Consummation of All Things

Paul pegs the start of the “Last Days” to the death and resurrection of Jesus. In the Nazarene, the messianic age, the time of fulfillment arrived in earnest. Ever since the promises of God have been finding their “yea and amen” in the Risen Christ. While the term “Last Days” is not frequent in the Apostle’s letters, he does demonstrate his understanding that History’s final stage commenced with the death and resurrection of the Messiah, and therefore, nothing can or ever will be the same again.

For example, to the congregation in the city of Corinth, he categorized key events from the Hebrew Bible as “types,” examples for the followers of Jesus, the very ones “upon whom the ENDS OF THE AGES have arrived.”

In the wilderness, God provided Israel with “spiritual drink” from the “spiritual rock,” and this “rock” prefigured Jesus (for “the rock was Christ”). Such pivotal events serve as examples so his disciples no longer will live after the manner of this age - (1 Corinthians 10:11).

Beach Dusk - Photo by v2osk on Unsplash
[Beach Dusk - Photo by v2osk on Unsplash]

And in his letter to the Corinthians, Paul uses the plural forms of “
ages” and “ends.” The Greek term telos or “end” may signify the termination of something, but also its “goal.” And in his letter, both senses may be in view - termination and goal.


Jesus expressed the same thought in his parable of the Wheat and Tares, the “produce” of the field that will be “gathered at the CONSUMMATION OF THE AGE.” The English term “consummation” translates a Greek compound word built on the noun telos, namely, sunteleia. It refers not just to the “end” of the present age, but to the consummation of all that God has set into motion in it.

Similarly, the Book of Hebrews declares that Jesus “once in the consummation (sunteleia) of the ages appeared to put away sin by his sacrifice” - (Matthew 13:36-44, Hebrews 9:26).

Thus, In Christ, one era reached its endpoint while another one began.  That transition was due to Jesus, especially his death, resurrection, and his subsequent exaltation. And therefore, the “ends of the ages,” plural, have come upon his present followers.

To the churches in Rome, the Apostle declared that the arrival of Jesus signified the “end (telos) of the Law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” The literary context is clear - By “law,” Paul refers to is the Law given through Moses at Mount Sinai. Whether Paul means the termination or the goal of the Law, his statement indicates a FUNDAMENTAL CHANGE IN STATUS AND ERA - (Romans 10:1-4).

To the churches of Galatia, Paul answered the question – “Why, then, the law?” He placed its jurisdiction within a limited period.  The Law was “added because of transgressions UNTIL the seed should come to whom the promise was made.” The Law was given over four hundred years after the promise was confirmed to Abraham; and so, the promise takes precedence over the Law - (Galatians 3:19-25).

The Law served as the “custodian” of God’s people “UNTIL the faith that should afterward be revealed.”  Since that faith has arrived, God’s people are no longer under the custodianship of the Law with its division between Jews and Gentiles; therefore, “all are sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, there cannot be Jew nor Greek… You are Abraham’s heirs according to promise” – (Galatians 3:19-29).


And Paul continues. At the “FULLNESS OF TIME,” God sent his Son “to redeem them under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons, and because we are sons God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts” – (Galatians 4:1-6).

And so, the Apostle to the Gentiles links the “promise of Abraham,” the inheritance, redemption, and the “fullness of time” to the arrival of Jesus, along with the “adoption” of God’s children and the Gift of the Spirit. Hence, his arrival and ministry signified a fundamental change in the Law and the status of God’s people – (Galatians 3:1-4).

The first arrival of Jesus, especially his death and resurrection, marked the “fullness of time,” the point when the saints ceased being “minors” under the custodianship of the Law, and instead, became full heirs of the promises made to Abraham. To now return to the “elemental things” of the old order would mean nothing less than regression to a past age:

  • How turn you back to the weak and beggarly elements unto which you desire again to be in bondage? You observe days, months, times and years” - (Galatians 4:9-11).

