Times of Gentiles in ’67? On What Does Israel’s Return Depend?

1.- Is it true that prophecy of Lord Jesus that appears on Luke 21:24 “Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled” had its fulfilment on June of 1967 during six days of war with Arabian nations and the recapture of Jerusalem?

I don’t believe so. Here’s why: In the larger context, it appears that the end of the treading down of Jerusalem must continue to the “redemption” of verse 28 (Luke 21:28), which is Christ’s return in glory. This would extend the “times of the gentiles” to include the final 42 months during which time Jerusalem is once again “trodden down by the gentiles” during the time of Antichrist. (see Rev 11:2).

Furthermore, the term, “times of the gentiles,” presupposes the restoration of the theocratic kingdom of David. The goal of Jewish hope and the eschatology of the OT (and no less the NT) was always the restoration of the kingdom of David at the great day of the Lord that would follow a final time of unequaled crisis, and national travail. So long as the pride of the gentiles could be exercised over the tiny agrarian nation, the times of the gentiles cannot have come to its promised end.

This eschatological theme of a final down treading of Jerusalem is featured in many places throughout the prophets, particularly in the contemporary threat of the “Assyrian” in the days of the northern kingdom. Clearly, the later prophets show that they fully understood that the Assyrian of Isaiah’s and Micah’s day was a type of the coming Antichrist (Isa 10:6; 28:18; 63:18; Mic 5:5-6 etc.). This time is always depicted as immediately followed by the final redemption that marks the time of Israel’s undisturbed security and everlasting continuance in the Land. As I see it, the only thing that will deliver Israel out from under the heel of the gentile oppressor is the coming in of the everlasting righteousness of the everlasting covenant (Dan 9:24; Jer 32:40). For the church, this “came in” with the atonement of Jesus at the end of Daniel’s 69th week. It comes to “all Israel” at the end of the 70th week with the return of the Deliverer who comes to turn transgression from Jacob.

We know that when the Jews returned from Babylon to restore and rebuild Jerusalem the times of the gentiles did not end. For the same reason, the times of the gentiles does not end with the Jewish reclamation of Jerusalem in 1967, precisely because the everlasting righteousness of the New Covenant that would enable abiding and undisturbed security in the Land had not come. The power of the gentiles had not been subdued by the Spirit of the Lord in the apocalyptic day of the Lord. It is the same today. Though in every way a remarkable and significant of prophecy, this preliminary return comes short of the promise, and so leaves Israel open to the further discipline of the broken covenant. Only with the destruction of the Antichrist will the times of the gentiles come to its predestined end.

2.-It has been said that Israel is the clock to the Church, so Church must be looking for events and feasts (Biblical feasts) around Israel in order to be in harmony with the Kairos of God, and many quote Luke 21: 29-31 to support this statement.
I am not against God’s highest purposes for Israel, but according to Romans 10:19-20; 11: 11-14 and 11:25, is it not true that Israel is waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God? In other words, they are looking for a people that can provoke them to jealousy. If so, which would be the right position of the Church with respect to Israel?

For good reasons, many look for the future events on the prophetic calendar to line up with the feasts of the Lord, just as the events of the Lord’s death and resurrection, and the outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost, lined up perfectly with those feasts. As long as this thesis is not permitted to set aside or over-ride the specific sign-posts that Jesus gave us, particularly in Mt 24:15, I am in basic agreement that the times and seasons of the Lord’s return and attending events will conform to the remaining feasts. I don’t think this is in any conflict with God’s intention that Jews be moved to emulation by the spectacle of gentile believers demonstrating the life and power of the promised Holy Spirit. The witness of gentiles receiving the Spirit freely by faith in Jesus apart from the works of the law is intended to show the inadequacy of the law for righteousness. This is part of the divine strategy for this present age, but when and how is this to be fulfilled?

Many would say that it has already been fulfilled in the early church and in certain rare instances ever since. The phenomenon of Spirit filled believers as a means of provoking Jews to emulation has been an ongoing reality, that’s true; but the church lost sight of its relationship, not only to Israel, but also to the miraculous power of the Spirit, both of which are necessary, and both of which have, in some measure, been restored since about the time that Jews began to return to the Land in significant numbers.

Interpreters are also divided over the meaning of Paul’s phrase, “until the fullness of the gentiles be come in.” Some would say that it is a near synonym for the Lord’s reference to the end of the ‘times of the gentiles,’ which Jews understood as the time when the kingdom would be restored to Israel (Acts 1:6; 3:21). Which ever view is taken, the end point is the same. This fullness ends in the time the Deliverer comes out of Zion to turn ungodliness from Jacob (Ro 11:25-27). This is clearly the time of the Lord’s return to destroy the Antichrist and establish His millennial kingdom (Isa 59:17-21; Joel 3:16).

But some also see this fullness of the gentiles as intending an eschatological fullness of spiritual grace and power that will come to the largely gentile church towards the end of the age. This will coincide with God’s ultimate purpose that gentiles, filled with all the fullness of the Spirit, will move many Jews to emulation. For that to happen, they must see the manifest demonstration in us of the eschatological gift that was promised to their nation, i.e., the Holy Spirit. However, though a remnant may be moved to jealousy through gentile believers, the larger part of those who will be saved will not believe on Christ until the end of the tribulation. This happens at the end of their power (Deut 32:36; Dan 12:7) when the penitent survivors will be divinely enabled by the Spirit of grace and supplication to look upon Him whom they pierced (Zech 12:10). “In one day,” (i.e., the day of the Lord), a nation will be born again (Isa 66:8; Eze 39:22, 29; Zech 3:9; 12:10; 14:7; Mt 23:39; Acts 3:21; Ro 11:26-27; Rev 1:7).

So even when the church has come to its appointed fulness, still, the Jews for the larger part will not be changed until they see Jesus, not only in us and through our witness, but in His actual return in glory. This means that the same moment we are being translated, they will be receiving the gift of repentance and the pouring out of the Holy Spirit (Zech 12:10; Eze 39:29). Nevertheless, we believe that this can only happen through the church’s role as intercessor and witness. The seed that is quickened at the revelation of Christ was planted by the prophetic testimony and martyr witness of the church during the tribulation.

It seems evident that Paul was deeply impacted by the martyrdom of Stephen, so that from that time his further actions against the church would be to “kick against the goads” (Acts 26:14). In the same way, the church’s tribulation witness will be the preparation of Israel’s heart for the revelation of Christ. In fact, I believe we can locate the principal difference between the outcome of the tribulation and the outcome of the Holocaust in the presence of a prophetically prepared church that loves not its life to the death (Rev 12:10), a church that is ultimately committed to travail until Christ has been formed in Israel (Gal 4:19).

By definition, the church is the first-fruits of Israel’s eschatological promise. It was God’s intention to set forth Spirit filled gentiles as His statement of provocation during the time of judgment. This was threatened in Moses’ warning (Deut 32:21) and reiterated throughout the prophets (Isa 65:1). Until the church has come to such a fullness, it cannot be God’s demonstration to Israel of the inadequacy of the law. It cannot move the Jew to jealousy and so fulfill its role towards Israel as witness and spiritual mid-wife of Israel’s national birth by the Spirit.

So yes, Israel is waiting for this demonstration of the Spirit through the church, but it will only come in perfect conjunction with the “set time” to favor Zion (Ps 102:13; Dan 9:24), and this will doubtless coincide with the feasts that are still to be fulfilled in prophecy.

With greatest love… Reggie

Filed under
Prophecy, The Last Days
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  1. ltcobb140
    Regarding the Feasts of Israel I believe we can see the Feast of Trumpets in Dan. 7:10 when, "the books are open" after the ancient of days has come. The ten days of awe occur between Tishri 1 and Tishri 10, the Day of Atonement and the books are open according to Jewish teaching. When Rev. 8:3-5 is compared with Lev. 16:12,13 the day of Atonement ceremonies are clearly see, and vs. 29 places this on the 10th of Tishri. Finally the third fall Feast is clearly seen in Zechariah 14 after the Lord has returned to the earth. So I see the first four Feast fulfilled int he gospels and the next three fulfilled in clear "Second Coming" passages in Daniel, Revelation, and Zechariah. Thank you so much for this article, I was contemplating The time of the Gentiles conclusion recently. Your deep insight was of great value.
  2. Peter
    The provoking of the Jewish people to a holy jealousy by Spirit-filled Gentiles is even more pronounced given the inadequacy of the law for righteousness, and Paul's observation that God chooses the foolish, weak, base, despised, and things which are not to put to shame the mighty. (1 Cor. 1:27-29)
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