ESV Hebrews 9:26 for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end (συντέλεια) of the ages (τῶν αἰώνων) to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

ΠΡΟΣ ΕΒΡΑΙΟΥΣ 9:26 Greek NT: Westcott and Hort / [NA27 and UBS4 variants]

ἐπεὶ ἔδει αὐτὸν πολλάκις παθεῖν ἀπὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου· νυνὶ δὲ ἅπαξ ἐπὶ συντελείᾳ τῶν αἰώνων εἰς ἀθέτησιν τῆς ἁμαρτίας διὰ τῆς θυσίας αὐτοῦ πεφανέρωται.

The phrase appears 6 times in the NT and in every instance except Hebrews 9:26 it seems to have the sense of "completion" of a single age:



I understand that Jesus appeared in the final days of the age of temple-centric Judaism but I'm not aware of another age who's beginning was before his arrival and which was also to be ended by him. Is it possible that this is an allusion to Daniel 9:27?:

LEB Daniel 9:

26 “And after the sixty and two weeks an anointed one [Messiah] shall be cut off [IE: crucified], and ⌊he shall have nothing⌋, and the people of the coming leader [Romans] will destroy the city and the sanctuary, and its end will be with the flood and on to the end there shall be war; these desolations are determined. 27 And he [Messiah] will make a strong covenant with the many for one week, but in half of the week he will let cease sacrifice and offering ⌊and in its place⌋ a desolating abomination comes even until ⌊the determined complete destruction⌋ is poured out on the desolator.” [70AD]

So is Daniel predicting that Jesus would ratify the new covenant with the houses of Israel and Judah for a brief time and then both the old covenant and the new covenant would be destroyed?

Or might the idea be that the "culmination of the ages" occurs where the previous age is brought to a close and the new covenant is established with the Jews, the old covenant ends and the "Church age" is begun for the gentiles?

Another option is a reference is to Hebrews 1:

ESV Hebrews 1:

1Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world ["delineated" or "established" the ages (τῶν αἰώνων)].

  • 1
    Check out this answer to another question about the split between 62 and 7. There is a lot of context there that will help you with this question.
    – colboynik
    Sep 29, 2018 at 20:23
  • 1
    Are you being targeted with down votes? This is another reasonable question down-voted for no obvious reasons, without an explanation given. Sep 30, 2018 at 2:32
  • I think most people attempt to vote with a fair hand but it only takes a couple of trolls to corrode the whole process. If you upvoted this question and counter-acted the troll, thanks. When questions have a negative score they tend not to be read and that's what is so damaging.
    – Ruminator
    Sep 30, 2018 at 2:49
  • Syn- means co(n)-, and teleia comes from telos, meaning target, so syn-teleia means con-junction, or common goal, or meeting point. The various ages are running towards a common destination, finally coming together to meet in Christ.
    – Lucian
    Oct 1, 2018 at 14:34
  • 1
    Ruminator it is indeed an very good question and I sympathize with you on the down votes. Since Peter in addressed Jews and proselytes (Act 2:16-20) made reference to the "last days" of the then Jewish system of things with its center of worship, Jerusalem. This is confirmed by Paul , Hebrews 9:26 " for then he would have had to suffer again and again since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the age to remove sin by the sacrifice of himself." +1 Apr 6, 2019 at 21:06

3 Answers 3


In Hebrews 9:26 what does the author mean by “συντέλεια τῶν αἰώνων”?

Peter’s Sermon

Acts 2:14 (NASB)

14 But Peter, taking his stand with the other eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: “Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, [a]know this, and pay attention to my words

From the above verse, we note that Peter was addressing natural Jews and Jewish proselytes, therefore his words must have had particular reference to them and evidently indicated that they were living in “these last times” or "the last days" of the then-existing Jewish system of things with its center of worship at Jerusalem.

1 Peter 1:20-21 (NASB)

20 For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared [a]in these last times for the sake of you 21 who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

Earlier, Jesus himself had foretold the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple (Luke 19:41-44; 21:5- 6), It must have been also with reference to the end of the Jewish system of things that Jesus was spoken of as appearing and carrying on his activity “at the end of the times” or “at the end of these days.”


At the end (συντέλεια) of the ages (τῶν αἰώνων)- At the end the Jewish system of things with its temple sacrifices, priests, and Sabbaths.(Galatians 3:24, 25; Colossians 2:13-17) This is confirmed by the words of Hebrews 9:26: But now he [God's Son] has appeared once for all at the consummation of the ages to put away sin by his sacrifice.(NET) That conclusion soon became undeniably clear, with the destruction of the temple in 70 C.E. (Read Hebrews 1:1-2 and 9:26)

Hebrews 1:1-2 (NASB)

God’s Final Word in His Son

1 God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, 2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom He also made the world.

Hebrews 9:26 New (NASB)

26 Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been revealed to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.


This is very contentious so I will proceed carefully. The NT defines the "last days" as the time of Jesus onward.

  • Acts 2:17 – Peter calls the day of Pentecost the “last day” in fulfilment of the prophecy of Joel. Compare v29-32.
  • 2 Tim 3:1 – perilous times in the “last day” which Paul discusses as already at his time.
  • Heb 1:2 – “These last days” God is revealed in Jesus.
  • James 5:3 – warning against rampant materialism and worship of money in the “last day”, that is, the time of James himself.
  • 1 Peter 1:5 – Christians reveal God and are miraculously preserved in the “last time”.
  • 1 Peter 1:20 – Jesus revealed in these “last times”.
  • 2 Peter 3:3 – Peter writes about his time as the fulfilment of that spoken by the ancient prophets about the “last days”.
  • 1 John 2:18 – Twice, John calls his time the “last hour”.
  • Jude 18 – Jude describes his time as the fulfilment of ancient prophecies about the “last time”.
  • Rev 2:16, 3:11, 22:7, 12, 20 – Jesus says, “I am coming soon/quickly”.
  • Even in a passage like John 6:39, 40, 54 where Jesus refers to the resurrection at the “last day” (see below) that time began with His death, Matt 27:50-53.

It should not be surprising that eschatology is defined in terms of Jesus – four times in the book of Revelation (1:11, 17, 2:8, 22:13) Jesus is called “the first and the last”. Thus, Bible eschatology, is the study of the time after Jesus inaugurated His Kingdom of Heaven (Matt 3:2, 4:17, 23, 5:3, 10, 19, etc).

However, (and this is a BIG BUT!) we should not confuse "last days" with the “end of time” (Dan 11:35), or “that day” (Matt 24:36, Mark 13:32), “the day of the Lord” (2 Peter 3:10-13), “end of the age” (Matt 24:3, 28:20), “last day” (John 6:39, 40, 54), etc. The short period just before the end of time is called the “time of the end” (Dan 11:40, 12:4, 9). All these refer to the time of Jesus second return.

In all the cases of the phrase "end of the age" (συντελείᾳ τῶν αἰώνων), as best I can determine this refers to either the "last days" or His second advent as the context suggests.

  • I used to share the "BIG BUT"s also but have come to see that even they were all accomplished in "70th" which came right after the "69th". The gap is not necessary. Please see my updated answer.
    – Ruminator
    Jan 16, 2019 at 15:09
  • John places two events at the last day; resurrection and judgment. Both occurred in the last day of theocratic Israel and the temple and God "scatters the power of the holy people": blueletterbible.org/kjv/dan/12/13/s_862013
    – Ruminator
    Jan 16, 2019 at 15:48
  • As far as I can tell, all of the scriptures are history. They all concern stuff that happened thousands of years ago. Even Paul's writings are addressed to particular assemblies, not to us. The only possible exceptions I can see are Ephesians and Colossians which appear to have been written [as if] from heaven! (I hold the addresses in both letters suspect). Ephesians describes the In-gathered ("the cosmic Church") as persisting forever. It appears that those who "die" in Christ now do not sleep but go immediately to heaven. hADES has been emptied and [the sleep of] death destroyed.
    – Ruminator
    Jan 16, 2019 at 15:58
  • Rev 1:18 KJV - 18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. -and- Eph 4:8 KJV - 8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
    – Ruminator
    Jan 16, 2019 at 16:03
  • Paul would have likely been among the dead in Christ because when he finished his race to fully preach the gospel throughout Rome he said "I am ready to be poured out now". But either way he was sure that he was going because he was a new covenant Jew. The gentiles to whom he wrote would have rest by their persecutors being destroyed.
    – Ruminator
    Jan 16, 2019 at 16:06

