Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The "End" of the World

Save that thought! I just had a thought that may have implications about eschatology. The word "end" in the Bible - it seems it doesn't always literally mean "end" but can also mean "future" or "outcome".

For example:

When God promised Israel through the prophet Jeremiah, "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end", He wasn't only talking about Israel's final end - He was also talking about what the outcome would be for Israel, what Israel's future - spanning a considerable period of time - would be.

When James exhorted, "...ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy..." he wasn't referring to the literal end of Job's life - He was referring to the outcome of the whole saga of the Book of Job, which was the restoration of all things that lasted a considerable number of years thereafter in Job's life.

When Paul exhorted, "Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation", he wasn't meaning that they all died, although some of them may have died already - rather, he was meaning to consider the fruit, or outcome in their lives of the faith they were living by.

"End" doesn't necessarily mean the chronological demise of something - but it may refer to its "future outcome" - a state which, once started, may continue for quite a long time before its final "end" comes.

For futher research:

So, when the disciples asked Jesus concerning the destruction of the Temple and the "end" of the world, could it be that part of Jesus' answer (in Matthew 24) was not exclusively about the literal "end" of the world but could some of it also have been about the "future outcome" of the world? After all, the disciples' questions seemed to be prompted by Jesus' initial predictions about the Temple, not about the whole world.

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