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Matthew 28:19-20:

19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” [ESV]

19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to follow all that I commanded you; and behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” [NASB]

19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. [KJV]

19 having gone, then, disciple all the nations, (baptizing them -- to the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all, whatever I did command you,) and lo, I am with you all the days -- till the full end of the age.' [YLT]

What did Jesus mean by "the end of the age"?

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  • The phrase "unto the end of the world" in the KJV, or "the end of the age" in modern translations, refers to τῆς συντελείας τοῦ αἰῶνος (the completion of the current age); i.e., the "age" (time period) when Jesus' disciples lived and evangelized while they waited for the arrival of yet another Old Testament "messiah" character the God of Judaism promised would overthrow their oppressors and restore Israel's ancient power and glory in the world of their time and place. (Cp. VWS entry at MT 28:20.) Commented Feb 19, 2023 at 23:36

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What did Jesus mean by "the end of the age"?

Answer: The end of the current dispensation and the end of time.

There have been several dispensations. We might also think of them as covenants. The Greek oikonomia is rendered “dispensation” often in the New Testament (cf. 1 Cor. 9:17; Eph. 1:10; 3:2, 9; Col. 1:25).

In modern vernacular, the word "dispensation" generally refers to a period of time. Biblically, these periods frequently refer to the ages of time where God has instituted various strategies of salvation.

1. The Patriarchal Dispensation (Age) This age extended from the Creation, including Adam and Eve, to the institution of the Law of Moses (or, Mosaic age). It came to an end when God selected and separated the Hebrew nation through whom Christ would eventually emerge (Gen. 12:2-3, cf. Deu. 7:6). During the patriarchal period, God communicated to Man only through prophets while worship to God was offered through the male head of each household (cf. Job 1).

2. The Mosaic Dispensation (Age) This age began when God gave the Law of Moses to the Jewish nation at Mt. Sinai. As stated, they became a separated people (from all other nations) as God's own. The Israelites would be the instrument through which the Messiah would eventually be sent (Gal. 4:4).

Here, we might understand that the rest of humanity remained under patriarchal regime since only the Israelites were accountable to the Law of Moses. This dispensation came to a close when Christ offered Himself on the Cross (this was savagely finalized when the Jewish nation was destroyed by the Romans in AD 70).

3. The Christian Dispensation (Age) This age was inaugurated on the Day of Pentecost in the first century. This dispensation is still in effect — and is the age referred to by the OP. Its end will be determined upon Christ's return:

1 Corinthians 15:24: "[Then] comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power."

At the end of the Christian age, the saints will exist in the paradise of God.

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Matthew 13:

37He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. 40Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. 41The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, 42and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.

Matthew 28:

19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Jesus will return with his mighty angels at the end of the age. Evangelize the world before that. After that, no more.

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‘Age’ from the Greek ‘aiōn ‘. Arguably the KJ translation into ‘world’ is inaccurate - because it doesn’t take into account ‘second temple thinking’ - that is, the ‘thinking’ of the Jews at the time of writing.

The ‘concept’ of age, or ‘period of time’ comes from the calendar used. The Hebrew calendar reflects history, just as ours. Our [modern] Gregorian calendar is ‘centred’ on the birth of Jesus. The Jewish calendar starts at creation, and is ‘divided’ into ‘ages’, which are periods of years. The larger grouping is periods of [around] ‘2000’ years. Jews have always believed in a ‘6000’ year timeframe for ‘man’.

The first 2000 years was the age of chaos. This followed by the age of Torah. Now importantly Jesus came during this age - Torah, which was about to end. So when we read of ‘the age to come’, this wasn’t too far away! And, the next age was also the last, the end age.

Now the ‘end of the age’ refers to the end period of each age. So whenever you read that, you next need to determine which ‘age’ is being referenced in order to understand the verse(s).

The calendar ‘system’ is a lot more involved [complex, yet simple] than this broad outline. For example It has Jubilee cycles. But this brought outline is sufficient to answer the question, to put the question into its perspective.

So the ‘ages’ being referenced in those verses from Matthew 28 is referring to the present age - the age of Torah, which was about to end very soon. And the disciples would have known exactly what this meant.

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  • 1) which was about to end very soon - can you provide an exact date? 2) After that date, Jesus was no longer with anybody?
    – user38524
    Commented Jun 23, 2021 at 19:50
  • Exact date? Unable. For us ‘these days’ working this out varies according to the Jewish calendar used. This ‘Olivete discourse’ (Mat 24) would probably have been in the last Jubilee of that age towards the end of it.
    – Dave
    Commented Jun 23, 2021 at 20:13
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Two Jewish Age Concept The Jewish rabbis wrote of "this age and the age to come." (See Eddersheim, Life and Times). "This age" was the one the Old Testament Jews were presently living in (until John the Baptist, John 1:17, Hebrews 10:1). "The age to come " was in reference to the expectant Messianic age which was to be introduced by a Messenger (Elijah; see Malachi 4:5), and by "birth pangs." (Which Jesus referred to in the Olivet Discourse, Mt.24:8) So according to Jewish expectations, Jesus was claiming that the Messianic Age had come!

I know that Messiah (called Christ) is coming. When He comes He will explain everything to us. Then Jesus declared, 'I who speak to you am He!' (John 4:25-26)

New Messianic Age Since Jesus had already informed the disciples of the end of Judaism with its animal sacrificing temple worship (see John 4:21, Luke 16:16, Luke 19:41-44, Mt 24:2), it would be the Messianic Age He would be referring to in this verse under consideration. Jesus, the Messiah, will be "with us" until the very End (through the Holy Spirit presence? John 15-17). This End will be the end of the world (Gk. synteleias)

This "End" is the same one Jesus mentioned in Matthew 13 when He spoke of the End-time Harvest (13:36-43) Same Greek word, meaning "a total completion." Not simply a telos, such as a minor end of an era. Combining two of the translations listed by the Questioner, the Full End of the World, would reflect an accurate understanding of Jesus's intent.

{The Inter-testament and first century rabbis were not monolithic in their teaching on the "two ages," but they generally spoke of the Present Age, and of the coming Age of Messiah. For a thorough description of this, see J. Julius Scott, Jr., Jewish Backgrounds of the New Testament, 1995, chapters 13 and 14. At the end of the Messianic Age there was to be a Resurrection and Judgment.

A lot of the language, used by the Jews about the Messianic Age, is now called "apocalyptic." But Jesus and the Apostles used that terminology in reference to the present Messianic Age, the Kingdom of God Age (containing the Church which is populated by Jew and Gentile without distinction; Ephesians 2:14-18, Luke 3:8) }

Then the End will come, when He hands over the Kingdom to the God and Father, after He has destroyed all dominion, authority, and power. (1 Corinthians 15:24)

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