The Berean Expositor
Volume 46 - Page 223 of 249
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bearing of the context upon this passage, we must draw the reader's attention to the fact
that while "the eternal purpose" has a majestic sound about it, its literal rendering should
be "the purpose of the ages", and this demands some expansion and explanation. In the
O.T. the word translated `eternal' or `for ever' is the Hebrew word olam, and if we
consider its occurrences in Ecclesiastes, as translated in the A.V. we shall find it
translated "for ever", "old time", "world" and "long" in Eccles. 1: 4, 10; 2: 16; 3: 11, 14;
9: 6 and 12: 5.  Such variety may be charming but can be misleading. Supposing we
translated olam in Ecclesiastes consistently, we then have the following most suggestive
index to this problematic book.
Olam in Ecclesiastes.
A | 1: 4. The earth abideth to the age.--The passing generation.
B | 1: 10. Already in or to the ages.--Nothing new under the sun.
C | 2: 16. No remembrance to the age.--Forgotten.
D | 3: 11. The age set in the heart of men.
C | 3: 14. What God does is to the age. It remains.
B | 9: 6. No portion to the age.--under the sun.
A | 12: 5. Man and the age home.--The passing generation.
While this analysis of itself may not appear very illuminating, the comparison of
passage with passage will bring out into prominence some of the truth sought and taught
in Ecclesiastes.
The epistle to the Ephesians is most intimately associated with all we believe and hope
for, and so we turn without further comment to the way aion is found and is translated in
that most wonderful epistle. First let us note the way the A.V. has rendered this one
word, namely world, course, ages, world, eternal, world without end, world (Eph. 1: 21;
2: 2, 7; 3: 9, 11, 21; 6: 12).  Here we have this world which had a beginning, but
which has no end, the course of this world, and the eternal purpose. If we translate
consistently, light and instruction will immediately appear.
Aiġn in Ephesians.
A | 1: 21. Rulers of this and age to come.--Subject to Christ in resurrection.
B | 2: 2. The age of the world.--Satanic energy (energeġ).
C | 2: 7. Ages to come.--Divine grace (future).
D | 3: 9. Hid since the ages.--The mystery (Central feature).
C | 3: 11. Ages, their purpose.--Divine wisdom (now).
B | 3: 21. The generation of the age of the ages.--Divine energy (energeġ).
A | 6: 12. Rulers of the darkness of this age.--Withstood in resurrection power.
This purpose or plan of the ages is vitally linked with the following features, most of
which are unique `and are not to be found in the ministry of any Biblical writer except
Paul' as the prisoner of Christ Jesus for us Gentiles. We tabulate without attempting to
comment or enlarge these unique items: