A prediction to Israel of the long period in which their possession of Jerusalem should be released to Gentiles and Jerusalem be in the hands of Gentiles, as now, is the measurement of that period known as Gentile times. Christ termed this era "the times of the Gentiles." What He said is recorded in Luke 21:24: "And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." Thus is introduced one of the most important time-periods in human history. Over against "the times of the Gentiles" is a phrase—
the times and the seasons—which refers to God's dealing with Israel (cf. Acts 1:7; 1 Thess. 5:1). Under what is contemplated by these two prophetic indications, "the times of the Gentiles" and "the times and the seasons," the entire prophetic prospect of the Old Testament as well as of the New Testament largely is accounted for well.
The times of the Gentiles measure foreign dominion over Jerusalem, evidently began with the Babylonian captivity, and continue until the present hour and will do so on until Israel is returned to possession of her own land. However, another period unforeseen in Old Testament prediction has intervened meanwhile, leaving Israel's "times and seasons" and Gentile times as well yet to be consummated.
It follows, then, that measurements have been divinely indicated both for the duration of Jewish times and of Gentile times. There is no occasion for misunderstanding about these periods. To Daniel it was disclosed that 490, which is a matter of 70 sevens, would intervene before Israel's kingdom bringing in "everlasting righteousness" might be set up: "Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy" (Dan. 9:24). Till the cutting off of Messiah would be 483 years, or a total of 69 sevens. Only one seven or week of years remains unfulfilled, but between the sixty-ninth seven and the seventieth seven very much is still to be fulfilled. The intercalatory period is left indefinite in extent, nevertheless the seventieth seven of years has yet to run its course. Daniel declares: "And the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined" (9:26). Thus it is suggested respecting Jewish times and seasons that an indefinite period must be anticipated to occur between the cutting off of Messiah in death and the consummation of the whole 490-year period. A Gentile intercalation was inserted in the Jewish calendar and in this time no Jewish purpose or prediction is being fulfilled; all the same, a seven-year period yet remains to run its course. In like manner, Gentile times which began with the captivity of Babylon about 600 years before Christ may be measured by two periods. One of these is a time of seventy years during which Jerusalem remained in complete desolation. Of this period Jeremiah had predicted: "And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the Lord, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations" (Jer. 25:11-12). This time of ruin Daniel discovered to be near its termination once when he was in the spirit of prayer. He records his experience: "In the first year of his [Darius'] reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem" (9:2).
The second subdivision period is indicated not by precise measure ment of years, as with the two Jewish times, but by the succession of world empires. These empires are indicated by the colossal image—made from gold, silver, brass, and iron—of Daniel, chapter 2. History revealed the gold to be Babylon, the silver to be Media-Persia, the brass to be Greece, and the iron to be Rome. The same four great empires are anticipated in Daniel, chapter 7, under the characters of nondescript beasts. Since Rome was the fourth, the period covered by this empire is that of its predicted end. The metallic image had feet of iron and clay and these apparently by so much removed from the legs of iron, so that in Rome between the legs of iron and the feet there is again an indefinite period extending onward; but the time of the feet and toes must still run its course to complete Gentile times. That hour evidently corresponds to the seventieth week in Jewish times. Both Jewish times and Gentile times anticipate the era known as the great tribulation.
Gentile times are therefore inclusive of about 600 years before Christ and will end seven years after this age of grace is completed. The present age while concerned with both Jews and Gentiles in the earth is neither advancing Jewish times nor Gentile times. It is quite unrelated to any other time.
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