Some Rabbis seem to have held (as did certain of the Fathers) the final annihilation of the wicked
Most significant is it that in the original of the New Testament, the horrors of unending agony, which these terms conjure up for so many, vanish when we come to know that by “damnation” is simply meant “judgment,” or at most “condemnation,” as our Revisers now fully admit in their version; and by “hell” is only meant, either the place of disembodied souls, Hades, (as our Revisers now render it) or the Jewish Gehenna (see Revised Version), a place of temporary punishment in its literal sense, where the worms fed continually, it is true, and the fire for ever burned; but in both cases purifying, and causing no pain (for the bodies were those of the dead); and where both “undying ” worm, and “unquenchable” fire, have long since, in their literal sense, passed away. 180-215), by COX, Salv. Mundi, p. 70-5, and by an Article in the XIX. Century, August, 1890, (see, too, PFAFF, quoted p. 8o,) seems to make it clear that, normally, at least, Gehenna was not believed to involve endless punishment. It was certainly a place from which deliverance was possible, and probably one from which deliverance was the rule. Jewish opinion was by no means fixed, but fluctuated much as to the details and the duration of future punishment.
True it is that Gehenna was by the Jews used, symbolically, of the place of future punishment- a fact to be fully admitted
True it is, most true, that while no unending torment is threatened by our Lord, yet His words do convey most solemn warning to the sinner – warning that gains in real weight when its true import is discerned, because the conscience recognizes its justice. I accept, then, heartily – as their true natural sense, every warning, however terrible, and every penalty threatened against sinners in Scripture; but that true natural sense is not, as I hope to show, in any case that of endless evil and torment. My quarrel with the advocates of the popular view (as far as the Scripture is concerned) is that, while assigning to one class of texts a meaning, which they cannot fairly bear, they at the same time wholly put out of view, blot out from the Bible in fact, a very large and weighty class of passages, furnished by the New Testament, in favor of universal salvation. Thus, as so often happens, when men persist in seeing only one side, they fail to apprehend the true meaning, even of that one side, which they present to us as though it were the whole.
Let us next consider the true meaning of the words aion and aionios. These are the originals of the terms rendered by our translators “everlasting,”” for ever and ever :” and on this translation, so misleading, a vast portion of the popular dogma of endless torment is built up. I say, without hesitation, misleading and incorrect; for aion means “an age,” a limited period, whether long or short, though often of indefinite length; and the adjective aionios means “of the age,” “age-long,” “aeonian,” and never ” everlasting” (of its own proper force), it is true that it may be applied as an epithet to things that are endless, but the idea of endlessness in all such cases comes not from the epithet, hut only because it is inherent in the object to which the epithet is applied, as in the case of God. Much has been written on the import of the aeonian (eternal) life. Altogether to exclude, (with MAURICE) the notion of time seems impracticable, and opposed to the general usage of the New Testament (and of the Septuagint). But while this is so, we may fully recognize that the phrase “eternal life” (aeonian life) does at times pass into a region above time, a region wholly moral and spiritual Thus, in S. John, the aeonian life (eternal life), of which he speaks, is a life not measured by duration, but a life in the unseen, life in God. Thus, e.g., God’s commandment is life eternal. – S. Jon. xii. 50. To know Him is life eternal, – ib. xvii. 3, and Christ is the RI payday loans eternal life. – 1 S. Jno. i. 2; v. 20.