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;
The word translated "worlds" here is the Greek aion, meaning "ages." It does not refer to a literal creation, or literal "worlds." Instead, it refers to specific periods of time.
For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world [aion] hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
Christ appeared at the end of an age; not at the end of the literal world. This distinction is confirmed by the author’s use of a different word in the phrase “the foundation of the world [kosmos]” which clearly refers to the literal creation.
Authoritative support comes from Marvin R. Vincent in his Word Studies of the New Testament:In the end of the world (ἐπὶ συντελείᾳ τῶν αἰώνων)
In N.T συντέλεια consummation, always with αἰὼν age. With the plural αἰώσων only here. Everywhere else συντέλεια αἰῶνος.
The A.V. gives a wrong impression as of the end of this visible world. The true sense is the consummation of the ages: that is to say, Christ appeared when the former ages had reached their moral consummation under the old Levitical economy. Comp. Hebrews 1:2.
Vincent helpfully directs us back to Hebrews 1:2, where he wishes us to understand that the same sense is intended.
So the meaning of this verse is that Christ is the agent through whom certain ages were delineated from each other and – ultimately – consummated, or brought to fulfillment. The same idea occurs in John 1:10 (see here) and Colossians 1 (here.)
Edited by Evangelion, 30 August 2004 - 11:11 AM.