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13: 20. Having purged his people, not as under the law with the blood of goats and calves, "but by his own blood, he entered in once unto the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption," Heb. 9: 12. "And being made perfect through suffering, became the author of eternal salvation to all them that obey him," Heb. 5: 9. Christ's salvation is called a great salvation, Heb. 2: 3. probably in reference to other salvations which God wrought for ancient Israel. And here it is called eternal in the same comparative sense, for God wrought many salvations for them. This salvation was abiding. Comp. Luke 1: 74, 75. Is it asked-Salvation from what? I answer, not from hell and endless misery, for this is no where said in Scripture, but from sin and death, which Christ shall finally accomplish. See 1 Cor. 15.
In 2 Peter 3: 18. we have also the following ascription of praise. "To whom be glory both now and forever. The Greek here is "eis hemeran aionos." Macknight says this is "unto the day of eternity." But how can this be, for what has eternity to do with days? Besides, how does this agree to some quotations made from him respecting aionos, which he says means an age. We should say the text simply says "to him the glory both now and unto the day of the age." Some copies have it, "unto the age of ages," similar to passages noticed above. We should think the duration expressed is "during the age of the Messiah."
Luke 16: 9. "That when ye fail they may receive you into everlasting habitations." Dr. Campbell says, "the epithet unrighteous, here applied to mammon or riches, does not imply acquired by injustice or any undue means; but, in this application, it denotes false riches, that is, deceitful, not to be relied on." Well, does not the epithet everlasting, applied to habitations, mean stable and satisfactory? See
on Psalm 49: 11. and 2 Thess. 2: 16. and other texts above. But as it is applied, not to punishment, but to happiness, it requires no further attention.
2 Cor. 4: 17, 18. and 5: 1. I shall quote together. "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; 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. For we know, that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." In these verses, glory is contrasted with affliction, weight of glory with light affliction, and a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, with affliction which is but for a moment. Besides, things which are not seen, are contrasted with things which are seen, and the eternal duration of things not seen, with the temporary duration of things which are seen; and an house not made with hands, is contrasted with the house of this tabernacle, and the house not made with hands eternal in the heavens with the earthly house of this tabernacle. But notice, the duration of these things is said to be in the heavens, and we think could be shown from the context, to refer to that state of things after the resurrection, when mortality is swallowed up of life, verse 4. See the whole context, and a paper in volume vii. of the Universalist Magazine on verse 10. The idea conveyed by the word eternal in all these verses, seems to be the stability of the things of that state compared to those of the present. Though the idea of their endless duration is included, yet the apostle's object seems to be more their stability than their endless duration. But as these passages have no relation to punishment, it is unnecessary to enter into further remarks, except to say, that the same or sim
ilar things are not said in regard to the punishment of any after the dissolution of their earthly tabernacle. This we shall see in Section 7. where all the passages are considered where eternal is applied to punishment.
ALL THE PLACES WHERE AION AND AIONOS ARE RENDERED WORLD, CONsidered.
I FIND the Greek phrase, eis ton aiona, rendered world, 1 Cor. 8: 13. "If meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no meat while the world standeth." Here the same Greek phrase is rendered world, which we have seen, is rendered never, forever, and for evermore. And why is it so rendered here? Because, it would not do to say-"I will eat no flesh while the never, forever, or everlasting standeth." It is plain that this phrase did not express endless duration by the sacred writers.
In Heb. 1: 2. and 11: 3. we have the phrase tous aionas, and is rendered worlds. "By whom also he made the worlds. Through faith we understand that the worlds were made by the word of God." On the first of these texts Pierce says. "If we render the words by whom also he appointed the ages, the sense will fall in with Eph. 3: 11. See Mr. Locke upon that verse." See on this passage in the last Section. On the second, Macknight says it is literally-" sæcula,
the ages." Ewing renders it-"By faith we understand the ages were framed by the word of God." Those ages, he says, were reckoned three-" that before the law, that under the law, and that under the Messiah."
Eph. 3: 21. "Unto him be glory in the church, by Christ Jesus, throughout all ages, world without end." The Greek here is eis pasas tas geneas tou aionos ton aionon. Macknight says this phrase literally is-" throughout all the generations of the age of ages." Is a proper eternity measured by generations? Surely not. By the age of ages seems to be meant the duration of Messiah's reign, or until he delivers up the kingdom to God the father, 1 Cor. 15: 24-28. Until then God is to be glorified in the church by Christ Jesus. I would suggest it for consideration-Is not the age of the Messiah called the age of ages in a similar sense as he is called "king of kings and Lord of lords?" The age of the Messiah, was that for which all the others were constituted, shall continue throughout all the generations of this world, and is to be superseded by no other, like the ages which have preceded it.
The word aion is not only rendered world, but we read both of the beginning and end of the world or age; the one class precisely answering to the other. Let us first notice the texts which speak of the beginning of the age or world.
Eph. 3: 9. "And to make all men see, what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ." Wakefield renders it thus, "was hidden from the ages in God." Macknight in his note on this text says, "Hid from the ages. So the original phrase apo ton aionon, ought to be translated, as is plain from Col. 1: 26. where generations are also mentioned." To render aion here by any
word implying endless duration, would make the apostle speak of the beginning of the everlasting or eternal duration, which would be a contradiction in
Tit. 1 2. "In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began." Wakefield renders it" promised before the ages." Macknight, in his note on this text, says, "Before the times of the ages. Προ χρονων αιωνιων. Supposing that the word avios in this clause to signify eternal, the literal translation of the passage would be, before eternal times. But that being a contradiction in terms our translators, contrary to the propriety of the Greek language, have rendered it before the world began.— As Locke observes on Rom. 16: 25. the true literal translation is, before the secular times; referring us the Jewish jubilees, by which times were computed among the Hebrews; as among the Gentiles they were computed by generations of men. Hence Col. 1:26. The mystery which was kept hid, awo Twv diwvwv Has Aao TWY JEVERY from the ages and from the generations, και απο των γενεων signifies the mystery which was kept hid from the Jews and from the Gentiles. See this explained Rom. 16: 25. note 3." Whitby's note is for substance the same. Did God promise eternal life before the everlasting or the eternity began? The same or similar remarks apply to the next passage.
Rom. 16: 25. "According to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began." Wakefield renders it-"which was kept secret from the ages of old." See Macknight on Rom.
Luke 1: 70. "As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began." Permit me to ask-Has God spoken by his holy prophets which have been since the everlasting or eternity began? Who believes eternity has a be