Sunday, October 24, 2021

Epochal Events (4) Times of the Gentiles

The destruction of Jerusalem began a new season that has continued up to the present day. Jesus called this season The Times of the Gentiles, because during this season, the Jewish people would mostly be hostile to the gospel of Jesus.

They 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 (Luke 21:24).
The defining feature of this season is that Jerusalem will be trampled by the nations. Jerusalem is still being trampled by other nations, and the epochal event that ends this season has not yet occurred, so we are currently living in the Times of the Gentiles. (I have described this season more fully in Times of the Gentiles.)

Paul explains the reason for the Times of the Gentiles in the book of Romans. In Romans 10:21, he describes Israel as a disobedient nation. Although a few have been saved, as a nation, they are shut off from God. They have been hardened (11:25), become enemies of the gospel (11:28) committed to disobedience (11:31) and been broken out of the vine (11:17).

This is the reason why the battle has been so hard for the last two millennia. Part of the team is missing. The church is not complete, so it has not been functioning at full power.

This disobedience has consequences throughout the world. When Jesus died upon the cross, the devil was totally and fully defeated. He was cast out of heaven (Rev 12:13) and can only continue to function on earth if he can deceive people into rejecting the gospel. However, he does have one last legal right on earth. Because Israel has rejected God and lost its protection (Matt 23:39), Satan has had the right to work evil that will affect the Jews. Furthermore, because they had been scattered among the nations, he has been empowered to work in all the nations.

Whenever Satan wants to do great evil in a nation, he incites it to attack the Jews to obtain greater authority to do his work. For example, Satan incited both Hitler and Stalin to attack the Jews. This enabled him to do great evil through them.

The rejection of Israel has also given Satan a legal right to continue working in the world, despite his defeat. Because he has had this freedom to work in the world, the Kingdom has not come to its true fulfilment.

The following notes summarise this season. During the Times of the Gentiles:

  • The people of Israel are scattered among the nations.
  • They will be hostile to the gospel.
  • The church will not reach its full capability.
  • The Holy Spirit is constrained.
  • Satan has a legal right to be active in the world, despite his defeat.
  • The world will be dominated by strong political empires.
  • The Kingdom of God does not come to fulfilment.
The Times of the Gentiles go on much longer than God intended, because:
  • The people of the world continue to put their faith in political power for security and prosperity.

  • Human government is seen as the solution to every problem.

  • The Jews continue to resist the idea that Jesus is their messiah.

  • Christian witness to the Jews has often been defective.

  • Christians have been better at persecuting the Jews than demonstrating God's love for them.

  • Christians have put their faith in political power, military force and economic strength.

  • Most Christians have been unwilling to suffer through times of distress by taking up the cross and following Jesus.

When the Times of the Gentiles end, Satan's last legal authority on earth will be gone. His power to do evil will be severely curtailed, opening the way for a rapid advance of the Kingdom of God. Unfortunately, it will take a Time of Distress to end this season.

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