The World to Come

"... the powers of the world to come." Hebrews 6:5

" the age to come eternal life." Mark 10:30

The Bible teaches that there is a clear division of human history into two main epochs: the present age and the age to come. The world to come, age to come, or Heaven on Earth are eschatological phrases reflecting the belief that the current world or current age is flawed or cursed and will be replaced in the future by a resurrection and better redeemed physical world or age. This is when the kingdom of the world will have become the kingdom of our God and of his Christ (Rev. 11:15) where will be the raising and renewal of our mortal bodies (Rom. 8:23; 1 Cor. 15:14) and everything that makes men stumble will be removed (Jer. 31;9) and the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea (Isa. 11:9; Hab. 2:14) an era of everlasting and perfect righteousness (Dan. 12:1–3; 2 Peter 3:11–13). Of all these things we have now a foretaste in Christ, but we do not yet observe them in their fullness. As Hebrews declares of Jesus in Psalm 8: "Thou didst put all things in subjection under his feet," and but that "At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him." (Heb. 2:8). This coming age is something only God can bring about.  The concept "world to come" is related but differs significantly from the conceps of heaven in that heaven is another place or state generally understood to be non-physical and above the world where saints go prior to the resurrection. 

The phrase is found in the Nicene Creed: "We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come." It is also found in the King James Version of the New Testament in Matthew 12:32, Mark 10:30, Luke 18:30, Hebrews 2:5, Hebrews 6:5. Other related expressions are "age to come" which is typically found in more recent translations, Kingdom of God, Messianic Age, Millennial Age, The New Earth and New Jerusalem, and dispensation of the fulness of times. Our Lord’s resurrection has inaugurated the future age into the present, and the people of God now experience a taste of the power of the age to come by experiencing the presence of God and through the ability to resist sin by the power of the Holy Spirit. This future age will arrive in its completeness when all the saints are raised physically from the dead, and being joined to Christ assures us now that we will then be raised unto eternal life just as He was.

Only God the Father knows when the age to come will begin (Mark 13:32–37).


The New Testament only speaks of two ages, or aion -s. This Age, and the Age to come.

Matthew 12:32: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world (aion), neither in the world (italicized*) to come.

Luke 18:30: ...who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world (aion) to come, life everlasting.

Ephesians 1:21: ...not only in this world (aion), but also in that which is to come.

Luke 20:34: The children of this world (aion) marry, and are given in marriage.

Luke 20:35: But they who shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world (aion)...neither marry nor are given in marriage.

In this age people marry, in the age to come people will not marry (Luke 20:34-35). In this age faithfulness is greatly rewarded; the faithful from this age are rewarded eternal life in the age to come. Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven in this age, nor in the age to come.

There are but two ages, this age, and the age to come. The question, then is, when will this age end ?

Matthew 24:3: ...what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world (aion)?

To this Jesus answers with the remainder of the chapter, revealing signs of the end of the age, all culminating with his second coming in verses 29 and following. Hence the end of the age will be marked by the return of Christ. Matthew 13:39-43 reveals the great harvest which is to take place at the end of the age, in which the tares are thrown into a furnace of fire (i.e. the Lake of Fire).

This Age The wheat and tares dwell together. The End of the Age The tares are taken from among the wheat and burned (Matt 13:30). The Age to come. The tares are burnt in the Lake of fire. (Matthew 13:42)

This Age The gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world as a witness to all nations The End of the Age Christ shall return and the elect shall be gathered. (Matthew 24:31) The Age to come The evil servant shall have his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 24:51)

This Age Those who leave all to follow Christ shall receive manifold blessings (Luke 18:30) The Age to come Those who leave all to follow Christ receive life everlasting (Luke18:30)

This Age People marry in this age (Luke 20:34) The Age to come People do not marry in this age (Luke 20:35).

This Age This age is temporal, ending with the return of Christ. The Age to come This age is eternal.

Certainly the age to come cannot be referring to a coming millennium. If this were true, people would have to procreate to sustain life on the earth. Marriage is the only Biblical form of procreation. In the age to come, there is no marriage. If the age to come were equated with the millennium, then there would have to be two ages to come. Yet this is clearly not what the Bible says.

There is this present age; there is the age to come (eternity); there are no other ages.


Related Resources
The Two-Stage Coming of the Kingdom by Sam Waldron
On Tasting Of The Powers Of The Age To Come And Falling Away by John Calvin
This Age and The Age to Come by Dr. Eckhard Schnabel
The Two Ages and Redemptive History by two age biblical theology
Partakers of the Age to Come (.pdf) by D. A. Carson

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