Matthew 25:46 and Colossians 1:20
In my video series course on “Irrefutable Evidence of Universal Reconciliation,” I expound upon 12 Biblical texts that prove God is not only going to save all mankind, but that He will reconcile all His creatures who are in heaven or in earth to Himself through the blood of Christ’s cross. The evidence is overwhelming. The overarching verse is as follows.
- Colossians 1:20 – And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.
The word “things” is not in the Greek text. This is speaking not of rocks and rivers but all of God’s creatures, which includes all those in heaven and all those in earth. There is no question as to the accuracy of the translation, and it is extremely clear about what it is teaching. God will reconcile all His creatures to Himself, without exception.
A common response to my presentation of the 12 Biblical texts I refer to, is to mention other Scriptures that seem to contradict the 12 that I present. And yes, there are indeed Scriptures that directly contradict what Colossians 1:20 teaches. What then do we do? How do we understand what God is communicating if we have two or more conflicting statements?
We have a couple options to choose from. First, we could throw our hands up and give up and conclude “we won’t know until we get there…” What a cowardly cop-out that attitude is. Did God not write His Word? Did He not know how to communicate so it could be understood? Does He not want us to understand what He has written?
A second option is that we could side with traditional theology and just ignore Colossians 1:20, or we might insert our own words into Colossians 1:20 to make it agree with traditional theology. This is the “comfortable” route that doesn’t challenge us to work out the discrepancy to arrive at a valid Word-of-God based conclusion.
It’s easy to insert words and phrases when reading God’s Word, without even realizing it. Let me explain the process. Let’s say you read Colossians 1:20, already having the firm conviction that those who die without confessing Jesus Christ is Lord will suffer eternal torment in the Lake of Fire. Or perhaps you are among those who believe that death is the final state of unredeemed man, except for a brief appearance at The Great Throne to be informed of why they must be annihilated. Therefore, when you read Colossians 1:20 you subconsciously add the words “who believe” to the verse. You read what is there, but you understand it as, “And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all WHO BELIEVE unto Himself, I say, whether they be in the earth, or in heaven.”
This is done more commonly than you think. See if you can catch yourself adding words and phrases subconsciously as you read God’s Word. You do that so you can make sense of it according to your present knowledge and understanding. We often take away from to God’s Word and add to it subconsciously, from our own misunderstanding, even though God has not written what we think He wrote. This is not the way to read God’s Word. We must read what is written and allow God’s Word to interpret itself to us.
There is a third option. Anytime we find Scripture that seems to contradict other Scripture, we must take a different approach, one that leads to the truth. Isn’t that what we want? Isn’t that what we should want? Isn’t that what God is imploring us to do? He wants us to know what He has revealed.
In another article I outline the observances that must be made when studying God’s Word to arrive at what it is communicating without outside reasoning. Please refer to that article or enquire about my “How to Study God’s Word” course for further instruction. I teach how to work through apparent contradictions in “How to Study God’s Word,” which is available by request from LiveFaith.TV.
Here I want to give the solution to one of the most perplexing contradictions in modern translations, and that is concerning Matthew 25:46 this verse in Colossians 1:20. We have already read Colossians 1:20, so let’s look at the verse in Matthew.
- Matthew 25:46 – And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
The reasoning presented by this objection is that since believers in Christ will receive “life eternal,” then the “everlasting punishment” of the wicked must be of equal duration. On the surface, this appears to be a sound interpretation.
However, if this is what this verse is teaching, we have a direct contradiction with Colossians 1:20 that cannot be solved without mental manipulation of the words. There is no way Colossians 1:20 can be resolved with Matthew 25:46 unless we insert the words “who believe” into it as I demonstrate earlier.
I’ll show the contradiction in a table for clarity.
|Matthew 25:46||Colossians 1:20|
|Those who are figured as goats: everlasting punishment = not reconciled Those who are figured as sheep: eternal life = reconciled||All in heaven and in earth reconciled to God through the blood of His Son’s cross|
According to Matthew 25:46, only those who are depicted as “sheep” are reconciled to God. But Colossians 1:20 says God is going to reconcile all who are in heaven and in earth to Himself. “All in earth” includes all mankind, not just those who believe. Those in heaven are the celestial host; God’s messengers; but who has ever taught that even the errant spiritual beings will be reconciled to God? They are the only beings “in heaven” that need reconciliation!
I pray you are beginning to see how far astray these traditional doctrines most of Christianity relies on are. These doctrines are heretical and have led to the blinding of God’s people, not their enlightenment. Let’s set the record straight by learning and adhering to God’s Word of truth.
The Greek Words “Aion” and “Aionion” Do Not Speak of Eternity
The Greek words “aion” and “aionion” are translated incorrectly, everywhere they appear, in most modern versions of the Bible. This has totally obscured the truth regarding the judgments of God and the fate of unredeemed man. Translated correctly, the verses that seem to contradict the truth of Universal Reconciliation vanish instantly. Leave them translated as they are in the modern versions, and nothing but confusion remains. The contradiction is introduced by wrong translation. Correct the translation, and God’s Word agrees with itself, and the problem is solved.
Wrong translation occurs twice in Matthew 25:46, while Colossians 1:20 (above) is translated accurately.
- Matthew 25:46 – And these shall go away into
everlasting[Greek: “aiōnion,” “eonian”] punishment[Greek: “kolasin,” “chastisement”]: but the righteous into life eternal[Greek: “aiōnion,” “eonian”].
The Greek word group of which “aiōnion” is a member, are translated a number of ways as follows.
Lexicon: Aion Word Group
Greek aion (singular form)
King James Word Usage – Total: 128, translated as follows:
ever 71, world 38, never 6, evermore 4, age 2, eternal 2, course 1, miscellaneous 4
The English word “eon” is a direct transliteration of “aion” and means a period of time of limited duration.
Plural Form (eons):
Greek aiōsin – Ephesians 2:7 (used once)
Greek aiōnōn – Ephesians 3:9,11; Colossians 1:26, Hebrews 9:2 (used 28 times)
Adjective Form (eonian)
Greek aionios, translated as follows:
eternal 42, everlasting 25, the world began 2, since the world began, for ever 1
The adjective form, “aiōnion” is used twice in Matthew 25:46, and is translated two different ways in the same verse, both of which are incorrect. An adjective modifies a noun. It cannot mean more than the noun it modifies. For example, “hourly” modifies “hour,” not “year.” “Weekly” modifies “week,” not month. “Eonian” modifies “eon,” not “eternity.”
“Eonian” means “of or pertaining to one or more eons.” There are five eons that make up “The Eonian Times” during which God is working out His plan to head up all in heaven and in earth in Christ. We are presently in the third eon, called “the evil eon.” This eon ends with Christ’s return, which initiates the next eon, the thousand years of the Millennial Kingdom. That eon is followed by the eon of the New Heaven and Earth. God is speaking about who will live during the next two eons during which righteousness dwells; He is not speaking about life beyond those two upcoming eons.
The phrase “for ever and ever” is incorrectly translated from three different and distinct Greek phrases and should be translated as follows.
Eons of the Eons
Greek: “tous aiōnas (eons) ton (of the) aiōnōn (eons)
- Revelation 20:10 – And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night
forever and ever[Greek: “tous aiōnas ton aiōnōn,” “to the eons of the eons”].
This refers to both of the final two eons in which righteousness dwells. Christ rules the world from Jerusalem during the Millennial eon, and God is present with man on the New Heaven and Earth. Those who have already died in unbelief, and those who will all the way through to Christ’s return will miss out on the eon of the Millennial Kingdom as well as that of the New Heaven and Earth. Those judged at The Great White Throne will miss out on the entire eon of the New Heaven and New Earth. We see those who believe will enjoy “eonian life” while those who do not, and those who are evil, will suffer “eonian chastisement” because they will be dead during one or both of the upcoming glorious eons.
Eon of the Eons
Greek aiōnos (eon) tōn (of the) aiōnōn (eons)
- Ephesians 3:21 –Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages [Greek: “tou aiōnas ton aiōnōn,” “of the eon of the eons”], world without end. Amen.
This refers to the final glorious eon of the New Heaven and Earth, when God tabernacles with man. Christ rules from Jerusalem, not with a rod of iron, but with the scepter of God’s love.
Eon of the Eon
Greek: “eis ton aiōna (eon) tou (of the) aiōnos” (eon)
- Hebrews 1:8 – But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for [Greek: “eis ton aiōna tou aiōnos”, “the eon of the eon”]: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.
This also refers to that final glorious eon when God tabernacles with man. We know this is not the final state for several reasons, including the fact that Jesus has not yet abdicated his throne, which we read about in I Corinthians 15:20-28. The Consummation follows the New Heaven and Earth and that is when the remaining dead, those who died at The Great White Throne Judgment, will be made alive, all debts paid by the Lord Jesus Christ, and all restitution already made through their chastisement before they died. It’s God’s good pleasure to reconcile them to Himself through the blood of Christ’s cross, even as He has already reconciled those of us who believe now.
Once these words are translated correctly, and the content they present is understood in light of the rest of Scripture, all is in agreement in God’s Word.
