Part 1 - The Beginning and The End of “The Times of The Gentiles”
First, we quote Jesus’ prophetic word of Luke 21:24 noting concerning the ‘Times of The Gentiles.’ This is a new Biblical age, a new dispensational period that occurs for a period after God sets Israel aside, temporarily.
“And they [Israel] 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.”
The Lord began today’s Gentile age after “the fall” of Israel as Paul writes in Romans 11.
“I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their [Israel’s FALL salvation is come unto The Gentiles, for to provoke them [Israel] to jealousy. Romans 11:11 (KJV)
“For I Would Not, Brethren, That Ye Should Be Ignorant of This Mystery [Grk. musterion, secret], Lest Ye Should Be Wise in Your Own Conceits; That BLINDNESS IN PART [temporarily] IS HAPPENED TO ISRAEL, UNTIL THE FULNESS OF THE GENTILES BE COME IN. And So [Then after] All Israel Shall Be Saved [at Christ’s 2nd coming to earth to begin His Millennial reign]: As It Is Written, There Shall Come Out of Sion the Deliverer, And Shall Turn Away Ungodliness from Jacob [Israel]:” Romans 11:25 and 26:
Note historically what God did with the Ten Northern Tribes of Israel, about 730 B. C.:
“Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of His sight; there
was none left but the tribe of Judah only.” “. . . So was Israel carried away out of their own land to Assyria unto this day.” II Kings 17:18 and 23.
Then note what God did later with the Trible of Judah about 600 B. C.
“At that time the servants of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up against Jerusalem, and the city was besieged. And Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came against the city, and his servants did besiege it.”
“For Through The Anger of The Lord it came to pass in Jerusalem and Judah, until He Had Cast Them [Judah] Out From His Presence, that Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon.” II Kings 24:10, 11 and 20.
“Thus Judah Was Carried Away Captive out of his own land.” Jeremiah 52:14 and 27.
Then note Daniel’s interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel 2:37-40 concerning the four Gentile nations:
“Thou, O King [Nebuchadnezzar], art a king of kings: for the God of heaven bath given thee a kingdom, power and strength and glory. And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven bath He given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all.
THOU [Nebuchadnezzar]ART THIS HEAD OF GOLD [in the image you saw]. And after thee shall arise another kingdom ... and another third kingdom . . . And the fourth kingdom.” “THOU ART THIS HEAD OF GOLD.”
Then note Luke 2:11:
“And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.” And Luke 4:5 and 6: And the devil taking Him [Jesus] up into an high mountain, shewed unto Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto Him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them; for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will give it.”
Then note Acts 3:21 concerning how long Jesus Christ’s will remain in heavenIs 2nd xcoming;
“[Christ] Whom the heaven must receive UNTIL the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.”
And Luke 21:27 and 31: “And then shall they [Israel in the Tribulation] see the Son of man’ coming in a cloud with power and great glory. “So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.”
ISRAEL IS TO BE “THE HEAD” and NOT “THE TAIL”:
From Sinai to the Babylonian captivity God’s program was Church and State combined, in the sense that Political, Governmental Authority was given to Israel, as well as Religious and Spiritual Authority. Under certain conditions Israel was promised to be the head and not the tail. But if they did not meet the conditions, they were to be the tail and not the head:
“And the Lord shall make thee [Israel] the head and NOT the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; IF that thou hearken to the commandments of the Lord thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them.”
“He shall lend to thee, and thou shalt not lend to him: he shall be the head and Thou Shalt Be the Tail.” Deuteronomy 28:13 and 44.
Beginning with the Babylonian captivity Israel became the tail governmentally and politically. For God declared that Nebuchadnezzar was now the head. “Thou art this head of gold.” Daniel 2:38. That was about 606 B. C. Then “the times of the Gentiles began governmentally and politically,” BUT “the times of the Gentiles” Spiritually Began when the Lord had accomplished His purpose by the apostle Paul as “the Apostle to the Gentiles.” Note again Colossians 1:24 to 26:
“Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my [Paul’s] flesh for His Body’s sake, which is the Church: Whereof I [Paul] am made a minister according to the dispensation of God which is given tome for you TO FULFILL THE WORD OF GOD; EVEN THE MYSTERY [God’s secret plan] which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to His saints.”
The Lord Jesus on earth said, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s.” Matthew 22:21. He also said, “Salvation is of the Jews.” John 1:22. The Gentile said, “Yes Lord: yet the dogs [Gentiles] under the table eat of the children’s [Israel’s] crumbs.” Mark 7:28. So Israel at that time still had spiritual headship and priority rights over the Gentiles in spiritual matters for several centuries after they became the tail governmentally or politically. Note Romans 15:27, Romans 11:11. Some years after Peter said to the Jews at Jerusalem, “Unto you first,” Paul said to some Jews outside of the land of the Jews:
“Beware therefore, lest that come upon you, which is spoken of in the prophets: Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you.”
