The two ages.

World history in two acts in ancient Jewish apocalyptic thought.


The Hebrew word for the idea of an age is עולם, the Greek word for the same concept is αιων, and the Latin is usually saeculum. Of these three very important words the Greek αιων gives us our English noun eon (archaically spelled ćon), while the Latin saeculum gives us our English adjective secular. (English has ancestral roots in both Greek and Latin, unlike Hebrew, which gives us only loanwords or proper names borrowed straight from the pages of the Old Testament.)

I am concerned here mainly with the Hebrew and Greek. The Latin earns its importance mainly in the study of some later Jewish texts, such as 4 Ezra, upon which I will touch only briefly in this piece.

Refer also to my discussion of expressions of eternity.

A careful investigation into the meaning of the Hebrew word עולם and its preferred Greek translation αιων across the pages of the Old Testament, the intestamental literature, and the New Testament will bring to light, I think, a basic two-phase development of belief amongst the ancient Jews. These two phases are, quite simply:

  1. Belief in one age.
  2. Belief in two ages.

That way of phrasing the first phase may be misleading. I do not claim that any ancient Jew necessarily insisted on only one age. Rather, the most ancient texts of the Hebrew scriptures simply seem unaware of any more than one age. It was one age by default, not necessarily by conscious rejection of other models.

That second belief, on the other hand, is phrased perfectly. There were many Jews later on who would insist on exactly two ages, as we shall see.

Between these two phases we will note a transition of sorts, a few texts that do not necessarily address the two ages directly, but nevertheless speak to an end or consummation to the present age, thus indirectly speaking to something to follow that does not belong to this present age.

These phases, and the transition between them, are linear only in the broadest sense. We can identify a time when one age was, so far as we can tell, the only view on the table. We can also identify a time when the two ages were fully in place as a workable model of history, though some Jews still held to only one age. The times between these poles are more difficult to pin down. Which is why I discuss a transition time separately between these clear phases.

In the roughest terms, the first phase covers the Old Testament from the mists of prehistory to the time of the exile to Babylon, and well into the postexilic period. We begin to see the transition in some postexilic works and in the intertestamental literature. By the time we reach the days of the New Testament, the second phase is rather firmly in place, with both ardent supporters and firm detractors.

Phase 1.

One eternal age.

The greater portion of the ancient Hebrew scriptures shows no awareness of any more than one age in time.

By far the most common use of the Hebrew word עולם and its Greek translation αιων is in expressions of eternity, id est, to say forever. The usual expression for eternity past is מעולם (from the age). The usual expression for eternity future is לעולם (to the age) or עד־עולם (until the age). And the term is almost always singular in the Hebrew scriptures.

Only twelve times in the Hebrew scriptures does the word עולם appear in the plural...:

  • 1 Kings 8.13.
  • 2 Chronicles 6.2.
  • Psalm 61.5; 77.6, 8; 145.13.
  • Ecclesiastes 1.10.
  • Isaiah 26.4; 45.17 (twice); 51.9.
  • Daniel 9.24.

...and all of these instances are most easily regarded as the kind of hyperbole that is typical in expressions of eternity. Something that is supposed to last unto the ages (plural) is not necessarily going to endure any longer than something that is supposed to last unto the age (singular). The former is merely the hyperbolic formulation of the latter, and nothing more.

More to the point, nowhere in the preexilic and early postexilic books do we read any apocalyptic speculation on the two ages. So far as we can tell, only one age was ever in view throughout this most ancient period.

The Old Testament promises an eternal duration to quite a few things, of course, but the two most important, as we consider later Jewish thought, were the everlasting land promise to Abraham and the everlasting kingdom to David.

Genesis 13.15 (Masoretic and LXX):

כי את־כל־הארץ אשר־אתה ראה לך אתננה ולזרעך עד־עולם׃

...οτι πασαν την γην ην συ ορας σοι δωσω αυτην και τω σπερματι σου εως του αιωνος.

...since all the land that you see I shall give to you and to your seed until the age.

2 Samuel 7.16 (Masoretic and LXX):

ונאמן ביתך וממלכתך עד־עולם לפניך כסאך יהיה נכון עד־עולם׃

Και πιστωθησεται ο οικος αυτου και η βασιλεια αυτου εως αιωνος ενωπιον εμου και ο θρονος αυτου εσται ανωρθωμενος εις τον αιωνα.

