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Bible Lexicons

Girdlestone's Synonyms of the Old Testament

Eternal, Age to Come

Various Words Marking Duration

The O.T. words representing duration, and their Greek equivalents, call for careful consideration in consequence of the fact that the revelation of man's future destiny must depend to some extent up on their accurate interpretation.

One of the most frequent words used to mark duration is Ad (עד , Ass. adu), which is represented in English by the words eternity, ever, everlasting, evermore, of old, perpetually, world without end. this word is once used where there is a reference to past duration of a limited extent, namely, in Job 20:4, 'Knowest thou not this of old, since man was placed up on earth.' It is used of a state of being which is at once past, present, and future, with regard to God who inhabits eternity (κατοικω̂ν τὸν αἰω̂να), Isaiah 57:15. It is applied to the endless duration of God's reign, Exodus 15:18, Psalms 10:16, where the LXX is very strong (εἰς τὸν αἰω̂να καὶ ἐπʼ αἰω̂να καὶ ἔτι); to the throne of God, Psalms 45:6; to the Messianic kingdom, Psalms 89:29; to the duration of God's righteousness, praise, and commandments, Psalms 111:3; Psalms 111:8; Psalms 111:10. It is also used of the duration of national or individual confidence in God, e.g. Psalms 48:14, 'This God is our God for ever and ever (εἰς τὸν αἰω̂να καὶ εἰς τὸν αἰω̂να του̂ αἰω̂νος), he shall be our guide unto death' (εἰς τοὺς αἰώνας); Psalms 52:8, 'I will hope in God's mercy for ever;' Psalms 119:44, 'I will keep thy law continually, even for ever and ever' (διαπαντός, εἰς τὸν αἰω̂να καὶ εἰς τὸν αἰω̂να του̂ αἰω̂νος). The same word occurs in the title of the Messiah, as 'the everlasting Father,' i.e. the source of everlasting life, Isaiah 9:6; see also Psalms 148:6; Psalms 104:5.

Again, the term is applied to the continued existence of the people of God, and to the personal confidence which they may feel in God, whether here or hereafter: - Psalms 9:18, 'The expectation of the po or shall not perish for ever' (εἰς τὸν αἰω̂να); Psalms 22:26, 'Your heart shall live for ever' (εἰς αἰω̂να αἰω̂νος); Psalms 37:27-29, 'Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell for evermore (εἰς αἰω̂να αἰω̂νος). for the Lord loveth righteousness, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever (εἰς τὸν αἰω̂να): but the wicked shall be cut off. The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell there in for ever' (εἰς αἰω̂να αἰω̂νος); Isaiah 45:17, 'Ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end' (ἕως του̂ αἰω̂νος καὶ ἔτι).

Lastly, it is used with reference to the case of evil doers, whether nations or individuals. of Assher and Eber it is said that they 'shall perish for ever' (Numbers 24:20; Numbers 24:24). Psalms 9:5, 'Thou hast put out their names for ever and ever' (εἰς τὸν αἰω̂να καὶ εἰς αἰω̂να αἰω̂νος); Psalms 83:17, 'Let them be confounded and troubled for ever' (εἰς αἰω̂να αἰω̂νος); Psalms 92:7, 'The wicked shall be destroyed for ever' (ἐξολοθρεύθωσιν εἰς τὸν αἰω̂να του̂ αἰω̂νος).

Netsach (נצח ), with a preposition (ל ), is rendered always, constantly, ever, perpetual, and also in its original meanings of strength and victory. It is usually rendered by the LXX εἰς τέλος, unto completion, but sometimes εἰς νι̂κοςunto victory. It signifies completeness, and might usually be translated 'utterly.'

It is used of God not keeping his anger for ever (Psalms 103:9); and of the pleasures which are at his right h and for evermore (Psalms 16:11). God is several times appealed to not to forget his people or to be absent from them for ever (Psalms 13:1; Psalms 44:23; Psalms 74:1; Psalms 74:10; Psalms 74:19; Psalms 79:5; Psalms 89:46).

Netsach occurs in Job several times, either with reference to the utter destruction brought up on man (that is, up on the outer man) by God, or to the final deliverance which is to be obtained by the godly. See Job 4:20; Job 14:20; Job 20:7; Job 23:7; Job 36:7.

No man, says the Psalmist, can cause his fellow men to live for ever, i.e. can ensure him against death (Psalms 49:9). The destructions of the wicked, that is, their evil machinations against the godly, are described as having 'come to a perpetual end,' or, in other words, as being utterly frustrated (Psalms 9:6). Netsach is also used of the desolation of Edom and Babyl on (Amos 1:11; Jeremiah 50:39).

This word occurs in a slightly different form in the Hebrew heading of several Psalms. The LXX uniformly renders it εἰς τὸ τέλοςthe A V. has 'to the chief musician.' Perhaps the real meaning is that the Psalm is one of victory, and to be sung with emphasis.

Three times in the N.T. we read that he that endureth to the end (εἰς τέλος) shall be saved in 1 Thessalonians 2:16 we are reminded of Psalms 9:6, for we read that 'wrath has come up on them utterly.'

The phrase εἰς νι̂κος occurs only twice in the N.T., namely, in Matthew 12:20, where Isaiah 42:3 is quoted, and in 1 Corinthians 15:54, where the quotation is from Isaiah 25:8. It is curious that in these two places the Hebrew le-netsach is found, but not the phrase εἰς νι̂κος; in the LXX, the quotation being in each place a new translation from the Hebrew.

Tamid (תמיד ) marks continuity or perpetuity. It is usually applied to the permanence of the Mosaic ritual through the history of the Hebrew nation. The LXX generally renders it διαπαντός, but occasionally διὰ τέλους. It is used of the shewbread (Exodus 25:30), of the lamp (27:20), of the signet of holiness (28:38), of the pillar of the cloud and fire (Numbers 9:16), of the 'daily' sacrifice (Daniel 12:11), of God's eye resting on the l and of Israel (Deuteronomy 11:12), of the sustenance afforded to Mephibosheth (2 Samuel 9:10), of the constant realisation of the presence of God - 'I have set the Lord always before me' (Psalms 16:8), 'Mine eyes are ever unto the Lord' (Psalms 25:15); of the constant remembrance of sin - 'My sin is ever before me' (Psalms 51:3); of devotional feelings and conduct (Psalms 34:1; Psalms 38:17; Psalms 71:6; Psalms 119:44).

God says of Jerusalem, 'I have graven thee up on the palms of my hands, thy walls are continually before me' (Isaiah 49:16); and of the godly man it is said, 'The Lord shall guide thee continually.' Lastly, of the heavenly Jerusalem it is predicted, 'Thy gates shall be open continually, they shall not be shut day nor night' (Isaiah 60:11).

The word διαπαντὸς occurs ten times in the N.T. Two of these passages are quotations from the O.T., namely, Acts 2:25 and Romans 11:10, from Psalms 16:8; Psalms 69:23, in which Tamid is used in other passages it is used of the continuous service of God (Luke 24:53; Acts 10:2; Hebrews 9:6; Hebrews 13:15). It is also used in Matthew 18:10, where we read of Christ's little ones, that their angels in heaven continually behold the face of God.

Orec (ארך , Ass. arahu) denotes length without any reference to limit. It is translated ' for ever' in Psalms 23:6, 'I will dwell in his house for ever;' and Psalms 93:5, 'Holiness becometh thine house for ever.' in each case the LXX has εἰς μακρότητα ἡμέρων.

D or (דור , Ass. duru) signifies a generation in Psalms 10:6, 'I shall never be in adversity,' the words are literally, 'I shall not be in adversity from generation to generation;' and so in Psalms 77:8 ('Doth the Lord's promise fail for evermore?'). The word Dor, like the Greek γενεὰ and the English generation, is often used in a large and indefinite sense, sometimes perhaps referring to an age or century, as when the Lord promised to Abraham that his seed should be rescued ' in the fourth generation' (Genesis 15:16).

D or is applied to the continuous covenant made between God and Noah (Genesis 9:12), εἰς γενεὰς αἰωνίους; to the remembrance of God's name or memorial (Exodus 3:15, Psalms 9:7; Psalms 102:12; Psalms 135:13); to the feeling which was to be kept alive against the Amalekites (Exodus 17:16); to the permanence of God's thoughts (Psalms 33:11), mercy and truth (40:1l), wrath (85:5), existence (102:24), and dominion (145:13, Daniel 4:3); to the judgment of Edom (Isaiah 34:10), and to the desolation of Babyl on (Isaiah 13:20).

A parallel expression is used in Luke 1:50 and Ephesians 3:21, with regard to the continuance of God's mercy and of the glory which is to be ascribed to Him in Christ Jesus.

The word Tsemithuth (צמיתת ) is rendered ' for ever' in Leviticus 25:23; Leviticus 25:30, where reference is made to the continuous possession of land; but in the LXX we find εἰς βεβαίωσιν, an expression which is preserved in the N.T in Hebrews 6:16, where we read that an oath is ' for confirmation.' Perhaps there is here a special reference to the continuity of the promise through the oath sworn to Abraham.

Kedem (קדם , Ass. qudmu), which means that which is ancient, is used in Deuteronomy 33:27, of the eternal God; in Proverbs 8:22, of God's 'works of old' (πρὸ του̂ αἰω̂νος); and in Habakkuk 1:12, of God's existence from everlasting (ἀπʼ ἀρχη̂ς). The Greek rendering adopted in the last passage is often found in the N.T.

Yom (יום , Ass. yumu), day, is used in the plural number in a great variety of senses, and is rendered in the A. V. always, continuance, daily, yearly, ever, perpetually in almost all passages where duration is implied, the Greek rendering is πάσας τὰς ἡμέρας, which has been adopted in the N.T in Matthew 28:20, 'I am with you always.'

This phrase is applied to periodical or recurrent rites, suc has the lament for Jephthah's daughter (Judges 11:40); the feast in Shiloh (Judges 21:19); the worship in Shiloh (1 Samuel 1:3; 1 Samuel 1:21; 1 Samuel 2:19; 1 Samuel 20:6); and to the offering of sacrifices (Job 1:5, Amos 4:4).

It is used of the permanence of man's duty (Deuteronomy 5:29); of God's promises (Deuteronomy 6:24), and of his threats (Deuteronomy 28:33); of the continuance of evil in the heart (Genesis 6:5), and of wicked devices (Psalms 52:1). It is also used of permanent relations between man and man, or between nation and nation, e.g. between Saul and David (1 Samuel 18:29), Rehoboam and Jeroboam (2 Chronicles 12:15), David and Achish (1 Samuel 28:2), Hiram and David (1 Kings 5:1). See also Jeremiah 35:19; Jeremiah 31:36; Jeremiah 32:39.

The word Eth (עת , Ass. ittu), which marks a se as on or opportunity, is used of duration in Job 27:10, Psalms 10:5, Proverbs 6:14; Proverbs 8:30, and Ecclesiastes 9:8. The LXX renders it ἐν πάντι καιρῳ̂, ' on every occasion.' Compare Ephesians 6:18.

Public Domain
Girdlestone, Robert Baker. Entry for 'Eternal, Age to Come'. Synonyms of the Old Testament.
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