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Postby HSMom » Fri Jul 30, 2010 7:42 am

Found this website yesterday and wanted to share this link with you as it really helped with my understanding of the Hebrew "olam" often translated "forever" or "eternity" in our English Bibles. Please chime in if you have any information confirming or contradicting this understanding of the Hebrew. Thanks so much!

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Re: "olam"

Postby SLJ » Fri Jul 30, 2010 8:35 am

Thanks for posting this! I don't know enough to critique his def of "olam", except to say that it accords well with what I've read elsewhere.

I looked around this website several years ago, and got his emails for awhile, but then became busy with other things and forgot about it. I'm glad for the reminder; the site has developed a lot since then, and looks even more interesting!

On his Hebrew Word Meanings page he writes:

On a frequent basis we attach a meaning of a word from the Bible based on our own language and culture to a word that is not the meaning of the Hebrew word behind the translation. This is often a result of using our modern western thinking process for interpreting the Biblical text. For proper interpretation of the Bible it is essential that we take our definitions for words from an Ancient Hebraic perspective. Our modern western minds often work with words that are purely abstract or mental while the Hebrew's vocabulary was filled with words that painted pictures of concrete concepts. By reading the Biblical text with a proper Hebrew vocabulary the text comes to life revealing the authors intended meaning.

This is really important to keep in mind in translating meanings between words and cultures--something many are not even aware of if they have never learned another language or been much exposed to other languages and cultures.

I grew up in a mixed culture/language family, and even so, I forget at times that communicating meanings is not always a straightforward affair.

Hebrew is a fascinating language. An orthodox Israeli Jew once told be that if I wanted to understand the OT properly, I really needed to read it in Hebrew. ;) Something I'd really like to be able to do .... someday...

James 3:13 Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom.

Eph 1:10 ...a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
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Re: "olam"

Postby stellar renegade » Fri Jul 30, 2010 8:42 am

Very well done. Seems to retrieve the Hebrew organic sense of reality very well.
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Re: "olam"

Postby JasonPratt » Mon Aug 02, 2010 8:30 am

That was an excellent brief link to the term, HSM. Thanks!

(Note that it doesn't necessarily rule out the concept of a never-ending "forever and ever" either.)
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Re: "olam"

Postby Alex Smith » Mon Jan 24, 2011 3:27 pm

I came across this interesting website on OWLAM OLAM OLAWM

Forever and Everlasting are the most common English words used in most bibles today in an attempt to define the meaning of the Hebrew olam. As previously stated, these words incorrectly emphasize a time based definition which makes no common sense if you genuinely look at some of the old testament scriptures.
Jeremiah 17:4 (KJV) wrote:And thou, even thyself, shalt discontinue from thine heritage that I gave the: and I will cause thee to serve thine enemies in the land which thou knowest not: for you have kindled a fire in mine anger, which shall burn forever.
Anyone that has done a study of the bible knows that the Lord's anger could not last forever nor would it need to. The Lord is certainly not angry today with the believers and with respect to the non-believers once they persish or are gone there would be no need to still be angry. Therefore the Lord will not be angry forever!
Exodus 19:9 (KJV) wrote:And the Lord said unto Moses, Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and believe thee forever. And Moses told the words of the people unto the Lord
In Exodus 32 and 33 you can read about where the people broke 2 if not 3 commandments by making a calf and worshiping a calf. The people did not believe Moses or God forever which the above verse states. The word forever just makes no sense and is the wrong English word.
Exodus 21:6 (KJV) wrote:Then his master shall bring him unto the judges, he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall serve him forever.
Levitucus 25:46 (KJV) wrote:And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession; they shall be your bondmen forever.
Its hard to believe that slavery will last forever! But if you believe everlasting is the correct word then you are a believer in slavery forever for certain people.
1Ch 15:2 (KJV) wrote:Then David said, None ought to carry the ark of God but the Levites for them hath the Lord chosen to carry the ark of God, and to minister unto him forever.
On the earth today you do not see the ark or the levitical priesthood. So, I can't see how one can argue these things are everlasting or last forever when we can't see them today on earth! I believe the words forever and everlasting are the wrong English words to describe the hebrew olam.
Jonah 2:6 (KJV) wrote:I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God.
Jonah was in the whales belly for 3 days and 3 nights, not forever.
Gen 17:13 wrote:He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.
Genesis 17:14 wrote:And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.
The covenant of circumcision was said to be an everlasting covenant for the house and seed of Abraham, but in the New Testament we find in Galatians that circumcision of the flesh is not necessary any longer so how can it be everlasting?
Galatians 5:6 wrote:For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.
Galatians 6:15 wrote:For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.

Will anyone that has read the bible convince me that the earth will last forever? Will the sabbath be everlasting? Will the rainbow be in the sky forever? Will the Old covenant last forever or be everlasting? Will the sun and moon shine forever?

Sherman would be interested in this bit in particular, as "unseen"/"out of sight" very similar to "concealed":
Strong#5769 'ôlâm ‛ôlâmo-lawm', o-lawm' wrote:From H5956; properly concealed, that is, the vanishing point; generally time out of mind (past or future), that is, (practically) eternity; frequentative adverbially (especially with prepositional prefix) always: - always (-s), ancient (time), any more, continuance, eternal, (for, [n-]) ever (-lasting, -more, of old), lasting, long (time), (of) old (time), perpetual, at any time, (beginning of the) world (+ without end).

The only word that is useful in the above attempt to define Olam is the word Concealed. A Hebrew man or woman in order to conceal themselves would tie or attach a cloth around their head. We commonly call this a veil today. The man or woman would then be joined or yoked with the cloth veil. Olam is the yoking, binding, tieing uniting, fastening, joining and weaving.
Strong#5956 'âlam aw-lam' wrote: A primitive root; to veil from sight, that is, conceal (literally or figuratively): - X any ways, blind, dissembler, hide (self), secret (thing).
If you will notice #5769 is said to be from #5956. Notice the words blind, conceal and veil. If someone’s eyes or eye-lids are bound or tied together then they are blind. If a person is tongue tied then they are dumb or cannot speak. As I stated above veiling is the action of tieing or attaching a cloth around the head which would conceal or be concealing. Note that there is nothing related to time here. Also, #5956 is first used in the Bible in Leviticus 4:13, but #5769 is used 12 times in Genesis and 17 times in Exodus before #5956 is ever used.
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Re: "olam"

Postby Sherman » Thu Jan 27, 2011 9:25 am

I appreciate the OP link. It's a good review of olam. It's also helpful to note that the concept of "seeing" or "sight" is metaphorical of understanding and persception. That which is in the distance is difficult to perceive, to understand, and that which is beyond the horizon is impossible to understand. The coming age is beyond our sight and understanding. If we do by the Spirit see into it, it's hard for us to understand. I mean, exactly how does one explain green to a blind man! I often feel like we are blind men arguing over the difference between red and blue, or even arguing over the difference between Forest Green and Emarald Green. And it grieves me that the church is so divided over differing understandings or misunderstandings of scripture. I suppose our common love for God and faith in Christ is not enough to love one another. Well, I'll get off my soap box and get back on my knees now. Thanks again for the links.

And Alex you are right, I do appreciate the reality that "aionios" was used in the LXX to translate "olam". Thus to me "aionios" has the concept of being beyond site, beyond undestanding.
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