And your house and your kingdom shall be entrusted until the age before me, and your throne shall be established to the age.

(Note that my translation follows the Hebrew second-person singular your instead of the Greek third-person singular his.)

Both the land and the kingdom were promised to Israel for the age. But something happened. The course of the age went terribly wrong. 2 Kings 25.1-30 and 2 Chronicles 36.15-21 describe what transpired. Babylon conquered Jerusalem and led its inhabitants away into exile. The land was gone. The kingdom was gone. The times had turned a corner, and it became painfully obvious to all that the everlasting land promise and the everlasting kingdom were not going to last forever... at least not in this age....

Transition.

The great consummation.

There are passages in some of the postexilic writings that begin to envisage an end, or consummation, of the times. A particular point is imagined at which the times will change their character, the age will come to a climax, and two basic things will happen: The restoration of Israel to its land and kingdom, and the resurrection of the dead.

The consummation is restoration in Tobit 14.5:

Και παλιν ελεησει αυτους ο θεος και επιστρεψει αυτους εις την γην και οικοδομησουσιν τον οικον, ουχ οιος ο προτερος, εως πληρωθωσιν καιροι του αιωνος, και μετα ταυτα επιστρεψουσιν εκ των αιχμαλωσιων και οικοδομησουσιν Ιερουσαλημ εντιμως, και ο οικος του θεου εν αυτη οικοδομηθησεται εις πασας τας γενεας του αιωνος οικοδομη ενδοξω, καθως ελαλησαν περι αυτης οι προφηται.

And again God will have mercy on them, and will return them to the land, and they will build the house, not like the first one, until the times of the age are fulfilled, and after these things they shall return from the captivities and shall build Jerusalem in honor, and the house of God shall be built within it unto all the generations of the age by a glorious upbuilding, just as the prophets spoke about it.

The exact sequence of expected events is not at all obvious from this passage alone, but what is undeniable is that, when the times of the age are fulfilled, Israel will be restored completely, and both Jerusalem and the house (that is, the temple) of God will be rebuilt. The consummation, as it were, of the age is the complete restoration of the Jewish people.

The consummation is resurrection in Daniel 12.1-4, 13 (Masoretic and LXX):

ובעת ההיא יעמד מיכאל השר הגדול העמד על־בני עמכ והיתה עת צרה אשר לא־נהיתה מהיות גוי עד העת ההיא ובעת ההיא ימלט עמכ כל־הנמצא כתוב בספר׃
ורבים מישני אדמת־עפר יקיצו אלה לחיי עולם ואלה לחרפות לדראון עולם׃
והמשכלים יזהרו כזהר הרקיע ומצדיקי הרבים ככוכבים לעולם ועד׃
ואתה דניאל סתם הדברים וחתם הספר עד־עת קץ ישטטו רבים ותרבה הדעת׃

Και εν τω καιρω εκεινω αναστησεται Μιχαηλ ο αρχων ο μεγας, ο εστηκως επι τους υιους του λαου σου· και εσται καιρος θλιψεως, θλιψις οια ου γεγονεν αφ ου γεγενηται εθνος εν τη γη, εως του καιρου εκεινου· εν τω καιρω εκεινω σωθησεται ο λαος σου πας ο γεγραμμενος εντη βιβλιω. και πολλοι των καθευδοντων εν γης χωματι εξεγερθησονται, ουτοι εις ζωην αιωνιον, και ουτοι εις ονειδισμον και εις αισχυνην αιωνιον. και οι συνιεντες λαμψουσιν ως η λαμπροτης του στερεωματος, και απο των δικαιων των πολλων ως οι αστερες εις τους αιωνας, και ετι. Και συ, Δανιηλ, εμφραξον τους λογους και σφραγισον το βιβλιον εως καιρου συντελειας, εως διδαχθωσι πολλοι και πληθυνθη η γνωσις.

And at that time Michael shall rise up, the great ruler who stands over the sons of your people, and there shall be a time of tribulation, such tribulation as has not happened from when there was a nation on the land up until that time. At that time your people will be saved, every one written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the land shall arise, some to eternal life, and others to reproach and to eternal shame. And the wise shall shine as the shining of the firmament, and, of the many righteous [of those who turn the many to righteousness], as the stars unto the ages, and ever. And you, Daniel, close the words and seal the book until the time of the consummation, until many are taught and knowledge is filled up.

ואתה לך לקץ ותנוח ותעמד לגרלכ לקץ הימין׃

And you, go your way until the consummation, for you shall rest, and rise up unto your lot at the consummation of days.

Και συ δευρο, και αναπαυου· ετι γαρ ημεραι και ωραι εις αναπληρωσιν συντελειας, και αναστηση εις τον κληρον σου εις συντελειαν ημερων.

And you, go and rest, for there are yet days and hours till the fulfillment of the consummation, and you shall rise up unto your lot at the consummation of days.

Daniel clearly links the consummation of days with a resurrection of the just and the unjust.

So in Tobit the fulfillment of the times of the age is the restoration from exile, while in Daniel the fulfillment of the consummation of days is the resurrection from the dead. What is the connection? Are these just two miscellaneous events randomly associated with the end of the age and with each other?

Not at all. It takes no great leap to connect the dots. N. T. Wright has dedicated many pages to the connection between the restoration and the resurrection. I leave him to explain in it his own words....

N. T. Wright, The New Testament and the People of God, page 332 (emphasis mine):

The old metaphor of corpses coming to life had, ever since Ezekiel at least, been one of the most vivid ways of denoting the return form exile and connoting the renewal of the covenant and of all creation. Within the context of persecution and struggle for Torah in the Syrian and Roman periods, this metaphor itself acquired a new life. If Israel’s god would ‘raise’ his people (metaphorically) by bringing them back from their continuing exile, he would also, within that context, ‘raise’ those people (literally) who had died in the hope of that national and covenantal vindication.

N. T. Wright, The New Testament and the People of God, pages 331-332 (emphasis mine):

Why did the belief in resurrection arise, and how did it fit in with the broader Jewish worldview and belief-system which we have sketched in the preceding chapters? Again and again we have seen that this belief is bound up with the struggle to maintain obedience to Israel’s ancestral laws in the face of persecution. Resurrection is the divine reward for martyrs; it is what will happen after the great tribulation. But it is not simply a special reward for those who have undergone special sufferings. Rather, the eschatological expectation of most Jews of this period was for a renewal, not an abandonment, of the present space-time order as a whole, and themselves within it. Since this was based on the justice and mercy of the creator god, the god of Israel, it was inconceivable that those who had died in the struggle to bring the new world into being should be left out of the blessing when it eventually broke upon the nation and thence on the world.

N. T. Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God, page 205 (emphasis mine):

But it remains the case that resurrection, in the world of second-Temple Judaism, was about the restoration of Israel on the one hand and the newly embodied life of all YHWH’s people on the other, with close connections between the two; and that it was thought of as the great event that YHWH would accomplish at the very end of ‘the present age’....

This transition period between the two phases that I am tracing, then, is the belief that things as they stand will change for the better for the Jewish people, in two key respects. Living Jews will be restored to their land and sovereign kingdom, and dead Jews will be resurrected to join them.

I have one more text on this great consummation to present. The first 36 chapters of the first book of Enoch are called the Book of the Watchers, though sometimes that title is reserved for chapters 6-11 alone. Fragments of this section have been found amongst the Dead Sea scrolls at Qumran. The first 32 chapters are available to us in Greek translation of the presumably Aramaic original. 1 Enoch 16.1 tells us that the present age will come to a distinct termination point:

...ουτως αφανισουσιν μεχρις ημερας τελειωσεως, της κρισεως της μεγαλης, εν η ο αιων ο μεγας τελεσθησεται.

...thus they shall destroy until the day of termination, the great judgment, in which the great age shall be terminated.

Along the same lines, we find in the gospel of Matthew several instances of the expression συντελεια του αιωνος, or consummation of the age, in 13.39-40, 49; 24.3; 28.20.

All of the elements are now in place for the division of history into two great ages. We have this present age, which has turned against the people of God in that they have been dragged away from their promised land into exile. We then have a consummation of this present age, in which affairs will turn around, wrongs will be righted, and the people of God will be restored and resurrected back to their land of promise, their Davidic kingdom and Abramic inheritance.

But as yet we have seen no text that pointedly speaks to the future age that is implied in those elements.

Phase 2.

This age and the age to come.

N. T. Wright, The New Testament and the People of God, pages 299-300:

One of the central ways of expressing this hope [of Israel] was the division of time into two eras: the present age and the age to come. The present age was a time when the creator god seemed to be hiding his face; the age to come would see the renewal of the created world. The present age was the time of Israel’s misery; in the age to come she would be restored. In the present age wicked men seemed to be flourishing; in the age to come they would receive their just reward. In the present age even Israel was not really keeping the Torah perfectly, was not really being YHWH’s true humanity; in the age to come all Israel would keep Torah from the heart.

I turn to Wright again because he has most recently and most clearly written on this central Jewish concept of the two great ages.

The section of the first book of Enoch that covers chapters 37-71 is called the Similitudes, or Parables. It was probably written just at the beginning of the Christian era, as James Charlesworth informs us on page 98 of The Pseudepigrapha and Modern Research:

The main question concerns the date of the second section, chapters 37-71, which contains the Son of Man sayings. J. T. Milik (esp. no. 755) has shown that this section, which is not represented among the early fragments, is probably a later addition to 1 Enoch; but his contention that it was composed around A.D. 270 (no. 755, p. 377) is very speculative. If, as most specialists concur, the early portions of 1 Enoch date from the first half of the second century B.C., chapters 37-71 could have been added in the first century B.C. or first century A.D.

This section survives only in Ethiopic translation. I do not know Ethiopic, so can offer the following excerpt only in the translation by R. H. Charles. 1 Enoch 71.14-16:

And he came to me and greeted me with his voice, and said unto me,
"This is the Son of Man who is born unto righteousness,
And righteousness abides over him,
And the righteousness of the Head of Days forsakes him not."
And he said unto me:
"He proclaims unto thee peace in the name of the world to come;
For from hence has proceeded peace since the creation of the world,
And so shall it be unto thee for ever and for ever and ever.
And all shall walk in his ways since righteousness never forsaketh him:
With him will be their dwelling-places, and with him their heritage,
And they shall not be separated from him for ever and ever and ever."

By the time we reach the New Testament texts, the two ages are firmly in place.

Matthew 12.32; Mark 3.28-29; Luke 12.10:

Και ος εαν ειπη λογον κατα του υιου του ανθρωπου, αφεθησεται αυτω, ος δ αν ειπη κατα του πνευματος του αγιου, ουκ αφεθησεται αυτω ουτε εν τουτω τω αιωνι ουτε εν τω μελλοντι.

And whoever should speak a word against the son of man, it shall be forgiven him, but, whoever should speak against the holy spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this age nor in that to come.

Αμην λεγω υμιν οτι παντα αφεθησεται τοις υιοις των ανθρωπων, τα αμαρτηματα και αι βλασφημιαι οσα εαν βλασφημησωσιν, ος δ αν βλασφημηση εις το πνευμα το αγιον ουκ εχει αφεσιν εις τον αιωνα, αλλα ενοχος εστιν αιωνιου αμαρτηματος.

Amen, I say to you that all things shall be forgiven the sons of men, sins and as many blasphemies as they might blaspheme, but whoever blasphemes against the holy spirit has no forgiveness unto the age, but is accountable for an eternal sin.

Και πας ος ερει λογον εις τον υιον του ανθρωπου, αφεθησεται αυτω, τω δε εις το αγιον πνευμα βλασφημησαντι, ουκ αφεθησεται.

And everyone who will speak a word against the son of man, it shall be forgiven him, but, for him who blasphemes against the holy spirit, it shall not be forgiven.

Notice the three distinct ways of denying forgiveness to him who blasphemes the spirit. Matthew says that he has no forgiveness in this age or in the age to come. Mark says that he has no forgiveness unto the age, that is, he never has forgiveness (as most translations put it). Luke says that he will not be forgiven. All three are simply saying that eternity future will hold out no forgiveness for this kind of blasphemer.

Matthew 13.22; Mark 4.18-19; Luke 8.14:

Ο δε εις τας ακανθας σπαρεις, ουτος εστιν ο τον λογον ακουων, και η μεριμνα του αιωνος και η απατη του πλουτου συμπνιγει τον λογον, και ακαρπος γινεται.

And the one upon whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the one who hears the word, and the care of the age and the misleading influence of riches choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.

