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CONSUMMATION of the KINGDOM OF GOD
By Tom L. Ballinger
“And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” (Matthew 24:3).
Before writing this, we were looking up some countries on a multimedia encyclopedia atlas. After doing so, just out of curiosity, we typed in the “Find” section, “consummation,” then we clicked “Go,” and was stunned to find it took us to a article on “Eschatology.” The highlighted word “consummation” was in a sentence which stated that in Christian doctrine, the Parousia is the CONSUMMATION of the kingdom of God.” It included such things as the resurrection of the dead, the last judgment, and the immortality of the soul. In the article, about the only thing it got right was that the Parousia of Jesus Christ is to be the consummation of the Kingdom of God.
The word, “consummation,” also carried us to the topic of “Nationalism” in which was written, “What was considered in Great Britain the birthright of Britons became in the U.S., under the influence of 18th-century Enlightenment, the natural right of every person. The Declaration of Independence marked the consummation of this libertarian ethos.” Neither of the articles was attributed to an author.
Despite the “no author” issue, what was interesting was the fact it affirmed what we have been writing about for years. That is, that the Parousia of our Lord Jesus Christ is not the beginning of the Kingdom of God, but rather, it is the magnificent consummation of the Kingdom of God.
“Consummation” means the coming together of everything that marks the completion, fulfillment, or realization of something. As noted above, the “consummation” of “the natural right of every person” found its consummation in the Declaration of Independence. We pointed out earlier that the consummation of marriage is the coming together of a husband and wife in a physical way. The consummation of a woman’s pregnancy is the birth of a living child.
When the Kingdom of God becomes a reality in the earth at Christ’s Epiphany and Kingdom (2 Timothy 4:1), manifold things begin flowing from Him. All of these out flowings, such as justice, righteousness, judgment, restoring of all things, removal of the Adamic curse, resurrections, divinely administered Government, and etcetera are working toward the realization of a goal, that is, “the consummation of the Kingdom of God—the Parousia.”
Many friends of “right division” insist that the consummation of the Dispensation of the Grace of God is the Parousia [Coming] of the Lord Jesus Christ. With this, we cannot agree. We truly believe that the present Dispensation of the Mystery was a truth “which hath been hid from ages and generations” (Colossians 1:26). We truly believe that the Mystery was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by Paul the Apostle (Ephesians 3:5). We truly believe that the Lord purposely avoided leaving any traces of the truth of the Mystery in other portions of Scripture (Ephesians 3:8). We truly believe that truth for today can only be found in those Scriptures written by Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for the Gentiles. We truly believe that “the administration of this Mystery, which for ages past, was kept hidden in God, who created all things” (Ephesians 3:9) NIV.
Most all who endeavor to rightly divide the word of truth would agree that the Mystery was not hid in Scripture. It did not appear as types and shadows in either the Old or New Testament writings. But, to suggest that the Dispensation of the Mystery is connected with the 2nd Coming of Christ (i.e. the Parousia) and the Rapture is a contradiction to the “unsearchable riches of Christ” (Ephesians 3:8).
An examination of the phrase, “the end of the world” ought to bear looking into. This phrase does not occur in any of the Prison Epistles.
Perhaps, the following is repetitious, but we’ll plough the ground once again on two words found in our KJV. These two are “end” and “world.”
We are not considering the word, telos, the final end of something, nor are we considering the word, kosmos, the orderly arrangement of the world. Instead, we will consider “sunteleia” and “aion.”
The Greek word for “end” is “SUNTELEIA;” meaning, the consummation. The Greek word for “world” is “AION;” meaning, the age. A clearer way to express “the end of the world,” would be—the “consummation of the age.”
Christ used this expression when He explained the “Parable of the Tares” to His disciples:
“The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world” (Matthew 13:39-40).
He used it again in Matthew 13:49 in explaining the Parable of the net cast into the sea.
“So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just,”
The phrase shows up again in Matthew 24:3 when His disciples asked Him;
“And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?”
The references provide us insight on the consummation of the coming age—the Kingdom of God. Not one hint of the consummation of the Age of Grace can be detected in any of the above.
Between the Epiphany, the beginning of Kingdom, and the consummation of the Kingdom, the Twelve Apostles will perform the ministry the Lord Jesus commissioned them to do:
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:19-20).
The Twelve Apostles have never taught the nations nor made disciples of them. They will do this when they are raised from the dead. They will have absolute assurance that the Lord Jesus will always be with them until His Parousia consummates the Kingdom of God.
“The consummation of the age,” in the contexts we’ve looked at, cannot be the consummation of the 1000 year reign of Christ. The 1000 year reign of Christ on the earth is His 1000 year Parousia. Its consummation is the great White Throne judgment of Revelation 20 in which the, then, earth and heaven flee away from His Face. This is when death and hell (i.e. the place of the dead; hades) is cast into the lake of fire.
The consummation of the Kingdom of God is the Parousia of Jesus Christ.
Tom L. Ballinger
END, ENDING: “sunteleia” NT:4930 signifies "a bringing to completion together" (sun "with," teleo, "to complete," akin to No. 1), marking the "completion" or consummation of the various parts of a scheme. In Matt 13:39-40,49; 24:3; 28:20, the rendering "the end of the world" (KJV and RV, text) is misleading; the RV marg., "the consummation of the age," is correct. The word does not denote a termination, but the heading up of events to the appointed climax.
WORLD: “aion” is not the world, but a period or epoch or era in which events take place. In Heb 9:26, the word translated "world" (KJV) is in the plural, and the phrase is "the consummation of the ages." It was at the heading up of all the various epochs appointed by divine counsels that Christ was manifested (i. e., in His Incarnation) "to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.” (from “Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words,” Copyright (c)1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers).