O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
In Preterist websites and material that I read related to Preterism, the theme of two covenants is often discussed, where they are also called the "Old Covenant Age" and the "New Covenant Age." The sense is given that there are only TWO AGES that humanity has lived under, and that the New Covenant Age has no ending to it. As I have written in comments on this site already, an "endless AGE" is an oxymoron, since by its very definition, an age has a beginning AND an ending point.
My conclusions from what I read in scripture is that Christ's KINGDOM has no end, but that the ages of history under which mankind has lived will each have a most definite beginning and an end to them.
The AGES of the world's history are NOT an interchangeable term with the TWO COVENANTS God made. They are not one and the same thing. Sometimes the ages and covenants overlapped. God made other covenants than just those two covenants mentioned in Galatians 4:22-25; covenants with the patriarchs such as Adam, Noah, Abraham, Solomon, and Phinehas, etc.
There is also much discussion in Preterist circles of the "transitional" stage between the Ages, lasting for 40 years between the beginning of Christ's ministry until AD 70 when all the physical elements of OC temple worship were finally dissolved. Total agreement with this 40-year transition period. This transition phase is rather like the brief time of the day at dawn, just before full daylight. Which is exactly how John described it in I John 2:8. "...the darkness is passing away" (the cancelled OC), "and the true light already shines." (the New Covenant).
To determine just how many ages of human history that God intended for mankind to be divided into, we check into the language that Paul uses. Based on Paul's and others' use of PLURAL AGES (aionon) versus the word for a SINGLE AGE, (aion or aiona), scripture mentions a MINIMUM of AT LEAST FIVE AGES, though I believe there will be a total of SEVEN AGES by the time of the final third resurrection for all the NC saints.
We are justified in proving multiple ages of human history, based on singular versus plural terms for AGES, because Paul used the same vital argument in his doctrinal proof for singular "Seed" (for Christ) versus plural "Seeds" in Galatians 3:16.
Here is a series of verses where the word "AGE" and "AGES" are used that show us how this minimum of five ages for human history can be added up.
#1) Exodus 15:18 (YLT) - This is Moses' song of praise after God destroyed the Egyptians in the Red Sea, when he said, "Jehovah reigneth - to the age and for ever!" Literally, the Greek is rendered "the Lord is reigning the eon and upon eon and longer." In Greek, "kurios basileuon ton aiona kai ep aiona kai eti." This proves at least TWO AGES and a PERIOD BEYOND THAT.
#2) Daniel 12:3 - Again, this verse proves at least TWO AGES and a PERIOD BEYOND THAT. The context is the time of unequalled Great Tribulation leading up to the Second bodily Resurrection out of the dust, with the "wise" ones doing evangelism up until that time. "And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever." Literally, the LXX renders this "for the AGES (plural) and YET MORE." In Greek, "eis tous aionas kai eti."
#3) Colossians 1:26 - This proves at least TWO AGES or times BEFORE THE NEW COVENANT was initiated. "Even the mystery which has been hid from ages" (plural) "and from generations, but now," (with the revelation of the New Covenant at Jesus' crucifixion) "is made manifest to His saints." Paul also mentioned in Acts 17:30-31 that "the TIMES of this ignorance" (plural) of Gentile idol worship that had passed before God "now commandeth all men everywhere to repent." The urgency for repentance at the time was because God was "about to judge the habitable world in righteousness at the day of His AD 70 return. The already-existing New Covenant kingdom would then survive the AD 70 shaking process as being firmly-established without a rival.
#4) I Cor. 10:11 (Interlinear) - This proves at least TWO AGES BEFORE THE NC was launched at Christ's crucifixion, resurrection and ascension. "These things now [as] types happened to them were written then for admonition of us to whom the ends of the ages are arrived." (plural)
#5) Hebrews 9:26 (ESV) - Again, this proves at least TWO AGES BEFORE THE NC. "For then He would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages" (plural) "to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself."
Paul makes a clear distinction in Ephesians 1:21 between the end of the OC AGE and "the coming one" that was soon to arrive. But even after that coming NC Age was firmly established, Paul predicted at least another age to follow that NC Age, as found in...
#6) Ephesians 2:6-7 - "And hath raised us up together and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. That in the ages to come" (plural - the NC Age and at least one following it) "He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness towards us through Christ Jesus."
