Israel and the “Times of the Gentiles”
“Jerusalem will be trampled by the Gentiles [Goyim], until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”—LUKE 21:24, The New American Bible.
1. How were Jesus’ words regarding Jerusalem fulfilled, but what question remains to be answered?
THIRTY-SEVEN years after Jesus Christ spoke the above words, the city of Jerusalem was destroyed by the Roman legions under General Titus, in 70 C.E. But what about the rest of his prophecy, that regarding the period during which Jerusalem would be trampled by the Gentiles, the Goyim, as the Jews today call them?
2. (a) Did Jesus’ words mean that the city would not be rebuilt and reinhabited? (b) Despite the temporary occupation of the sacred city by the Crusaders, how did Jerusalem continue to be trampled upon by the Gentiles till the “times” were up?
2 Those words did not mean that Jerusalem would not be built again and reinhabited “until the times of the Gentiles [Goyim*] are fulfilled.” During the following century the city was rebuilt, and the so-called Crusaders fought for its possession during the Middle Ages. Those bloodstained Crusaders of Christendom proved themselves to be Gentiles, or Goyim, just as much as those who held the city previously and those who violently took it away from the Crusaders afterward. Down to the first world war of 1914-1918 those Goyim (“infidels,” as Christendom used to call them) kept trampling upon the city that is so sacred to the Jews.
3. As capture of Jerusalem by the British troops in December of 1917 drew near, what was Lord Rothschild told by British Foreign Secretary Balfour, but what disposition of Palestine was made after the war?
3 On December 9, 1917, the British troops under General Allenby took Jerusalem away from the Turks, who were allied with Kaiser Wilhelm of the German Empire. As that exploit drew near, British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour of Great Britain sent his communication of November 2, 1917, to Lord Rothschild of the noted Jewish family of Rothschild, stating that His Majesty’s government viewed with favor the establishment of a homeland for the Jews in Palestine. However, after World War I ended, the League of Nations (Goyim) that was set up in 1920 gave the mandate over Palestine (including Jerusalem) to Great Britain, to hold till the year 1948. It was not specified who was to take possession of Jerusalem after the expiration of the Mandate.
4. After the British Mandate over Palestine ended in 1948, what took place there on the part of the interested parties?
4 When the British Mandate expired in 1948, the interested parties at once acted. The Muhammadans took over control of much of the eastern part of the territory, including the walled city of Jerusalem and its shrine for Allah’s worship. The Jews took over the western part of Palestine and brought into existence the modern nation of Israel. But it was not until the Six-Day War of 1967 that the walled city of Jerusalem was wrested from the Arabs, including the Wailing Wall, high above which the Jews’ temple of worship had long ago stood. Victoriously the Jews went on to take control over the west bank of the Jordan River and its Muhammadan population.
5. (a) As a result of the Six-Day War of 1967, how did the Jerusalem of today cease to be trampled upon by the Gentiles? (b) Despite the free status of Jerusalem since 1967, why do we find something missing?
5 So earthly Jerusalem continued to be trampled upon by the Gentiles until 1967. But since then, to all outward appearances, Jerusalem has ceased to be trampled by the Gentiles. However, we feel obliged to say, “So what?” Did Israel’s putting a stop to Gentile trampling upon Jerusalem back in the year 1967 bring blessing to all mankind? Instead of accepting it as a blessing, many nations resent the existence of Israel. Certainly the creation of the modern nation of Israel has not led to the establishment of the Kingdom of the Jewish Messiah. Manifestly, Israel is not looking to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, namely, Jehovah, for help and salvation. Its government is no kingdom with a genuine descendant of the royal line of ancient King David seated on a throne at Jerusalem.
6. What admission do we have to make regarding the role of earthly Jerusalem since 1967 and the prophecy of Isaiah 2:1-4?
6 So, in the case of earthly Jerusalem since 1967, we do not see fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah 2:2-4:
“And it shall come to pass in the end of days, that the mountain of the LORD’S house shall be established as the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations [goyim] shall flow unto it. And many peoples shall go and say: ‘Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And He shall judge between the nations [goyim], and shall decide for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation [goy] shall not lift up sword against nation [goy], neither shall they learn war any more.”—JP.
7 Rather than beating weapons of war into instruments of peace, the Gentile nations are more heavily armed for war than ever before, even as is the Republic of Israel itself. Furthermore, we do not see today the fulfillment of the prophecy of Zechariah 8:23 taking place, namely:
“Thus saith the LORD of hosts: In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold, out of all the languages of the nations, shall even take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying: We will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.”—JP. Note also the Douay Version and JB.
8. All the foregoing casts doubt upon what about the date 1967?
8 All the foregoing casts doubt upon the correctness of the date 1967, the year of the Six-Day War, as marking the time when the prophecy was fulfilled: “Jerusalem will be trampled by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” (Luke 21:24, The New American Bible; AV) Actually “the times of the Gentiles” ended earlier. Let us examine the evidence that this is the case.
9. (a) When Jesus said, “Jerusalem will be trampled,” to what “Jerusalem” did he refer, and what was represented by that “Jerusalem”? (b) What, consistently, will occur when the trampling of “Jerusalem” is completed?
9 In referring to ‘Jerusalem’s being trampled by the Gentiles, Jesus had in mind what the earthly Jerusalem was before the trampling upon it by the Gentiles began. He himself had said somewhat earlier: “Do not swear at all, neither by heaven, because it is God’s throne . . . nor by Jerusalem, because it is the city of the great King.” (Matthew 5:34, 35) So, when the Gentiles started trampling Jerusalem in the exercising of world domination, they were trampling upon God’s Kingdom as represented by the royal city of Jerusalem. Consistently, then, at the conclusion of the Gentile Times when the trampling down of what Jerusalem represented was completed, the Kingdom of God was reestablished in the hands of the royal descendant of King David, the Messiah.
10. (a) What words in Ezekiel were addressed to the last Davidic king? (b) Who proved to have the “legal right” to rule, and what did God do for him?
10 In this connection the prophecy of Ezekiel 21:25-27, addressed to its last Davidic king, says: “As for you, O deadly wounded, wicked chieftain of Israel, whose day has come in the time of the error of the end, this is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah has said, ‘Remove the turban, and lift off the crown. This will not be the same. Put on high even what is low, and bring low even the high one. A ruin, a ruin, a ruin I shall make it. As for this also, it will certainly become no one’s until he comes who has the legal right, and I must give it to him.’” The one whose “legal right” it is to rule proved to be none other than Jesus Christ, the Descendant of King David. Back there in 33 C.E. there were more than 500 Jews that became witnesses to the fact that this One had been resurrected by God on the third day of his martyr’s death.—1 Corinthians 15:3-20.
The Messiah Submits to the Gentile Times
11. Why did Jesus not try to make himself king at Jerusalem, and so what did he say to the governor, Pontius Pilate?
11 Neither before nor after his resurrection from the dead did Jesus the Messiah try to seat himself as King at earthly Jerusalem. He made no effort to unseat Pontius Pilate, who was then the Roman governor of Judah and Jerusalem. One reason for this was that “the times of the Gentiles,” of which he spoke at Luke 21:24, were already then in operation. So he submitted to that divine arrangement. In agreement with this, he said to Pilate: “My kingdom is no part of this world. If my kingdom were part of this world, my attendants would have fought that I should not be delivered up to the Jews. But, as it is, my kingdom is not from this source.”—John 18:36.
12. As a student of the Hebrew Scriptures, Jesus knew that the Gentile Times began when and with what event, and so now what question arises as to those “times”?
12 As a student of the inspired Hebrew Scriptures, Jesus the Messiah knew that the Gentile Times had begun before the Romans occupied Jerusalem and installed governors there. He knew that they had begun when Jerusalem was razed to the ground for the first time in the year 607 before our Common Era. God used the Gentile King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, whom he called “My servant,” to overthrow Jerusalem and Judah. (Jeremiah 43:10, JP) Gentile domination of the world continued down through the day of Jesus the Messiah and on down to God’s appointed time for the Gentile Times to expire. Till then the Kingdom of the Messiah, the Kingdom that was to be “no part of this world,” had to wait. So, for how many “times,” counted from 607 B.C.E., would Gentile rule run?
13. By what means did God indicate to the king of Babylon the number of those “times,” and with what effect upon the king?
13 Jehovah God indicated how many in a dream that he sent to Nebuchadnezzar, whom he had used as His “servant.” Though he had been used to destroy “the city of the great King,” Jerusalem, yet, as a result of the fulfillment of the dream upon him, Nebuchadnezzar was obliged to acknowledge Jehovah as “the Most High” and “the King of the heavens.” (Matthew 5:35; Daniel 4:34, 37) With this “servant” of his, the Most High God and King of heaven started off “the times of the Gentiles” in 607 B.C.E.
14. In the face of war developments in the Middle East in 1917, what statements did eight clergymen make in their Manifesto issued in London?
14 Interestingly, toward the end of 1917, the year when modern rebuilt Jerusalem was taken over by the British troops during World War I, eight of England’s most noted clergymen met in London, England, and issued a Manifesto containing seven pointed statements, including the following:
“FIRST. That the present crisis points toward the close of the times of the Gentiles. . . .
“FOURTH. That Israel will be restored to its own land in unbelief, and be afterward converted by the appearance of Christ on its behalf.
“FIFTH. That all human schemes of reconstruction must be subsidiary to the second coming of our Lord, because all nations will be subject to his rule. . . .
“SEVENTH. That the truths embodied in this statement are of the utmost practical value in determining Christian character and action with reference to the pressing problems of the hour.”
