Q. I’ve been intrigued by the recent posts regarding the “Times of the Gentiles” and whether or not that time continues through Daniel’s 70th week. I am confused regarding the terminology of the Church Age and the Times of the Gentiles. It seems like you are saying that they are different, overlapping time periods – the Church Age started with Jesus’ resurrection and ends with the rapture, but the Times of the Gentiles started with the destruction of the temple and continues through the 70th week, right? I guess I’m confused because I thought the 70th week was when God completed his plan for the Jewish people, not the Gentiles?
A. I think the confusion is due to the fact that the Church is comprised mostly of people who were formerly Gentiles, but the two terms are not synonymous. Remember Paul said that once we’re in Christ we are neither Jew nor Gentile (Gal. 3:28), but are part of a new race of human (Ephes. 2:14-16) called the Church (1 Cor. 10:32). The Church Age began at Pentecost and will end with the Rapture.
The Times of the Gentiles began with King Nebuchadnezzar and will end with the 2nd Coming, as symbolized in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of Daniel 2. Remember how Daniel’s interpretation of the dream indicated that Nebuchadnezzar had been given authority over all of mankind, and even the animals. (Daniel 2:36-38). Then he described 3 other gentile kingdoms (Persia, Greece, and Rome) that would rule the world after that until the Lord established a 5th Kingdom, His own. This will bring the Times of the Gentiles to a close. In confirmation Jesus said that Jerusalem would be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. (Luke 21:24) In Rev 11:1-2 the phrase is repeated almost exactly, showing that the Gentiles would trample on the Holy City for 42 months, the duration of the Great Tribulation.
While God’s focus will shift to Israel during the last 7 years, His purpose is to prepare them for the coming of His Kingdom, while at the same time bringing judgment upon the Gentiles. (Jeremiah 30:1-11)