The noun “eon” comes from the Hebrew word olam, and the Greek word aiōn. Olam comes from a root meaning “hidden.” The word therefore means a period of time, but a period of unknown or hidden length, the duration of which is determined by the fact or condition or person to which the term is applied. The adjective eonian comes from the Greek word aiōnios. These words are more commonly known as “age” and “age-abiding” respectively.
“Age-abiding” pertains to the ages, that is, something that occurs within the ages. However, we should discipline ourselves to use these words as found in the original, which are “eon” and “eonian.” The reason is because the word “age” does not have an adjective like “eonian” and also portrays another meaning in the Greek, known as stature, and coming of age. Read the following verses:
His parents, then, answered and say, “We are aware that this is our son and that he was born blind. Yet how he is now observing, we are not aware, or who opens his eyes, we are not aware. Ask him; he has come of age. He will speak concerning himself.” These things his parents said, seeing that they feared the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone should ever be avowing Him to be Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue. Therefore his parents say that “He has come of age” (John 9:20-23).
By faith Sarah herself also obtained power for the disruption of seed, and brought forth beyond the period of her prime, since she deems the Promiser faithful (Hebrews 11:11).
And Jesus progressed in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men (Luke 2:52).
“Eon” means an indefinite long period of time. Look at the many different meanings that English translators gave to the word “eon” and its adjective “eonian”, (the numbers in parentheses represent the number of times these words are thus translated).
forever and ever (21)
for ever (27)
beginning of the world (2)
forever more (3)
without end (1)
while the world standeth (1)
the world began (3)
How could one word from a pure simple language mean so many things, especially “ever” and “never” at the same time? Faulty translation can, itself, be used to expose its own errors, as is seen by the following contradictory passages:
1.) “The earth remains for ever”
A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains for ever (Ecclesiastes 1:4, RSV).
1.) “a new earth”
Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away (Matthew 24:35, RSV).
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away (Revelation 21:1, RSV).
2.) “Everlasting covenant”
Every sabbath day Aaron shall set it in order before the Lord continually on behalf of the people of Israel as a covenant for ever (Leviticus 24:8, RSV).
2.) “a new covenant”
“Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant which I made with their fathers when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was their husband,” says the Lord (Jeremiah 31:31-32, RSV).
For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion for a second. For He finds fault with them when He says, “The days will come,” says the Lord, “when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah” (Hebrews 8:7- 8, RSV).
3.) “Everlasting priesthood”
You shall bring his sons also and put coats on them, and anoint them as you anointed their father, that they may serve Me as priests: and their anointing shall admit them to a perpetual priesthood throughout their generations (Exodus 40:14-15, RSV).
3.) “a changed priesthood”
Now if perfection had been attainable through the Levitical priesthood (for under it people received the law), what further need would there have been for another priest to arise after the order of Melchizedek, rather than one named after the order of Aaron? (Hebrews 7:11-12, RSV).
4.) “Eternal hills and mountains”
The blessings of your father are mighty beyond the blessings of the eternal mountains, the bounties of the everlasting hills (Genesis 49:26, RSV).
4.) “their departing, removal and dissolving”
For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you (Isaiah 54:10, RSV).
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and the works upon it will be burned up (2 Peter 3:10, RSV).
5.) “Jesus reigns for ever and ever”
… and He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of His kingdom there will be no end (Luke 1:33, RSV).
The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign for ever and ever (Revelation 11:15, RSV).
For the Lord God will be their light, and they shall reign for ever and ever (Revelation 22:5, RSV).
5.) “Jesus reigns until death is abolished”
For He must reign UNTIL He has put all His enemies under His feet. Th e last enemy to be destroyed is death (1 Corinthians 15:25-26, RSV).
When all things are subjected to Him [God], then the Son Himself will also be subjected to Him (1 Corinthians 15:28, RSV).
NOTE: Our Father’s kingdom is timeless, but Christ’s rule is only until the end of the eons, when all is subjected to the Father.
More comparisons could be made using the King James Version, but corrections in various places by the American Revision Committee gave us the accurate understanding of the noun “age.” However, not once is the adjective “eonian” translated correctly.
Once we learn about the different eons, then the above passages will not contradict each other. Time is so important in our daily lives. From the moment of conception, the clock started ticking. Time is recorded at birth and death. Our entire lives are affected by it.
To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under the heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8).
Time is comprehended in seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades and centuries. In the scriptures, God deals with it as weeks, days and eons. Properly identifying certain scripture verses with its eon will help us understand God’s purpose for man and time. God has a purpose for the eons, which He makes in Christ Jesus.
…in accord with the purpose of the eons, which He makes in Christ Jesus, our Lord (Ephesians 3:11).
During the eonian times, sin, suffering and death enter God’s creation, serve their purpose, and then are abolished by Christ Jesus. They must end because in them is death, and death is abolished. For He must be reigning until He should be placing all His enemies under His feet.
The last enemy being abolished is death (1 Corinthians 15:26).
