Article: Matthew 24:3; Hebrews 9:26 End of World or Age? by Will Kinney

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The End of the World, or the end of the Age? Matthew 24:3


There are many sites on the internet and Bible critics who tell us the King James Bible is in error for translating Matthew 24:3 as "the end of the WORLD".


One such site that recommends the NKJV says of Matthew 24:3 in the KJB: "I can hear some of you saying, "There, see, the world is going to end." The problem here is the translation of the Greek word aion. Aion does not mean "world" but "age, dispensation, era, or a period of time." We can understand that an age can end and yet the world can still go on. The Bible talks about the end of the age but never the end of the world. Most newer translations of the Bible correct this error in the KJV."


"So, the age that was to end was the Jewish age. It would end with the destruction of the Jewish temple and the city Jerusalem. The end of the age did not happen at the cross or at Pentecost but at the destruction of Jerusalem. The world was not going to end but the age of Judaism was. The disciples knew that the fall of the temple and the destruction of the city meant the end of the Old Covenant age and the inauguration of a new age".


Another Christian site says: "Looking at these verses, we can't help wondering what is meant by the expression: "the end of the world." Looking up in the original Greek we find that the term translated "world" is "aion" which means "an indefinite time, a dispensation." Most modern translations render this as the end of the age...The end of the world, and heaven and earth passing away are talking about changes in religious institutions and the spiritual state of people. The world, heaven and earth all passed away two thousand years ago with the coming of Christ, and a new heaven, new earth and new world were started."


Matthew 24:3 "What shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?"

As is usually the case, the "scholars" don't agree among themselves nor are the modern translations consistent in how they translate the Greek word aion. One can usually find some scholar published somewhere who will tell you what you want to hear, but, as we shall show, they are often completely at odds with other scholars who are just as educated. I place zero trust in any scholar.


The King James Bible is not wrong nor in error for translating the Greek phrase found in Matthew 13:39, 40, 49; Matthew 24:3, and 28:20 as "the end of the world"


Matthew 13:39, 40, 49 - "the harvest is the end of the world"; "As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world"; "So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just."


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


Not only does the King James Bible translate Matthew 24:3 as "What shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the WORLD", but so also do the following Bible versions both old and modern:


Wycliffe 1395, Tyndale 1525, Coverdale 1535, Bishops' Bible 1568, Geneva Bible 1599, John Wesley 1755, Webster's 1833 translation, the Revised Version 1881, American Standard Version 1901, Spanish Reina Valera 1909 (el fin del mundo), Italian Diodati (fin del mondo), Lamsa's 1936 translation of the Syriac Peshitta, Alford's translation, Bible in Basic English 1960, Phillips translation, Douay Version 1950, New Life Bible 1969, New American Bible 1970, Living Bible 1981, New Jerusalem Bible 1985, New Century Version 1988, Contemporary English Version 1991, World English Bible, Hebrew Names Version, God's Word Translation 1995, New Living Bible 1998, Third Millenium Bible 1998, KJV 21st Century, and the Easy to Read Version 2001.


The first major English translation to be widely accepted that changed "the end of the world" to "the end of the AGE" was the liberal RSV, followed by such versions as the NRSV, NASB, NIV, NKJV, ESV and the Holman Christian Standard.


Obviously not all scholars agree on the meaning of the word aion. Anytime you hear someone say: "All scholars agree that....", you should immediately recognize that the person saying this doesn't know what he is talking about.


Even the modern versions like the NASB, NIV, ESV, NKJV and Holman ALL at times translate this same Greek word as WORLD. The NIV does this four times - Luke 16:8 "the children of this world"; Romans 12:2 "Be not conformed to this world"; 1 Timothy 6:17 "Charge them that are rich in this world..."; and 2 Timothy 4:10 "Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world."


The NASB translates this same Greek word as "world" 7 times, including twice as "worlds" in Hebrews 11:3 "Through faith we understand that the WORLDS were framed by the word of God." and "whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the WORLDS" - Hebrews 1:2. The NASB likewise has "the care of this world" Matthew 13:22 and Mark 4:19; and "the god of this world" 2 Corinthians 4:4, as well as agreeing with the NIV in 1 and 2 Timothy. The Holman and the NKJV also translate this word as "world" in several verses in the New Testament.


