54. Is there an End of the World?

The older King James Versions wrongly translated 5 references to the end of the aionos (age) as referring to the end of the world (cosmos). Newer versions have this corrected.

Matt 13:39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world (should read AGE); and the reapers are the angels.
40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world (should read AGE).   KJV
 
Matt 13:49  So shall it be at the end of the world (should read AGE): the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just   KJV
 
Matt 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world (should read AGE). Amen.   KJV
 
Heb 9:26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world : but now once in the end of the world (should read AGES) hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.   KJV
 
 
When the original translation mistakes are rectified to read 'the end of the AGE'  as per the Greek, the bible does not in any way directly tell us that there is to be an end to the world or cosmos.
 
(Sadly however whenever the old translations are quoted, many are still being mislead into believing that there are scriptures which teach us that there is to be an 'end of the world')
 
 
Some quote the following as proof of an end of the world ...
 
Eccl 3:11 Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.  NKJV
 
However bear in mind the context. Ecclesiastes was written to Israelites about the Law ... it's title refers to "The Preacher"...and is clearly a teaching of natural wisdom (i.e. 'under the sun') from the Law of Moses. There is NO ground to believe that the "END" referred to here is not the same as 'the end of the age" which Jesus and the apostles referred to. However this teaches that what God is going to do at this "End" was not something man at that time ...or APART FROM GOD was able to know!
 
Brethren scripture must be used to interpret scripture ... and both Paul and Peter give the explanation of this verse in their teachings. (i.e. 1 Pet 1:10-12 and 1 Cor 2:7 & 10-16 are the key). Both apostles tie this in to the time period of the introduction of the NEW COVENANT. James also references this verse to explain that the beginning of the New Covenant would be marked by the gospel going to the Gentiles (Acts 15:12-18) .... and then to define the rules that should apply to the Gentiles under this incoming New Covenant. These same rules were to apply for the church after the END of the Old Covenant in AD 70, which the scriptures prophecied would occur shortly after Messiah had come (Dan 9:24-28).
 
(To all those who would have the church continue celebrating Israel's festivals and the laws of the Old Covenant ...Take Heed...these pasages tell the early church in approx AD 50 that the old covenant had then already been made obsolete and was soon about to vanish (Heb 8:13) ... it was in the process of passing away (1 Cor 7:31, 2 Cor 3:7-18 and 1 John 2:8 and 17)
 
Brethren, the passage in Ecclesiastes tells us firstly that God is not constrained by the inability of the NATURAL MIND to comprehend eternity or infinity. Secondly, there may well be an end of 'physical earth' but the scriptures (containing the words spoken to the propohets, spoken by Jesus and the apostles) referring to 'the end' do not refer to anything other than the the end of the age. (Acts 3:18-26)...'they ALL spoke of THESE DAYS' (vs 24) i.e. the time frame from AD 33 when Peter spoke these words...until AD 70 when the Old Covenant fully passed away as demonstrated by the destruction of the temple and the priesthood...and the removal of the Israelites from their promised land. Thirdly, if there is any end of the physical earth, it cannot and will NOT have any impact on the continuation of the EVERLASTING Kingdom of Jesus in the New Covenant which is SPIRIT.
 
If there are any scriptures which speak of another 'END' and the work which Jesus was to achieve...then it would be hard to not to conclude that Peter would be wrong in his statement in Acts 3.
 
 
 
The old translations gave rise to contradictions with later passages.
 
Eph 3:21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.   KJV
 
 
For those who think or argue that there is a difference between 'THE END'... and 'the end of the age', please refer to the way Jesus answers the apostles quesions in the Olivet Discourse.
 
Matt 24:3  Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying,"Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?" NKJV
 
Jesus in his answers shows that 'the end' which the scripture refers to is 'the end of the age' ... three times (incl vs 6 and below)
 
Matt 24:13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved.  14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.   NKJV
 
For those who would still try to do hermeneutical gymnasics ...the 'bell-ringer' comes when they read the parallel versions of the Olivet Discourse in Mark 13 and Luke 21 (which commentators almost universally agree also apply to AD 70) ...and find that Jesus here ONLY refers to 'THE END' in ALL the similar verses. Brethren, Jesus is telling us that there is only one time known as THE END...and that this is the same as 'the end of the age' which THAT specific generation were about to see in their lifetime.
 
For those who claim 'the apostles must have been confused' to have linked 'the end of the age' with the destruction of the temple please consider that these same men had spent many days with Jesus ... Luke 24:45   And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. NKJV ... before they wrote the Gospels! What Jesus showed them was how the PROPHETS (incl Isaiah and Daniel and all the others) had linked the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple with the Day of the Lord which was known to be coming at the 'END of the AGE'.(Acts 3:21-24)...or 'In the LAST DAYS' (Acts 2:17-24) ...which was coming on THIS wicked and perverse generation (Acts 2:40). It is far more credible that those making the claims about the apostles being confused are THEMSELVES CONFUSED.
 
 
 

So what about the scriptures which speak of a TIME of the END or the LATTER TIME?. Please note that this is not the same as the End of Time. 

 
Dan 8:19 And he said, "Look, I am making known to you what shall happen in the latter time of the indignationfor at the appointed time the end shall beNKJV
 
Dan 12:4  "But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end ; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase." NKJV
 
Please note that where Daniel was old to seal up the book...John was told in Revelation NOT to seal up the Book....because the END was then near, at hand and to happen shortly. ..ie AD 70 ish
 
 
Dan 12:9   And he said, "Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end .  NKJV
 
The 'appointed time' or the 'time of the end' here relates to the the time spoken of previously by Daniel in chapter 9 as the time determined for ISRAEL and Jerusalem....the time of Israel's trouble or 'the indignation'. This is sometimes referred to simply as 'at that time' Dan 12:1(2 times). (See also Hab 2:2-3)
 
Dan 9:24
"Seventy weeks are determined 
For your people and for your holy city,
To finish the transgression,
To make an end of sins,
To make reconciliation for iniquity,
To bring in everlasting righteousness,
To seal up vision and prophecy,
And to anoint the Most Holy.    NKJV
 
Dan 12:7  and when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered, all these things shall be finished.   NKJV
 
Please note that the rest of the world was to continue after Israel's time ended ...it was only the holy people whose power was to be completely shattered. It becomes clear that the time of the end was the END OF ISRAEL'S exclusive covenant with God.
 
 
 
So why then does a large part of Christendom still believe the world will come to a cataclysmic end ...and probably soon?
 
 
Is it because they have failed to look at the HISTORIC records of the events in AD 70 and see how many scriptural prohecies were fulfilled? Or is it because of a failure to understand the typical Hebraic prophetic apocalyptic language that Peter was using in the following passage...?
 
2 Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.   NKJV
 
 
This passage is best understood when we realise that Peter got his teaching from OLD testament prophecies and Jesus teachings of Mat 24:21-36. A judgment by FIRE was promised to Israel...as part of the 'Day of the Lord'
 
Mal 4:1  "For behold, the day is coming,
Burning like an oven,
And all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble.
And the day which is coming shall burn them up,"
Says the LORD of hosts,
"That will leave them neither root nor branch.   NKJV
 
Isa 34:3 Also their slain shall be thrown out;
Their stench shall rise from their corpses,
And the mountains shall be melted with their blood. 
4 All the host of heaven shall be dissolved,
And the heavens shall be rolled up like a scroll;
All their host shall fall down 
As the leaf falls from the vine,
And as fruit falling from a fig tree.   NKJV
 
(Please note that the above passage from Isaiah refers to the judgement against Edom and Bozrah only ... and that was certainly NOT the end of the world then. Jesus also quotes from this passage in Mat 24:29)
 
Peter is also referring to the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple as prophesied by Moses (Deut 32:1-43) and Isaiah (63:10-11) about the replacement of the Old Covenant. This happened when God HIMSELF came down (64:3)...and the mountains shook.  It was not done as men percieved (64:4) The Lord would slay Israel after the flesh (65:15)...and then call his servants by another name (children).
 
God would then create a 'new heavens and a new earth' (65:17).  This refers to the New Covenant ... that which would replace the the one which was abolished when the temple was destroyed. God would repay his enemies (66:6 and Mat 23:34-38...and Revelations 17:6)...and pour out his wrath or indignation on Israel (66:14-17). The New Jerusalem (65:18) was the new Covenant realm (Gal 4:24-26) ... in which the CHURCH (i.e. the Bride) now has free and direct access to God (66:18, 23).
 
 
The elements in Peter do not refer to the chemical elements as we tend to think of today...the chemical table of elements is a fairly modern day discovery.
 
Paul confirms what 'the elements' refers to...this is the ONLY legitimate interpretation as this word is not used elsewhere in the bible. Scripture must interpret scripture.
 
Gal 4:3-11  Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. 4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.  ....  9 But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage? 10 You observe days and months and seasons and yearsNKJV
 
The elements refers to the detailed requirements of the LAW...the heavens and earth are then the CORE of the Law...ie it all revolved around the TEMPLE (ie HEAVEN ...the place where God dwelt amongst them ) and the promised land of Israel with Jerusalem as it's capital (ie EARTH)
 
Paul confirms this context in 1 Cor 7:29-31 But this I say, brethren, the time is short, .... 31 For the form of this world is passing away. NKJV
 
Peter's context in 2 Pet 3:10 is the 'day of the Lord' ...the final day of judgment promised to Israel for its apostacy
The heavens also refers to the whole realm of their worship being the temple, priesthood, sacrificial system, and the Law and the prophets and their entire 'religious system' of the Mosaic covenant (Gal 4:22-26, Heb 12:22-28 the new heavens and new earth... Is 65:17, Is 66:1 & 22 is the New Covenant)
The elements refer to the components of their religious activities such as festivals, clean and unclean foods, ceremonial washings, sabbaths and circumcision  (refer Gal 4:3 and 9, Col 2:16-23) 
The earth refers to the promised land... the southern kingdom of Israel lost the last of this in AD 70 when their capital city of Jerusalem was destroyed
All the works that are in it refers to everything they thought they had ever achieved for God ... their 'treasures on earth'....which were no more than wood, hay and stubble in God's sight.
Being burned up was the coming judgment promised in numerous prophecies (Deut 32:22-26, Is 64:11, Mal 4) ....and fulfilled in the AD 70 destruction of the temple and Jerusalem and the execution of 1.1 million Jews and most of the rest of the nation being taken away into captivity as slaves.
 
Similar language is used in Isaiah 34:4 about God's judgment of Edom and Bozra....and then it did not refer to 'the end of the world' ...so why do so many still assume it is must refer to 'the end of the world' in 2 Peter?    (Refer also to Isaiah 13:10, Isaiah 34:1-10, Isaiah 51:6 with Heb 8:13, Psalm 75:3, Acts 2:19-20, Mat 24:29)
 
Read the prophetic language of David in Psalm 18:7-19 about how God intervened to deliver him from King Saul (and compare it to the historic narative of the events in 1 Samuel)...it is the same language of Peter... yet David was certainly not speaking of literal physical events ....but of divine intervention in the heavenlies on his behalf.
 
 
1 Peter 4:7   But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. NKJV
 
 
So why are so many christians today still expecting a repeat of this event i.e. the AD 70 destruction of Jeruslalem...to happen globally today when Peter said the LAST DAYS started after Jesus died, was raised and the Holy Spirit poured out in Acts 2:17  ... and that the END OF ALL THINGS was at hand in approx AD 65? It is now close to 2000 YEARS later. We are left to conclude that Peter was either speaking of the the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple...or that the scriptures ARE wrong about the timing of these events.  I find that if we believe Peter (and Jesus and the other apostles) about the timing of this event then suddenly great clarity comes about on a whole range of associated scriptures. 
 
 
 
Well some will say "what about Jesus words about THE LAST DAY"?
 
 
 
 
Firstly the scriptures teach that 'the last days' started when Jesus arrived (Heb 1:2)...and continued after the resurrection (Acts 2:17)
 

John 6:40 And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”  

John 6:44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.  

 

Many assume that this phrase MUST apply to THE very last day of this world. This is not the case as in the following verse we will see it used to mean at the end of a specific time frame..ie the end of a festival (the identical Greek phrase)

John 7:37    On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.  38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water."  NKJV

 
On the Last Day clearly can be determined to mean  "the last day of THIS AGE". Jesus himself confirms in Mat 13:39-41 that the resurrection (ie harvest and gathering) was to take place "AT THE END OF THIS AGE! This same usage is indicated in Mat 24:6, 13 and 14 where Jesus answered a question about the 'end of the age'....with 3 references to 'THE END' only

 

Jesus hints at a change that most seem to overlook in regards to the resurrection happening at the last day..

John 11:273 Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again."  
24 Martha said to Him,"I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day." 
25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.  26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?"   NKJV
 
 
For those in the Old Covenant who had died already prior to Jesus coming ...and who died after Jesus came and prior to the second coming when the Law of Sin and Death was destroyed...they had to wait in Sheol before they were all be resurrected in AD 70 which was the last day of the Old Covenant when Jesus returned. BUT we today (Post AD 70) as Gentile believers under the New Covenant NEVER die ... i.e. we are never again separated from the presence and love of God. (Rom 8:31-39)

 

As there is NOW NO DEATH for us (i.e. separation from God) for New Covenant believers, we already have eternal life (Jn 5:24) so we do not need to be resurrected to face a judgment to see if we have been good enough to be rewarded. The Eternal LIFE we now have does not end.
 
RESURRECTION and LIFE arrived in Christ...no more waiting. (Mat 27:52-53 confirms this)

 

The resurrection at the LAST DAY was something the righteous Jews looked forward to as they waited in Sheol or the grave for the sacrifice to be made...and is what Daniel 12:2 promises.

Brethren AD 70 may not have been the LAST Day for the world as a whole or for gentiles and the Church...but it certainly was THE LAST DAY for the Old Covenant with Israel and Jerusalem and the temple and sacrifices....and Mosaic Torahism being totally destroyed. Today all that is left is Rabbinic Judaism ie no temple, no sacrifices and no priesthood....and lip-service to festivals only.