That which is eternal lies beyond the eons. The word “eternal” is one of many false terms that entered into English theology and into our modern bibles. John Wycliffe, in 1380 A.D., translated Revelation 10:6 as “Tyme schal no more be.” Of course, he was influenced by Jerome’s Latin Vulgate (380 A.D.), which reads, “Time will not be further” (tempus non erit amplius). The King James Version reads, “there should be time no longer.” The Revised Version corrected it as, “there should be no more delay.” The Concordant Version reads, “there will be no longer a time of delay.”
Eons cannot be associated with eternity. The scriptures reveal that the eons will terminate:
Now all this befalls them typically. Yet it was written for our admonition, to whom the consummations of the eons have attained (1 Corinthians 10:11)
… since then He must often be suffering from the disruption of the world, yet now, once, at the conclusion of the eons, for the repudiation of sin through His sacrifice, is He manifest (Hebrews 9:26).
Another problem that exists when loosely using the term “eternal” as “eon” can be seen in the plural form “eons,” as used in these passages:
… that in the coming ages He might show the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:7, RSV).
… and to make all men see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, Who created
all things (Ephesians 3:9, RSV).
To the King of Ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever(1 Timothy 1:17, RSV).
How much longer is eternal in the plural than it is in the singular?
In the scriptures, time is divided into three large segments. The pre-eonian times (before the eons), the eonian times (during the eons) and the post-eonian times (after the eons). Refer to Figure 2 below. Print a copy for reference.
1.) The Pre-Eonian Times – The bible mentions a time before the eons began.
Yet wisdom are we speaking among the mature, yet a wisdom not of this eon, neither of the chief men of this eon, who are being discarded, but we are speaking God’s wisdom in a secret, wisdom which has been concealed, which God designates before – before the eons, for our glory (1 Corinthians 2:6-7).
Who saves us and calls us with a holy calling, not in accord with our acts, but in accord with His own purpose and the grace which is given to us in Christ Jesus before times eonian (2 Timothy 1:9).
… in expectation of life eonian, which God, Who does not lie, promises before times eonian (Titus 1:2).
If eon is rendered “eternal” in the above passages, it sounds absurd to say “before eternity.” The eons could have no beginning!
2.) The Eonian Times – There are five eons included in The Eonian Times. Two are in the past and two are future. We are living in the current middle eon.
3.) The Post-Eonian Times – The bible mentions a time after the eons, called the consummation.
Now all this befalls them typically. Yet it was written for our admonition, to whom the consummations of the eons have attained (1 Corinthians 10:11).
… thereafter the consummation, whenever He may be giving up the kingdom to His God and Father, whenever He should be nullifying all sovereignty and all authority and power (1 Corinthians 15:24).
The Divine Calendar
Print a copy of the Divine Calendar for reference.
This calendar shows us the five eons: The first eon, the ancient eon, the present wicked eon, the coming eon, the eon of the eons. The two in bold type are called the eons of the eons. Each eon ends in judgment and starts with a new promise or beginning. Two of the judgments are cataclysmic.
- 1) The disruption (“overflowed with water”) occurred between the first and second eon.
- 2) The Great White Throne judgment (fire) occurs in the future between the fourth and fifth eon.
The other two judgments occur on both sides of this current wicked eon. They are the flood (deluge), and the day of indignation or wrath (fiery judgments).
Starting at the left of the Divine Calendar, there are the phrases “All out of God” and “God All in Himself.” God is the Source and Object of all. Christ is the Channel of all.
… seeing that out of Him and through Him and for Him is all: to Him be the glory for the eons!
Amen! (Romans 11:36).
… nevertheless for us there is one God, the Father, out of Whom all is, and we for Him, and one
Lord, Jesus Christ, through Whom all is, and we through Him (1 Corinthians 8:6).
I can recall being taught in religion class that God always was and always will be. This baffles my finite mind; but we do know that there was a beginning – a beginning of the eons which is supported by the phrases “before eonian times” (2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 1:2) and “before the eons” (1 Corinthians 2:7). These verses were listed previously under the heading “Pre-Eonian Times.” It is evident that God was all in Himself and existed before the eons (1 Corinthians 8:6).
The First Eon
Next on the Divine Calendar is the first eon. Christ is the origin of God’s creation. He is God’s creative Original (Revelation 3:14). He is the First and the Last (Revelation 1:17), the Alpha and the Omega (Revelation 1:8). In fact the eons were purposed in Him (Ephesians 3:11), and without Him nothing would have been created, not one particle in this entire universe. Jesus Christ, the Son of God’s love, is the Firstborn. Since God is an invisible spirit, Christ is His visible revelation.
Who is the Image of the invisible God, Firstborn of every creature, for in Him is all created, that in the heavens and that on the earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones, or lordships, or sovereignties, or authorities, all is created through Him and for Him, and He is before all, and all has its cohesion in Him (Colossians 1:15-17).
Do you remember the unknown length of time between the first and second verses of Genesis 1, discussed in chapter one?
