In addition to the word “hell,” age, or aión (αἰών) in Greek seems to be one of the more mistranslated and misunderstood words in our society. A quick glance at the references in a concordance can go a long ways to clearing up much of the confusion. The concordance link shows 125 occurrences of aión and it’s derivatives. Based on the ancient ways of understanding “world,” this may have been appropriate as it would have meant their known society and not the physical world. It’s similar to how we say our world ended when a tragedy takes place. Another Greek word, kosmos (κόσμος), is used throughout the New Testament in a more appropriate sense of world in the physical.
Another word used for aión is “forever.” This is a little more confused of a meaning. Again, aión means “age.” While it is an unspecified amount of time, it isn’t the Greek word for infinite. Other Greek words, such as Apeiron (ἄπειρον) or aidios (ἀΐδιος), may have been more appropriate in many of these 125 occurrences if the intent was to communicate “forever” or “eternal.”
If we look at such a verse in its original context, as the original audiences of the time would have understood, we quickly see how our context can be skewed. In Matt 24:1-3, Jesus makes mention that the temple will be destroyed (v1-2). His disciples later ask him these two questions, in regards to this statement, in verse 3:
Tell us when these things will be and what[is] the sign the your coming and the completion of the age
As written of previously, Jesus goes on to list out the end of that age (aión), all which apparently happened in the first century as he stated it would in Matt 16:27-28.
Far too often, especially with recent events, I see people stating we need to return to Biblical principles. Yet, these same people are touting a manipulated, politicized view of the Bible without understanding the full, radiant, beautiful story of Jesus and the life we’re called to live. Ancient Israel attempted to live by the Law, yet Jesus showed them what the Law and the Prophets were really communicating (Matt 22:37-40). As stated last post, Jesus circumvented punishment under the Law with the adulterous woman (John 8). He didn’t follow the mandated “rest” of the Sabbath (Mark 2:24). He seems to have allowed the disciples to violate the laws of cleanliness (Mark 7:5). How could he be considered perfect in fulfilling the Law while violating it? It was because he was living to the higher standard of the Law—LOVE! It seems the Pharisees had one definition of what it meant to be a follower of God, yet Jesus had a completely different view. This seems to be the same today! Christians following Jesus are shunned, cursed, and despised because they refuse to follow the mandates of religion.
Today, we continue to insist on living by the letter that brings death instead of by the Spirit that brings life (2 Cor 3:6). We continue to use poorly translated concepts as the basis of our ministry while refusing to look to the real meaning as it doesn’t coalesce with our physical empire and traditions. We nullify the Word of God because of our traditions (Mark 7:13), and we’re more worried about praise from man rather that praise from God so we don’t become alienated from our “synagogue” (John 12:42-43)! God is worshiped by mouth only, but hearts are far from him, and the doctrines are just rules taught by men (Matt 15:8-9).
In all honesty, I’m just tired of the way “Christians” have been violating Jesus. They blaspheme the name of God before the “outsiders” by their manipulated view of Jesus’ love (Romans 2:24). I’m beginning to see why Jesus was often frustrated with the dogmatic Pharisees (Matt 23). Enough already! It’s time to start living what Jesus taught—LOVE! I promise you what the world is seeing from the majority of Christians today by our condemnation and prejudice is not the love Jesus showed. It would seem the biggest hindrance for “sinners” to come to Jesus is “Christians.” “I’m not perfect” is no excuse to uphold hatred as the way to Jesus. That statement just justifies our comfort in not stepping out in love like Jesus did and calls us to. It justifies us to just sit in a pew and shift blame to “those others” while simultaneously refusing to reach out in love to them.
If anything hurts God’s heart, it’s Christians that look nothing like Christ. It’s all these uncomfortable passages that we either manipulate to our institutional agendas or ignore all together.
I don’t write any of this to bash people over the head with guilt. I desire that my brothers and sisters in Christ wake up and follow him as he showed and to quit just playing church. If any of this offends, I’m sorry. If anyone wants to call me heretic, blasphemous, or demonic, go ahead and do so as Jesus said to expect such (Matt 10:25, John 15:17-25), and I’ve already had people email me with such. It doesn’t effect me anymore as a real and immersive love relationship with Jesus curtails and annuls all of that hatred. If you feel the need, please use the contact form. As I’ve stated before, I won’t take it personally against you. If I can dissipate some of the hatred in the world onto myself instead, I will gladly take up that cross to follow and honor my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!