In Galatia, one area of conflict concerned a return to the Jewish calendrical observations required by the Levitical regulations. But since believers are now full heirs and “sons,” it follows that the jurisdiction of the Law is no longer in effect, and that also means that a radical change in the identity of God’s people has taken place. The same clause occurs in Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians:

  • (Ephesians 1:9-11) - “Making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he purposed in him, for an administration of the fullness of the seasons, to reunite for himself, under one head, the all things in the Christ, the things upon the heavens and the things upon the earth, in him. In whom also we were taken as an inheritance, according to the purpose of him who energizes all things according to the counsel of his will.

In the Ephesian passage, Paul uses the more pregnant term “seasons,” and in the plural number to stress how Jesus was the goal of God’s plans from all eras - past, present, and future.


Paul addresses marital relationships in 1 Corinthians. Should Christians continue in such relationships considering the “present distress?” The short answer is “yes.” Husbands and wives must fulfill their mutual obligations, and the unmarried are free to marry, though only “in the Lord.”

Nevertheless, Paul does place marriage in its proper place. Disciples must keep their priorities straight since, with the advent of Christ--:

  • “The time is shortened, therefore, let those that have wives may be as though they had none, and let those that buy as though they possessed not,” for the fashion of this world is passing away.” - (1 Corinthians 7:29-31).

The present tense Greek verb rendered “passing away” stresses ONGOING ACTION; action-in-progress. Even now, the world is in the process of “passing away” and has been ever since the arrival of Jesus. Similarly, in his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul teaches--:

  • (2 Corinthians 5:15-17) - “Having judged this, that one on behalf of all died, hence, they all died; and in behalf of all died he, in order that, they who live, no longer for themselves should live, but for him who, in their behalf, died and rose again. So that we, henceforth, know no one after the flesh: if we have even been gaining after the flesh a knowledge of Christ. On the contrary, now, no longer are we gaining it. So that, if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation! the old things have passed away. Behold, they have become new!

Thus, the death and resurrection of Jesus inaugurated the promised new creation. Its implementation began with that event. Moreover, this fact means that a major pivotal point in history has been reached in him.

The “old” order is passing away and the “new” one is dawning in the middle of the present “evil age,” especially so in the church.  There is both continuity and discontinuity between the old and the new eras. Things that were required under the old system have lost their relevance. For example, in this new era, circumcision is neither here nor there. What counts is the “new creation” in him - (Galatians 6:15).

In Galatians, Paul points to Jesus and his sacrificial death that “delivered us from this present evil age.” He does not refer to our removal from the physical universe but to our deliverance from the present era in preparation for the coming age - (Galatians 1:4).

Likewise, to the Colossians, he thanks God “who delivered us out of the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of His beloved Son.” Disciples now belong to a different age and a different political order - (Colossians 1:12-13).


Paul wrote of the “mysteries” that were hidden previously but are now made manifest in Jesus of Nazareth for all men to see. The promises given by the prophets of Israel have found their fulfillment in him.

He is the “mystery which has been kept in silence through past ages, but now is manifested,” according to the Scriptures. This mystery is “made known to all the Gentiles for the obedience of faith.” He is the “mystery hidden from ages and from generations but now manifested to his saints” - (Colossians 1:26, 2 Timothy 1:10).

The term “Last Days” is not a chronological marker, nor does it refer simply to the final few years of history before the return of Jesus. Instead, a fundamental change in the nature and status of everything has occurred because of Jesus. His death achieved final victory over Sin, Death, and Satan. And since his resurrection and the outpouring of the Spirit, the “Last Days” have been underway as the present order winds down to its inevitable conclusion – (Acts 2:17-22).

Calvary means far more than the forgiveness of sins.  Jesus inaugurated the Kingdom of God, the New Covenant, and the New Creation. The latter is not waiting for its commencement; it has begun already and is progressing toward its inevitable consummation.

His death put into motion the final phase of the redemptive plan of God for the entire creation. Consequently, all human relations are radically altered, whether marital, societal, or political.

This is why the New Testament consistently portrays the “Last Days” as having commenced with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  The age of fulfillment has been upon us ever since he rose from the dead, the “FULLNESS OF TIME.”


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