Does the Bible Predict the End of Time?
This is installment #2 in a series written by David Curtis, addressing the question of whether the Bible predicts the end of time, or, the time of the end. Be sure to read the first installment before this one.
In the previous segment, David noted that in scripture, “the age that was to end was the Jewish age. It would end with the destruction of the Jewish temple and the city Jerusalem. The end of the age did not happen at the cross or at Pentecost but at the destruction of Jerusalem. The world was not going to end but the age of Judaism was. The disciples knew that the fall of the temple and the destruction of the city meant the end of the Old Covenant age and the inauguration of a new age. This brings us to a very important question,
“HOW MANY AGES ARE THERE?”
William Barclay says:
Time was divided by the Jews into two great periods– this present age, and the age to come. The present age is wholly bad and beyond all hope of human reformation. If can be mended only by the direct intervention of God. When God does intervene the golden age, the age to come, will arrive. But in between the two ages there will come the Day of the Lord, which will be a time of terrible and fearful upheaval, like the birth-pangs of a new age.
Zechariah 14 teaches us that the “Day of the Lord” and the destruction of Jerusalem were connected. So, the destruction of Jerusalem, which was the Day of the Lord, marked the end of one age, the Jewish age, and the beginning of the new age, the Christian age of the New Covenant. This is not about the end of time!
To the Jews, time was divided into two great periods, the Mosaic Age and the Messianic Age. The Messiah was viewed as one who would bring in a new world. The period of the Messiah was, therefore, correctly characterized by the Synagogue as “the world to come.” All through the New Testament we see two ages in contrast: “This age” and the “age to come.” (Note from Don K: See my book, The Last Days Identified, for a full documentation of the Jewish concept of the two ages. In that book, I show, from a wide range of scholarship, that the Jews never expected and did not predict the end of time)!
Matthew 12:32 (NKJV) “Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.
The word “come” at the end of the verse is the Greek word mello, which means: ” about to be.” We could translate this, the “age about to come” (in the first century). Many think that the age to come will be a sinless age; not according to this verse. Sin against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven in that age, referring to the age of the New Covenant, our present age. We see here that both of these ages have sin in them.
Ephesians 1:21 (NKJV) far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.
Here again we see the two ages. So, the New Testament speaks of two ages, “this age” and “the age to come.” The understanding of these two ages and when they changed is fundamental to interpreting the Bible.
Let’s see what the New Testament teaches us about these two ages. Questions that we need to try to answer are: What age did the new testament writers live in? What age do we live in? How is ‘this age” characterized in the New Testament? What does the New Testament say about “the age to come”? When does “this age” end and “the age to come” begin?
WHAT AGE DID THE NEW TESTAMENT WRITERS LIVE IN? In the next installment, Dave will answer this critical, but overlooked question, showing that the Bible predictions of the time of the end were not predictions of the end of time!