The Consummation (End) of the Age

By Jim Hopkins



Identifying “the age to come” solely with an earthly aion is under consideration for a special warning label, in that this misconception has become axiomatic in all “consistent preterist” theologies.  Certain orthodox preterists claim this “ages view” as well, so I won’t at this time classify it as “Hyper Preterism”.  It will suffice for now to simply call attention to the consequences of the “AD70 World/Age Hypothesis”.

Luke 20:35 But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry , nor are given in marriage (“Worthy to obtain” demonstrates that the “world to come” isn’t received based upon simple chronology (i.e. AD70), but upon the grounds of worthiness, which can only be one’s identification with the Cross of Jesus Christ.)

In this study we will look at the meaning of “the End of the Age”. This phrase is used several times in the NT and is generally translated ‘end of the world.’ I think this translation can deceive us of its true meaning, and, therefore, the reason for our study.

     The phrase ‘end of the age’ is found six times in the New Testament; five times in Matthew and once in Hebrews. A plural phrase ‘ends of the ages’ occurs in 1st Corinthians.

I list them in their context according to the NASB:

Matt 13:39 “the harvest is the end of the age.”

Matt 13:40 “so shall it be at the end of the age.”

Matt 13:49 “So it will be at the end of the age.”

Matt 24: 3 “Tell us when will these things be, and what will be the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age?”

Matt 28:20 “and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

I Cor 10:11 “Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.”

Heb 9:26 “But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.”

     The NASB and other resent versions consistently translate this phrase as the ‘end of the age’ rather than the ‘end of the world.’ And this is to our advantage for now we can see that Christ and the apostles were referring to a different time frame than that of our world. Instead, I believe they are speaking about the end of what we call the Jewish Age.

     To show that this is the case, please consider the questions asked by the disciples in Matt 24:3:

(1) “When will these things be?”

(2) “What will be the sign

(a) of your coming and

(b) of the end of the age?”

Mk 13:4 records these questions as:

(1) “When will these things be?”

(2) “and what will be the sign when all these things are going to be fulfilled?”

Lk 21:5 records these questions as:

(1) “When therefore will these things be?”

(2) “And what will be the sign when these things are about to take place?”

     I have listed Mt 24:3 as two questions based on Mark and Luke and upon the structure of vs 3. The apostles were desiring to know the sign that preceded his coming and the end of the age as if one sign preceded both events. Both Mk and Lk ask for the sign that precedes the events of the first question. And the first question is a query about the destruction of the temple. The sign of his coming and of the end of the age must then be another way of referring to the destruction that was to come on the temple. Jesus, there-fore, tells us when the end of the age will be. The change of the age does not occur at the cross nor at Pentecost.

     Next, consider the answers that Jesus gives. He tells of the (1) coming of false Christs, (2) wars and rumors of war, (3) natural calamities of famines and earthquakes, (4) persecutions and falling away, (5) the gospel of the kingdom preached in the whole world (inhabited earth). Following these things comes the end. The sign he gives of the end is the abomination of desolation which Luke interprets as the armies gathered around Jerusalem. Then comes (6) the great tribulation followed immediately by (7) the coming of the Son of Man on the clouds and (8) the gathering his elect from the four winds.

     To further identify the time of the destruction of the temple, Jesus interjects into his answer that ‘this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.’ The word ‘generation’ means ‘those who are contemporaries or live at the same time’. After analyzing this chapter in its context, is it not easier to see this prophecy as a message that had an immediate application? Some agree with this but also see this prophecy as being typical of Christ’s coming at the end of the church age. Some would even distort the picture by saying that the time from the cross to the present is called ‘the Last Days’. But I hope it is evident that even the term ‘Last Days’ spoke of the last days of the Jewish age and not of a separate age called the Christian age. Peter could, therefore, declare on the Pentecost following the resurrection of Christ that ‘this is that which was spoken by the Prophet Joel: And it shall be in the last days, God says, That I will pour forth My Spirit upon all mankind;’ (Acts 2:16,17). The church was really established in the last days of the Jewish age. It was not declared to be the beginning of the new age or the age to come. One generation separates them from the end of the age. Jesus taught that certain events must take place before the end came (1 thru 8 above). These events did not happen before Pentecost.

