite: “yet whoever should be blaspheming against the holy spirit is having no pardon for the eon, but is liable to the eonian penalty for the sin”-- 30 for they said, “An unclean spirit has he.”
     It does not state that the one who commits such a sin will be punished for eternity. It says that such a one is **liable** to the eonian penalty which is the penalty pertaining to the eon(s). The one who commits such a sin is having no pardon for the eon, so he must face the full time for the crime. Our justice system is similar. If a person commits a crime and his name goes before the president of the United States as many names did when Bill Clinton was leaving office, if Mr. Clinton pardoned a criminal then the person was set free. If a criminal was not pardoned then the person has to remain incarcerated until he is either pardoned or his full time is served. As it pertains to the sin of blasphemy of the holy spirit there just will not be a pardon given. So they are liable to serve the full eonian penalty pertaining to the eon(s).
     Also, Eric says that since his version uses the word “everlasting” that this therefore proves the punishment in Matthew 25:46 is eternal. But this proves nothing. All it proves is that a version translated “aionion” as “everlasting.” But since aionion is pertaining to the aion, everlasting is that which lasts for an ever. Since the Bible never states that any aion or “ever” is eternal, that which is aionion is that which pertains to what is not eternal (no matter what an uninspired rabbi in a synagogue states) or improperly translated version states.

Eric continues: For emphasis, consider how other verses use these words:

1. God is everlasting. “According to the commandment of the everlasting God” (ref. Romans 16:26). Does everlasting mean unending or temporary? Will God cease to exist?
Tony's reply: Romans 16:26 is not trying to prove that God is everlasting. It is proving that He is the God pertaining to the eons. It states that He is the “eonian God.” God ceases being the God pertaining to the eons when the eons end but He remains God and continues to live.

Eric continues: 2. The Holy Spirit is eternal. “Who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God” (ref. Hebrews 9:14). Is the Holy Spirit temporary? When the lake of fire gives up her dead, will He go out of existence?
Tony's reply: Here is Hebrews 9:14: “Who, through the eonian spirit offers Himself flawless to God.” This is the spirit which pertains to the eons. It was through this spirit that Christ offered Himself to God. I'm glad though that Eric believes that the lake of fire will give up her dead.

Eric continues: 3. Redemption is eternal. “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us” (Hebrews 9:12) Is Christ's work of eternal redemption completed or was it for just a brief time?
Tony's reply: Hebrews 9:12 should be translated thus: “. . . entered once for all time into the holy place, finding eonian redemption.” The eonian redemption, like eonian life pertains to the eons and does not mean that God will not become All in all. Christ found eonian redemption which is redemption as it pertains to the eons. He will redeem His people during the eons. After the eons God will be All in all.

Eric continues: 4. Salvation is eternal. “He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him” (ref. Hebrews 5:9). Will salvation also be temporary as well?
Tony's reply: “He became the cause of eonian salvation to all who are obeying Him” (Heb.5:9). This salvation spoken of is the salvation pertaining to the eons. Not all mankind get to enjoy this special salvation. Many must wait till the eons have ended.

Eric continues: 5. The kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. The faithful will be in “the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:11). Will the end to the suffrage of the wicked in the lake of fire also earmark the end of the kingdom of God?
Tony's reply: “For thus will be richly supplied to you the entrance into the eonian kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” This eonian kingdom is the kingdom which pertains to the eons. After all are subjected then the eonian kingdom is not needed to subject people. It ceases to be the kingdom of Jesus Christ when all are subjected to God, for then Christ gives up the kingdom to His God and Father and Christ ceases to reign. God then will be All in all (see 1 Cor.15:22-28).

