The Times of The Gentiles    Luke 21:24  "...and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled..."


Before delving into this topic, at the outset let us define "Gentile."  The word comes from the Hebrew goyim, and came to mean in essence, all who are not Jews. All who are not part of the covenant nation Israel, to whom God gave many precious promises, the scriptures, and through whom Messiah would come. The question in scripture is then, "what about the Gentiles?"  This article will look at the aspect of the present age, which scripture calls the "Times of the Gentiles." -


The government of the earth runs through the Lord and Jerusalem...ultimately. The nation Israel, in its failure and God's judgment sending them into the Babylonian captivity, lost their national independence and position. Therefore the government of men, was given over into the hands of the Gentiles, where it resides even unto this day. To clarify, God's purposes in the earth are ultimately centered in His Son, and through Israel among the nations. In them His mind with regard to earthly governance was given.  Israel, having failed and sent into captivity, lost their position as God's witness to the nations, and God in a sense has given over the government of the world totally to the Gentiles (keeping in mind God is is behind all the scenes and moves all the scenes He is behind). The time will come when Christ will reign for the 1000 year period, called the millennium, and then mankind will see up close what perfect government looks like in that theocracy. But that kingdom is yet future, as Christ told the apostles when they asked "will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" And of course His answer to them was "it is not for you to know the times, seasons, etc." And so for this present age, the Gentiles have a dominion.


This is why even in the time of Christ's first advent, there were Roman governors (Herod/Pilate) in power with control over the people and events. Today's Gentile world power takes many forms, the most common of which is democracy...a mixture of iron's strength & clay's brittleness.


This remarkable period the Bible calls the "Times of the Gentiles" began in 606 BC and runs even until today. There is an interesting but subtle testimony to it in the post exilic prophets in the very first lines of the scrolls they wrote. Before 606 BC the prophets commonly mention in their writings a time reference to the ruling Judean monarch of that period, for example in the 7th century BC, Isaiah references four Judean Kings (see below). But after the Babylonian captivity, even during the re-establishment period, both Haggai and Zechariah reference the overruling Persian King. This illustrates the ongoing Gentile rule, because an Israeli ruler is not the point of reference. The Gentiles are in power in God's governmental plan on earth for this age.

  • Isaiah 1:1  700 BC. The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.
  • Haggai 1:1  In the second year of Darius the king (After 536 BC)....(the Persian Monarch)
  • Zechariah 1:1 In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius...

CI Scofield gives a nice and concise definition of this "times of the Gentiles" as follows;


"it is that long period that began with the Babylonian captivity of Judah under Nebuchadnezzar, and is to be brought to an end by the destruction of the Gentile world power by the 'stone cut without hands' (Daniel 2).. ie... the coming of the Lord in glory. Until then, Jerusalem will be, as Christ said, 'trodden down of the Gentiles'."


In summary, this period is when Jerusalem is under Gentile authority and the government of men is under Gentile hands (albeit under God's sovereign will). Even today, with secular Israel (ie...unconverted) back in the land, they are under the dominion of Gentile authority though they be an independent nation. The UN, Arab/Muslims, and even increasing US hostility towards their attempts to determine their own fate & destiny, are tell-tale signs that the Gentiles are still exercising authority over the city and nation. Keep in mind that Israel is the center of God's timetable on the earth, not the church. The church age is like a parenthesis in God's overall program on earth.


