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Thread: Eternal Torment

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    Jude 10 says that the ungodly are like brute beasts in the stupid things they say, it does not talk at all about punishment or death. Many take passages from Ecclesiastes which speak of men being silent after death or perishing just like the beasts. However, these things are also said of believers, so if we are consistent it will lead us to become Sadducees. Other passages of the Scripture tell us of existence after physical death so we have to realize that David, Solomon and others were talking about things from an earthly perspective.

    Matthew 25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

    The same Greek word is translated as both eternal and everlasting here. If the punishment is not everlasting for the reprobate it cannot be everlasting bliss for the elect. The Bible says these two things are everlasting, not man or philosophy. The Bible does not speak of a second chance for anyone.

    Someone suffering in hell may experience sorrow for their sins because of their present state and the result of their sin, but they will not experience godly sorrow. Godly sorrow requires regeneration. As was shown by the Israelites and by the miracles of Jesus, every sign and wonder in the world can be performed but no belief or true repentance will result unless it is given by God.

    The Bible never says that Esau experienced true repentance. In fact he becomes the model set forth as the example of God's everlasting hatred.

    As for Agrippa, he seems to have been being sarcastic and that is I think what the translators of the KJV were trying to convey.

    In this instance the NIV is actually more literal and also captures the idea better.

    NIV Acts 26:28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, "Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?"

    The following verse also makes more sense in light of this translation.

    NIV Acts 26:29 Paul replied, "Short time or long-- I pray God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains."

    Sola Gratia,
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    For whatever strength of arm he may have who swims in the open sea, yet in time he is carried away and sunk, mastered by the greatness of its waves. Need then there is that we be in the ship, that is, that we be carried in the wood, that we may be able to cross this sea. Now this Wood in which our weakness is carried is the Cross of the Lord, by which we are signed, and delivered from the dangerous tempests of this world.--St. Augustine

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    Now that was a great post WB
    It’s scripture like that that I need to hear. First let me admit that I am no scholar of the Greek so please feel free to let me know when I screw up like with the Agrippa reference. I was trying to relate with scripture what I have experienced in my own life on more than one occasion. As I shared the gospel with someone and looked into their face I’ve seen sorrow and regret but they for reasons known only to them and God could not or would not repent. I just don’t think we know the hardness to any individual persons heart.

    As far as the punishment being eternal the same as “eternal life” that is exactly my point. We know that hell (the punishment) is eternal and the life of the believer is eternal but were does it say that the sinner is eternal. It might I just haven’t found it yet.


    Again I’m not saying that there is any pardon or forgiveness for the sinner just that we don’t understand the what is required to satisfy God's justice

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    Someone suffering in hell may experience sorrow for their sins because of their present state and the result of their sin, but they will not experience godly sorrow. Godly sorrow requires regeneration. As was shown by the Israelites and by the miracles of Jesus, every sign and wonder in the world can be performed but no belief or true repentance will result unless it is given by God.
    If you are saying that Gods requires Godly sorrow and repentance for his wrath to be satisfied and can give me some scripture to prove it. You will have convinced me of my error.
    I am under the impression that repentance is required for justification not punishment. If that were the case how could the punishment on Sodom be complete surely their was no repentance there.

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    Again I’m not saying that there is any pardon or forgiveness for the sinner just that we don’t understand the what is required to satisfy God's justice
    We do understand what is required to satisfy God's Justice!
    Just take a look at Calvary!

    Jesus fully and completely satisfied God's Justice at Calvary on our behalf. In Him we have been made the righteousness of God in Christ!



    As far as the punishment being eternal the same as “eternal life” that is exactly my point. We know that hell (the punishment) is eternal and the life of the believer is eternal but were does it say that the sinner is eternal.
    By logical necessity, if the sinner is the one punished with the "eternal life of punishment" then the sinner must be in a way "live eternally" well.

    Perhaps if you would explain what is exactly what you said we will be able to provide you with a proper answer.

    Your point, however, the one quoted first, is of a great concern to me. Perhaps, again, you misspoke. Any Christian can only be a Christian because the Holy Spirit reveals to him what is required to satisfy God's Justice It is the most basic and fundamental revelation the Holy Spirit gives us about God, His justice and Grace. Note: It is not that one needs or must know, it is that they get to know because the Holy Spirit reveals to them by Grace.
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    tomas:

    I was making reference to the two types of sorrow Paul spoke of.

    2 Corinthians 7:10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.

    The parable of the rich man and Lazarus speaks of consciousness after death. It would seem rather deceptive on the part of Jesus to teach a parable had absolutely no truth behind it.

