What is “the present age” and “the age to come”?

Last updated on February 9, 2022

present age - age to come

The Old Testament talks about a present time of sin and a future time of redemption. So too the New Testament establishes two ages: this age and the one to come. The word “age” refers to a long period of time, sometimes eternal. The apostle Paul states in Ephesians 1:21 that God seated Christ “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come”.

The present age

Known in the Bible as “this age, this time, the present age, this world.” It covers the period from creation to the second coming of Jesus Christ. This age is characterized as follows: it is filled with disobedience (Ephesians 2:2), it is evil (Galatians 1:4), it knows suffering (Mark 10:29-30) and death (Luke 20:34-40), its philosophy is earthly, unspiritual, and demonic (1 Corinthians 1:20; James 3:15).

Satan, though bound, influences this fallen and wicked age, which will continue until the return of Christ when He brings with Him the age to come and the consummation of his Kingdom (2 Corinthians 4:4; 1 John 5:19).

The age to come

Known in the Bible as “the century to come, the age to come.” It starts at the second coming of Christ and lasts for all eternity. This age is characterized as follows: it is eternal (2 Corinthians 4:18), all rule, authority and power that opposes the purposes of Christ is destroyed (1 Corinthians 15:24-26), the bodies of those who are in Christ are completely redeemed (Romans 8:23), the new creation has reached its fullness (Romans 8:21).

Satan will be cast into the lake of fire and sulfur and the Kingdom of God will be consummated in Christ at the end of time (Revelation 20:10; 22:1-5).

Enjoying today the blessings of the age to come

However, in this present age we are already enjoying blessings from the age to come, for example: Christ is already reigning in the present time and, through his people, the Kingdom is being proclaimed (Ephesians 1:20-21; 2:6), the seal of the Holy Spirit in the Christian is the guarantee of an eternal inheritance (Ephesians 1:14) and the new birth of the sinner, that he has received only in Christ, is the beginning of the new creation that is expected in the age to come (2 Corinthians 5:17).

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:1-2).

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