For Ever - a Mistranslation
For Ever – Old Testament Evidence
Now we will look at specific verses in the Old Testament and see it the translations make sense. I will insert olam where the word is used. Let’s start with Jonah:
Jonah 1:17 – Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. (KJV)
Jonah 2:6 – I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever (olam): yet hast though brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God. (KJV, comment added)
Jonah was in the belly of a big fish for three days and three nights. It was dark so he had no concept of time and used the word olam to mean an indefinite period of time. Jonah was obviously not in the fish for eternity because he got out. Here is another verse:
Psalm 110:4 – The LORD hath sword, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever (olam) after the order of Melchizedek. (KJV, comment added)
This verse says “for ever AFTER the order.” That doesn’t make sense. How can for ever mean after or before something? It cannot.
Exodus 21:6 – Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him for ever (olam). (KJV, comment added)
This verse says that a servant shall serve is master for ever. However, the servant is mortal, he will not live forever. So olam is used here to mean for the rest of his life. I realize that translating “for the rest of you life” into “forever” is not a bad translation in this context. However, if you translate the same word olam next to the word hell or life making it “for ever in hell” or “life everlasting,” it has a completely different meaning than “serve him for ever.” Here’s another example about Solomon’s temple:
1 Kings 8:13 – I have surely built thee an house to dwell in, a settled place for thee to abide in for ever (olam). (KJV, comment added)
Solomon is telling God that he built this temple for God to dwell in. However, we know that the temple was destroyed. So Solomon did not mean for ever, but an indefinite period of time.
Joshua 4:7 – Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever (olam). (KJV, comment added)
This verse mentions stones that will be a memorial for ever. However, today they are probably eroded, without a trace of them remaining. So how can it mean for ever literally? Next, we will take a look at the New Testament.
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