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Time (08/07/2005)
From: Keith Lockwood

The Hebrew word olam is used to describe a period of time in the Bible. Strong's Concordance defines olam as concealed, which develops the idea that an olam is an indefinite period of time (the amount of time may not always be clearly specified, thus it is concealed). Here is a simple example of the usage of the word olam in the Old Testament. Joshua describes the period of time that their ancestors lived and served other gods before Abraham packed up and left for the promised land as an olam (Joshua 24:2; KJV translates olam as "old times"). The confusion begins when the KJV translators force the concept of "everlasting" into the Hebrew olam. Take for instance Exodus 21:6 and Deuteronomy 15:17. These two passages speak of a bondservant who has chosen to not leave his/her master. The servant becomes a bondservant for an olam or until they die. The amount of time is concealed because no one but God knows how long the servant will live. The KJV translates olam here as "for ever". According to the KJV the servant is a servant throughout eternity! Another example is Jonah 2:6. Jonah is speaking of the time, or olam, he spent in the whale which we know was 3 days and 3 nights. The KJV translates olam here "for ever"! Which is it, 3 days and 3 nights or for ever? Be careful how you answer this question because Christ Himself attested that Jonah was only in the whale 3 days and 3 nights (Matthew 12:40), not "for ever". 9 times in Exodus, 18 times in Leviticus and 9 times in Numbers, the Law and its statues are described as an "everlasting" or "perpetual" covenant in the KJV. The word they translate "everlasting" and "perpetual" is the Hebrew word olam. We all know that this cannot be true for Christ came and fulfilled the Law's demands in His flesh which was done away with through His death on the cross, giving way for the new covenant! How can the old covenant be "everlasting" if it has been done away with through Christ? The old covenant was for an indefinite period of time, for the purpose of exposing sin (Romans 3:19, 20; 5:20; Galatians 3:24), and when this purpose is accomplished, it is done away with. It is the KJV that wants you to believe that the Bible speaks of "everlasting", when in reality the Bible speaks mostly of what will happen during the existence of time. We are told very little of what happened before time began (i.e. 2 Timothy 1:9) and very little of what happens after time as we know it ends (i.e. 1 Corinthians 15:22-28; that God will be All in all). Many will object to this because of such passages as Psalm 106:1 which states, speaking of the Lord, "His mercy endures for ever". They will accuse me of saying that there are limits to God's mercy if olam is not translated "for ever". To state that God's mercy will endure throughout an indefinite period of time does not take away from God's mercy before time existed or God's mercy which will extend beyond the end of time. The KJV translators used at least 16 different English words and/or phrases to translate the Hebrew word olam. They could not consistently translate olam "eternal" or "everlasting" or "for ever" in many passages because the passages speak of things that clearly are not eternal, so they instead translated it "ancient" or "old times" or "of old". How can one word be translated as "everlasting" (having no beginning and no end) but in other contexts be translated a period of time which has a distinct beginning and an ending? There are Bible translators who have strived to consistently translate the Hebrew word olam, such as Robert Young, Rotherham, and the translators of the Concordant Version of the Old Testament. Taking the theology of "everlasting" out of the picture clears up much confusion. Don't take my word for! The experts have done the work for us by studying the ancient Greek and Hebrew of the Bible and formulating concordances. It is not as hard as it may seem. Seek God's truth through the original language used, instead of only through translators who were influenced or even coerced by the overriding theology of their time.

 

 

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