In a beginning created by God [Alueium] were the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1).
Verse one is the perfect creation of the first eon. Verse two brings disorder and chaos. Some scientists believe that the earth is 6000 years old, others, millions of years old. Regardless, it is safe to say that lots of years passed between the first and second eon.
Through Christ, God created the heavens and the earth. This is like saying that God created all of the leaves and needles on every tree, compared to a blade of grass! The heavens are so vast that scientists are always discovering millions of new stars and galaxies. Nehemiah writes of the heavenly hosts.
And Ezra said: “Thou art the Lord, Thou alone; Thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and Thou preservest all of them; and the host of heaven worships Thee” (Nehemiah 9:6, RSV).
The universe is full of heavenly beings which existed long before humans. These beings actually gazed on each new outstanding work that God called into existence. Listen to what our Lord tells Job:
Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who
determined its measurements – surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? On what were
its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons
of God shouted for Joy? (Job 38:4-7, RSV).
God’s creation is perfect.
The Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and right is He (Deuteronomy 32:4, RSV).
Even the earth was unblemished in Genesis 1:1. God did not create it without form and void. It was not chaotic, but was to be inhabited.
For thus says the Lord, Who created the heavens (He is God), Who formed the earth and made it (He established it; He did not create it a chaos, He formed it to be inhabited!) (Isaiah 45:18, RSV).
So, what happened? Genesis 1:2 is the close of the first eon, caused by a disruption.
The earth came to be a chaos and vacant, and darkness was over the surface of the abyssal expanse [the earth’s submerged surface].
I looked on the earth, and lo, it was waste and void; and to the heavens, and they had no light (Jeremiah 4:23, RSV).
What is disruption? The word disruption is from the Greek word katabolē, which means down-casting. It is used ten times in connection with the world. The Authorized Version (KJV) wrongly translates it as “ foundation.” The RSV did not correct it. Below is a comparison between the RSV and CLNT of John 17:24.
Father, I desire that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, may be with Me where I am, to behold My glory which Thou hast given Me in Thy love for Me before the foundation of the world (RSV).
Father, those whom Thou hast given Me, I will that, where I am, they also may be with Me, that they may be beholding My glory which Thou hast given Me, for Thou lovest Me before the disruption of the world (CLNT).
Th is same word katabolē occurs in the following verses:
In everything, being afflicted, but not distressed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not perishing – always carrying about in the body the deadening of Jesus (2 Corinthians 4:8-10).
It is implied that the rain, and also the earthquake which caused the subterranean waters to rush forth on the surface of the earth in Noah’s day, and earthquakes throughout history, caused the present disturbance in the earth’s layers. True, there must have been deposits of soil from the rain and some displacements from the quakes, but these hardly could have broken and shifted the layers of the entire earth as much as they appear now. In fact, the book of Revelation states that a great earthquake will occur of such great proportions that one like it has not occurred since mankind came to be on earth. This implies that there was an earthquake, much greater than humanity has experienced, before man was on the earth.
And lightnings and voices and thunders occurred. And a great earthquake occurred, such as did not occur since mankind came to be on the earth; of such proportions was the quake and so great (Revelation 16:18).
No – a great cataclysmic disruption can be the only cause of the earth’s present condition.
Refer to the Divine Calendar for a moment. Centered in God’s plan is the death, burial and resurrection of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ. On both sides of the cross there is exact symmetry. Th e first eon (perfect creation) corresponds with the last eon (new creation). Th e great cataclysmic disruption (water) corresponds with the great cataclysmic judgment (fire). The ancient eon (restored earth) corresponds to the Millennial kingdom (time of Israel’s restoration). On each side of this eon are two judgments (flood and wrath). To say there was no other disruption prior to the flood in Noah’s day would bring instability to God’s Divine Calendar.
Peter writes of this double deluge. The following verse relates to the flood in Noah’s day, in the ancient eon:
For if God spares not sinning messengers, but thrusting them into the gloomy caverns of Tartarus, gives them up to be kept for chastening judging; and spares not the ancient world, but guards Noah, an eighth, a herald of righteousness, bringing a deluge on the world of the irreverent (2 Peter 2:4-6).
The next verse relates to the “then world,” which was also deluged by water. This world perished, but not in the same sense as it will be by fire, prior to the new creation. Peter refers to it as a world, which means all was systematically and orderly arranged, and provision was made to support inhabitants. We could literally and exactly say that the world was restored in six days, though it is quite plain even if we say it was the earth.
For they want to be oblivious of this, that there were heavens of old, and an earth cohering out of water and through water, by the Word of God; through which the then world, being deluged by water, perished. Yet the heavens now, and the earth, by the same word, are stored with fire, being kept for the day of the judging and destruction of irreverent men (2 Peter 3:5-7).
Peter states that this “then world” perished. Becoming chaos and vacant conveys the same thought in different words. This is what occurred in Genesis 1:2, just one verse after the perfect creation. Below are listed other verses that point to a disruption.
For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind (Isaiah 65:17).
