TIMES OF THE GENTILES
The The expression – 'times of the Gentiles' is used only once in the whole Bible.
It refers to a specific period of time predicted by Jesus in Luke 21 when he said 'and Jerusalem will be trodden down (ruled over) by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.'
Jesus was referring to what would take place in AD70 when the Romans would destroy the Temple and either scatter or slaughter the Jewish people. However, it could also be argued that the times of the Gentiles actually began when the Babylonians took over Judea in 586BC. According to Nebuchadnezzar's dream which Daniel interpreted there would be three more world empires that would follow Babylon – Medo Persia, Greece and Rome and this would take us down to the time of Jesus and beyond.
The Bible also says that at the time of the Roman Empire a kingdom would be established that would outlast all other kingdoms and that would be the kingdom of God which Jesus preached and founded.
In Bible times there were only two people groups on the earth – Jews & Gentiles (nations) and everything in the Bible records the tensions between these two people groups.
Between Babylon and Rome the only time Jews were in control was for brief period of around 100 years when the Maccabees took over.
The exile that Jesus predicted would become the longest exile in Israel's history lasting for almost 2,000 years and during all those years the Jews never once ruled over what used to be their capital city and homeland although there never was a time without a Jewish presence in the Land. It was ruled as Jesus said by non Jews – Muslims, Christians and other groups.
Then in fulfilment of Bible prophecy and as endorsed by great preachers like Charles Spurgeon and Bishop J.C.Ryle the Jews began to return to Palestine in the mid19th century. It started as a trickle, then became a stream which then became a river and finally a torrent as over 1 million Russian Jews returned home.
Then in 1948 Israel became a nation in it's own right courtesy of the UN and all the more amazing because this followed hard on the heels of the Holacaust.
There was continual conflict between 1948 and 1967 and that during 1967 an event took place that shook the world. In just six days in June 1967 Israel completely defeated the combined armies of Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon and in the process captured the Old City of Jerusalem and took control of the whole of Jerusalem for the first time 2,500 years. The Golan Heights and the vast Sinai Peninsula were also captured. The times of the Gentiles had come to an end just like Jesus said.
However and sadly, this was not the end of the conflict but rather the beginning of a new phase of tension which continues down to the present day and shows no sign of letting up. In the late sixties Yasser Arafat came up with the idea of calling the Arab inhabitants Palest-inians and by so doing invented a people that had never really existed. Virtually the whole world has bought into this lie and now believe in a history for the Palestinians that is certainly more recent than distant. Those who espouse the Palestinian Liberation Theology tell us that Jesus was a Palestinian and that his mother Mary was a Palestinian Jew.
The Bible of course refutes this idea because Jesus was born out of the tribe of Judah and from the line of David, was circumcised on the 8th day after his birth and during his lifetime kept all the Jewish feasts. Not only that the land of Israel did not get to be renamed Palestine until AD 135 – some 100 years after Jesus had died and rose again.
The times of the Gentiles are truly over never to be repeated. Amos the prophet speaks of a day when Israel will be restored NEVER AGAIN to be uprooted. (Amos 9:15). This means we have reached a point in history from which there can be no turning back. In fact following these events Jesus said –' when these things begin to take place look up, lift up your heads because your redemption is drawing near.' As Romans 13 says –'Now is our salvation nearer than when we first believed.'
The Bible says that God is faithful to all his promises and so we can be sure that all the remaining promises yet to be fulfilled will surely be fulfilled in God's time and there is no power on earth or under the earth that can prevent it. The Bible says that the Gentiles will one day return to Jerusalem, not to rule, but to worship the God of Israel. The Bible also says that 'the kingdoms (nations/Gentiles) of this world will become the kingdoms of our Lord and his Christ.'
And again truly – 'every knee will bow and every confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father.'
Mervyn Tilley – Chairman
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