Eric continues: The same words in both Greek and English are used to describe the future punishment of the wicked that are used to describe God, the Spirit, salvation, and the kingdom. “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt. 25:41). Therefore, the fallacy with even arguing how long the duration of “aion” and “aionios” as to mean an age or duration of time less than forever and ever and to mean something other than time everlasting to support the doctrine of universal reconciliation is that then the same argument can be applied to heaven, God, and the everlasting life of the saints. In this the universalist is not consistent with their argument of what these words mean. Further, any objections to aion and aioni[o]s being rendered as “for ever” in English and not specifically covered here will be based on such scanty factual evidence or philosophical reasoning as to be made untenable to be the basis of one's belief in universalism. I am confident in the doctrine of eternal conscious punishment for the wicked as was S. Lewis Johnson, who wrote: “It is doubful that there is a doctrine in the Bible easier to [prove] than that of eternal punishment (cf. Matthew 25:46).”
Tony's reply: I think Eric is confused. First of all “aionios” does not mean “an age.” It is an adjective. It means “pertaining to the age or eon.” Also, eon does not mean “not forever.” We do not say that eon means “not forever.” We are saying that eon does not mean “forever.” For instance, say I hold up a yellow book. And I say that the book is yellow. I'm not saying that yellow means “not red.” Eonian does not mean “everlasting.” But it also does not mean “not everlasting.”
Here are some examples of nouns and their adjectives:

heaven is a noun
heavenly is an adjective
I saw an heavenly angel. The angel pertains to heaven.

America is a noun
American is an adjective
George Bush was the American president. His presidency pertained to America.

aion (eon) is a noun
aionion (eonian) is an adjective

“...and these shall be coming away into eonian chastening, yet the just into life eonian” (Matt.25:46). Both the chastening and the life pertain to the eon. Both are just as long. It's about nations and how those nations treated Christ's brethren. Some nations get to enjoy the 1000 years of bliss which the kingdom on earth brings. Some nations that mistreated His brethren do not. This is basic English grammar.

     I'd like to repeat something Eric wrote above and comment on it.
Eric wrote: “Therefore, the fallacy with even arguing how long the duration of “aion” and “aionios” as to mean an age or duration of time less than forever and ever and to mean something other than time everlasting to support the doctrine of universal reconciliation is that then the same argument can be applied to heaven, God, and the everlasting life of the saints.
Tony's reply: Heaven is never said to be eternal nor everlasting nor even eonian in the Bible. God is said to be the eonian God in Romans 16:26 (often mistranslated in some Bibles as “everlasting.” But does God just last for an ever? Young's Literal New Testament says “the age-during God.” But does God enjure for an age? The true translation is “the eonian God.” This does not tell us how long God lives but tells us the relationship He has with the eons. By “eonian” this adjective is telling us that which pertains to the eons. God is the God pertaining to the eons. He is over them, directing them, subjecting mankind to the goal He has for each eon.
     As for Eric stating that aion and aionios must not be less than forever and ever else the life of the saints will not be eternal is wholly mistaken. The Bible says we get eonian life. It also states that we will put on immortality (see 1 Corinthians 15:53,54). We don't have unending life because we get eonian life. We get unending life because we will put on immortality and incorruption! Eonian life just tells us we get to have life pertaining to the final two eons.

Eric continues: “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works” (Titus 2:11-14).

Theological Issues

1. Is there really a second chance for salvation after physical death?
2. Is one's salvation based on one's level of light/desire for God, or is salvation based on a true knowledge of and repentant response to the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ in a person's normal lifetime?
3. Does Scripture teach the ultimate reconciliation of all things in such a way that the ongoing, eternal existence of hell, Satan, demons, and unbelievers would be a contradiction or that would militate against God's full glory (cf. John 12:32; 1 Cor 15:28; Eph1:10; Phil 2:10-11)?
Tony's reply:
1. There is no first chance nor a second chance. God does not work by chance. He works by choice. He chooses those who are to believe.
2. Salvation is based upon Christ dying for our sins. It is believing God. God says that Christ died for your sins. If you can say “God, I believe You concerning that,” then it is proof of your salvation.
3. Yes the ultimate reconciliation of all beings proves that all beings that are at enmity to God will, in the future, no longer be at enmity with God and will be at peace with Him. Eric references Philippians 2:10-11. Please note that the word “confess” in the KJV in Philippians 2:11 is “thank” in Matthew 11:25. These people are thankfully acclaiming that Jesus Christ is their Lord to the glory of God the Father. Remember that 1 Corinthians12:3 says that no man can say that Jesus Christ is Lord but by the Holy Spirit. So the thankful acclamation in Philippians 2:9-11 is due to the inner work of the Spirit of God and that Christ went to the cross for them (vs.8). Eric questions whether a full reconciliation would militate against God's full glory. If he would just take a peek at Philippians 2:11 he would see that a full reconciliation of all mankind brings full glory to God.
     Eric refers to Ephesians 1:10 above. This is interesting for this is speaking of a future time when all believers take part in the administration to head up all in the Christ, both the (all) in the heavens and the (all) on the earth.” This proves that more than the current believers will be in Christ in the far off future. “In Him, in Whom our lot was cast also” (Eph.1:11). Since it states that our lot was cast also in Christ, it stands to reason that the rest of mankind's lot was cast in Christ as well. This is great news for it shows that what allotment Christ gets, all mankind get, for our lot is cast in Him.