15. (a) In Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, what was represented by the wide-spreading tree? (b) During the time of Nebuchadnezzar’s madness, what was the case with world domination by the Babylonian Empire? (c) How was world domination carried on after Babylon was no longer a world empire?
15 In the dream that Jehovah God sent to his “servant,” King Nebuchadnezzar, there were “seven times” that were decreed from heaven. How do these connect up with “the times of the Gentiles” or coincide and become identical with them? In the following way: In the prophetic dream the towering, wide-spreading tree pictures world domination in the abstract sense. Because at the time of the dream Nebuchadnezzar, the “servant” of Jehovah God, was wielding such world domination, the tree becomes associated with him personally, so that the tree could be said to picture him. But was his world domination chopped down when he went mad and did not sit on the imperial throne? Did world domination by the Babylonian Empire cease? No, but it kept on functioning till his reinstatement and through the reigns of his successors, Evil-Merodach, Nabonidus and Belshazzar. After that, Gentile world domination carried on through the successive world powers, Imperial Persia, Imperial Greece, Imperial Rome, along with its outgrowth, the British-American world power.
16. Whose world domination was it really that was chopped down during all this succession of Gentile world powers, and how many “times” were to pass over the stump of the symbolic tree?
16 During all this lengthy time period, whose world domination, especially as represented by Jerusalem as “the city of the great King,” was really chopped down and lying prone? It was that of the One whom Nebuchadnezzar called “the Most High” and “the King of the heavens,” Jehovah. The tree stump, with bands of iron and copper, represented His world domination as held in abeyance. “Seven times” were decreed by Jehovah God to pass over that symbolic stump.
17. (a) Instead of “seven times,” how do a number of translators render the Hebrew expression? (b) How could it be that, even after Jerusalem was rebuilt, there kept on a trampling of it by the Gentiles?
17 Instead of “seven times,” the expression “seven years” is used by The Living Bible, Moffatt, Today’s English Version, and An American Translation. Nebuchadnezzar’s case of madness, probably a condition known as lycanthropy, lasted for seven years. At his recovery he acknowledged the God who healed him, but he did not restore God’s people to their homeland. Jehovah God had decreed that Jerusalem and the land of Judah should lie desolate for 70 years. So the trampling upon Jerusalem by the Gentiles continued on, even after Jerusalem was rebuilt by the repatriated Jews beginning in 537 B.C.E. How so? Because they remained subject to Gentile control, without any descendant of the royal line of David sitting on the throne at Jerusalem as independent king. So it is evident that in the case of Jehovah God, the “seven times” are symbolic, hence, longer than seven years counting from 607 B.C.E.—Daniel 4:16, 23, 25, 32.
18. To how much did those “seven times” amount, symbolically treated, and so when did they end?
18 In the Bible’s prophetic count of time, a lunar year is calculated as amounting to 360 days. So a symbolic year, or ‘time,’ would amount to 360 calendar years. Seven symbolic “times,” or “years,” would therefore amount to 7 x 360, or 2,520 years. Counted from the year 607 B.C.E., when Jerusalem, “the city of the great King,” was destroyed by Jehovah’s “servant,” Nebuchadnezzar, and thus the trampling on Jerusalem by the Gentiles began, those 2,520 years would end in the autumn of the year 1914 of our Common Era.
19. (a) How was the year 1914 marked on earth? (b) What was that year the time for “the King of the heavens” to do in the place of his residence?
19 On earth, that year was marked by the outbreak of World War I over the issue of world domination. However, up in the residence of “the King of the heavens,” it was the time for him to demonstrate that “the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will.” (Daniel 4:22, 29, JP) Then it was the due time for him to “come whose right it is” and for the Most High to “give it him.” (Ezekiel 21:30-32, JP; Eze 21:25-27, New World Translation) That one was the glorified Messiah, the one whom the King of heaven begot to be his spiritual Son, namely, Jesus Christ, resurrected to life in heaven. (Psalm 2:1-7) That was the time for the King of heaven to say to him: “Go subduing in the midst of your enemies.” (Psalm 110:1, 2) This certainly meant that “the times of the Gentiles” had indeed ended.
Note, in Genesis 14:1, the title “Tidal king of Goiim.” (The Holy Scriptures , The Jewish Publication Society of America) The Authorized Version renders it: “Tidal king of nations.” For the use of the term Goiim, see also Genesis 14:9; Joshua 12:23. Note also The Jerusalem Bible.
Can You Answer?
□ What appeared to have ceased by the Jewish takeover of earthly Jerusalem in 1967, but did this end the ‘trampling’ of “Jerusalem” by the Gentiles?
□ When did “the times of the Gentiles” begin, and with what event?
□ How is it established that the Gentile Times would run for 2,520 years, or until 1914 C.E.?
□ What is represented by the wide-spreading tree of Daniel’s prophecy, and what is the significance of its being cut down and then sprouting again?