END OF THE AGE or END OF THE WORLD?–Which?
BY Larry Siegle
Theologian Andrew Perriman has a website that contains some very good articles and information. While he does not take a FULL preterist (fulfilled) approach to “all things written” (Luke 21:22), he does try to remain close to the narrative of Scripture. Below are some of his thoughts on the Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24; Mark 13; Luke 17; also chapter 21). Perriman writes:
“They cross the Kidron Valley to the Mount of Olives, where the disciples as him privately, clearly concerned by his statement: “When will these things happen, and what will be the sign of your parousia and of the close of the age?” The discourse which follows is Jesus’ answer to that question….
The gospel will be preached throughout the empire (en holē tē oikoumenē) before the end of the age of second temple Judaism—and Jesus will be with his disciples throughout this period (Matt. 28:20)…
When will all this take place? At the end of this unfolding story of war, destruction, and vindication. Jesus cannot say exactly when—not even he knows the day which the Father has fixed when the vineyard will be wrested from the unrighteous leaders of his people and given to a people who will give him its fruits (24:36; cf. Acts 1:6-7). But it will be within a generation, within a lifetime. His disciples have to be prepared, or they too will be swept away in the devastation like those who were happily eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, only to be swept away in the flood.
The whole thing is Israel’s story. The prophecy is all about the task of the disciples, the impact that the impending political catastrophe will have upon them, and what will be demanded of them. The central point that Jesus makes—the climax to the narrative—is that if they remain faithful if they endure to the end, they will be saved and vindicated. The same point is made in the parables and the judgment story of chapter 25. The Son of Man, who suffered and was vindicated, will come with the clouds of heaven (because that is what characterizes him as the figure of Daniel 7:13-14), at the end of the age of second temple Judaism, to rescue his elect, who also will have suffered in the hope of being vindicated.”
THE PAROUSIA IN 70 CE?
One significant difference between Perriman and others holding to a “yet future” time of fulfillment is his association of the “Parousia” with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE. It is far more common for scholars and theologians to argue that παρουσία is a technical term having reference to the “second” or final “coming” of Christ that remains “yet future” to our own time.
PRIMARY PROBLEMS WITH SECONDARY SOLUTIONS
James Burton Coffman, in his commentary about the Olivet Discourse, takes the position that Jesus was answering THREE separate questions that include the period of time that includes 70 CE as a “type” as the “primary” fulfillment, and the “antitype” as the “secondary” fulfillment picturing the FINAL “end of the world” yet future to our own time. He writes:
“Naturally, the disciples considered these three events to be simultaneous occurrences, but in this they were mistaken. Nevertheless, Jesus answered all three questions, giving the sign of his coming, outlining the salient features of the destruction of Jerusalem, making that event a type of his second coming, and setting forth a number of details applicable to both events.”
WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
Practically all of the difficulties in understanding this astounding chapter will disappear when it is remembered that in a single prophecy Christ foretold the destruction of Jerusalem and the final judgment and destruction of the whole world, making the first a type of the latter, and choosing a number of details that apply to both. Just as the rainbow is not one bow but actually two, a primary and a secondary, so many of the prophecies of the word of God have a primary and a secondary fulfillment.”
Many have impugned the knowledge of the disciples or of Jesus himself by inferring they were “mistaken” in their understanding. However, when the text is examined more closely it becomes evident that the focus of the question was on the “end of the age” not on some “end of time” or “end of the world” scenario as some would contend.
THE PAROUSIA–ONE OR MANY?
More importantly, it seems significant to me that in reference to the “presence” or “coming” of Jesus as the Son of Man, παρουσία never appears in the plural but is depicted as a singular event taking place in history. Matthew 24:27 contains the definite article in reference to the event in the Greek text it reads, “ἡ παρουσία τοῦ Υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου” (THE parousia of the Son of Man). This eliminates the presumed typology attributed to the TIME, MANNER and PURPOSE its fulfillment.
If people could only see the significance of how the Bible is divided. The first 39 books of the Bible (OT) are the time of PROMISE and EXPECTATION. The last 27 books of the Bible (NT) are the time for FULFILLMENT and REALIZATION of all that had been promised in the OT. Jesus and his apostles were not mistaken and their eschatology was about the transition FROM the Old Covenant and INTO the New Covenant. Once these facts are understood the harmony and consistency found in the text comes together in a powerful way.
Be sure to get a copy of Don K. Preston’s The Last Days Identified, for a great study of “The End of the Age.”
 For more information about the ministry of Andrew Perriman, visit his website, (http://www.postost.net/…/it-s-not-eschatology-folks-it-s-ju…)..
 For more information about the FULFILLED view of Bible prophecy, visit www.fulfilleddynamics.com or leave us a message on facebook and “like” our page, https://www.facebook.com/fulfilleddynamics/