Are you familiar with one or both terms, Times of the Gentiles and Fullness of the Gentiles?
Bible teachers and students sometimes use these terms interchangeably or may even ascribe the same meaning to both. One expression originated with Jesus himself; the other coined by the Apostle Paul some thirty years later.
Although both designations end with “of the Gentiles,” they are different. What makes them different is the prophetic setting which defines them and determines their significance. Each phrase relates specifically and separately to one of the two remarkable plans that God has conceived for humanity, which I’ve mentioned in a few previous Eye of Prophecy articles. Scripture is abundantly clear that God relates to all people, individually and as nations, in the parameters of these two providential plans.
Before either blueprint was implemented, God gave humanity the opportunity to determine if we could and would fully appreciate the reason for our very existence. Which was to revere and worship the Lord by: thanking him for life itself; obeying his instructions that would mean the difference between life and death; trusting (faith) him to provide for all our needs, both physical and spiritual. In short, to experience the full benefits and blessings of a paradise on earth … forever.
Both plans were conceived before “the foundation of the world” because God knew what would happen. Like any parent, but infinitely more so, God wants people to love, trust, and obey him because they want to, not because they’re forced.
Thus, he gave men and women that which is essential to the very core of our existence; which we value above all else to the point of dying if necessary to gain and maintain it—Liberty. It is the freedom to choose—right from wrong, good from evil, life over death. Not freedom from God; but freedom with God. It is as theologians call it: Free Will.
That purpose came to a screeching halt when Adam and Eve decided they would devise their own rules and determine their own fate. Although they had God-given authority over nearly all the Garden of Eden, they would expand that control by touching and eating from the one small part (tree) of the Garden off-limits to them. They believed Satan’s lie when he said they wouldn’t die if they ate the forbidden fruit; instead they would be like God himself. It was a fateful decision, to say the least.
Borrowing from the titles of John Milton’s two epic masterpieces, it would be Paradise Lost, but Paradise Regained. God would not leave mankind without a redemptive remedy that would restore men and women back to where they began—intimate fellowship with God who created us … body, soul, and spirit.
God’s Two Plans for Humanity … One Spiritual, The Other Physical
First Plan—Spiritual: Personal Redemption through Messiah Jesus.
This individual salvation for all people would be made possible through one man—the 2nd (perfect) Adam … Romans 5—as first announced in Genesis 3:15.
Then again by Moses: “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him” (Deuteronomy 18:15).
Then God said: “I will personally deal with anyone who will not listen to the messages the prophet proclaims on my behalf” (Verse 19, italics for emphasis).
For every person, salvation is personal (John 3:16).
As are the (eternal) repercussions if so great a salvation is spurned (John 3:36).
Some 1,300 years later, Moses (along with Elijah) heard these same words from God. Words spoken for the benefit of three Jewish disciples (Peter, James, and John) as well as the whole world. “As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed so that his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as light. Suddenly Moses and Elijah appeared and began talking with Jesus … a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, ‘This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy. Listen to him’” (Matthew 17:2-5, italics for emphasis).
Every person is given the freedom but also the responsibility to make that choice: To listen to Messiah Jesus or not. To believe him (or not) when he says: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
God’s Plan of Salvation is the simplest of plans. Yet people make things so complicated, what with all the irreligious existential philosophies or religious rules and regulations. The common denominator of which is trying to agnostically attain some enlightened plateau of paranormal self-realization or to religiously please or appease their god(s) with good works or ritualistic observances.
You can throw out all the metaphysical maneuvers along with religious ruminations that people have concocted, through which they have attempted to categorize (with descriptive names and titles and the such) belief systems. That won’t work with God. That’s not His way (See I Corinthians Chapters 1 & 2).
God’s plan of personal salvation is so basic that he has divided humanity into two categories … spiritually.
People are either: Saved or Unsaved.
That’s how he sees us and relates to us. We are born unsaved—spiritually dead. We are saved when we listen to Jesus who said that we need to be born-again (spiritually … John 3:3-8). By agreeing with Scripture: “And that message is the very message about faith that we preach: If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).
The Christian faith is not a religion, it’s a new-birth restored relationship with God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—the way it was in the beginning.
Second Plan—Physical: Through a People (the Jews) & In a Land (Israel)
To accomplish the First Plan, God called Abraham to begin a nation through whom God would reveal himself (recorded in God’s Word, the Bible) in extraordinary detail. A people chosen to bring the truth of God’s attributes and salvation to all nations. The inclusive essence of that truth and the exclusive source of that salvation would be the Messiah (Jesus) who is the: “visible image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15). He is the Son of God who, “…radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God…” (Hebrews 1:3).
The nation of Israel with its capital Jerusalem would be the land promised by God to Abraham and his descendants FOREVER. This unilateral covenant that God made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was unconditional. As opposed to the conditional Covenant of Law given through Moses that mandated the people’s obedience to God to remain in the Promised Land. Because Israel abandoned the Lord, he substituted the Covenant of Law with the Covenant of Grace.
“The day is coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. This covenant will not be like the one I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and brought them out of the land of Egypt. They broke that covenant, though I loved them as a husband loves his wife, says the Lord” (Jeremiah 31:31-32 … Jeremiah goes on to explain this New Covenant).
It’s vitally important to understand that the New Covenant of Grace would replace the Mosaic Covenant of Law—NOT the Abrahamic Covenant. God told Abraham that covenant would be in perpetuity: “…from generation to generation. This is the everlasting covenant; I will always be your God and the God of your descendants after you. And I will give the entire land of Canaan, where you now live as a foreigner, to you and your descendants. It will be their possession forever, and I will be their God” (Genesis 17:7-8).
As there are two categories of people (spiritually) in God’s Plan of Salvation, so there are two groups of people (physically) in God’s Second Plan for mankind.
People are either: Jew or Gentile.
Consequently, the Bible distinguishes between God’s interaction with Israel and with Gentile nations. Historically, Scripture explains in detail Israel’s inception and rise to prominence as a great nation, then her decline leading to two agonizing exiles. As well as numerous prophecies that God would restore Israel as a nation and bring the Jews back to the Promised Land from Gentile nations all over the world.
Nowhere in the Bible does it state or even imply that the physical nation of Israel and her people the Jews would be replaced by the Church—the spiritual body of believers … the saved. Several Bible passages, including Romans 9, 10, & 11, explain explicitly that Israel’s formation, restoration, and perpetual existence is corporeal in God’s plan and execution of that plan. The Church via spiritual rebirth in the New Covenant does not under any circumstances or conditions take the place of national Israel’s inheritance derived from her original birth and rebirth.
Although the two plans are distinctive, they’re both based on a rebirth.
Distinguishing Between the Two Plans
It’s imperative that we distinguish between God’s heavenly rebirth (spiritual) plan of salvation—which makes believing Jews and Gentiles one in Messiah—and God’s earthly rebirth (physical) plan for Israel as the nation from where Messiah Jesus comes and from where he will rule and reign in the Kingdom of God.
Thus, when the Jewish Apostle Paul states that, “For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.… There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you” (Galatians 3:26-29); he is referring to God’s spiritual plan that was set in motion by the Lord’s Covenant with Abraham (the second plan).
That spiritual feature relates exclusively to Abraham’s faith in the ultimate purpose for God choosing him (and his descendants to bring the Messiah); a faith that would “save” Abraham and all peoples (Jew and Gentile alike) who would exercise that same faith in the ultimate Child of Promise (Messiah Jesus).
“And Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith” (Genesis 15:6). Which led directly to the physical component of the Abrahamic Covenant as stated in the very next verse:
“Then the Lord said to him, ‘I am the Lord who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land as your possession’” (Genesis 15:7).
Paul cites Genesis 15:6: “In the same way, Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith. The real children of Abraham, then, are those who put their faith in God” (Galatians 3:6-7).
Does this mean that the Lord has disinherited the Jews and disenfranchised them as a people? Has the Lord abrogated his covenant with Abraham regarding Israel as the land promised to Abraham’s (physical) descendants? Absolutely not, as explained emphatically by Paul.
“I ask, then, has God rejected his own people, the nation of Israel? Of course not! I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham and a member of the tribe of Benjamin. No, God has not rejected his own people, whom he chose from the very beginning…” (Romans 11:1-2).
Then he writes, “So this is the situation: Most of the people of Israel have not found the favor of God they are looking for so earnestly. A few have … but the hearts of the rest were hardened” (Romans 11:7).
As in the first century when Paul penned these words, so, too, in the 20th & 21st century there have been thousands upon thousands of Jews who have accepted Jesus as their personal Savior. But the clear majority have not. Not yet.
Paul asks another rhetorical question: “Did God’s people stumble and fall beyond recovery? Of course not! They were disobedient, so God made salvation available to the Gentiles. But he wanted his own people to become jealous and claim it for themselves. Now if the Gentiles were enriched because the people of Israel turned down God’s offer of salvation, think how much greater a blessing the world will share when they finally accept it” (Romans 11:11-12).
Therefore, the real children of Abraham—Jew and Gentile alike—are those who have been reborn spiritually by placing their faith in Messiah Jesus, who physically descended through King David’s lineage from the tribe of Judah.
*Note: I’m using the concept of two plans for clearer understanding of God’s purpose and role for the Jews within the framework of God’s plan of salvation, PLUS the unique destiny of Israel as a nation. If someone prefers the alternative of saying there’s one plan with two parts, that’s fine; if, that is, each of the two parts are correctly (Biblically) seen as unique.
Concerning the subject title of this week’s article, one of these plans includes the “Fullness of the Gentiles.” The other relates to the “Times of the Gentiles.”
Let’s examine the distinction. Beginning with:
Fullness of the Gentiles
Quoting one of the most recognized passages in the New Testament, the Apostle Paul states: “For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile” (Romans 1:16).
Why was the Gospel of Jesus Christ (death, burial, and resurrection) first presented to the Jews instead of the Gentiles? The main answer to that question was summarized earlier in today’s article. The fact that the New Covenant (of Grace), as historically detailed and recorded in what we now call The New Testament, was originally prophesied by the prophet Jeremiah specifically to (but not exclusively for) the Jewish people … to Israel (Jeremiah 31).
Other reasons why Israel would be first invited to receive the New Covenant is interwoven with the primary reason why the Lord chose the Jews in the first place—to be the source of salvation’s light and life to all people, beginning with themselves.
Read with me Paul’s expanded answer to the question of why, “to the Jew first.”
“They are the people of Israel, chosen to be God’s adopted children. God revealed his glory to them (during the Exodus, at Mt. Sinai, in the Tabernacle, in the Temple). He made covenants with them (Abrahamic, Mosaic, Davidic) and gave them his law. He gave them the privilege of worshipping him and receiving his wonderful promises” (Romans 9:4, parenthesis mine).
One of the splendid promises God gave to Israel was the New Covenant. Not long after Jeremiah wrote about this Covenant, the Babylonians conquered Judah and tore down Solomon’s magnificent Temple. By that time, God’s glory (God himself) had left the Temple because of the detestable sins of the people, including the priest’s defilement of the Temple (see Ezekiel Chapters 8-11). Even after the 2nd Temple was built, God’s Shekinah Glory (his presence) never returned. That is, not until God’s Son, Messiah Jesus, visited the Temple during his time on earth. Then in 70 A.D. the 2nd Temple was destroyed, and the Levitical Sacrificial system ended, still gone to this very day.
When most of God’s people no longer acknowledged or even cared that faith (trust) in the Lord was the real source of being made right with God—just like Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness (right standing with God)—their Levitical sacrificial system became perfunctorily rote and ritualistic.
When the Jews—socially, politically, and most of all spiritually—stubbornly stopped trusting God to provide for all their needs (instead turning to false gods for security and prosperity), the Lord unilaterally proclaimed, then initiated a New Covenant. One that still was/is based on trusting God, but one in which God provided the (final, once for all) sacrifice himself—his very Son.
Please see, Eye of Prophecy trilogy, Where Is the Temple? Part I, II, & III. Posted 11-29, 12-6, 12-13-14. The theme of those articles was tendered primarily to capture the attention and stir the hearts of God’s chosen people who are still in denial as to how and why the loss of the Levitical Sacrificial System has dramatically affected Judaism, for both observant and secular Jews. The rolling premise in those articles was:
No Temple, no sacrificial offerings. No sacrifices, no atonement forgiveness of sins. No forgiveness, no redemption. No redemption, no right standing with God.
Writes the Jewish author to the Jews in Israel: “But now Jesus, our High Priest, has been given a ministry that is far superior to the old priesthood, for he is the one who mediates for us a far better covenant with God, based on better promises. If the first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no need for a second covenant to replace it. But when God found fault with the people, he said, ‘The day is coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah” (Hebrews 8:6-8).
The author of Hebrews continues:
“So Christ has now become the High Priest over all the good things that have come. He has entered that greater, more perfect Tabernacle in heaven, which was not made by human hands and is not part of this created world. With his own blood—not the blood of goats and calves—he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever. Under the old system, the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a young cow could cleanse people’s bodies from ceremonial impurity. Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins… For Christ died to set them free from the penalty of the sins they had committed under that first covenant” (Hebrews 9:11-15).
Wrote the Jewish Apostle John: “He (Christ Jesus) came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people (the Jews), and even they rejected him. But to all (Jew and Gentile alike) who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God” (John 1:10-13, parenthesis mine).
While on the cross, Jesus spoke these poignant words:
Certainly, his accusers (the Jewish religious leaders) and the executioners (Romans) knew what they were doing to Jesus. Jesus meant they didn’t understand that their wicked actions would result in the very source of their salvation—if they would only repent (change their minds) and receive him as Messiah and Savior. Which some later did, beginning right then and there with the thief on the cross and the Roman centurion.
Even at the cross the first to be saved was a Jew, then a Gentile. It’s highly unlikely that the thief on the cross was a Roman (Gentile) as most Romans in Israel were either military personnel or government officials (and their families). The Romans executed their own by beheading. If by crucifixion it was for treason, not lesser crimes.
Yet in terms of preaching the Gospel—throughout Judea, Samaria, and the Roman Empire—after Jesus ascended back to heaven, it was to the Jew first. The New Testament records the fact that thousands of Jews, including rabbis and priests, did, in fact, believe and receive Jesus as Lord and Savior—their Messiah. Including, three thousand in one day! (See Acts 2).
Sadly, most Jews did not believe Jesus was their Messiah, which led to proclaiming the Good News to the Gentiles.
Grafting Gentiles Into the Tree of Israel
The Apostle Paul compares this mystery—to include Gentiles in God’s (First Plan) of salvation—to a tree, specifically Israel (Abraham’s tree) by saying:
“…God has appointed me as the apostle to the Gentiles. I stress this, for I want somehow to make the people of Israel jealous of what you Gentiles have, so I might save some of them. For since their rejection meant that God offered salvation to the rest of the world, their acceptance will be even more wonderful. It will be life for those who were dead! … For if the roots of the tree are holy (the original tree of Israel planted through Abraham), the branches will be, too.
“But some of these branches from Abraham’s tree—some of the people of Israel—have been broken off. And you Gentiles, who were branches from a wild olive tree, have been grafted in. So now you also receive the blessing God has promised to Abraham and his children, sharing in the rich nourishment from the root of God’s special olive tree. But you (Gentiles) must not brag about being grafted in to replace the branches that were broken off. You are just a branch, not the root” (Romans 11:13-18, emphasis added, parenthesis mine).
A pause here to re-emphasize: The entire Jew-Gentile paradigm that Paul established in Romans Chapters 9-11 (especially the above passage) categorically refutes and rejects the deceptive theory of Replacement Theology. Which speculates that the Church has replaced Israel by (erroneously) thinking that all the promises God made to the Jews as a people and special possession as a nation have been stripped from Israel and arbitrarily transferred to the Church.
Paul continues: “And if the people of Israel turn from their unbelief, they will be grafted in again, for God has the power to graft them back into the tree … So if God was willing to do something contrary to nature by grafting you into his cultivated tree, he will be far more eager to graft the original branches back into the tree where they belong” (Verses 23-24).
This brings us to the meaning of “fullness of the Gentiles” which is how the term is phrased in older translations of the Bible, like the King James Version and American Standard Bible—including up-dated versions of both translations.
In the very next verse, Paul then states: “I want you to understand this mystery … so that you (Gentiles) will not feel proud about yourselves. Some of the people of Israel have hard hearts, but this will last only until the full number of the Gentiles comes to Christ. And so all Israel will be saved…” (Romans 11:25-26, emphasis added, parenthesis mine).
Once the full number of Gentiles (“fullness of the Gentiles”)—the number of which is known only to the Lord—comes to a saving knowledge of Messiah Jesus, then all Israel will be saved.
My Pastor, Mark Martin of Calvary Community Church in Phoenix Arizona, on more than one occasion has described what happens when the “fullness of the Gentiles” takes place.
He said (paraphrasing): Someday there will be one final person (Gentile) who will be saved, and immediately afterward the Rapture will take place. Can you imagine what that person would say. Something like, “Wow, Lord, that was quick! This salvation really works! Thank you!”
That’s not to say that the last person saved just before the Rapture will be a Gentile. He or she could very well be a Jew. In keeping with Paul’s explanation, it means that when the last Gentile (known by the Lord) comes to Christ for salvation, then the Rapture will take place; followed by the Great Tribulation, culminating with “all Israel being saved” … spiritually.
Thus, the fullness of the Gentiles is directly linked to God’s First Plan for humanity. Which is the ongoing individual salvation (rebirth) of both Jew and Gentile. Beginning, however, with the Jews.
Times of the Gentiles
This is not the same as the Fullness of the Gentiles. Rather the Times of the Gentiles is linked directly to Israel as a people and nation—their history, exile, and national rebirth. Then rescue and final restoration during the last phase of the Great Tribulation and the beginning of the Millennial Reign of Messiah Jesus in the Kingdom of God on earth, from Jerusalem.
Care to venture a guess where in Scripture that Times of the Gentiles is found?
Hint: It’s found in just one of the Gospels, even though three Gospels—Matthew, Mark, and Luke—record in varying detail the scene containing this expression. A stronger hint: Because the scene takes place on the Mount of Olives directly across the Kidron Valley from Old Jerusalem, Bible scholars and teachers call it, The Olivet Discourse.
Most of the quotes or references to these three gospel accounts of the Mount of Olives Discourse usually concentrate on Matthew’s gospel, for the primary reason that Matthew’s account is the longest and most detailed … the entire chapters of Matthew 24 & 25.
For sake of time/space, I can only summarily state that both Matthew and Mark’s account of Jesus’s stirring explanation of the end times (in response to his disciple’s question, “Tell us, when will all this happen”) was exclusively related to the pre-Tribulation birth pains and the Tribulation itself, culminating with Jesus’s triumphant return to earth in power and great glory.
The disciple’s question was prompted by Jesus’s prophecy that the entire Temple would be demolished. Said Jesus:
(Also in Mark 13:2 & Luke 21:6)
The answer to the question of where “the times of the Gentiles’ is found: It’s in Luke’s Gospel.
“But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation in near. Then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those who are in the midst of the city must leave … because these are days of vengeance, so that all things which are written must be fulfilled. Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days; for there will be great distress upon the land and wrath to this people; and they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled” (Luke 21:20-24, NASB, italics for emphasis).
The times of the Gentiles began when Israel and Jerusalem were conquered by Babylon in 586 B.C. That initiated a virtually uninterrupted Gentile subjugation of the Jews and of Israel. Even though a remnant of Jews returned to Israel 70 years later and rebuilt the Temple, followed by rebuilding Jerusalem’s walls a few decades after that; from the Babylonian captivity forward, Israel was never again an autonomous nation. Next came Persia, then Greece, then Rome’s domination of Israel, then exile to the four corners of the earth.
That is, until 1948. When Israel was REBORN as a nation, to prophetically continue (fulfill) the corporeal feature of the Abrahamic Covenant—God’s second plan for humanity.
As detailed in several prior Eye of Prophecy articles, especially in Seven Times Seven (to the 4th Power), Parts I, II, & III (Posted 1-25 through 2-8-14), followed by the article, The Omega Generation (2-15-14), an amazing prophetic passage in Leviticus Chapter 26 predicts (by applying God’s seven times over discipline of Israel to actual years, beginning with the Babylonian captivity of 586) to the very year when God’s discipline would end. By doing the calculations on the Jewish calendar, that time expired in 1967. Which just happens to be the year when the Jews liberated Jerusalem in the Six-Day War of 1967. That’s when the Times of the Gentiles ended!
No longer will Jerusalem be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles. Never again will God’s chosen people be under the thumb of Gentile nations, helpless to defend themselves. Today, despite her small population and miniscule land mass, Israel possesses one of the most powerful militaries on earth. Never again will there be another Holocaust. Although Antichrist and his ten-nation coalition will invade Israel and Jerusalem (even setting up shop in the outer “Gentile” courtyard of the rebuilt Temple), the Jews will fight ferociously. And they will do so alongside Messiah! (See Daniel 11, Zechariah 12 & 14, and Revelation 11). Also see Eye of Prophecy article, Armageddon & Messiah’s Return … An Amazing Sequence of Events! Posted 2-3-18.
If you read all three gospel accounts of the Olivet Discourse (it’s not found in John’s Gospel), you’ll find a composite account of everything Jesus said. However, like other words spoken or actions taken by Jesus during his ministry on earth, one or more than one Gospel may record different features of what Jesus said and did. With each Gospel containing at least one thing not found in the other three. (Especially with the Gospel of John).
This is no different than any reporter or historian highlighting certain features of a speech or event, with other reporters emphasizing different aspects of what is being said and done. In addition to how much of Jesus’s discourse is recorded in the three gospels respectively, there is sometimes a variation to the order (sequence) of what Jesus said. That is also common with any news source, including contemporary journalism.