    Sola Gratia,
    WildBoar
    For whatever strength of arm he may have who swims in the open sea, yet in time he is carried away and sunk, mastered by the greatness of its waves. Need then there is that we be in the ship, that is, that we be carried in the wood, that we may be able to cross this sea. Now this Wood in which our weakness is carried is the Cross of the Lord, by which we are signed, and delivered from the dangerous tempests of this world.--St. Augustine

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    Luke 16; Plus a Return to the APO Debate

    Tomas,

    I once believed in the final annihilation of the wicked (following gradations of suffering in the last judgment) for many years after experiencing true conversion. I was once a Seventh-day Adventist pastor. So I have true sympathy for the motive behind what you are presenting to us, even though I do not now agree with the conclusions you seem to be espousing (if I properly understand what you are saying).

    In no way do I believe the doctrines of Al Martin, Robert Morey, and Marc Carpenter: i.e., the teaching that those who presently deny an eternity of suffering in hell for the wicked are lost. This teaching would equate personal salvation with maturity of knowledge, which is against the gospel of free grace. God justifies us by grace in Christ through faith and THEN (afterward) works within us to clarify the truth on many points.

    WB states:
    The parable of the rich man and Lazarus speaks of consciousness after death. It would seem rather deceptive on the part of Jesus to teach a parable had absolutely no truth behind it.

    Agreed. But so many Protestant expositors have gone beyond the language of scripture in Luke 16. It is simply untrue to propose that this is not a parable--but a full statement of ultimate reality 'behind the curtain.'

    The rich man has thought and reasoning. This would not be possible if hell consisted of physical torture 'without measure' (Calvin): ditto Romanism, Islam, and Jonathan Edwards. (Note: current day free-will teachers like Dave Hunt promote the sermons of Edwards on hell as passionately as the Calvinists). Although Abraham denies Lazarus the comfort of a drop of water on the tongue, it cannot possibly be said that the rich man experienced no sense of the goodness of God. He had rational thinking and the ability to present his argument. This would not be possible of souls experiencing 'infinite torture' in 'bodies of asbestos' designed to communicate 'immeasurable suffering' caused by white-hot fire (like the hottest stars) torturing infinitely at every moment.

    APO

    Arndt and Gingrich present five meanings; all used in the NT.

    1. Of place, exclusively, from, away from.
    2. To denote the point from which someth begins in literal and figurative meaning.
    3. To indicate distance from a point.
    4. To indicate origin or source.
    5. To indicate cause, means, or outcome.

    The typical evangelical interpretation assumes that #1 and #3 are the essence of what 2 Thess. 1:9 is saying. I do not believe that this is the correct interpretation of the passage. The context, as well as the rest of the New Testament, teach that the wicked shall suffer IN the presence of God (points #2, #4, and #5) and not AWAY FROM his presence. In other words, the proper translation is 'from' or 'issuing from' and not 'away from.'

    There is no absolute proof of either translation. Both are possible. The issue is that of which translation honors the emphasis of the WHOLE of scripture.
    I got four things to live by: don't say nothin' that will hurt anybody; don't give advice--no one will take it anyway; don't complain; don't explain. Walter Scott

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    Re: Luke 16; Plus a Return to the APO Debate

    Originally posted by BillTwisse
    APO

    Arndt and Gingrich present five meanings; all used in the NT.

    1. Of place, exclusively, from, away from.
    2. To denote the point from which someth begins in literal and figurative meaning.
    3. To indicate distance from a point.
    4. To indicate origin or source.
    5. To indicate cause, means, or outcome.

    The typical evangelical interpretation assumes that #1 and #3 are the essence of what 2 Thess. 1:9 is saying. I do not believe that this is the correct interpretation of the passage. The context, as well as the rest of the New Testament, teach that the wicked shall suffer IN the presence of God (points #2, #4, and #5) and not AWAY FROM his presence. In other words, the proper translation is 'from' or 'issuing from' and not 'away from.'

