Saturday, December 05, 2009

Obstacles to the Kingdom (2) - Times of the Gentiles

Despite many prophecies about the glory of the Kingdom of God, we have not yet seen the victory promised. Many Christians implicitly believe that the Holy Spirit is too weak to bring in the Kingdom of God and that Jesus will have to return to do the job. This is not true. The reason the Holy Spirit has not yet brought in the Kingdom of God is that he has not yet been given the freedom to go hard out. He is restrained until the current season is complete.

Putting this another way, we have not seen the fullness of the Kingdom of God is that we are still living in the season called the Times of the Gentiles (Luke 21:24). During this season, the kingdom rises and falls, but cannot reach complete fulfilment. The Holy Spirit cannot establish the Kingdom of God until the Times of the Gentiles are filled up.

Jesus warned the people of Israel that their nation would be left desolate, if they rejected him.

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate (Matt 23:37-38).
He followed up with a prophecy about the destruction of Jerusalem.
Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. "Do you see all these things?" he asked. "I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down" (Matt 24:1,2).
Jesus crucifixion set these prophetic warnings in motion. In AD 70, the Roman armies invaded Israel and destroyed the city of Jerusalem. The Jewish people were slaughtered, expelled and scattered among the nations. Luke’s record of this prophetic warning called it the Times of the Gentiles.
Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled (Luke 21:24).
The destruction of Jerusalem marked the beginning of the Times of the Gentiles. Jesus used this name, because during this season, most Jews will be absent from his Kingdom. They have rejected their Messiah and are under judgment of God.

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