End of the World or Old Covenant Age?
The enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels." (Matthew 13:39 , Hebrew Names Version of World English Bible)
End of the "World"
The World in Matthew 13:38-40
|The field is the world, the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;||The field is the world, the good seed are the sons of the kingdom; but the tares are the sons of the wicked one.|
|the enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.||The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are the angels.|
|As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.||Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so will it be at the end of this world.|
Source: The Last Days According to Jesus, R.C. Sproul
We do well to search out the true meaning of the word
aionios, for in the NT this is the word which is usually translated
eternal or everlasting, and it is applied to the eternal life and the eternal glory, which are the Christian's highest reward, and to the eternal judgment and the eternal punishment, which must be the Christian's greatest dread.
Even in classical and in secular Greek aionios is a strange word, with a sense of mystery in it. Itself it is an adjective formed from the noun
aion. In classical Greek this word aion has three main meanings.
(i) It means a life-time. Herodotus can speak of ending our aion (Herodotus, 1.32); Aeschylus, of depriving a man of his
aion (Aeschylus, Prometheus 862); and Euripides of breathing away one's
aion (Euripides, fragment 801).
(ii) Then it comes to mean an
age, a generation, or an epoch. So the Greeks could speak of this present
aion, and of the aion which is to come, this present age and the age which is to come.
(iii) But then the word comes to mean a very long space of time. The prepositional phrase
ap'aionos means from of old; and di'aionos means
perpetually and for ever. It is just here that the first mystery begins to enter in. In the papyri we read how at a public meeting the crowd shout `The Emperor
eis ton aiona, The Emperor for ever.' (New Testament Words)
Milburn Cockrell (1998)
"The translators of our English version did a very poor job in translating the Greek word "aion." It occurs a little over 100 times in the Greek New Testament. In our King James Version it is translated 'world' 32 times, 'for ever' 27 times, 'for ever and ever' 20 times, and by a few other words some-times. Only two times out of a little over 100 is it properly translated 'age' (Eph. 2:7; Col 1:26). In my honest opinion, two out of a hundred is a very poor record." (Berea Baptist Banner
August 5, 1998, page 1 - M.C. Editor)
"(Greek - coming), as it occurs in the New Testament, does not denote the end, but rather the consummation, of the
aeon, which is to be followed by a new age. So in Matt. xiii. 39, 40, 49; xxiv. 3; which last passage, it is to be feared, may be misunderstood in applying it to the destruction of the world." (Synonyms of the New Test. vol. i. a. 70; Bib. Cab. No. iii.)
John Locke (1705)
(On Galatians 4:25,26) "The He might take us out of this present evil world, or
age, so the Greek words signify. Whereby it cannot be thought that St. Paul meant that Christians were to be immediately removed into the other world. Therefore
(gk.) must signify something else than present world in the ordinary import of those words in English.
toutou, 1 Cor. ii. 6,8, and in other places, plainly signifies the
Jewish nation under the Mosaical constitution; and it suits very well with the apostle's design in this epistle that it should do so here. God has in this world but one kingdom and one people. The nation of the Jews were the kingdom and people of God whilst the law stood. And this kingdom of God under the
Mosaical constitution was called
this age, or, as it is commonly translated, this world, to which
aiwnoj enestwtoj, the present world, or age, here answers. But the kingdom of God which was to be under the Messiah, wherein the economy and constitution of the
Jewish Church, and the nation itself, that in opposition to Christ adhered to it, was to be laid aside, is in the New Testament called
aivwvn mevllwn, the world, or
age, to come; so that Christ's taking them out of the present world, may, without any violence to the words, be understood to signify His setting them free from the
Mosaical constitution." (Paraphrase and Notes on Galatians)
(On Ephesians 2:2 and the word 'aeon' - gr.
