The nations in prophecy, Final (I think)
Jan 23, 2014
In Matthew 24 and in Luke 21, Jesus spoke of the coming destruction of Jerusalem. This prophecy was partially fulfilled in the Jewish Revolt from 66-73 A.D., but it has yet to be fulfilled in a greater way in our own time.
We know this first because Jeremiah 19:11 prophesied that its destruction would be total, and that it would never again be repaired or rebuilt. Yet Jerusalem was rebuilt more than once after 70 A.D. and is an existing city to this day. Hence, Jeremiah’s prophecy has not been fulfilled as of today.
Jesus, too, implied a lengthier time frame than the forty years ending in 66-73 A.D. In Luke 21:24 Jesus said,
21 and they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles [ethnos, “nations”] until the times of the Gentiles [“nations”] be fulfilled.
In other words, the destruction of Jerusalem was to be followed by a captivity, while the nations occupied Jerusalem. To trample on Jerusalem does not mean that the soldiers were to stamp their feet around the city. It indicates occupation, and this, in turn, implies some kind of rebuilding. There would be no point in occupying and living in a city that had been destroyed.
This occupation was to continue “until the times of the nations” are fulfilled. What did Jesus mean by “the times of the nations”? In this case it can only refer to the time in which the beast nations of Daniel 2, 7, and 8 are given dominion in the earth. Those “times” began when God raised up Babylon to bring judgment upon Judah and Jerusalem in 607-604 B.C. The divine law specified “seven times,” or 2,520 years.
Scripture does not give us the precise year when the divine court sold Jerusalem to the king of Babylon. It may have been as early as 612 B.C., when the Babylonian army captured Nineveh, the capital of the Assyrian Empire. It may also have been 607 B.C. when they were first organized into a Babylonian Empire from a political standpoint. Or it may have been in 604 when they actually took the city of Jerusalem.
All three of these dates are important in determining the endpoint of their Dominion Mandate, which we know was to last “seven times,” according to the law of tribulation. As I have already shown, the “seven times” was 2,520 years (360 x 7), and it appeared to end from 1909-1914-1917 (dating from the above dates).
However, because Jerusalem was independent for the final century of the Grecian Empire’s dominion (163-63 B.C.), that century had to be restored to the beast nations to fulfill the law. This extended “the times of the Gentiles” until 2009-2014-2017 A.D.
When we reached the year 2009, we saw the rise of Elisha, which was spoken in a decree April 12, 2009 at Manassas, VA. We are now at the midpoint of the endpoints and are soon to see the next set of events occur in 2014, so we ought to be watchful to see what God does this year.
Projecting to the future (2017), which was a century after General Allenby took Jerusalem from the Ottoman Empire (Dec. 1917), we note that on Sept. 23, 2017 the heavens will portray the picture given in Revelation 12:1. The sun will be in Virgo, the Virgin, with the moon under her feet. She will be crowned by Venus, Mercury, and Mars positioned over her head. This will be reminiscent of the signs prior to Jesus’ birth.
(Click on the image to enlarge it)
(Click on the image to enlarge it)
It is too early to tell how Kingdom History will unfold at that time, but it seems certain that we are in the last years of the “times of the Gentiles.” Insofar as Jerusalem is concerned, we know that the city has been trampled down by various manifestations of the beast nations since 604 B.C. when they first occupied the city. Dating from that event, 2,520 plus 100 years brings us to 2017.
In 2014 and 2015, both Passovers and Tabernacles feasts will feature lunar eclipses with “blood moons.” These may also be early signs of the destruction of Jerusalem, as Jesus said in Luke 21:25, 26,
25 And there will be signs in the sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, 26 men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
Jesus did not foretell these things to make us fearful, but to give us hope. Only those who do not know what is happening will be shaken. Those of the church who have placed their faith in Hagar-Jerusalem (Galatians 4:25) as the capital of the coming Kingdom will certainly be shaken. Yet those who know the divine plan and have faith in “Sarah,” the New Jerusalem, will be able to walk in faith, rather than in fear. Jesus’ message of hope is in the following verses in Luke 21:27, 28,
27 And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.
We are, indeed, seeing “these things begin to take place,” so even though we have an early view, we are able to walk with our heads held high. We know that our redemption is drawing near. The key to timing (in this case) is to know about that hundred-year interruption in “the times of the Gentiles.” This explains why the beast nations received an extension after it appeared that their time had expired a century ago. The answer is not complex, but it was hidden until recently, as far as I know.
Jesus also linked this time to the revived “fig tree” nation of Judah, saying in Luke 21:29-32,
29 And He told them a parable: “Behold the fig tree and all the trees; 30 as soon as they put forth leaves, you see it and know for yourselves that summer is now near. 31 Even so you, too, when you see these things happening, recognize that the kingdom of God is near. 32 Truly I say to you, this generation [genea, that which has been begotten, or “genealogy, offspring, race”] will not pass away until all things take place.”