And I perceived a new heaven and a new earth, for the former heaven and the former earth pass away, and the sea is no more (Revelation 21:1).
What need would there be for a new heaven and earth if something catastrophic did not happen to the first one?
I shall be opening My mouth in parables, I shall be emitting what is hid from the disruption (Matthew 13:35).
Then shall the King be declaring to those at His right, “Hither, blessed of My Father! Enjoy the allotment of the kingdom made ready for you from the disruption of the world” (Matthew 25:34).
Father, those whom Thou hast given Me, I will that, where I am, they also may be with Me, that they may be beholding My glory which Thou hast given Me, for Thou lovest Me before the disruption of the world (John 17:24).
Then we who believe are entering into the stopping, according as He has declared, “As I swear in My indignation, If they shall be entering into My stopping!” although the works occur from the disruption of the world (Hebrews 4:3).
The wild beast which you perceived was, and is not, and is about to be ascending out of the submerged chaos, and to be going away into destruction. And marvel shall those dwelling on the earth, whose names are not written on the scroll of life from the disruption of the world, when they observe the wild beast, seeing that it was, and is not, and will be present (Revelation 17:8).
What Caused This Disruption?
Let’s answer this with some questions. Would you know what black is without white? Day without
night? Rich without poor? Hot without cold? The list could go on and on (which is the opposite of off and off !).
In the first eon, the heavenly beings were overwhelmed with whatever God called into existence. His creatures saw Him as a Creator of endless might and capability, yet one thing was missing. They did not know His Heart. Through Christ, God illustrated His power, but His creatures could not embrace Him as a loving Father. They understood Him in a way that the heathen nations and other unbelievers respect nature.
A contrast between good and evil is necessary for sin, hatred, hostility and rebellion to be revealed. The scriptures do not offer any full and definite account of the origin of Satan. Orthodox theology teaches that Satan was once perfect, then he rebelled and fell from heaven. I, on the other hand, believe that our Sovereign God has everything planned and in control, and that He purposely created evil. All is out of God. Evil was the probable cause for the disruption. Look at what scripture says regarding these two points of view.
Was Satan perfect?
The following passages lead to false ideas of a morning star called Lucifer, a perfect creature fallen from heaven and becoming Satan. Ezekiel 28 is used as proof that he was once perfect, but then fell. The prince of Tyre was definitely a man. If it refers to Satan, then according to :19 he has come to an end. This is not true, for he is alive today and the god of this present wicked eon. The king of Tyre was judged in the sight of those who knew his glory.
… in whom the god of this eon blinds the apprehensions of the unbelieving so that the illumination of the evangel of the glory of Christ, Who is the Image of the invisible God, does not irradiate them (2 Corinthians 4:4).
Another popular passage to support the theory that Satan fell from a glorified place is Isaiah 14:12. Notice the RSV translation corrected “O Lucifer” to read “O Day Star.” However, this is still incorrect because in the Hebrew text, the word translated “O Lucifer” or “O Day Star” is the same word which is rendered “howl” or “wail” in Zechariah 11:2. In the same chapter of Isaiah it is found in the feminine, beginning with :31. It appears ten other times in Isaiah (13:6; 15:2-3; 16:7 twice; 23:1, 6, 14; 52:5; 65:14). Below is the correct concordant translation of Isaiah 14:9-17. This text does not point to Satan’s past fall, but depicts the future when the “Desolator,” the “Man of Lawlessness” who exalts himself above every deity, is brought down.
The unseen, beneath,
is disturbed for you to meet you at your coming.
It rouses the Rephaim [healers] for you,
all the he-goats of the earth.
It rouses all the kings of the nations
to rise from their thrones,
All of them respond and are saying to you:
“Even you ailed as we! You are a proverb with us!
Your pride is brought down to the unseen!
The clamor of your zithers!
Under you berths the worm,
and covering you is the maggot.
How fall you from heaven!
Howl, son of the dawn!
You are hewn down to earth,
Over-comer of nations!”
For you say in your heart,
“I will ascend to heaven.
Above the stars of deity
will I exalt my throne,
and I will sit in the mount of testimony
in the lengths of the north.
I will ascend on the fane heights of a thick cloud;
I will be like the Supreme.”
Surely you shall descend to the unseen,
To the lengths of the cistern.
Those who see you shall peer
at you and understand you.
“Is this the man who disturbed the earth,
Who placed the inhabited earth as a wilderness
and doomed its cities?
He opened not the house of his bound ones.”
Contemplating this text exposes how ineffectual the attempts are to uncover evidence for the fall of Satan. Also, the word “Lucifer” is a misnomer by human fabrication and is not found in the original. Still another passage which tries to support the fall of Satan in the past is found in Luke.
Now the seventy-two return with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Thy name!” Yet He said to them, “I beheld Satan, as lightning, falling out of heaven. Lo! I have given you authority to be treading upon serpents and scorpions and over the entire power of the enemy, and nothing shall be injuring you under any circumstances” (Luke 10:17-19).
This passage deals with the ministry of the seventy-two whom Jesus sent forth prior to entering a certain place. Satan’s lightning descent from heaven refers to his swiftness in response to the ejected demons in Christ’s name. This is not in reference to his casting out.
It takes celestial beings a very short time to travel from heaven to earth. The messenger Gabriel who stands before God (Luke 1:19), visited Daniel with a message while Daniel was still speaking his brief prayer (Daniel 9:20-23, RSV).
Another false misconception about the Adversary is his residence. Traditionally he is known to be in the fiery depths of so-called hell, but scripture identifies him as the chief of the authority of the air.
And you, being dead to your offenses and sins, in which once you walked, in accord with the eon of this world, in accord with the chief of the jurisdiction of the air, the spirit now operating in the sons of stubbornness (Ephesians 2:1-2).
… for it is not ours to wrestle with blood and flesh, but with the sovereignties, with the authorities, with the world-mights of this darkness, with the spiritual forces of wickedness among the celestials (Ephesians 6:12).
In Daniel 10:13 we see the Adversary’s mighty operations through his chiefs by withstanding Gabriel for twenty-one days. He is not restricted to heaven only, but is going to and fro in the earth and walking in it. (Job 1:6-11).
There is a time in the future when Satan will fall from heaven. After he and his wicked messengers are defeated in battle, they will be cast out of heaven, down to earth during the middle of the tribulation period (Revelation 12:7-12).
Was Satan purposely made for evil?
God is omnipotent. He brought creation into existence. Let us not rob Him of His Sovereignty and purpose by making it appear that evil somehow slipped into existence. God knew about sin and evil before the disruption of the world, for He provided Christ as a Sacrifice.
Men! Israelites! Hear these words: Jesus, the Nazarene, a Man demonstrated to be from God for you by powerful deeds and miracles and signs, which God does through Him in the midst of you, according as you yourselves are aware: This One, given up in the specific counsel and foreknowledge of God, you, gibbeting by the hand of the lawless, assassinate (Acts 2:22-23).
Known from the eon to the Lord is His work (Acts 15:18).
… but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a flawless and unspotted lamb, foreknown, indeed, before the disruption of the world, yet manifested in the last times because of you, who through Him are believing in God (1 Peter 1:19-20).
And all who are dwelling on the earth will be worshiping it, everyone whose name is not written in the scroll of life of the Lambkin slain from the disruption of the world (Revelation 13:8).
… since then He must often be suffering from the disruption of the world, yet now, once, at the
conclusion of the eons, for the repudiation of sin through His sacrifice, is He manifest (Hebrews 9:26).
God chooses whomever He wants, whenever He wants (Romans 8:28-30), (Ephesians 1:3-6). He even subjected creation to vanity. (Romans 8:20).
God created Satan with the power to sin from the beginning. God uses evil. If the Adversary was not a sinner from the beginning, then he must have been called by some other title if he was once righteous. Such is not revealed. The Adversary sinned from the beginning.
Yet he who is doing sin is of the Adversary, for from the beginning is the Adversary sinning. For this was the Son of God manifested, that He should be annulling the acts of the Adversary (1 John 3:8).
I form light and create darkness, I make weal and create woe, I am the Lord, Who do all these things (Isaiah 45:7, RSV).
Behold, I have created the smith who blows the fire of coals, and produces a weapon for its purpose. I have also created the ravager to destroy (Isaiah 54:16, RSV).
By His spirit He makes the heavens, His hand travails with the fugitive serpent (Job 26:13, RSV).
Now the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord tormented him. And Saul’s servants said to him, “Behold now, an evil spirit from God is tormenting you” (1 Samuel 16:14-15, RSV).
And on the morrow an evil spirit from God rushed upon Saul, and he raved within his house, while David was playing the lyre, as he did day by day (1 Samuel 18:10, RSV).
And Micaiah said, “Therefore hear the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing beside Him on His right hand and on His left ; and the Lord said, ‘Who will entice Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?’ And one said one thing, and another said another. Then a spirit came forward and stood before the Lord, saying, ‘I will entice him.’ And the Lord said to him, ‘By what means?’ And he said, ‘I will go forth, and will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ And He said, ‘You are to entice him, and you shall succeed; go forth and do so.’ Now therefore behold, the Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets; the Lord has spoken evil concerning you” (1 Kings 22:19-23, RSV).
If you believe that God created all things, then any struggling thoughts about God’s purpose for Satan
and the eons will begin to clarify themselves.
All came into being through it [the Word], and apart from it not even one thing came into being which has come into being (John 1:3).
The Second Eon
Next on the Divine Calendar, we come to the second eon. This eon starts with a restoration of the heavens and earth of old.
For they want to be oblivious of this, that there were heavens of old, and an earth cohering out of water and through water, by the Word of God (2 Peter 3:5).
We are presently living in the “second” of the heavens and earths.
Yet the heavens now, and the earth, by the same Word, are stored with fire, being kept for the day of the judging and destruction of irreverent men (2 Peter 3:7).
