Does "FOREVER" Really Mean FOREVER?

A Study of the Word "Eon"

Lorraine Day, M.D.

Most Christians would be astonished and perplexed to find out that the Bible NEVER ONCE talks about "eternal" life, or ANYTHING happening "forever" or "forever and ever." In fact, the words eternal, everlasting, and forever NEVER appear in the New Testament. They are mistranslations of the Greek word "eon."

"Well, then the word "eon" must mean eternal, everlasting and forever," you say. No it doesn't. Because eternity does not have an end. An eon DOES have an end. The word "eon" pertains to a specific period of time, with both a beginning and an end.

The Bible makes this very clear because it speaks of a "present" eon, a "coming" eon, and a "conclusion" of the eons. Obviously "eternity" as we understand it, has NO "conclusion."

Now, before anyone gets too upset, there IS information in the Bible that speaks of what we understand as "eternal" life, but that word is not used. What the Bible says is that those living at the end of the eons will never die, because death will be abolished. ("The last enemy that will be abolished is -- death!" See 1 Cor 15:22-28.)

But it's extremely important to know why the Bible DOESN'T use the word eternity and instead uses the word eon, meaning a specific period of time.

The process of God revealing Himself (His character) to His creatures IS the PURPOSE of the eons (see Eph 1:11 in the original Greek). If infinity were needed for God to make Himself known, then we would never obtain such knowledge. God never speaks to us in terms of infinity, for we cannot understand it. He has provided a DEFINITE period of time for His self-revelation, called --- the eonian times.

The mistranslation of the word "eon" as everlasting, eternal, forever, and even "world", in the King James Version and nearly ALL translations of the Bible, leads to confusion and even sometimes to false doctrine. Some of the Bible translations have corrected some of the confusion by correctly translating the word "eon" as "age" which is much more accurate. But they don't do it in every instance.

The following information shows the many different ways the word "eon" is translated, as well as allowing the Bible to interpret its own words. The Bible reveals that the word "eon" clearly means a period of time, because the eons have a "conclusion!" Eternity has NO conclusion! So the word "Eon" CANNOT mean eternity!

EONIAN, aionion

Variously translated: Aeonian, age-abiding, long ages, of the ages, past ages, periods of past ages, remote-age times, commencement, eternal, eternally, eternity, everlasting,

NOTE: The Concordant Version is a literal, direct, word-for-word translation from the Greek to English.

  Concordant King James Version

Mt. 18: 8

  eonion fire everlasting fire


  eonion fire eternal life


  eonian life everlasting life


  eonian chastening everlasting punishment


  eonion life life eternal

Mk. 3:29

  eonian sin eternal damnation

Lu. 18:18

  eonian life eternal life


  eonian life life everlasting

Jn. 4:36

  eonion life life eternal


  eonion life everlasting life


  eonion life eternal life


  eonion life everlasting life

Ro. 16:25

  in times eonian since the world began


  eonian God everlasting God

2Th. 1: 9

  eonian extermination everlasting destruction

2Ti 1: 9

  before eonian times before the world began

Hb. 5: 9

  eonian salvation eternal salvation

6: 2

  eonian judgment eternal judgment


  eonian redemption eternal redemption

Rv. 14: 6

  eonian evangel everlasting gospel


Strong's Concordance





Original Greek/English Interlinear



                 PRESENT EON

Galatians 1

King James

 vs 4 Who gave himself to our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:

vs 5 To whom (be) glory for ever and ever Amen.

Direct Literal Translation - Concordant Bible

vs 3 Grace to you and peace from God, our Father, and the

vs 4 Lord Jesus Christ, Who gives Himself for our sins, so that He might extricate us out of the present wicked

vs 5 eon, according to the will of our God and Father, to Whom be glory for the eons of the eons. Amen!




Original Greek/English Interlinear

               COMING EON

Luke 18

King James

vs 29 And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake,

vs 30 Who shall not receive many fold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.

Direct Literal Translation - Concordant Bible Now He said to the, Verily, I am saying to you that there is no one who leaves house, or wife, or brothers, or parents, or children, on account of the kingdom of God, who may not by all means be getting back many fold in this era, and in the coming eon, life eonian.



Original Greek/English Interlinear

             EON OF THE EONS

Ephesians 3

King James

 vs 20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,

21 Unto him (be) glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen

Direct Literal Translation - Concordant Bible

vs 20 Now to Him Who is able to do super excessively above all that we are requesting or apprehending, according

vs 21 to the power that is operating in us, to Him be glory in the ecclesia and in Christ Jesus for all the generations of eons of the eons. Amen!






