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What Does Scripture Mean by the End of the Age?

What Does Scripture Mean by the End of the Age?

The end of the age, the end of the world, and the return of Jesus. All these things have taken up residence in believers’ minds, especially with the events taking place in our country and around the world. These events may lead you to consider a term the Bible uses called the end of the age. If you have not done so yet, I want you to think about what the Scriptures mean by the end of the age. If you are not sure what it means don’t worry just keep reading. You will have a better understanding of what this term means when you are done. Just know the end of the age is directly connected to Jesus’ second coming and the events that occur as the prophetic clock ticks down and we get closer to his return. 

Two verses that mention the end of the age:

As we begin our conversation here are two verses where the term the end of the age is used.

"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” – Matthew 28:19-20

"As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” – Matthew 24:3

In the first verse, the end of the age is connected to the Great Commission and comes with a promise that Jesus will be with us to the end of the age. In the second verse, Jesus is about to describe events that will happen before his coming and the end of the age. A simple deduction will tell us that whatever the end of the age means as I mentioned earlier it is connected to Jesus’ second coming.

What does the word “age” mean?

To make these two verses even clearer the word 'age' simply means a space of time. Age is a timeframe that identifies a period in history. For example, in traditional history, you had the Dark Ages or the Middle Ages. These were periods of time that existed in human history. Usually, these periods or ages are defined after they have been completed. Marking periods or ages also exists in Christian theology we just call them dispensations. A dispensation is an identification of a period or an age from a biblical point of view instead of just a historical one. While there are some disagreements as to the number of dispensations or ages there are, many scholars and teachers agree on seven. I will list them for you in case you want to do further study on them.

The Seven Dispensations (or Ages)

-The Dispensation of Innocence

-The Dispensation of Conscience

-The Dispensation of Human Government

-The Dispensation of Promise

-The Dispensation of Law

-The Dispensation of Grace

-The Millennial Kingdom of Christ

These ages represent different periods of time that are identified from different points in Scripture. In case you are wondering we are currently living in the age or dispensation of grace.

What is the end of the age?

Now that you understand what an age is, let’s answer the question of what the Scripture means by end of the age. I want to present to you two ways to consider this question.

View 1

If you look at this term the end of the age from the viewpoint of the seven different dispensations, then the end of the age could represent the end of the age of grace and the beginning of the millennial kingdom of Christ here on the earth. This viewpoint would also align with this verse in Matthew 24:3, which we looked at earlier.

In this verse, the disciples are connecting the second coming of Jesus with the end of the age, which fits perfectly within the view of the seven dispensations. Clearly, they are marking the end of the age with the second coming. At the time of them asking the question I am sure they were not wondering which of the seven ages they were living in because remember dispensations or ages are named after they occur. The only one that is pre-named is the millennial kingdom and we call it that because Scripture has already defined the thousand-year reign of Christ on the earth for us.

View 2

To be clear the names of these different dispensations are based on Ccripture, however, you will not necessarily find these exact terms in Scripture. This does not in any way diminish their merit. Even though you may not find the exact term in Scripture, you will discover it makes sense to define that period in the way it was defined. For example, the dispensation of innocence deals with the time Adam and Eve were in the garden before the Fall. This was a period on the earth where there was no sin. So even though you won’t find the term dispensation of innocence in the Bible, it makes sense to define this age in this way.

What if you removed the dispensation labels and looked again at this term 'end of the age'? Since an age is a space of time, is it possible to look at the end of the age as the period when time ceases to exist? In other words, the millennial kingdom ends the age of grace, but it is still marked by a time frame because we know according to Revelation it will last one thousand years. Because this is a time marker, you could also argue the end of the age could be at the end of the millennial kingdom. The reason this argument makes sense is that at the end of the millennial kingdom time will cease to exist and eternity will begin. I would argue that Revelation could easily support this argument. Consider these verses.

Then I saw 'a new heaven and a new earth,' for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.  He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” – Revelation 21:1-5

I believe you could very easily mark this as the end of the age. There will be a new heaven, a new earth, and no more death, crying, mourning, or pain. Everything will be made new. Because God declares he is doing away with the old order of things you could define this as the end of the age. One of the other things that is done away with at this point is time because eternity is not marked by time. For this reason, it is possible this is what Scripture means by the end of the age.

If you take a broader view, then you could say the end of the age means both the end of the age of grace and the end of all things. Whichever conclusion you draw is not the last thing I want you to focus on. Regardless of which one you use to define the end of the age, the best part of this entire conversation is the promise Jesus made. He said he would be with you to the very end of the age. No matter how you reference the end of the age, Jesus will be with you. While you can debate about the number of dispensations or what the end of the age is, the one thing you cannot debate is Jesus will be with you to the end. While it is good to know what these things are, it is better to remind yourself of God’s faithfulness, that he will never leave you or forsake you, even until the end of the age. No matter which position you take let God’s promise be the thing you cling to most of all because that is what will remain constant now and through the end of the age.

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Clarence L. Haynes Jr. is a speaker, Bible teacher, and co-founder of The Bible Study Club.  He is the author of The Pursuit of Purpose which will help you understand how God leads you into his will. He has also just released his new book The Pursuit of Victory: How To Conquer Your Greatest Challenges and Win In Your Christian Life. Do you want to go deeper in your walk with the Lord but can’t seem to overcome the stuff that keeps getting in the way? This book will teach you how to put the pieces together so you can live a victorious Christian life and finally become the man or woman of God that you truly desire to be. To learn more about his ministry please visit clarencehaynes.com.



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