55. What are the ages of the scriptures?

The scriptures refer to 'other ages' or 'ages past', 'this age' or 'this present age' and 'the age to come'...and 'THAT age'.


The first test to see if you are correct in your understanding of 'the ages' of the bible is found for most in the following passage..


Heb 9:26 ... but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. NKJV
1 Cor 10:11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom
the ends of the ages have come. NKJV
What do 'the ages' refer to? ... Clearly JESUS appeared as our sacrifice at the END of one of 'the ages'.... and another 'age' must have preceded the age that was then about to come to an END. In addition there must have been another 'age (which was about) to come' into force at that time...one in which we today now still live i.e. 'the age of grace'. Scripture clarifies that Jesus ministry was in the age which was the time when Israelites were 'under the Law'
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 'the end of the age. It was the Law which brought SIN and because of that DEATH which required redemption for those under it. 

(The previous age was 'the age of the patriarchs'... and the age which came to an end shortly after Jesus DEATH was 'the age of the Law of Moses'...or 'the Mosaic age'...the age in which God required blood sacrifices for sin. It certainly does not refer to the 'church age' which was always decribed as 'the age to come' at the time when Jesus ministered. Please note that the New Covenant only came into force after Christ's death) (Mat 26:28, Heb 9:16-17)...and we as Gentile believers now ALL live in what was then 'the age to come'.


Biblical Ages


'Ages Past' refers to the time before the Law...that of the Patriarchs such as Noah and Abraham. (Ps 25:6, Ps 102.25, Is 44:8, Eph 3:5&9, Col 1:26)

'This Age' or 'this Present Age' refers to the age of the Law...the covenant which Israel alone had with God from the time of Moses to the coming of Messiah. (Heb 9:10, 1 Tim 6:17, 2 Tim 4:10) Jesus and the apostles used this phrase to describe the time in which they lived.

The 'end of the Ages' refers to the end of the ages past (patriarchs) AND the end of this present age (in which the Jews of that time lived...the Mosaic age).

The 'Age to Come' refers to the time after which Messiah had come and established HIS kingdom and rule on earth as prophesied by most of the prophets such as Isaiah and Daniel (refer also Mat 12:32, Heb 6:5, Eph 1:21, Acts 3:19-24). In the age to come ALL believers will receive eternal life when they are born again (ie no waiting in sheol or the grave). The age to come was NOT talking about heaven.... but the new worldwide kingdom of God (contrasted against the local kingdom of Israel). It referred to the glorious NEW Covenant of grace and the realm where believers would have personal and direct relationships with God Himself...rather than through an 'anointed' priesthood.

'THAT Age' refers in context to the age of 'the resurrection', 'the regeneration' or eternity which for many of the Old Testament (OT) saints was entered into in AD 33 after Jesus death  and resurrection. (Mat 27:52-53)...for the rest of OT saints this happened in AD 70.

(For New Testament believers 'that age' commences when we as born again children of God pass beyond the restraints of this life. Please note that in the TRANSITION period between the cross and the destruction of the temple, 'this age' overlapped with 'the age to come' by a single generation. Those who were not already raised as part of the 'first resurrection' (Rev 20:5) of Mat 27:52-53 were resurrected in AD 70 at Christ's return or The Day of the LORD which ended the time known as 'this present age')


Let us examine a few more scriptures to confirm the way these phrase were used...


Matt 12:32 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.  NKJV
Those who assume that the 'age to come' is heaven have a problem. Are we to believe that people in heaven would be blaspheming or speaking against the Holy Spirit?.... Surely there is to be NO SIN in 'heaven'?
(Jesus in referring to the age that was THEN about to come, was actually speaking of the New Covenant realm that would come into force after His death, resurrection and the pouring out of the Holy Spirit which ushered in the 'church age') 
Matt 19:28 So Jesus said to them, "Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.  NKJV
(Please note that the apostles will be judging ISRAEL after their resurrection in AD 70 ... and not the church. John 5:24)
Luke 18:29 So He said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God,  30 who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life." NKJV
Please note that believers under the Law did not receive eternal life UNTIL Christ was sacrificed and rose from the dead (Mat 27:52-53). We as believers in the New Covenant receive eternal life AT conversion as we are now in the 'age (that was then) to come'.

God had not spoken to Israel though a prophet for 400 years since Malachi... Israel knew that 'the end of the age' was at hand. They knew that the end of the age would be ushered in by a time of persecution or purging...also known as 'the time of Jacob's trouble' or the time of great tribulation'. This time would be followed immediately by the resurrection and the judgment when the Lord returned on the clouds. The righteous would then be rewarded with eternal life and the wicked punished. This was the teaching of the prophecies of Daniel and many other prophets.