“Then Paul and Barnabas Waxed Bold, And Said, It Was Necessary That The Word of God Should First Have Been Spoken To You [Israel]; But Seeing [how] ye Put It From You, And Judge Yourselves Unworthy Of Everlasting Life, LO, WE TURN TO THE GENTILES.” Acts 13:40, 41 and 46.
Then Paul wrote Romans 11:19-20, 11 and 30:
“Thou wilt say then, The branches [of Israel] were broken off, that I might be grafted in. Well; because of unbelief they [Israel] were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not high-minded but fear.” “I say then, Have they (the Jews) stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles for to provoke them [the Jews] to jealousy.” “For as ye [Gentiles] in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their [Israel’s] unbelief.”
Then Paul, about 30 years after the death of Christ, said to the Jews at Rome:
“And When They [Israel’s religious leaders] Agreed Not Among Themselves, They Departed, After That Paul Had Spoken One Word, Well Spake The Holy Ghost By Esaias The Prophet Unto Our Fathers, Saying, Go Unto This People [Israel], And Say, Hearing Ye Shall Hear, And Shall Not Understand; And Seeing Ye Shall See, And Not Perceive: For The Heart Of This People Is Waxed Gross, And Their Ears Are Dull Of Hearing, And Their Eyes Have They Closed; Lest They Should See With Their Eyes,’ And Hear With Their Ears, And Understand With Their Heart, And Should Be Converted, And I Should Heal Them, Be It Known Therefore Unto You, That The Salvation Of God Is Sent Unto The Gentiles, And That They Will Hear [heed] It.” Acts 28:25 To 28.
Paul wrote concerning his calling:
“…I [Paul] speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office.” Rom, 11:13.
“Whereunto I [Paul] am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ and lie not:) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.” I Timothy 2:7.
“Whereunto I [Paul] am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.” 2Tim. 1:11.
“For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye [Gentile believers] have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me [Paul] to [for] youward: How that by revelation He made known unto me THE MYSTERY; (as I wrote afore in few words) [as seen in 2Cor 2:7-8].” Ephesians 3:1-3. “Unto me [Paul], who am less than the least of all saints is this grace given that I SHOULD PREACH AMONG THE GENTILES the unsearchable riches of Christ.” Ephesians 3:8.
So, since the time the Lord, by special revelation, gave to the Apostle Paul “the dispensation of the grace of God” for Gentiles, His untraceable (unprophesied) truth for Gentiles we have been living in “the times of the Gentiles” spiritually. This period has been a parenthetical period. The Gentiles should remember these solemn words of Romans 11:21:
“For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest He also spare not thee [the Gentiles].”
Some Christians believe that the present mis-government of nations by Gentiles is proof that “the times of the Gentiles” will soon end and the Son of man will come to be the King over all the earth, in fulfillment of Zechariah 14:9. “And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one. Zechariah 14:9 (KJV)
Surely the present spiritual chaos brought on by Satan and the Gentile religious leaders would indicate that this too must end soon. But only God knows when!
THE BEGINNING AND THE END OF “THE DISPENSATION OF THE GRACE OF GOD”:
In I Corinthians 9:17, Paul says, “a dispensation is committed unto me.”
What is a dispensation? The Greek word is our word “economy:” Note the use of the word in Paul’s Epistle to the Colossians:
“Whereof I [Paul] am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfill [Grk. pleroo, complete] the Word of God; Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to His saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:25 to 27.
Here we note a very specific dispensation and duty committed to Paul for Gentiles. He had to fulfill, or complete, the Word of God with the Divine Truth called “the Mystery.” This was practically Gentilish truth. It was called “the mystery” or “the secret” because it was the Lord’s secret, never made known to Israel’s prophets or to any other of the Lord’s servants until Christ in heaven revealed it to the Apostle Paul.
The word translated “fellowship,” in Ephesians 3:9, is the same Greek word for “economy” or “dispensation.” Note Eph. 3:8 and 9;
“Unto me who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I [Paul] should preach among the Gentiles the UNSEARCHABLE riches of Christ; and to make all men see what is the DISPENSATION of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ.”
Here we read of “THE DISPENSATION [ECONOMY] OF THE MYSTERY,” God’s secret and the UNSEARCHABLE riches of Christ for GENTILES. The word “UNSEARCHABLE” is “NOT-TO-BE TRACKED,” or “UNTRACEABLE,” that is “UNPROPHESIED.”
The thought is, that the Lord Jesus Christ revealed to the Apostle Paul a distinct message for and concerning the Gentiles, a message quite different from the Gentile salvation foretold in Israel’s Scriptures and quite different from Peter’s message to Cornelius, hence, “THE MYSTERY.” Part of this mystery is told in Ephesians 3:6:
“… the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel”
Peter acknowledged that Paul’s message included truth that was hard for all men to understand:
“And account that the long suffering [patience] of our Lord is salvation: even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him, hath written unto you: As also in all his Epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest [twist], as they do also the other Scriptures, unto their own destruction.”
Adapted from Pastor J.C. O’Hair - http://www.doctrine.org/ohair/BEGINNING%20AND%20THE%20END,%20THE.pdf