Greetings Fellow Eschatologists! Welcome back to our series on the Mystery of the Full Circle. I’m sure you’ve heard the statement, “History always repeats itself.” In his book, History Repeats Itself, Dr. Andrew Joseph Pegoda says historians object to the notion that history repeats itself. And, actually, it’s true that history cannot literally repeat itself. When people use the phrase, “history repeats itself,” they are mostly thinking in terms of patterns they see repeated in history. And that’s what we see with the history of the Jewish people. We see the pattern of the full circle in their history when it comes to the period of time known as the Times of the Gentiles. In this post, we’ve come to the grand finale in our study of how the times of man runs in circles. Keep reading!
THE MYSTERY OF THE FULL CIRCLE
By Karen Thompson
Fourth in a Five-Part Series
In our last post, we talked about how the Times of the Gentiles begins and ends in the same place, completing a full circle. The Times of the Gentiles is divided into two sections. The first section is the beginning of the Times of the Gentiles. The second section is the end of the Times of the Gentiles. The beginning and end of the Times of the Gentiles begin and end in the same place, creating full circles. For instance, the beginning of the Times of the Gentiles began with the invasion of a foreign Gentile power (Babylon), and it ended with the First Coming of Jesus, the Messiah. The ending of the Times of the Gentiles began with the invasion of a foreign Gentile power (Rome), and it will end with the Second Coming of Jesus, the King of Kings.
We listed 15 events the Jewish people experienced during the beginning section of the Times of the Gentiles. They will experience those same 15 events during the ending section of the Times of the Gentiles, thus bringing the Times of the Gentiles to a complete circle. Today, you will discover why Antiochus Epiphanes and the end time Antichrist complete a full circle.
THE ENDING ELEMENTS OF THE TIMES OF THE GENTILES:
COMPLETING A FULL CIRCLE
In the first section of the Times of the Gentiles, we saw 15 elements in a series of events the Jewish people experienced. Now in the second section of the Times of the Gentiles, you will see those same 15 elements in a series of events repeated in the lives of the Jewish people. The beginning and ending sections of the Times of the Gentiles begin and end in the same place, completing a full circle. Let’s begin.
First Element: Enemy Invasion and Exiled
The first element in the series of events that will bring the times of the Gentiles full circle is the invasion of Jerusalem by a foreign power. Before His death, Jesus prophesied about the coming destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. In Luke chapter 21, the disciples pointed out to Jesus the size of the stones in the temple. Jesus’ reply was to warn them of Jerusalem’s impending destruction: “…As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down” (vv. 5–6). He also said, “Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled” (Luke 21:24).
It happened just as Jesus prophesied. Jerusalem was invaded by the Roman Empire. Jerusalem was already a vassal state to Rome; the reason why the Roman Empire invaded Judah and Jerusalem was to put down the Jewish rebellion, which started in 66 AD. Rome sent four legions of soldiers to end the rebellion in 67 AD. The Roman army eventually surrounded Jerusalem in 70 AD. The Jewish people were nearly slaughtered to extinction with just a remnant left alive. The prophet Zechariah prophesied about this generation, calling it “the flock of slaughter” (Zec. 11:4). Rome’s goal was to make an example of the Jewish people; consequently, their attack was vicious and thorough. In addition to destroying Jerusalem, the Romans salted the land making it impossible for anything to grow. In this way, they made it impossible for any surviving Jews to live in the city of Jerusalem or in the land of Israel. To add insult to injury, the Romans renamed the land Palestine.
Full Circle: The Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar invaded Jerusalem and caused many of the Jews to be exiled throughout the nations. This marked the beginning of the times of the Gentiles. When the Romans invaded Jerusalem and forced the remnant of Jews into exile throughout the nations, it marked the beginning of the end of the times of the Gentiles, thus creating a full circle.
Second Element: Temple Destroyed
The second element in the series of events that will bring the times of the Gentiles full circle is the destruction of the temple. Four months after the Romans began their attack, the second temple was destroyed on the 9th of the month of Av, the exact same day on which the first temple was destroyed!
Full Circle: The Babylonians destroyed the temple on the 9th of Av during their invasion of Jerusalem, and then the Romans destroyed the temple on the 9th of Av during their invasion of Jerusalem, bringing the destruction of the temple full circle.
Third Element: Judgment Involving the Number 70
The third element in the series of events that brings the times of the Gentiles full circle is another judgment involving the number 70. In the beginning section of the Times of the Gentiles, Jeremiah prophesied that the Jews’ time in Babylon would come to an end after 70 years. Then an angel told Daniel about another judgment also involving the number 70: “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city…” (Dan. 9:24). The second judgment was to last for 70 weeks, but this 70 weeks was actually 70 weeks of years, making it 490 years. A total of 469 weeks have been fulfilled; there is one week left that is yet unfulfilled—Daniel’s 70th week.
Full Circle: In the beginning section of the Times of the Gentiles, Jeremiah prophesied the Jewish people would return to Jerusalem after 70 years. Then they received another judgment involving the number 70 which will be fulfilled in the ending section of the Times of the Gentiles, thus creating a full circle.
Fourth Element: Attempt to Annihilate Jewish Race
The fourth element in the series of events that will bring the times of the Gentiles full circle is the attempt of Hitler, leader of Germany, to annihilate all Jews within reach with his “final solution.” The Final Solution, code name for the Nazi’s plan for the genocide of all Jews during World War II, was formulated by Hitler and his leadership in 1942.
Let’s compare the two annihilators, Haman and Hitler, and see how God judged them. Haman, the Hitler of his time, received a measure-for-measure judgment resulting in him being hung on the very gallows he had planned for Mordecai.
Like Haman, Hitler also received a measure-for-measure judgment. Hitler commissioned the death of millions of Jews by poison and cremation, or a gunshot to the head and then being buried in an unmarked grave. Hitler was killed in the exact same way. First, he swallowed poison and then he shot himself in the head. He left instructions to his men to bury his body in an unmarked grave and then burn it beyond recognition so no one could find it. Thus, Hitler received the same death sentence he placed on the Jewish people.
In addition to all that, the same way Haman’s ten sons were killed and then hanged, so too were Hitler’s ten top henchmen hanged to death.
Full Circle: Haman attempted to exterminate all the Jewish people in the Persian provinces, and then Hitler tried to exterminate the entire Jewish population in Germany, which brings the fourth element full circle.
Fifth Element: Decree for a Return to Jerusalem
The fifth element in the series of events that will bring the times of the Gentiles full circle was when a decree was made that allowed the return of the Jews from all over the world back to Israel. Every major prophet prophesied this event would happen: Isaiah 11:12, Jeremiah 29:14, and Ezekiel 20:41.
After World War I (1914–1918), Western powers won the war and Palestine fell under their control. In return for their help in defeating the Ottoman Empire, Britain promised land in Palestine to the Arab Palestinians. Britain also wanted to use part of Palestine to create a national home for the Jews. Despite Arab protests, the Balfour Declaration was issued on November 2, 1917, which decreed part of Palestine as a national home for the Jewish people. This prompted the return of the Jews from all over the world back to their ancient homeland.
Full Circle: After the decree by Cyrus, the exiled Jews returned to Jerusalem from Babylon, and then after the decree by the British in the Balfour Declaration, the exiled Jews came back to their ancient homeland from all over the world, thus creating a full circle.
Sixth Element: Trouble From Neighbors
The sixth element in the series of events that will bring the times of the Gentiles full circle was when Israel experienced trouble with its neighboring nations upon their return. When Britain agreed to partition part of Palestine as a national home for the Jews, it angered the Arabs. They claimed that Britain promised all the land to them, but Britain said they never promised the entire region of Palestine to the Arabs. They felt there was enough land to give a portion to the Arabs as well as to the Zionists.
There was already a large presence of Jews living in Palestine at the time, but after the Balfour Declaration, they began to immigrate in great numbers. When this began to happen, the Arabs feared they would soon be outnumbered and this resulted in an Arab rebellion. In 1922, the League of Nations made Palestine a mandate of Britain, whose task it was to bring the territory to independence. No matter what the British did, they could not placate either side. There was nonstop tension and strife between the two groups. In 1937, the British came to the conclusion that there was no solution to the Arab/Israeli problem.
Finally, on November 29, 1947, the United Nations passed resolution 181 which called for a partition of Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states. The Jews accepted the resolution but the Arabs did not. On May 14, 1948, the British Mandate came to an end and the Jewish state declared its independence. Upon this declaration, the combined nations of Egypt, Transjordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq attacked Israel. To the surprise of everyone, Israel came out the winner. In the end, Israel increased its borders, but the price in casualties was significant.
Constant strife and tension resulted in the Arab nations once again attacking Israel in 1967 in what Israel calls the Six Day War. Egypt, Syria, and Jordan amassed their armies along Israel’s borders. The Arab states were calling for war. Catching them off guard, Israel struck first in June 1967. Once again, Israel came out the victor, gaining control of the West Bank, the Sinai Peninsula, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights, and all of Jerusalem!
