The Difference Between “The Time of the Gentiles” & “The Fullness of the Gentiles”

Introduction
Have you ever noticed how difficult it is to explain to a mechanic an intermittent problem you are having if you have no training or understanding of the dynamics of the automobile.

Yet, if you approach the same problem after having taken a class in automotive repair, while perhaps not capable of understanding every potential problem you are have based upon the symptoms your car is displaying, it is easier to communicate with the mechanic because you have a common vocabulary concerning the subject matter.

I guess what I’m attempting this communicate is that life is not simple, it is by nature complicated.  And while attempting to simplify matters is what teachers attempt to do by use of figures of speech, such as analogies or metaphors; there must be at least a common language that can be utilized before the student can comprehend the complexity of any subject.

The human nature, at least my nature is to make it is easy as possible.  I enjoy the comfortable lifestyle.  In spite of the fact that if someone was to evaluate me according to my essays they might come to the conclusion that I am a perfectionist, or at least complicated in the way I perceive life, this does not take into account how I am by nature – it is an examination of the attributes or behaviors that I display, yet does not take into consideration who I am in my essence.

I, like us all prefer it simple, easy, and comfortable.  However, life is complicated and demands that if we are to tackle any question we must commit ourselves to address the complexity of that subject matter.

I guess what I’m saying is, as much as I do enjoy the simplicity of essays, such as my last posting; it is getting back to the rigors of getting into more complicated presentations that as a teacher I am required in my accountability to the work at hand in general, and to God in particular.

If what I’m saying is not correct, then explain to me why we need 66 books, thousands of pages; for God to communicate His message to man – because it’s complicated.

And what I found in my experience is that those that would seek to stay within a greater simplicity, at least as far as they’re concerned; to confine their teachings to the New Testament, they miss so much because the New Testament is based upon the premises and teachings of the Old Testament.

When we try to simplify God’s message too much, we discredit it due to a lack of clarity and comprehension that God wishes to present.

What we need to do is speak to a baby in terms that it would understand, talk to an adolescent in a manner they can comprehend, communicate a teenager in a way that they can apply application, and we need to teach adults according to their ability to fully understand and to see the whole picture; not just small pieces or parts – it is in seeing the whole that faith, based upon God’s Word truly grows.

It is always attempting to aid the person in growing, in stretching, in extending their grasp; that a teacher is called.

Teachers, by the virtue of their vocation are meant to tackle the complicated aspects of their subject matter in order that what is misunderstood or unknown becomes profitable by becoming comprehensible.

And many times the subject matter, at least according to the title or heading may appear to hold no value to the reader.

However, it is when we come to understand that there is a reason to continue on, that we end up unearthing a treasure; which at least concerning God’s Word, according to the blessing of the Holy Spirit, becomes a faith producing insight.

Part of the problem of attempting to keep things simple regarding God’s Word is that many times something appears inconsistent when compared to other things in God’s Word.

The following presentation is a good example of how two terms that seem to refer to the same thing, do not; and due to the confusion have caused many problems for the last 2000 years; side tracking major doctrines, while even creating division within the Body of Christ.

Times of the GentilesTime of the Gentiles

We get this term “times of the Gentiles,” from Jesus.  He is the only one that refers to this time by this particular terminology which is found in Luke 21:24, which says:

“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.”

It is obvious from the context that Jesus is speaking about the destruction of Jerusalem which would occur 38 years later under Roman general Titus, and that Jerusalem would continue to be trodden underfoot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles was fulfilled.

From Jesus reference, we know that this times of the Gentiles had already started, as Jerusalem had been under the rule at that time of the Romans, and before that the Parthians, and before that yet Romans again, and prior to that the Greeks, and prior to that the Persians, and prior to that there original captors were the Babylonians. 

Therefore, since Jesus was speaking about the time period when Jerusalem would be controlled by other nations, (“nations” is synonymous with Gentile), and we know that this has been the case since their bondage under Nebuchadnezzar; we understand that when ever this time is fulfilled, it is yet future. 

This term has to do with their slavery, so obviously this is a negative situation.

