Our Everyday Usage of the Word “Forever”

Modern Usage of “Forever”

It is indeed interesting to see the wide range of time periods that “forever” can cover. It all depends upon the usage of the word – the context in which it is set. Remarkably this is exactly the way have come to use “for ever” in our own daily speech. For example, we might hear someone say,

I could not believe how many people were at the grocery store. I was in the checkout line forever.

I will be thirty next month, and I still have not found a mate. I have been looking for a wife forever.

I’ll be able to retire in two years. It won’t come quick enough for me; I have been working here in this factory forever.

This bedroom suite has been in our family forever.

In none of these examples do we convey the meaning of time as being “without end.” In fact, in each of these examples we may determine by the context of usage an estimate of the duration of time.

In the first example, we may expect that someone could spend 5 to 10 minutes or so in line. That might be the context of the usage of “forever.”

In the second example, one might expect that the young man has been seeking a wife for ten years or so.

In the next example, we might expect that the soon-to-be retiree has worked at the factory for twenty, thirty, or even forty years.

Then in our last example, one might expect that forever could refer to a number of generations, maybe even a hundred or possibly two hundred years.

In other words, in each case the usage of “forever” in its context would determine its meaning. We would not expect someone to stand in a checkout line for twenty, thirty, or forty years. Neither would we expect the bedroom suite to have been in the family for 5 to 10 minutes.

Yet by our own daily usage of the word “forever,” we could mean any one of these expansive ranges of meanings. Usage and context always determine meaning.

“Forever” does not carry a scriptural meaning of “without end.” The only time “forever” means “without end” is when it comes to religious language.

Scriptural Usage of “Aiōn”

In this section we shall see verses where the Greek words aiōn and aiōnios are translated. We have selected King James Version verses that clearly demonstrate these Greek words cannot possibly mean “endless” or “unending.”

He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world [aiōn], and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful (Matthew 13:22).

The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world [aiōn]; and the reapers are the angels (Matthew 13:39).

As He spake by the mouth of His holy prophets, which have been since the world [aiōn] began (Luke 1:70).

And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world [aiōn] are in their generation wiser than the children of light (Luke 16:8).

Since the world [aiōn] began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind (John 9:32).

Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world [aiōnios] began (Romans 16:25).

Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world [aiōn] standeth, lest I make my brother to offend (I Corinthians 8:13).

Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world [aiōn] are come (I Corinthians 10:11).

That in the ages [aiōn] to come He might shew the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:7).

Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages [aiōn] and from generations, but now is made manifest to His saints (Colossians 1:26).

Charge them that are rich in this world [aiōn], that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, Who giveth us richly all things to enjoy (I Timothy 6:17).

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 [aiōnios] began (II Timothy 1:9).

In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world [aiōnios] began (Titus 1:2).

But unto the Son He saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever [aiōn] and ever [aiōn]: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of Thy kingdom” (Hebrews 1:8).

For then must He often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world [aiōn] hath He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” (Hebrews 9:26).

Sodom and Gomorrha are said to be suffering the vengeance of eternal [aiōnios] fire:

Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal [aiōnios] fire” (Jude 1:7).

Yet we know this “eternal fire” is not “endless” because God has promised their own future restoration, at the time when He restores Israel!

When thy sisters, Sodom and her daughters, shall return to their former estate, and Samaria and her daughters shall return to their former estate, then thou and thy daughters shall return to your former estate” (Ezekiel 16:55).

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
The Salvation of All
© 2005-2010

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