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The Time of the Gentiles

1. Theories of birth of planets: http://mars.superlink.net/~dialect/stars.html

2. Moon moving away: http://www.physlink.com/education/askexperts/ae695.cfm

3. Earth slowing down: http://pages.prodigy.com/suna/earth.htm

4. Egyptian time, e.g.: http://curious.astro.cornell.edu/question.php?number=594

 

 

The Bible teaches that Jesus is destined to be King, not just of the Jews, not just of the Earth, but of the entire Universe. Whilst He is King in the lives of many individuals, as we look around, read our newspaper or watch the news, He is clearly not King over the Earth right now? The next question we will address is: When will His reign begin?

 

Currently about a third of the population of the world (2.1 Billion) nominally are classified as Christian1, although less than 20% of these could be regarded as committed. At this point, the world is largely ruled and controlled by Satan the prince of darkness. The majority of people are disobedient to God and have rejected His offer of salvation, allowing themselves to come under Satan’s dominion. ‘Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience’ (Ephesians 2:2)

 

2000 years ago, after living about 30 years on Earth as a relatively ordinary human being, Jesus was about to begin a ministry that would demonstrate the Kingdom of God. He gave a foretaste of what things will be like when He reigns. People were delivered from demonic oppression, sickness and death were subservient to His command. But He was not at that time about to become King of an Earthly kingdom. At His inaugural sermon in a synagogue Jesus made a declaration: ‘And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord’. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears’. (Luke 4:17-21)

 

Jesus was reading from Isaiah 61 and He stopped right in mid sentence. Isaiah continues, ‘and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified. And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations.’ (Isaiah 61:3-4)

 

Jesus declares to his Jewish audience that the Spirit has anointed Him for the ministries for which He is so well known, but He stops between the words ‘the acceptable year of the Lord’, which can also be translated as the ‘year of the Lord’s favour’ and ‘the day of vengeance of our God’. Jesus breaks off at that point because there is to be a pause in the entire flow of history. It is very important that we recognise that that which was supposed to occur after that point has not yet happened. The mourning have not been comforted, ashes have not been replaced by beauty, a garment of praise has not taken the spirit of heaviness. Desolate places and cities are yet to be rebuilt. As far as the Jews are concerned they have never had it easy. Throughout history, their very right to exist has been challenged by many leaders from the Roman Emperor Nero to Adolph Hitler and modern day Arab leaders. The Day of Vengeance of our God speaks of a time when God will exact retribution on the enemies of Israel, but He is holding it back for some reason. God is merciful and wants men everywhere to repent and turn to Him. The last thing he wants is to punish and destroy.

 

We see this demonstrated in the flood in Noah’s day, when one of his ancestors was still alive, whose name was Methuselah. Hebrew names have a meaning and this name translates ‘It will come’. Prophetically his father named him in preparation for the flood that would destroy the Earth. Methuselah lived for nearly a thousand years (969), demonstrating God’s patience with mankind before He was forced to destroy the world.

 

Here in Jesus ministry we see the year of the Lord’s favour beginning and being extended and extended as God waits for as many as possible to repent before the Day of Vengeance. That ‘year’ has now been extended to nearly 2000 years! In the meantime Jewish history has been put on hold.

 

We have discussed previously the text in Daniel 9 which says ‘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. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: 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’ (Daniel 9:24-26)

 

In the prophecy given to Daniel by the Angel Gabriel, from the edict to rebuild Jerusalem, it would be 69 weeks of years until Messiah is cut off.

So we have the following scenario. At the appointed time, Jesus begins His ministry of healing and deliverance from Satan’s kingdom. As prophesied 483 years after the decree to rebuild Jerusalem, He is hailed as King, riding into Jerusalem on a donkey. A few days later He is cut off, by being nailed to a cross and dying. In AD 70 Jerusalem and the temple were totally destroyed and the Jews dispersed across the world. The land was renamed Philistine or Palestine as the Roman general Titus made it impossible for any Jew to ever live there again. The land remained derelict for nearly 2000 years, but now it is being reclaimed and repopulated in preparation for something.

 

So what has happened to the seventieth week of seven years? According to the prophecy, Israel will have to get to the end of the final week to complete reconciliation for their sin after which everlasting righteousness will be established.

 

So at the moment we are in the period of time between week 69 and 70, which has been frozen for nearly 2000 years!

 

At week 69 a mystery was unveiled that is only hinted at throughout the entire Old Testament. It is that the good news of God’s mercy is to be extended to the entire world of non-Jews, the so-called Gentiles. As Messiah was cut off God opened a door of opportunity to include everyone. The Jews as a nation, were unable to see or understand this. God deliberately closed the eyes and minds of the Jewish nation to this possibility and has held open the offer of repentance and salvation to everyone. At this juncture, there is no distinction between Jew and Gentile. Any individual who believes can be saved, but the time is limited.

 

Paul expresses it thus: ‘For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance’. Romans 11:25-29

 

Paul is saying that Israel is partially and temporarily blinded to God’s grace until the fullness of Gentiles is come in, after which their eyes will be opened to the truth. Only God knows what the fullness means. Is it a certain number of people or a specific time? We do not know, but it is clear that it will not go on indefinitely. The Jews have appeared all along to be enemies of the gospel of Jesus, but we now see it is a deliberate part of God’s plan for universal salvation. The Jews have been chosen to bring salvation to the world, which is what is meant by election. When God makes a promise, a calling or a gift, He does not renege on it. His 4000 year-old promises still stand and will be fulfilled.

 

Jesus came from God to bring a taster of the Kingdom of God into this world. His life and the miracles he did showed us what the Earth should be like if we had followed God’s instructions.

 

We have world-wide famine and hunger, but Jesus fed 5000 people with five loaves and two fish.

 

We have increasingly wild weather patterns, but Jesus stilled the storm with mere verbal command, like talking to a dog. ‘Be still’

 

We are battling with increasingly virulent and incurable diseases, but Jesus healed all who came to Him to ask for healing.

 

We are seeing increases in all kinds of satanic activity, like high school massacres, child abuse, violent crime and so on, but Jesus came to destroy the work of the devil.

 

If we all were to follow the example and teaching of Jesus, demonstrating compassion, love, forgiveness, generosity and honesty; that would be like Heaven on Earth.

We still have the opportunity to change. If we did, not only would the world be a wonderful place to live in, but also the door of opportunity for the Gentiles or non-Christian world would remain open for a longer period, allowing more and more to hear the Gospel message and enter into new life with Jesus. However, at present there seems little sign of that taking place.

 

So what happens when the fullness of the Gentiles is complete? At that point, the pause button that has been on for nearly 2000 years, will be pressed and Jewish history will recommence. The 70th week, a seven year period, is still to happen at which time there will be a dramatic turn of events.

 

 

 

1. http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html

 

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