Why “Ends” and not “End?”


By Dr. Ken Matto


Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. (1 Corinthians 10:11)


Ensamples means “pattern, model, or precedent” and it is used concerning people only and not material examples.  The ensamples of ancient Israel and Judah are not just the people who were disobedient but those who were obedient to the law of God.


Notice the word “ends” in this verse is in the plural.  The word is in the plural only here and in Matthew 17:25 where it is translated “custom.”   The word comes from the Greek word “telos” which means “end, termination, conclusion.”  It is used 42 times in the New Testament and 40 times it is singular. 


If you look at the context of 1 Corinthians 10:1-11, you will see that it speaks about the disobedient and recalcitrant spirit which existed in ancient Israel.  So that brings us to the word “ends” which is plural.  The Bible does not use words indiscriminately but there is a specific reason why this word is plural.  There are two “ends” in view.


The first “end” is the destruction of Jerusalem which took place in 70 A.D. when the nation of Israel was completely destroyed along with their temple and all the records including the genealogies which would no longer be needed.  Along with the destruction of the temple was the conclusion or end of the Mosaic law and its system of sacrifices since they were all foreshadows of the final sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ.  But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; (Hebrews 10:12)  It was God himself who destroyed the Mosaic system of feasts and sacrifices.


The second “end” is the fact that the last days of this world commenced at the cross.  1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; (Hebrews 1:1-2)  There will be no more days after the Lord Jesus Christ returns on the last day which means no physical millennium.  If these are the last days, then how can you have more last days after these last days?


The book of First Corinthians was written in 54 A.D. which means that the destruction of Jerusalem was still 16 years away.  The Apostle Paul prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem along with Daniel and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, I wonder if Paul knew why he used the plural form of that word?