The second eon – known as the ancient eon, or as referred to by Peter, the ancient world – begins in the latter part of Genesis 1:2. Notice how God starts the restoration process of the disrupted world. His Spirit moves over the waters. Here is further proof of a disruption and deluge before Noah’s day.
God is perfect. He did not make this waste and barren earth which is submerged in water as His primal creation. No, it is the result of a cataclysmic judgment.
What purpose does this tiny earth have in relationship to the vast universe? Remember, the heavens and celestial hosts were created before the earth. Satan maneuvers his power over the earth, which was made to become the scene on which the great struggle between good and evil was to be enacted. Once again, the Adversary is the god of this eon.
… in whom the god of this eon blinds the apprehensions of the unbelieving so that the illumination of the evangel of the glory of Christ, Who is the Image of the invisible God, does not irradiate them (2 Corinthians 4:4).
So far we have a Sovereign God. He is Spirit, invisible to His creation. Therefore the need for a visible Image was necessary, which is Christ. Through Him was created the universe of suns and stars, along with brilliant heavenly beings. God wanted to reveal His innermost heart. To accomplish this, He needed the Adversary, the opposite of good. Now God’s goal is underway. His love will eventually be recognized by the heavenly hosts and all mankind. The scene is set. Earth is the stage. A fundamental truth found in Corinthians is that we became a theater to the world!
… for we became a theater to the world and to messengers and to men (1 Corinthians 4:9).
Now what role do humans play? Since Christ was foreknown to be a Sacrifice, Satan could not harm Him in the form of God. Christ had to empty Himself of His Glory. Celestials do not die (Luke 20:36), so He took on a form which could feel pain, agony, suffering and, finally, death – a shameful death, at that. (Philippians 2:5-8).
Isn’t it outstanding that humanity is an instrument used by God in order that Christ could reveal to the universe Who God is and Who He Himself is? This revelation is love. We can only give praise from our lips.
In order for this human form to be capable of death, sin had to enter the picture. Mankind was not the cause of all evil, because the Adversary was already in the garden. In Genesis 2:15 Adam had to till it and keep (protect) it. In 3:5 the serpent said that they would know good and evil. There is the key to God’s purpose for humanity and the earth: the knowledge of good and evil. Because of Adam’s one sin, the dying process was passed through to all mankind.
Therefore, even as through one man sin entered into the world, and through sin death, and thus death passed through into all mankind, on which all sinned (Romans 5:12).
Now it was possible for God to show His deepest love for all: the Sacrifice of His Son. Christ’s one just act reverses Adam’s one offense. Adam caused condemnation, Christ gives justification. This fundamental truth is found in Romans.
Consequently, then, as it was through one offense for all mankind for condemnation, thus also it is through one just award for all mankind for life’s justifying (Romans 5:18).
Satan thought he hindered God’s plan for humanity, but good was brought out of it. From this will come the Seed which will destroy Satan’s works.
For this was the Son of God manifested, that He should be annulling the acts of the Adversary (1 John 3:8).
Now there is a need for salvation. Without evil, sin, suffering and death, salvation is unknown and unappreciated. Satan thought he foiled God again by the death of Jesus, but good came out of this also. Now He has the highest glory and is worthy of all.
… rousing Him from among the dead and seating Him at His right hand among the celestials, up over every sovereignty and authority and power and lordship, and every name that is named, not only in this eon, but also in that which is impending: and subjects all under His feet, and gives Him, as Head over all, to the ecclesia which is His body, the complement of the One completing the all in all (Ephesians 1:20-23).
Every celestial and human being can respond to God’s love and appreciate what He is. The cross revealed everything that is in His heart. Nothing else could, for He gave His Beloved One for His enemies. Christ did not become the Most High because God appointed Him thus. He earned it through His deeds by being obedient, even to death. Never will His creatures cease to find new marvels in the cross of Christ.
Humanity is used to reveal Christ, God’s crowning revelation. It is also the medium through which Satan reveals himself. Tools of Satan and instruments of God. “O, the depth of the riches and the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How inscrutable are His ways!” (Romans 11:33).
Also, in this Second Eon is the start of twelve intervals. They are: Innocence, Conscience, Government, Promise, Law, Incarnation, Pentecostal, Two-Fold, Secret, Indignation, Justice and Love.
Two intervals are found in the second eon: Innocence and Conscience.
INNOCENCE: Adam and Eve knew no evil, therefore they were like innocent babes; but to live in such a garden, plucking fruit, eating it and being among harmless animals would not fulfill God’s plan. Evil was required.
CONSCIENCE: There was no hesitancy when Eve took the fruit and ate of it, giving some to Adam. Then immediately they were conscious of their nakedness.
She would have thought twice about her actions now. This was not possible when they were innocent without a conscience. God left humanity on its own with just a conscience of good and evil to discourage them from wrong. Th is inner restriction was insufficient because the result was destruction by flood.
