2 Thessalonians 1:6-9

Discussion in 'Free-For-All Archives' started by Eladar, Jul 1, 2003.

  1. Eladar

    Eladar
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    2 Thessalonians 1:6-9

    Any thoughts on what this means?

    ***Yes, I posted this especially for the Universalists out there***
     
  2. Smoky

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    In this case we should follow the more literal KJV:

    2 Thes. 1:6-9 (KJV)
    Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; [7] And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, [8] In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: [9] Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;

    You see, the greek word translated "away from the presence" should be merely "from the presence", signifying that the "everlasting destruction" is wrought by the appearance and presance of the Lord, not away from Him. The same word is used in 2 Thessalonians 1:2 where it says "Grace to you and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ" In this case the "grace and peace" are not "away from God the Father, but come from God the Father. So if "everlasting destruction" is accomplished by the presence of the Lord and not away from the presence of the Lord, what does this "everlasting destruction" mean in Paul's theology? Well notice how Paul explains in 1 Cor. 5:5 ," you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh , so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord." What is destroyed is the "sinful nature"-- flesh . "Flaming fire" is a metaphore used by Paul and the Lord Jesus in other scriptures to refer to the refining power of God to purge out the sinful nature. Jesus said:
    Mark 9:49 (ESV) "For everyone will be salted with fire". Salt was used to preserve or to make things better. Another scripture of Paul about the judgment of Christ is 1 Cor. 3:13-15 (ESV)" each one's work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire , and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. [14] If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. [15] If anyone's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire."
     
  3. Eladar

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    OK, I'll work with you for a moment, using your interpretation and your prefered text.
    According to the KJV, how long are these people going to suffer under fire?
     
  4. Smoky

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    The word translated everlasting or eternal is the greek " aionios " which means " age induring " or " that which pertains to an age ". In classical or platonic greek it could mean "outside of time without beginning or end", but for Paul it meant "age enduring". In Romans 16:25-26, he spoke of a mystery that was kept secret for long "ages(aionios)", but is now disclosed. Those "ages" came to an end when the secret was disclosed. So anything "aionios" can come to an end when the purpose is served. So when the purpose of God's judgment is served it comes to an end! Aionios can also be a word which modifies only God, since He is the only Being outside of time with no beginning or end. Eternal life is that quality of life which only befits the Eternal God to give. It doesn't refer as much to the length of the life as it does the quality of life. It would be possible for a person to have an unending life that was also a miserable life. What makes it worthwhile is the quality of life bestowed by the Eternal God. The same is true of "Eternal punishment". The word for "punishment" is " kolasis ", which according to Greek scholar William Barclay is never used of anything but " remedial or corrective punishment ". So eternal punishment is that kind of corrective punishment which only befits the Eternal God to give, and when it's purpose is accomplished to "purge away the sinful nature", comes to an end. Only God knows how long that will take.
     
  5. Eladar

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    Why is it that the translators screwed this up so badly?
     
  6. Eladar

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    One other question...

    Do you believe that every time aionios is used in the Bible that it speaks an 'age' that will have a beginning and an end?
     
  7. Smoky

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    Well,I don't know but I personally believe that traditional beliefs about eternal punishment have been so deeply engrained for so long that its hard for the translators to see it any other way. Look how the translation you used screwed up the original by saying "away from the presence of God" instead of simply "from the presence of God" like the original Greek has it. I don't know that aionios always speaks of an age that will have a beginning and an end, but I've showed that it very well can speak of it! Like I said, in classical usage, it could mean "without beginning or end" so therefor could be used as an ajective referring to God, since He is the only One fitting that description. I guess its possible to extend the meaning of the word to refer to what our English word "eternal" means in certain contexts. I believe that when it's used to refer to "eternal life" it also means "unending life of a divine quality". If it came to an end, the quality of the life could be brought into question. Weve already seen that "eternal life" refers to quality of life as much as duration, however the duration would be part of the quality in my opinion. There are other scriptures in the Bible that teach us that the "eternal life" of God will also be unending.
     
  8. Eladar

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    You lost me. How did we see that "eternal life" refers to quality of life?

    What about Matthew 25:46?
    Both everlasting and eternal are translations of "aionios". Why would one assume that the same word has two different meanings in the exact same sentence? It seems to me that either "aionios" means "age" in both cases or "eternity" in both cases.
     
  9. dumbox1

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    Hi Smoke,

    I'm curious what source you're using for your discussions of the Greek. I took a quick look at "blueletterbible.com" (my favorite online resource when I'm away from my library), and they vary somewhat from what you're saying.

    Thanks,

    Mark
     
  10. Eladar

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    I just went back and reread your earlier post. I see what you meant by quality of life.
     
  11. Smoky

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    Hi Tuor and Mark,

    Aionios is a dirivitive of Aion. Strong's Greek and Hebrew dictionary defines Aion as:

    aion, ahee-ohn'; from the same as Greek 104 (aei); properly an age ; by extension perpetuity (also past); by implication the world ; specially (Jewish) a Messianic period (present or future) :- age, course, eternal, (for) ever (-more), [n-]ever, (beginning of the, while the) world (began, without end). Compare Greek 5550 (chronos).

    This definition states that it can mean both "age" and also classically "without begining or end", or our understanding of eternal. Math.25:46 could be translated as ,"And these shall go away into the life of the new age: but the righteous into the punishment of the new age"

    If we adopt the classical meaning of aionios, which I don't believe applies here, then we know that the word can only modify God, because He is the only one without beginning or end. In this case Math.25:46 would mean," And these shall go away into the punishment only befitting of God to give: but the righteous into that quality of life only befitting of God to give. I don't switch the meaning of "aionios" for life and the meaning of "aionios" for punishment.

    I think the Gospel writers believed like the Jews did shortly before the appearance of Jesus; they thought in terms of two ages, the "present age" and the "age to come" The "age to come" was a golden age where God's presence and redemptive work would finally be completed. In time they came to associate the literal meaning of "that which pertains to an age" with "that which manifests the presence of God in a special way". Eternal life began to mean "the mode of living associated with the age to come where the will of God would be carried out to perfection. Jesus said:
    John 17:3 (ESV) " And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent." So "eternal life" does refer to a quality of life!
    The point I'm trying to make is that if "eternal life" means nothing more than an unending life without any regard to quality, then that unending life could very well be nothing more than hell! John 17:3 shows us that "eternal life means knowing God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

    I'm sorry, I didn't mean to say that the word "aionios" had a different meaning for "eternal punishment" than it does for "eternal life". Eternal is a hard word to translate into English. That's why there's so much confusion about it. I believe that the New Testament writers perceived it to be "that quality of life pertaining to the age to come" It refered to both an age and the quality of that age. The fact that the eternal punishment doesn't go on endlessly, though, does not on the same token mean that the eternal life doesn't either, because the quality of that future life to come would incorporate "duration" as part of the quality. A life that didn't last, wouldn't be a very good quality of life, and the Lord told us that in that life, there will be no more death!

    http://pantheon.yale.edu/~kd47/univ.htm#10.
     
  12. Eladar

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    I could go on, but I don't think it would do much good. At least now I know how you guys look at these verses.
     

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