This is a reference to a time clock which according to Daniel 2:29-49, started with the Babylonian captivity were the Jews were conquered, and will be completed when Jesus comes back to rescue the remnant of Israel.  It is a political term which refers to the dominance of the Gentiles over Israel. 

According to Dr. Kenneth Wuest:

The ‘times of the Gentiles’ began with the captivity of Judah under Nebuchadnezzar 2 Chronicles 36:1-21, since which time Jerusalem has been under Gentile overlordship.” (Also see Scofield Bible, p. 1106).1

According to Wilmington’s guide of the Bible:

The fullness of the Gentiles, Romans 11:11-25, should be distinguished from the times of the Gentiles mentioned by Christ in Luke 21:24.

The “times” of the Gentiles is political in nature and refers to that period from the Babylonian captivity until the end of the Tribulation. (See Deuteronomy 28: 28-68; II Chronicles 36:1-21; Daniel 9::24-27.)2

Fullness of the GentilesThe Fullness of the Gentiles

The term of “the fullness of the Gentiles,” as is used by Paul in Romans 11:25, which states:

“For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that hardening in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.”

This is a reference to the churchof Jesus Christ; it is connected with Ephesians 3:4-8, which states:

And by referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit; to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel, of which I was made a minister, according to the gift of God’s grace which was given to me according to the working of His power. To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ.3 

This term, “The fullness of the Gentiles,” addresses the idea that salvation, which God extended to the Jews4, via the blessings of Abraham their father, that would be yet extended to the Gentiles5 as well.  The word for fullness here is a Greek word that is mathematical and nature. 

What we do not see in the English but is an apparent in the Greek is that when it speaks of the “fullness of the Gentiles” it means the last number of the Gentiles.  We understand that this text indicates when the last individual enters the church is what this refers to. 

Our vernacular would be when the last person that is predestination to be saved is saved and that number is hit, then we have entered the completeness of all those Gentiles which make up the church of Jesus Christ.  It is a term that is used in harmony with our idea of the rapture (SIDENOTE: see Endnote #7 for a timeline concerning last days – very soon we will present an essay concerning the presentation of the subject matter: “The Rapture”).  And while English word “rapture,” which is not in our English translation of the Bible, because this word comes from the Latin Vulgate translation.  We find this word used in 1 Thessalonians 4:16, which states:

Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up [Greek: harpazo] together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” 

The literal English translation of the word phrase “caught up” [Greek: harpazo] is the “Snatching away,” which is what Paul uses concerning this end-time event.  We must understand that as the church (salvation to Jews and Gentiles alike, combined) was a secret completely hidden in the Old Testament (see Endnote #6), and therefore its inception (Acts 2) must be a secret as well, this would mandate that it’s retraction (1 Thess. 4:16) would be a secret as well. 

Therefore, the “Fullness of the Gentiles” – that last person to be saved that trips the number counter that God has determined will make up the church, trips what we’ve referred to as the rapture or snatching away.

The fact that these two terms sound so closely alike in the English adds to the confusion.  However, the Greek as found in the New Testament concerning Luke 21:24, Romans 11:25; are clear that the phrases are very different, and hopefully these references will be able to help you to see with greater clarity what God has revealed to us, His children through His Word.

The following diagram was created by Chuck Missler, and gives a visual insight into how the “Fullness of the Gentiles” and the “Time of the Gentiles” interact within the stage of history.

                                   

