HAVE YOU ever wondered how God was intending to end all this business of running the universe? Did you ever stop to think that God knew how everything would be and how it would become before He created even a single thing? Did you ever realize that, because of this fact, God must have certainly had a purpose in view before He created Adam? Did you ever stop to realize how the teaching of eternal punishment would fit in with that unchangeable truth? Did you never wonder if Christ meant in a literal, actual sense what He said in John 12:32: "And I, if I should be exalted out of the earth, shall be drawing all to Myself"?
Will all men be saved when God has completed His plan for the ages, "His purpose of the eons, which He makes in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Eph.3:11)? The Scriptures clearly state that God will accomplish this to His great glory, but many are the arguments against this truth. Even so, we believe that, as God grants you understanding, you too will come to reverently worship God as the Supreme One, Who in His love, plans far, far ahead, and by His surpassing wisdom and power makes the most dark and tedious ways all open into the terminus of shining glory.
(1) Colossians 1:20: "And through Him to reconcile all to Him (making peace through the blood of His [Christ's] cross), through Him, whether those on the earth or those in the heavens."
(2) As Saul of Tarsus, Paul was the foremost sinner (1 Tim.1 :13-15). If he was saved by Gods deliberate choice and convincing proof of Christs divine Sonship, then all other sinners can even more readily be turned to God, in His own time.
(3) Philippians 2:10,11: "That in the name of Jesus every knee should be bowing, celestial and terrestrial and subterranean, and every tongue should be acclaiming that Jesus Christ is Lord, for the glory of God, the Father."
(4) 1 Corinthians 15:22: "Even as, in Adam, all are dying, thus also, in Christ, shall all be vivified."
(5) General Argument Against: "There is then no urgency to be saved now."
(6) General Argument Against: "The Bible (AV) speaks of 'everlasting punishment (Matt.25 :46) and 'everlasting fire (Matt.18:8)."
- Argument: "Eon varies in meaning in the Scripture, sometimes having a temporal meaning, and sometimes being eternal and unlimited."
- Answer: No word can have such contradictory usages, else how do we know what it means at any given time? Finiteness and infinitude are as opposite as east and west.
- Argument: "Granted, 'eon means 'age or a limited period of time, but 'for ever and ever (Rev.20:10, AV) will not be for a limited number of eons, but, as the Greek has it, 'for the eons of the eons: i.e., for an unlimited numbers of eons which themselves contain still additional eons, or 'eons tumbled upon eons.' This must be as endless as Christs reign (Rev. 11:15), and the reign of the saints (Rev.22:5)."
- Answer: A period of time cannot contain other periods of time of the same kind, or the term becomes meaningless. "The eons of the eons" are the final "eons" (ages) as distinct from the other scriptural eons. This is because they are the grandest and most significant eons of all the eonian times. Every like expression has a similar meaning: e.g., day of days, heart of hearts, holy of holies. (The Greek also has two singular forms, "eon of the eon" and "eon of the eons," referring to the last great eon. To be correct in our findings, we must note the scriptural forms and distinctions.) Christs reign is not endless, but only until all is subject (1 Cor.15:24-28). Then all rule will be abolished.
- Argument: "If the 'eternal punishment (AV) of the unbelievers has an end, then the 'eternal life (AV) of the saints has an end also, at the end of the ages."
- Answer: How can life end if death is abolished at that time (1 Cor.15:26)? The life of the eons ends when all are vivified, at the "end" (or "consummation") of the eons (1 Cor. 15:24). Life itself, however, continues on interminably (cp Luke 1:33b).
- Argument: "Then God is not 'everlasting, as He is called in Romans 16:26 (Av)."
- Answer: The idea of "lastingness" is no part of the Greek word aionion. "Eonian" is simply the adjectival form of "eon." Just as "American" speaks of that which pertains to "America," eonian speaks of that which pertains to the eons.
It is helpful to take note of the previous text (v.25) observing that the phrase "kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest" (AV) is actually "hushed in times eonian, yet manifested now" (CV). Therefore "eonian" is certainly not "eternal" ("eonian" also occurs in the phrase "before times eonian"; 2 Tim.1:9; Titus 1:2). The adjective "eonian" means "pertaining to the eons." That God is the God of the eons does not confine Him to these periods of times any more than His title "the God of Israel" precludes His being the God of all. Other "gods" fall and are forgotten; but we have a God Who made the eons (Heb.1:2), Who has a purpose of the eons (Eph.3:11), and Who accomplishes His purposes accordingly during the eonian times (cf Titus 1:2). Hence He is the eonian God or Subjector. The eons belong to Him and He belongs to them, and His shall be the glory for them long after they are past.
- Argument: "In 2 Corinthians 4:18, 'eonian must mean 'eternal because it is set in contrast to the word 'temporal, meaning enduring for time as opposed to eternity."
- Answer: The Greek word translated "temporal" has no connection with the word for "time"; it is literally TOWARD-SEASON, and means "temporary" or "for the era." In the passage in question, "eonian" is used in contrast between our afflictions, which last for a brief "season," and our promised, long enduring "eonian" glory, which lasts until all opens out into the glorious consummation.
(7) 1 Corinthians 15:28: "Now, whenever all may be subjected to Him, then the Son [Christ] Himself also shall be subjected to Him Who subjects all to Him, that God may be All in all."
"Through the blood of His cross" (Col. 1:20), Christ makes peace for all with the Father and at last so teaches each one as to bring all into the blessed family of God. This is "in accord with the purpose of the eons, which He makes in Christ Jesus, our Lord" (Eph.3:11). Thus He gains the enduring love of every creature.
We have just reviewed the most important facts concerning what Gods Word teaches concerning universal reconciliation. Our part is to believe what the Scriptures state and not to doubt. May we be walking in love toward all, while serving Him faithfully.
God "is operating all in accord with the counsel of His will" (Eph.1:11), even though we cannot know precisely how He does so. God is "the Saviour of all mankind, especially of believers" (1 Tim.4:10; cf 2:4-7). "Seeing that out of Him and through Him and for Him is all: to Him be the glory for the eons! Amen!" (Rom.11:36).
"For I am the El [God], and there is no further Elohim, And the limit is as Me. Telling from the beginning, the hereafter, And from aforetime, what has not yet been done. Saying, All My counsel shall be confirmed, And all My desire I will do." (Isa.46 :9,10).
Eventually all Israel will be saved (Rom.11:26; cf Isa.45:25). How? They will be saved by the sight of their Saviour in His glory, yet still bearing the marks of their crucifixion of Him (cf Zech.12:10,11; 13:1,6). In the same way, no man will be able to resist Christs offer of love when faith is replaced by sight, when all the sinners of all time see their Saviour on the throne of power, and yet displaying the marks of deepest humiliation and suffering which He endured willingly to secure their final reconciliation into the family of God. Grace can only come through the merit of Gods righteous Son. God will show all His lost creatures that it is only love He is seeking and not forced or fearful obeisance. This was His plan even before the eons. Why should we not believe that God in His great wisdom will work out all according to His greatest glory?
God seeks love, above all else. Glory, yes, but only insofar as it will increase the love of His creatures. All else is subservient to this, for "God is love" (1 John 4:8; 16). Gods purpose is not just a wishful longing for love. His only true glory lies in the ultimate success of His plan to secure the full and voluntary response of love from His every creature. Then and then alone -- even as the shepherd who sought and found the one lost sheep -- will He rest from His completed work.
What do you think of this Christ Who lovingly throws His all into such a grand plan to gain the love of every man? If you believe on Him now and His sacrifice for you, you are "justified by faith" (Rom.5:1), and will share in His glories in the grand eons to come.
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