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Thread: What does 'Forever' mean in the bible?

  1. #1
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    What does 'Forever' mean in the bible?

    What does 'Forever' mean when God says it?

    For example, God says many things are to be 'forever' or 'throughout your generations'. Do these laws still apply?

    For example:



    Exodus 29:9 You shall dress them with belts, Aaron and his sons, and bind headbands on them: and they shall have the priesthood by a perpetual statute: and you shall consecrate Aaron and his sons.


    Leviticus 3:17 "'It shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwellings, that you shall eat neither fat nor blood.'

    Leviticus 23:21 You shall make proclamation on the same day: there shall be a holy convocation to you; you shall do no regular work. This is a statute forever in all your dwellings throughout your generations

    Leviticus 23:31 You shall do no manner of work: it is a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.

    Leviticus 23:41 You shall keep it a feast to Yahweh seven days in the year: it is a statute forever throughout your generations; you shall keep it in the seventh month.

    Exodus 12:17 You shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this same day have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt: therefore you shall observe this day throughout your generations by an ordinance forever.

    12 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 13 'Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying: Verily ye shall keep My sabbaths, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that ye may know that I am the LORD who sanctify you. 14 Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore, for it is holy unto you; every one that profaneth it shall surely be put to death; for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. 15 Six days shall work be done; but on the seventh day is a sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the LORD; whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. 16 Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. 17 It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel for ever; for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day He ceased from work and rested.'

    Numbers 15:37 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 38 'Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them throughout their generations fringes in the corners of their garments, and that they put with the fringe of each corner a thread of blue. 39 And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the LORD, and do them; and that ye go not about after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go astray; 40 that ye may remember and do all My commandments, and be holy unto your God
    For the LORD your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your ancestors, which he confirmed to them by oath.

    Deuteronomy 4:31

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    Thank you so much for starting this thread. I have seen these Scriptures and wondered about them so much.

    It seems to me like God says what He meant, and He means what He says.

    But then, nothing is as cut-and-dried as it seems, in the Bible.

    I am unable to articulate well enough to join in, here, but rest assured I am watching closely as this thread goes on. But I may ask a question or two, as it goes along...

    I, personally, want to do everything I can to be obedient to God. And now I can learn just what these things are...

    Thank you again, very much, for your work here, and I thank the others in advance.

    May God bless us all.
    Romans 15:30 KJV 30Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me;

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    I believe you already know my position on this, especially in reference to Israel, so I'll be interested to see responses also.

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    Forever has been discussed before on here but I don't remember if I really kept up with that one or not...it is interesting though. Some have questioned whether forever really means forever...so anyway I did some looking and found an interesting website on this...I would like for you to take a look at it and see what you think...especially in regards to these verses posted on it:

    Edited...took out the link because I am not sure if its ok or not...and don't want to get in trouble for breaking board rules.

    Quoted from the site:
    Now let’s discover how long the "eternity" REALLY is in many leading "selling" English translations:

    Sodom's fiery judgment is "eternal" (Jude 7)--until--God "will restore the fortunes of Sodom" 16:53-55).

    Israel's "affliction is incurable" (Jer. 30:12)-until--the Lord "will restore health" and heal her wounds (Jer. 30:17).

    The sin of Samaria "is incurable" (Mic. 1:9)-until-- Lord "will restore ... the fortunes of Samaria." (Ez. 16:53).

    Ammon is to become a "wasteland forever" and "rise no more" (Zeph. 2:9, Jer. 25:27 --until--the Lord will "restore the fortunes of the Ammonites" (Jer. 49:6).

    An Ammonite or Moabite is forbidden to enter the Lord's congregation "forever"-until--the tenth generation (Deut. 23:3):

    Habakkuk tells us of mountains that were "everlasting", that is -until-- they "were shattered" Hab. 3 3:6).