In studying about the Feast of Tabernacles I discovered that:

  • it is considered one of the most important feasts on the Hebrew calendar

  • it was originally a harvest festival

  • it was referred to as the feast of booths/tabernacles because it celebrated the journey through the wilderness to the promised land:

In the Bible it is variously styled V11p656001.jpg, "the Feast of Tabernacles" (Lev. xxiii. 34; Deut. xvi. 13, 16; xxxi. 10; Zech. xiv. 16, 18, 19; Ezra iii. 4.; II Chron. viii. 13); V11p656002.jpg, "the Feast of Ingathering" (Ex. xxiii. 16, xxxiv. 22), or merely V11p656003.jpg, "the Feast" (I Kings viii. 2; Ezek. xlv. 23; II Chron. vii. 8); or V11p656004.jpg, "Feast of the Lord" (Lev. xxiii. 39; Judges xxi. 19). In the Septuagint the first designation is rendered by ἡ ἑορτὴ (τῶν) σκηνῶν or τῆς σκηνοπηλίας; the second by ἡ ἑορτὴ συντελείας or συναγωγῆς. II Macc. x. 6 has ἡ τῶν σκηνῶν ἑορτή; Josephus ("Ant." iv. 209; comp. ib. iii. 247) and the New Testament (John vii. 2) σκηνοπηλία; Philo ("De Septenario," § 24) σκηναί; and Plutarch ("Symposiaca," iv. 6, 2) σκηνή. In later Hebrew literature V11p656005.jpg (Aramaic, V11p656006.jpg) is generally employed.

I want to point out this particular sentence from the above:

ἡ ἑορτὴ συντελείας or συναγωγῆς

"the feast of harvest" or "the feast of ingathering".

So I take the Hebrews reference to be referring to the "end of the ages":

ESV Hebrews 9:26 for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages (συντέλεια τῶν αἰώνων) to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

This is the "ingathering" prefigured in the Feast of Tabernacles/Feast of the end time harvest.

[Dan 9:24 NLT] (24) "A period of seventy sets of seven has been decreed for your people and your holy city to finish their rebellion, to put an end to their sin, to atone for their guilt, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to confirm the prophetic vision, and to anoint the Most Holy Place.

We see the harvest theme in the gospels and elsewhere:

[Mat 13:39-40, 49 NLT] (39) The enemy who planted the weeds among the wheat is the devil. The harvest is the end of the world (συντέλεια αἰῶνός ἐστιν) , and the harvesters are the angels. (40) "Just as the weeds are sorted out and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the world. ... (49) That is the way it will be at the end of the world. The angels will come and separate the wicked people from the righteous,

[Mat 13:39-40 MGNT] (39) ὁ δὲ ἐχθρὸς ὁ σπείρας αὐτά ἐστιν ὁ διάβολος ὁ δὲ θερισμὸς συντέλεια αἰῶνός ἐστιν οἱ δὲ θερισταὶ ἄγγελοί εἰσιν (40) ὥσπερ οὖν συλλέγεται τὰ ζιζάνια καὶ πυρὶ κατακαίεται οὕτως ἔσται ἐν τῇ συντελείᾳ τοῦ αἰῶνος... (49) οὕτως ἔσται ἐν τῇ συντελείᾳ τοῦ αἰῶνος ἐξελεύσονται οἱ ἄγγελοι καὶ ἀφοριοῦσιν τοὺς πονηροὺς ἐκ μέσου τῶν δικαίων

[Mat 24:3 NLT] (3) Later, Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives. His disciples came to him privately and said, "Tell us, when will all this happen? What sign will signal your return and the end of the world (συντελείᾳ τοῦ αἰῶνος)?"

[Mat 28:20 NLT] (20) Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age (συντελείᾳ τοῦ αἰῶνος)."

[Heb 9:26 NLT] (26) If that had been necessary, Christ would have had to die again and again, ever since the world began. But now, once for all time, he has appeared at the end of the age (συντελείᾳ τοῦ αἰῶνος) to remove sin by his own death as a sacrifice.

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