 

Gal 4: 4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.   NKJV
 
The fullness of time is another way of saying...at the last day ...of the Old Covenant.
 
 
Note that Daniel 12:7 is emphatic that the 70 sevens ENDS on the DESTRUCTION of Jerusalem and the temple.....and Daniel 12:2-3 emphasizes that the resurrection and eternal life are granted to the saints of Israel BEFORE this happened!

 

The kingdom which Jesus ushered in for the New Covenant is also described in Daniel
 
 
Dan 7:13-14
13 "I was watching in the night visions,
And behold, One like the Son of Man,
Coming with the clouds of heaven!
He came to the Ancient of Days,
And they brought Him near before Him. 
14 Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom,
That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
Which shall not pass away,
And His kingdom the one
Which shall not be destroyed.     NKJV
 
 
Brethren the CHURCH which is the body of Christ on earth will NEVER be defeated nor will it come to an end. Yes, in some coutries 'church' buildings are being demolished but the Spirit of Christ living in the children of God will always continue increasing (Is 9:6-7)
 
Dan 2:44 And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. NKJV
 
Dan 4:34  For His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
And His kingdom is from generation to generation.  NKJV
 
(See also Dan 6:26,  Dan 7:14 and 27)
 
Luke 1:32   ..and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end."  NKJV
 
Isa 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and of peace there shall be no end  ASV
 
 
Matt 16:19 ...and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.   NKJV
 
The gates of Hades speak of Christ's death...and even the death of believers on earth ...these will NEVER stop the church (History proves that martyrdom of evangelists has often resulted in explosions of church growth)
 
 
2 Peter 1:10   Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.   NKJV
 
 
It is easy to surmise that churches teach a 'soon coming' END OF THE WORLD because it is seen by many 'in authority' to be a great way to get people to come to faith and a great tool to be able to control the behaviour of the church after that. But when 100's of wrong dates have been set and preached about...eventually the church itself becomes tarnished ...."You have been wrong so many times about this point ...why should anyone believe you NOW?"
 
 
The failure to understand the truth about the world NOT ending 'soon' however has crippled successive generations of believers into living without a MULTI-generational focus. i.e. Instead of thinking about what we as believers CAN do to change this world for our children's and grandchildren's futures.....are we not being lured into thinking that there is NO PURPOSE as everything will come to an end 'soon' anyway? ...and that Jesus will sort it all out then?
 
There are millions of believers who have decided not to study...or quit successful careers...thereby failing to fulfill their God given roles. Some families have decided not to have children because of fear of the supposedly coming tribulation.
 
Brethren Jesus is SEATED at the right hand of the Father....His work is COMPLETED
 
Today the simple truth that applies is ... 
 
John 8:24 Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He , you will die in your sins."  NKJV
 
John 3:16-18   For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.  
18 "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  NKJV
 
 
 
But what about the gospel needing to be preached to every nation?.... some will ask
 
 
Surely the end cannot come until the gospel was preached in all the world?
 
Matt 24:14  And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will comeNKJV
 
Mark 16:15 And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. NKJV
 
 
Paul knew what Jesus had said and answered that this HAD BEEN DONE.....before AD 70
 
Rom 15:19 in mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem and round about to Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ. 20 And so I have made it my aim to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named  NKJV
 
Rom 16:25  Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began 26 but now made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith —  27 to God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.  NKJV
 
Col 1:23 ...if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.  NKJV
 
Brethren, scripturally everything that needed to happen before 'the END' could come, HAD happened before AD 70 ....  and the fulfillment was demonstrated when Jerusalem was destroyed and the Law abolished  by the destruction of the temple. This is 'THE END' which Jesus and many other prophets said would THEN come (Mat 24:14) (Acts 3:21-24) .... not an event some 2000 odd years later!
 
Jesus work is FINISHED for ALL ETERNITY (John 19:30)....and ALL Old Testament prophecies about the 'last days' are fulfilled.
 
 
There will be no new temple, there will be no new sacrificial system, there will be no new priesthood.... Jesus is the FULFILLMENT of ALL of the Old Covenant!
 
His enemies including the Jews who rejected Him and Satan and death have been defeated and they are now his footstool (Eph 2:6, Heb 1:13, Heb 2:14-15)
 
 
 
Will a new temple be built in Jerusalem?
 
 
ask yourself this question...
 
"What is the difference between the unbelieving Jews of Jesus time who rejected and had Him killed ... and the unbelieving Jews of today who want to REBUILD the temple in an attempt to re-instate the OLD Covenant sacrifices...as they continue to deny that JESUS is the Lamb of God whose blood has been shed for the redemption of the world?"
 
Today the only salvation that exists and will ever exist for the Jews again, is the same as is available to ALL in the whole world ... i.e. by coming to Jesus IN FAITH and receiving the salvation He offers to those who will put their trust in HIM!
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