From that time until the present, the Arab nations surrounding Israel began demanding for a return of the land that Israel gained in the wars. Israel said they would not consider returning anything without a peace plan. The Arabs do not want peace. They want Israel “pushed into the sea.” To this day, the Arabs continue to call for the destruction of Israel. No matter what concessions Israel makes to the Arabs, they have refused to accept Israel’s right to the land and continually call for the destruction of Israel.
Full Circle: When the exiled Jews returned to Jerusalem from Babylon, their neighbors gave them constant grief. In the same way, when the Jews returned to Palestine, their neighbors gave them constant grief and are still giving them grief, which brings the sixth element full circle.
Seventh Element: The Decree Is Reversed
The seventh element in the series of events that will bring the times of the Gentiles full circle is when the decree was reversed. The hostility of the Arabs grew intense as more and more Jews immigrated to Palestine. After the Arab revolt, Britain issued a document called the White Paper which essentially stated they were going back on their word stated in the Balfour Declaration and the Mandate. As a result of the White Paper, severe restrictions were placed on Jewish immigration and land-owning rights.
Full Circle: Israel’s neighbors were successful in convincing the Persian king to rescind the decree to restore Jerusalem, and then Israel’s neighbors were successful in convincing the British to rescind the Balfour Declaration with the issuance of the White Paper, thus bringing the seventh element full circle.
Eighth Element: Cultural War Among the Jews
The eighth element in the series of events that will bring the times of the Gentiles full circle is the cultural division between the secular and religious Jews. The secular Jews during the time of both the Greek and Roman eras didn’t want to follow the restrictive laws of Talmud. This same sentiment is shared by today’s secular Jews as well. Just as there was a cultural war between the secular Jews and the religious Jews of the past, so it is today.
In the late 19th century, in response to growing anti-Semitism throughout the world, there arose a Jewish movement called Zionism whose purpose and vision was to reestablish a Jewish homeland in Palestine. The founding fathers of Zionism dreamed of a secular Israel. They wanted a modern Israel that was free from its religious heritage. They simply wanted a secure place in the world where Jews could live in relative security.
Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion failed to heed the advice of keeping the new Israel free from a religious identity. As a political move to garner support, he made significant concessions to the religious factions. Yeshiva students whose intent was to study the Talmud full time were released from military service. He also allowed the religious Jews to have their own state-sponsored educational system, and he gave rabbis a monopoly on performing marriages and divorces. He also included religious leaders alongside secular Jews in his own government.
Ben-Gurion initiated these concessions, because at the time, it was assumed by all that this Jewish “religion” would eventually die out in one or two generations! Little did they know, Israel’s minority of religious Jews would experience an astonishing comeback. First of all, demographics are on the side of the religious population. They have significantly larger families than do the secular families. In just 15 years, their numbers would double. And the religious educational system that Ben-Gurion conceded to them would silently begin to turn out a group of fervent, God fearing young men and women.7
Another significant factor that had an overwhelming impact on the overall spiritual atmosphere in Israel was the Six Day War in 1967 when Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and Iraq joined forces to wipe out Israel. In the same spirit of the Maccabees, Israeli soldiers fought against all odds and won a miraculous victory in six days! Israel captured the Sinai Peninsula, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights, and the West Bank. Having gained these new territories, Israel now had defensible borders. But the truly significant triumph was the capture of Jerusalem. For the first time since the Romans destroyed the second temple in 70 AD, the eternal capital of the Jewish people was now under Jewish control. This filled the religious youth movement with zeal. Convinced they were fulfilling the will of God and preparing for the coming of King Messiah, they started the drive to occupy and possess the newly acquired territories.
Also, there is a phenomenon called “return to the faith” that has been increasing the religious demographic. In great numbers, the Jewish population has been steadily returning to its faith.
There is one last thought to consider. The animosity between the religious Jews and secular Jews is because of their disagreement concerning Western culture. The secular Jews want to be a “normal” nation like all the other free Western nations. But the religious Jews want nothing to do with Western culture. Their desire for Israel is to embrace its religious heritage. It is common knowledge that the roots of Western culture come from Greek culture. Is this just an amazing coincidence, or is it another element of the times of the Gentiles coming full circle?
Full Circle: The Jewish population was split between the secular and religious groups which caused a major split between them during both the Greek and Roman eras. Likewise, the Jewish population still struggles to this day with disagreements between the secular and religious groups, bringing the cultural division full circle.
To be continued….
We’ll complete elements nine through 15 in the next blog. You won’t want to miss it!
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