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Sixth Edition, 1915
By Dr. John Thomas (first edition written 1861)



Chapter 1

Section 3

4. "For Ever and Ever."



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In response to the salutation from the Deity manifested by spirit in Jesus Anointed, John, as the representative of earth's future kings, ascribes to him as their Prince, "the glory and the supremacy during the Aions of the Aions." In the English version, these words in italics

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are rendered "for ever, and ever;" and represent to the Anglo-Saxon mind the idea of unlimited futurity, commonly styled ETERNITY. This acceptance of the phrase leads to the conclusion, that the supremacy of Jesus as Prince-Priest and King of a priestly dominion on earth, is to be eternal; a notion which implies that sin and death are destined to obtain on this planet eternally. But this conclusion is altogether set aside by the teaching of the New Testament. In 1 Cor. 15:23, Paul lays down a certain order of future development; as, first, "they who are Christ's, made alive in his presence;" second, "the End." Between these two epochs there is a long interval, the duration of which Paul does not define; but, having notified the arrival of "the end," he tells us what is to come to pass then. He says, that the kingdom that had been existing during said interval is to be "delivered up" to the Divine Father; and that this delivering up is consequent upon "all rule, authority, and power" having been "put down:" for the reign of the Son of man is decreed of Heaven to continue till this result shall be consummated. "He must reign TILL he (the Father) have put all enemies under his feet" (Psal. 8:6; 110:1). "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death." The Son, then, is to reign as the Father's kings and priests, until death shall be abolished from the earth. This implies the previous extermination of sin; for death is the wages of sin; and wages are not paid where services are not rendered.

We see, then, that the Son of man is not to reign as the majesty of a priestly kingdom after sin and death are rooted out; and be it remembered, that the kingdom the apocalypse exhibits is the dominion of the Father's kings and priests. It contains but few hints of what is to be the order of things upon earth after "the End" indicated by Paul. The Melchizedec Kingdom of the Deity, subduing and reconciling terrestrial things to him, is the great theme of its visions and descriptions. When the end for which it will be established is accomplished, it will be delivered up, and then "the supremacy" of THE SON, both in respect of "the Head" and "the Body," in other words, of Jesus and his Brethren, will cease. An end will be put to it. During the long interval of a thousand years, the supremacy of the saints is decreed. For all that time, two classes will exist contemporaneously upon earth -- the world-rulers, incorruptible and deathless; and the subject-world of nations, peccable and mortal. Flesh and blood cannot possess this Melchizedec or priestly kingdom. Jesus and the Saints alone can have it; so that while it continues, their supremacy must and will be upheld against all aspirations of the flesh. But when the time arrives for flesh and blood, or "corruption," to be abolished from the earth; and for all its future inhabitants to become Elohim,

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or incorruptible and deathless beings, consubstantial with Deity; the ELOHIM of the previous thousand years will no longer be priests offering gifts and sacrifices for them to the Deity. The priestly supremacy will terminate with the cessation of the necessity which originated it; and the Deity by spirit will be the all things in them all. Thus, "when all things shall be subdued unto him (the Son), then shall the Son also himself BE SUBJECT unto him (the Father) that put all things under him, that the Deity may be the all things in all."

Hence, John, who was in accord with Paul, did not ascribe an eternal supremacy to the Son, as taught by Anglo-Saxonism. He was not contemplating the position of Jesus in a postmillennial order of things; but his position in relation to the Millennial Dominion. In reference to this, he said, "to Him the glory and supremacy during the Aions of the Aions."

"For ever and ever," or even its parallel in Daniel, "for ever, even for ever and ever," are phrases, then, that do not indicate "eternity," being used of things which are in their nature, or constitution, terminable. But we must look to the original, and see what can be made of that. In the text of the Apocalypse, the phrase is !greek! eiV touV aiwnaV twn aiwnwn. This occurs fourteen times, and is uniformly rendered "for ever and ever," except in chap. 1:18, where it is rendered evermore. In chap. 14:11, the definite article is omitted: the reading is, therefore, !greek! eiV aiwnaV aiwnwn.*

[*Later footnote: See R.V. marg. The reference to a uniform rendering is a reference to the AV, or Common Version as John Thomas often called it.]

Now, as the Apocalypse treats of the same subject as that revealed to Daniel in his seventh chapter, namely, the kingdom and conquests of the Saints, we ought to find the Chaldee original of this formula, so frequently occurrent in the New Testament. And this we do in the eighteenth verse of that chapter. In this, the time is specified how long the Saints shall possess the kingdom; the same kingdom that Daniel had told Nebuchadnezzar should "stand !hebrew! leahlmayyah, for OLAHMS" (2:44) -- "they shall possess the kingdom ad ahlmah, wead ahlahm ahlmaiyah, for an Ahlmah, even for an Ahlmah of Ahlmahs." The Chaldee word ahlmah is identical with the Hebrew !hebrew! olahm; and is represented in the Greek by aiwn, though in etymology, different.

The Hebrew and Chaldee nouns are derived from the verb !hebrew! ahlam, "to hide, to conceal." Hence an Olahm, in relation to time, is a period hidden or concealed; hidden in the past, or concealed in the future. In prophecy, it designates absolutely a certain period to exist; but without defining its beginning or ending. The kingdom belonging to the Saints of the Most High Ones (elyonin) is to "stand for hidden periods," or olahms, comprised in one hidden period, or Olahm; which

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must, therefore, be longer than all of them together. Hence this will be a Hidden Period of Hidden Periods, or an Olahm, even an "Olahm of Olahms." I have a translation of Dan. 8:18 before me which renders the time the Saints are to possess the kingdom by the formula, "for eternity, even for eternity of eternity." This, however, is a mere flourish, and no translation, and bears on the face of it proof that the inventor of the form knew nothing about the nature of the kingdom, nor the purpose for which it is to be established. As I have shown, the kingdom is not to continue eternally; so that the Saints cannot hold it for eternity; and as the scripture is true, they do not use the word here in the sense of ever and eternity.

The duration of the Chaldee formula may be approximated from another direction. Thus, the kingdom the Saints are to take is the dominion of the lion, the bear, and the leopard, three of Daniel's four beasts. They are utterly to destroy the fourth, but the political organizations represented by the other three, are to be continued in existence, but without sovereignty. While in existence, they are under the dominion of the Saints, whose administration will not be superseded by other rulers. The existence of these organizations subjectively to the Saints is defined; and consequently, the duration of their holding of the kingdom is thereby defined likewise. In ch. 7:12, it says, "a prolonging in life was given the three beasts ad-z'man we-iddan, during an appointed time and a set time." This, then, is the duration of the Olahm, or Ahlmah, of the kingdom -- a hidden period containing an appointed time and a set time. The Apocalypse has revealed the number of years contained in these kinds of time, in telling us how long the Saints are to reign with Christ after binding the Dragon; whose dominion at the appearing of Christ covers the territories of the polities symbolized by the three beasts. They are to reign thenceforth with him during a thousand years (Apoc. 20:6). The period consists of "a set time," and "an appointed time." A set time is indicated by iddan, which is equivalent to the Hebrew moaid, the word used in Gen. 17:21, where it is said, "Sarah shall bear unto thee Isaac, at this set time in the next year." This is, then, a period of gestation, which consists of 280 days; a day for a year in symbolic time. This, deducted from 1,000, leaves 720 years for the "appointed time;" or two times of 360 years each. Daniel did not discern "what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in him did signify" by the z'man we-iddan, nor by the ahlmah of ahlmahs; but not so with ourselves, -- for the Father has apocalypsed the solution in the thousand years.

