The End Of The Ages

Ed Gregory

"Now all these things happened unto them for examples (types); and they are written for our admonition. upon whom the ends of the world (ages) are come."(I Cor. 10:11)

The phrase "ends of the world"should read "ends of the ages."Now what does this expression mean? In the current creeds there is no reasonable explanation of this expression; but on the basis of the plan of the ages, it is easily explicable. Paul was writing in the overlapping of two ages, the Jewish and the Gospel. The former was passing away, decreasing and dying out. The latter was coming on and increasing until its full dimensions on the day of Pentecost,---that was the day of the full inauguration of the Gospel age. It might be said that the preaching of John the Baptizer was the beginning of the end of the Jewish age; for "the law and the prophets were until John; since that time the kingdom is preached and every man presses into it."

Yet the law and prophets did not cease with the preaching of John for Christ himself commanded his disciples to obey all that those who sat in Moses' seat taught. (Matt. 13:2-3). The Jewish age continued on, but growing less and less, until the destruction of Jerusalem, about 40 years after the preaching of John. The Gospel age begins with the preaching of John---or we might say with the preaching of the angels to the shepherds at the birth of Christ (Luke, ch. 2)---and reached its full dimensions at the day of Pentecost. It was such a time as this that the apostle Paul lived and wrote and thus the ends of the ages had come upon them.

The mass of God's people at that time hung back and would not accept the new light. They even bitterly opposed and fought against it. They clung to the old and refused to believe that their religious system had had its day and was passing away and was to be laid aside like a worn out garmet. (Heb. l:ll-12) The ends of the ages had come upon them and those who knew that fact were prepared for the great changes that were taking place. They accepted them and fell into line with them and so moved on with God's vanguard. They caught the glimmer of the dawning light and greatly rejoiced.

Others, while clinging to the past with their faces away from the light. stubbornly held back. bitterly opposing and scornfully repudiating the idea that their system could be set aside and anything better take its place. These lose all the light and glory, remaining in the shadow, fighting against the dawning of the new day while the "children of the day"are bathed in the light there--of as in a garment of praise.

Now we are living in a time when the ends of the ages have come upon us, Here in the decade of the 1970's we stand at the confluence of the ages----the overlapping of two dispensations---the Gospel age and the Kingdom age----the age of the good news of the kingdom and the age of the kingdom itself. And now, as in the apostle's day. the times partake of the characteristics of both the ages with which it is connected.

This fact that the ends of the ages have come upon us explains and accounts for all the strange and unusual happenings of our times. We are living in "the last days."We are also living in the first days. A friend said to me recently, "We are constantly talking about the last days and perilous times connected with it. When shall we begin to talk of the first days. Are we not already in a new age? And are not these days the first days and should we not emphasize the fact?"Yes, we do thank God that a new age has commenced and that we are in the first days. The ends of the ages have come upon us---the new age as well as the old.

The old age is passing away, as every previous age has, with a most striking manifestation of man's failure and of God's judgments and remedy. The turmoil and strife we see on every hand, the giant wrongs, the oppression and tyranny, the grave, threatening, excitable aspect of society, together with the general godlessness and crime that everywhere prevails, the tottering of thrones, the weakening of governments, the breaking away from tradition, the overthrow of long established beliefs, the general instability of things---these are the indications of the inevitable dissolution of the present order of things. All of the evils of the present age and all of the past ages as well are culminating in these closing hours; accumulated and concentrated in their direct intensity, and, like the dregs of a cup that is almost poured out, they constitute the bitter, bitter portion that the world must drink before the new era dawns, when justice, equity and love shall prevail on the earth.


There is abundance of evidence around us that we are rapidly approaching the crisis. "For the world has lost his youth and the times begin to wax old; for yet greater evils than those which you have seen happen, shall be done hereafter; for look, how much the world shall be weaker through age, so much the more shall evils increase upon them that dwell therein; for the truth is fled away, and leasing (lying) is hard at hand; for now hasteth the vision to come which you have seen." (II Es. 14) Although the above is quoted from one of the so-called apocraphal books of the Bible, yet it seems to apply to the present times, and at any rate it describes them perfectly. The world, in this passage,-- the evil world (Gal 1:4)--is spoken of as an old man, old and hardened in sin, sinking lower and lower in degradation and corruption, as he totters to a dishonored and loathsome grave. "For yet greater evils than those which you have seen happen, shall be done hereafter; for look, how much the world shall be weaker through age, so much the more shall evils increase upon them that dwell therein."Such has been the history of the closing up of every previous age; such is the clearly foretold ending of this present evil age. Such alone could be looked for as it's sending, considering its character all the way through and the causes at work. Mark you, all this is from man's standpoint and with reference to man's work. The purpose of God--his "purpose of the ages"---does not fail or falter, but always advances toward its consummation; but man's work has been a failure in every age and has brought disaster and ruin in the end. Man's work is not God's work and hence it must fail for nothing can prosper contrary to his will. Man's failure therefore is God's work. Man's success, according to his own idea, would be a triumph of evil; but evil never triumphs because God is the master of it, as well as of the good.

Thus all the wrong and evil of this present time is in harmony with the fact that the age is drawing to an end, the cup is almost poured out. It is the very settlings of evil that is showing itself in the world today.


But, thank God, this is only one of the ends of the overlapping ages ---the end of the age that is dying out and passing away. Another age is coming on and into the circle of its dawning light have we already entered and its characteristics are plainly apparent all around us. There seems to be a contradiction in the present times. It is a time of ignorance and wrong and corruption, intensified and augmented beyond all previous periods. But praise God that these times are also characterized by one of the a most profound outpourings of the Holy Spirit that the world has ever known. The times seem to be characterized by light and knowledge and Christian and humanitarian efforts beyond all previous times. All these things go to relieve the sombreness of the present time.

This is not the age for the destruction of evil, the "ages to come"will accomplish that, when He that sits on the throne--He whose right it is ---will make all things new. It is the early dawn of that age that is now upon us. This accounts for the apparent contradiction in the times in which we live----the mixing and mingling of the worst things with the best; an evil age is ending. A righteous, joyous, happy age is coming on; all the threatening, ominous signs of the times are yet to burst in doleful, dreadful realities, as this age passes away in the midst of a dissolving, burning heavens and earth (II Peter 3); and all the harbingers of peace and goodwill that we see around us in the world today shall blossom out in that new era and bear fruit in a regenerated and perfected race.

The fact that "the ends of the ages"have come upon us--overlapping--is the key that unlocks the mustery of our times and fully explains them. Whatever takes place--and in these days the most unheard-of and unexpected events are frequently occurring---it is explained and accounted for by the above fact--the ends of the ages have come upon us. We are at the confluence of two streams of time, and the foul and muddy waters of "this present evil age"are for the time being mingling with the crystal-clear liquid of the millennial stream, and the result is a mixture that seems to have more of the characteristics of the former than of the latter. Soon the vile sediment of evil shall be precipitated to the bottom and the stream of righteousness shall flow on through the ages, ever deepening and widening until all have come to know its healing virtues.

The world believes that better times are coming but it has no idea of how that blessed era is to be inaugurated. It neither understands how the present evils are to be put down and destroyed, nor how the hoped for good is to be established. The various schemes of socialism are but fonddreams of the natural man never to be realized; so with the idea of gradual self-improvement. The great majority of the church has no knowledge of God's plan of the ages and hence it is utterly in the dark as to this transition period in which our lot has fallen. The world knows not God; hence it sees no special interposition on his part in these troublous times to "make and end of sin"and "to bring in everlasting righteousness."

Yet it is God that does this work and that too by a catastrophe as marked and as universal as was the flood,--the battle of the great day of God Almighty for thefinaldestruction of the old and the setting up of the kingdom of God for the permanent establishment of the new. Although the ages overlap and one gradually dies out while the other is gradually coming on, yet this transition process is not completed without a destruction and reconstruction. The question is how will God make and end of sin and bring in everlasting righteousness? Not by a gradual growing out of the one into the other; not by self-improvement; not by the triumph of present existing methods and appliances, It will be all of God. He it is that will tread down our enemies. He only is our rock and our salvation. The coming of the Lord, the destruction of the present heavens and earth (Kosmos--II Peter 3), the setting up of the kingdom, the perfection of the promised seed---these are the events that are to carry us over this present cataclysm into the new heavens and new earth.

How grand it is to be children of light, If you can see that the ends of the ages have come upon us then you can understand to some extent the signs of the times and the movements of our God among the children of men. The Day Star has arisen and the dawn is close at hand. "Let us who are of the day be sober (or vigilant, wakeful), putting on the breastplate of faith and love and for an helmet the hope of salvation."

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