ai,w.n) "aivw./n (aeon) may be observed in the New Testament to signify the lasting state and constitution of things in the great tribes or collections of me, considered in reference to the kingdom of God: whereof there were two most eminent, and principally intended, if I mistake not, by the word
aivw./nej, when that is used alone, and that it is
o.. nu/n aivw./n, this present world, which is taken for that state of the world wherein the children of Israel were His people and made up his kingdom upon earth; the Gentiles, that is, all the other nations of the world, being in a state of apostasy and revolt from Him, and
aivwvn mevllwn, the world to come, that is, the time of the Gospel, wherein God, by Christ, broke down the partition wall betwee jew and Gentile, and opened a way for the reconciling the rest of mankind and taking the Gentiles again into His kingdom under Jesus Christ, under whoe rule He had put it." (Notes on Eph. ii.2)
(On I Corinthians 10:11,
Ephesians 1:21 and the word 'aeon' - gr.
ai,w.n) "It may be worth while to consider whether
aivw./n (aeon) hath not ordinarily a more natural signification in the New Testament by standing for a considerable length of time, passing under some one remarkable dispensation." (Notes on I Cor 10:11)
Thomas Newton (1754)
"'The coming of Christ' is also the same period with the destruction of Jerusalem, as may appear from several places in the Gospels, and particularly from these two passages; 'There are some standing here,' saith our blessed Lord, 'who shall not taste of death till they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom,' Matt xvi. 28, that is, evidently, there are some standing here who shall live, not till they end of the world, to the coming of Christ to judge mankind, but till the destruction of Jerusalem, to the coming of Christ in judgment upon the Jews. In another place, John xxi.22, speaking to Peter concerning John, he saith, 'If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?' what is that to thee, if I will that he live till the destruction of Jerusalem? as in truth he did, and long. 'The coming of Christ,' and 'the conclusion of the age,' being therefore only different expressions to denote the same period with the destruction of Jerusalem, the purpose of the question plainly is, when shall the destruction of Jerusalem be, and what shall be the signs of it?'" (Newton, p. 374)
"Actually, their phrase in Matthew may more precisely be translated from the Greek as "the end of the age." The RSV, in fact, translates it as "close of the age." The destruction of the temple was, in fact, the means God used to mark the "end of the age" of His dealings with the Jews as His chosen people.. The terms "thy coming" and "end of the age" in Matthew were their way of describing what, in their minds, was the cataclysmic event Jesus had spoken about and not a reference to the "end of the world" as we think of it." (Armageddon Again?,
OK, 1991, p. 42)
N. Nisbett (1787)
Upon this assertion, his disciples very naturally asked him, when these things should be, and what would be the sign of his coming? St. Matt. alone has this addition, and of the end of the world; which Bishop Pearce has, I think, more justly translated, the end of the age, during which the Jewish state was to last, and which age, the disciples imagined, would be at an end, when the Christ came, and visited the Jewish nation." (An Attempt to Illustrate..)
(On I Corinthians 10:11) "St. Paul did not imagine, that the end of the world was at hand (as some commentators have, much to his prejudice, supposed): He only alluded to the Jewish distinction of time."
(On Hebrews 9:26) "which phrase of the 'end of the world; relates, not to the end of the world, strictly speaking, but to the preceding ages, being ended."
