117 End of the Age and the Age to Come

Let’s consider “the end of the age”. What does Matthew mean when he refers to the “end of the age” (v39)? And how do other New Testament writers see “the end of the age”. Here are some quotes:

Mat 12:32 but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.

Mark 10:“Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, 30 who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life.

Galatians 1:3:,  Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age…..

2 Corinthians4:3 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ should shine on them.

Hebrews 6:4  For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.

Rom 12:2 And do not be conformed to this age (world), but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Note the word “world” in Romans 12:2 could be translated “age” as the Greek word in the original is “aion” (age).

117The paradigm of the New Testament is that there are two ages: this present (evil) age and the age to come. The characteristics of this present age are:

  1. It is clearly distinct from the age to come
  2. People of this age are subject to sickness, suffering and death.
  3. We can receive material gifts, and blessings for obeying God, but we also receive  persecution.
  4. Satan has been “the god” of this age, and rules in the lives of those who have not received Christ. He is able to blind those whose hearts are not seeking God.
  5. True believers have been delivered from his power.
  6. We need to take care we don’t model our behaviour on the norms of this age. 
  7. This present age is soon coming to an end.

Characteristics of the Age to Come:

  1. The age to come starts after the general Judgment
  2. The age to come is where we receive eternal rewards or punishment
  3. Satan’s power will be completely destroyed
  4. The age to come is full of light, joy and the glory of Christ
  5. It’s the home of the Word of God and supernatural gifts and powers
  6. We experience the gifts and powers of the age to come in this age when we have received Christ.

Jesus, in the parable of the wheat and tares and His explanation of it, clearly shows that this gathering of the wicked and the just takes place at the END of this present age. It is not explicitly mentioned in this parable (see chapter 3)  but of course the means of their separation for reward or punishment can only be the Judgment. FROM THAT POINT the new age begins. As with the account of the Judgement given in Matthew 25, premillennialism is ruled out. It is the end of the age so nothing can happen after this other than the age to come. And there is no possibility of either a pretrib rapture or a thousand year reign on earth before this because the Master orders that both righteous and unrighteous, wheat and tares, should be left to grow together until the angels are sent out to gather them at the end of this age; ie on the Day of the Lord. Whether they know it or not, both are headed for the Judgment!

Questions

  1. What sin are you normally not forgiven for? Where would a person who carried the burden of this sin live for eternity?
  2. Where and when will we be rewarded for costly, sacrificial service to the Lord? What will we receive in this age apart from blessings?
  3. Why do we need to be delivered from this present evil age? In what way is this present age evil?
  4. Why do you think Satan is called the “god of this age”?
  5. Why can some people not receive the Gospel?
  6. People who receive Jesus experience Him in five ways, listed in Hebrews 6:4. What are these five ways?
  7. In what way are the powers that are received the “powers of the age to come”? What conclusions can we make about the age to come when we experience these powers?
  8. In what way is tasting the good word of God better than just reading it?
  9. Why is it difficult for a person who has received the Lord on this level to be restored if they fall away and go back to their old sins?
  10. How can we be transformed so that we live the pattern of life lived in the age to come, instead of the pattern of life in this age?
  11. Have you experienced the five ways of knowing Jesus listed in Hebrews 6:4?
  12. Practice: pray for one another as a group asking God that you might experience Him in the way described in Hebrews 6:4. Pray that one another would be filled with the Holy Spirit?

Set goals on living out Hebrews 6:4 and Romans 12:2 this week.