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CHAPTER TEN

THE DOCTRINE OF THE AGES

Eph 2:7 that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace

in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

Defining an ”Age”

so many words in the Bible are mistranslated by such words as “eternal,” “forever,” “ever and ever” when in actual fact the original word did not mean that at all.

= Periods of Time

aion

A

The Two-Age Model

The statement “this age”, and the “ages to come” is simplified usually as

Obviously the bible is clear about the ages to come and to their characteristics.

 

Matthew 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.

We are sure of certain differences in the character of man in this and the age to come.

Difference in the Ages

Luke 20:35

+ In the coming age they neither marry, nor are given in marriage.

Luk 20:34 And Jesus said to them, "The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage

One of the reasons for this is that there is no multiplication or reproduction necessary. People do not die.

+ For they can't die any more,

+ they are equal to angels and are sons of God, We have already looked into the position of the Children of God

+ being children of the resurrection

Mark 10:30..

in this age.

But this is only to those who are worthy of resurrection

Luke 20: 35. those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and the resurrection from the dead.

Thus there are certain standards and criteria to enter into this age through resurrection from the dead. They should be worthy if this age. Thus evidently there is a filtering process.

Thus there is a separation of the men of this age into two groups. If we look in detail with the pronouncement of Jesus there are three groups.

 

The first group is the one who goes into resurrection and becomes the bride of Christ. They become part of Christ.

1Th 4:15-17 For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep.

For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel's call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first; then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord.

This is what we normally call as Rapture. In this resurrection only those who are in Christ are taken.

1Co 15:51-57 “ Lo! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable nature must put on the imperishable, and this mortal nature must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory."

"O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?"

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

This is only part of the story. The next event in history is at the end of the ages when there will be visible appearance of Jesus on the earth to separate the rest of mankind into two groups. Thus we have one group separated out and totally redeemed and they are part of the Son of God himself as how the husband and wife are one. They are one body.

Eph 5:31 -32 "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." This mystery is a profound one, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church;

This is because,

Rom 8:1-2 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death.

Hence we see a second resurrection into life, outside of the Church and a judgment.

Mat 25:31-45 "When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left. Then the King will say to those at his right hand, 'Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me

drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.'

 

Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink? And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee? And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?'

 

And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.'

 

Then he will say to those at his left hand, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.' Then they also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see thee hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to thee?' Then he will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.'

 

Mat 25:46 And these shall go away to punishment (jklb zoe) age-during, (a^kb^mb aionios which is translated as eternal in other translations) but the righteous to life age-during.' (YLT)

“The original word translated here as “punishment” means torment, or suffering inflicted for crime. The noun is used but in one other place in the New Testament - 1Jo 4:18; “Fear hath ‘torment.’” The verb from which the noun is derived is twice used – Act 4:21; 2Pe 2:9. In all these places it denotes anguish, suffering, punishment. It does not mean simply a “state or condition,” but absolute, positive suffering” (JFB)

The Last Judgment

Gislebertus The Cathedral of St. Lazare in Autun, France

 

I have hope towards God that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and of the unjust. Acts 24: 15.

By the second resurrection the second set of people – the righteous ones – will join the resurrected eternal life. Now the question is what waits to those who are considered not worthy to attain to that age? It is described as, Second death, or Separation.

 

Does this end the life of those unrighteous in annihilation?

Some proposes that the wicked will be annihilated.

If they go into annihilation cease to exist and cease to suffer and there is no punishment here. If they continue to exist in jail there is also a chance of redemption

 

Psalm 88:10,11 “Wilt thou shew wonders to the dead? Shall the dead arise and praise thee? Shall thy lovingkindness be declared in the grave? Or thy faithfulness in destruction?”

The answer is NO.

Thus the two age model is too simplistic, it is a.zero approximation.

 

Ages – Word Study

e[on also ae[on

1. An indefinitely long period of time; an age.

2. The longest division of geologic time, containing two or more eras.

Are there other aeons?

Eph 2:7 that He might show, in the ages that are coming, the exceeding riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus, (YLT)

These are the words that we encounter in the words connected with ages.

: aion

It is sometimes translated world; world represents a period or a series of periods of time.

Mat 12:32 And whoever says a word against the Son of man will be forgiven; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come

Mat 13:40 Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the close of the age.

 

Mat 13:49 So it will be at the close of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous,

1Co 1:20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 1 Cor 2:6; Eph 1:21.

oi aiones,

the worlds, the universe,

the aggregate of the ages or periods, and their contents which are included in the duration of the world. 1 Cor 2:7; 10:11; Heb 1:2; 9:26; 11:3

Aei

means habitually or continually within the limit of the subject's life.