The Third Eon
Next on the Divine Calendar is the third eon, in which we are now living. This eon begins aft er God destroys all corrupt flesh of the second eon except Noah’s family and some animals. Man needs God’s presence for preservation. Th is third eon begins with government and ends with indignation.
GOVERNMENT: To prevent mankind from utter destruction a second time, God introduces “authority.” This rule of man over man aided in reducing wickedness by correcting them. This decreased the violent behavior. Humanity has two things working for it up to this point: Conscience (knowing the difference between good and evil), and government (restraint by the authorities). However, these gratuities from God are abused. While on this subject of authority, when we hear the saying “an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth,” this refers to a measure of punishment given, depending on the type of offense. It should not be thought of with respect to vengeance, because the Lord is the Avenger (1 Thessalonians 4:6).
PROMISE: Though government was proven a failure, it continues along with conscience. In Genesis 1-11 God is dealing with all men on one level. There was no distinctive calling. There was not a favored nation. The nations became so corrupt (Genesis 10-11) that God gave them up (Romans 1:18-32).
So in Genesis 12 God chose Abraham to play a mediator role for the nations. He was the father of a nation. The nations had to go through Israel to have access to the true God. God chose Israel, which will be a blessing to other nations. Through Abraham comes the Seed, which is Christ. Praise God for His Masterful plan.
Now to Abraham the promises were declared, and to his Seed. He is not saying, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of One: And to “your Seed,” which is Christ (Galatians 3:16).
Promises give humans something to anticipate. They encourage us to live uprightly.
LAW: God made a covenant with the nation of Israel. However, they didn’t keep it, thus the law was given as a reminder that Israel broke the covenant. Paul wrote that the law was added because of transgression (Galatians 3:19). The law demonstrates how ineffective their attempt was to gain divine righteousness given to Abraham. Before the law, sin was a mere mistake. Now it is a transgression because a divine command is violated. Transgression is sin against a known law which not only includes punishment, but finds displeasure with God. Without law there is no transgression. Law produces
INCARNATION: The only hope Israel had was a Redeemer and a new covenant. They could never fulfill their mission as a priestly nation until they were under a new covenant. They remained in bondage under the law. Finally, their Redeemer came and sealed the new covenant with His blood. This was the end of the law. “For the law through Moses was given, but Grace and Truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17). The law commanded; Christ provided. The law was divine; Christ was warm, kind, merciful and compassionate. Yet even though the Word and Image of God were among His
people, they not only rejected their Prince of Peace but crucified Him as well (John 1:11).
PENTECOST: Jesus prayed on the cross to forgive Israel and give them a second chance, so God continued to show mercy to the nation by pouring out His spirit on the few who believed. Yet the nation rejected this spiritual gift and defied those whom God had appointed to herald the good news. Israel did not repent, and Paul closed the door on them (Acts 28:28). Now Israel is set aside and they are on the same level as the nations were before the call of Abraham (Genesis 1-11). They are not God’s favored nation today, but He will fulfill their promises in the future. More on this topic in a later chapter.
TWO-FOLD: The apostle Paul had a two-fold ministry during the Acts period. He was proclaiming the millennial kingdom to both Jews and gentiles, the reason being that God wanted to provoke Israel to jealousy so that they would repent and accept their Messiah. Believing gentiles were grafted into the olive tree, and the branches of the unbelieving Jews were cut out to provoke Israel to jealousy (Romans 10:19; 11:11-26). Moses foretold this.
They have stirred Me to jealousy with what is no god; they have provoked Me with their idols. So I will stir them to jealousy with those who are no people; I will provoke them with a foolish nation (Deuteronomy 32:21, RSV).
SECRET: No other nation was on equal terms with Israel. Only scraps or crumbs were allowed (Mathew 15:22-28). The nations were always guests or debtors and subjected to Israel (Romans 15:27).
Now, God is revealing something completely new. The apostle Paul, while imprisoned, unfolds the exceeding glories through the wisdom of the Ephesians secret. God is calling both Jews and Gentiles into one body, which is the present church. The wall of separation is now broken down (Ephesians 2:14). The church will have the role as mediator in heavenly places. This calling is by grace, not by covenant. This secret of the Ephesians letter was hidden in God (Ephesians 3:8-10; Colossians 1:25-26). More about this interval in a later chapter.
INDIGNATION: This interval is known as the time of Jacob’s trouble or the great tribulation, just prior to our Lord’s return to set up the Millennial kingdom. The Desolator, or Man of Lawlessness, will cause so much pain, misery and persecution for the Jews that they will call on the Lord. Christ will return to the Mount of Olives and they will look on Him Whom they pierced (Zechariah 12:10, RSV).
The Eons of the Eons
After our Lord returns to earth, He will set up the Millennial kingdom. This ushers in the fourth and fifth eons, called “the oncoming eons” (Ephesians 2:7). The fourth eon is designated as “the coming eon” (Mark 10:30; Luke 18:30), which is the Millennial kingdom.
