We received the following question about the nature of the kingdom and the Biblical use of the words “forever” eternal, etc.. This is a very good question and we appreciate receiving it.
From: “Dana” ****
Sent: Thursday, March 22, 2012 7:19 AM
To: Don Preston
Subject: Got a question for you
When I can, I like to anticipate conflicts in my arguments before someone ask the question. I am sure you do the same.
I while back, I watched the teaching you did concerning the Land Promises. I was very good by the way, thank you for providing that. You talked about the word that was translated to “forever”, but you said that it wasn’t forever. It was conditional. I know I am not quoting you exactly. And just to let you know I am ok with your explanation. But here is my conflict, that which was passing away was promised to be forever, but it passed. Now we say this new age is forever and not passing away. How do we know that this age doesn’t have it’s limitations as well?
I know the Scriptures doesn’t say anything concerning this age ending, like I said, I could see this coming up and I wanted to see if you had considered this or had anyone to bring this up?
Here is my response:
<<Hello, Dana! You ask a very valid question. Let me give you a few thoughts.
1.) There is no doubt that the word translated as “forever”, “eternal”, “perpetual” etc. in the OT, the word “Olam” does not of itself denote or convey the idea of endlessness. Only context can determine the definition. Genesius’ Hebrew Lexicon confirms this.
2.) When the Hebrews wanted to express the idea of endlessness, they would say something had not end, or, they would often contrast things that do end, that are temporary, with the things that they are discussing as “eternal.” For instance, in the prophecies of the coming of the kingdom in Daniel, we find the end of the four kingdoms, but, in stark contrast, the kingdom of Messiah shall never be moved, never destroyed (Daniel 2:44: 7:13-14).
3.) In Isaiah 9:6-9 it tells us that of the increase of Messiah’s reign and government, “there will be no end.” The term “no end” is the word for “end” with the negative “a” added to it: Thus, no end. This occurs a lot in the OT.
4.) When it comes to the Greek NT, we find some of the same issues at work. However, according to F. F. Bruce, Greg Beale, and other noted Greek scholars, in passages such as Ephesians 3:20-21; Revelation 11:15-18, we find the Greek expression “aionion ton aionion” or cognates, and these scholars tell us that this is the strongest expression in the Greek language for endlessness.
Also in the NT, we find the same situation as in the Old. WE find the writers expressly telling us that the kingdom of Messiah and his rule has no end (Luke 1:33). And, in direct contrast to the Old Covenant age that was being “shaken” i.e. removed, the New Covenant kingdom / age is a kingdom “that cannot be moved” (Hebrews 12:28).
Hope this helps a bit!
Thanks for asking this good question.
For HIs Truth, and In His Grace,
Don K. Preston>>