So, the times the gentiles, when are they fulfilled? And what does it mean? We’ve already seen it’s a time of trouble. The times of the gentiles is mentioned in Luke 21 verse 24.
It actually runs from the reign of Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon which began about 608 b.C. and ends at the Second Coming of Jesus.
The times of the gentiles actually means the times when the gentile powers are dominating Jerusalem and the Jewish people.
You have the dream of Nebuchadnezzar. Let’s just have a look at that dream. In the dream of Nebuchadnezzar which Daniel interprets to him, the times of the gentiles are actually defined. He has this dream in which he sees this great image with the head of gold, the breast of silver, the thighs of brass, and the legs of iron and the feet of iron and clay. And a stone which then smites this image and destroys it and then fills the earth.
Nebuchadnezzar has his dream and it troubles him, and he asks all his wise men to interpret him the dream for him, yet none of them can. But Daniel comes along and says: ‘well there’s a God in heaven who can reveal all secrets he’s given you this dream I’m going to reveal to you what the dream means‘. And he tells him that the dream is about a series of empires which are going to follow:
The Babylonian Empire which is the head of gold, the Persian Empire which is the breast of silver, the Greek Empire which is the thighs of brass, and the Roman Empire which is the legs of iron.
Interestingly, in the days of the Roman Empire, the Messiah is going to come and be cut off and fulfil that prophecy in Daniel chapter 9.
The Roman Empire will then fall but will continue in some form and have some kind of a revival or reunification at the end of days in what we call the feet of iron and clay period. And when that happens, the stone is going to smite the image and fill the whole earth.
What does the stone represent? The stone that coming is the stone smiting the image of Daniel 2, and filling the earth. Actually, it represents the Millennial Kingdom of Jesus the Messiah. In Daniel 2 verse 44 he says:
So, the end of the times of the gentiles is this stone smiting this image. Following that – the stone smiting the image – the stone then fills the earth and the earth is full of the knowledge of the glory of the Lord at that time. Revelation chapter 11 says:
Something which we can look forward to.
So, the Second Coming is represented by the stone smiting the image of Daniel and filling the earth in the Millennial Kingdom.
Now, the scripture shows us that this event is going to happen after a time of Great Tribulation in the last days, a time troubles over Jerusalem. Therefore, obviously, it hasn’t happened yet but when you see certain things taking place, then, we’re heading towards it.
What about Israel’s present return to Zion is that significant. Now, if you listen to me long enough you know that I believe it is it’s very significant when you see the Lord build up Zion he shall appear in his glory it says in the Psalms a lot of prophecies in Ezekiel and Isaiah and others speaking about God bringing the Jewish people back from the nations to the land of Israel coming back in unbelief but as through a process of time being born of the Spirit and coming to understand that Jesus is the Messiah.
Today we see Jerusalem actually in Jewish hands we see the flag of David, a star David, flying over the old city of Jerusalem and here you see the western wall and behind it you see the golden dome which is the Dome of the Rock, a Muslim shrine.
So, one of the questions which we ask is was 1967 when Israel took control of the old city of Jerusalem and reunited it was that the fulfilment of the times of the gentiles.
Some of you are young so you probably weren’t around at that time I was I remember I was studying at university in my second year and listening to the news coming out in May 1967 that Nasser of Egypt was saying that the time was coming to wipe out the state of Israel to push Israel into the sea and make an end of it and there was a build-up of conflict which is taking place in the month of May for some reason I thought this was very important I couldn’t say why because I’m not Jewish I wasn’t believing Christian by any means at that time but suddenly I felt that there was something very significant happening and I felt very much that I was on Israel’s side that Israel should survive but I even hitched down from Cambridge to London to offer my services to the Jewish agency. They didn’t take me on and I never got to Israel and Israel did pretty well in six days without any help from me.
But something dramatic happened on that day, Israel defeated the armies of Egypt, Syria, and Jordan, took possession of the Golan Heights, of the West Bank, Judea, and Samaria, the old city of Jerusalem, took also Gaza and the Sinai from Egypt and it was an amazing event. In six days they defeated all those Arab armies.
Who could explain it? Except that somehow God was behind it.
Was it the fulfilment of the end of the times of the gentiles as Jerusalem’s back in Jewish hands? Well, it was the beginning of the process but it wasn’t the completion of it because actually not all of Jerusalem is in Jewish hands.
You see that golden dome there? That golden dome is the Dome of the Rock it’s on the Temple mount next to it is the Al-Aqsa mosque and that area is as far as Islam is concerned the third holiest place of Islam.
When Israel took possession of the old city of Jerusalem they allowed the Islamic or the authority of Islam to keep control of that area which they have to this day and right now it’s a thorn in Israel’s flesh because it’s place which is used for anti-Israel propaganda and is one of the flash points of tension in the whole area.
We also see that Jerusalem is not really free of the gentiles because the gentile powers represented by the United Nations the us united European Union other parts actually want to project some kind of solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict which will mean the division of Jerusalem and the division of the land.
Something which is not in the will of God but is something which is actually also prophesied in scripture because in Joel chapter 3 you find that the nations are going to divide the land want to divide the land.
In Zechariah chapter 12 it says that Jerusalem is going to be a burdensome stone burdening all nations.
So when you see Israel back in the land you see Israel Jerusalem as a divided city coming united but also the powers of the Nations wanting to divide it again that is another sign of the Second Coming of Jesus, and, in a way, 1967 actually was not the fulfilment of this prophecy but it set up the scenario over Jerusalem that will lead to the return of the Messiah and his return will be the end of the times of the gentiles.
Right now, we have an interesting situation I won’t go into that in detail some time but we have a new government in Israel which is in many ways a composite government of right-wing and left-wing parties some of whom actually want to make a deal with the Palestinians to hand over old city of Jerusalem turned over control of Jerusalem the old part to the Palestinian authority and set up a Palestinian state.
It’s possible that in the next two years you’ll see something being moved by that as the Americans have also now changed government and have a government which is much more sympathetic to a kind of Palestinian state in place of the Jewish occupation or as they call it of Judea and Samaria, the West Bank and the old city of Jerusalem.
And I can tell you this is going to be an issue which will be more and more in the news in the coming days it’s another sign actually of the Second Coming of Jesus the Messiah. The Bible says it’s going to happen.
Isaiah 28 it says that Israel’s government is going to be in the hand of scornful men but also it says they’re going to be those who are going to believe in the Lord and will not be moved.
All of these things are coming together now but they’re not the complete fulfilment, they’re preparing the way for this thing to happen.
Jesus’ prophecies in Lucas 21, in Matthew 24, Revelation 6 shows there will be the time of unique trouble before the Second Coming of Jesus.
We’re not there yet but we can see signs it’s on the way in Lucas 21 he spoke about this crisis with no way out also spoke about Jerusalem.