Matthew 25:46 New International Version

"Then they will go away to eternal [G166] punishment, but the righteous to eternal [G166] life."

Do these two eternal's carry exactly the same sense of meanings? If yes, what does it mean?


Yes. Same word is used. ‘aiōnios’. And, the reason is simple, although it depends on your theological foundation.

Man is spirit. Spirits are eternal. They do not cease to exist. All [men] are eternal.

We equate ‘die’ or ‘death’ as the end. The Bible doesn’t. Death ‘biblically’ means separation. So here in Matthew 25, we see one group eternally separated from God, and the other eternally ‘joined’ with God. God being the source of Life.

  • "The Bible doesn’t. Death ‘biblically’ means separation." +1 for this point. I think this would be stronger with some reference to support the claim, tho. – One God the Father Apr 2 at 19:00

Eternal punishment vs eternal life

"Then they will go away to eternal [G166] punishment, but the righteous to eternal [G166] life."

Matthew 25:41, 46 (NASB)

41 “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, you accursed people, 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.”

At first glance one may believe that Jesus was teaching eternal hellfire, Obviously, Jesus did not intend to contradict God's word which clearly states that the dead no longer know anything.(Eccl. 9:5)

Ecclesiastes 9:5 (NASB)

5 For the living know that they will die; but the dead do not know anything, nor do they have a reward any longer, for their memory is forgotten.

Is the eternal punishment, Jesus warned, literal or symbolic? Note that “the eternal fire” mentioned by Jesus and recorded at Matthew 25:41 was prepared “for the devil and his angels.” Do you think that literal fire can burn spirit creatures? Or was Jesus using the term “fire” symbolically? Certainly “the sheep” and “the goats” mentioned in the same conversation are not literal; they are word pictures that represent two types of people. (Matthew 25:32, 33) The eternal fire that Jesus spoke of completely burns up the wicked in a figurative sense.

So while the sheeplike ones receive everlasting life, the unrepentant goatlike ones suffer “eternal punishment,” being forever cut off from life. The doctrine that hell is a place of torment is not based on the Bible. Rather, it is a pagan belief masquerading as a Christian teaching. God is love and does not torture people eternally in hell. Hell is not eternal torment, but it is the final and irrevocable choosing of that which is opposed to God so completely and so absolutely that the only end is total non-being.”

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