Discussion All Areas Of Systematic Theology
Hey Folks, Just wanted to throw a question out to you - what is your view on the "Age to come"? Full Preterists take this as anything that happens AFTER 70a.d., which would leave some things (particularly Rev.21 and some of the gifts that make up the Church) as continuing into our day. This is a topic that I'm having a tough time reconciling with "Fulfilled Theology" Any Thoughts ??
Most preterists believe we are in the "age to come" since the parousia of Christ but there are different views. Some say we are "in heaven" right now on earth while others believe we will be in heaven after we died. A few believe the saints (dead and living) were already caught up to be with Christ in heaven. In other word, all covenant people were saved and no more death for them.
Based on scripture and the non-supernatural very sordid history of Christianity, it seems most likely to me that the "age to come" and the blessings of Rev. 21 were only experienced by the saints (both living and dead) who were caught up to heaven within that generation (Mt. 24:34) or lifetime of some of Jesus' disciples (Mt. 16:28). As much as I would prefer to believe otherwise, I honestly do not see any scriptural or historical evidence that would indicate any ongoing application to anyone after that.
My understanding of "age-now-coming" (Ephesians 1:21; Matthew 12:32) and "all generations of the ages" (Ephesians 3:21) would be referring to the time of the apostles (before AD 70) and not to any "future" period of time. This is born out in the context of all the passages.
Matthew 12:32 and Ephesians 1:21 have the word "mello" (present-active-participle) which referred to the events that were transpiring during the apostolic era. The context in Matthew shows that Jesus was talking about the people who were "with him" at the time he was on Earth (Matthew 12:30) and the time when the "holy spirit" would be present after Jesus was glorified at his ascension (Matthew 12:31; John 7:39).
The context of Ephesians 1:21 and Ephesians 3:21 contains numerous references to Paul and the people who were already part of the "church." There's no reason to read the words "you" and "us" and "our" as referring to anyone in the future (especially when "age-coming" is a present-active-participle indicating that the "age-coming" was already happening to those people). There is no necessary reference to any "future" ages or people anywhere in the language.
The idea of "to the age of the ages" comes from Daniel 7:18 where the prophet spoke of the final judgement where the saints would permenantly possess the Kingdom. I think Paul understood this language to be referring to the "consummation of the ages" that was taking place in his own time and for the people who lived in the last days before the parousia (1 Corinthians 10:16).
Thanks Guys for all of the input. I'm gonna keep studying this subject til it sinks in.
I did notice a chart for the 10 Ages here on this site which is eye opening. Is this chart part of Ben's book ?? And do most of you here agree with it??
Yes this chart is part of Ben's book. Not everyone read it yet. Some of us do not agree with him 100%.
In regard with "age to come", are you saying that this included at the parousia of Christ in 66-70 AD (OT/NT saints were raised/raptured) before the "consummation of the ages", not post-parousia of Christ, correct?
What I'm saying is that "the age coming" is the same thing as "the consummation of the ages". Paul said in 1 Corinthians 10:11 that "the end(s) of the age(s)" were coming upon the people living in his own era. The meaning of "consummation of the ages" is that it was the conclusion of all the previous ages leading up to (and including) the final age (i.e. apostolic era).
This is why Jesus and Paul referred to "the end" as the time of the parousia (Matthew 24:14; 1 Corinthians 15:24). Nothing happens after the end because God "became all in all" at that point (1 Corinthians 15:28) and "every person" was accounted for (Matthew 16:27-28).
The term "age to come" or literally, "age-now-coming" (present-active-participle) was referring to the fact that the "last days" (apostolic era) was the final age that fulfilled the expectation of all the previous ages. The apostles were living in "the age coming" already. There is no implication of any "future" age, or on-going fulfillment, because "the completion" (1 Corinthians 13:10) came when those last days were finished at the parousia.
The idea of the "age coming" is from the perspective of the OT prophecies which predicted the events that were happening to the apostles and their followers. Thus, it was an "age to come" from the perspective of those who originally heard the prophecies. It was not an "age to come" from the perspective of the apostles (who were already living in the last age).