1

The "Times of the Gentiles" started with the deposing of the last king of Judah, i.e. King Zedekiah, the last king to sit on Jehovah's earthly throne, which happened with the overthrow and destruction of Jerusalem and Solomon's temple in 607 BC, by the Babylonians, led by King Nebuchadnezzar, which heralded the beginning of the 70 (x 360 day) years of Babylonian captivity and which would not end until 538 BC, Dan,9:1,2. See also Ez, 21:25-27. From 607 BC and onwards, therefore, was to be the Gentiles time, which we know from Dan 4:16,23 was to last for seven periods of time.

In Dan, 4:10-37, we learn of another of Nebuchadnezzar's dreams, where he is depicted (as we later learn from Daniel's interpretation) as a giant, heaven high tree, he being the highest human (earthly) ruler of that time. The tree, as depicted by the king, we then learn is cut down, with only its stump left in the ground, but which is then banded with iron and bronze and then left in the grass of the field, to be drenched with the dew of heaven, amongst the beasts of the field until seven periods of time pass. Initially, we learn that this said time period is to relate to the king himself, during a fit of mindless incomprehension, imposed by Godly intervention, and that he himself is to languish in the field, as if a beast, eating grass, for 7 full years, at the end of which he is shown and comes to believe that it is Heaven that rules. We also learn, however, that the seven periods of time are to have further meaning, in that they are to last until ...."the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind, and bestows it on whom He wishes, and sets over it the lowliest of men." Dan,4:17.

If, as I believe, the lowliest of men, is a cryptic reference to Jesus taking over the earthly kingdom, as opposed to heavenly kingdom (which He inherited after his ascension), at the end of Gentile rule, then the further meaning, as to the seven periods of time, has to span more than two millenniums. How long can we possibly, therefore, be truly talking about, when it comes to this "duality" of meaning??

In Luke 21:24, we see a definite reference to the Times of the Gentiles, but I see this as just a reminder that the said times still have a long way to go. The trampling of Jerusalem, by Gentile Nations started with Nebuchadnezzar, and was emphasized further under Vespasian and in particular his general Titus, in the 1st Jewish/Roman War of 66 AD thru 73 AD, which incidentally covered a 7 year time period, in its own totality, with 70 AD being, of course, a very significant center point. But that's another story.

26
  • 3
    I'm a little puzzled - where in Luke 21:24 does it say the Times of the Gentiles started with Zedekiah? Isn't Jesus referring to the whole thing as a future event?
    – Steve can help
    Oct 15, 2021 at 20:30
  • 2
    I'd suggest that you've supplied a lot of material external to Luke and are using that to shape the interpretation of the passage given as the 'starting point' of this question, which isn't good practice exegetically. Perhaps most of this content would be more suitable as an Answer to your own Question, and the rest can be stripped back to anchor on Luke 21:24 as the core text?
    – Steve can help
    Oct 15, 2021 at 20:31
  • 1
    For the justification of this "seven times" beginning with Nebuchadnezzar - ask the Jehovah's Witnesses. The events that Jesus describes, were in His day, still future and so cannot begin with Zedekiah. Even the secular chronology used by them is out of date, being largely based on Ussher's work. Zedekiah was deposed and executed in 587/6 BC.
    – Dottard
    Oct 15, 2021 at 20:45
  • 1
    I see nothing to link Luke 21:24 to Zedekiah. The times of the Gentiles, also hinted at in Rev 11:2, 3 is more likely associated with 1260 days. 42 months or 3½ years.
    – Dottard
    Oct 15, 2021 at 21:44
  • 1
    @OldeEnglish - I think we have interected over this question previously in hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/60901/… If you want to make 607 BC when Zedekiah was killed, then in Daniel lived to well over 100 years because he was taken captive 20 years earlier and lasted until the 3rd year of Cyrus. The JW data is based on the unsubstantiated data of Ussher. We now have astronomical records for the dates of Nebuchadnezzar.
    – Dottard
    Oct 16, 2021 at 2:04

2 Answers 2

0

Strictly speaking, the phrase "the times of the Gentiles" appears exactly once in Luke 21:

20 “When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near.

It began with the besieging of Jerusalem.

21Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. 22For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written. 23How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. 24They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

This is where the "times of the Gentiles" is mentioned and defined.

25 “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. 26People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. 27At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

It ends with the second coming of Christ.

This was Jesus' definition of the times of the Gentiles. There could be other definitions but not according to Jesus' words.

1
  • I actually referenced Luke 21:24 in the 'body' section of my question and then later, in my list, referenced Luke 21:11 and 21:26. Although most definitely Jesus' words, with "duality" of meaning, initially prophesying as to the 1st Jewish/Roman War of 66 AD thru 73 AD and then with veiled regard to the End Times, but unless you have a credible alternative explanation for Dan, 4:10-37 then you might as well be "whistling in the wind." Furthermore, when in Luke 21:32, Jesus makes ref. to "this generation", he has to be referring solely to 70 AD. Oct 21, 2021 at 16:37
-1

How are we to understand the meaning, not to mention the length, of the "Times of the Gentiles", which likely began with Nebuchadnezzar?

Historical Context

Towards the end of the second millennium, some 1200 years before the birth of Jesus, the Israelite nation was somewhat leaderless. The tribes of Israel each lived autonomously in their own regions. There was no central authority and the tribes were left to their own devices politically. Charismatic leaders, seen as divinely appointed, came and went. These leaders were known as Judges, including the likes of Gideon and the more relatable historical figure of Samson. In the absence of a judge, priests and prophets often took on the leadership role, which is where the prophet Samuel entered the picture, a very influential figure. Samuel, however, was not going to live forever, and faced with this prospect, as well as a Philistine threat, a group of elders asked Samuel to do the previously unthinkable: appoint a permanent king of Israel. Samuel, reluctant at first, chose a young man from the tribe of Benjamin, by the name of Saul, who became the first divinely appointed king of Israel. Saul, along with Johnathon his son, led the Israelite armies to defeat the Philistines and other traditional foes. Saul, however, eventually fell foul of his divine purpose and transgressed the divine law, profusely angering Samuel, resulting in having the mantle of kingship taken away from him by God, Himself. Samuel was then subsequently instructed by God to pave the way for Saul's successor, David, the slayer of Goliath, to become the second divinely appointed king of Israel. A number of further divinely appointed kings would follow David, most notably his son Solomon, until there were no more divinely appointed kings to be had.

Times of the Gentiles, begin

Consequently, the Times of the Gentiles, or, Appointed Times of the Nations started with the deposing of the last king of Judah. i.e. King Zedekiah, the last king to sit on Jehovah's earthly throne, which happened with the overthrow and destruction of Jerusalem and Solomon's temple in 607 BC, by the Babylonians, led by King Nebuchadnezzar, which heralded the beginning of the 70 (x 360 day) years of Babylonian captivity and which would not end until 538 BC, Dan, 9:1,2. See also Ez, 21:25-27. From 607 BC and onwards, therefore, was to be the Gentiles time, which we know from Dan, 4:16,23 was to last for seven periods of time.

NB:-

In Zech, 1:12 and again in Zech, 7:5, we see further references to the same 70 years of Babylonian captivity, as referred to in Dan, 9:1,2 and Jer, 25:11 and 29:10, but in Zechariah the 70 years would appear to end at the completion of the 2nd temple, in 516 BC, which would suggest that the 70 years started in 587/6 BC, which according to the historical record, at least, was when the destruction of Jerusalem and Solomon's temple supposedly took place. However, if one checks out "Biblehub Commentaries", there is some suggestion that, although the 70 years of captivity had already ended in 538 BC (an undisputed date), it took another 20-22 years of suffering God's indignation, until the temple was completed, making for some 90 years (at least until 518 BC) of actual desolation and then further indignation by way of God's anger. So, although these 70 years would seem to have ended in 518 BC (as opposed to the actual temple completion date of 516 BC), they really did end in 538 BC.

Nebuchadnezzar's Dream

As further stated in the question body: In Dan, 4:10-37, we learn of another of Nebuchadnezzar's dreams, where he is depicted (as we later learn from Daniel's interpretation) as a giant, heaven high tree, he being the highest human (earthly) ruler of that time. The tree, as depicted by the king, we learn is cut down, with only it's stump left in the ground, but which is then banded with iron and bronze and then left in the grass of the field, to be drenched with the dew of heaven, amongst the beasts of the field until seven periods of time pass. Initially, we learn that this said time period is to relate to the king himself, during a fit of mindless incomprehension, imposed by Godley intervention, and that he himself is to languish in the field, as if a beast, eating grass, for 7 full years, at the end of which he is shown and comes to believe that it is Heaven that rules. We also learn, however, that the seven periods of time are to have further meaning, in that they are to last until .... "the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind, and bestows it on whom He wishes, and sets over it the lowliest of men." Dan, 4:17. [NASB]

If, as I believe, the lowliest of men, is a cryptic reference to Jesus taking over the earthly kingdom, as opposed to heavenly kingdom (which He inherited after his ascension), at the end of Gentile rule, then the further meaning, as to the seven periods of time, has to span more than two millenniums....How long can we possibly, therefore, be truly talking about, when it comes to this duality of meaning??

