Note the pattern: time, times and half a time (repeated
There is a very clear time line (click to enlarge it).
The seasons and epochal events are described in detail below
The Time of the New
Order – The First Season
The forty-year season between the ministry of Jesus and the
Destruction of Jerusalem is called the Time of the New Order.
Hebrews 9:10 says that the temple sacrifices are "external
regulations applying until the "time of the new order".
Jesus death on the cross made the temple sacrifices redundant, so
it marked the end of the Old Testament age and the beginning of a
Jesus ascended into heaven and rules the church from the right
hand of the Father. He has poured out his Spirit on the church so
that he can accomplish his purposes. This had two consequences.
Firstly, Jerusalem was in God’s plan was redundant. The temple
had been the centre of sacrifice; but now Jesus death on the cross
put an end to sacrifice forever. Jerusalem had been the throne of
the King of Israel. Now Jesus had been ascended to sit at the
right hand of God as King of the whole earth. Secondly, God
established the church do his work in the world. Christians were
appointed as kings and priests (Revelation 1:7). The cross,
resurrection and ascension brought a radical change and ushered in
the new order.
During this first season, the old order continues in parallel
with the new order that Jesus had established. Although the Jewish
temple system had been made redundant, it continued to function
along side and in opposition to the Holy Spirit and the church.
The first epochal event brought the old order to an end.
The Destruction of
Jerusalem – the First Epochal Event
The first epochal event in the New Testament era was the
Destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. Jesus predicted this event in
Matthew 24:1-35, Mark 13:1-31 and Luke 21:5-33. Jesus' awful
prophecies were fulfilled. A Roman army surrounded Jerusalem and
started a terrible siege. The Jewish historian Josephus described
this time and it was a terrible tribulation. Conditions were so
severe that mothers ate their babies to survive. However,
Christians who had needed Jesus warning left the city before the
siege began and fled to safety in the mountains.
The destruction of Jerusalem marked the beginning of a time of
punishment (Luke 21:22). The Jews had rejected Jesus. The
destruction of Jerusalem was a judgement on the city that had
crucified the Son of God. The Romans destroyed Jerusalem and the
Jews were scattered among the nations. Therefore, the destruction
of Jerusalem marks the beginning of the times of the Gentiles.
The Times of the
Gentiles – The Second Season
This is the Season we are in now
The Destruction of Jerusalem marked the beginning of Times
of the Gentiles. In Luke 21:24, Jesus said that
Jerusalem would be trampled until the times of the Gentiles are
fulfilled (cf Rev 11:4). Jerusalem is still being trampled by
other nations. The epochal event that ends this season has not yet
occurred, so we are currently living in the Times of the Gentiles.
Paul explains the reason for the Times of the Gentiles in the
book of Romans. In Romans 10:21, he describes Israel as a
disobedient nation. Although a few have been saved, as a nation
they are shut out from God. They have been hardened (11:25),
become enemies of the gospel (11:28), committed to disobedience (11:31)
and broken out of the vine (11:17).
This is the reason why the battle has been so hard for the last
two millennia. Part of the team is missing. The church is not
complete, so it has not been functioning at full power.
When Jesus died upon the cross, the devil was totally and fully
defeated. He was cast out of heaven (Rev 12:13) and can only
continue to function on earth if he can deceive people into
rejecting the gospel. However he does have one last legal right on
earth. Because Israel is under judgement (Matt 23:39), Satan has
had the right to execute its judgement by working evil that will
affect them. Furthermore, because the Jews had been scattered
among the nations, he has been able to work in all the nations.
During the Times of the Gentiles, Satan has a legal right to
operate against the Jews. He has the right to use the nations of
the world for this task, so whenever he wants to do great evil in
a nation, he incites it to attack the Jews. This increases his
authority in that nation. For example, Satan incited both Hitler
and Stalin to attack the Jews. This enabled him to do great evil
through these men and the nations they ruled.
The rejection of Israel has given Satan a legal right to
continue working in the world, despite his defeat. Because he has
had this freedom to work in the world, the Kingdom has not come to
its proper fulfilment. Therefore, we can expect the rise and
decline of the Kingdom to continue until the times of the Gentiles
are finished. However, when the Jewish judgement comes to an end,
Satan’s last legal authority on earth will be gone. His power to
do evil will be severely curtailed. This is why Paul says that the
Fullness of the Jews will bring great blessing to the world (Rom
11:12). The end of the times of the Gentiles will bring a rapid
decline in evil and open the way for an equally rapid advance of
the Kingdom of God.
Fullness of Israel –
the next Epochal Event
The epochal event that follows the times of Gentiles is called
the Fullness of Israel
(Rom.11:12). Traditionally, this event has been labelled the
"calling of the Jews". However "fullness" is
the biblical term, so I prefer it. The Bible is clear that the
Jews have not "stumbled beyond salvation" (Rom.11:1-11).