Matthew’s account links Jesus’ parable to the fig tree that He cursed in Matthew 21:19,
19 And seeing a lone fig tree by the road, He came to it, and found nothing on it except leaves only; and He said to it, “No longer shall there ever be any fruit from you.” And at once the fig tree withered.
Then later, Jesus said in Matthew 24:32-34,
32 Now learn the parable from the fig tree; when its branch has already become tender, and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; 33 even so you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door. 34 Truly I say to you, this generation [genea] will not pass away until all these things take place.
By comparing the two accounts in Matthew and Luke, we can see that the fig tree parable is about Jerusalem and the nation of Judah, which is symbolized by the fig tree. The tree was cursed because it bore leaves but no fruit. Fig leaves have been a problem since the days of Adam (Genesis 3:7), when they were used as a false covering (atonement) for sin. Fig leaves represent self-justification, as opposed to being justified by faith in the blood of the Lamb.
The nation of Judah as a whole rejected the Lamb of God and had no faith in His blood. They continued to sacrifice animals instead. So a few days before the climax of Jesus’ ministry, He laid a curse on the fig tree, representing the nation, saying, “No longer shall there ever be any fruit from you.”
And yet later Jesus gave the disciples a parable about the fig tree, telling them, in effect, that it would come back to life after withering away. It would again bear leaves near the time of the end. In my childhood, I was taught that this was fulfilled in 1948 when the Jewish nation was established. I still believe this to be true. However, my teachers failed to tell me that it would only bear leaves. They spoke in glowing terms how the Jews will soon all be converted and will (in effect) bear the fruit of the kingdom that God has always required. And so it took me a few more years to understand the prophecy and the seriousness of Jesus’ curse.
It is a sign of blindness that so many in the church do not comprehend what is in plain sight. Matthew 21:19 makes it clear that the fig tree will never again bear fruit, and both Matthew 24:32 and Luke 21:30 tell us that when the fig tree comes back to life, it will again bear only leaves. Instead, they misapply Isaiah 27:6, which says,
6 In the days to come Jacob will take root, Israel will blossom and sprout; and they will fill the whole world with fruit.
By assuming that the Jews are Israel, they apply the Israel prophecy to Judah, thereby contradicting Jesus’ prophetic curse. By not understanding the distinction between Judah and Israel, they misapply prophecy. By misapplying prophecy, they contradict Jesus. By contradicting Jesus, they make Him a false prophet. By making Him a false prophet, they support those who hate Him and who seek to replace Him with animal sacrifices.
If the Jewish nation ever bears fruit unto God, then Jesus violated the law by engaging in spiritual warfare against a fruit-bearing tree (Deuteronomy 20:19, 20). The reason Jesus’ curse was lawful was because the tree will never bear fruit in the future. Hence, in the end, that “tree” will be cut down, as even John the Baptist threatened in Luke 3:9,
9 And also the axe is already laid at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
After John’s execution, Jesus took up the task of “visitation,” which is an investigation by the divine court to see if the charges of the witnesses are true. In Luke 13:6, 7 He makes reference to this,
6 And He began telling this parable: “A certain man had a fig tree which had been planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it, and did not find any. 7 And he said to the vineyard-keeper, ‘Behold, for three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree without finding any. Cut it down! Why does it even use up the ground?’”
Jesus’ three-year ministry was His three-year investigation, at the end of which time He cursed the fig tree. He also prophesied to Jerusalem in Luke 19:43, 44, saying,
43 For the days shall come upon you when your enemies will throw up a bank before you, and surround you, and hem you in on every side, 44 and will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.
In other words, they did not pay attention to the divine investigation of the great Fruit Inspector. Luke tells us that after prophesying this destruction, He went into the temple, cast out the bankers, and rendered the same verdict that Jeremiah had rendered just before the earlier destruction of Jerusalem.
45 And He entered the temple and began to cast out those who were selling, 46 saying to them, “It is written [in Isaiah 56:7], ‘And My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a robbers’ den’ [Jeremiah 7:11].”
The destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. was the first result of this verdict, i.e., the curse of the law for lack of fruit. But because Jerusalem was rebuilt, and because the Jewish nation came back to life, the final fulfillment of prophecy yet remains to be seen.
It seems clear that this destructive event must take place before the Son of Man appears in the clouds (Luke 21:27). And because this “fig tree” nation was established during the final century of “the times of the Gentiles,” it would appear that the destruction of Jerusalem and the Jewish state will occur toward the end of the “seven times” of beast dominion.
The United Nations passed the Palestinian Resolution on November 29, 1947, and the state was established on May 14, 1948. Seventy years later is 2017-2018. Perhaps this great destruction will occur at that time.
This is the fifth part of a series titled "The Nations in Prophecy." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones