Time Of The Gentiles


A.     Introduction:  We are taking time to clear up misinformation about the end times
     which has created fear and confusion among Christians.
     1.     We have been focusing our study on the pretribulation rapture.
          a.     In the past few lessons it may seem like we have digressed because we have
               not directly discussed the rapture.  We have focused on the Jews.
          b.     But, to properly understand end time events, you must look at the whole
               Bible rather than just a few verses which seem to prove your point.
          c.     When you get the big picture of end time events and see how much of it
               has nothing to do with the Church, it adds support to the pretrib rapture.
     2.     Much of what is going to happen at the end has nothing to do with the Church.  
          That is a main reason why we won't be here for the tribulation.
          a.     God has unfinished business with Israel (the Jews) which He will complete.
          b.     God made specific promises to them which have not yet been fulfilled, but
               which will be at the end. Gen 12:7; II Sam 7:12-17; Amos 9:14,15
          c.     We want to look at the big picture to see where and how the rapture fits.

B.     In 586 B.C. God allowed Babylon to overrun Israel, destroy Jerusalem, and carry
     the Jews into captivity.  One of those taken into captivity was Daniel.                 
     1.     67 years into captivity, Daniel came into possession of the Book of Jeremiah
          and read that the Jews would be captive for 70 years. Jer 25:11; 29:10
     2.     Daniel prayed to God, asking Him to forgive Israel's rebellion and fulfill His
          promise to bring them back to their land.  In answer to Daniel's prayer, God
          sent the angel Gabriel with a message. Dan 9:1-27
          a.     God told Daniel He would deal with Israel for their sin and rebellion for
               490 more years, and then establish the kingdom for Israel.
          b.     490 is based on the number of sabbaths Israel neglected while in the land.
     3.     In the prophecy, God gave Daniel certain historical events which can be used to
          mark out the progress of those 490 years.  We can look back and clearly see
          what events were predicted and when they happened.
     4.     God said the 490 years would begin when the command was given to allow
          Israel to return to the land and rebuild.  God then said how long it would be
          from the time the order was given until the Messiah would be cut off. v24-26
          a.     We know when the command was given to rebuild -- Nisan 1 (March 5),
               444 B.C. (Neh 2:1-8).  We know Jesus was crucified in 33 A.D.
          b.     That equals 483 years.   Bible years=360 days; must also count leap years.
     5.     This prophecy can seem a little overwhelming because of the unusual way the
          years are stated -- seventy weeks, threescore, etc.  But it is easy to sort out.
          a.     Weeks = SHABUA (Hebrew) = a period of seven.  Seventy weeks = 70x7.
          b.     Must tell from context if it means 7 days or 7 years.  70 weeks = 490 years.
     6.     v26--Divides 490 years in two; Messiah will be cut off 434 years after what?
          a.     We can look back and see that from the time the order was given to
               rebuild Jerusalem until the temple was rebuilt was 49 years.
          b.     From time the temple was finished until Jesus was crucified was 434 years.
     7.     Gabriel told Daniel that after the Messiah was cut off the people of prince that
          crucified Jesus would come and destroy the city and the sanctuary.
          a. Less than forty years after Jesus was crucified Jerusalem was destroyed.
          b.     In 70 A.D. three legions of Roman soldiers under the Emperor Titus
               destroyed Jerusalem and the temple and scattered the Jews (deportation).
     8.     From the command to rebuild the temple until Messiah was cut off covered 483
          of the 490 years God said He would deal with Israel for their sins, or 69 weeks.
          a.     The final 7 years (70th week) of God's dealings with Israel is found in v27.
          b.     9:27--This king will make a seven-year treaty with the people, but after
               half that time, he will break his pledge and stop the Jews from all their
               sacrifices and their offerings; then, as a climax to all his terrible deeds, the
               Enemy shall utterly defile the sanctuary of God.  But in God's time and
               plan,his judgment will be poured out upon this Evil One. (Living)
     9.     This verse is unclear to us because these events have not happened yet.
          a.     He (the prince of the people that crucified Jesus) a leader from the Roman
               Empire, shall make a treaty with the Jews for seven years.  After three and
               a half years he will commit an abomination of desolation
          b.     An abomination of desolation: technical Jewish term; means to desecrate
               the temple by bringing a Gentile or an unholy thing into the holy place (the
               consecrated compartment where only an authorized priest could go).
          c.     The temple has been defiled in Israel's past.  In June, 168 B.C. Antiochus
               Epiphanes desecrated the temple.  He built an altar to Jupiter on the altar
               of burnt offerings, dedicated the temple to Jupiter, and sacrificed a pig.
          d.     But, Jesus tells us this particular event will happen at the time of the
               greatest tribulation the world has ever seen. Matt 24:15-21
     10.     The tribulation will be a seven year long period during which this promise (v27)
          will be fulfilled (another lesson).  It has nothing to do with the Church.

