Waiving the passages where it is applied to God, and where by accommodation it may be allowed to imply endlessness, just as great applied to God means infinity, let us consult the general usage: Eccl. 1:10, "Is there anything whereof it may be said, See, this is new! It hath been already of old time, which was before us." Ps. 25:6, "Remember, O LORD, thy tender mercies and thy loving kindnesses; for they have been ever of old," (aionos). Ps. 119:52, "I remembered thy judgments of old, O LORD; and have comforted myself." Isa. 46:9, "Remember the former things of old." Isa. 64:4, "Since the beginning of the world," (aionos). Jer. 28:8, "The prophets that have been before me and before thee of old prophesied both against many countries, and against great kingdoms, of war, and of evil, and of pestilence!" Jer. 2:20, "For of old time I have broken thy yoke, and burst thy bands." Prov. 8:23, "I (wisdom) was set up from everlasting (aionos) from the beginning, or ever the earth was." Here aionos and "before the world was, " are in apposition. Ps. 73:12, "Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world" (time, aionos.) Deut. 32:7, "Remember the days of old." Ezek. 26:20, "The people of old time." Ps. 143:3,
"Those who have been long dead." —Same in Lam. 3:6. Amos 9:11, "Days of old." Isa. 1:9, "Generations of old." Micah 7:14, "Days of old." Same in Malachi 3:4. Ps. 48:14, "For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death." This plural form denotes "even unto death." Christ's kingdom is prophesied as destined to endure "forever," "without end," etc. Dan. 2:44; Isa. 59:21; Ps. 110:4; Isa. 9:7; Ps. 89:29. Now if anything is taught in the Bible, it is that Christ's kingdom shall end. In 1 Corin. 15: it is expressly and explicitly declared that Jesus shall surrender the kingdom to God the Father, that his reign shall entirely cease. Hence, when we read in such passages as Dan. 2:44, that Christ's kingdom shall stand forever, we must understand that the forever denotes the reign of Messias, bounded by "the end," when God shall be "all in all."
Servants were declared to be bound forever, when all servants were emancipated every fifty years. Thus in Deut. 15:16,17, we read, "And it shall be, if he say unto thee, I will not go away from thee; because he loveth thee and thine house, because he is well with thee, then thou shalt take an awl, and thrust it through his ear unto the door, and he shall be thy servant forever." And yet we are told, Lev. 25:10,39,41, "And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family. And if thy brother that dwelleth with thee be waxen poor, and be sold unto thee; thou shalt not compel him to serve as a bond servant, but as a hired servant, and as a sojourner, he shall be with thee, and shall serve thee unto the year of jubilee: and then shall he depart from thee, both he and his children with him, and shall return unto his own family, and unto the possession of his father shall he return." This forever at the utmost could only be forty-nine years and three hundred and sixty-four days and some odd hours. And certainly no one will ascribe endless duration to aion in the following passages: 2 Sam. 7:16,29; 1 Ki. 2:45, and 9:5; 1 Chron. 17:27, and 28:4; 2 Chron. 13:5; Psa. 89:4,36,37; Ezek. 37:25; 1 Sam. 13:13; 2 Sam. 7:13,16,25,26; 22:51; 1 Ki. 2:33; 1 Chron. 17:12,14,14,23, and 22:10, 28:7; Psa. 18:50, 89:4, and 132:12; Ex.32:13, Josh. 14:9; 1 Chron. 20:7; Jud. 2:1; 2 Ch. 7:3; Psa. 105:8; Gen. 13:15; 1 Ch. 28:4,7,8; Jer. 31:40; Ezek. 37:25; Jer. 7:7, 2 Sa. 7:24; 1 Chron. 17:22; Joel3:20; 2 Ki. 21:7; 2 Chron. 37:4; Psa. 48:8; Jer. 17:25; 1 Chron. 23:25; Isa. 28:7; 1 Ki.9:3; 2 Chron. 30:8; Ezek. 37:26,28; 2 Chron. 7:16; Ex. 19:9, and 40:15; 1 Chron. 23:23, 13; 1 Chron. 15:2; Lev. 3:17; 2 Chron. 2:4; Ex. 12:24; Josh. 4:7; Am.1:11; Isa. 13:20; Isa. 33:20, 34:10; 1 Ki. 10:9; 2 Chron.9:8; Psa. 102:28; Ezek. 43:7.
Many passages allude to the earth as enduring forever — to the grave, as man's "long home," to God's existence, as "Forever, etc." Often the language is equivalent to "to the ages," or "from age to age," and sometimes eternal duration is predicated, never because the word compels it, but because the theme treated requires it.
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