#7) Ephesians 3:21 - This proves MULTIPLE AGES (at least more than two) of the NC church. "Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages." This has to be more than two ages of NC church-based history, or Paul would have said "throughout the Age" (singular), or he would have said "throughout both ages". The words "ALL AGES" indicate at least three Ages for the NC church.
Or, if we rely on the Interlinear rendering of this verse, it says "to Him [be] glory in the assembly in Christ Jesus, to all the generations" (geneas) "of the age of the ages" (aionos ton aionon), which seems to indicate the superiority of the NC Age beyond any other ages (plural) before that one (at least TWO AGES PRIOR to the NC AGE).
All told, when these verses above are compared with one another, we arrive at a total of at least five ages - and perhaps more - that scripture talks about. That's a total of at least TWO AGES PRIOR to when the NC was initiated at Christ's crucifixion and ascension, the NC AGE itself, and at least TWO AGES FOLLOWING the NC Age.
Personally, I believe there are a total of SEVEN AGES of fallen mankind's history predicted for us, followed by the entire number of resurrected saints participating in whatever stages of activity God has decreed for us in the afterlife. Each of these seven ages for fallen humanity I believe to be composed of a millennium per age. That's 7,000 years total for fallen human history - a not unheard-of proposition, even in rabbinical writings, I am told.
On another post of Doug's (called "Is This Site Active?") I proposed the theory that the prevailing theme for each of the seven millennia of the seven ages of fallen humanity's history is pre-figured by a corresponding type of God's creative activity on each of the seven days of creation week. Below is a breakdown of what that looks like in comparison.
We already know that Peter specifically wanted his readers to be aware of the pertinent fact that one day with the Lord is the equivalent of a thousand years. It's an expansion of the day=year principle in scripture, turned into a day=millennium principle in II Peter 3:8 (Interlinear). "But this one thing let not be hidden from you, beloved, that one day with the Lord is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as day one."
According to this principle, we have grounds to equate a symbolism of the first day of creation week with the first millennium of fallen human history on the planet, etc., all the way up to the 7th day of creation week being a microcosm of what the 7th millennium will be like in general.
The First Millennium
Adam provided the prevailing theme for this 1st millennium. The first day of creation, God separated light from darkness. To match with that, the first millennium of human history could be summed up with Adam personifying all of mankind's sinful darkness having to be separated from God, the source of light. Significantly, Adam's lifespan of 930 years took up almost the entirety of the first millennium. Though it is not specifically called a covenant, the first directive given by God to man prior to the Fall, with a promise of death if they disobeyed, has often been called the first covenant of God with man.
The Second Millennium
Noah provided the theme for the 2nd millennium, with God making a division in the waters (as He did on the 2nd day of creation) between those waters that belonged to Heaven, and those that belonged below that. We know that before the flood, the waters of the deep provided a mist that watered the whole face of the ground (Gen. 2:5-6). After the flood, God made another division of the waters, so that rain from heaven provided the needed moisture for the land, and the waters of the deep had a bound set upon them, "that they turn not again to cover the earth" (Ps. 104:6-9).
In another sense, God also made a division in the people of that ancient pagan world, by submerging everything that had corrupted its way on earth below the flood-waters, and by preserving Noah and his family above those same flood-waters, because he had been seen as righteous in that generation. A distinct covenant was made between God and Noah (Gen. 6:18, 9:9-17).
The Third Millennium
Abraham provided the theme for the 3rd millennium, since God chose him out of the "sea" of Gentile nations, to make a people for Himself. This was similar to the 3rd day of creation, when the dry land appeared, was separated from the seas, and started bearing vegetation and fruit after its kind. The "land" has typically represented God's chosen land of Canaan in scripture, separate from the "seas" of the Gentile nations. Abraham, the father of the children of faith, was a picture of God separating His people of faith from among the "seas" of the unbelieving world, and causing them to bear fruit for Him.
Another covenant was established with the patriarch Abraham, with God declaring that He would give the seed of Abraham the promised land in Gen. 15:18-21.
The Fourth Millennium
King Solomon provided the theme for the 4th millennium. It began with Solomon's temple foundation being laid down in 968/967 BC. This was the beginning of the Revelation 20 millennium, when Satan's deception of the nations was bound by the ministry of the prophets, and the light of God's message began to spread throughout the nations by the words of the Lord that the prophets wrote or spoke. This was similar to the 4th day of creation week, which had "great lights' put in the heavens, for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, to add to men's knowledge of the world and of the God who had given them that world.
