Hi guys, am I being too optimistic hoping to do it in a year? Well, as long as it takes then.....
LOL we are just kidding you Cat. Really though it will take a lifetime (and beyond) to learn the whole truth. But you should be able to get a good grasp on the basics in one year. I've only been studying for about one year myself - but who knows I could be way out of whack
Legoman, you said: "Not everyone will get aionios life. But everyone will get eternal life". This is why I'm struggling: all the stuff I read about universalism, says that God works with humans through the ages. Some say 5 ages, some say 7?? So those who lose out on the Kingdom Age will be resurrected after then and live in the next age or is it the one after that one?? Then again, they will be punished during this 'age' or part of it, so maybe this doesn't constitute 'life' even though they will be alive?? Can you see how it all gets rather confusing when you take 'aionios' to mean for a set period of time. On the otherhand, if it can mean 'endless' then there is no confusion. The 'endless' punishment doesn't have to mean being tortured forever, but rather, God's judgment on sin (not the sinner) is 'endless'.
To be honest, its difficult to determine exactly how many ages there are to come. We know there are at least 2 more ages coming because the bible speaks of (plural) "ages to come". I'm fairly certain the aionios life will start with the millenium with Christ (aka the thousand years). I'm less certain if the aionios punishment also starts in that age, or if it starts in the next age. I'm also not sure if the aionios punishment goes beyond one age or not. Also I'm not certain but possibly each person will get a different number of ages (or just different lengths of times) in the lake of fire, as appropriate.
In the grand scheme of things these are just minor details. Some will get life for the ages, others will get chastisement for the ages.
What I do know for sure is that all the ages will end in the "consumation of the ages" (1 cor 10:11) - then God will be all in all.
I am also 100% sure that the lake of fire is not literal - meant for torture. In fact the lake of fire is most likely relating to those who have the aionios life. 1 Cor 6:2 Do you not know that the saints will judge the world?
What do you think God's chosen elect will be doing in this time of aionios life? Sitting around playing harps on clouds?!?
No they will be rulers and judges and priests. Who will they be ruling and judging and preaching too? Why everyone else of course! In fact, they will be the very instruments that God & Jesus will use to bring everyone else to salvation. We will be kings, judges, priests, and saviours. And Jesus will be the ultimate: king of kings, judge of judges, priest of priests, saviour of saviours.
And of course the saints will need preparation & training for this monumental task of judging the world in righteousness. Some of that preparation is happening right now. But some of it may need to happen in the next age with Christ, before the unbelievers are resurrected. I'm not sure. Someone else please chime in if you think I'm way off base.
John 3:16 is comparing 'perishing' with 'aionios'. We are living in one of the ages and so have life pertaining to this age surely? We are still perishing during this age so Jesus was offering something that implies 'forever'. Jesus didn't elaborate as to what came AFTER the aionios life if we are to understand it as temporary. Perishing means your life is temporary, whereas Jesus was offering a kind of life where you wouldn't perish, or so it seems......something doesn't seem right here......
Perhaps he is offering spiritual life vs the fleshly life we have right now?