Several verses of the Olivet Discourse read virtually the same in all three Gospels, including the first part of the passage already quoted in Luke’s Gospel, in which Jesus warns the inhabitants of Jerusalem to flee the impending danger, i.e. “Woe to those who are pregnant…”
However, as we’ve seen, Luke follows this passage with Jesus’ statement not included in Matthew and Mark. Which is:
Whereas, Matthew and Mark follow Jesus’s warning to flee Jerusalem with the following: “For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short” (Matthew 24:21-22, NASB; also Mark 13:19-20).
Jesus is clearly referring to the Great Tribulation, still to (soon) come. Whereas in Luke’s account, Jesus follows the warning of “woe to those who are pregnant…” with an additional (separate) follow-up description of the brutal Roman demolition of the Temple that took place less than 40 years after Jesus’s prophecy.
What is the reason? Why the difference?
In general terms, the answer has already been explained: The gospels don’t contradict each other, they complete and correlate. But sometimes part of the narrative is not always recorded in all the gospels, nor chronologically identical, nor the sequence of Jesus’s words or actions always the same.
A more specific explanation is that Luke’s gospel was written primarily to and for the benefit of Gentiles; to illustrate that Messiah Jesus is the Savior to the Gentiles as well as to his own people, the Jews. Consequently, Luke recorded the part of the Olivet Discourse where Jesus refers to “the times of the Gentiles’ in the immediate context of the Roman destruction of Jerusalem. But also in the greater context of the Diaspora that would last until the Gentiles no longer had dominion over Jerusalem.
The Times of the Gentiles has ended. Which is one of the significant prophetic events spoken of by Jesus to signal the birth pains (alongside of all the other signs Jesus mentioned combined with the O.T. Prophets and N.T. Apostles) of the last days—of which this generation is a part.
The cessation of the times of the Gentiles (which took place in 1967) precedes and precipitates—in this same Omega generation in which we are living—the fullness of the Gentiles, when one last Gentile will accept Jesus as personal Savior.
Then boom! The Rapture. Yes, there will be a global noise equivalent to or exceeding a sonic boom. See Eye of Prophecy article, The Shout Heard Around the World (Posted 4-22-17).
Things to Ponder
On the Gentile Gregorian calendar Israel was reestablished as a sovereign nation on May 14th, 1948. On the Jewish calendar it was the 5th of Iyar. Thus, this past Thursday, beginning at sunset, Israel joyously celebrated its 70th anniversary!
For nearly two millennia, the ardent anticipation and passionate plea of Jews has been, “Next Year in Jerusalem.”
Through millions of native-born Israelis and well over a million Jewish immigrants, that dream has come true. Millions more (especially from the United States) could return if they wanted to. And one day soon they will (want to).
(One Group of Many Celebrating Israel’s 70th Anniversary)
May 14th, 1948 marked the rebirth of Israel, a prophetic realization of the Abrahamic Covenant, which was the beginning of God’s plan for Israel to be the center of world attention and the source of God’s blessings to the nations. A land from which God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—would literally live with his people. As he did for hundreds of years before disciplining Israel during the Times of the Gentiles. A restoration of national Israel followed by a liberating reunification of Jerusalem as the eternal capital of Israel (in 1967), the city loved by God above all others.
Have you seen in person or pictures the astounding agriculture accomplishments since the Jews returned to Israel? Heard or read about the tremendous technological advancements in medicine, science, geology, and other fields of physics? Been informed of the new and restored beautiful buildings throughout the cities and towns of Israel? They will only get better, because never again will God’s people be removed from the Covenant Land of Promise given to them by the Lord God.
All these achievements were foretold long ago.
“The time will come, says the Lord, when the grain and grapes will grow faster than they can be harvested. Then the terraced vineyards on the hills of Israel will drip with sweet wine! I will bring my exiled people of Israel back from distant lands, and they will rebuild their ruined cities and live in them again. They will plant vineyards and gardens; they will eat their crops and drink their wine. I will firmly plant them there in their own land. They will never again be uprooted from the land I have given them, says the Lord your God” (Amos 9:13-15, italics for emphasis).
To be followed soon by the national spiritual rebirth of Israel when the Fullness of the Gentiles arrives.
The Unsaved (Jew and Gentile) are living in such a time as this.
The Saved (Jew and Gentile) are living for such a time as this (Esther 4:14).
This short, but inspiring video ends with Yom Ha’atzmaut Semeach (Saw-ma’ach)which means Happy Day of Independence