All fair readers can see the extreme significance of all this ; and how very far the principle of interpretation, so plainly involved, really goes
It is terrible to think of the agony caused to loving hearts by misleading translations; perhaps most of all by that disgraceful rendering that “never shall be quenched.” – S. Mark ix. 43-5 (now removed after it has worked such evil.) (b) Further, if the context be examined, it points to a present, and impending judgment, and not a future punishment. (c) The whole figure implies not the endless torture of the wicked in a future life, but the destruction by Christ’s fiery baptism, already working, of that chaff which surrounds every grain.
Here I earnestly beg my readers to pause and seriously consider, not traditional prejudices, but plain facts. The usage of Scripture shows decisively, that to press words like “unquenchable, “c., to a narrow literal meaning makes perfect nonsense. Take some typical instances. A fire is kindled against Israel which is to burn for ever – Jer. xvii. 4, and yet all Israel is to be saved – Rom. xi. 26, so is “the whole house of Israel.” – Ez. xxxix. 25. xxx. 12, 15,. but in a moment it is added, “I will heal you” of the (incurable) wound, v. 17. So, too, HOSEA more than once declares the rejection of Israel by God, and that no more mercy remains for her: and yet in the same breath asserts her final pardon and reconciliation – Hos. i. 6-9-10; ii 4, 10, 14, 15, 19, 23 ; ix. 15; xiii. 14; xiv. 4; passages well worth our pondering over.
And again, Israel’s hurt is “incurable ;” her pain is “incurable ” – Jer
In AMOS the same striking. teaching occurs. Israel, it is said, shall no more rise, ch. v. 2. Yet God will raise her up. – ch. ix. xx. Again, though, as we have seen, an express promise of the restoration of all Israel is given, and repeated in the New Testament – Rom. xi. 26, yet an “unquenchable” fire is to burn them up – Jer. vii. 20; “everlasting” reproach and “perpetual” shame is to come on them – Jer. xxiii. 40; “perpetual” hissing – Jer. xviii. 16; and “perpetual” desolations – Jer. xxv. 9; “perpetual” backsliding – Jer. viii. 5.
Surely some righteous indignation is called for against those who construct a sentence of endless damnation against countless millions of God’s children (very largely) on the strength of phrases like the above, whose meaning is so completely misapprehended Let us examine further. Not alone is the sin of Israel “incurable,” but so is the wound of Samaria – Mic. i. 9. And yet this “incurable” wound is to be cured, for the captivity of Samaria is to be turned again.- Ezek. xvi. 53 Nor is this all. Sodom and Gomorrha suffer the vengeance of “eternal fire ” – Jude, and are to be a “perpetual” desolation – Zeph. ii. 9, and yet the “perpetual” desolation is to end in restoration – Ez. xvi. 53; and this temporary meaning is constantly that of “perpetual” in Scripture: e.g., Lev. iii. 17, xxiv. 9, xxv. 34; Jer. xxxiii. 40. So, too, Ammon is to be a “perpetual” desolation – Zeph. ii. 9; is to fall and rise no more – Jer. xxv. 21, 27; and yet it is to be restored – Jer. xlix. 6. And so Elam is to fall and rise no more – Jer. xxv. 27, yet in the latter days it is to be restored, ch. xlix. 39. The installment loans Maryland same is true of Egypt: compare Jer. xxv. 19, 27, with Ezek. xxix. 13, c. And Moab is to be destroyed, and yet restored. – Jer. xlviii. 4, 47.