Nazarene Apocalypse ©2000

THE END OF THE WORLD?

#81. Remember the disciples’ question in the King James Version had the expression “the end of the world” which has come to mean a fiery conflagration as the entire world is consumed with only the righteous surviving. If this view is correct why does Jesus not go on to conclude his answer with such a description? Or, even the use of the word “end”? Is it possible these words of the King James Version have been misunderstood? Or, mistranslated?

#82. The Greek normally translated “world” in Matthew 24:3 is the word aioonos and not kosmos which is often translated “world.” This word aioonos does not specifically mean the whole world of mankind or everyone living on the planet. According to Matthew the disciples did not use the word kosmos but aioonos. This is normally translated “age” and understood to be a particular period of time which has developed its own characteristics, such as Atomic Age or Age of the Dinosaurs, without any limitations to the length of it. In fact, the King James Version often translates aioonos213 and related forms as “eternity,” “forever,” and also “world.” (Acts 3:21; 15:18; Romans 12:2; 1 Corinthians 1:20; 2:6, 7, 8, etc.)
213 AIOONOS. There are two English words which draw their roots from this Greek, eon, and, aeon.

#83. If the disciples had meant “the end of the world” as we have come to know it, why does Jesus not go on to explain such a total or complete “end”? On the other hand, if they meant just “the end of the (Jewish Temple) Age,” it all makes sense. Jesus has already discussed this “end” and has moved on to the subject of his royal Return, or parousia, his Arrival as King. Note that Jesus never uses the word “end” (either telos or synteleia) after his description of the Great Oppression on Jerusalem. Does the Bible teach something else regarding the so-called “end of the world” as it might pertain to our future, or another generation’s future, that of our children or their children? This we leave to our discussion of the Apocalypse.

#84. Before we move on there is one last point to mention in connection with the Great Oppression. Many have taken these Greek words thlipsis megale (Great Oppression) to refer to something like Armageddon. However, a close consideration of the context where Great Oppression occurs, as well as their sources in Daniel 7:21, 25 and 12:1, 7, prove it is a period of persecution or oppression on the Chosen Ones, or Saints of the Most High, and not a tribulation on the world in general. The translation “great tribulation” can be misleading. That is why we prefer “great oppression” for it emphasizes that this tribulation, affliction, persecution, or oppression214 is against the Saints. It is not “the end of the world” or anything like an Armageddon. The Great Oppression occurs before Armageddon as we shall see in our consideration of the Apocalypse.
214 OPPRESSION. Variously rendered: TCNT: great distress; GDSP: misery; BAS: trouble; WMS: great persecution; KNX: great affliction.

#85. The phrase translated “end of the world” by the King James Version is literally “consummation215 of the Age.” Hebrews chapter 9, verse 26, uses a nearly identical phrase, synteleia ton aionon, and clearly applies it to the Jewish Temple Age. (Note also 1 Corinthians 10:11, ta tele ton aionon = the ends of the Ages.) And so, we feel it ought to be clear that the disciples are asking about their “world” in the context of the Temple’s “end.”
215 CONSUMMATION. Jerome uses consummationis in the Vulgate.

Nazarene Commentary 2000

Mark Heber Miller

2000 All Rights Reserved