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AN INQUIRY-PART II.
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." 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, 23*
AN INQUIRY-PART H.
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for which all the others were constituted, shall continue throughout all the generations of this world, and is to be superseded by no other, like the ages which have preceded it.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. 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
AN INQUIRY-PART II.
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 αιωνίων. 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 to 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 αι WV WV HAI AWO TWV JEVEwv from the ages and from the generations, 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
ginning? Accordingly, Wakefield renders it "from the first." In his note he says, "ap aionos" signifies "or or of old, literally, from the age." Dr. Campbell renders it" as anciently he promised by his holy prophets;" and Whitby, "from the beginning of ages." See Macknight on the last text.
Acts 3: 21. "Which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his prophets since the world began." The Greek phrase is the same here as in the last text, and is rendered in the same way, and the same remarks apply to it, and need not be repeated. See Macknight on Rom. 16: 25.
Acts 15: 18. The Greek is here the same as in the last text, which saves all labor of transcribing or remarks.
John 9:32. "Since the world began was it not heard, that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind." Wakefield renders it, was it heard yet;" and Dr. Campbell has it, "never was it heard before." See on preceding texts.
2 Tim. 1: 9. "Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus, before the world began." The Greek phrase here is "pro hronon aionion," which Wakefield renders, " before the age." Whitby, "before any age hath passed." Macknight, "before the times of the ages." See his note quoted on Tit. 1 : 2. above.
1 Cor. 2: 7. "But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory." The Greek here is pro ton aionon. Macknight renders it, "before the ages." He understands it "before the Mosaic dispensation." See his notes on Rom. 16: 25. Eph. 3 9. and Col. 1: 26. above.
Such are all the places, where the phrases, the beginning of the world, from the beginning of the world, before the world, and since the world began, occur. On the whole of them I would remark,
1st. That in none of them is there any reference, as many suppose, to this material world, or its beginning. The word aion rendered world, signifies, by the consent of the above critics, and others which might be quoted, simply age. Since the world began, is since the age began. Before the world, signifies before the age, and from the beginning of the world, means from the beginning of the age. If it be asked what age? The answer is, the age or dispensation of the law of Moses. If this be true, and it is indisputable, all must see what a great change it makes in the sense of all the above passages. Besides, it deeply affects the sense of many others, and affords a key to the understanding of some, which we shall presently notice. So far from aion signifying this material world, the above critics have shown, that our translators, contrary to the propriety of the Greek language, have rendered Tit. 2: 2. "before the world began, "which remark applies equally to the other passages. They have shown, that it refers to the dispensation of the law of Moses, which, as Locke observes, is called aion, the age, Luke 1: 70. Acts 3: 21. And chronos aionioi, because, under the law, time was measured by ages or jubilees. See all the above quotations.
2d. The Greek word for this material world is kosmos, and not aion. Besides, where it is used it is never contrasted with aion. For example, the beginning of the kosmos, world, is never contrasted with the end of the aion, or age, nor, the beginning of the aion, age, contrasted with the end of the kosmos, world.
3d. Every person must perceive the absurdity of rendering aion in any of the above texts, by any Eng