The NKJV has translated the Greek word 'aioon' as 'world' some 11 times. Matthew 13:22 (Mark 4:19) 'the cares of this world"; Luke 1:70 "since the world began"; Luke 16:8 "the sons of this world"; John 9:32 "since the world began"; Acts 3:21 "since the world began"; Romans 12:2 "be not conformed to this world"; 2 Timothy 4:10 "having loved this present world"; Hebrews 9:26 "since the foundation of the world"; and in both Hebrews 1:2 and 11:3 "through whom also He made the worlds"; and "the worlds were framed by the word of God."


The word ‘aionas’ in Hebrews 1:2; 11:3:


King James Bible - “Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the WORLDS (aionas) -- Heb. 1:2 .. . Through faith we understand that the WORLDS (aionas) were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” -- Heb. 11:3


Tyndale - he made the WORLDE . . . the WORLDE was ordeyned by the worde of God


Great Bible - he made the WORLDE . . . the WORLDE was ordeyned by the worde of God


Geneva Bible - he made the WORLDES . . . the WORLDE was ordeined by the worde of God


Bishop's Bible - he made the WORLDS . . . the WORLDS were ordeined by the word of God


RV 1881, ASV 1901 - he made the WORLDS . . . the WORLDS have been framed by the word of God


RSV - he created the WORLD . . . the WORLD was created by the word of God


NKJV - He made the WORLDS . . . the WORLDS were framed by the word of God


Lamsa’s translation of the Syriac Peshitta - “he made the WORLDS. . . WORLDS were framed by the word of God”


German Bible - er auch die Welt gemacht hat (he also the WORLD has made) – Heb. 1:2 ...die Welt durch Gottes Wort fertig ist (the WORLD through God's word is ready) – Heb 11:3


Even though some Bible critics emphatically tell you the word aion does not mean "world" but "age", all the modern versions disagree and so do many Greek Lexicons.


Bauer, Arndt, and Gingrich in their Greek-English Lexicon on page 27 list one of the definitions of the word aion as: "THE WORLD as a spatial concept".


Kittel's huge Lexicon in 10 volumns says on page 203: "The sense of "time or course of the world" can easily pass over into that of the "world" itself, so that aion approximates closely to kosmos...to the description of the end of the world (aion) there corresponds the description of its beginning as foundation of the world (kosmos). The equation of aion and kosmos, also found in the Hellenistic mysteries, is to be explained in the NT by Jewish linguistic usage...the spatial significance is just as definite as the temporal."


Trench's Synonyms of the New Testament quotes several authors who agree that the word aion properly means "the world". Trench himself says: "Aion came to mean all that exists in the world under conditions of time." He then quotes C.L.W. Grimm who defines aion as: "the world inasmuch as it is active in time."


Trench also quotes Windischmann who says: "Aion dare never be taken to denote only time, but rather as embracing everything caught up in time, the world and its glory, people and their natural doings and strivings, in contrast to yonder eternal kingdom of the Messiah."


Trench, though giving conflicting thoughts (as is often the case) ends his article on the meaning of aion with these words: "Etymologically our English "world" more nearly represents aion than does the Greek kosmos."


In Matthew 24 the Lord Jesus Christ is describing THE END OF THE WORLD. This physical world as we know it will come to a definite end and a new heaven and a new earth will be created. Just read the rest of the chapter in the King James Bible without trying to fit your particular brand of end-times theology into it.


The Lord says "this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." He says that after the tribulation of those days, the sun shall be darkened, the moon shall not give her light, the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken. "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only."


In Revelation Six we read an overview of all these catastrophies with stars falling, heaven departing as a scroll, and every mountain and island moved out of their places. The great day of the wrath of the Lamb is come, and who shall be able to stand?


2 Peter 3:10-13 say: "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements whall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be destroyed, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness."