In Matthew 25:46, both words, everlasting and eternal, are translated from the adjective form of “aion.” The text is not speaking about eternal life. Believers will live during the final two eons. The wicked and unbelievers will be dead during Christ’s Millennial Kingdom. After that they will be raised at The Great White Throne judgment, will be judged, sentenced; their sentence will be carried out, and then they will be cast into the lake of fire which is their second death. They will stay dead during that final eon until the Consummation occurs.
Matthew 25:46 is national judgment, not individual. Eternal life is not the subject; eonian life during the next two eons is. The Great White Throne judgment deals with the individual. Then comes the Consummation.
God Chastises to Correct the Underlying Issue
I must point out that the Greek word for “punishment” in this Matthew 25:46 is “kolasis,” and is used of “pruning” and “chastising.” It is not the word for punishment, which is “timoria.”
- Acts 22:5 – As also the high priest doth bear me witness, and all the estate of the elders: from whom also I received letters unto the brethren, and went to Damascus, to bring them which were there bound unto Jerusalem, for to be punished [Greek: “timoreo”, “punished”].
- Acts 26:11 – And I punished [Greek: “timoreo”, “punished”] them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities.
In these two verses is it man handing out the punishment, not God. Man punishes. God punishes and corrects at the same time.
- Hebrews 10:29 – Of how much sorer punishment [Greek: “timoria”, “punishment”], suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?
This verse in Hebrews is talking about those in Israel under the gospel of the Circumcision who at first believed and later rejected the Son of God. It is not talking about believers during the Administration of the Secret, under which we lie. It also does not say the judgment these people will receive; it just says what they deserve. God will chastise them – not punish them, and in the end His mercy will triumph over judgment (James 2:13), once judgment has satisfied His justice. This is how God will reconcile all in heaven and in earth to Himself and become “All in all.”
Chastisement is used to correct wrong behavior and to restore the offender to a right relationship with God. Punishment has no goal other than to dish out harm for harm; evil for evil. Chastisement conquers evil with good. This is the way of God.
“Hell” is “Gehenna” not “Hades” and not “The Lake of Fire
The word “hell” in this verse is also a mistranslation. It is not the Greek word, “hades,” but “Gehenna.” Gehenna is not hades, and neither one is the Lake of Fire. Conflating these three different words to mean the same thing has added to the confusion. We must keep them distinct, as God does in His Word.
Jesus is speaking to the Circumcision, who will inherit the coming Kingdom of God on earth at His return. He is speaking about events that will happen at that time. Gehenna was a trash pit outside of Jerusalem in Hennen Valley. They would toss garbage in Gehenna and burn it. That which was not burned by the fire was eaten by the worms. They threw the dead corpses of criminals in Gehenna and people would look upon those dead bodies and be reminded of the judgment of God against the unrighteous.
There will be another Gehenna in Christ’s Millennial Kingdom. Summary judgments will be used to handle unrighteousness, not courts. We see a preview of this with Ananias and Sapphira early in the book of Acts. They lied to God and Peter the apostle and died instantly. If a Gehenna existed at that time, their dead bodies would have been tossed into it. Instead, their dead bodies were dragged out and buried. Gehenna is the capital punishment of the Kingdom that Christ will govern. Those in the Kingdom who do not comply with Kingdom Law will die, and their dead bodies will be thrown into Gehenna.
These same people will be raised from the dead to appear at The Great White Throne. Therefore, Gehenna serves merely as a receptacle of the dead until they are raised from the dead.
Matthew 25:46 is Not Speaking of Eternal Destiny
The verse under consideration is in the context of the Judgment of the Nations which occurs after Jesus returns to the earth for Israel and to set up His Kingdom. It is a works judgment, for one who gives an Israelite a glass of cold water is given “eonian life” in the Kingdom. This is regardless of the person’s belief in Jesus! Nations are being judged, not individuals. Favored-nation status is what is being determined, based on each nation’s treatment of Israel during The Times of the Gentiles.
I expound upon the Judgment of the Nations in the third volume of my “Unto Perfection” Series: God’s Purpose in Creation: The Consummation of All Things.” Get it at LiveFaith.TV.
Let’s look at Matthew 25:46 translated accurately.
Matthew 25:46 – And these shall go away into eonian punishment: but the righteous into life eonian.
When accurately translated, we see there is no contradiction between Matthew 25:46 and Colossians 1:20. Matthew 25:46 is speaking of a temporal judgment, while Colossians 1:20 is speaking about the ultimate outcome of all creation due to the universal scope of Christ’s cross. God’s Word is consistent and congruent in everything God reveals through it.