    The Aaronic Priesthood was to be an "everlasting" priesthood (Ex. 40:15), that is-until-it was superceded by the Melchizedek Priesthood (Hebrews 7:14-18).

    Many translations of the Bible inform us that God would dwell in Solomon's Temple "forever" (1 Kings 8:13), that is,--until the Temple was destroyed.

    The children of Israel were to "observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant" (Exodus 31:16)-until--Paul states there remains "another day" of Sabbath rest for the people of God (Heb. 4:8,9).

    The Law of Moses was to be an "everlasting covenant" (Leviticus 24:8) yet we read in the New Covenant the first was "done away" and "abolished" (2 Corinthians 3:11,13), and God "made the first old" (Hebrews 8:13).

    The fire for Israel's sin offering (of a ram without blemish) is never to be put out. It shall be a "perpetual"-- until-- Christ, the Lamb of God, dies for our sins. We now have a better covenant established on better promises (Lev. 6:12-13, Heb. 8:6-13).

    God's waves of wrath roll over Jonah "forever"-until--the Lord delivers him from the large fish's belly on the third day (Jonah 2:6,10; 1: 17); Egypt and Elam will "rise no more" (Jer. 25:27)-until--the Lord will "restore the fortunes of Egypt" (Ez. 29:14) and "restore the fortunes of Elam" (Jer. 49:39).

    "Moab is destroyed" (Jer. 48:4, 42)-until--the Lord "will restore the fortunes of Moab" (Jer. 48:47).

    Israel's judgment lasts "forever"-until--the Spirit is poured out and God restores it (Isa. 32:13-15).

    So, narrow is the way to life and few find it-until-- and His church confiscate the "strong man's" booty, setting the captives free so God becomes all in all (Isa. 61, Luke 11:21-22, Matt. 7:13; 16:18, 1 Cor. 15:24-28).

    The King James Bible, as well as many others, tells us that a bondslave was to serve his master "forever" (Exodus 21:6), that is,--until--his death.

    ***********************
    There are alot more listed on that site and this person seems to be intent on proving hell is not forever and God will restore everyone to Him. I don't know that I agree with that view...but I really do like the examples used though in ow the bible defines forever. (so I hope the mods don't remove this).

    More from this site:

    Another pleasant change which more Bible translations of the future will make deals with the subject of the words "everlasting," "eternal," and "for ever and ever." These words have been used in times past to translate the Hebrew word "olam," and its Greek counterpart "aion," and its adjective, "aionios." These ancient words should NEVER have been translated this way. Many modern scholars are beginning to cut the grain of tradition and speak the truth which has been shackled by the chains of tradition long enough. It’s time for light. The body of Christ has had enough of living in the shadows. It’s time for pure light!

    Dr. G. Campbell Morgan, a well-known Bible teacher, hailed as "the prince of expositors" wrote in his book "God’s Method’s With Men" on pages 185, 6, "Let me say to Bible students that we must be very careful how to use the word ‘eternity.’ We have fallen into great error in our constant use of that word. There is NO word in the whole Book of God corresponding with our ‘eternal,’ which as commonly used among us, means absolutely without end."

    The above statement may come as a shock to the traditional Christian in the typical Church. It was certainly a shock to me. How could he make what appeared to me such a ridiculous statement. The Bible translations I had were FILLED with verses that spoke of things which were "eternal," "everlasting," and went on "forever and ever." How could he be hailed as a renowned Bible teacher and be given the honor of being called by the evangelical world the "prince of expositors" and yet make what appeared to me based upon my few Bible translations an utterly ridiculous statement? But when I decided to dig through my walls of tradition to see if what the famous Doctor Morgan said was true, I found MANY other well-known and respected scholars and Bible teachers had come to the very same conclusions to which Dr. Morgan had come.

    *************************
    I am trying to find more information about this Dr. G. Campbell Morgan and his studies on these words. Just wanted to see what your thoughts are on it.

    God bless
    Last edited by moonglow; Mar 11th 2008 at 06:10 PM. Reason: removed link as unsure if its ok or not, but like the comparing scriptures given.
    "People do not drift toward holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; We drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; We drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated?" - D A Carson

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    Quote Originally Posted by moonglow View Post

    Another pleasant change which more Bible translations of the future will make deals with the subject of the words "everlasting," "eternal," and "for ever and ever." These words have been used in times past to translate the Hebrew word "olam," and its Greek counterpart "aion," and its adjective, "aionios." These ancient words should NEVER have been translated this way. Many modern scholars are beginning to cut the grain of tradition and speak the truth which has been shackled by the chains of tradition long enough. Itís time for light. The body of Christ has had enough of living in the shadows. Itís time for pure light!
    Now see, this is defining a word based on what you believe. To wit: God's covenant with the Jews was not forever, so the word 'Olam' can't mean forever. The law was not meant to be followed forever, so 'throughout your generations' doesn't mean that.
    For the LORD your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your ancestors, which he confirmed to them by oath.

    Deuteronomy 4:31

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fenris View Post
    Now see, this is defining a word based on what you believe. To wit: God's covenant with the Jews was not forever, so the word 'Olam' can't mean forever. The law was not meant to be followed forever, so 'throughout your generations' doesn't mean that.
    I didn't write that...I put it in italics to show it was from that site and said it was that site...

    It seems to be the verses this person listed do show forever is not forever though.. in comparing those bible verses listed...though that doesn't mean ALL verses using that word or words meaning the same thing don't mean forever (if that makes any sense).

    As one of the examples given:

    Zephaniah 2:9
    9Therefore, as I live," declares the LORD of hosts,
    the God of Israel,
    "Moab shall become(B) like Sodom,
    and the Ammonites like Gomorrah,
    a land possessed by nettles and salt pits,
    and a waste forever.
    The remnant of my people shall plunder them,
    and the survivors of my nation shall possess them."


    Jeremiah 25:27
    27"Then you shall say to them, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Drink, be drunk and vomit, fall and rise no more, because of the sword that I am sending among you.'


    This appears to be forever and they will never ever rise again...yet we see this verse:

    Jeremiah 49:6

    6"But afterward I will restore the fortunes of the Ammonites, declares the LORD."


    So in this case, forever is not forever and ever....along with those other verses listed.

    For myself, I am undecided on all of this...I mean obviously given those verses listed it wasn't meant as forever...but if everything is not forever...does that mean Heaven is not forever? Or does it just apply to the verses that show later they were not forever? I do not know.

    I just wanted to see how you viewed those verses given, that used strong words such as 'forever' and 'incurable' (incurable usually means it can NEVER be cured) yet in these cases they were....'eternal'...'ever lasting' and so on...yet other verses show they didn't last forever...were curable and weren't eternal...etc.

    I don't know..this is new to me so I am just now looking at it.

    God bless
    "People do not drift toward holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; We drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; We drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated?" - D A Carson

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    Quote Originally Posted by moonglow View Post
    I didn't write that...I put it in italics to show it was from that site and said it was that site...
    I didn't say you said it. I just remarked that it was a phenomena.
    It seems to be the verses this person listed do show forever is not forever though.. in comparing those bible verses listed...though that doesn't mean ALL verses using that word or words meaning the same thing don't mean forever (if that makes any sense).
    ok, but once again, that could just be doctrine posing as definition.
    As one of the examples given:

    Zephaniah 2:9

    "Moab shall become(B) like Sodom,
    and the Ammonites like Gomorrah,
    a land possessed by nettles and salt pits,
    and a waste forever.

    This appears to be forever and they will never ever rise again...yet we see this verse:

    Jeremiah 49:6

    6"But afterward I will restore the fortunes of the Ammonites, declares the LORD."


    So in this case, forever is not forever and ever....along with those other verses listed.
    OK, well two points. First of all, the first verse refers to the LAND and not THE PEOPLE. So the LAND may be desolate.

