Jesus Christ warned that the end times would include warfare "until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled" (Luke 21:24). What does this mean? Who are the Gentiles? Can you avoid the trouble this indicates? Join us in learning the answers from the Bible.
[The text below represents an edited transcript of this Tomorrow’s World program.]
The Holy Bible outlines the future of the world. Bible prophecy reveals the sequence of world events leading up to the end of the world. What major event on the world scene should you be watching for? My friends, in the not-too-distant future, a great world superpower will rise above the United States. That superpower is even now emerging on the world scene. Will it be China? China’s ambitious military, economic, technological, and space advancements hint at its powerful role in end-time events. Or will the Russian nuclear-power grow in dominance? These great national powers will play a role in end-time prophecy leading up to Armageddon, but neither of these two nations will be the world’s top superpower. The book of Revelation in your Bible predicts that a resurgent EUROPEAN force will dominate the world. Your Bible calls it symbolically the Beast of Revelation.
Who IS this powerful force that will affect all nations on the earth?
Your Bible reveals major prophetic events that you should be aware of. Jesus Christ, the greatest newscaster and prophet who ever lived, warns us of one of those major prophetic events in Luke 21:20: “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near… And they [the people of Jerusalem] 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.”
This end-time event will usher in the DANGEROUS times of the Gentiles! My friends, you NEED to know the future. You need to know the prophetic times of the Gentiles, a time that will imperil everyone on earth. A new superpower will arise on the world scene during this prophetic time-period! What dangers will we face? You need to know. Stay tuned!
Warm greetings to all our friends around the world!
Most students of Bible prophecy know that we are living in the prophesied “time of the end.” The prophet Daniel uses that expression four times in chapters eleven and twelve in your Bible. He reveals a time of worldwide cataclysm: “At that time Michael shall stand up, The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time” (Daniel 12:1). These DANGEROUS TIMES lead up to Armageddon and World War III.
In Matthew 24:21-22, Jesus of Nazareth also proclaimed that unique time in all history at the end of the world and stated, “And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened” (v. 22).
Jesus gave that warning after outlining end-time prophetic events. In Luke 21, verses 7-18, He reveals “The Signs of the Times and the End of the Age.” Then in verses 20 through 24, He describes a key sign: “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.”
From a biblical perspective, Gentiles are the nations of the world NOT descended from ancient patriarch Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel. The patriarch Israel had twelve sons, including Judah, many of whose descendants constitute the Middle Eastern nation of Israel to this day. Gentile nations would include Germany, Russia, India, and China.
The first Gentile nations came to prominence in the land of Shinar, which later became known as Babylonia. The nations were setting themselves as a united people in opposition to God. They said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth” (Genesis 11:4).
You may have seen some of the artistic presentations of the tower of Babel. Most of you know the story. God confounded their languages so they were no longer unified. “So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city. Therefore its name is called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth” (Genesis 11:8-9).
The New Bible Commentary: Revised comments “… and their own further dispersion from Babel (vv. 8f.) is recorded as a special judgment on their blatant embodiment of the ungodly spirit that again after the Flood characterized human civilization. The city once more (cf. Gn. 4) becomes the cultural focus of mounting human arrogance” (p. 91).
My friends, does that not reflect today’s common anti-God worldly attitude? The Apostle John writes in the book of Revelation: “After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illuminated with his glory. And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, ‘Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird! For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury’” (Revelation 18:1-3).
God warns us not to participate in this future system called Babylon the Great. The Apostle John continues: Revelation 18:4, “And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities” (Revelation 18:4-5).
So, how can you avoid receiving those plagues? How can you avoid the dangerous times of the Gentiles?
Turn in your Bible to Revelation 17. Here the Apostle John sees in vision a harlot riding a symbolic beast with seven heads and ten horns. Revelation 17:3: “And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.”
What is the meaning of this beast? We do not have to guess, because the Bible interprets the Bible. Let’s read that in Revelation 17:9: “Here is the mind which has wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits. There are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, and the other has not yet come. And when he comes, he must continue a short time. And the beast that was, and is not, is himself also the eighth, and is of the seven, and is going to perdition.”
Here we see the heads represent mountains, a Bible symbol of governments or kingdoms. And these seven heads also represent seven successive kings. These are revivals of the original kingdom. How do we know the sequence of these historic kingdoms? The prophet Daniel, under God’s inspiration, interpreted Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of a great image with a head of gold. You can read about that in Daniel 2:36-45. Daniel told king Nebuchadnezzar, “[Y]ou are this head of gold” (Daniel 2:38). God revealed to ancient king Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon that he was the head of gold representing the historic Babylonian empire.
Nebuchadnezzar’s dream revealed an image with a head of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. What empires or kingdoms did this image symbolize? The prophet Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar that the head of gold represented him and his empire, the Babylonian empire. Historically, this empire was replaced by the Medo-Persian Empire represented by the chest and arms of silver. That empire was followed by the Greco-Macedonian Empire of Alexander the Great represented by the belly and thighs of bronze. Then the Roman Empire, represented by the two legs of iron, dominated the world from 31 BC to 476 AD. The ten toes on two feet of iron mixed with ceramic clay represent a future revival of the Roman Empire.
