Saviour of All Fellowship
November 2000
Dear Friends in Faith,
    We always enjoy hearing from fellow believers. Here are excerpts from a couple letters recently received:
    “Yes, God would be able to alleviate or do away with the pain of seeing loved ones in torment, but what about God Himself? He is love. Can He stop loving? Can He stop being omniscient, always aware of His loved ones suffering?” -Wilhelmina Packard (Illinois).
    “I wish I could have known these things long ago; however I realize God has more than a hand in this, for He has been and still is working all things out according to His will which includes all our lives.” -Paul Knotts (Missouri).
    George F. Howe is preparing some brief typed papers on “Neglected Bible Passages.” They can be ordered from: TURA, 24635 Apple St, Newhall CA 91321. The following is from his comments on 1 Timothy 4:9-11: “At both the onset and finale of this section there are salient statements about its supreme value. First Paul asserts that these words are trustworthy and deserve widespread acceptance . . . . Finally, Paul tells Timothy to command (charge) and teach others about this.”

Olympiodorus in 550 A.D. wrote:
    “Do not suppose that the soul is punished for endless aeons apeirou aionas, in Tartarus. Very properly, the soul is not punished to gratify the revenge of the divinity, but for the sake of healing. But we say that the soul is punished for an aionion (aionios) period, calling its life, and its alloted period of punishment, its aeon.” (From A Cloud of Witnesses by J.W. Hanson pg. 26.)
    How interesting that at such a late date it was still held that punishments by God were for healing the one undergoing it.
    Matthew 25:46 is probably one of the most used proof texts for the popular creed to date in trying to prove the eternalness of torment kolasin aionion. But from Christ Triumphant by Thomas Allin pg. 88, we have this: “So far is this from proving the traditional creed, that it is even asserted, by both Caesarius . . . and by Leontius, that Origen and his adherents argued from the very term aionios, as being finite, that future punishments were temporary.”
    Now I realize that this does not “prove” that the future punishments are to be temporary and of a healing nature. But it is interesting that this was believed for more than the first 500 years that they were thus.
    We welcome our readers to write us and let us know your findings of what people believed around the first 500 years concerning punishments.

Yours in God’s grace and peace,

Tony Nungesser and Dean Hough

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