Jesus Christ begins his rule

In Revelation chapter 12, verses 6 and 14, we learn that 1260 days are equal to "a time [that is, 1 time] and times [that is, 2 times] and half a time." That is a total of 3 1/2 times. So "a time" would be equal to 360 days. Therefore, "seven times" would be 7 times 360, or 2,520 days. Now if we count a day for a year, according to a Bible rule, the "seven times" equal 2520 years.-Numbers 14:34; Ezekiel 4:6.

We have already learned that "the appointed times of the nations" began in the year 607 B.C.E.. So by counting 2520 years from that date, we come down to 1914 C.E.. that is the year these "appointed times" ended.

...Taken from p.141, of the "You Can Live forever in Paradise on Earth", by the "Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society" 1982 edition.

Conclusion

Can we conclude in all honesty that Jesus Christ began to rule as king, over all the earth (in addition to his heavenly governmental role, as already stated) in 1914 ?? Well, let's think about this. If Christ has already returned to rule in his Father's kingdom, why do we not see him?

2) "In my Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. 3) And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to myself; that where I am, there you may be also. 4) And you know the way where I am going." John 14:2-4 [NASB]

Jesus was talking directly to his disciples, after his resurrection, while in one of his many seemingly fleshly forms, which he from time to time partook of (at least in the 40 days prior to his ascension) and was comforting them as to the fact that they would be joining him in his heavenly kingdom.

At his return (i. e. return to power), Christ does not come to live on earth. Rather, those who are to rule alongside him are taken to live with him in heaven. In fact Christ goes on to say:

"After a little while the world will behold me no more; but you will behold me; because I live, you shall live also." John 14:19 [NASB]

So the world (those outside of those with the heavenly calling) will not actually see him anymore. Later on, during the Great Commission Paul says the following:

"Therefore from now on we recognize no man according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know him thus no longer." 2 Cor, 5:16

There are many other similar Bible verses, like the ones mentioned here in this conclusion, that speak to the fact that no further physical manifestations of Jesus Christ will present themselves to the all seeing eye. So, for all we truly know, Christ may well have returned to power, in heaven, in 1914 AD even, and already commenced his rule over all the earth. It would have been possibly then, therefore, that the loud cry was heard in heaven, saying:

"Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser (Satan) of our brethren has been thrown down ..." Rev, 12:10 [NASB]

In further conclusion, we can now see that "The End of the World" may now be at hand. If Jesus Christ threw Satan and his angels out of heaven, at the beginning of his kingdom rule, in 1914, then have we (fleshly humans) been witness to the Sign of his Presence in these now presumptive last days. I would hazard a guess that we could, very well, have already been witnesses to the sign, that, Jesus informed his disciples of, just before his death, would be the evidence of his Pa.rou.si.a. Consequently, could the following have been possibly undergoing fulfillment since 1914:

  1. "NATION WILL RISE AGAINST NATION AND KINGDOM AGAINST KINGDOM."-Matthew 24:7
  2. "THERE WILL BE FOOD SHORTAGES."-Matthew 24:7
  3. "THERE WILL BE EARTHQUAKES IN ONE PLACE AFTER ANOTHER."-Matthew 24:7
  4. "IN ONE PLACE AFTER ANOTHER PESTILENCES."-Luke 21:11
  5. "INCREASING OF LAWLESSNESS."-Matthew 24:12
  6. "MEN BECOME FAINT OUT OF FEAR."-Luke 21:26
  7. "DISOBEDIENCE TO PARENTS."-2 Timothy 3:2
  8. "LOVERS OF MONEY."-2 Timothy 3:2
  9. "LOVERS OF PLEASURES RATHER THAN LOVERS OF GOD."-2 Timothy 3:4
  10. "HAVING A FORM OF GODLY DEVOTION BUT PROVING FALSE TO ITS POWER."-2 Tim, 3:5
  11. "RUINING THE EARTH."-Revelation 11:18

ARMAGEDDON

As I have already pointed out that the world (fleshly humans) may not see Christ again, then how do we account for the vision of Christ on a white horse; with his eyes aflame with fire; many diadems on his head; clothed with a robe dipped in blood; with armies of angels, also on white horses, following; with a sharp sword protruding from his mouth, with which he may smite those Nations, aforementioned. Rev, 19:11 thru 16

I knew this vision of Christ was going to be the most difficult to address in this posting and I guess it's fitting that it comes at the end of this dissertation. All I can say is that the vision, while certainly John's vision, of the spiritual forces in heaven, led by the spiritual Jesus, now with many crowns, it may well not be seen the same way by us fleshly humans. Nevertheless, we will no doubt be acutely aware of what is transpiring, somehow or another. In any case, one can't help but wonder as to the reality of Jesus being seen with a sword protruding from his mouth. This is obviously symbolic. But, then that begs the obvious question: How much more of John's vision could be symbolic?. One can only wonder.....

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.