This millennium encompassed Solomon's "golden age" for Israel as a people. The increased exposure of the nations at large to the God who led that nation lasted until Christ's finished work on the cross and the "First Resurrection" in AD 33, as Revelation 20:5 tells us this period of 1,000 years was finished at that point. This vitally important year of AD 33 is what dates the beginning and ending year of every one of the seven millennia, since the purpose and the hope of all human history revolves around Christ's death and resurrection, anyway.
Again, God made a covenant promise by appearing twice to Solomon, promising to bless him in multiple ways if Solomon continued to follow the Lord as his father David had done. God gave two promises, as double confirmation; one prior to Solomon building the temple, and the other after he had completed it. When Solomon broke this covenant, God reminded him of it in I Kings 11:11.
The Fifth Millennium
The Apostle Paul provided the theme for this 5th millennium, which began with the surge of gospel evangelism being presented to the Gentile world, as Paul vividly demonstrated by his God-commissioned ministry given to him in the Jerusalem temple at the end of Daniel's 70th week in AD 37. Life sprang up abundantly in the "seas" of the Gentile world from then on, just as there were burgeoning life forms in the oceans from the fifth day of creation onward.
The New Covenant in Christ's blood was the new promise which all nations could now share from that time forward, as part of the "One New Man" reality in Christ.
The Sixth Millennium
The 6th millennium enjoyed - and is still enjoying - the most lavish blessings of all. There are other instances in the Old Testament where God gave a greater-than-ordinary blessing on the 6th day, and the 6th year. On the 6th day of creation, man and woman in God's image were given dominion over the planet, and told to subdue it. One cannot dispute that the period from the close of the Dark Ages until now has experienced an explosion of God's blessing upon this earth for mankind; a truly iconic representation of mankind's dominion over the planet, compared to the preceding 5 millennia. Not only did an actual warming trend in weather patterns begin that bumped up the crop yields at the beginning of this millennium, but we had The Renaissance, the printed Word of God available, the Reformation, The Great awakening, great missionary endeavors, The Industrial Revolution, medical advances, technological expertise, automobiles, air travel, computers, and inventions galore, (and not to be profane...but toilet paper and indoor plumbing too). We are soon coming up to the end of this 6th millennium of God's blessing, since it will expire in 2033, based on Christ's anchoring date of AD 33 for the end of the 4th millennium.
The Seventh Millennium
This fast-approaching 7th millennium I believe will be characterized by a period of imposed Sabbath-type rest, when the frantic pace of human activity on this planet will be sharply curtailed (just as God Himself demonstrated for us by resting from His works on the 7th day of creation). This will ultimately provide for the progress of God's gospel, by reducing the insane amount of distractions we have on our time and activities, even as Christians. As many a Christian will admit, if hardships come, God can use them to drive us closer to the Savior, and cause us to rethink our priorities. This is true even for unbelievers.
When God wanted to get close to His people in Old Testament days, He brought them into the wilderness, and made them totally dependent upon Him for their daily bread and water, and their guidance in unknown territory. I suspect this is part of what will be coming for the world at large in this next, last, 7th millennium of human history for fallen mankind - when God will cause the world to "Be still and know that I am God." His final return for the last, 3rd bodily resurrection of those saints who lived and died under the New Covenant Age since AD 70 will occur at the close of this 7th millennium in 3033. Again, this is based on the AD 33 date for the end of the 4th millennium (when the "First Resurrection" had occurred).
Following the last 7th millennium, God will have eradicated all human evil from this planet at that transition point by destroying it utterly - body and soul. The resurrected saints will then share the inheritance of a purified universe, or wherever else God intends to use us all in any ages subsequent to that one, throughout eternity.
I don't think it's an accident that there are SEVEN THUNDERS that utter their voices in Rev. 10:4. The content of their prophetic utterance is SEALED UP by John - meaning that those UNWRITTEN prophecies were reserved for a time AFTER AD 70's fulfillment of all WRITTEN prophecy. Those SEVEN THUNDERS VOICES are, I believe, a metaphor representing the 7 total millennia of fallen man's history on this planet. The content of the unwritten prophecies they uttered has been playing out over time since AD 70, and will continue to unfold until the end of the 7th millennium.
Some might say all this above regarding "seven millennia" is pure conjecture, but there are actually other symbols that run through the Old Covenant Mosaic law that align with this theory also.