Does the Bible teach the Time of the End, or, The End of Time?
In the last installment of this series on the time of the end, Dave Curtis posed a great question: WHAT AGE DID THE NEW TESTAMENT WRITERS LIVE IN? He asked this question in light of the fact that the NT writers predicted the end of the age. Most Bible students assume that this meant the end of time, or the end of the Christian age. But, is that what the Bible really teaches. This is article #3 of Dave’s response to that. Be sure to read the first two installments #1 #2
The New Testament writer lived in the age that they called “this age.” To the New Testament writers the “age to come” was future, but it was very near because “this age” was about to end.
1 Corinthians 2:6-8 (NKJV) However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age,who are coming to nothing. 7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, 8 which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
The wisdom and rulers of “this age” were coming to nothing because the age was passing away. He is speaking of the Jewish leaders and the Old Covenant system. The rulers of “this age” crucified the Lord. These rulers would shortly have no realm in which to rule because “this age” was about to end. Think about this, If the Jewish age ended at the cross, as so many claim, why were they still ruling the age?
1 Corinthians 10:11 (NKJV) Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.
Paul said very plainly that the end of the ages was coming upon them, the first century saints. “This age,” along with its wisdom and rulers, was about to end.
Hebrews 1:1-2 (NKJV) God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds.
The Last Days: Is This The End of Time?
Jesus was speaking in the last days. What last days? The last days of the Bible’s “this age” — the Old Covenant age.
Hebrews 9:26 (NKJV) He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.
When was it that Jesus appeared? He was born, not at the beginning, but at the end of the age (s). To suppose that he meant that Jesus’ incarnation came near the end of the world, or the end of time would be to make his statement false. The world has already lasted longer since the incarnation than the whole duration of the Mosaic economy, from the exodus to the destruction of the temple. Jesus was manifest at the end of the Jewish age. Peter says the same thing.
1 Peter 1:20 (NKJV) He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you
Jesus came during the last days of the age that was the Old Covenant age, the Jewish age. That age came to an end with the destruction of the temple in AD 70. All the things prophesied by Jesus in Matthew 24 occurred at the end of that age. Alright, so the New Testament writers lived in what the Bible calls “this age.”
HOW IS “THIS AGE” CHARACTERIZED IN THE NEW TESTAMENT?
We will continue with Dave’s response to this important question in the next installment, so stay tuned! As you can see from this installment however, the Bible was not concerned with the end of time, but, the the time of the end. And that “time of the end” was not the end of time!
Be sure to get a copy of The Last Days Identified, for an in-depth study of this entire issue of the end of the age, or, the end of time.