Pilgrimage

We are new creation pilgrims

The Bible divides time into 2 worlds (ages): “this age” and “the age to come”. They correspond with the Old and New Covenant ages. The New Testament was written during the “Last Days” of the Old Covenant age or what was then called “this age”.

That other expression in Matthew, “the consummation of the age,” is a phrase that has been much abused and widely misunderstood. The common translation, “end of the world,” has been a delusion to many readers of the English Bible. It has helped to perpetuate the unscriptural notion that the coming and kingdom of Christ are not facts of the past, present, and future, but of the future only. …

Those who maintain the doctrine, and, indeed, not a few who oppose it, fall into error and inconsistency by failing to apprehend the true meaning of the phrase “the end of the age.”

For, first of all, they do not determine clearly what age (αἰών) is contemplated in such a text as Matt. 24:3. They quite generally assume that the period of the Gospel dispensation is meant. But nothing is more familiar in the Jewish terminology of our Lord’s time than the current phrases עו̇לָם הַוֶּה and עו̇לָם הַבָּא, this age and the age to come. The period which preceded the coming of the Messiah was spoken of as this age; that which followed his coming was the age to come.

…by this age they meant and could mean nothing else than the current period in which they were living, the then present age. The question of the disciples, as recorded, could therefore only refer to the pre-Messianic age, and its consummation was, as we have seen, associated in their thought with the overthrow of the temple. But even were it admitted that their notion of “the consummation of the age” was erroneous, the teaching of Jesus was emphatic beyond all rational question that that generation should not pass away before all those things of which they inquired should be fulfilled.

The age to come, the Messianic time, would accordingly be the period that would follow immediately after the termination of the pre-Messianic age. That time had not yet come when Jesus spoke. According to the whole trend of New Testament teaching that age and the Messianic kingdom were near or at hand. Christ’s ministry fell in the last days of an αἰών. The gospel of his kingdom must be firmly established in the world before the end of that age. So we read, in Heb. 9:26: “Now, once, at the end of the ages (ἐπὶ συντελείᾳ τῶν αἰώνων) hath he been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” Also in Heb. 1:1, it is written: “God … hath at the last of these days spoken unto us in his Son.” Similarly Peter (1 Pet. 1:20) speaks of Christ as “foreknown before the foundation of the world, but manifested at the end of the times for your sake.” Paul, too, speaks of himself as living near the consummation of an age: “These things happened unto them by way of example; and they were written for our admonition upon whom the ends of the ages are come” (1 Cor. 10:11). The ministry both of Jesus and his disciples must, therefore, be recognized as occurring in the latter days of an αἰών, or near the end of the pre-Messianic age. The New Testament writers, as well as Jesus, are clear on this point. They never represent themselves as already entered upon the first days, or the beginning of the age, but rather in the last days.1

While Jesus’ first advent marked the beginning of the new covenant age (the “age to come”), the old covenant age (“this age”) was finally swept away when Jerusalem and its temple were destroyed. There was a period of 40 years (a generation) from AD 30 to AD 70 in which the two ages overlapped in transition. Those were the “last days”.

 

[1] Terry, M. S. (1898). Biblical Apocalyptics: A Study of the Most Notable Revelations of God and of Christ in the Canonical Scriptures (pp. 247–248). New York; Cincinnati: Eaton & Mains; Curts & Jennings.

 

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