There are basically two different Greek words used in the New Testament related to the ages. One is transliterated as “Aion” (Strong’s #165) corresponding in many cases to the Hebrew word transliterated as ” ‘owlam” (Strong’s Hebrew #5769), and the other Greek word is transliterated as “kosmos” (Strong’s #2889). “Aion” refers to a period of time, which can be definite or indefinite, depending on the context; “Kosmos” refers more to the arrangement of things (government, society, etc.) that can be associated with a period of time.
In this study, we will be focusing on scriptures that use forms of the words “aion” and “owlam” as related to specific periods of time.
The “age [Greek, aion, Strong’s #165] to come” is spoken of in Matthew 12:32; Mark 10:30; Luke 18:30; 20:35; Ephesians 1:21; Hebrews 2:5; 6:5.
Ephesians 2:7 refers to “ages to come.” — Ephesians 2:7.
Usually, “age to come” appears to be referring to the first of the “ages to come,” that is, the 1,000 years of Christ’s reign. After the first “age to come” is over, there will be at least one more age which leads into eternity. Whether there will be more than one age “after” the 1,000 years is not stated, although the account in Revelation 20 could be viewed as at least two ages, the “little season” in which Satan is loosed, and age after Satan and that wicked are destroyed.
Ephesians 3:21 and Isaiah 45:17 refer to an “age without end.” This would encompass all “ages” to come as one “age” made up of sub-ages.
Hebrews 1:2 speaks of “ages” [plural] as being made by means of Jesus. This probably refers to the two great general ages, the one which became corrupted, and the second that is to have no end.
Hebrews 11:3 speaks of ages as having been framed by means of the command of the invisible God. This scripture is again probably speaking of the two great ages, the first of which became corrupted through sin, and the second which is to consist of all ages to come.
The present evil age is spoken of in Galatians 1:4:
who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us out of this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father. — World English version.
While this scripture is often used to refer to the age from time of Noah’s flood, more than likely Paul was actually referring to the age that began with Adam’s sin, since that is what the believer is reckoned as being delivered from.
Some other scriptures that refer to this present evil age. – Matthew 12:32; 13:22; Mark 4:19; Luke 16:8; 20:34; Romans 12:2; 1 Corinthians 1:20; 2:6,8; 3:18; 8:13; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 1:21; 2:2; 6:12; 1 Timothy 6:17; 4:10; Titus 2:12.
Colossians 1:26 refers to “ages’ (plural), during which the mystery about Christ had been hidden, thus indicating more than one “age” as having past since Adam sinned. These “ages” would therefore be sub-ages of the greater overall “age.”
This present age is spoken of as having a beginning. Although its beginning was not of evil, it became corrupted due to sin. — Luke 1:70; John 9:32; Acts 3:21; 15:18; 1 Corinthians 2:7; Hebrews 9:26.
The end of this present evil age is spoken of in Matthew 13:39,40,49; 24:3; 28:20; 1 John 2:17.
The “age” being spoken of in Hebrews 9:26 is evidently the end of the age to the Law Covenant, especially the sacrifices, which is being discussed in the context. The sacrifices under the Law Covenant came to full end in AD 70, when the temple was destroyed.
One scripture speaks of the “ends” (plural) of an age, evidently referring to the Law Covenant age, which ending was taking place in phases, thus the plural “ends” is used. –1 Corinthians 10:11.
Although “age” is not mentioned in Luke 16:16, it is suggested in that the “law and the prophets” were until John the Baptist, indicating John the Baptist to be the last prophet that belonged to that “age.” When Jesus began preaching, the new age pertaining the preaching of the kingdom was beginning, and the old age was ending, creating an overlapse of the ages.
How is the “day of judgment” related to the “age to come”?
The world’s judgment day is spoken of as taking place in what Jesus called the “the last day.”
“He who rejects me, and doesn’t receive my sayings, has one who judges him. The word that I spoke, the same will judge him in the last day.” — John 12:48, World English version.
Thus, we can conclude that those who reject Jesus in this present evil age are to be judged in what Jesus calls the “last day.”
Jesus also spoke of that judgment day when he spoke of the resurrection of judgment. (John 5:29) Revelation speaks of their being released from death (the death in Adam) and hades (the condition resulting from the condemnation of death in Adam) so that they can be judged, not according to Adam’s sin, but according to their own works. — Revelation 20:12,13.
This resurrection of judgment and world’s “day of judgment” takes place sometime during the “last day” that Jesus spoke of. Thus, when the heathen are gathered before Jesus for judgment as individuals, as spoken of in Matthew 25:32, it is during that last day.
The saints will also have the privilege of participating in judging the world with Jesus, thus they have to be all raised “before” the judgment of the world begins.
Speaking prophetically, Daniel says:
“Judgment was given to the saints of the Most High, and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.” — Daniel 7:22.
This is basically the same language that is used of Jesus in John 5:22:
For neither does the Father judge any man, but he has given all judgment to the Son. — World English.
Thus, Paul states:
Don’t you know that the saints will judge the world? — 1 Corinthians 6:2.
He states that as a future event.
That time is to be when the world is regenerated, since we read:
Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly I tell you, that you who have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on the throne of his glory, you also will sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. — Matthew 19:28.
This further indicates that this judging of those of Israel who rejected Jesus takes place at a future date, in the regeneration, when they are brought back to life for judgment, as spoken of in John 5:29.
Likewise, John wrote prophetically of those who participate in the first resurrection:
I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. — Revelation 20:4.
While the saints are counted, reckoned, imputed, as having eternal life in this age (John 3:36; 1 John 5:13; see also: Romans 3:28; 4:5,24; 6:11), the saints do not actually receive eternal life until the “age to come.” (Mark 10:30; Luke 18:30; see also Romans 2:7; 8:24; 1 Timothy 6:12,19; Titus 1:2; 3:7) The saints are raised in the same “last day” during which the world is to be judged. (John 5:28,29; 6:39,40,44,54; 11:24) Thus, the “last day” is in the “age to come” that Jesus spoke of. However, they have to be raised before the unbelieving world if they are to participate in the judging of the unbelieving world, so their resurrection is termed “the first resurrection.” (Revelation 20:5,6) The saints are raised in the first part of “last day,” at which time they receive authority to judge the world, and the unbelieving world is raised for individual judgment later in that same “last day.”
Many are thrown off by the addition of some words that appear in Revelation 20:5: “The rest of the dead didn’t live until the thousand years were finished.” Thus there are many who teach that the world’s day of judgment takes place after the 1,000 years, and not during the 1,000 years. Some good evidence suggests that these words of Revelation 20:5 are spurious. The flow of language used also suggests that they are spurious. However, assuming that they are genuine, it would have to be understood as relating to their final coming to life, their receiving eternal life after of the 1,000 years (Matthew 25:46), and not to their being raised from hades. The unbelieving world returns in the age to come for their individual judgment during the 1,000 years, in the same “last day” that the saints are raised, and while Satan is abyssed, not after.
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