They have only been shut out for a time. They will eventually come
back under the blessing of God. The Jews will be
"grafted into the vine" (11:23) and "saved"
(11:26), because their "calling is irrevocable" (11:29).
The Fullness of Israel will not just bring blessing to them, it
will mean "riches for the world" (11:12) and "life
from the dead" (11:15).
The important question is how the Fullness of Israel will come
about. The key is to understand that their problem is
"seeing". Romans tells us that their eyes have
been blinded so they cannot see the truth and their hearts have
been hardened in part (11:25). To come to salvation their
spiritual eyes will have to be opened.
Zech.12: 10 speaks of a time when God will pour his Spirit out
on Israel so that their eyes will be opened and they will see
Jesus as he really is. Ezekiel 39:29 says that God will no longer
hide his face from Israel, but will pour out his Spirit on the
house of Israel. A great outpouring of the Spirit will bring about
the Fullness of Israel (not the Second Coming of Jesus).
This will bring about a time of great blessing – "riches
to the world" (Romans 11:12). Satan’s last authority on
earth will be gone and he will be routed. This is not a change in
game plan. The Jews receive salvation like everyone else, by
repenting and believing in Jesus (Mat 23:39).
Before the Fullness of the Jews, however, there will be a
very short season of trouble. Israel will receive the salvation of
Jesus during a time of distress.
Time of Distress
– the Third Season
The season that follows the Times of the Gentiles is called the Time
of Distress. Daniel was told that during a Time of
Distress for the nations, multitudes from his nation would receive
salvation (Dan 12:2,3). It is also described as a time of wrath
(Dan 8:1; 11:36). The time when the Holy Spirit is poured out on
Israel will also be a time of great trauma on the earth. Many
nations will be attacking Israel. There will be disasters around
the world. Therefore, this short period at the end of the Times of
the Gentiles which leads up to the Fullness of Israel is called
the Time of Distress. However, although it is a difficult time,
God will also pour out his Spirit during this time. Moreover,
because God is merciful, it will be cut short; it is only half a
The transition is gradual and is not marked by an epochal event. We can be encouraged that the Time of Distress is a very short
Time when the Saints
Possess the Kingdom - the Fourth Season
The next season after the Time of Distress is the Time
when the Saints Possess the Kingdom. Once the fullness of the
Jew’s come in, the team is complete. Satan will have lost his
power, so a time of great victory for the church will follow.
This season is named in Daniel 7. Daniel had a vision of the
Ancient of Days (God) and one like a son of man coming into his
presence (Dan.7:9,13,14). This is the ascension, when Jesus entered
heaven and sat down at the right hand of the Father. He was given
a Kingdom that would never end.
Dan 7:18,22,27,28 describes a subsequent period when the saints
possess the Kingdom.
But the saints of the Most High will receive the kingdom and
will possess it forever-yes, for ever and ever…. The Ancient
of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the saints of
the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the
kingdom. But the court will sit, and his power will be taken
away and completely destroyed forever…. Then the sovereignty,
power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will
be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High. His
kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom….
Sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole
heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most
High. This is a picture of people of God being given authority to
establish his Kingdom. The game plan is still the same. The Kingdom
advances rapidly by the proclamation of the Word of God in the power
of the Holy Spirit.
This is a transitional season. The rapid advance leads to the
times of fulfilment.
The name of the Times of Fulfilment is given in Ephesians
1:9,10 (notice the plural word times). At first glance this
appears to be a reference to the Second Coming. However, the event
is the mystery, which God purposed in Christ. In Ephesians 3:10,
this mystery is explained as the church achieving victory over the
rulers and authorities (the mystery is not the Second Coming).
During this season our mandate to fill and manage the earth
will be completed. Our commission to make disciples of all
nations will be successful. All God’s promises will be
fulfilled; that is why this is called the Times
The coming of the Man of Sin will
end the Times of Fulfilment of the Kingdom of God. He is described
in 2 Thes.2. This man is not the beast of revelation nor is he the
antichrist. He is a man who leads a rebellion against God at the
end of the age. He will be destroyed at the Second Coming of
The season ushered by the man of sin is called the "little
season" or "Short Time"
Rev (20:3). God will release Satan for one last time. God is so
gracious that he wants to give Satan one last chance to repent.
However, he will not take this opportunity, and will go out to do
evil. This will bring darkness upon the earth and trouble for the
church. This season will be a very short time; that is why
it is referred to as half a time.
The short time will be cut short by the Parousia
of the Lord Jesus Christ. His appearance will light up the sky
from one end to another. Those who believe him will be caught up
to be with him in the air. The elements will melt and the heavens
and earth will pass away.
The Parousia will usher in the final judgment. All men will be
raised to stand before Jesus the Judge. Those who belong to him
will go to live with him for eternity.
I believe we are now close to the end of the Times of the
Gentiles and moving into the Time of Distress. The will be
followed by the calling of the Jews. This will lead to a
great leap forward for the Kingdom of God. (For a more
detailed study of God's plan see
and the documents under it).