ANSWERING AN OVERLAP OF THE AGES QUESTION

PMW 2022-087 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

With my recent articles commenting on the two-ages in Scripture, I have received some questions. One of those I will answer in this posting. So, here we go.

Reader’s question

I was reading this post about the two ages and had a question. It seems that what makes the most sense to me is that the transition between these ages happened in 70AD and we are now living in the “age to come.” However, I finding it challenging to reconcile Matthew 13:39-40 and Luke 20:34-35 with that understanding. It looks like Gaffin introduces the concept of an overlap of the ages. But are you persuaded that this is taught by the Biblical authors explicitly instead of being deduced from assumptions brought to the text? The overlap seems to not be present in some of the “this age, age to come” references.

My answer

Yes, I believe this two-age-overlap interpretation is taught as clearly in the NT as is the doctrine of the Trinity. We have no express declaration of it, but we do have powerful statements that can only be understood in this way.

Thus, I firmly believe this age-overlap interpretation is a logical implication of the relationship of the two ages. This is largely due to eternal new creation issues being applied spiritually in the present fallen realm, such as new creation (2 Cor. 5:17), resurrection (Eph. 2:6), and so forth. And when these are recognized as consummate realities spiritually invading the present, the logic is irresistible. This recognizes the already/not yet principle at work in the NT. Thus, since Christ’s finished work on the cross, we currently have “tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come” (Heb. 6:5).

This understanding keeps Christ and his work at the center of redemptive history rather than the temple. This is why you find spiritual creation and spiritual resurrection occurring after Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection and about 40 years before the temple’s destruction. This also removes the “challenge” you sense in Matt. 13 and Luke 20. Furthermore, it has an extra-added attraction: it helps serves as a brake stopping one from descending into unorthodox views.

I highly recommend reading Gaffin’s In the Fullness of Times, at least chapter 10. I would also check Geerhardus Vos’ Pauline Eschatology. Reformed theology is hard to beat!

I will be writing a fuller, book-length defense of the two-age and overlap view soon. I believe this understanding of the structure of redemptive history has been overlooked due to the excitement of so many who have been caught up in “preterist fever.” Hyperpreterists see AD 70 in every verse and phrase of Scripture, but even some orthodox preterists have slid toward hyperpreterism, partly due to not understanding the two-age schema.


Understanding the Olivet Discourse (by Ken Gentry)Understanding the Olivet Discourse

This 5 DVD lecture set was filmed at a Bible Conference in Florida. It explains the entire Olivet Discourse in Matt. 24–25 from the (orthodox) preterist perspective.

See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com


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3 thoughts on “ANSWERING AN OVERLAP OF THE AGES QUESTION

  1. Jasondfinch November 18, 2022 at 11:53 am

    I always wondered about this word usage or this age and age to come. That was a great comment and I am looking forward to a longer response with more details.

  2. Tony Graybill November 18, 2022 at 4:51 pm

    I view the words “where righteousness dwells as words of contrast with the age of constant reminder of sin through mosaic instructed sacrifice. Thus the age and ages (generations) wherein deellerh to come began more privately in 30ad with the earthquake and tearing of the veil and confirmed publicly by the ending of the temple sacrificial system of Moses wherein deellerh the constant reminder of sin. The writer of Hebrews develops the argument that the way of sacrifice contained a constant reminder and dwelling of sin. So it is reasonable that when he talks of an age to come where righteousness (not sacrifices and sin continue) he’s referring to an age in contrast with and without those reminders..

    How does postmillennialism interpret 2 peter 3?

  3. Kenneth Gentry November 19, 2022 at 12:12 pm

    The righteousness dwelling in the new earth is contrasting to the sin covering the old earth. It represents the righteousness effected by the Last Adam (Christ) over against the First Adam (Adam), not over against Moses.

    There is no one view of 2 Peter 3. But I take it to mean precisely what is says. God created many in a body to dwell in a physical world. Christ has redeemed the body (Rom. 8:23ff) for the purpose of dwelling in a re-created physical world.

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