The King James Bible is right. In Matthew 24 the Lord Jesus Christ gave a discourse on the signs of His coming and the end of the world.


Another Bible critic bites the dust.


Hebrews 9:26 "in the end of the world"


Robert A. Joyner is another Bible critic who has no inerrant, complete, inspired Bible, but is more than willing to point out what he thinks are errors in the King James Bible. His list of alleged errors or mistranslations in the KJB is one of the most pathetic I have seen so far, but perhaps his best attempt is the first one in his list.


The first alleged error in his list is Hebrews 9:26. Mr. Joyner says: "In Hebrews 9:26 the KJV says, "But now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself." The end of the world has not come, yet Christ has already appeared. Therefore this is a false statement. The New American Standard Bible (NASB) says "but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested." It was at the end of the Old Testament ages that Christ appeared, not at the end of the world. The KJV mistranslates this Greek word aion as world. The word means age. The KJV does this about 40 times. Each time is a mistake and misleads the reader."


Mr. Joyner's criticism of the King James Bible is without merit of any kind. First of all, he has to "explain" the NASB phrase "the consumation of the ages", which by itself would mean the same thing as the King James Bible's "the end of the world". So to do this he has to add some words of explanation to say it was at the end of the Old Testament ages that Christ appeared. This is not in the text and it is an interpretation of what the phrase means.


Secondly, he criticizes the King James Bible for translating the Greek word aion as "world" and tells us that each time it is a mistake and misleads the reader. He instead recommends the NASB or even the NIV.


Doctor Joyner is apparently unaware of the fact that both the NASB and the NIV also translate the Greek word aion as "world" and "worlds". The NASB translates this same word as "world" seven times and once as "worlds". See Matthew 13:22; Mark 4:19 "the worry of the world"; Romans 12:2 "do not be conformed to this world"; 2 Corinthians 4:4 "the god of this world has blinded the minds"; 1 Timothy 6:17 "those who are rich in this present world"; 2 Timothy 4:10 "having loved this present world"; Hebrews 1:2 "through whom also He made the world"; and Hebrews 11:3 "the worlds were prepared by the word of God."


Likewise the NIV has translated the word aion as "world" four times; "universe" twice; and as "life", "time" and "ways".


Not only does the King James Bible read "but now once IN THE END OF THE WORLD hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself" but so also do Wycliffe 1395, Tyndale 1525, Coverdale 1535, Bishops' Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1599, Webster's 1833 translation, Lamsa's 1933 translation of the Syriac Peshitta, Green's Modern KJV, the KJV 21st Century, Worldwide English N.T. 2004, and the Third Millenium Bible.


Even the Easy To Read Version 2001 by World Bible Translation Center, Inc. reads: “Christ came at a time when the world is nearing an end. Christ came to take away all sin by offering himself as a sacrifice.”


I also disagree with Mr. Joyner's added explanation: "but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested. It was at the end of the Old Testament ages that Christ appeared."


This is a private interpretation on his part. I agree that we need to understand the context of the phrase "the end of the world", but I believe he is mistaken as to what the phrase means.


In the opening chapter of Hebrews 1:1-2 we read: "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake IN TIME PAST unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath IN THESE LAST DAYS spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds."


It is important to observe that Scripture does NOT say "who spake in AGES past unto the fathers...in THIS LAST AGE has spoken" but rather the text says "in THESE LAST DAYS hath spoken." The idea Mr. Joyner promotes by way of private interpretation that the Old Testament period from Adam to the time of Christ was divided up into different "ages" is nowhere to be found in Scripture. It is a man made doctrine imposed on the Scriptures and Dr. Joyner has to resort to adding words of explanation to the NASB's "the consummation of the ages" to come up with the sense he desires.


On the day of Pentecost Peter preached saying: "And it shall come to pass IN THE LAST DAYS, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh...the sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come." Act 2:17-20.


In 1 Peter 1:20 the apostle says of Christ: "Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest IN THESE LAST TIMES for you."


In 1 John 2:18 the apostle John tells us: "Little children, IT IS THE LAST TIME; and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that IT IS THE LAST TIME."


The NASB goes even further in that it says "it is the last HOUR", even though they have translated this same word as "time" in seven other places. How would Mr. Joyner explain it's being the last hour, or the last time, and yet almost 2000 years have passed since this was written?


In 1 Corinthians 10:11 the apostle Paul tells the Gentile believers: "Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom THE ENDS OF THE WORLD ARE COME."


The simple truth of Scripture is that we are now in "the last days", "the last time" and "the end of the world" and have been for almost 2000 years. One day with the Lord is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 2 Peter 3:8.


John Gill comments on Hebrews 9:26: "but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself - this is to be understood of his incarnation on earth... and the time of it was, "in the end of the world"; the same with the last days; the last age of the world."


Barnes commentary: "In the end of the world. In the last dispensation or economy; that under which the affairs of the world will be wound up. See the phrase fully explained Acts 2:17. The last days, or the closing period of the world, were the days of the Messiah. It does not appear from this, and it certainly is not implied in the expression, that they supposed the world would then come to an end."


The King James Bible and many others are not at all in error by rendering this phrase as "but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself."


Will Kinney


Other Artilces by Will Kinney

Other Artilces by Will Kinney in the Textus Receptus database ~

Old Testament

Genesis Genesis 1:28 Replenish or Fill? - Genesis 6:6 Can God repent? - Genesis 22:1 Did God "Tempt" Abraham? Exodus Exodus 20:13 Thou Shalt Not KILL - Exodus - the Israelites "borrowed" of the Egyptians Numbers Numbers 22 Why was God Angry with Balaam? Job Bible Babel in Job - a comparative study 1 Samuel 1 Samuel 13:21 "a file" a "pim" or "two-thirds of a shekel"? 2 Samuel 2 Samuel 21:8 Michal or Merab? - 2 Samuel 21:19 Who Killed Goliath? 1 Kings 1 Kings 20:38 ashes upon his face - 1 Kings 22:38 "washed his armour" or "while the harlots bathed" NKJV Nonsense Psalms Psalm 8:5 Lower than the Angels, or a little lower than God? - Answering Doug Kutilek's anti-Preservation in Psalm 12 - Psalm 74:8 the synagogues of God; Psalm 77:2 my sore ran in the night - Psalms 1 How Different the Versions! - Psalms 2 How Different the Versions! - Psalms 3 How Different the Versions! - Psalms 4 How Different the Versions! - Psalms 5 How Different the Versions! Proverbs NKJV Bible Babel in Proverbs - Bible Babel in Proverbs Isaiah Isaiah - a Comparative Study - Does God Create Evil? Isaiah 45:7 Jeremiah Jeremiah 8:8 the pen of the scribes is in vain - Jeremiah 27:1 Jehoiakim or Zedekiah? - Ezekiel Ezekiel 29:7 Hebrew, Greek or Syriac? Hosea Hosea - a Comparative Study

New Testament

Did Jesus Tell Them to Take a Staff or Not? Matthew Is Matthew 23:14 Scripture or not? - Matthew 27:44 cast in teeth Mark Gospel of Mark - a Modern Version Mix-up Luke Is "cousin" wrong in Luke 1:36 - Luke 17:36 Is it inspired Scripture or not? John John 1:18 the only begotten Son Acts Act 3:19 times of refreshing; 7:20 Moses was exceeding fair - Acts 9:5-7 hear the voice; 7:20 exceeding fair - Acts 5:30 slew and hanged; 19:20 word of GOD - Acts 13:33 this day have I begotten thee - Acts 19:9 DIVERS were hardened, and believed not - Acts 19:35 Diana or Artemis? Jupiter, Zeus or Heaven? - The So-called "Science" of Textual Criticism. Science or Hocus-Pocus? Gospels through Acts Romans James White discussing Romans 6:17 Philippians Textual Studies in Philippians 2 Timothy 2 Timothy 3:16 Inspiration of God or God Breathed? Hebrews The Book of Hebrews - a Comparative Study 1 Peter 1 Peter - Shifting Sands of Scholarship 1 John And These Three Are One Article defending the inclusion of 1 John 5:7. - 1 John 5:7 These three are one Jude The Book of Jude - James White's "inferior" texts Revelations Revelation 13 Confusion - Vials or Bowls in the book of Revelation - Rev.16:5 and SHALT BE; 5:8-10 redeemed US - Revelation 17:8 "the beast that was, and is not, and YET IS" - Acts 28:13 We Fetched a Compass; 1 Tim5:4 Nephews - Matthew 24:3; Hebrews 9:26 End of World or Age?

Modern Versions

Bible Babel 1 - Bible Babel 2 - Bible Babel 3 - Bible Babel 4 - The Oldest and Best Manuscripts? - Every Man for Himself Bible Versions - the HCSB, NET, ESV, TNIV, NKJV - The Inerrancy of Scripture - are you a Bible believer or a Bible agnostic? - True Bible? - Modern Versions Teach Racism - Modern Versions Teach Pride as a Virtue - Do Ghosts Exist? Modern Versions say Yes ESV The English Standard Version 2001 NASB The Ever Changing NASB's NKJV NKJV Word Changes - When the NKJV departs from the TR - The New KJV is a Hack Job Translation - NKJV vs KJB Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah - Is the NKJV the same as the KJB? - Don't go on Safari with a New KJV Translator - The NKJV is a Poor Substitute for the True Bible - NKJV vs KJB Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah - NKJV Bible Babel in Proverbs

King James Word Definitions

Lucifer - Jehovah - Unicorns - Is the word "Easter" an error in the King James Bible? - Are the words "CHURCH" and 'BISHOP' wrong? - Hell and Damnation in the King James Bible - "By and by" versus "the-by-and-by" - Servants or Slaves? - Is "charity" an error in the KJB? - The Grace of God Destroyed - "Would to God" - Another alleged 'error' bites the dustIs "bottles" an inaccurate word in the King James Bible?

King James Bible

Is King James onlyism Scriptural? - Does the KJB only position "blow up"? - What About Those Printing Errors in 1611? - Does the King James Bible depart from the Hebrew Texts? - Why do you King James Bible onlyies Attack the word of God? - The Historic Confessions support the KJB position - Can a Translation be Inspired? - The Old Latin versions and the KJB

Septuagint

NO LXX Part 1 - NO LXX - the Fictitious Use of Septuagint

Dead Sea Scrolls

The Dead Sea Scrolls Fiasco

Hebrew Text

The NIV, NASB reject the Hebrew Texts - NIV, NASB reject Hebrew texts Part 2 - How to Destroy Messianic Prophecies

Greek Text

"The Greek" and Hebrew Games

Gender Inclusive Versions

Gender Inclusive Versions Dealing with the TNIV

Answering Critics

E mail exchange with Bible Agnostic Doug Kutilek - John MacArthur - Pastor with NO Infallible Bible - A Bible Believer's Response to James Price's book King James Onlyism - a New Sect - A King James Bible Believer's Response to Rick Norris' book 'The Unbound Scriptures' - 17 Parts

Part 1 - The "logical" Premise of Mr. Norris

Part 2 - Those Dreadful Archaic Words

Part 3 - Imperfect men, Perfect Bible

Part 4 - Revision

Part 5 - Printing Errors and Spelling

Part 6 - Inspiration and Inerrancy

Part 7 - Alleged Errors in the King James Bible

Part 8 - Let Me Count The Ways

Part 9 - Beasts or Living Creatures?

Part 10 - Mules or Hot Springs?

Part 11 - "Digged down a wall" or "hamstrung an ox"?

Part 12 - Steel, brass, copper, bronze - Paper or Plastic?

Part 13 - The Usual Suspects

Part 14 - The Preservation of the words of God

Part 15 - KJB Only versus Latin Vulgate Only Argument

Part 16 - Where Was the Word of God Before 1611?

Part 17 - Final Thoughts


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