The fifth eon is “the eon of the eon” (oulm u od, Hebrews 1:8, translated from the Septuagint). It is also called “the eon of the eons” (Ephesians 3:21). Please refer to the Divine Calendar. These last two eons together are called “the eons of the eons,” more commonly known as “forever and ever.”
I pray that you are somewhat convinced that the word “eon” is not associated with endlessness. With this in mind, the confusing phrase “forever and ever” can be dealt with. These words “forever and ever” were programmed into our minds through faulty Bible translations, love songs and happy ending stories.
If the English word “forever” denotes “eternity” and “always,” then the addition of “and ever” contradicts all laws of language. No word can be added to “forever” to increase its endless meaning. Many believe it is just a harmless expression of the infinity of eternity. If this is so, let us keep it in the verses of love songs, and the scripts of happy-ending stories. Furthermore, if this expression is acceptable, then would it be correct for a journalist to say, “that was the worst and worst disaster I’ve ever seen,” or for a sports announcer to say, “that was the longest and longest ball hit in this stadium”? Professionals do not use these expressions, neither did men inspired by God.
May we abstain from that which is contrary to our Divine Author by turning to the Original Scriptures for clarification. A comparison of three phrases will aid us.
ton aiōna tou aiōnos (Hebrews 1:8)
the eon of the eon
tou aiōnos ton aiōnōn (Ephesians 3:21)
of the eon of the eons
tous aiōnas ton aiōnōn (Galatians 1:5)
the eons of the eons
If the singular ton aiōna tou aiōnos means “forever and ever,” then tou aiōnos ton aiōnon must be rendered “forever and evers,” and tous aiōnas ton aiōnōn must be rendered “forevers and evers.” These phrases show that the eons are limited in time, and possess different qualities.
The Fourth Eon
JUSTICE: This eon begins aft er the tribulation period. Christ returns as Israel’s Messiah to set up the Millennial kingdom, during which He will rule with a rod of iron. Righteousness will reign. This is why justice is present. Up until now God had left mankind to prove its own weakness and foolishness, but in this eon and the next, He appears on the scene in the person of His Son. There will be divine government and glory. In this fourth eon, Israel is near and the nations are still at a distance. This is due to Israel’s religious rise. There will be sacrifices, oblation, festivals, a restored priesthood and more.
This is Israel’s time of refreshing, restoration and hope (Acts 3:19-21). They will be blessed, and their royal priesthood will share God’s blessings with all the families of the earth. All flesh shall come to worship; but just like all of the other eons, this one also ends in judgment. Satan is loosed after the thousand years to deceive the nations. Fire descends from God out of heaven and devours his armies. Then the Adversary is cast into the lake of fire and sulphur where the wild beast and false prophet are (Revelation 20:7-10).
In the next (last) eon, much is changed; but before it begins, the second great cataclysmic disruption takes place. The present earth and heaven are destroyed with fire. Then the dead, great and small, are resurrected for the Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20:11-15).
Yet the heavens now, and the earth, by the same word, are stored with fire, being kept for the day of the judging and destruction of irreverent men (2 Peter 3:7).
… the heavens shall be passing by with a booming noise, yet the elements shall be dissolved by combustion, and the earth and the works in it shall be found (2 Peter 3:10).
The Fifth Eon
(New Heaven and Earth)
The present earth and heaven will be consumed with fire aft er the fourth eon and prior to the Great White Throne Judgment. Then there is a new heaven and earth (Revelation 21:1-3).
LOVE: This interval resembles the first eon; a perfect cosmos. Also it is a restored Paradise of the second eon in which God is once again on intimate terms with humanity as a whole, and tabernacles among them. In the previous (fourth) eon, Christ reigned with an iron rod. Now He is present as the Son of God’s love. The Jews and nations will have a close fellowship. What a display of God’s reconcilable plan.
Though there will be no more death on the new earth (Revelation 21:4), all will not possess immortality. The tree of life will supply the body with vital properties. Remember that the nations on the new earth will be fleshly and soulish – thus the need for the tree of life (Ezekiel 47:12; Revelation 22:2).
Christ alone has immortality, and also those at His presence. This includes the church which is His body and Abraham’s seed according to the flesh and promise up to the first or former resurrection, prior to the millennium (Revelation 20:5). The rest of mankind is resurrected at the Great White Throne.
The new heaven and earth is not the final phase of God’s goal for the universe. As long as there are kings reigning (Revelation 21:24), and the second death is still in operation (Revelation 21:8), all is NOT subject under Christ’s feet. Death has to be abolished so all can be subject to God. This will become clear when we discuss death, resurrections, vivification and reconciliation.
The Consummation of the Eons
Christ is the “beginning and the end”.
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Origin and the Consummation (Revelation 22:13).
If the eons began through Christ (Ephesians 3:11), then they must also come to a consummation or end through Him (1 Corinthians 15:24). Endings are sometimes sad, but not in this case. Christ places all of His enemies under His feet. The last enemy is death. The only death existing in the fifth eon is the second death. When Christ finally abolishes it, then all is subject to God. Christ Himself also shall be subject to God (1 Corinthians 15:28).