- ev-er-last'-ing (olam, `adh; aidios, aionios): "Everlasting," in strictness, is that which endures forever; either that which has no beginning and will have no end (in which sense it is applicable to God only), or that which, having a beginning, will have no end, but henceforth will exist forever (thus of beings created for immortality; see IMMORTALITY). Figuratively also the term is applied to objects of impressive stability and long duration, as mountains, hills (e.g. Gen 49:26
; Hab 3:6
Of the terms indicated as rendered by this word, `olam in the Old Testament and aionios in the New Testament, literally, "age-long," generally bear the full sense of "eternal" (always as applied to God, His mercy, His covenant, His kingdom and to the eternal life of believers). Hence, in the Revised Version (British and American) the rendering "everlasting" in the King James Version is, in the New Testament, uniformly changed to "eternal" (e.g. Mt 18:8; 25:41,46; Lk 16:9; 18:30; Jn 3:16,36, etc.; Acts 13:46; Rom 6:22; 16:26; Gal 6:8; Heb 13:20). In the Old Testament the rendering "everlasting" is usually retained in the Revised Version (British and American), and sometimes takes the place of other words or phrases, as "lasting" (Dt 33:15), "ever," "forever" (1 Ch 16:36; Neh 9:5), "perpetual" (Hab 3:6; Jer 50:5), "of old" (Hab 3:6 margin). In Ps 100:5; 119:144, on the other hand, the Revised Version (British and American) changes the word to "for ever." In much the larger number of places `olam is translated "ever" or "for ever."
The word `adh, in the two cases in which it is translated "everlasting" in the King James Version (more frequently "for ever"), is in the Revised Version (British and American), in Isa 9:6, retained, with margin, "Father of Eternity," and in Hab 3:6 is changed into "eternal." Another word, qedhem, with the meaning "ancient time," is rendered "everlasting" in Hab 1:12 ("Art not thou from everlasting?"). With the same meaning it occurs in Dt 33:27, "The eternal God is thy dwelling-place."
The word which strictly answers to "everlasting" in the New Testament is aidios (Rom 1:20; Jude 1:6), rendered by the King James Version in the former passages "eternal," but correctly by the Revised Version (British and American) in both passages, "everlasting." The sense of the word "everlasting," in application to future punishment, is considered in the article PUNISHMENT, EVERLASTING.
The term "everlasting" or "eternal," applied to God, describes Him as filling, or enduring through, all the "ages" of time. It is only thus that we can symbolically represent eternity. In reality, however, the eternity of God is not simply His filling of ever-flowing "ages," but rather that aspect of His being in which He is above time; for which time (the succession-form of existence) does not exist; to which the terms past, present and future do not apply. Yet, while God is not in time (rather holds time in Himself), time-sequence, as the form of existence of the world, is a reality for God.
See ETERNAL; ETERNITY.