I’m just going to jump right in here by bringing 2nd Thess. 1:6-10 (KJV) to your attention …
“Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; and to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe in that day.”
Now, first off, a major problem with the above translation is that the words “eternal destruction” have been used for something that the original Greek text plainly states is “aionian.” Aionion in the Greek means “age-lasting,” never “everlasting.”
This is what “A Pocket Encyclopedia” has this to say about the words aion, aions, and aionian…
The word rendered “everlasting,” “eternal,” “world” (often) in the New Testament, is some form of aion; that is, “age,” “era,” “epoch,” etc. It never denotes, of itself, endless duration. It is applied, among other things, to the Jewish, Christian, and other future dispensations. “This world” (aion), “the world to come” (aion), mean the Jewish and Christian dispensations, and “eternal,” “everlasting” (aionian) mean pertaining to those dispensations; that is, aion–lasting, or pertaining to the aion referred to. As “daily” cannot mean endless because its limit is defined by the noun “day,” whence it is derived, so aionian cannot mean everlasting, inasmuch as no aion is without end. The worst possible rendering of aionian is everlasting. Every form of the word must denote a limited period, unless some term is associated with it to extend its meaning, as the aionian God. In that case the word is qualified by the noun, as the word “great” would be.
Let me just add to what is said there that “aionian God” can mean “the God of the ages,” or “the God who formed and framed the ages,” which certainly does imply greatness.
Now, what this all means is that God has a benevolent purpose for His (aionian) punishments, and that these punishments all have a distinct beginning AND an end. God’s plan (which cannot be thwarted) is to reconcile all things to Himself in Christ. This includes ALL MEN. THIS IS HIS PLAN and purpose for the eons (aions, ages). Simply put; some men are reconciled to God now (in this age or eon), some will be reconciled to Him in the age or eon to come, and others will be reconciled to Him at the consummation of the ages or eons. This is exactly what the apostle Paul wrote about in 1 Corinthians chapter 15 — that in Adam ALL die, but in Christ ALL shall be made alive, but each in their own rank and order (and that according to God’s predestined plan of the ages).
It’s no wonder that most of Christendom cannot understand “predestination” without this precious truth. How can a loving and just God “predestine” some people to “go to heaven” and others to go off to “everlasting” torment and torture? He can’t. He won’t! Such a thing has never been in the mind and heart of God, but rather, that doctrine comes out from carnal minds and dark hearts which are at enmity with God and are alienated from divine understanding.
Some say, “This is heresy!” I say, “Is it?” Is it the Holy Spirit that causes men to think that this is “heresy,” or is it simply the voice of indoctrination that leads them to think and say such things? The religious minded men of Paul’s day called what he shared then “heresy” too. Paul’s answers to the accusations of the religious and thoroughly indoctrinated people in his day are also my answers to those who accuse me of teaching heresy today. Paul said…
“But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets …”
And this …
“For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we have set our trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe. Command and teach these things.”
Beloved, Paul exhorts us to command and teach that God is the SAVIOR OF ALL MEN! This salvation is “special” to believers because believers have the opportunity to be God’s ministers of reconciliation to the world. God’s purpose in the church age has never been to save as many people as possible and then send the rest of His creation off into some sort of fiery hellish garbage dump forever. No, the truth is that our Father has been bringing a people to Himself (an elect company) during the church age, so that through these He can then reach out to others, in this age AND in the ages to come!
Dear ones, God has simply called US to Himself in the time of the church dispensation in order that we show forth His kindness to OTHERS in this age and in the ages to come! Once we can see this precious truth, then we can understand why most people WILL NOT come to Christ in the church age, but this does not mean that God has forsaken those poor souls and has given them up to suffer never-ending punishments. NO! A THOUSAND TIMES NO!!
The mercy, love, and compassion of our God and Father will never fail! The Good Shepherd will keep on seeking and saving the lost until each and every one of them are brought into His Fold! This is the “Good News” that must be preached in all the earth! We are to command and teach that Jesus Christ is the Savior of all men (not just of most men) and that through HIM all men can be fully reconciled to God. In Christ, God was conciliating all men to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has now committed to His elect the word of reconciliation! Therefore, as the Father’s ambassadors, we who are of a “special” salvation are to proclaim to all men, “Be reconciled to God!”
Ahhh, how wonderful is the Divine Plan that through Jesus Christ all things (whether things on earth or things in heaven) are to be reconciled to God the Father, peace having been made through Christ’s Blood. Although we may still see today many men who are alienated and hostile toward God (in their minds), how wonderful it is that God has made way for ALL OF THEM to be reconciled to Him through Christ’s sacrifice, and that all of them (in their own rank and order) will be brought TO HIM!
Though many people (even most Christians) today have not yet a revelation of the magnitude of Christ’s victory, there is a remnant in the earth today from whose eyes the scales of religion has now fallen and who can now see that when God’s Plan of the Ages is fully complete, ALL men will be presented as holy, blameless, and beyond reproach before God.
Wow! I can assure you, friends, when that time comes, EVERY knee will surely be bowing in loving adoration and worship of their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, all to the glory of God the Father.
Talk about “Good News,” man. Wow…