The Gentile Times . . . Reconsidered

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The Gentile Times . . . Reconsidered

#1 Post by Bobcat » 4 years ago

1. Introduction

The title of this thread is drawn from this book (the author is Carl Olaf Jonsson). I added the ellipsis in the title of this thread so as to differentiate this thread from that book. (Here is another link to Jonsson's book. It is a single PDF of the entire book for those who prefer it as a single PDF. The first linked PDF above is from Carl Olaf Jonsson's own web site and is actually a series of PDFs that are linked together.)

Carl Olaf Jonsson's book mostly dealt with the 'when' of Jerusalem's fall to the Babylonians. It brought out much historical and archaeological evidence to show that 587 BCE was the true date for that event. (2Ki 25:8, 9) In fact, Jonsson showed that, whereas, the WT holds to 539 BCE as an unquestionably fixed date for the fall of Babylon to the Medes and Persians (which, it is), that in fact, there is far more evidence establishing the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians in 587. Yet the WT holds dearly to the 539 dating, but eschews the 587 dating. So much for being "lovers of truth." The WT believes only what it wants to believe.

The focus of Jonsson's book is, not so much on identifying what the "Gentile Times" (of Luke 21:24) are. Rather, he focuses on showing that the WT's explanation of it is entirely without a reasonable basis. Carl says that his intent was, not to embarrass the WT, but to help the WT to correct their teachings. But in the end, the WT demanded that he recant or be excommunicated (i.e. disfellowshipped). Carl chose to stay honest to what he believed to be true.

It has been more than 40 years now since the WT was presented with all the evidence that Jonsson accumulated. Just think about what sort of strides they may have been able to make in Bible understanding had they just swallowed their pride and trusted in God. The WT's position among JWs is closely tied into their interpretation of the "Gentile Times" and so, sadly, they did as the Pharisees did when a certain new teaching threatened their position. (John 11:47-50)

Which brings us to this thread. We have had a number of threads in this forum on the topic of the "Gentile Times": See here and here for examples.

The Aim of This Thread

The aim of this thread will be to try to flesh out what I said at the end of this post. The comment I made there was the result of a number of things I have learned over the last several years. And a dawning realization that they may all be related to the account in Daniel 4 as well as the term "Gentile Times" as used by Luke in Luke 21:24.

All of this was/is floating around in my head. I haven't committed any of it to writing yet. So if you will bare with me, over a number of posts I will try to bring out what I am thinking. Comments in between are fine, but please try not to hijack the thread or turn it into a personal soapbox - at least not until I can get the entire idea out. Afterwards you can ravage the idea (if that is your desire) all you want.


Since this post was first made, I have made a number of follow on posts on this topic. There have also been many posts by others. This link to the index below will give links to my main articles on this topic as well as a list of other sub-topics that have come up within this thread. Throughout this thread at the bottom of all my posts you will find the link to the index that you find below:

Index to Main Articles in This Thread

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Re: The Gentile Times . . . Reconsidered

#2 Post by Bobcat » 4 years ago

2. Problems With the WT Interpretation of Daniel 4


One thing I think we will all agree with concerning the vision that King Nebuchadnezzar received in Daniel chapter 4, is this: Daniel made the application of the vision to King Nebuchadnezzar himself. So there is no argument there.

The question beyond that is, Is there some further application of the vision to something or someone else?

For the sake of ease of reference I will reproduce the vision as it was received by Nebuchadnezzar here:
10 “‘Now the visions of my head upon my bed I happened to be beholding, and, look! a tree in the midst of the earth, the height of which was immense. 11 The tree grew up and became strong, and its very height finally reached the heavens, and it was visible to the extremity of the whole earth. 12 Its foliage was fair, and its fruit was abundant, and there was food for all on it. Under it the beast of the field would seek shade, and on its boughs the birds of the heavens would dwell, and from it all flesh would feed itself.

13 “‘I continued beholding in the visions of my head upon my bed, and, look! a watcher, even a holy one, coming down from the heavens themselves. 14 He was calling out loudly, and this is what he was saying: “CHOP the tree down, and cut off its boughs. SHAKE off its foliage, and scatter its fruitage. Let the beast flee from under it, and the birds from its boughs. 15 However, LEAVE its rootstock itself in the earth, even with a banding of iron and of copper, among the grass of the field; and with the dew of the heavens let it be wet, and with the beast let its portion be among the vegetation of the earth. 16 Let its heart be changed from that of mankind, and let the heart of a beast be given to it, and let seven times pass over it. 17 By the decree of watchers the thing is, and [by] the saying of holy ones the request is, to the intent that people living may know that the Most High is Ruler in the kingdom of mankind and that to the one whom he wants to, he gives it and he sets up over it even the lowliest one of mankind.” (Daniel 4:10-17 NWT Rbi8)

Other renderings of the passage may be seen here. Simply click on the abbreviation of whichever translation you would like to see.

The WT's Interpretation of Daniel Chapter 4

Currently, the WT interprets the 'tree' to refer to God's rulership as represented in the Davidic line of kings. It was 'chopped down and banded' when the Babylonians removed Zedekiah in 607 BCE (per the WT's dating). And it gets 'unbanded and restored' when Jesus is enthroned as king of God's Kingdom in 1914 CE (as per WT dating and interpretation). The 2520 years in between 607 BCE to 1914 CE is explained as a calculation of (1) the 7 times of Daniel 4:16 multiplied by (2) 360 years (which equates to each "time" representing a 360 day year, with each day of the year representing 1 year under the idea of "a day for a year" - Num 14:34; Ezek 4:4), (3) which totals 2520 years for the entire "seven times." It represents (to the WT) a period of 'seven times' or 2520 years during which gentile kingdoms ruled without a representative kingdom of God in their midst. This is how the WT understands the "appointed times of the nations" (or "the Gentile Times") of Luke 21:24. (See Note # 1 below the index link for an exact quote of how the WT describes their interpretation of the "seven times" of Daniel chapter 4.)

Difficulties With the WT Interpretation

Listed below are some of the major arguments that could be made against the WT's interpretation of Daniel chapter 4:
1. The 607 BCE starting date (for the end of Zedekiah's reign and the destruction of Jerusalem) is conclusively wrong. No historian accepts that date. Carl Olaf Jonsson, in his book, Gentile Times Reconsidered, has amassed some of the vast amount of evidence that has established 587 BCE as the date for the fall of Jerusalem to Babylon. (See his book in PDF format here.) The Bible puts that date in the 19th year of Nebuchadnezzar. (2Ki 25:8, 9) And again, there is a vast amount of evidence that establishes that date as 587 BCE. Or, one can merely start at the WT's accepted year for the fall of Babylon, 539 BCE, and count backwards the lengths of the Babylonian kings until the 19th year of Nebuchadnezzar is reached (for which, see this post). But the WT simply refuses to accept that. And any JW that openly refuses to hold to the WT's 607 BCE dating is subject to excommunication and being shunned as an "apostate." (Compare Jn 9:22; See post # 209 for a link to a post discussing the references to 70 years in both Jeremiah and Zechariah.)

Of course, to be fair, the wrong starting point is not necessarily a death knell to the basic idea in the WT's interpretation. One might simply accept the well established date of 587 BCE for the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians and then move the finish date to 1934 CE. Unfortunately, for the WT, accepting 587 BCE as the starting point of their 2520 year calculation would cause problems. The WT explains that after Jesus is enthroned in 1914, he then inspects all Christian religions and by 1919 Jesus chooses the WT to represent him. So, the problem for the WT would be that accepting 587 BCE for the fall of Jerusalem would also alter their extended application of this explanation in detrimental ways for them. They've put so much effort into explaining that 1919 is when they have been chosen by Jesus, that they would find it difficult to now explain that they were chosen in 1939 instead.

The WT also explains that the beginning of WW1 in 1914 was a significant sign that Jesus was enthroned in that year. So moving the enthronement to 1934 would also require accepting the idea that WW1 was not a sign. And thus, as of this writing, WT continues to hold to 607 BCE as the year for the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians. (See this post for a discussion of the differences between WT dating and non-WT dating.)

2. The existence of gentile kingdoms goes back for centuries prior to the establishment of the Davidic line of kings. So one might well ask, Why would the lack of a Davidic ruler between 607-1914 be significant? Prior to David's kingship the gentile kingdoms ruled for centuries without any supposed "interference" from a king appointed by God.

Gentile kingdoms start to exist a few hundred years after the flood. (Gen 10:8-10, 25) See this chart for dating. Gentile kingdoms go back to the days of Nimrod, prior to the birth of Peleg. David's rulership begins at about 1010 BCE (1077 BCE according to WT). This leaves a period of about 1500 years (+-) during which Gentile kingdoms existed prior to the start of (i.e. according to WT, "without any interference from") the Davidic line of kings.

By way of example: 2550 BCE (roughly the birth of Peleg, about the time when the Tower of Babel incident occurred) to 1914 CE = 4400+ years. The Davidic line of kings rule from 1010 BCE to 587 BCE, or about 420+ years. Thus, during the 4400+ years of the existence of Gentile kingdoms (from before 2550 BCE to 1914 CE), the Davidic line only occupies roughly 10% of that time. So that, any lack of "interference from" the Davidic line of kings is really the norm, rather than the exception.

Additionally, this idea of the Davidic kingdom being an "interference" to Gentile kingdoms is a made up or concocted issue by the WT that, in fact, has no real significance. The Tower of Babel incident represents the point in time at which Gentiles were given their inheritance. (De 32:7-8) The existence of the Davidic kingdom within the Promised Land represents no 'interference' with the Gentiles, whose inheritance is all the land outside of the Promised Land. (Ac 13:19) And thus, this argument, that the Davidic line of kings represents some sort of interference to Gentile rule, is a bogus argument. The Gentile rulerships were only 'interfered with' when they tried to push their rulership into the Promised Land. Other than in cases like that, God "permitted all the nations to go on in their ways." (Ac 14:16; 17:26, 30)

3. Trying to explain "the appointed times of the nations" (of Luke 21:24) as pointing to a complicated calculation of 2520 years that draws on a number of other passages strewn about the Bible is also a problem. The phrase only occurs at Luke 21:24, no other place in the Bible. (Although, Acts 17:26 may be an allusion to the same thing.) And in the Greek text of Luke the phrase is without the definite article. This lack of the article is an indication that the phrase has a generic and somewhat non-specific idea behind it (similar to Acts 17:26). So, trying to change that generic idea into a complicated and exact counting of time is a strain on logic, pushing the limits of credulity. (On the idea of applying "a day for a year" to the "seven times" of Dan 4:16, 23, 25, see this post.)

4. Another problem with the idea of the Davidic line of kings being pictured by the tree of Daniel 4 is that, according to the vision, the tree 'grows and becomes strong.' (Dan 4:11-12) In the vision, the tree is at its apex when it is cut down. (Dan 4:13-14) This is completely the opposite of the history of the Davidic line of kings. One might conceivably say that the Davidic line started in a glorious enough way with David. But after Solomon the Davidic kingship only went downhill as time went on. And it was only a shell of itself by the time the Babylonians ended it in 587 BCE. When the Babylonians sacked Jerusalem it might be more apt to compare it to Jesus' killing of an unproductive fig tree. (Mt 21:19; Lu 23:30-31) So, comparing the Davidic kingship to the great tree of Daniel 4, that suddenly gets cut down at the height of its greatness, such a comparison has nothing to do with historical reality.

5. Yet another problem for the WT interpretation is the fact that numerous NT passages present Jesus as already a king in the 1st century. For example, Col 1:13 has Jesus already with a kingdom, meaning that, he was already a king. Mt 28:18 has Jesus himself claiming to already have "all authority in heaven and on earth" in 33 CE. (Compare also 1Pe 3:22) And earlier Jesus indirectly admits to Pilate that he was a king. (Jn 18:36-37) NT writers, by and large, time Jesus coronation with his exaltation to heaven in 33 CE, although, some might argue for his baptism in 29 CE as the time. (Some hold to 26 CE for Jesus' baptism and 30 CE for his return to heaven.) Either way, it would take quite a shift in time to move from 26-33 CE to 1914 CE for the start of Jesus' rulership. When one understands the start of Jesus' kingship to be in the 1st century CE, it utterly destroys any 2520 year calculation that has Jesus enthroned in 1914 CE.

The WT likes to cite Heb 10:12-13 and point out that Jesus went to heaven and sat at God's right hand, awaiting to be given the Kingdom. The problem here is that the passage does not say he was waiting to be given the Kingdom. Rather, it says he was "awaiting until his enemies should be placed as a stool for his feet." The writer of Hebrews is alluding to Psalm 110:1 as the reference column in the NWT shows. In 1Co 15:25, Paul, also alluding to Psalm 110:1, says, "For he [i.e. Jesus] must rule as king until [God] has put all enemies under his feet." Thus, by comparing these two passages, Jesus' 'sitting at God's right hand' in Hebrews 10:12-13 is properly understood as him "ruling as king" based on 1Co 15:25. (Compare also 1Pe 3:21-22)

Numerous other verses could also be cited showing Jesus' kingly authority began around the time of his first advent. (Col 2:10 and Rev 3:21 to name a couple.) See this post for additional Biblical references to when Jesus became a king. And see this post showing that the term parousia is never related in the NT to Jesus' coronation or installment as a king. (On the question of 29 CE or 33 CE for when Jesus becomes king, see also this post and included link.)

Conclusion Regarding WT's Interpretation

Based on these five counter-arguments, if there is to be some other interpretation of Daniel chapter 4, besides the application to king Nebuchadnezzar himself, one thing is certain: The explanation that the WT presents cannot be it. The WT's interpretation is historically and scripturally inaccurate, mathematically wrong, and entirely self-serving.


Index to Main Articles in This Thread


1. Here is how the WT's What Does the Bible Really Teach book (2005 p. 217) describes their "seven times" teaching:

"When would that grand event [that is, Jesus being crowned as king of God's Kingdom — Bobcat] occur? Jesus showed that the Gentiles would rule for a fixed period of time. The account in Daniel chapter 4 holds the key to knowing how long that period would last. It relates a prophetic dream experienced by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. he saw an immense tree that was chopped down. Its stump could not grow because it was banded with iron and copper. An angel declared : "Let seven times pass over it." — Daniel 4:10-16.

In the Bible, trees are sometimes used to represent rulership. (Ézékiel 17:22-24; 31:2-5). So the chopping down of the symbolic tree represents how God's rulership, as expressed through the kings at Jerusalem, would be interrupted. However, the vision served notice that this 'trampling of Jerusalem' would be temporary-a period of "seven times." How long a period is that?

Revelation 12:6, 14 indicates that three and a half times equal "a thousand two hundred and sixty days." "Seven times" would therefore last twice as long, or 2,520 days. But the Gentile nations did not stop 'trampling' on God's rulership a mere 2,520 days after Jerusalem's fall. Evidently, then, this prophecy covers a much longer period of time. On the basis of Numbers 14:34 and Ezekiel 4:6, which speak of "a day for a year," the "seven times" would cover 2,520 years.

The 2,520 years began in October 607 B.C.E., when Jerusalem fell to the Babylonians and the Davidic king was taken off his throne. The period ended in October 1914. At that time, "the appointed times of the nations" ended, and Jesus Christ was installed as God's heavenly king.* — Psalm 2:1-6 ; Daniel 7:13, 14."

* From October 607 B.C.E. to October 1 B.C.E. is 606 years. Since there is no zero year, from October 1 B.C.E. to October 1914 C.E. is 1,914 years. By adding 606 years and 1,914 years, we get 2,520 years. For information on Jerusalem's fall in 607 B.C.E., see the article "Chronology" in Insight on the Scriptures, published by Jehovah's Witnesses."

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Re: The Gentile Times . . . Reconsidered

#3 Post by Jerome » 4 years ago

Keep going! I can't wait!!!!!

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Re: The Gentile Times . . . Reconsidered

#4 Post by AmosAU » 4 years ago

Hi Bobcat,

Yes as Jerome said......please keep going. You have sparked a remarkable thought in my mind. Will discuss it after you have presented all your information.

Regards, Amos.

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Re: The Gentile Times . . . Reconsidered

#5 Post by Bobcat » 4 years ago

Thank you Jerome and Amos. And I look forward to comparing notes with you, Amos.


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Re: The Gentile Times . . . Reconsidered

#6 Post by Bobcat » 4 years ago

3. On Second Fulfillments, the Gentile Times, and a Clue


Is the idea of a second or 'greater' fulfillment of Daniel chapter 4 farfetched? Outlandish? A 'bridge too far', as it were?

To some extent the answer to that question depends on one's view of God and the Bible. The Bible presents God as having the ability to see 'the finale from the beginning.' (Isa 46:9-10) It also claims "all scripture" to be "inspired of God." (2Tim 3:16) The person who does not view things this way would understandably have difficulty with the idea of second fulfillments of texts written and inspired by mere mortals. To such a person, the idea of second fulfillments might fall under the heading of eisegesis and/or "narrative fallacies."

But for those who do view God as described above, and who do view the Bible to be His inspired Word, consider, as an example, the book of Jonah. By all appearances, the book of Jonah reads like a narration of a small portion of Jonah's life. Nothing in the book suggests that it has any meaning beyond Jonah's experience. Yet, eight centuries later, Jesus draws on the book of Jonah, even specific parts of it, and claims that it serves as a "sign" for his wayward fellow countrymen. (Mt 12:38-42; Mr 8:11-12; Lu 11:29-32) If Jesus is correct in his application of the book of Jonah, then, we can see in it God's ability to see centuries ahead in time to a 1st century CE situation and then create a situation eight centuries earlier that somehow mimics what would happen in the 1st century CE.

Similarly, most Bible scholars would claim that the accounts of Dan 8:9-14 and Dan 11-12 were mostly historical accounts leading up to and surrounding the reign of Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175-164 BCE; see also here). Yet, Jesus drew on those accounts to produce a sign for his disciples that would be seen in 66 CE. (Cmp Dan 8:13-14; 9:27; 12:11 with Mt 24:15) Like with the book of Jonah, Jesus saw further fulfillment where the original prophecies made no specific mention of such.

We could add to these examples the book of Revelation. It is chock full of allusions to OT accounts, with the apparent intention of indicating some future fulfillment to those OT accounts and prophecies. These examples do show that a second fulfillment to Daniel 4 is well within the realm of possibility. (Compare also how Matthew sees fulfillment of OT events in the early life of Jesus ─ Mt 2:14-15, 16-18, 23; For further discussion of second fulfillments and how NT writers may have viewed matters, see the link in "Note # 2" at the bottom of this post.)

"The Gentile Times" and Daniel Chapter 4 ─ How Related?

What would be the connection between "the appointed times of the nations" in Luke 21:24 and Daniel chapter 4? So far in this thread, the only connection is that the WT holds that there is a connection. But can we say any more than that? Well, possibly.

In the Bible, "the nations" (or "Gentiles") are generally viewed as all of mankind existing outside of the sphere of God's rule and people. (Rom 2:14; 1Th 4:5; Ps 147:19-20) Paul spoke of "the nations" as being heavily influenced by the demons. (1Co 10:20) So Biblically, "the nations" are generally seen in the Bible as being rebellious towards God. Eventually, in both Jewish and Christian understanding, God gives rulership of the whole earth to His Messiah or Christ. (Dan 7:13-14; 1Co 15:24-28) In that understanding, Gentile rulership eventually gives way to Divine rulership. (Dan 2:44)

In the dream Nebuchadnezzar received in Daniel 4, a giant tree is cut down and banded, and "seven times" are to pass over the felled tree. When the tree is felled it takes on beast-like qualities. (Compare Dan 7:2, 3; Rev 13:1, 2) After the seven times the tree is unbanded. The stated purpose of this exercise is, "so that people living may know that the Most High is Ruler in the kingdom of mankind and that he gives it to whomever he wants, and he sets up over it even the lowliest of men." (Dan 4:17 rNWT)

By comparing this aspect of Daniel chapter 4 in the paragraph above, with the paragraph above that, it becomes evident that there is, at the least, a conceptual relationship between the "Gentile Times" and Daniel chapter 4. The "seven times" during which the tree is felled and takes on beast-like characteristics represents a span of time. And it could conceivably be compared with the "times" of Luke 21:24 that the "nations" or "Gentiles," whose rule is sometimes compared with beasts, and are allowed to exist apart from God's rule until their 'time' runs out or gets "fulfilled." And it is also conceivable to see in the "lowliest of men" who is given rule over mankind by God (Dan 4:17), that this "lowliest of men" could be equated with the foretold rule of the Messiah or Christ.

Given just those brief comparisons, it becomes conceivable that we could use the vision of Daniel 4 to explain the larger flow of Biblical prophecy that ends with the rule of the Messiah. There are definitely points within the Daniel 4 vision that seem to match what the Bible indicates about the nations and Messiah's rule. (See note # 3 below for a quote regarding possible "linguistic parallels" between the "appointed times" of Luke 21:24 [NWT] and the book of Daniel, including Daniel chapter 4.)

"The Gentile Times" ─ How Long?

With regard to the phrase "Gentile Times," the fact that Luke mentions it would indicate that he had something chronologically related to the Gentiles (or non-Jewish "nations") in mind. Luke mentions that, eventually, those "Gentile Times" get "fulfilled." So based on that, there is some point future from Luke 21:24 where the "appointed times" of the "nations" run out or get completed, that is, "fulfilled." ("Comes to an end" - NLT; "Until their time is up" - GNT; "Are over" - GWT; "Have expired" - Weymouth NT; See Strong's # 4137) So this ending point for the Gentile Times would also argue, logically, that there was some beginning or starting point, whether specific or in general, where these "Gentile Times" began.

The WT holds that October of 1914 is the date when those "appointed times of the nations" get "fulfilled," based on a calculation of 2520 years (from 607 BCE to 1914 CE). But just going by modern history, 1914 would not seem to be a point in time in which the nations ran out of their allowance to exist. Why can we say that? Because, the nations, since 1914, have grown far more populous, far wealthier, far stronger militarily, technically far superior in just about any field one can think of, and their borders have been pushed out to include even outside earth's atmosphere. One might even include the moon and Mars as places where they have 'planted their flag,' so to speak.

On October 2nd, 1914 Charles Russell confidently strode into WT's Bethel dining hall and made the startling announcement to the WT headquarters staff: "The Gentile times have ended; their kings have had their day." What a bold statement by Russell! Unfortunately, history since that time argues very much against such an interpretation. (See also poster Apollo's comments about Russell's claims in the linked post referenced in post # 214 in this thread.)

If we were going to propose an end limit with which to try to start framing the "Gentile Times" or "appointed times of the nations," a good place to start would be Daniel 2:44. At some point after God 'sets up' His Kingdom, it 'crushes and puts an end to all these [gentile] kingdoms, and it itself fills the whole earth.' So the 'crushing of these kingdoms' would be a good place to 'rough in' the ending point of the "Gentile Times." Logically, it could not be after that since those Gentile kingdoms would no longer exist. (Compare Obad 15, 16)

When would the "Gentile Times" have started? Obviously, not before the creation of man. But we could rightly push the starting point forward in time to, 'not before the fall of man.' The reason being that, from the perspective of the Bible, the "Gentiles" or "nations" are generally cast in an oppositional or adversarial role towards God and His people. And this is why, in the end, the kingdoms representing the Gentiles are 'crushed and put to an end.' (Dan 2:44; Obad 1:16) So, based on that, the "Gentile Times" could not be before the fall of man.

For the time being, we can 'rough in' the start of the "Gentile Times" to no earlier than the fall of man. And their ending to no later than the future destruction of the "nations" at the hands of God. As we go on we will see if we can adjust those 'bookends' for the beginning and ending of the "appointed times of the nations."

A Clue to a Greater Fulfillment of Daniel Chapter 4

One of the things that made me start thinking that there might be a greater fulfillment of the vision in Daniel 4 was some of the language that is used in Daniel chapter 4: The 'intention' of the vision, and its fulfillment upon the king, was that he would know that it is 'the Most High who is the ruler in the kingdom of mankind, and that it is the Most High, and not anyone else, who 'gives it, that is, rulership over mankind, to whoever He wants, even to the lowliest of mankind.' (Dan 4:17, 25)

With that 'intention' of the vision in mind, the gospel writer Luke records a conversation that strikes some very similar ideas:
5 So [the Devil] brought [Jesus] up and showed him all the kingdoms of the inhabited earth in an instant of time; 6 and the Devil said to him: “I will give you all this authority and the glory of them, because it has been delivered to me, and to whomever I wish I give it.” (NWT Rbi8 Luke 4:5-6)

Now, note the similarities between Lu 4:5-6 with Daniel chapter 4:
1. Satan admits to Jesus that his ruling authority was "delivered" to him. Similarly, in an earlier explanation, Daniel points out to Nebuchadnezzar that God had granted to the king his extensive rulership, using language very much like that which is used in Daniel chapter 4. (Compare Dan 2:37, 38 with Dan 4:11, 12, 20-22; The passive verb "delivered" in Luke 4:6 suggests that Satan had God in mind as the one doing the 'delivering.' This is an example of what Biblical linguists refer to as the "divine passive.")

2. In Satan's offer to Jesus we have the idea of ruling authority being 'given' over all of mankind. (Lu 4:5; Dan 4:17, 25)

3. And we have the idea of world ruling authority being given to 'whomever the speaker wants.' (Lu 4:6; Dan 4:17, 25) The surprising thing here being, that the one doing the offering [that is, Satan] is not "the Most High."

4. We have the presence of Jesus, whom Christians would arguably think of as "the lowliest" (or meekest, or humblest; Strong's # 8215) of humans. (Dan 4:17)

5. And thus, we have another similarity to Daniel chapter 4 along with the ones already mentioned. The speaker (Satan) is expressing the same kind of arrogance that King Nebuchadnezzar was expressing when the judgment in the vision of Daniel 4 fell upon him:
At the end of twelve lunar months he [i.e. Nebuchadnezzar] happened to be walking upon the royal palace of Babylon. 30 The king was answering and saying: “Is not this Babylon the Great, that I myself have built for the royal house with the strength of my might and for the dignity of my majesty?” (Dan 4:29-30 NWT Rbi8; compare 1Ti 3:6; Isa 14:12, 13, 14; Ezek 28:13-15, 16, 17)

It is these similarities between Luke 4:5-6 and Daniel chapter 4 that got me to start thinking about a possible greater fulfillment to the vision of Daniel 4.

With this post, and the points discussed above, I have tried to lay the groundwork for a possible greater fulfillment of Daniel chapter 4. The next part will try to expand on these points.


Index to Main Articles in This Thread


1. As a side note (and not directly related to the above discussion), the WT says that Nebuchadnezzar 'forgot the dream' of Daniel 2. And thus, he (according to the WT) called the wise men to reveal it to him. But, if he forgot it, how would he know if the wise men had correctly recalled it? (Albert Barne's Notes on the Bible offers what he feels is a plausible solution to this problem. See here, under the commentary for Dan 2:5 which uses the KJV rendering of the verse.)

The NAC-Daniel commentary suggests the possibility that Nebuchadnezzar thought that the entire image might have pictured himself. And that its being crushed in the end pictured some sort of assassination attempt. And thus, he put the wise men to the test in case any (or all) of them might be the possible conspirators.

In connection with this aspect of Nebuchadnezzar's dream, that is, whether the king remembered what he had dreamed, footnote # 14 at Dan 2:5 in the NET Bible states:
14 tn It seems clear from what follows that Nebuchadnezzar clearly recalls the content of the dream, although obviously he does not know what to make of it. By not divulging the dream itself to the would-be interpreters, he intends to find out whether they are simply leading him on. If they can tell him the dream’s content, which he is able to verify, he then can have confidence in their interpretation, which is what eludes him. The translation “the matter is gone from me” (cf. KJV, ASV), suggesting that the king had simply forgotten the dream, is incorrect. The Aramaic word used here (אַזְדָּא, ʾazdaʾ [Strong's # 230]) is probably of Persian origin; it occurs in the OT only here and in v. 8. There are two main possibilities for the meaning of the word: “the matter is promulgated by me” (see KBL 1048 s.v.) and therefore “publicly known” (cf. NRSV; F. Rosenthal, Grammar, 62-63, §189), or “the matter is irrevocable” (cf. NAB, NIV, TEV, CEV, NLT; HALOT 1808 s.v. אזד; cf. also BDB 1079 s.v.). The present translation reflects this latter option. See further E. Vogt, Lexicon linguae aramaicae, 3.

In its commentary on Dan 2:5-6, Constable's Notes offers these thoughts:
It is unclear in the text whether the king had really forgotten his dream or was just withholding it to test his counselors. The Authorized Version implies that he had forgotten it by translating verses 5 and 8, “The thing is gone from me.” [Dan 2:5, 8 KJV] However the NASB’s, “The command from me is firm,” suggests that Nebuchadnezzar was referring to his command rather than his dream. The NIV and TNIV rendering is similar. [The 2013 NWT has, "this is my final word."]
“The king was a young man who had been extraordinarily successful in his military conquests. He undoubtedly had developed a great deal of confidence in himself. It is entirely possible that the wise men were much older than the king, having served Nebuchadnezzar’s father. It would be understandable that the king might have previously been somewhat frustrated by these older counselors and may have had a real desire to be rid of them in favor of younger men whom he had chosen himself. Nebuchadnezzar might well have doubted their honesty, sincerity, and capability, and may even have wondered whether they were loyal to him. He may also have questioned some of their superstitious practices.”[66]
Regardless of what Nebuchadnezzar may or may not have remembered, his desire to validate the interpretation that his advisers would propose is beyond doubt. They claimed to offer infallible supernatural guidance. If they failed, they would suffer excruciating dismemberment and humiliation. If they succeeded, gifts, a special reward, and great honor would be theirs (cf. Joseph, Mordecai, and Daniel).
“The violence and peremptoriness of the threatened punishment is in accordance with what might be expected at the hands of an Eastern despot; the Assyrians and Persians, especially, were notorious for the barbarity of their punishments.”

2. For some discussion and reference to the idea of second fulfillments to OT accounts, see this discussion and especially the first response in this Reddit AcademicBiblical thread.

3. In his book, My Beloved Religion — And The Governing Body, (pp. 46-7) author Rolf Furuli offers what he feels are "linguistic parallels" between the "appointed times" of Luke 21:24 and the book of Daniel, especially Daniel chapter 4. He writes:
The words of Jesus in Luke 21:24, kairoi etnōn ["appointed times of the nations"], have no other clues in Luke except that the subject is “Jerusalem.” If these words shall be meaningful for us, we have to look for clues in the OT. The first question to ask must be in which language the words were uttered. Jesus either used Hebrew or Aramaic, and the evidence suggests that the language Jesus used when he spoke with his disciples was Hebrew. However, we see from the evangelists that Jesus could use Aramaic words as well. If Jesus spoke in Hebrew, he most likely used the plural form of mō‘ēd where Luke has kairoi. Both the word mō‘ēd and the word kairos refer to a specific time, an appointed time. If we look at the passages where this word is used in the OT, we find that only in one place is this word determined by numbers, indicating specific times, and that is Daniel 12:7: “one appointed time, appointed times and a half.” Both the Greek LXX and Theodotion use kairos in this passage.

In the Aramaic text of Daniel 7:25, we find the same numbers mentioned, and the Aramaic word used is ‘iddān, which indicates that ‘iddān in Aramaic and mō‘ēd in Hebrew both refer to an appointed time. And interestingly, both the LXX and Theodotion use kairos both in Daniel 7:25 and 12:7. The Aramaic word ‘iddān is also determined by numbers in Daniel 4:16, 23, 25, 32. Thus, we see that there are only three chapters in the OT where the Hebrew or Aramaic word for “appointed time” is determined by a particular number.

If Jesus spoke Aramaic, he would have used ‘iddān in Luke 21:24, but because people in his days understood both Hebrew and Aramaic, regardless of which language Jesus used, the three mentioned chapters in Daniel would be the only ones that could be antecedents of kairoi etnōn in Luke 21:24. While the Hebrew mō‘ēd of Daniel 12:7 and the Aramaic ‘iddān of 7:25 are translated by kairos in the LXX and in Theodotion, the four examples of ‘iddān in Daniel 4:16, 23, 25, 32 are translated by the plural form of etos (“year”) in the LXX and by kairos in Theodotion. The rendering etos in the LXX is an interpretative translation, which deviates from the usual rendering of kairos for ‘iddān. Moreover, the Greek translation of Theodotion, which is much closer to the Hebrew and Aramaic texts of Daniel than the LXX, and which is the one that is quoted by the NT writers, has kairos also in Daniel 4:16, 23, 25, 32.

Thus, one or more of the three mentioned passages [Dan 7:25; 12:7 & 4:16, 23, 25, 32] must have been what Jesus had in mind in Luke 21:24. . . Both if Jesus used the Hebrew word mō‘ēd and the Aramaic word ‘iddān, the natural Greek equivalent for an NT writer to choose would be kairos. This indicates that there is a definite linguistic link between Luke 21:24 and Daniel 4:16, 23, 25, 32.

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Re: The Gentile Times . . . Reconsidered

#7 Post by leaving_quietly » 4 years ago

With regard to the phrase "Gentile Times," the fact that Luke mentions it would indicate that he had something related to the Gentiles (or non-Jewish "nations") in mind. Luke mentions that, eventually, they get "fulfilled." So there is some point future from Luke where the "times" of the nations run out.
I am not just trying to flesh out what the "Gentile Times" are.
Hope I'm not interjecting too early, but the thought occurred to me... what if these "Gentile Times" have nothing to do with Gentile kingdoms?

Rom 11:25,26: A partial dulling of senses has come upon Israel until the full number of people of the nations has come in, and in this manner all Israel will be saved.

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Re: The Gentile Times . . . Reconsidered

#8 Post by Bobcat » 4 years ago

Hey LQ!

I'm glad you brought that up as I do want to cover all my bases. As your cited scripture shows, not all references to "nations" or "Gentiles" is in regard to 'evil empires.' Especially in the NT, but also in some of the prophets such as Isaiah, Gentiles who respond (or are prophesied to respond) favorably to Christ are well spoken of.

I'll make sure I 'touch that base' when I make my next posting. (Currently I'm on my lunch break at work.)

Take Care,

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Re: The Gentile Times . . . Reconsidered

#9 Post by DeborahsTree » 4 years ago

Luk 21:24
and they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
The 1967 Six Day War brought an end to the nations trampling of the city of Jerusalem. Since then the Jews have control of the entire city.

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Re: The Gentile Times . . . Reconsidered

#10 Post by leaving_quietly » 4 years ago

The 1967 Six Day War brought an end to the nations trampling of the city of Jerusalem. Since then the Jews have control of the entire city.
Except the Temple Mount where an Islamic mosque now sits, the "Dome of the Rock".

In any case, we'll see what Bobcat addresses.

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