The Jews referred to the time of Messiah's coming as 'the LAST DAYS'... (Gen 49:1, Acts 2:17, 2 Tim 3:1, Heb 1:2, James 5:3 and 2 Pet 3:3) ...clearly 2000 years later we should know that this was not referring to the last days of the world, but to the last days or end of THEIR present age.


Matt 13:36 And His disciples came to Him, saying, "Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field." 
37 He answered and said to them: "He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man.  38 The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one.  39 The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels.  40 Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age.  41 The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness,  42 and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.  43 Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!  NKJV
Jesus here is quoting parts from Daniel 12:1-3
So when Jesus spoke of THE END OF THE AGE his disciples knew he was not talking about an event which would happen in 2000 years time. The fact that the NEW Kingdom of Heaven was AT HAND was part of His message from the start. (Mat 4:17)
Dan 7:13   "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
They also knew from the 70 weeks prophecy of Daniel 9:24 onwards that END of the Age was imminent. The 70 weeks of years were detemined for Israel....NOT 70 weeks plus and interval of approx a 2000 years. The seventy weeks of years were also for ISRAEL...and not for the Gentiles. They knew that sometime shortly after Messiah came and was 'cut off for the people' that the determined time was to be CONCLUDED. Daniel's vision also gives the major sign of the 'power of the holy people being shattered' which comprised the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple (Dan 9:26b)... as the time when 'all things' would be finished in Daniel 12:7 (also Dan 8:24b). This time is also referred to as 'the time of the end' (Dan 12:4, 9 & 13)
John the Baptist preached it...as the Elijah who would come before the great and terrible day of the Lord (Mal 4:5, Mat 17:11-12). John was amessenger to ISRAEL...and not to the Gentile church.
Matt 3:7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them,"Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, 9 and do not think to say to yourselves,'We have Abraham as our father.' For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. 10 And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.   12 His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."  NKJV
Matt 24:1-3 Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple. 2 And Jesus said to them, "Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down."  
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
The apostles knew that the Second Coming of Jesus...on the clouds...would usher in the end of the Age.  They also KNEW from Daniel's prophecies that the tribulation and the destruction of the Temple was to be just prior to the 'end of the age' (of the Law). They were expecting these events ALL to occur IN THEIR generation...their own lifetimes because this is what Jesus promised (Mat 16:27-28 and Mat 24:1-34)...and because of the timeline that Daniel had prophecied.
Heb 9:26   but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.   NKJV
The 'ends of the ages' was when Jesus arrived as the sacrificial Lamb...NOT now some 2000 years later.
1 Cor 10:11  Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for OUR admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.    NKJV
The age to come was not 2000 years away for them as many today believe. The principle of 'audience relevance' means the timing was THEN ...and not today in AD 2017  ...it was right there and applicable to THAT generation in AD 55 or so when this epistle was written.
Heb 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 ...   NKJV
This speaks of Jews who were in the transition period... the New covenant had come for the Gentiles ...but the Old Covenant was also still in force with the Jews still obeying Torah (Acts 15, Acts 21:20-25, Gal 2:7-10, Heb 12:18-24). This overlap only came to an end when the temple was destroyed, sacrifices terminated and the priesthood destroyed in AD 70. The Jews who were saved had experienced the 'powers of the age to come'...ie they had seen those who were filled with the Holy Spirit exercising authority over demons and sickness.
Mark 10:29   So Jesus answered and said, "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.  31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first." NKJV
Brethren the majority of Israelites had NOT received eternal life....they were still waiting in the grave for resurrection, judgment and the reward of eternal LIFE which Jesus died for them to have. For many of the saints this came in AD 33 (Mat 27:52-53) but for the others this only came in AD 70 when Israel was judged. (Enoch and Moses and Elijah would be the possible exceptions)
Brethren today we as gentile believers receive ETERNAL LIFE here on earth...not when we die. We get eternal life as soon as we believe. We do not have to wait for a future age because we are NOW 'in the age (that was then) to come'.... and when we die we enter straight into the age Jesus referred to as 'THAT age' or 'the resurrection' with new spiritual bodies.
Heb 12:18  For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire (ie the Old Covenant of Moses). 22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.  NKJV
(Brethren, if you look again now at Revelations 21 and 22, can you see that this is NOT speaking about 'heaven'? ...but of the Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of Heaven....or 'the age to come' which we today live in under the NEW Covenant)
We are even told to PRAY for the time when....
Matt 6:9   Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.  