The reader will, therefore, understand, that the prophets, under divine inspiration, predicted the development in a future remote from

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their day, of a period that should continue "for a season and a time." They did not know when it should begin, nor what length of time was meant by the formula; and consequently, could not tell when it should come to an end: but that such a period should exist, and be of a very peculiar character, even most glorious to all the righteous who should be contemporary with it, they were all agreed, as is plainly to be seen in all their writings. "I heard," says Daniel, "but I understood not; for the words were closed up and sealed till the time of the end." For this reason, the period was called Olahm, or THE HIDDEN; beyond which the prophets, and those instructed by them, did not often look. They saw it was terminable; and therefore if they spoke of anything not restricted to it, they would say, !hebrew!, ad-olahm we-ad, "during the hidden period and beyond."

The promises made to Abraham and to David had especial reference to this Olahm; and the Apocalypse shows symbolically how the Olahm is to be introduced, and how the promises to those patriarchs are to be performed. Thus, the Spirit said to Abraham in regard to Canaan, "All the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed ad-olahm, during a hidden period." And again, reminding Israel of the same promise, He says by Jeremiah, "If ye thoroughly amend your ways and your doings ... I will cause you to dwell in the land which I gave to your fathers l'min-olahm we-ad olahm for from (the beginning of) the hidden period, and during the hidden period"; which in the Common Version is rendered "for ever and ever", as though the Israelites were destined to be flesh and blood occupants of Canaan for eternity!

The covenant made with David is styled by him in his last words, "a covenant of olahm." In the Common Version this is rendered "an everlasting covenant"; but it ought to be termed "a covenant of the hidden period." It was so styled, because it was to be established then; and as the subject-matter of this covenant is the throne symbolized in Apoc. 4, and the kingdom taken possession of by the Saints in 11:15; Dan. 7:18, it is styled "a kingdom of olahm", or the kingdom pertaining to the hidden period.

The Mosaic Period was an Olahm; for, although the Israelites knew when it began, none of them, not even Jesus, nor the angels, knew when it would come to an end. This is proved by Mark 13:32. When the Mosaic Heaven and Earth should pass away, that olahm would be ended, as it was A.D. 72. In this long period of 1,695 years, there were numerous lesser periods, as the jubilees, or periods of restitution, recurring every fifty years. Hence the Mosaic was an Olahm of Olahms, one long period containing many lesser ones. But this system

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of periods did not terminate in itself. It was typical, or representative, of times and seasons belonging to the throne and kingdom of the saints. Thus, in Apoc. 14:1-5, we have the Pentecost in the kingdom; in verses 6,7, the trumpet of the Jubilee sounding; and in verses 8--11, the great and terrible day of national atonement, ultimating in the conquest of the nations, and their subjection to Israel's Elohim for the olahm (Lev. 25:8-17,39-46). Nor is this confined to the introduction of the olahm of the kingdom; there are periodically recurring olahms during all the thousand years, indicated by the observance of the Passover and Feast of Tabernacles to be observed by all nations (Ezek. 45:21; Zech. 14:16-19). For this cause, therefore, the thousand years is called in Daniel "an Olahm, even an Olahm of Olahms"; but by no means an eternity.

Presuming, then, that the reader comprehends the matter thus far, I proceed to remark, that the Seventy Israelites who translated the prophets into Greek for the King of Egypt, substituted for olahm the word !greek! AIWN. But, although this does not express the same idea as olahm, it was about as good a word as they could select. It was indefinite; as indefinite as olahm; for it neither defined the beginning nor the end of the period it was chosen to represent.