Και αλλοι εισιν οι εις τας ακανθας σπειρομενοι. ουτοι εισιν οι τον λογον ακουσαντες, και αι μεριμναι του αιωνος και η απατη του πλουτου και αι περι τα λοιπα επιθυμιαι εισπορευομεναι συμπνιγουσιν τον λογον, και ακαρπος γινεται.

And others are those upon whom seed is sown among the thorns. These are the ones who heard the word, and the cares of the age and the misleading influence of riches and the desires for the rest go in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.

Το δε εις τας ακανθας πεσον, ουτοι εισιν οι ακουσαντες, και υπο μεριμνων και πλουτου και ηδονων του βιου πορευομενοι συμπνιγονται και ου τελεσφορουσιν.

And that which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who heard, and as they go they are choked by cares and riches and pleasures of life, and they do not bear mature fruit.

What Matthew and Mark call the care(s) of the age Luke simply calls cares. Why? Because this age is the one that has gone terribly wrong. The next is the age in which all will be set aright. The next age is free of such cares.

Matthew 19.29; Mark 10.29-30; Luke 18.29-30:

Και πας οστις αφηκεν οικιας η αδελφους η αδελφας η πατερα η μητερα η τεκνα η αγρους ενεκεν του ονοματος μου εκατονταπλασιονα λημψεται και ζωην αιωνιον κληρονομησει.

And every one who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for the sake of my name shall receive a hundred times as much and shall inherit the life of the age.

Εφη ο Ιησους· Αμην λεγω υμιν, ουδεις εστιν ος αφηκεν οικιαν η αδελφους η αδελφας η μητερα η πατερα η τεκνα η αγρους ενεκεν εμου και ενεκεν του ευαγγελιου, εαν μη λαβη εκατονταπλασιονα νυν εν τω καιρω τουτω, οικιας και αδελφους και αδελφας και μητερας και τεκνα και αγρους μετα διωγμων, και εν τω αιωνι τω ερχομενω ζωην αιωνιον.

Jesus said: Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for the sake of me and for the sak of the gospel, except he receive a hundred times as much now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and fields with persecutions, and in the age to come the life of the age.

Ο δε ειπεν αυτοις· Αμην λεγω υμιν οτι ουδεις εστιν ος αφηκεν οικιαν η γυναικα η αδελφους η γονεις η τεκνα ενεκεν της βασιλειας του θεου ος ουχι μη λαβη πολλαπλασιονα εν τω καιρω τουτω, και εν τω αιωνι τω ερχομενω ζωην αιωνιον.

And he said to them: Amen, I say to you that there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God who shall not receive many times as much in this time, and in the age to come the life of the age.

Mark 10.30 and Luke 18.30 both set in contrast a period that they call this time and a period that they call the age to come. What, then, is this time? It is none other than the present age. We see this same phenomenon of calling the present age simply this time in the book of 4 Ezra.

Matthew 22.30; Mark 12.25; Luke 20.34-36:

Εν γαρ τη αναστασει ουτε γαμουσιν ουτε γαμιζονται, αλλ ως αγγελοι εν τω ουρανω εισιν.

For in the resurrection they neither marry nor give in marriage, but are as angels in heaven.

Οταν γαρ εκ νεκρων αναστωσιν, ουτε γαμουσιν ουτε γαμιζονται, αλλ εισιν ως αγγελοι εν τοις ουρανοις.

For when they rise from the dead they neither marry nor give in marriage, but are as angels in the heavens.

Και ειπεν αυτοις ο Ιησους· Οι υιοι του αιωνος τουτου γαμουσιν και γαμισκονται, οι δε καταξιωθεντες του αιωνος εκεινου τυχειν και της αναστασεως της εκ νεκρων ουτε γαμουσιν ουτε γαμιζονται, ουδε γαρ αποθανειν ετι δυνανται, ισαγγελοι γαρ εισιν, και υιοι εισιν θεου, της αναστασεως υιοι οντες.

And Jesus said to them: The sons of this age marry and give in marriage, but those deemed worthy to attain to that age and the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor give in marriage, for they are no longer able to die, for they are angellike, and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.

Neither Matthew nor Mark explicitly tells us what is happening to the ages at the resurrection of the dead. Luke makes the connection more explicit, perhaps with a gentile readership in mind. For he calls ordinary humans the sons of this age, but resurrected humans, he says, are those who have been considered worthy of the next age. These will not be raised unto eternal destruction and damnation. They are the worthy ones, raised up as full participants in the blessings of the age to come.