Eric's final notes:

Key Words

aiwn /aiwniov (aion, aionios)
1. Context strongly determines the meaning of eternity/eternal,
whether it be “for an extremely long time” or “forever.”

Tony's reply: Actually context strongly determines the meaning of aion as the duration of a person's existence on earth or an epochal duration.

Eric: 2. With rare exceptions (e.g., Rev 19:3), the plural is always used in the sense of “forever.”
Tony's reply: Maybe it is used in the sense of “forever” in the KJV but not in all really good translations. By the way, Revelation 19:3 actually says “for ever and ever” or more literally: “for the eons of the eons.”
Some good translations translate eis ton aionas ton aionon this way:

Rev 19:3: “And a second time they said, Hallelujah. And her smoke goes up to the ages of ages.”

Rev 19:3: “And, a second time, have they said—Hallelujah! And, her smoke, ascendeth unto ages of ages.”

Rev 19:3: “And a second time they said, “Hallelujah! For her smoke ascends until the Ages of the Ages.”

Rev 19:3: “and a second time they said, `Alleluia;' and her smoke doth come up--to the ages of the ages!
(Young's Literal Translation)

Rev 19:3: “And a second time have they declared, “Hallelujah!” And her smoke is ascending for the eons of the eons.”
(Concordant Literal New Testament)

Eric continues: 3. Would not Rev 14:11 indicate an eternal experience not just eternal results, as also the lake of fire experience (Rev 20:10)?
Tony's reply: No. The lake of fire is never said to be eternal. Also, I don't see any reason why it would have to indicate such as you suggest, according to these very good translations:

Rev 14:11: And the smoke of their torment goes up to ages of ages, and they have no respite day and night who do homage to the beast and to its image, and if any one receive the mark of its name.

Rev 14:11: And, the smoke of their torment, unto ages of ages, ascendeth; And they have no rest day or night, who do homage unto the beast and his image, or if anyone receiveth the mark of his name.

Rev 14:11: And the smoke of their torment goes up until the Ages of the Ages; and the worshipers of the Wild Beast and his statue have no rest day or night, nor has any one who receives the mark of his name.

Rev 14:11: and the smoke of their torment doth go up to ages of ages; and they have no rest day and night, who are bowing before the beast and his image, also if any doth receive the mark of his name.
(Young's Literal Translation)

Rev.14:11 And the fumes of their torment are ascending for the eons of the eons. And they are having no rest day and night, those worshiping the wild beast and its image, and if anyone is getting the emblem of its name.
(Concordant Literal New Testament)

Eric: 4. The use of the plural aiwna (aiona) in Jude 13 to describe the experience of “black darkness” is utterly unexpected and unnecessary if universalism were in view (cf. 2 Pet 2:17 where aiona is not used).
Tonys' reply: There is no plural form of aion in Jude 13. Aiona is the singular form and should be translated as:
     “wild billows of the sea, frothing forth their own shame; straying stars, for whom the gloom of darkness has been kept for an eon”. Also, the use of aiona is necessary even if universalism is true since it is a temporary condition before all are saved.

Eric: Sources:

Richard L. Mayhue, Master's Seminary Journal, Fall 1998.
S. Lewis Johnson, God Gave Them Up, 1972.
Gerhart Kittel, Theological Dictonary of the New Testament (Abridged), pp. 31-32.
Colin Brown, The New International Dictonary of New Testament Theology, pp. 826-850.
Joseph H. Thayer, Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, Baker Book, January 1999.
Copyright © 2001, Eric N. Landstrom
Tony's final word: And there you have it. Oh, by the way, if you notice the sources Eric uses above, you will note that they are all extra-biblical sources; something which Eric thinks is just horrible for Universalists to use!

Tony Nungesser

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