!Greek! Aiwn is compounded of aei and wn. The word aei is from aw, aew, or ahmi, signifying primarily, "to blow, to breathe"; secondly, "to live, to pass or spend time." From this derivation aei would present the idea of a going on; and as a particle of time is expressive of that which is unlimited or undefined; "not so much that which cannot be bounded as that which is not bounded -- which is not attempted to be defined, but is considered as going on, on, on. Aei, therefore, alone, would not express the true idea of eternity, but only of time, whose end is not bounded by any specification. This flowing word, indicative of passing time, must be connected with, and, as it were, anchored upon another of more stability, in order to give it any kind of fixedness." This other word is wn, the particle of that verb of existence which expresses, in its philosophical sense, the highest mode of being. One part of the compound word, then, is unconfined; the other, since wn is of all tenses, altogether excludes the idea of time. Aiwn, then, is not time, long or short, bounded or endless. Time is said to move in a circle, on account of its likeness to an Aion; hence an aion, and a cycle or circle, are analogous. It is therefore used in the indefinite sense of life, existence, or state of being. Thus, that end which contains the period of each existence is called its aiwn. The aion of man is three-score years and ten; while the aion of Deity is "from everlasting to everlasting." It is, therefore, A COURSE OF TIME, aei, circling around,

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wn, BEING; the circling depending upon the nature of the being circled. Hence, Deity being essentially life, the circling of time can never cease in relation to him; but priesthood and man being essentially terminable, the circling of time around them cannot always continue. The diameters of their aions may be measured by their continuance.

"The Aions of the Aions" in the places cited, are the period of the apocalyptic reign, which is a priestly administration "after the Order of Melchizedec; and therefore, of necessity, not eternal.

Aristotle, whose mother tongue was Greek, says, that "the period of each existence is its aion." The thousand years is therefore the Aion of the Melchizedec Reign, containing aions or cycles within itself, in which Jesus, anointed with the Seven Spirits, will have and bear the glory, and exercise the supreme authority in the midst of his associates, over the nations of the earth to its utmost bounds.

But in the mythology of the heathen, the heaven of their vain imagination, which they placed somewhere above the atmospheric firmament, and having for its supposed existences the gods of "High Olympus," and the ghosts of Elysium -- was an Aion, and so entitled: and as its presumed existences were regarded as of infinite duration, this aion with them was eternity. Hence, also, those styling themselves "members of the church," whose minds are traditionally embued with the vain philosophy of the Greeks, believe in the Aion of the heathen, styling it "heaven beyond the skies," whose existences they allege are the ideas they call "God," "Jesus," "angels" evolved from the souls of infants, ghosts of departed saints, etc. This they call eternity -- the Pago-Greek and Latin, the Catholic, Papal, and Protestant ETERNITY: and as the last three have had the translation of the scriptures under their control, and know nothing of any other Aion than an imaginary superatmospheric eternity, they almost universally render, !greek! eis ton Aiwna, eis ton Aiona and its kindred forms, by "for ever," and "for ever, even for ever and ever"; and adjectively, by "eternal."

Now, to simplify this matter as much as possible, I have constructed the following diagram, which will perhaps enable the reader to comprehend more easily the explanation we have presented of the scripture Olahms and Aions.

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In this diagram, the parallelogram a b c d represents a period of 7,000 years, from the Creation until "the End," when the Son delivers up the kingdom to the Divine Father; and death is abolished. It is the period during which sin and death exist on earth, and contains three Aions and four Intervals. The aions are indicated by circular lines; and the intervals of time elapsing from the end of one aion to the beginning of a subsequent one, by parallel lines. The perpendicular line a c indicates the Era of the Creation. The parallel lines between it and the first circle, represent the time that elapsed to THE FALL.

The first circle represents the Antediluvian Olahm, or AION; and the figures in its diameter indicate that it terminated 1,656 years from the Creation by the Flood.

The second interval, or space between the first and second circles, represents the period from the Flood to the typical confirmation of the Covenant of the Land with Abraham, a duration of 377 years.

The second circle has a crescentic prefix on the left. In the crescent are the figures 430, which denote that it represents a period of that number of years from the confirmation of the Land Covenant to the night on which the Twelve Tribes left Egypt for the purpose of taking possession of it.

