Why End Times? (84) – Chapter 7 – Jerusalem

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By Rev Willem J.J. Glashouwer.. From the book Why End Times? Chapter 7 – Jerusalem

Times of the Gentiles
We are on our way to a glorious moment. The ‘times of the Gentiles’ (Luke 21:24) are coming to an end. According to some, the times of the Gentiles have already ended. “Look,” they say, “at the re-establishment of the Jewish state in 1948.” In spite of all the problems, Israel was able to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 1998, the first year of Jubilee (Leviticus 25, 27) since the establishment of the State, even though the actual religious year of Jubilee was a few years later. “Surely,” they say, “the ‘times of the Gentiles’ ended in 1967, when the city of Jerusalem was re-united and became the undivided capital of the State of Israel.” [Photo top right: Jaffa Gate with City of David in the background |By Orientalist Wikimedia Commons]. 

In that year Israel freed East Jerusalem from the Jordanian occupation that part of the city had suffered since the proclamation of the Jewish state in 1948. In those 19 years, countless synagogues in East Jerusalem had been demolished or turned into public latrines. But those 19 years, a mere blip in Jerusalem’s three thousand year history, were the only time that the city was ever divided, and thus any Palestinian claim to a part of the city is historically invalid. Then Israel declared Jerusalem the undivided capital of the independent State of Israel. Those who argue that the end of the ‘times of the Gentiles’ occurred in 1967 point to this event: “See for yourself,” they say, “Jerusalem is no longer under the feet of Gentiles.” But is that re- ally the case? Are there no Gentiles ruling in Jerusalem? What about the fact that Europe and the United Nations are telling Israel what to do with their own land and their own city, Jerusalem? And the Arab world – Gentiles as well – controls the most holy place in Jeru- salem, the Temple Mount.

The Scriptures also seem to indicate otherwise, for they state that the ‘times of the Gentiles’ will come to an end with the Coming of the Messiah, the return of Christ. We must not lose sight of the im- portant fact that the holiest place in Jerusalem, in the heart of the city, is still closed to the Jews. Gentiles rule there. The Temple Mount is governed by the Islamic world. It is still ‘für Juden verboten’ (for- bidden to Jews).

To repeat the basic facts about this place once again: Once the Tem- ple stood in this place. There, on Mount Moriah, which is Mount Zion, Abraham was prepared to sacrifice Isaac (Genesis 22:1-19). His faith and trust in the Lord were such that he believed God was able to bring his son back from the dead and, in a sense, this was so (Hebrews 11:17-19). God chose this place as a dwelling place for His name, Deuteronomy 12:11. He guided David to choose the exact spot (1 Chronicles 21:21-22:1) and his son Solomon built the Temple there (1 Kings 5:8). After the Babylonian captivity, the Temple that had been destroyed by King Nebuchadnezzar was rebuilt under the leadership of Ezra and Nehemiah. It was much smaller than Solomon’s Temple, so that the elderly, who remembered the original Temple, wept at its dedication (Ezra 3:12). This second Temple, great- ly enlarged and embellished by King Herod (the same Herod who had murdered the children of Bethlehem), was destroyed by Titus in AD 70. Today it is the site of two Islamic shrines, or mosques. And to this very day this place is still trampled underfoot by Gentiles (i.e. non-Jews).

World powers
When did the ‘times of the Gentiles’ begin? Some say it was when Solomon’s Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians under Nebu- chadnezzar in 586 BC. Since that time, Israel has never been totally independent. One kingdom after another has overrun it. Of course, there was this smaller, second Temple built in Jerusalem when a remnant of the Jews returned from the Babylonian exile, but Israel remained to be a part or a province of a much larger empire. Sometimes it enjoyed limited autonomy, and it was even sometimes moderately independent, but never again was it as powerful and independent as in the days of David and Solomon.

Daniel, the prophet at the court of the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar, was allowed by the Lord to tell the king what he had dreamed and interpret the king’s dream for him. The king had dreamed of a statue with a head of gold, breast and arms of silver, belly and thighs of bronze, legs of iron, and feet that were partly of iron and partly of a mixture of iron and clay. He saw a stone roll down and strike the statue, pulverizing it. But the stone grew into a great mountain that filled the whole earth, Daniel 2.

Daniel explained that the different parts of the statue represented four or five successive kingdoms (the last kingdom being in a sense an extension or continuation of the fourth one). The golden head is interpreted as the Babylonian kingdom; the silver breast and arms as the empire of the Medes and Persians; and the belly and thighs of bronze represent the Greek Empire under Alexander the Great. The legs of iron represent the Roman Empire, which divided into the Eastern and Western Empires, the feet of iron and clay. The fifth and last kingdom appears to be a revival of the Roman Empire on a worldwide scale. In subsequent visions, more details were revealed to Daniel. Babylon, the golden head, is represented by a winged lion. The Medes and the Persians (the silver breast and arms) are seen as a bear with three ribs in its mouth (possibly representing Syria, Babylon, and Egypt, which it ‘devoured’). The Greek–Macedonian kingdom (the bronze belly) is seen as a leopard with four wings and four heads, representing the fact that after the death of Alexander his empire was divided into four kingdoms – Egypt, Syria, Macedonia, and Asia Minor – ruled by four of his generals. The fourth kingdom, the Roman Empire (the iron legs and feet) is seen as a monstrous beast with ten horns, from which a small horn emerges which takes over the whole earth, Daniel 7.

The Coming of the Son of Man marks the end of the last kingdom, the evil empire of the Beast and the establishment of the eternal Kingdom of the Son of Man. Because His Coming seems to destroy the whole statue at once, it seems that in the end times the whole statue, that is, all of the empires it represents, will be revived and present on the world scene in some way or another, Daniel 8:1-7. The beasts that Daniel saw reappear in the book of Revelation, Rev- elation 13, in the form of one ultimate beast. Between the fall of the Roman Empire and the arrival of that last kingdom, there have been numerous conquerors of the Promised Land, including Byzantines, Persians, Arabs, Crusaders, Mamelukes, Turks, French, and British. Many Gentile feet have trampled upon Jerusalem and the Holy Land, among them Arabs and Palestinians.

Today the European Union is growing in a certain sense into a revived Roman empire – although this time it is part of a world     in which there are more and larger power blocks than existed in the time of the writers of the Bible. Communism has collapsed in Russia – allowing the Jews there to return home – Jeremiah 16:14-15, and more and more the map of Europe looks like it did under the Romans. The United Nations, a kind of world parliament, though sometimes powerless, is gaining influence and the blue helmets of its peacekeepers are seen more often everywhere in the world. In- creasingly economic developments, the energy and environmental crises, and the conflicts erupting all over the world demand a global response.

The arrival of the last world kingdom is fast approaching. World peace appears to be within our grasp, facilitated by computer and satellite systems, cable communication and mass media, and multinational, financial institutions and investments. The global village is becoming a reality. But let us beware of shouting ‘Peace, peace’ where there is no peace, and keep alert! But Israel is the greatest sign of hope the world has ever seen. God is on the move. He is bringing the Jewish people (all 12 tribes) back to the Promised to bring in the King of kings and the Lord of lords to establish His Kingdom   of Peace that will fill the earth! Jesus is coming to make all things forever new!

To be continued.. with: Chapter 7 – Jerusalem – Blessing for the nations

The book Why End Times? and other books from Rev Willem J.J. Glashouwer can be ordered from the webshop of Christians for Israel International.


Rev Willem J.J. Glashouwer
President Christians for Israel International

 

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