Tit. 1:12 One of themselves, a prophet of their own, said, "Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons."

Acts 7:51; "You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. 2 Cor. 4:11; 6:10; Heb 3:10; 1 Pet. 3:15.

'o aion ton aionon,

the aeon of the aeons

Ages unto ages

Eph 3:21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.

Heb 1:8 But of the Son he says, "Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever, the righteous scepter is the scepter of thy kingdom.

Rom 16:27 to the only wise God be glory for evermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.

Gal 1:5 to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Phi 4:20 To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.

God existed before the ages and will continue to exist after the ages

aiodios

everlasting

Rom. 1:20 "the everlasting power and divinity of God."

tou aioniou theou

the eternal God

Rom 16:25-26 Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which was kept secret for long ages but is now disclosed and through the prophetic writings is made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith--

The function of Jesus himself fall within the aeons till all things are redeemed

1Ti 1:17 To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen

Rev 15:3 And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, "Great and

wonderful are thy deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are thy ways, O King of the ages!

'o basileus ton aionon,

 

chronois aioniois

in times ages

times eternal

That is still "the mystery" that has been kept in silence in times eternal (chronois aioniois) God therefore is

described as the God of the aeons, the God who pervaded and controlled those periods before the incarnation.

pro chronon aionion,

before eternal (many ages) times

2 Tim. 1:9; Tit. 1:2

kolasin aio_ nion

“Eternal punishment (kolasin aio_nion).

 

The word kolasin comes from kolazo_, to mutilate or prune. Hence those who cling to the larger hope use this phrase to mean age-long pruning that ultimately leads to salvation of the goats, as disciplinary rather than penal. There is such a distinction as Aristotle pointed out between mo_ria (vengeance) and kolasis. But the same adjective aio_nios is used with kolasin and zo_e_n. If by etymology we limit the scope of kolasin, we may likewise have only age-long zo_e_n. (eternal life) (Robertson Word Pictures)”

 

Zoe aionios

translated as eternal life,

occurs 42 times in N. T. (but not in LXX) is not endless life, but life pertaining to a certain age or aeon, or continuing during that aeon.

All these suggests that the simple two age model is a simplistic model which needs further elaboration. However the revealed word gives us very little description of any age beyond the ages which is present and the next one. However we are given enough indications based on the nature and character of God and his promises to see the plan of universal salvation. However it is accomplished not in this age, but through many ages to come when God

will redeem all mankind unto himself when all creation will be released from its bondage of death.

1Co 2:6 -7 Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glorification

(Pro 25:2-3) It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out. As the heavens for height, and the earth for depth, so the mind of kings is unsearchable. but the glory of kings is to search things out. As the heavens for height, and the earth for depth, so the mind of kings is unsearchable.

Deu 29:29 "The secret things belong to the LORD our God; but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law. Revealed things belongs to us and to our children

 

 B

Character of God

The direct statement which defines the character of God in the Old Testament is found in the Mosaic revelation when God declares:

Exo 34:6 -7 and Jehovah passeth over before his face, and calleth: `Jehovah, Jehovah God, merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abundant in kindness and truth, keeping kindness for thousands, taking away iniquity, and transgression, and sin, and not entirely acquitting, charging iniquity of fathers on children, and on children's children, on a third generation , and on a fourth.' (YLT) This is repeated throughout Old Testament.

 

The Old Testment is period of the Law.

The whole history as presented in the Bible is a series of events where God loves and gives punishment, seemingly severe. God cannot entirely acquit sin. He punishes it. Hence Paul tells us that under the Law Every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward. Heb. 2: 2.

But behind it all is the love, mercy and kindness typical of a Father.

The fullness of revelation came through Jesus in the New Testament where God is presented as Love and as a Father in its fullness.

“While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8).

Jn 4:7 -13 Beloved, may we love one another, because the love is of God, and everyone who is loving, of God he hath been begotten, and doth know God; he who is not loving did not know God, because God is love. In this was manifested the love of God in us, because His Son--the only begotten--hath God sent to the world, that we may live through him; in this is the love, not that we loved God, but that He did love us, and did send His Son a propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if thus did God love us, we also ought one another to love; God no one hath ever seen; if we may love one another, God in us doth remain, and His love is having been perfected in us; in this we know that in Him we do remain, and He in us, because of His Spirit He hath given us.

http://asset.zcache.com/assets/graphics/s.gif 

http://www.priorityministries.com/christian-womens-blog/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2013/10/God-is-love2.jpg

 

The eternal damnation and everlasting Hell with suffering that never ends defeats the nature of God as Father and his character of Love

http://jessicahof.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/god-love-1john410.jpg

Christ conquered death

The function of Jesus was to defeat death and to redeem the whole creation. Every statement of redemption is referring to all.

"The gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does" (1 Peter 4:6).

 I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to me" John 12:32

Jesus...."is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world"1 John 2:2

"The Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world"1 John 4:14

"...who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time" 1 Tim.2:6

"We trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially those that believe" 1 Tim.4:10

"The lord is long-suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish"2 Pet.3:9

"And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself..." Col. 1:20

"The grace of God has appeared bringing salvation to all men" (Titus 2:11)

 

 

Hence the Salvation and Redemption through the sacrifice of Jesus Our Lord on the cross is for the whole mankind, nay much more, it is for the whole creation – the whole cosmos.

 

Free willed Sons of God.

This salvation is offered to the whole mankind by Jesus. However there is another factor that comes into play – the free will of the Children of God.

Every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed. From whence come wars and fighting amongst you? Do they not come even of the lusts that war in your members? James 1: 14; 4: 1.

“Christ by his Resurrection conquered death and extended his liberating power to the kingdom of the dead.

Redemption nevertheless remains an offer of salvation which it is up to people to accept freely. This is why they will all be judged "by what they [have done]" (Rv 20:13). By using images, the New Testament presents the place destined for evildoers as a fiery furnace, where people will "weep and gnash their teeth" (Mt 13:42; cf. 25:30, 41),

or like Gehenna with its "unquenchable fire" (Mk 9:43). All this is narrated in the parable of the rich man, which explains that hell is a place of eternal suffering, with no possibility of return, nor of the alleviation of pain (cf. Lk. 16:19-3 1).

The Book of Revelation also figuratively portrays in a "pool of fire" those who exclude themselves from the book of life, thus meeting with a "second death" (Rv. 20:13f.). Whoever continues to be closed to the Gospel is therefore preparing for 'eternal destruction and exclusion from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might" (2 Thes 1:9).” (HEAVEN, HELL AND PURGATORY: Pope John Paul II)

 


C

Universal Salvation

Universal reconciliation, universal salvation or sometimes simply universalism, is the doctrine or belief that all will receive salvation, regardless of their current state because of the love and mercy of God. But it is not forced on to individuals because of the freedom God has given us. Every act will receive a just reward. As a result those who reject the offer of salvation will have to go through the experience of hell here and now as well as in the ages to come until he returns to the father.

 

There are some who believe it to be a heresy because they feel it will reduce the impact of the immediacy of the gospel message. This is the day of salvation and this is the day of grace. If you miss this you care going to suffer through hell. That is the gospel in truth.

Various early fathers definitely expressed this concept. These include:

• Clement of Alexandria, in the 3rd century

• Origen in the 3rd century,

• St. Gregory of Nyssa in the 4th century, who was declared "the father of fathers" by the seventh ecumenical council

• and St. Isaac the Syrian in the 7th century,

Four of the six theological schools of thought in ancient Christendom supported universalism and only one supported eternal damnation. Additionally, theological thought appears more varied before the strong influence of Augustine, who forcefully denied universal salvation

 

What we are told is that Jesus will redeem ALL THINGS and will make all things new. We have no definite revelation regarding these intermediary states. Theologians through the ages have suggested various methods.


D

Simple Two age modelS


                                 

 

This is the simple western evangelistic model. They refuse to accept any further age. Thus those who are in

Christ (Christians) will live eternally in Heaven and those who are not in Christ (Non Christians) will live eternally in hell in eternal suffering. This of course violates the character of God as Father. How can there be joy in heaven when relations of those in heaven still burn in hell? God will have to bring in a memory wipe out for them. Of course all creation is not made new here.

Some group devised another solution where the Non Christians are totally annihilated. They cease to exist. So they don’t suffer any more.

Taking these factors the possible plan of salvation that is suggested is as follows:

What Paul and the New Testament assert is:

There is a separation of men into two groups from one age to the other. One enters into Heaven and the other to Hell. The presence of God continues even in the Hell because there is nothing outside of God.

Psa 139:7 -8 Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend to heaven, thou art there! If I make my bed in Sheol, thou art there!

Ultimately All creation will be reconciled and redeemed.

Thus in the love of God as a Father the patience of God continues through the Ages until by their own choice every Son will all return to the Father. This is illustrated by the parable of the Prodigal Son.

This mystery however is not fully exposed in the Bible for the simple reason, that the gospel is for now. Today is the day of salvation. Sadhu Sunder Singh presents it as follows:

 

 

 

 

 

 

E

 in Christ shall ALL be made alive  

“I was also told that the love of God operates even in Hell.

Those in Hell will ultimately be brought to Heaven, like the prodigal son, but with regard to the ultimate fate of certain in number you must not ask.

There is a kind of heavenly joke – no, joke is not a good word for it. Very few will be lost but many will be saved. It is so but don’t tell,’ they said, as it were in jest, ‘because it will make men careless, and we want them to enjoy the First Heaven - that is, the Heaven on earth - as well.’

Though we have no definite revelation on how this process takes place. Paul gives the following necessary events before this is achieved

1Co 15:22-28

• For as in Adam ALL die, so also in Christ shall ALL be made alive.

• But each in his own order:

What is this order?

o Christ the first fruit;

o then they that are Christ's, at his coming.

o Then we have the white throne judgment when the righteous non-believer are given the earth. Mat 25:46

“And these shall go away into eternal punishment: but the righteous into eternal life. “

These are sure events, since we have details about these events in the Bible.

Then what?

o Somethings happen so that it leads to a state -

o when he shall have abolished all rule and all authority and power.

o For he must reign,

o till he hath put all his enemies under his feet. (These are the evil forces of the whole cosmos)

o For, He put all things in subjection under his feet.

o The last enemy that shall be abolished is death.

• And when all things have been subjected unto him

• then shall the Son also himself be subjected to him that did subject all things unto him,

• Then cometh the end, when he shall deliver up the kingdom to God, even the Father; But when he saith, All things are put in subjection, it is evident that he is excepted who did subject all things unto him

• that God may be all in all.

These are very cryptic statements. Evidently the struggle with the powers of darkness continues beyond the White Throne judgment until Christ reigns. Then the Son himself will merge with the Father so that God fill the whole cosmos.

(1Co 15:26) The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

Rom 8:19-21 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God.

Rom 8:23-24 and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved.

Eph 1:9-10 For he has made known to us in all wisdom and insight the mystery of his will, according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

Rev 21:5 And he who sat upon the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new."

(1Co 15:28) When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things under him, that God may be everything to everyone.

The cycle of Fall and Total Redemptions through a number of ages, brings back the cosmos to its original consonance in God.

Here is the plan of salvation that is suggested in these verses which satisfies all the sequence of events.

You were created once and your body may die, but you will live.

This idea is further exploited to introduce the concept of Purgatory even for the believers by the Roman Church.

“Purgatory Is Necessary Purification

Before we enter into full communion with God, every trace of sin within us must be eliminated and every imperfection in our soul must be corrected

At the General Audience of Wednesday, 4 August 1999, following his catecheses on heaven and hell, the Holy Father reflected on Purgatory. He explained that physical integrity is necessary to enter into perfect communion with God therefore "the term purgatory does not indicate a place, but a condition of existence", where Christ "removes ... the remnants of imperfection". “ Pope Paul II

Just as we have no details of what happens in the ages to come, we don’t have any detail regarding the Purgatory. It is an elaboration of concept of ages.

 


 

http://www.christianglobe.com/PPS/images/medium/00034586_h.jpg

 

"By your command death became the power,

But by your resurrection, you have removed this"

 

So says the liturgy of the Eastern Churches.  The law which bound everything in the material world to go from order to disorder came to an end when Jesus rose from the dead on the third day.  The Second Law of Thermodynamics has been reversed in that grave when Jesus defeated death.  This resurrection power is available to all who accept Him.

 

 

 

God also tells us in the Bible that we are going to get these earthly bodies back not the decaying body but a glorified body which will go from glory unto glory which is sometimes called spiritual body to indicates that even the material will encloth other higher dimension.  What we have is not just matter but the essence that is the substance of the body of God Himself whose form is found in Christ.   The redeemed will exist in all the realms of cosmos, material, soul , spirit and into the divine.

 In Corinthians 15:42-44, he speaks not only about these earthly bodies but also about our spiritual bodies.

So also is the resurrection of the dead.

The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption.

It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory.

It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power.

It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.

And all this is going to happen in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.

2 Corinthians 3:17-18

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

 

 

http://blog.hillsbiblechurch.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/jesusresurrection8.jpg

 

 


 

 

 "There shall be no more curse" (Revelation 22:3).

"Because the [creation] itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God" (Romans 8:21).

"The old law of entropy, along with "the law of sin and death" (Romans 8:2) which accompanied it, will be gone once and for all—all because Christ lives!"

http://www.icr.org/article/entropy-resurrection/