CLICK ON THE PICTURE TO EXPAND IT

Endnotes

1.  WORD STUDIES IN THE GREEK NEW TESTAMENT, Dr. Kenneth S. Wuest, Wm. B. Eerdman’s Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI 49502, USA, 1990, Electronic Media.
2. 
WILLMINGTON’S GUIDE OF THE BIBLE, Dr. H. L. Willmington, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, IL 60187, USA, 2008, Electronic media.  Also see: Romans 16:25,26; Ephesians 1:9-12; Ephesians 3:1-6; and Colossians 1:25-27.
3. 
John 4:22, “You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.”
4. 
Gentile:  (Heb., usually in plural, goyim), meaning in general all nations except the Jews. In course of time, as the Jews began more and more to pride themselves on their peculiar privileges, it acquired unpleasant associations, and was used as a term of contempt. In the New Testament the Greek word Hellenes, meaning literally Greek (as in Acts 16:1, 3; 18:17; Rom. 1:14), generally denotes any non-Jewish nation (EASTON’S BIBLE DICTIONARY AND BOOK SYNOPSIS, M.G. Easton, Ellis Enterprises Inc. Oklahoma City, OK 73120, USA, 1988-1999, Electronic Media.)
5.
EASTON‘S BIBLE DICTIONARY AND BOOK SYNOPSIS, M.G.Easton, Ellis Enterprises Inc. Oklahoma City, OK 73120, USA, 1988-1999, Electronic Media.)
6.  “If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:” (Ephesians 3:2-6)
7.  Eschatological Timeline

1. The Rapture (1Th_4:17)
2. The Judgment Seat (“Bema Seat”) of Christ (
Rom_14:10; 2Co_5:10)
3. The Marriage Supper of the Lamb (
Rev_19:7)
4. The Second Coming of Christ (
Luk_17:30)
5. The Judgment of the Nations – Sheep & Goats (
Mat_25:31-46)
6. Satan Bound for 1000 Years (
Rev_20:3)
7. The Final Judgment – White Throne (
Rev_20:11)
8. The New Jerusalem (
Rev_21:2)

Biblical Insights of Israel is an ongoing topical series that examines Israel in the last days, the Messiah, and prophecy.  We believe that Israel is the indicator of God’s timeline, and that by watching God’s dealings with them, that the church can witness His unfolding plan for mankind.  According to Christ, “salvation is from the Jews.”  They through Abraham have unconditional promises that God will still perform.  This ministry has a special love for our Israeli brothers and sisters, and prays that the United States will always be their ally and therefore receive God’s blessing.  Our main focus is always on Jesus Christ as the Lord and Savior of the world, God incarnate, He alone deserves preeminence in God’s Word.  God’s Word, the Holy Bible stands alone as our source of guidance and direction, and is our singular foundation for and of faithBiblical Insights of Israel is an outreach ministry of Faith Bible Ministries, a division of Faith Video Ministries Inc. You may contact us at our e-mail address: bb@faithbibleministries.com

 bb

7 comments

  1. Karol Stratman · ·

    Wow! Thank you! I continually needed to write on my blog something like that. Can I include a portion of your post to my website?

    Like

  2. Karol,
    Yes, Please use cite to this page. Thanks, bb

    Like

  3. […] The two programs harmonize perfectly but do not interfere one with the other, nor do they overlap in time.  The Church age in its entirety falls in the period of time after the conclusion of the 69th week and before the beginning of the 70th week, referred to by Paul in Romans 11:25, as “the fullness of the Gentiles” (not be confused with the “Time of the Gentiles” concerning Nebuchadnezzar – see LINK).  […]

    Like

  4. Thank you for clarifying for me the difference in the times of the Gentiles and the fullness of the Gentiles. Judy Albright Wesselhoft on Facebook, live in Moore, OK

    Like

  5. Judy,
    Thank you very much for your kind words.

    As one that attempts to teach God’s word, what I Am eager to hear from Lord is that I have been faithful in some small way.

    Yet on this side of eternity, when I hear from Fellow believers that Truly do study God’s word, such as taught within precept ministries; that I have aided in passing Along Understanding regarding something that for me Was confusing for years, this is such a blessing and honor. Thanks again for your kind words, Brent

    Like

  6. Thanks. Good explanation.

    Like

  7. Thank you, Brent

    Like

Please leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Faith Bible Ministries Blog ~ An Online Study of the Bible

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- This online Bible study series addresses primary New Testament words in their original language - Koinè Greek - as opposed to mainly using the English translations; which is like adding color to a black-and-white picture.

Faith Video Ministries Inc.

"So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God"

Faith Bible Ministries

"So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God"

%d bloggers like this: