The meaning of end of the world in the New Testament scriptures

In the previous post, we discovered that in the Old Testament, the phrase “the end of the world” referred to the physical structure of the earth. Let us explore the meaning in the New Testament scriptures.

a.The end of the world refers to the “end of an era or age”

When the following scriptures are read in context, it can be seen that the end of the world refers to an era, a specific time in history or age. For example, Apostle Paul, speaking to the Hebrew believers, said that while the High Priests entered the Holy of Holies once a year with a sacrifice for sin, Christ sacrificed Himself once for us and did so in the fullness of time.

We know that Christ died about AD 33. If the text were to be interpreted literally as given by the King James translators, we should not be here. The earth should have ended already. Other translators have used culmination of the ages and end of the ages instead of end of the world to further clarify the meaning .

In other words, Jesus died once in history, at the time appointed. Literally speaking, Christ really did appear at the end of an era. Thirty seven years after His crucifixion, Jerusalem was captured, the Temple destroyed and the people taken captive by the Romans. However, the rest of the planet continued in order.

Prophetically speaking, Israel (and the earth) entered a new era or 70 year cycle at the time of Messiah’s birth. He was crucified in the 33rd year of that era which ended in AD 70 with the destruction of Jerusalem by Roman General Titus:

For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself – Hebrews 9:26

Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself – Hebrews 9: 26.

Otherwise, He would have had to suffer many times since the foundation of the world. But now He has appeared one time, at the end of the ages, for the removal of sin by the sacrifice of Himself – Hebrews 9: 26

 

In another example, Lord Jesus promised that His Spirit would remain with the disciples unto the end of the world

Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen- Matthew 28:20

Apostle Paul also referred to the end of the world as an era when writing to the Corinthian believers about the example set by the Jews in the wilderness and their destruction for sins:

Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come – 1 Corinthians 10:11

These things happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age – NLT

 b. Usage of world in the Greek language

Aiōn (G 165) is the Greek work used for world in Matthew 28: 20 and Hebrews 9: 26. It is also used in the New Testament to mean:

Ages

And ever

Eternal

Forever

Evermore

Present world

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