     Paul would say that Jesus died in order to rescue them from the present evil age (Gal 1:4). Do you think it proper to speak of the age of the New Covenant as a evil age? Paul said that the apostles “speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away . . .the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age understood; for if they had understood it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory;” (I Cor 2:6,8). If Paul spoke during the Christian age in which Christ is the ruler, who are these rulers? Are they not the same rulers that crucified Christ? And Paul speaks of them as ‘this age.’ How does he do that if he recognizes the Christian age. Our traditions recognize it and by our traditions we make void the word of God! Paul also believed that the ends of the ages had come upon them (I Cor. 10:11). Paul also taught that the coming of the Lord was at hand (Phil 4:5); that the night was nearly over and the day was almost there (Rom 13:12). Is the Christian age called the night that was nearly over? Would any of this kind of speech be possible if a new age had begun at Pentecost?

     I propose, therefore, that the end of the Jewish age occurred at God’s judgment on Israel and not at the cross. I am aware that this seems directly contrary Col 2:14 which seems to teach that the law was nailed to the cross. But in vs 13 he is speaking of Gentiles that were (1) dead in their transgressions and the uncircumcision of their flesh, (2) that He made them alive together with Him, (3) having forgiven us all our transgressions, (4) having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us and which was hostile to us; (5) and He has taken it out of the way, (6) having nailed it to the cross. The certificate of debt was what we accumulated as a result of transgressions. It was this that was canceled and nailed to the cross. It was not the Law for we see the Law age still present.

     In Eph 2:14 Paul speaks of those who were formerly two peoples. But now these two are one new man because Christ has broken down the barrier of the dividing wall by abolishing in his flesh the enmity. Does not the enmity equate with the certificate of debt in Col 2:14? For he says they are reconciled in one body to God through the cross having put to death the enmity. So nailing it to the cross and putting to death the enmity equate to each other. Now is the Law in view? Is it not rather what man did that was contrary to law that is taken away? Else what will you do with other scriptures that teach that the Law is still present? For example, Heb 8:13 which teaches that the first covenant was becoming obsolete and growing old and ready to disappear? Have you ever wondered why Paul remained loyal to the Law but would not permit the Gentiles to keep it? (Acts 21:17-26). In all the problems about keeping the Law, the Jews were never asked to give up the Law. The Law continues to be used as scriptural authority (2 Tim 3:16). He says that faith establishes Law (Rom 3:31).

     But the question is: How do we Gentiles keep it? As a Jew, Paul kept the Law in regard to fasting, circumcision, sacrifice, holy days and the Ten Commandments. But Gentiles were told to abstain from four things: from blood, from things sacrificed, things strangled, and fornication. They are specifically forbidden to keep the Jewish laws. Note the continuation of the context of Col 2:14-17: As result of Christ removing the certificate of debt that was opposed to us, we are not to let anyone judge us in what we eat or drink, or how we keep holy days. These are mere shadows of what is to come. And the substance belongs to Christ. The NIV has greatly erred by giving a past tense for a present tense verb so as to avoid the question of the new age as ‘coming’ and make you think that Paul said, ” These are shadows of the things that have come”. Gentiles kept the substance of the things to come (they were not present yet) rather than the shadow of the Law (which was still present). In Hebrews 10:1 the Law is spoken of in the present tense as “having a shadow of the good things to come”. These verses declare without a doubt that the old age was present and the new age was yet to come. If not, then the Law is not a shadow of the new age but of another yet to come!

     We even keep the substance of the Law today. The Law declared beforehand (in type) the New Covenant. Therefore, what the Law said was always true! Can the word of God ever be broken? No. Then why do we say that the law was abolished? But if we mean fulfilled, we can readily see the Law as a typical arrangement until the end of the age and then the ultimate arrangement was given. On some matters, the Law still guides us: in the areas of marriage and divorce; concerning inequities between people; about the legality of abortion; what sin is. It declares beforehand the true sacrifice: Christ. It shows his lordship over all peoples. It declares the Kingdom of God. You can prove all doctrine by the Law. It is more than a history of God’s people; it is a prophetic declaration of the salvation in Jesus Christ. The two on the road to Emmaus were chastised by Christ for not believing all that the prophets had spoken. He began with Moses and with all the prophets and explained to them the things concerning himself in all the Scriptures. We, like them, are still missing Jesus in the Old Testament.

     Because we have not believed Jesus and the apostles concerning the end of the age, we have added an age that does not exist! We have added the Christian age. It goes something like this: Jesus taught in Mt 12:32 that anyone who speaks against him can be forgiven, but if he speaks against the Holy Spirit, he cannot be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. The age that Jesus calls “this age” must be the Jewish age and “the age to come” must be the Christian age. But in Mk 10:30 Jesus teaches that if one gives up family and home for the gospel, he will receive a hundred times as much in this present age and in the age to come, eternal life. Now since eternal life is to be received in heaven (it is reasoned), this passage speaks of the Christian age and the Heavenly age. By our traditions we cause Jesus not to know what age he is living in!

     Jesus taught that the end of the age would come with the destruction of the temple. In his parables he taught that the good seed and bad seed would exist together until the end of the age. Likewise in the parable of the net, good and bad fish are caught and it is likened to the end of the age. In these lessons is Jesus ignoring the end of the Jewish age to teach concerning the end of the Christian age? But that is the way we teach it, isn’t it?

     No new age was heralded in at the cross or Pentecost. Their present age was evil (Gal 1:4) and the god of the age was Satan (2 Cor 4:4). Paul said that they stood at the ends of the ages (I Cor 10:11). In Gal 4 Hagar, represented both the Old Covenant and the Jerusalem that “now is” (the Old was still present), and Sarah represented both the New Covenant and the New Jerusalem that was “above” (it was still to come).

     Is this arrangement still valid today? Even in their day they had drawn near to Mount Zion (fulfilling the type shown at Sinai), to the heavenly Jerusalem, and to Jesus the mediator of the New Covenant. They were waiting for the shaking of heaven and earth (a prophecy from Haggai) which would separate the created things (of the type) from the things that could not be shaken (things of substance of the new order). Out of this shaking they would receive the kingdom unshaken (Heb 12:22-28). This time also correlates with Daniel’s prophecy of the little horn that made war on the saints until the Ancient of Days came and judgment was given to the saints and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom (Dan 7:22). The saints of the Last Days were given the Spirit as an earnest of their inheritance. With the shaking, the earnest of the Spirit was consummated in the receiving of the kingdom now free of the typical arrangement. The day came for vision and prophecy to be sealed up (Dan 9:24) and for the prophet and evil spirit to pass out of the land (Zech 13:2). A time for those things that were in part to cease. A time for that which was perfect (complete) to come (I Cor 13:10).

     I hope that in these thoughts to at least give you my reasons for suggesting that the ending the Jewish age at the cross and inserting a Christian age in between ‘the coming age’ is not handling aright the word of truth.

May the Lord bless you in your study of God’s Word.

What do YOU think ?

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Date: 25 Oct 2011
Time: 07:47:11

Your Comments:

I think it’s pretty good reading, and I like the way Daniel’s prophecy and Joel’s, together with Peter’s testamony that Penticost morning, set that time in view as the LAST DAYS; And made them all more aware of the LAST DAYS they were living in and the coming “END” of that age; an Age in which Jesus said… “..I am with you (the jews/hebrews/greeks) always (presumably in the spirit) EVEN TILL THE END OF (YEAH >>) THE AGE…” And also of course for those “worthy” (Lazarus, Tabbiatha, saints of Matthew 27:52) all made worthy and ready in their resurrected state to be changed in the twinkling of an eye; and then either vanished from sight of the common people (who after the war “remained and alive”)or simply rose up (in sight of the entire nation’s gaze) into the clouds gathering with thier visible LORD-GOD in the clouds of the sky who was “always with them” and then “forever with him”. Amen. P.S. HOPEFULLY in our resurrected state we too get to see the same LORD-GOD (King of Kings) in that New Jerusalem sky and put on our immortality. (some thing to that affect)

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