Does the phrase "ends of the earth" refer to the last days?
The "Iglesia Ni Cristo" claims that the phrase contained in the Bible, "the ends of the earth" refers to the last days. Is this an accurate understanding of this phrase?
When we examine both language and the scriptures, we see that it is not.
The phrase "ends of the earth" is not the same phrase as "end of the world".
The INC argues that "ends of the earth" means the "end of time", just as the phrase "end of the world" often does in Matthew 24:6. However, these are simply not the same phrase. While the word "world" may sometimes be used as a synonym for the word "earth", it does not always mean the same thing, especially in phrases like this. The phrase "end of the world" may refer to geography or to time, but the phrase "end of the earth" only refers to geography or location. All one has to do is look up the phrase to see that it simply means "the farthest reaches of the land".
Additionally, the INC's chosen example falls apart because the Greek word for "world" in Matthew 24:3 is aionos, which means age or eternity. It can also refer to the universe, but not the "world" meaning specifically the earth.
The phrase "ends of the earth" refers to geography even if the Earth is round.
The INC may say that earth is round, and not flat with ends, but this is expresses ignorance of human language. Human expressions are not always scientifically precise statements. Just consider Acts 1:8 where this phrase clearly speaks of geography.
Acts 1:8 (ESV) - But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
Additionally, the earth does not have corners, but the Bible speaks of its remote regions as "corners".
Isaiah 11:12 (ESV) - He will raise a signal for the nations and will assemble the banished of Israel, and gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.
The INC has not made any demonstration that the phrase "ends of the earth" refers to time.
In order to prove this claim that "ends of the earth" refers to time, the INC must make a positive demonstration of this, but they have made no effort to do so. Additionally, because they typically assert this meaning in the writings of the Old Testament prophets, they must find at least one instance where the Hebrew phrase is used unambiguously to refer to a future time or the last days. They have made no attempt to do so. Pointing to Matthew 24:3 is not a positive demonstration. Not only does this example use tho wrong word, but also the wrong language (Greek instead of Hebrew).
The INC has no legitimate reason to believe that the phrase "ends of the earth" refers to the last days. This is neither common usage of the phrase or biblical usage of the phrase.
The INC should focus their eyes on true wisdom which can be found in the Bible, as opposed to inventing creative meanings for phrases.
Proverbs 17:24 (ESV) - 24 The discerning sets his face toward wisdom, but the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth.