Nov 3, 2012

Daniel and the Times of the Gentiles (Part 4)

Tony GarlandBy Dr. Tony Garland

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Gentile Influence over Jerusalem

In the meantime, the Times of the Gentiles must be viewed as a temporary situation during which the ruling authority which was to be invested in the midst of Israel has been transferred into Gentile hands. This can be seen in the predicted termination of Gentile rule at the initiation of God’s kingdom at the end of the age. [1]

Moreover, the question, "What became of the promise concerning the Davidic throne?" is answered in the restoration of the throne yet future:

This is a promise that the Davidic covenant has not been annulled. The kingship that was taken away from Jehoiachin (Jer. 22:24-30) will be restored "in that day" (Hag. 2:23), i.e., at the return of Christ when the times of the Gentiles are brought to a close (cf. Ps. 2:7-9; 89:19-29; Luke 1:32-33). [2]

the times of the Gentiles begins when the Davidic throne was empty, which would begin in 586 B.C....[and] goes all the way up until the throne of David is reoccupied by a Davidic descendant, which would be the Second Advent, not the rapture. So the times of the Gentiles began in 586 B.C. when the throne was empty, we're still in the times of the Gentiles, [to be] continued after the rapture, [and through] the tribulation period, because there is no...Davidic descendant on the throne in the tribulation period, not until the Second Advent will the times of the Gentiles end. [3]

Hosea’s prophecy, found in the third chapter of his remarkable book, has had its fulfilment. Israel still abides without a king, without a prince, without a priest, and so shall it abide until Messiah Himself appears the second time to take His great power and reign. [4]

During this period, God continues to set up, depose, and turn the hearts of kings—as He always has. But the period is characterized by no direct or immediate government by God upon the earth. [5] This temporary shift in God’s concerns away from the theocracy and Davidic throne toward Gentile rule can be seen in the fact that the first and most comprehensive prophecy in the book of Daniel is neither given to Israel nor concerns Israel, but reveals matters of Gentile concerns to a Gentile king. [6]

This is much like the Day of Pentecost when God used the tongues of foreign nations to proclaim His glory while purposefully avoiding the native tongue of the Jews of Jerusalem (Acts 2:5-13). [7] The unthinkable had happened: the Holy One of Israel was shifting His emphasis away from Israel and toward Gentile concerns. This could only be cause for great alarm among any Jew who understood the subtleties of what was transpiring. [8] Moreover, the dispersion of Israel into the Babylonian Captivity was essentially the reverse of the Exodus. Israel had been birthed out of captivity in Egypt to serve God in the wilderness. Now, she was being given up, back into bondage in captivity at the hand of the new regional superpower, Babylon. [9]

after the Exodus all the nations in that part of the world were terrified at the name of the God of Israel, because they had seen what God did to deliver His people from Egypt, and they had seen what Israel’s God had done to the gods of Egypt and the armies of Egypt, so that Israel’s conduct was a testimony to the power of their God. Now what’s happened? Israel has so discredited their God that their God is no longer feared by the nations that border on the land of Israel...[10]

It is in the midst of these momentous developments that God chose to speak through Daniel providing the overview of the Times of the Gentiles (Dan. 2; 7; 10-11) and the related judgment and restoration of Israel (Dan. 9; 12).


[1] "Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the great image, and Daniel’s vision in interpretation of that dream, were a Divine revelation that the forfeited sceptre of the house of David had passed to Gentile hands, to remain with them until the day when "the God of heaven shall set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed."—Robert Anderson, The Coming Prince (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1957), 31. "The 'Times of the Gentiles' began when God transferred earthly rule from the Kings of Israel to the Gentile king Nebuchadnezzar, and they will continue until Israel again becomes the 'Head of the Nations.'"—Clarence Larkin, The Book of Daniel (Glenside, PA: Clarence Larkin Estate, 1929), s.v. "The Gentile Nations."

[2] W. A. Criswell and Paige Patterson, eds., The Holy Bible: Baptist Study Edition (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1991), Hag. 2:21-23.

[3] J. Dwight Pentecost, Class Notes on Daniel, Dallas Theological Seminary (Spokane, WA: Ellen Kelso, transcriber, 2006), 2-9.

[4] H. A. Ironside, Ezekiel: An Expository Commentary (New York, NY: Loizeaux Brothers, 1949), Eze. 21:24-27.

[5] "Looking then at the moral character of Daniel’s prophecy, the key to the ways of God at the time it was given lies in this, that God no longer exercised a direct or immediate government upon the earth."—Kelly, Lectures on the Book of Daniel (3rd. ed.), 16.

[6] "In Daniel all is changed. There is no message to Israel at all; and the first and very comprehensive prophecy contained in the book was not at first given to the prophet himself, but rather a dream of the heathen king, Nebuchadnezzar, through Daniel, was the only one who could recall it, or furnish the interpretation. The later visions were seen by Daniel only, and to him all the interpretations were given. What is the great lesson to be drawn from this? God was acting on the momentous fact that His people had forfeited their place—at least for the present."—Ibid., 12.

[7] It was the Jews of the dispersion, from foreign lands, who understood the Spirit-filled proclamations. The "other" Jews—those native to Jerusalem—heard nothing in their native tongue. To them it was as drunken babbling.

[8] "The monarchy also held both a national and religious significance. Although God was recognized as the only true king of Israel, rulers from the house of David were his representatives. God promised David that his descendants would rule over Israel forever (2S. 7:12-16). The overthrow of the kingly line caused many in Israel to question the nation’s relation to God and the dependability of his promise. Their shock is reflected in Psalm 89:38-45..."—Scott Jr., Jewish Backgrounds of the New Testament, 109.

[9] There is an interesting typological relationship to consider between the dispersion of the Jews into all Gentile nations (especially following 70 A.D., Luke 21) and the subsequent gathering of all Gentiles to Jerusalem in the Millennium to come.

[10] Pentecost, Class Notes on Daniel, Dallas Theological Seminary, 2-11.