    There is no absolute proof of either translation. Both are possible. The issue is that of which translation honors the emphasis of the WHOLE of scripture.
    grammatically i would say that #4 or #5 are possible, but #2 sounds temporal and doesn't really work here. even if taken locationally (e.g., begins at his face and glory), this just doesn't sound normal/natural to me. here is what i found on B-Greek list:

    Without being dogmatic about it, I have to say that it seems strange to me to think in terms of PROSWPON TOU KURIOU AND hH DOXA THS ISCUOS AUTOU as agents of OLEQROS--the more so in that hUPO is more normal for a personal agent, or an instrumental dative for an impersonal means. More natural, in my view is to understand APO with these genitives in an ablatival function: "who will pay everlasting ruin away from the presence of the Lord and away from his glorious might" or the like. Moreover, the relative pronoun hOITINES must refer back to TOIS MH EIDOSIN QEON KAI TOIS MH hUPAKOUOUSIN TWi EUAGGELIWi TOU KURIOU hHMWN IHSOU--i.e., we have an active construction, so for that reason also APO with these genitives hardly seems likely as introducing an agent construction or even a source. Perhaps that argument can be made, but it seems unnatural to me.
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    here's another post from B-Greek:

    APO PROSWPOU appears 6 times in the NT (326 times in 210 passages in the LXX—but I'm not going there). In each instance it appears that it signifies separation from the presence of . . . whomever. In Acts 5.4, e.g. it says

    hOI MEN OUN EPOREUONTO XAIRONTES APO PROSWPOU TOU SUNEDRIOU . . .
    I think that the fact that this is said in regard to their relationship to a group (viz., the Sanhedrin) makes it abundantly apparent that the idea is separation rather than source.
    When I get a little money, I buy books; and if any is left, I buy food and clothes.
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    A room without books is a body without soul.
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    Function of Prepositional Phrase

    in addition, we must decide what the function is of the prepositional phrase APO PROSWPOU TOU KURIOU KAI APO THS DOCHS THS ISCOUS AUTOU is. what does it modify? is it adverbial modifying TISOUSIN (pay) or is it adjectival modifying hOLEQRON AIWNION (eternal ruin)? i've been told that a good rule of thumb is to take prepositional phrases as adverbially unless it makes no sense or makes better sense adjectivally. i confess that the grammars lack much in terms of discussions on prepositional phrases. so the answer here must be tenative whatever reading we take.

    i think it makes more sense to take it adverbially here in that 'the paying' is 'away from' the Lord's face/presence and 'away from' from his glorious power. the reason i prefer this reading is that the Lord's face/presence is usually used in the positive sense in the last day (e.g., his favor). plus it just makes more sense to me (ruin proceeding from the face/presence and his glorious power doesn't read very well to me). in addition, 'ruin' hOLEQRON AIWNION modifes hOITINES (whoever) and describes what happens to them, not what the Lord does or what comes from the Lord (in other words, the subject of the sentence is not KURIOS but hOITINES). this reading also accords better with other texts that speak of the judgment:

    Mt 7:21 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter 22 "Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' 23 "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.'

    Mt 25:41 "Then He will also say to those on His left, `Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels;...46 "These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."


    also see Ps 5:5; 6:8; Lk 13:25ff; Rev 22:15
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    APO PROSWPOU appears 6 times in the NT (326 times in 210 passages in the LXX—but I'm not going there). In each instance it appears that it signifies separation from the presence of
    Actually it occurs seven times. Perhaps this person simply was not counting the passage in question. I have a certain theological stand on this issue, but I'm taking no real firm stand on the proper translation of this passage as of yet. I do intend to look into it, I'm particularly interested to see what Wanamaker says about this in his commentary.

    Regardless, there do seem to be at least one instance in the NT where separation of presence is not intended.

    ESV Acts 3:19 Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, 20 that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus,

    This passage seems to use apo to designate origin or source.

    It is certainly true that the remaining passages Acts 5:41; 7:45; Revelation 6:16; 12:14; 20:11 all seem to speak of separation.

    From a strictly grammatical viewpoint I am inclined at this point to make no firm judgment on the 2 Thessalonians. If Paul used this phrase more often I would probably be more certain of the proper way in which to translate it. Even then, I could not be completely certain since as is shown Luke uses it twice one way and then once another way.

    I have not fully investigated the passages in the Septuagint, but apo prwsopou seems to be used in a variety of ways.

    I am slightly more inclined to read 2 Thess as meaning away from. However, I do not believe this means there is a place that exists where God does not exist. It seems to be speaking of an absence of fellowship with God and beholding Him in Christ.

    Sola Gratia,
    WildBoar
    For whatever strength of arm he may have who swims in the open sea, yet in time he is carried away and sunk, mastered by the greatness of its waves. Need then there is that we be in the ship, that is, that we be carried in the wood, that we may be able to cross this sea. Now this Wood in which our weakness is carried is the Cross of the Lord, by which we are signed, and delivered from the dangerous tempests of this world.--St. Augustine

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    another B-Greek contributor

    The clause is hOITINES DIKHN TISOUSIN hOLEQRON AIWNION *APO PROSWPOU TOU KURIOU* KAI APO THS DOXHS THS ISCUOS AUTOU, ktl

    This phrase APO TOU PROSWPOU TOU KURIOU is a literal translation of the Hebrew phrase LiP:NeY-YHWH "before-the-face-of YHWH".

    It is quite common in the NT.
    When I get a little money, I buy books; and if any is left, I buy food and clothes.
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    A room without books is a body without soul.
    --Cicero

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    Well Said

    I have read all of these arguments on APO (here and elsewhere) and they are well-stated and argued. There is no question that 'away from' the face of God's comforting and glorious presence has many powerful arguments to defend itself--if we base our conclusion strictly on the possible scope of Greek grammar and usage in other passages (both scriptural and external). But I'm saying that I have considered all of this and still reject the 'away from' interpretation. This is based on the teaching of the WHOLE of scripture and the context of 2 Thess. 1:9. Although I do not have time tonight to present my argument to support this, I certainly will shortly.

    Grace and peace,
    I got four things to live by: don't say nothin' that will hurt anybody; don't give advice--no one will take it anyway; don't complain; don't explain. Walter Scott

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    Matt. 25:41 seems to be in agreement with the away from idea.

    Matthew 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

    It is constrasted with verse 34.

    Matthew 25:34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:



    This phrase APO TOU PROSWPOU TOU KURIOU is a literal translation of the Hebrew phrase LiP:NeY-YHWH "before-the-face-of YHWH". It is quite common in the NT.
    Actually APO TOU PROSWPOU TOU KURIO is found only twice in the NT.

    KJV Acts 3:19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; 20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:

    KJV 2 Thessalonians 1:9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;

    It is also found only twice in the Septuagint. It is found in the canonical book of 1 Kings but is absent from the Hebrew counterpart and it is found in Judith.

    LXE 1 Kings 21:27 And because of the word, Achaab was pierced with sorrow before the Lord, and he both went weeping, and rent his garment, and girt sackcloth upon his body, and fasted; he put on sackcloth also in the day that he smote Nabuthai the Jezraelite, and went his way.

    KJV 1 Kings 21:27 And it came to pass, when Ahab heard those words, that he rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his flesh, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly.

    KJA Judith 2:14 Then Holofernes went forth from the presence of his lord, and called ail the governors and captains, and the officers of the army of Assur;

    In the case of the Judith passage a human master is being referred to.

    Sola Gratia,
    WildBoar
    For whatever strength of arm he may have who swims in the open sea, yet in time he is carried away and sunk, mastered by the greatness of its waves. Need then there is that we be in the ship, that is, that we be carried in the wood, that we may be able to cross this sea. Now this Wood in which our weakness is carried is the Cross of the Lord, by which we are signed, and delivered from the dangerous tempests of this world.--St. Augustine

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    John Gill on the Final State of the Wicked in Hell
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    Re: Well Said

    Originally posted by BillTwisse
    But I'm saying that I have considered all of this and still reject the 'away from' interpretation.
    i've been mulling this one over a bit and i wonder if there may be an intentional ambiguity here (i.e., it is both from [source] and away from [separation]). or perhaps another option that the repetition of the preposition APO is because Paul wants us to understand each differently. for example:

    ...away from (separation) the Lord's face/presence and from (source) His glorious power

    i think though that we mustn't make theology out of a preposition. prepositions are notoriously pesky and can be very difficult to translate correctly. nevertheless, i think both ideas (source and separation) are used to describe the judgment. i personally think we need to recognize both. in other words, it's not really and either/or thing whether or not we commit to understanding this preposition one way or the other.

    Although I do not have time tonight to present my argument to support this, I certainly will shortly.
    i look forward to it.
    When I get a little money, I buy books; and if any is left, I buy food and clothes.
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    A room without books is a body without soul.
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    Thanks Everyone

    Happy Thanksgiving to all! I am preparing my 'proposition' on this subject. When I am finished we can go further with this most important and enlightening discussion.
    I got four things to live by: don't say nothin' that will hurt anybody; don't give advice--no one will take it anyway; don't complain; don't explain. Walter Scott

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    Re: Thanks Everyone

    Originally posted by BillTwisse
    Happy Thanksgiving to all! I am preparing my 'proposition' on this subject. When I am finished we can go further with this most important and enlightening discussion.
    happy thanksgiving indeed! don't get too stuffed on turkey
    i look forward to hearing from you bob and to hearing from you all again soon.
    When I get a little money, I buy books; and if any is left, I buy food and clothes.
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    A room without books is a body without soul.
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    The Promised Post

    NOTE: I am not trying to discount ALL notions of separation but rather am attempting to discover the primary focus of the passage.

    The context of 2 Thess. 1:6-10

    What is the meaning of APO in 2 Thess. 1:9? Is it ‘away from’ or ‘coming from.’ Both translations are legitimate uses of the Greek.

    The context has a very important bearing on the answer to this question. Paul has just assured the Thessalonians that God will justly recompense with tribulation those who are causing tribulation for believers. This will take the form of a ‘flaming fire’ vengeance toward those who disobey the gospel. Is not the presence and glory of the Lord in vs. 9 the very fire mentioned in vs. 8? The whole message of scripture on this subject is that our God is a blazing fire of judgment against his enemies. So the context definitely favors the interpretation of flaming fire ‘coming from’ God’s presence--as the cause of eternal destruction.

    The ’away from’ interpretation would create a disjuncture between the punitive fire in vs. 8 and the glorious presence and power of the Lord in vs. 9. According to the usual interpretation, the punishment consists of an eternal banishment from the pleasure of experiencing the Lord’s wonderful and visible glory. While this notion certainly contains a measure of truth about the spiritual realities of eternity, it does not fit the context of 2 Thess. 1:6-10.

    The broader question has to do with the nature of hell itself. Is its essence a banishment from God’s wonderful presence or an endurance of God’s undesired presence? The Pauline writings are lean on a clear and definite teaching of eternal, conscious punishment. Perhaps this is what has led many to interpret 2 Thess. 1 according to the ‘conscious banishment’ teaching. It would more clearly show Paul to be in harmony with the accepted interpretation of the synoptic gospels and Revelation on this question.

    There is no question about the fact that the wicked in eternity will be banished from the presence of God’s redeeming love and grace. But this banishment is purely spiritual, not physical. At least 3 sayings of Christ portray this type of banishment:

    1. The ejection of the wicked from the hall of God’s kingdom banquet into outer darkness.
    2. All those sayings where Christ proclaims ’away from me’ to the wicked on the last day.
    3. The parable of the sheep and the goats.

    Although these teachings reveal a definite separation in the judgment, perhaps even geographical to some extent, there are many other teachings in the Bible which go against the notion of a material banishment from the presence of God and the saints.

    1. Dan. 12:2 . Perhaps one of the only literal descriptions of hell in the Bible. Shame and contempt are possible for the wicked only where they are forced to endure the presence of God and the saints.

    2. Isa. 66:24 , which is the basis of the NT teaching on Gehenna. Really the same concept as Dan. 12:2, except that a new metaphor is introduced. The notion is not that dead bodies will be immortal and still be able to literally sense gnawing worms and torturing fire. That is later Rabbinic teaching. The point is that the contempt (abhorrence) experienced by the saints when beholding the damned will be like the experience of looking upon rotting corpses full of worms and smelling their crematory flames. Although corpses in the literal Gehenna were changing over on a regular basis (though the fire always burned), those of the wicked will endure eternal shame and contempt in the presence of the righteous.

    3. Luke 16 (the parable of the rich man). The rich man is certainly in the presence of Lazarus and Abraham, though a gulf separates them from full contact. I view this as a parable like all the others. It represents but does not literally portray the final reality. Nonetheless, banishment to an invisible darkness in an unknown corner of the universe is certainly not the idea portrayed. Dives suffers torment in the presence of the saints.

    4. The apocalypse always portrays the lake of fire as being torment in the presence of God, the lamb, the angels, and the saints. Together with Christ, the saints will rule and judge the nations with a rod of iron.

    The real issue is whether damnation is a passive or active purpose in relation to the will and purposes of God. If it is passive, the wicked are definitely out-of-sight, out-of-mind in relation to God’s eternal kingdom of salvation. If it is active, the reward of the saints will be the subjection of their enemies IN THEIR PRESENCE. God will prepare the kingdom banquet table for his redeemed in the presence of their enemies and flout it in the faces of the damned for eternity.
    I got four things to live by: don't say nothin' that will hurt anybody; don't give advice--no one will take it anyway; don't complain; don't explain. Walter Scott

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    I decided to look this passage up in several recent commentaries on the Greek text. What I found interesting was that all saw a reference to Is. 2:10ff and each dogmatically proclaimed their view without reference to the other interpretation. Most of them favored the "away from" idea, but there were a few that preferred the "from" idea.

    Sola Gratia,
    WildBoar
    For whatever strength of arm he may have who swims in the open sea, yet in time he is carried away and sunk, mastered by the greatness of its waves. Need then there is that we be in the ship, that is, that we be carried in the wood, that we may be able to cross this sea. Now this Wood in which our weakness is carried is the Cross of the Lord, by which we are signed, and delivered from the dangerous tempests of this world.--St. Augustine

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