10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done 
On earth as it is in heaven.      NKJV
It was RIGHT THERE when Jesus died...not 2000 years away
Matt 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."    NKJV
Perhaps the major symptom of failing to acknowledge that we are now in the Age to Come is that many in the church are still sitting and waiting for God to come and do something about matters that He has already given us the responsibility and authority to take care of?
Rev 11:15   Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!"   NKJV
Matt 28:18  And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.  19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.    NKJV
Acts 1: 8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."   NKJV
Of the 'age to come' Jesus gives a clear indication that it will no longer revolve around Jerusalem and the temple and sacrifices.
John 4:21  Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father.  22 You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.  23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.  24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."  NKJV
This is now the Age (which was then still) to Come... and Christ rules directly through His indwelling Spirit in the hearts of His children on earth! We do not have to make pilgramages to the 'holy land' for festivals or bring our sacrifices and offerings to the 'altar'.
So what about Luke 20 and not being married in THAT age?...some will ask
Luke 20:33 Therefore, in the resurrection, whose wife does she become? For all seven had her as wife." 
To understand the answer we need to consider first the question and the context. This question is a Jewish question relating to the Law of the Leverite marriage (Deut 25:5-10). This is about 'a matter of the Law'...and not regarding new testament Gentile believers. In the Old Testament people were born into the kingdom (of Israel...God's chosen people) by physical/human reproduction.
The resurrection spoken of is the one Daniel 12:2-3 speaks of....YES the same one that would happen TO ISRAEL... at the end of the 70th week as determined for ISRAEL in Dan 9:24 ...AND the same one that was to to be FINISHED before the destruction of the temple (Dan 12:7)... the very same events Jesus spoke of in Mat 24:1-44. Jesus clarified for the Jews one of the key signs which Daniel 12:7 referred to....i.e. that the power of the holy people being shattered referred to the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem.
34 Jesus answered and said to them, "The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage.  
The time for Israel to multiply and raise up seed for their families and to inherit their share of land in the physical 'promised land' is the age that is described as 'THIS age'
35 But those who are counted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection from the dead,
Brethren this is NOT addressing the age of Gentile believers who are members of the CHURCH....the body of Christ. We are saved by GRACE...not because we have been 'counted worthy'
'That age' adresses the future of the righteous JEWS who were waiting in SHEOL and were raised and judged and found WORTHY to be with Jesus for ETERNITY (Rev 20:11-15) because of their FAITH. Yes, this will be similar for us as believers EXCEPT that our judgment happens when we are born again (John 5:24). We as christians enter THAT age fully immediately when we die... when we are no longer limited by having 'mortal bodies' ... there is NO WAITING.
35b ... neither marry nor are given in marriage;  
The time for marriage is over for them ....just as it was for believers of that period who had fallen asleep in Christ (ie members of the Body of Christ who have died physically prior to AD 70) (1 Cor 15:18). For us as gentiles and believers after the cross and the end of the Old Covenant, we are not born into the kingdom by the will of MAN...but of God (John 1:12-13)
36 nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.  
(We all know that believers today are not 'equal to the angels' but we ARE the sons of God (1 John 3:2). This also refers to what Jesus said to Mary before he raised Lazarus...
John 11:24 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
1 Cor 15:20  But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.  NKJV
37 But even Moses showed in the burning bush passage that the dead are raised, when he called the Lord 'the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.'   NKJV
Jesus is clearly referring to what the LAW of Moses says
.... and the Law said a resurrection was coming....and Daniel gave the timing for this event as being before the destruction of the temple which history records happened in AD 70.... and this was the same timing as Jesus himself clearly confirmed the timing would be at least three times.
'THAT Age' brethren is the age we as Gentile believers NOW enter when our physical bodies die in our age if we are 'born of the spirit', and we receive our new immortal bodies. The age we are now in is the one the scriptures refer to as 'the age (that was then) to come'. 'The resurrection' and 'the regeneration' apply differently to us in the New Covenant and after AD70. This happens when we are raised up by God from the dead at rebirth i.e.when we are BORN AGAIN. At physical death we now go straight to be with the Lord in our new immortal bodies ... just like the angels in heaven. 
Eph 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses,made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. NKJV
Titus 3:4 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. NKJV
John 5:24 "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.  NKJV
Brethren, we are looking at definitions which need to be understood in the context of the TRANSITION from the Old Covenant age to the New Covenant age!
General Articles
User login