We find the two ages taught plainly in the Pauline writings, too, of course. The actual phrase the age to come is not as common as what one might expect, but the repeated mention of this present age makes a future age inevitable. Where there is a this there must at some point be a that. I begin with 2 Corinthians 4.4:

...εν οις ο θεος του αιωνος τουτου ετυφλωσεν τα νοηματα των απιστων εις το μη αυγασαι τον φωτισμον του ευαγγελιου της δοξης του Χριστου, ος εστιν εικων του θεου.

...in whom the god of this age blinded the minds of the faithless, so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

Why is Satan called the god of this age? Because he will have no part in that age.

On to Pauline books of more debated authorship. Ephesians 1.20-21:

...ην ενηργησεν εν τω Χριστω εγειρας αυτον εκ νεκρων, και καθισας εν δεξια αυτου εν τοις επουρανιοις υπερανω πασης αρχης και εξουσιας και δυναμεως και κυριοτητος και παντος ονοματος ονομαζομενου, ου μονον εν τω αιωνι τουτω αλλα και εν τω μελλοντι.

...which he worked out in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenlies far above every rule and authority and power and lordship and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one about to come.

Jesus Christ will reign forever. That is, he will reign for the rest of the present age, and throughout the age to come, as well. The sum of both ages is eternity.

One of those phrases unique to the pastoral epistles is ο νυν αιων (literally the now age, but more gracefully translated the present age). As it happens, it occurs exactly once each in the three pastoral epistles. 1 Timothy 6.17a; 2 Timothy 4.10a; Titus 2.12b:

Τοις πλουσιοις εν τω νυν αιωνι παραγγελλε....

Instruct those who are rich in the present age....

Δημας γαρ με εγκατελιπεν αγαπησας τον νυν αιωνα....

For Demas deserted me, having loved the present age....

...και δικαιως και ευσεβως ζησωμεν εν τω νυν αιωνι.

...and that we might live righteous and godly in the present age.

In all three of these passages the great turnaround destined to take place in the coming age is implicit. Those rich in this age might not be so well off in the next. To love this age is to forsake the next. And it is necessary to live a godly life because the next age will bring reward or punishment on the basis of how we have lived in this age.

Hebrews 6.4-6:

Αδυνατον γαρ τους απαξ φωτισθεντας, γευσαμενους τε της δωρεας της επουρανιου και μετοχους γενηθεντας πνευματος αγιου και καλον γευσαμενους θεου ρημα δυναμεις τε μελλοντος αιωνος, και παραπεσοντας, παλιν ανακαινιζειν εις μετανοιαν ανασταυρουντας εαυτοις τον υιον του θεου και παραδειγματιζοντας.

For as for those who were once enlightened, having tasted of the heavenly gift and having been made partakers of the holy spirit and having tasted of the good word of God and the powers of the age about to come, and having fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again unto repentance while they crucify for themselves the son of God and openly shame him.

The blessings of the age to come have started coming in early, according to this text. We can already taste of its powers in the holy spirit and in the word of God.

This survey is far from exhaustive. Suffice it to say that there is no writing in the whole of the New Testament that denies or detracts from the doctrine of the two ages. Every word on the topic serves to support the Jewish apocalyptic expectation that we have seen so far.

Finally, to round matters off, we may glance briefly at the concept of the two ages in 4 Ezra, which was probably written at about the turn of the first century. 4 Ezra 7.112-113:

Et respondit ad me et dixit: praesens saeculum non est finis, gloria in eo non frequens manet. propter hoc oraverunt qui potuerunt pro invalidis. dies enim iudicii erit finis temporis huius et initium futuri inmortalis temporis, in quo pertransivit corruptela.

He responded to me and said: The present age is not the end; the glory does not fully remain in it. On account of this those who were strong prayed for the weak. For the day of judgment shall be the end of this time and the beginning of the future immortal time, in which corruption has passed away.

As I demonstrate in part 3 of my piece on the ages in 4 Ezra, the present time and the future time correspond respectively to the present age and the future age, just as in Mark 10.30 and Luke 18.30. So it is here affirmed that the future age is immortal. Unlike this present age, it will never come to an end.