Words Teaching Endless Duration

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But the Blessed Life has not been left dependent on so equivocal a word. The soul's immortal and happy existence is taught in the New Testament, by words that in the Bible are never applied to anything that is of limited duration. They are applied to God and the soul's happy existence only. These words are akataluton, imperishable; amarantos and amarantinos, unfading; aphtharto, immortal, incorruptible; and athanasian, immortality. Let us quote some of the passages in which these words occur:

Heb. 7:15, 16, "And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchizedek there ariseth another priest, who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless (akatalutos, imperishable) life." 1 Pet. 1:3, 4, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy, hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, (aphtharton,) and undefiled, and that fadeth not (amaranton) away." 1 Pet. 5:4, "And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory thatfadeth not (amarantinos) away." 1 Tim. 1:17, "Now unto the King eternal, immortal, (aphtharto,) invisible, the only wise god, be honor and glory forever and ever, Amen." Rom. 1:23, "And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man." 1 Cor. 9:25, "Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible." 1 Cor. 15:51-54, "Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, (aphthartoi,) and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, (aphtharsian,) and this mortal must put on immortality (athanasian). So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, (aphtharsian,) and this mortal shall have put on immortality, (athanasian,) then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory." Rom. 2:7, "To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, (aphtharsia,) eternal life." 1 Cor. 15:42, "So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption (aphtharsia)." See also verse 50, 2 Tim 1:10, "Who brought life and immortality (aphtharsian) to light, through the gospel." 1 Tim. 6:16, "Who only hath immortality (athanasian)."

Now these words are applied to God and the soul's happiness. They are words that in the Bible are never applied to punishment, or to anything perishable. They would have been affixed to punishment had the Bible intended to teach endless punishment. And certainly they show the error of those who declare that the indefinite word aiónion is all the word, or the strongest word in the Bible declarative of the endlessness of the life beyond the grave. A little more study of the subject would prevent such reckless statements and would show that the happy, endless life does not depend at all on the pet word of the partialist critics.

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