    Second, a better translation of your second verse is " 6. And afterwards, I will return the captivity of the children of Ammon, says the Lord." which is clearer and speaks of the PEOPLE and not the LAND.
    For the LORD your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your ancestors, which he confirmed to them by oath.

    Deuteronomy 4:31

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fenris View Post
    I didn't say you said it. I just remarked that it was a phenomena.
    ok, but once again, that could just be doctrine posing as definition.

    OK, well two points. First of all, the first verse refers to the LAND and not THE PEOPLE. So the LAND may be desolate.

    Second, a better translation of your second verse is " 6. And afterwards, I will return the captivity of the children of Ammon, says the Lord." which is clearer and speaks of the PEOPLE and not the LAND.
    Ok...sorry about the misunderstanding...I just wanted to make it clear it wasn't me making a pat statement on this because I really don't know and wanted you to understand that.

    You made a good point...on whether this is referring to land or people...I will have to go back now and review the examples given on that site. I am still reading the website anyway to see how sound it may or may not be anyway. Just thought it was interesting though that at least in some areas of the bible, forever isn't forever. But again as I pointed out IF forever never means forever then that begs the question on passages regarding promises of good things...such as ever lasting life as in John 3:16.

    16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

    So this wouldn't just affect you as a Jew, it would also have major affects on us Christians also which I realize...

    Even taking a poor argument (which this site might be..not sure yet) though can help us have a better understanding of what forever means. Or the 'not forever' as you pointed out could only apply to land, and/or certain situations. This means further studying is needed.

    God bless
    "People do not drift toward holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; We drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; We drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated?" - D A Carson

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    Fenris,

    'Forever' means as long as God requires or desires it. That's all! And it could be long or short forever.

    2Witnesses

    ps Again, I believe one day ALL death will end. The first physical death was an animal. Adam died spiritually, then in the flesh. But one day ALL death will end!

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    Quote Originally Posted by moonglow View Post
    Ok...sorry about the misunderstanding...I just wanted to make it clear it wasn't me making a pat statement on this because I really don't know and wanted you to understand that.
    No, that's ok. I should have been clearer in my post.

    But again as I pointed out IF forever never means forever then that begs the question on passages regarding promises of good things...such as ever lasting life as in John 3:16.

    16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

    So this wouldn't just affect you as a Jew, it would also have major affects on us Christians also which I realize...
    Right, and I can't comment on this for two reasons. First, I am not a Christian. Second, I am not fluent in Greek.
    For the LORD your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your ancestors, which he confirmed to them by oath.

    Deuteronomy 4:31

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2Witnesses View Post
    Fenris,

    'Forever' means as long as God requires or desires it. That's all! And it could be long or short forever.
    Again, this sounds like translation driven by theology and not the meaning of the text.
    For the LORD your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your ancestors, which he confirmed to them by oath.

    Deuteronomy 4:31

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    It means forever Fenris. But not all of God's covenants were covenants of salt. Some were conditional.
    Matt 9:13
    13 "But go and learn what this means: ' I DESIRE COMPASSION,AND NOT SACRIFICE,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
    NASU

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by th1bill View Post
    I believe you already know my position on this, especially in reference to Israel, so I'll be interested to see responses also.
    Some of us are relatively new to the boards, though. If others don't mind, I wouldn't mind seeing your point of view on this.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Fenris View Post
    Again, this sounds like translation driven by theology and not the meaning of the text.
    Fenris,

    Allow me to ask you this again, since you have not answered me before. Will blood be offered forever? And if you say yes, then why? And if does not atone, what is the point?

    2Witnesses

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Mark View Post
    It means forever Fenris. But not all of God's covenants were covenants of salt. Some were conditional.
    Do tell. Which ones were conditional?
    For the LORD your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your ancestors, which he confirmed to them by oath.

    Deuteronomy 4:31

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