C.     The Book of Daniel has numerous prophecies,      and we can look back in history
     and see the     fulfillment of many of them.
     1.     Dan 11:1-39--lists numerous kings and their activities, down to assassinations
          and marriages.  It describes conflicts between kings in the Middle East as
          control of the area passed from Persian control (they took it from Babylon) to
          the Greeks and finally to the Romans.
          a.     It describes wars between Syria and Egypt --  with Israel trampled in the
               middle.   All of these events have come to pass.  They are all verifiable.
          b.     v40--Narrative switches to end times and a ruler who will dominate Israel,  
               the Antichrist.  There is no reason to think it won't happen literally.
     2.     In chapter 8:1-8 Daniel had a vision of a ram and a he goat.
          a.     v20,21--The angel Gabriel interpreted the vision and said the ram was the
               king of Medo-Persia and the he goat was the king of Greece.  The vision
               was recorded about 553 B.C.  Medo-Persia won't come to power until 538
               B.C., and Greece won't come to power for 215 years (323 B.C.)
          b.     v22--Alexander's kingdom was divided among four generals.
          c.     Daniel is so accurate skeptics say it was written after these things occurred
     3.     The Book of Daniel is an awesome book, but, it's no more awesome or reliable
          than any other verse in the Bible.  If the end times teaching you're getting
          doesn't increase your awe and admiration for God's word, your confidence in
          His provision, His faithfulness, then you aren't getting good teaching.

D.     Back to Matt 24 where Jesus connected Daniel's 70th week with the tribulation.
     1.     Matt 24:1-3--Jesus told His disciples the temple was going to be destroyed.
          In response, they asked Him several questions:  When will this happen, and
          what will be the signs of your coming and the end of the world (AION = age)?
          a.     These men would have been familiar with OT scriptures which said the
               Messiah would set up the kingdom, but that just prior to the kingdom, this
               present age would end with destruction. Zech 14:1-9; 12:1-3; 13:8,9          
          b.     They no doubt thought that is what Jesus meant about the temple.
     2.     They didn't realize they were asking Jesus a very complicated question.
          a.     Jerusalem and the temple would be destroyed within 40 years by Rome.
          b.     But, with the rejection of Jesus by the Jews, the offer of the kingdom was
               postponed.  We now know that the postponement is at least almost 2,000
               years, and that a mystery has been revealed in that time -- the Church.
     3.     Jesus answered the first question about Jerusalem in Luke 21:5-7; 20-24
          a.     Jesus described the total destruction of Jerusalem by Rome on Aug 10,
               70 A.D. -- the same day Babylon destroyed the city years earlier.
          b.     Jesus gave them a warning sign.  When you see Jerusalem surrounded, get
               out.  In May, 66 A.D.     the Romans surrounded the city.
          c.     v21,23--It will be difficult, but get out while you can.  The Jewish
               historian Josephus, in his writings, detailed the slaughter that occurred.
          d.     v22--This destruction will be a fulfillment of Dan 9:26--The Chosen One
               will be killed and have nothing.  And the people of the Ruler who is to
               come will destroy the city and the holy place.  The end will come like a
               flood.  Even to the end there will be war.  For the Lord has said that much
               will be destroyed. (New Life)
          e.     Since 70 A.D. Jerusalem has been a Gentile colony, the site of a temple to
               a heathen god, fought over by Muslims and Christians during the
               Crusades, a continuing source of conflict between Arabs and Jews.
          f.     v24--That will continue until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
     4.     Matt 24:4-28--In answer to the disciples second question, Jesus lists the signs
          which will warn Israel that the Second Coming of the Messiah is very near and
          that the kingdom is once again being offered to them.
          a.     These are not signs to the Church.  It doesn't exist yet.  The people to
               whom Jesus is speaking know nothing about the Church.  Jesus is speaking
               to Jews about things that pertain to Jews.
          b.     Jesus is describing the tribulation which will precede His Second Coming
               and will finish the plan for Israel revealed in Dan 9:27 -- the 70th week.

E.     There is another important connection between the Book of Daniel and the Olivet
     discourse (Matthew 24 and Luke 21).
     1.     Luke 21:24--Jerusalem shall be conquered and trampled down by the Gentiles
          until the period of Gentile triumph ends in God's good time. (Living)
          a.     The times of the Gentiles = a period of time when Jerusalem (Israel) will
               be controlled by Gentiles.  The period began with Babylon's overthrow of
               Jerusalem in 586 B.C. and will continue until the Second Coming.
          b.     The first ruler of the times of the Gentiles was Nebuchadnezzer and the
               last will be the Antichrist.
     2.     The Book of Daniel introduces the times of the Gentiles and contains a time
          line of the Gentile nations which will rule Israel until the end.
     3.     Dan 2:27-45--Daniel interpreted a dream had by Nebuchadnezzer.  The king
          dreamed of a metallic statue that was eventually broken in pieces and destroyed
          by a stone which became a mountain that filled the whole earth.
          a.     Daniel explained the image.  The body parts represented four kingdoms --
               Babylon (the head of gold) and the three that would rise after it.
          b.     We can study history and see what the other body parts are because three
               other Gentile empires have ruled over Jerusalem through the centuries.
               1.     Head of gold = Babylon, 606 B.C. to 538 B.C.
               2.     Breast and arms of silver = Medo-Persia, 538 B.C. to 332 B.C.
               3.     Belly and thighs of brass = Greece, 332 B.C. to 63 B.C.
               4.     Legs of iron = Rome, 63 B.C. to 476 A.D.
          c.     We have not yet seen the final form of the fourth kingdom -- feet and toes
               of clay and iron.  It will be a revived Roman Empire. (another lesson)
          d.     The Roman Empire was divided in two (east and west) in 395 A.D.
               and was further divided after the Germanic invasions in 476 A.D., but
               it has never been divided into 10 kingdoms. Dan 7:23,24
          e.     Israel has not been free of Gentile control since Babylon and will not be
               free until the times of the Gentiles are completed.
     4.     The times of the Gentiles will be completed when the stone cut without hands
          appears.  The stone is Jesus.  He will destroy the final Gentile kingdom (revived
          Roman Empire) and set up His everlasting kingdom. Dan 2:34,35; 44,45
     5.     Dan 7:1-7; 15-18--Daniel had a vision and saw the same Gentile powers from a
          different point of view, and we get more clues as to their identity.
          a.     Instead of a statue, Daniel sees four monstrous beasts come out of the sea.
          b.     In prophetic scriptures, the sea often symbolizes Gentile nations or an
               innumerable mass of people. Is 57:20,21  Daniel's four beasts:
               1.     Lion with eagles wings = national symbol of Babylon.
               2.     Bear (lopsided) = Medo-Persians.  Persia was the stronger, that's why
                    the bear is lopsided.  Three ribs are Babylon, Medes, Persians.
               3.     Leopard with four wings = Greece.  Leopard known for speed.  
                    Alexander the Great conquered the world in a few months.  Four
                    heads = the empire was divided among four of his generals.
               4.     The fourth beast is not compared to any animal.  It has ten horns.
                    Horn in prophetic scripture is a king. Dan 7:24
F.     Conclusion:  The Book of Daniel puts God's end times program on an amazing
     time table.  God has given us a calendar to help us mark where in time we are:
     The times of the Gentiles (four Gentile kingdoms which will dominate Israel) and
     70 weeks (490 years) for Israel.
     1.     Both of these time lines must be completed before the Messiah can establish
          His everlasting kingdom.  Note -- neither one has anything to do with the
          Church. Rom 11:25
     2.     Where in time does all of this leave us?  The times of the Gentiles are 4/5s over
          and 69 of Daniel's 70 weeks have taken place.  Jesus is coming!!

Back to Top