by W.B. Screws

The Pilgrim's Messenger

"Have a pattern of sound words which you hear from me, in faith and love
which are in Christ Jesus."--11 Timothy 1:13
Published Monthly By W. B. SCREWS, Glennville, Georgia
Twenty-five Cents a Year

Volume XIX

March, 1940

Number 8.

Entered at the postoffice at Glennville, Ga., as second-class matter.

"The life God gives with His salvation needs no adjective to describe its duration."

I am indebted to Brother Daniel Vaughn of Berkeley, Calif., for the above couplet.  It states truth - a truth often ignored.  It is a lack of faith that insists that God tell us life will be eternal when death is abolished.  We who know something of His plan make no such demand.  We know death came in the past because it was in accord with the counsel of His will, Eph. 1:11.  We know that it will not come again, for when He abolishes it, He does so because it has served its purpose.  Life, without an adjective, satisfies us.  

The evangel of which Paul was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher of the nations, constitutes God's means of illuminating life and incorruption.  If we know this evangel, we are satisfied with what God says about life.  

But an adjective is used!  Yes, but not to describe the duration of life.  God never uses the adjective, eternal.  He uses no Greek word that means that.  He uses "eonian," not to describe the duration of life, but to denote the special salvation and life of the believer.  I Tim. 4:10.  God is the Savior of all mankind.  He is the special Savior of those who believe.  They are to have life before the rest of mankind.  This is indicated by the adjective, eonian.  Eonian life is life in the eons.  When the eons come to an end, all mankind, including believers, will have life, but nobody will then have eonian life.  How could they, when the eons will not even be in existence?  Will everybody have eternal life?  Everybody will have life, and there will be no death.  This satisfies faith.  God tells us no more than this.  

The Greek word for "lost," is the same as the one for "destroyed" and "perished."  It is APOLLUMI.  I ask the reader to consider this very carefully.  Ponder it.  When the Bible says a person is lost, it is the same as saying that person perished, or is destroyed.  As I said about another matter, in the last issue, let this "soak in," if possible.  Or, as I sometimes say in preaching, let this register with you.  Lost, perished, destroyed - they all mean identically the same.  

The Son of Mankind came to seek and to save that which is lost, Luke 19:10.  If there is anyone not lost now, it is because Christ has saved that one.  So long as anyone is lost, that long will He continue to save.  If you want to know who will be saved, just find those who are lost.  

"God thus loves the world, so that He gives His only begotten Son, that everyone who is believing into Him should not be perishing, but have eonian life," John 3:16.  This passage does not say unbelievers will never be saved.  They are not to be finally lost.  They are to be lost, or perish, in relation to eonian life.  They are not to have eonian life.  The next verse, which theologians refrain from reading, says the world is to be saved through Christ.  While world means system, it is figuratively used here, as in many other passages, to mean the whole of mankind.  Not all are to have eonian life.  Only believers have that.  But all mankind are to be saved.  All will have life, when the time comes that the adjective, eonian, will no longer have a place in the matter.  

Eonian does not describe the duration of life.  Life will continue after the adjective has lost its force - that is, after the eons have come to an end.  Eonian life is life in the eons.  

I said life is illuminated through the evangel of which Paul became a herald and a apostle and a teacher of the nations.  The Circumcision writings say much about eonian life.  Paul does too.  But he says more about life, without the adjective, than do the others.  In Adam all are dying.  This is the opposite of life.  In Christ all shall be vivified, I Cor. 15:22.  This introduces another word - vivify, represented by the Greek word, zo-o-poie-o.  A study of the word will prove beneficial.  

"For if a law were given, able to vivify, (zo-o-poie-o), really, righteousness would be out of law," Gal. 3:21.  In other words, the reason righteousness does not come by law, is because the law is not able to vivify.  This shows that vivify is used to denote being made alive in a righteous sense.  

So - back to I Cor. 15:22.  As it is true that all are dying in Adam, so it is true that all shall be vivified in Christ.  This passage illuminates life and incorruption.  The verses that follow, explain it in detail.  Those who are Christ's are to be vivified in His presence.  They are the ones who will have eonian life, for His presence will take place before the consummation of the eons.  

"Thereafter the consummation, whenever He may be giving up the kingdom to God, even the Father, whenever He should be abrogating all sovereignty and all authority and power.  For He must be reigning until He should be placing all His enemies under His feet.  The last enemy being abolished is death."  See the verses following 22.  This illuminates life and incorruption.  It shows that death is to be abolished at the consummation.  It is then that those not mentioned in verse 23, are to receive life.  They, together with those mentioned in verse 23, constitutes the ALL, of verse 22.  