James Stuart Russell (1878)
"We find in the passages here quoted an example of one of those erroneous renderings which have done much to confuse and mislead the ordinary readers of our English version. It is probable, that ninety-nine in every hundred understand by the phrase, 'the end of the world,' the close of human history, and the destruction of the material earth. They would not imagine that the ' world ' in ver. 38 and the 'world' in ver. 39 40, are totally different words, with totally different meanings. Yet such is the fact. Koinos in ver. 38 is rightly translated world, and refers to the world of men, but aeon in ver. 39, 40, refers to a period of time, and should be rendered age or epoch. Lange translates it aeon. It is of the greatest importance to understand correctly the two meaning of this word, and of the phrase 'the end of the aeon, or age.' aion is, as we have said, a period of time, or an age. It is exactly equivalent to the Latin word aevum, which is merely aion in a Latin dress; and the phrase, (Greek- coming), translated in our English version, 'the end of the world,' should be, 'the close of the age.' Tittman observes: (Greek - coming), as it occurs in the New Testament, does not denote the end, but rather the consummation, of the aeon, which is to be followed by a new age. So in Matt. xiii. 39, 40, 49; xxiv. 3; which last passage, it is to be feared, may be misunderstood in applying it to the destruction of the world.' (8) It was the belief of the Jews that the Messiah would introduce a new aeon: and this new aeon, or age, they called 'the kingdom of heaven.' The existing aeon: therefore, was the Jewish dispensation, which was now drawing to its close; and how it would terminate our Lord impressively shows in these parables. It is indeed surprising that expositors should have failed to recognize in these solemn predictions the reproduction and reiteration of the words of Malachi and of John the Baptist." (p.21)
"Nothing can be more misleading to the English reader, than the rendering, 'the end of the world;' which inevitably suggests the close of human history, the end of time, and the destruction of the earth -- a meaning which the words will not bear. . . . What can be more evident than that the promise of Christ to be with his disciples to the close of the age implies that they were to live to the close of the age ? That great consummation was not far off ; the Lord had often spoken of it, and always as an approaching event, one which some of them would live to lice. It was the winding up of the Mosaic dispensation; the end of the long probation of the theocratic nation; when the whole frame and fabric of the Jewish polity were to be swept away, and the kingdom of God to come with power. This great event, our Lord declared, was to fall within the limit of the existing generation." (The Parousia, p. 121.)
Gr. aion, (165)
"an age; by extens. perpetuity; by impl the
world; spec. (Jewish) a Messianic period"
- age, course, world
1) for ever, an unbroken age, perpetuity of time, eternity
2) the worlds, universe
3) period of time, age
And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world
<165>, neither in the
world to come.
Matthew 13:39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world
<165>; and the reapers are the angels.
Matthew 13:40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world
Matthew 24:3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what
shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world
Luke 18:30 Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world
<165> to come life everlasting.
THE END OF THE AGE
Matt. 13:39 --- ‘The harvest is the end of the age.’
13:40 --- ‘So it shall be at the end of the age.’
13:49 --- ‘So it shall be in the end of the age.’
24:3 --- ‘What shall be the sign of thy coming and the end
of the age?’
Matt. 28:20 --- ‘Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the age.’
Heb. 9:26 --- ‘But now once in the end of the age.’
Matt. 10:22 --- ‘He that endureth to the end shall be saved.’
24: 6 --- ‘But the end is not yet’ (Mark 13:7; Luke 21:
24:14 --- ‘Then shall the end come.’
1 Cor. 1. 8 --- ‘Who shall also confirm you unto the end.’
10:11 --- ‘Unto whom the ends of the ages are come.’
15:24 --- ‘Then cometh the end.’
Heb. 3: 6 --- ‘Firm unto the end.’
3:14 --- ‘Steadfast unto the end.’
6:11 --- ‘Diligence unto the end.’
1 Pet. 2:7 --- ‘The end of all things is at hand.’
Rev. 2:26 --- ‘He that keepeth my works unto the end.’
THE LAST TIMES, DAYS, ETC.
1 Tim. 4:1 --- ‘In the latter times some shall depart from the
2 Tim. 3:1 --- ‘In the last days perilous times shall come.’
Heb. 1: 2 --- ‘In these last days hath spoken to us.’
James 5:3 --- ‘Ye have heaped up treasures in the last days.’
1 Pet. 1:5 --- ‘Salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time.’
1 Pet. 1:20.---‘Who was manifest in these last times for you.’
2 Pet. 3:3 --- ‘There shall come in the last days scoffers.’
1 John 2:18 --- ‘It is the last time’ [hour].
Jude 18 --- ‘That there should be mockers in the last time.’
EQUIVALENT PHRASES REFERRING TO THE SAME PERIOD
Matt. 25:13 --- ‘You know neither the day nor the hour when the Son of man cometh.’
Luke 17.30 --- ‘The day when the Son of man is revealed.’
Rom. 2:16 --- ‘In the day when God shall judge the secrets of
1 Cor. 3:1 --- ‘The day shall declare it.’
Heb. 10:25 --- ‘Ye see the day approaching.’
Matt. 7:22 --- ‘Many will say unto me in that day, Lord, Lord.’
24:36 ---‘But of that day and hour knoweth no man.’
Luke 2: 12 --- ‘It shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom.’
Luke 21:34 --- ‘And so that day come upon you unawares.’
1 Thess. 5:4 --- ‘That that day should over take you as a thief.’
2 Thess. 2:3 --- ‘That day shall not come except there come the
2 Tim. 1:12 --- ‘Which I have comitted unto him against that day.’
1:18 --- ‘That he may find mercy of the Lord in that day.’
4: 8 --- ‘A crown…which the Lord…shall give me at that
THE DAY OF THE LORD
1 Cor. 1: 8 --- ‘That ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.’
1 Cor. 5:5 --- ‘That the spirit may be saved in the day of our
2 Cor. 1:14 ---‘Ye are ours in the day of the Lord Jesus.’
Phil. 2:16 ---‘That I may rejoice in the day of Christ.’
1 Thess. 5. 2 --- ‘the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.’
Rev. 1:10 --- ‘I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day.’ (Added by CH; same meaning as ‘day of the Lord’)
THE DAY OF GOD.
2 Peter 3:12 ---‘Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day
THE GREAT DAY
Acts 2: 20.---‘That great and notable day of the Lord.’
Jude, ver. 6 ---‘The judgment of the great day.’
Rev. 6:17 --- ‘The great day of his wrath is come.’
16:14.---‘The battle of the great day.’
THE DAY OF WRATH.
Rom. 2:5 --- ‘Treasurest up wrath against the day of wrath.’
Rev. 6:17 --- ‘The great day of his wrath is come.’
THE DAY OF JUDGMENT.
Matt. 10:15 --- ‘It shall be more tolerable in the day of judgment. (Mark vi. 11).
Matt. 10:22 --- ‘It shall be more tolerable…in the day of judgment.’
11:24 --- ‘It shall be more tolerable…in the day of
12:36 --- ‘They shall give account thereof in the day of
2 Pet. 2:9 --- ‘To serve the unjust unto the day of judgment.’
2:7 --- ‘The day of judgment and perdition of ungodly
1 John 4:17--- ‘That we may have boldness in the day of judgment.’
THE DAY OF REDEMPTION.
Eph. 4:30 --- ‘Sealed unto the day of redemption.’
THE LAST DAY.
John 6:39 --- ‘That I should raise it up at the last day.’
6:40 --- ‘I will raise him up at the last day.’
6: 44 --- ‘And I will raise him up at the last day.’
6: 54 --- ‘And I will raise him up at the last day.’
FROM THE COMPARISON OF THESE PASSAGES IT WILL APPEAR ---
1. That they all refer to one and the same period---a certain
definite and specific time.
2. That they all either assume or affirm that the period in
question is not far distant.
3. The limit beyond which it is not permissible to go in the New Testament scriptures, viz. the lifetime of the generation which rejected Christ.
4. This brings us to the period of the destruction of Jerusalem, as marking ‘the close of the age,’ ‘the day of the Lord,’ ‘the end.’ That is to say, "the coming of the Lord," (The "Parousia." )
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Date: 01 Aug 2010
The English word eon is a direct transliteration of the Greek and has an
identical meaning, "an indefinite period of time with a definite start and
end." KOSMOS is "the arrangement of things on the earth", and so "the
world". Confusing these two words has led to countless errors of belief and
generated untold scholarly volumes to defend an erroneous understanding.