The circle itself represents a duration of 1,695 years, which terminated at the burning of the Temple by the Romans. This was the Mosaic Aion: and commenced at the baptism of Israel into Moses in the cloud and in the Red Sea (1 Cor. 10:1). The circle and its prefix enclose the whole period Of 430 + 1,695 = 2,125 years; it embraced the aiwneV kai geneaV, the Aions and Generations; and may therefore be termed the ABRAHAMO-MOSAIC AION, which, having waxed old, vanished away in blood and fire and vapor of smoke (Heb. 8:13; Acts 2:19).

The third interval, which lies between the second and third circles of the diagram, indicates the series of years which has already elapsed since the destruction of Jerusalem, and may yet elapse to the apocalypse of the Sons of the Deity in power and great glory to restore the kingdom again to Israel, an event which marks the commencement of THE REGENERATION. We have defined this interval by 1,796 years from the destruction of the Holy City in the Vulgar Era 70. By the end of this period "the kingdoms of the World" will be about to become the kingdoms "of the Lord and of his Anointed; and he shall reign during the Aions of the aions" (Apoc. 11:15) the same phrase as in 1:6. The end of this long period of 1,796 years will terminate in the Vulgar Era 1864. About this epoch will begin, as we believe, the wonders that are to introduce a thorough and complete revolution of

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human affairs, the representation of which enters largely into the scenes of the Apocalypse.

The third circle of the diagram has also a crescentic prefix on the left, only smaller than the preceding. I have made it smaller because it represents a shorter period -- only 40 years, styled in the Apocalypse "the Hour of Judgment." It is the antitype to the 40 years in the wilderness, and the Aion of the Sickles (Apoc. 14:14-20) introductory to the third circle, whose diameter is 1,000 years. This is "the Aions of the aions," which are referred to thirteen times in the Apocalypse. It may be styled the ABRAHAMO-MESSIANIC CYCLE, because in it is fully displayed the covenant with Abraham concerning Messiah, Israel, and the Nations. This cycle of aions is "the Day of Christ," which Abraham, who walked by faith, rejoiced in foreseeing. It is commonly called "THE MILLENNIUM," because of its continuance, mille anni a 1,000 years. To this circle belong !greek! "the Wood of the Life," and the New Jerusalem. The Gospel treats of this aion, because it is the Aion of the Kingdom, and styled by Paul "the Aion to Come" (Heb. 6:5). No one has ever heard the gospel who is ignorant of the doctrine concerning this Aion -- the cycle enclosing the hope of all the faithful of patriarchal and Mosaic times. It ends about the Annus Mundi 6994.

The fourth interval of the diagram represents the "Little Season," which intervenes between the termination of the 1,000 years and the end of the 7,000 years of the parallelogram. It is the brief period referred to in Apoc. 20:3,7,8, in which the Dragon-power revives, and, as the Seed of the Old Serpent, contends once more with the Seed of the Woman for supreme authority over the earth. How long after the end of A.M. 7,000 the contest may continue, is not apocalypsed. It will terminate, however, in the suppression of the rebellion, and the restoration of Yahweh's sovereignty throughout the earth. It is at this crisis that Sin, and "Death the wages of Sin," are finally abolished, with "every curse."

The perpendicular line b d indicates the end of the 7,000 years from the Creation.

The fourth circle of the diagram represents !hebrew! ad. This monosyllable signifies "beyond," and is part of the form of words, !hebrew! lai-Olahm wah-Ed, so frequently used in Moses and the prophets in speaking of Messiah's Aion and BEYOND. It is the Aion of the New Things to be created by the Eternal Power, when the 7,000 years shall have passed away (Apoc. 21:5). Of the duration of this the Apocalypse says nothing. It may or it may not be boundless, but this we cannot tell. Whatever may be its constitution, of this we are certain,

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that sin, curse, and death will have no more place in the earth, or the nature of its inhabitants. Its circling will be around incorruptibility and life.

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