When life is illuminated - the floodlight of the truth of the evangel is thrown on the subject - it is found that all mankind are to have life after death is abolished.  Not only those who have eonian life, but also those who do not have eonian life, will have life when death is abolished.  

Life and incorruption are NOT illuminated in John 3:16.  Only eonian life is mentioned here.  Even those passages in Paul's writings that mention eonian life, do not illuminate life and incorruption.  The full light of the subject comes when we find those passages that speak of life as it shall be when it is not proper to use the adjective any longer.  Let this "register" with you, if possible.  

Theologians deceive the people by telling them, "Aionion must mean eternal, for it is the very word used to describe the duration of God and Christ."  No statement was ever further from the truth. When I say, "Woodrow Wilson was the war president," does the adjective, war, describe the duration of his presidency?  Most certainly it does not!  It describes its relation to the war.  So, when God is called "the eonian God," Rom. 16:26, it does not limit Him to the eons, but it describes His relation to the eons.  After sin and death is over, we will revel in the presence of God, but now, while these are such dreadful realities, we rejoice to know that God sustains a relation to the eons.  He is the eonian God.  The sin and death that so terrify us during the eons, are part of his purpose of the eons, Eph. 3:11.  They are in accord with the counsel of His will, Eph. 1:11.  So, the words, "the eonian God," have a special sweetness to us.  

God is called "the King of the eons," I Tim. 1:17.  One might suppose that, with all the disorder in the universe, no supreme King is reigning.  Not so.  God IS reigning.  The very disorder that prevails during most of the eons, is as much in accord with His purpose, as will be the complete order, after the consummation.  None of His works that our eyes can see, now, has a semblance of order.  God does not plant trees in rows.  The stars in the heavens seem to be strewn as a man might throw out a handful of corn.  Shall we conclude that God did not do it, because it does not look orderly to us?  No more may we rule God out of the eons, because of their disorder.  He is King, even now.  He is King of the eons, but this does not limit Him to the eons.  

Before the eons are consummated - even during the last two, called the eons of the eons - God will have begun to vindicate Himself, by turning the evil of the preceding eons to good account; and thus He will receive honor and glory for the eons of the eons, see same verse.  This does not limit His honor and glory to the eons of the eons.  The expression is not used for that purpose.  It is intended to show that honor and glory will begin to be His, before the consummation of the eons.  

Theologians tell us that "for the eons of the eons," must mean for ever and ever, because it is used to describe the duration of the life of Christ, Un. 1:18.  The passage reads, " I am living for the eons of the eons."  This is not intended to limit His life to that period.  It is intended to show His relation to that period.  Those are the eons in which He will reign, first, as the Son of David and the Son of Mankind, and then as God, (Heb. 1:8).  At the consummation of that period, which will be the consummation of the eons, He will have so completely done the task given Him, that there will be nothing else for Him to do, and He will abdicate the throne.  It is important to know that, despite all opposition, He will live through that period of the eons.  He assures us here, that He will.  

He will not die when the eons are consummated.  The phrase, "for the eons of the eons," does not describe the duration of His life.  Let this "register," also.  Theologians can make as complete a mess of the scriptures, as a ten months-old baby can make of a case of type in a printing office.  Unless the reader is willing to use, in the study of the scriptures, the same amount of common sense that he uses in other matters, he is hopelessly cut off from knowing the truth, which, alone, can make him free.  

The most important thing is to know the truth about the eons.  And these editorials constitute our prayerful effort to help in this direction.  

The scriptures do not deal with eternal matters.  No human mind can conceive of anything without beginning or end.  Proof of this is found in the fact that preachers will ask, "Where will you spend eternity?"  Well, if you have fifty cents, and spend fifty cents, how much of it is left?  If you are going to spend eternity, eternity will end.  Or they will talk about something being done "through eternity."  "Throughout," means in at one side, clear through, and out on the other side.  Don't you see it is impossible for humans to talk about any duration except in terms of beginning and ending?  This is why the scriptures do not deal with eternal matters.  They deal with eonian matters. 


The series of articles on the Eons will not be instructive to some of my readers, perhaps, but I beg them to be patient; for I have scores of new scribers who need this very teaching.  Those who have passed over these matters in their reading, will, I am sure, be glad for new reades to have the same benefit they have had. 

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