Times of the Gentiles Encyclopedia

The Times of the Gentiles. When Israel had failed to listen to the prophets God sent, they were eventually taken captive. Previously, the nation of Israel was God’s earthly center of government… but no longer.

God took the government away from Israel, and gave it into the hand of the Gentiles. This began a period we know as “the times of the Gentiles” (Luke 21:24). During this period, the Gentiles hold the balance of power in the earth. The first great king to hold this power was Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon. In Daniel chapter two, Nebuchadnezzar has a dream. Daniel the prophet gives Nebuchadnezzar the interpretation of what he had seen. The great statue in Nebuchadnezzar’s vision had multiple layers; the head of gold, the chest and arms of silver, the belly and thighs of brass, the legs of iron, and the feet of iron mixed with clay. The statue represents a timeline of the great Gentile powers. Daniel tells us the names of the first three empires: the head of gold is Babylon, the chest and arms of silver are the Medes and Persians, the belly and thighs of brass are Greece, and the fourth empire is not named but is described in detail. We can compare with other scriptures and clearly identify this fourth empire as Rome. Daniel tells us what the characteristics of those Gentile powers would be (Dan. 3 – 6). Would they turn out any better than Israel? No. These Gentile powers would force idolatry on their subjects, persecute the faithful (Dan. 3), use their power and riches to glorify themselves (Dan. 4), and dishonor God in the most immoral ways (Dan. 5). This is the same pattern we see with everything committed to the First Man.

The “feet” of the statue have not taken place yet… that empire is still future. In the dream, a great stone comes flying into the scene and smashes the statue on its feet. The whole thing is shattered to bits and pieces, and blown away “like the chaff of the summer threshing floor”. The stone grows into a huge mountain that fills the whole earth. Daniel says that this mountain is a kingdom that will be set up by “the God of heaven” which “shall never be destroyed.” This will be a kingdom whose capital is not Babylon, nor Susa, nor Athens, nor Rome… but heaven itself! It will be a kingdom on earth, but the seat of its authority will be in heaven. This is what is referred to as “the kingdom of heaven”.

Read more… The stone is Christ, and the mountain is His 1000-year kingdom, which we often call the “Millennium”.