Matthew 25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment:

Spoken to: 

Apostles

Context: 

A parable about the final judgment of the sheep and the goats.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

And they will go off, those here, into a pruning perpetual; the ones, however, virtuous into a life perpetual.

My Takeaway: 

Those branches that aren't productive will be pruned.

KJV : 

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

NIV : 

Matthew 25:46 Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

As we usually see, the Greek words here are not nearly as damning as the English. "Everlasting" is an adjective based on the word that means "lifetime," "age" or "eon." It has the sense of "perpetual" or "ageless," but "of a lifetime" or "of the ages" usually works to give us a different perspective. For the living, a "lifetime" of some condition is perpetual. 

The word translated as "punishment" means the pruning of trees. This is the only time Jesus uses it. From this idea, you get the meaning of "curb" and "restrain", stopping a certain behavior, so, "chastisement." The idea of "punish" is a bit of a reach. In the context of the theme of productivity, which is hidden in much of this chapter, including in the words translated as 'do" in the previous verse, Matthew 25:45, the term is well chosen. Trees (like fields) are Jesus's symbols for the productivity of existing assets. The idea of pruning fits well with the fire of the trash heap in that verse as well.

Wordplay: 

The word translated as "everlasting" comes from another word that also means "life" or "lifetime." It is used twice here, one time with a different word for "life." 

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

καὶ [1089 verses](conj/adv) "And" is from kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "but." After words implying sameness, "as" (the same opinion as you). Used in series, joins positive with negative "Not only...but also." Also used to give emphasis, "even", "also," and "just." -

ἀπελεύσονται [22 verses](verb 3rd pl fut ind mid) "Shall go away" is from aperchomai, which means "to go away," "to depart from", "to spread abroad," and "to depart from life."

οὗτοι [137 verses](adj pl masc nom) "These" is from houtos, which as an adjective means "this", "that", "the nearer." As an adverb, it means "in this way", "therefore", "so much", "to such an extent," and "that is why."

εἰς [325 verses](prep) "Into" is from eis, which means "into (of place)," "up to (of time)", "until (of time)", "as much as (of measure or limit)", "as far as (of measure or limit)", "towards (to express relation)", "in regard to (to express relation)", "of an end or limit," and "for (of purpose or object)."

κόλασιν [1 verse](noun sg fem acc) "Punishment" is from kolasis, which primarily means "checking the growth of trees," and from that idea, "chastisement" and "correction." This is the only time this word is used in the Gospels.

αἰώνιον, [23 verses](adj sg fem acc) "Everlasting" is from aionios, which means "lasting for an age", "perpetual," and "eternal." From "aion" which is used in the bible to mean an "age." -

οἱ [821 verses](article pl masc nom ) "Unto them that" is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones."

δὲ [446 verses](conj) "But" is from de which means "but" and "on the other hand." It is the particle that joins sentences in an adversarial way but can also be a weak connective ("and") and explanation of cause ("so") and a condition ("if").

δίκαιοι [21 verses](adj pl masc nom) "The righteous" is from dikaios which means "observant of rules", "observant of customs", "well-ordered", "civilized," and "observant of duty." Later it means "well-balanced", "impartial," and "just." As a verb, it means to "set right", "hold or deem right", "claim or demand as a right", "pronounce judgment", "do a man right or justice", "chastise", "punish, and in passive, "have right done one."

εἰς [325 verses](prep) "Into" is from eis, which means "into (of place)," "up to (of time)", "until (of time)", "as much as (of measure or limit)", "as far as (of measure or limit)", "towards (to express relation)", "in regard to (to express relation)", "of an end or limit," and "for (of purpose or object)."

ζωὴν [42 verses] (noun sg fem acc) "Life" is from zoe, which means "living", "substance", "property", "existence," and, incidentally, "the scum on milk." It has the sense of how we say "make a living" to mean property. Homer used it more to mean the opposite of death.

αἰώνιον.” [23 verses]((adj sg fem acc) "Everlasting" is from aionios, which means "lasting for an age", "perpetual," and "eternal." From "aion" which is used in the bible to mean an "age." -- "Everlasting" is an adjective based on the word that means "age" or "eon." It has the sense of "perpetual" or "ageless."

KJV Analysis: 

And -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and," but it also is used to add emphasis ("also").

these -- "These" is translated from a Greek word that means "this," "that," "the nearer."

shall -- This helping verb "shall" indicates that the verb is the future tense. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

go away  - "Shall go away" is a verb that means "to go away," "to depart from", "to spread abroad," and "to depart from life." In English, "depart" works best because we used "departed" to mean "dead" as well.

into  -- The word translated as "into" means "into" a place, "towards" as a direction, "in regards to" a subject, and "up to" limits in time and measure.

everlasting  - "Everlasting" is an adjective based on the word that means "lifetime," "age" or "eon." It has the sense of "perpetual" or "ageless," but "of a lifetime" or "of the ages" usually works for a different perspective. Notice, from the word below, this refers to the "pruning" of a lifetime" or "the pruning" of the age, not eternal punishment. This could refer to the life we have just lived as being pruned away.

punishment:  - (WW) The word translated as "punishment" means the pruning of trees. From this idea, you get the meaning of "curb" and "restrain", stopping a certain behavior, so, "chastisement." The idea of "punish" is a bit of a reach. In the context of the theme of productivity, which is hidden in much of this chapter, including in the words translated as 'do" in the previous verse, Matthew 25:45, the term is well chosen. Trees (like fields) are Christ's symbols for the productivity of existing assets. The idea of pruning fits well with the fire of the trash heap in that verse as well.

but -- The Greek word translated as "but" means "but," "however," and "on the other hand."

the   -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, without a noun, it has the sense of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

righteous  - The word here as "righteous" is an adjective that means "virtuous" or "law-abiding."  When introduced by an article the adjective acts as a noun, "the one's virtuous" or "those that do what is right."

into -- The word translated as "into" means "into" a place, "towards" as a direction, "in regards to" a subject, and "up to" limits in time and measure.

life  - The word translated as "life" means "living" but it also means "substance", "existence," and "property." Christ uses it to mean "existence" beyond physical life.

eternal.  - - "Everlasting" is an adjective based on the word that means "lifetime," "age" or "eon." It has the sense of "perpetual" or "ageless," but "of a lifetime" or "of the ages" usually works for a different perspective.

KJV Translation Issues: 

1
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "punishment" should be "pruning."

NIV Analysis: 

Then -- (WW) The Greek word translated as "then" is used as the conjunction "and," but it also is used to add emphasis ("also").

they -- (WW) "They" is translated from a Greek word that means "this," "that," "the nearer."

will -- This helping verb "shall" indicates that the verb is the future tense. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

go away  - "Shall go away" is a verb that means "to go away," "to depart from", "to spread abroad," and "to depart from life." In English, "depart" works best because we used "departed" to mean "dead" as well.

to  -- The word translated as "to" means "into" a place, "towards" as a direction, "in regards to" a subject, and "up to" limits in time and measure.

eternal - "Eternal " is an adjective based on the word that means "lifetime," "age" or "eon." It has the sense of "perpetual" or "ageless," but "of a lifetime" or "of the ages" usually works for a different perspective. Notice, from the word below, this refers to the "pruning" of a lifetime" or "the pruning" of the age, not eternal punishment. This could refer to the life we have just lived as being pruned away.

punishment:  - (WW) The word translated as "punishment" means the pruning of trees. From this idea, you get the meaning of "curb" and "restrain", stopping a certain behavior, so, "chastisement." The idea of "punish" is a bit of a reach. In the context of the theme of productivity, which is hidden in much of this chapter, including in the words translated as 'do" in the previous verse, Matthew 25:45, the term is well chosen. Trees (like fields) are Christ's symbols for the productivity of existing assets. The idea of pruning fits well with the fire of the trash heap in that verse as well.

but -- The Greek word translated as "but" means "but," "however," and "on the other hand."

the   -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, without a noun, it has the sense of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

righteous  - The word here as "righteous" is an adjective that means "virtuous" or "law-abiding."  When introduced by an article the adjective acts as a noun, "the one's virtuous" or "those that do what is right."

to -- The word translated as "to" means "into" a place, "towards" as a direction, "in regards to" a subject, and "up to" limits in time and measure.

eternal.  - - "Everlasting" is an adjective based on the word that means "lifetime," "age" or "eon." It has the sense of "perpetual" or "ageless," but "of a lifetime" or "of the ages" usually works for a different perspective.

life  - The word translated as "life" means "living" but it also means "substance", "existence," and "property." Christ uses it to mean "existence" beyond physical life.

NIV Translation Issues: 

3
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "then" should be "and."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "they" should be "these."
  • WW - Wrong Word -- The word translated as "punishment" should be "pruning."

Front Page Date: 

Dec 2 2021