Original Greek/English Interlinear


              EONS OF THE EONS

Revelation 11

King James
 vs 15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in the heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become (the kingdoms) of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
Direct Literal Translation - Concordant Bible And the seventh messenger trumpets. And loud voices occurred in heaven, saying, The kingdom of this world became our Lord's and His Christ's, and He shall be reigning for the eons of the eons! Amen!


Original Greek/English Interlinear




Hebrews 9

King James

 vs 25 Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others;

vs 26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

Direct Literal Translation - Concordant Bible

vs 25 now to be disclosed to the face of God for our sakes. Nor yet is it that He may be offering Himself often, even as the chief priest is entering into the holies of holies year

vs 26 by year by the blood of others, since then he must often be suffering from the disruption of the world, yet now, once, at the conclusion of the eons or the repudiation of sin through His sacrifice, is He manifest.

Is There Really an Unpardonable Sin?

So, how does this make a difference? Well, one very important result of properly translating the word "eon" pertains to the study of what is often referred to as "The Unpardonable Sin" where the King James Version states "And whosever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall NOT be forgiven him, neither in this world, nor in the world to come." Matt 12:32.

However, the word is NOT "world" but "eon." Thus, the text really reads, in the original Greek, "it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this eon, nor in the eon to come." That means that "the sin against the Holy Ghost will not be forgiven him" in the eon that these words were written in (the present eon we are living in), nor in the eon to come - which is the millennial eon. The Bible teaches that the wicked will be dead during the millenial eon, so naturally "his sin" will not be forgiven him while he is dead. But the Bible states that there is ANOTHER eon after that, the Fifth and Final Eon of time, when the wicked are resurrected and the Great White Throne Judgement takes place! The Bible does NOT say that "his sin" will not be forgven him in that LAST eon! This is clearly a matter for much further study.

Five Eons

When we study the different specific eons, we find there are a total of FIVE eons, in the Total Eonion Times of this earth's history. We will not discuss the first eon at this time, as that is a total study in itself. It is mentioned in Heb 1:2 We can find from scripture that the second eon began at Creation as described in the first chapter of Genesis and extended until the flood, a period of at least 1600 years (Genesis 1-9). The third eon (Gal 1:4; 1 Thess 4:13, 5:11; Matt 24:29,30) began with the flood and will end at the Second Coming of Jesus, a period of around 4000 years. This is the eon that we are living in right now. This eon and the previous eon are termed the "evil" eons in the Bible. (For more information, see the reference at the end of this study.)

When Jesus comes again, that will begin the fourth eon, the one thousand year millenial eon, the only eon for which the Bible gives us an exact time -- one thousand years (Rev 20:1-10; Luke 18:20). But the Bible tells that there will be ANOTHER eon, the fifth eon, AFTER the millenial eon (Rev 21-22; Eph 3:21; Rev 11,14,15; Rev 20:11-15). That's when the Second Resurrection (the Resurrection of the Wicked) and the Great White Throne Judgment will take place. But please note, that will take an ENTIRE eon!

How Long is an Eon?

The word "eon" just designates that it is a period of time, with a definite beginning and a definite end. It is NOT eternity, as eternity has NO end! Each eon appears to be a different length of time. But one thing is certain, every eon is a VERY LONG period of time. The shortest eon that the Bible speaks of is the millenian eon (the fourth eon) and that is 1000 years long. The second eon, from creation to the flood, was at least 1600 years long and the present eon, from the flood until the Second Coming of Christ, is at least 4000 years long.

So, we have reason to believe that the last eon (the fifth and final eon) will be AT LEAST 1000 years long and possibly longer! Christians have the impression that the wicked will be resurrected, judged and "thrown in the lake of fire" in a very short period of time, --- maybe minutes, hours, days, weeks or months. Really, no one gives it much thought. Everyone is just under the impression that it will all happen quite rapidly.

But if billions of people are going to be "eternally lost" as most Christians believe, and God's going to resurrect billions of wicked people just to "judge" them, then kill them again, supposedly to prove to them that He was right all along (Have you ever stopped to ponder what kind of a God would do that?), then wouldn't God allow each person to have at least a few minutes individually in front of the Great White Throne, before God "eternally" destroys them? Is that too much to ask? After all, we're told that each person is so precious to Jesus that He would have died on the cross for "just one person," and that we're much more important than the sparrows that He assures us He watches over.

Or are billions of people going to be resurrected and judged as a gigantic, impersonal mass of humanity, then communally consigned to the fire to die all over again, but this time in an excruciatingly painful way?

In addition, the wicked will HAVE to be resurrected in better bodies (but not "glorified" bodies as the righteous have) than they had when they went down into the grave, as some were brain-dead in comas on life-support when they died, some died with Alzheimer's, and some were burned to death in accidental house fires. They're at least going to have to be restored to such a degree that they can understand what the "judging" is all about.

What would it prove to have a comatose patient, or a person with Alzheimer's placed before God at the Great White Throne Judgment? That would be stupid. God wouldn't do that. The "judgment" would be nonsensical and meaningless if the person being "judged" couldn't understand what was going on.

Reasonable Assumptions:

1. The last eon, the eon of the Great White Throne Judgment, will be at least as long as the shortest known eon, at least 1000 years, possibly longer. For a Christian that does not believe in "eternal" burning, what in the world is going to take place that would take such a long time? By the way, the concept of the wicked "burning forever and ever" has no Biblical basis when one reads the original Greek. The longest period of time the wicked could possibly "burn" would be for the "eon", a specific period of time with a definite ending. (The question of whether the wicked will literally burn, and for how long is the subject of yet another study. See the study on "Was the Doctrine of Hellfire Manufactured by Theologians?")

2. There must be some means of feeding, sheltering and governing these billions of people while the Judgment is taking place and while the wicked are preparing for battle against the Saints. Will there be a whole "civilization" set up?

3. The wicked will be resurrected in better bodies than the ones in which they went down to the grave (though not "glorified" bodies as the righteous will have).

Clarification of the Scriptures by the proper translation of the word "eon."

Here are some examples of the Biblical contradictions produced by the mistranslation of the word "eon."

1. The word "everlasting" is applied to things in some Bible passages that the Bible states, in other passages, is clearly NOT "everlasting".

"the everlasting hills" Gen 49:26 and Deut 33:15 (R.V.)

Yet the Bible states that the hills are NOT "everlasting."

Isa 54:10 "For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed"

Amos 9:13 "and all the hills shall melt"

2 Peter 3:10 "and the earth shall be burned up"

2. Contradictory expressions as "the end of the world" and "world without end."

Matt 24:3 "the end of the world" (KJV) The accurate translation is: "conclusion of the eon."

Eph 3:21 "world without end" (KJV) The accurate translation is: "unto all the generations of the eon of the eons."

The inaccuracy and inconsistency of the translation of the words "olam" in the Old Testament and of "aion" and "aionios" in the New Testament has led to a tragic perversion of what the Scriptures actually teach in regard to the destiny of God's creatures.

Let's remember that we are told that God "is the Saviour of ALL men" (1 Tim 4:10); that He will justify ALL (Rom 5:18); that He will reconcile ALL unto Himself (Col 1:20);that He will give life to ALL (1 Cor. 15:22); and that finally when all enemies have been subjected, and death is abolished, that God will be "ALL IN ALL" (1 Cor 15:28).

If these statements are true, then it cannot be true that millions of His children are to be held in never-ending torment or that they will be permanently annihilated (by whatever method you may believe), nor that even one should receive such treatment. "Behold the Lamb of God, that TAKES AWAY the sin of the WORLD." He doesn't "offer" to take it away --- He TAKES it away. And the "sin" is not taken away from just "some people" in the world -- No, it is taken away from the WHOLE world!

This does not deny that "the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men" (Rom 1:18). There is no doubt whatever as to the fact that the Bible clearly teaches wrath -- not only in this age (eon) but in the age (eon) which is to come. "God will NOT be mocked." Whatever we sow, we will reap. But God's wrath is defined in Romans 1:18, 24, 26, 28. God's "wrath" is just giving us up to our own evil desires and allowing us to reap what we have sown.

Let us ALL remember that God says, "I'm NOT like you." "My ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts."

The word "Judgment" means to "set right" or to "turn around" or "turn back." God chastens us to turn us around, so we'll head in the right direction. That's the way we discipline our own children. Psalm 94:15 says, "But judgement shall RETURN unto righteousness."

Psalm 90:3, speaking of God, says, "Thou turnest man to destruction: and sayest, Return, ye children of men."

If destruction means annihilation, then how could anyone return to God after they have been permanently annihilated?

In 1 Cor 5:5, Paul tells us to "To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus."

Notice that "destruction" is NOT annihilation, but the prelude to SALVATION! (Please see the study on "The Destruction of the Wicked.")

In Conclusion:

1) An Eon is a period of time, NOT eternity.

2) There will be a total of Five Eons in the history of this world.

3) We are living in the third eon of earth's history

4) The millenial eon (the fourth eon) will begin at the Second Comig of Jesus

5) After the millenial eon, there will be a fifth and final eon during which time the wicked will be resurrected, the Great White Throne Judgement will take place, and the wicked will reap what they have sown. But that will NOT include permanent annihilation. Their "Judgement" will have a PURPOSE -- to turn them back to righteousness! Psalm 94:15, "But Judgement shall RETURN unto righteousness!"

6) When death is abolished and God is "ALL in ALL" (1 Cor 15:28) --- THEN eternity will be begin

© Lorraine Day, M.D. 2006. All Rights Reserved.
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