Times of the Gentiles Chronology

  • 606 BC The times of the Gentiles begin with Babylon's conquest of Judah. Nebuchadnezzar is that "head of Gold" (Daniel 2:38) The reader is directed to Jeremiah 27:5-9 and Ezekiel 11:22-23 and the departure of the glory from Jerusalem. The throne and glory of YHWH had been there, but when their wickedness was full, Nebuchadnezzar was chosen as the first great monarch of the Gentile world power. Dominion passed from Jerusalem to the Gentiles.
  • 597 BC The second deportation of Jews to Babylon, including Ezekiel 
  • 586 BC The final siege, and the city and temple are destroyed, after Zedekiah's rebellion. 
  • 539 BC  Cyrus, king of the Medes/Persians (the 2nd world power of Daniel 2), has conquered Babylon and decrees in 538 that the Jews may return to the land.
  • 536 BC  The Jews return, lay the foundation of the temple, ending the 70 year captivity period. There is Gentile opposition and it is another 20 years before the rebuilt temple is completed. Haggai and Zechariah prophesy to encourage & move forward the people to rebuild the temple especially.
  • 333 BC  The Persians dominate until the rise of Alexander the Great. This begins the Hellenistic period, and the third of the four Gentile World powers of Daniel. Daniel 2:39 calls this the "kingdom of brass".  This period includes the temple desecration by Antiochus Epiphanes. the rule of the Ptolemies of Egypt, and then the Seleucids of Syria. The short lived Maccabean revolt takes place
  • 27 BC  This is the standard date given for the beginning of the Roman Empire, which is the fourth of the 4 world powers of Daniel 2. It is described as "strong as iron" (Daniel 2:40) but eventually has a weakness in that iron & clay are seen as mingled together. The Herods and Pontius Pilate are representative rulers in Palestine during this period.
  • 29 AD  Jesus Christ is crucified under a Roman ruler just outside Jerusalem.
  • 33 AD The church begins on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2.
  • BC - 1453 AD  In various forms, the Roman empire continues, and even to this day, the figure of the image in Daniel 2 endures with the Gentile power in place. Rome was sacked by the the Visgoths in 410 AD, and power eventualy went east until its defeat by the Ottoman Turks in 1453 AD. Yet the image endures, with Daniel 2:35 telling us its true end is when "no trace" is found of it. It is the return of Christ, yet future, that brings full end to the "times of the Gentiles".
  • 70 AD  Rome under Titus, destroys Jerusalem and the Temple. Not one stone is left upon another. The melted gold is sought by greedy soldiers.
  • 70 AD - 135 AD  various unsuccessful revolts by the Jews of Judea, end in tragedy and the disapora is dated from this period.
  • 635 691 AD the Rise of Islam and the Dome of the Rock built on the Temple Mount, hindering future desires to rebuild the temple.
  • 1099 AD to 1245 AD  intermittent Crusader domination of Jerusalem as a check on Muslim aggression.
  • 1880's AD  the first Jews/Zionists begin to return to the land, from the late 1890's through the post WWII period, many Jews return to the land, albeit in unbelief. Hebrew language is slowly resurrected.
  • 1896 AD the Zionist movement gathers momentum, with a goal to create a homeland for the Jewish people.
  • 1917 AD Balfour Declaration: The United Kingdom became the first world power to endorse the establishment in Palestine of a "national home for the Jewish people." Part of the background of this event is related to a Jewish man named C.A. Weizmann. He was a biochemist. He developed the acetone–butanol–ethanol fermentation process, which produces acetone through bacterial fermentation. His acetone production method was of great importance for the British war industry during World War I. He was therefore able to influence the thankful British government in the Jewish homeland matters, though delays related to Arab opposition ensued.
  • 1947 November, The UN partitions Palestine, paving the way for the establishment of the Jewish state. A Gentile organization, the UN, is the authority that paves this pathway. From the late 1940's forward millions of Jews immigrate into the land including hundreds of thousands of Russian Jews in 1992. The dispersions of centuries past turn into aliyahs, or returns.
  • 1967, 1973 Various wars & limited victories over Arab neighbors expand the territory of the modern nation Israel, solidifying her hold, albeit under Gentile authority & pressure. Ongoing efforts at peace with Arab neighbors fail, with Gentile nations failing to achieve their goals of peace. (there is no peace apart from the Prince of Peace, and sadly a false prince is to arise with a false peace)
  • Daniel Chapter 2 Important: this should be read, for understanding the end of this age with regard to the Gentile world power.   Click >Here< to read Daniel 2
  • Future:  Israel, back in the land in unbelief, is regathered for the time of Jacob's trouble (Matthew 24:9-14). The restrainer is removed (2 Thess 2:7) with the rapture of the church, iniquity abounds, and the man of sin comes to power, a false peace is established. Massive famines, wars, pestilences arise, and thus the wrath of the Lamb. Israel, surrounded by armies, finally calls out to God and they "look upon Him whom they have pierced" (Zech 12:10, Messiah-Jesus Christ) and the nation is converted.  The Gentile World power is destroyed by Messiah (the stone cut without hands of Daniel 2) and no trace of her remains, the Millennium begins. 

Thus ends the times of the Gentiles.



Luke 21:7-28 So they asked Him, saying, “Teacher, but when will these things be? And what sign will there be when these things are about to take place?” And He said: “Take heed that you not be deceived. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and, ‘The time has drawn near.’ Therefore do not go after them. But when you hear of wars and commotions, do not be terrified; for these things must come to pass first, but the end will not come immediately.” Then He said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven. But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake. But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony. Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer; for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist. You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But not a hair of your head shall be lost. By your patience possess your souls. “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her. For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people. And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”



post-script:   The Times of the Gentiles should not be confused with the Fullness of The Gentiles (Romans 11:25).  The latter refers to the full number of people taken out from the Gentiles and added to the church. When that fullness has come in the church is taken out of the earth in rapture and Jewish history will resume and God will call forth his tribulation remnant for their work during the "time of the end."  (from ACG-Daniel) There are some things that parallel the Times of the Gentiles, but they are distinct doctrines.