History has proved the accuracy of Bible prophecy. These empires have risen and fallen just as the Bible predicted. However, the very last empire has yet to arise. But what will it be? The New Catholic Edition of the Holy Bible translated from the Latin Vulgate, is generally called the DOUAY-RHEIMS version. It makes this comment concerning the beast of Revelation 17:11, “The beast spoken of here seems to be the ROMAN EMPIRE, as in chapter 13.” In other words, both the Beast of Revelation 17 and the Beast of Revelation 13 represent the Roman Empire. This Catholic Bible also comments concerning Revelation 13:1 as follows: “The picture of the first beast is based on the seventh chapter of Daniel. This beast is the figure of the kingdoms of the world, kingdoms founded on passion and selfishness, which in every age are antagonistic to Christ and seek to oppress the servants of God. IMPERIAL ROME represents this power.” Yes, even the Douay-Rheims Bible admits to the identity of the beast.
Even today, many Europeans see the European Union as A NEW ROMAN EMPIRE. Will the current European Union become the next Roman Empire? Tomorrow’s World regional editor Douglas Winnail wrote the following in his article, titled “Shadows Over Europe”: “Europe’s modern leaders are still trying to unite Europe on a Roman model. When the Treaty of Rome was signed in 1957, laying the foundation of European unity, the participants stated that ‘we felt like Romans that day… we were consciously recreating the Roman Empire once more.’” (The Signature of God, Jeffrey, pp. 190–191)” (Tomorrow’s World, January-February 2005, p. 13).
After the decline and fall of the ancient Roman Empire in 476 AD, there have been six historic revivals. My friends, you need to be alert to the final revival in the future. The first head of the Scarlet Beast represents the first revival, the Imperial Restoration of the West under Justinian (554 AD). The following revivals included Charlemagne, crowned as emperor in Rome on December 25, 800 AD. The next revivals included Otto the Great, Charles the V, and Napoleon’s Empire.
The book of Revelation gives us the setting of the end-time, the time preceding the Day of the Lord. The sixth revival is referred to in Revelation 17:10: “Five have fallen, one is, and the other has not yet come.” Read that in your own Bible! Some of you watching this program witnessed that powerful revival during World War II. What nations represented the sixth revival of the Roman Empire?
We’ve briefly discussed five of its seven revivals, ending with the fall of Napoleon in 1814 AD. The sixth of seven revivals ended in 1945 with the fall of Mussolini. One final revival of the Roman Empire remains. This future revival will consist of ten kings or kingdoms unified with the symbolic beast. My friends, watch developments in Europe. Consider the rise of the next world superpower. Ten kings or kingdoms will give their power and authority to the Beast. Revelation 17:12, “The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast.” Notice the time-setting of this final revival. Revelation 17:14, “These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.”
Amazingly, this end-time superpower will try to fight the Lamb, Jesus Christ, at His coming. The time setting of this revival is just before the return of the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth! But this end-time military machine will fail in its war against Christ. The King of kings will conquer and overcome this final, worldly system and Christ will establish His kingdom here on earth. Daniel’s prophecy shows a great stone smashing the feet of the dream image. Daniel 2:34, “You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.”
That stone, my friends, represents the coming Kingdom of God. Daniel explains its meaning in verse 44, “And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. Inasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold—the great God has made known to the king what will come to pass after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure.”
Yes, the Kingdom that will stand forever will be the Kingdom of God ruled by the King of kings and Lord of lords. He will replace a deceptive religious leader in the future who will perform dramatic miracles. That leader will excite religious passions all over the world. Read that in Revelation 13:11; “Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast….” This future religious leader will deceive millions, even billions, by false miracles!
“Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (vv. 6-8).
The Gentile beast power will rule over all nations. But God will limit its time to just forty-two months, or three and one-half years. Revelation 13:5, “And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months.”
This time period is also confirmed in Revelation 11. The Apostle John writes in Revelation 11:1, “Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, ‘Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there. But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months. And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.’”
Yes, as we read earlier in the program, “Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled” (Luke 21:24). How will those times end? Revelation 11:15, “Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!’”
This heavenly announcement declares the coming of the Kingdom of God to this earth, with Jesus Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords. Faithful Christians, both Gentiles and Israelites, will be born into the Kingdom of God at the last trumpet, as it tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:52. Notice the glorious calling God is giving individuals from all nations and languages. Revelation 5:9, “And they sang a new song, saying: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth.’”
Yes, Jesus Christ will end the dangerous times of the Gentiles! My friends, as it tells us in Luke 21:36, “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
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How will global religio-political developments affect you and your family? Will a world dictator soon appear? Just who or what is the Beast, and will you receive its infamous mark? Read on for the startling answers!