According to Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Gentile Times as mentioned in the bible started with the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians and ended when World War I broke out in October 1914. This raises a number of questions that we will attempt to answer.
- What are the Gentile Times?
- When was Jerusalem destroyed by the Babylonians?
- How did Jehovah’s Witnesses reach a date of October 1914?
- How long are the Gentile Times?
What are the Gentile Times?
The term “Gentile Times”, strictly speaking, isn’t found in the bible. Instead, at Luke 21:24, it states within the New World Translation (2013):
And they will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled on by the nations until the appointed times of the nations are fulfilled.
The New World Translation has a footnote stating that two instances of “nations” can be replaced with “gentiles”. Therefore this verse could also be read as:
And they will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the appointed times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
The New World Translation refers the reader to Daniel 4:25 within it’s reference section. Daniel 4:25 reads:
You will be driven away from among men, and your dwelling will be with the beasts of the field, and you will be given vegetation to eat just like bulls; and you will become wet with the dew of the heavens, and seven times will pass over you, until you know that the Most High is Ruler in the kingdom of mankind and that he grants it to whomever he wants.
This verse is an interpretation by Daniel of a dream that Nebuchadnezzar had. In the very same chapter, the verse is fulfilled. All one has to do is continue reading and discover that it’s fulfilment is in Daniel 4:31,32, which reads:
While the words was yet in the king’s mouth, a voice came down from the heavens: “To you it is being said, O King Nebuchadnezzar, ‘The Kingdom has gone away from you, and from mankind you are being driven away. With the beasts of the field your dwelling will be, and you will be given vegetation to eat just like bulls, and seven times will pass over you, until you know that the Most High is Ruler in the kingdom of mankind and that he grants it to whomever he wants.
But surely, there is a modern day fulfillment of this scripture? There is nothing to indicate that there is a modern day fulfillment of those verses in the book of Daniel. But what is the connection then between Daniel 4:25 and Luke 21:24? There is none. The “Gentile Times” spoken of in Luke have nothing to do with Daniel. Jehovah’s Witnesses simply use the term “seven times will pass over you” to denote a clue on how long the Gentile Times will last. But there is nothing in these scriptures to connect them with one another. Furthermore, Jehovah’s Witnesses have recently admitted the following in their March 15 2015 Watchtower on page 9:
Can we conclude … that every character, event, and object described in the Bible foreshadows someone or something? In the past, such an approach was often taken … As we might expect, over the years Jehovah has helped “the faithful and discreet slave” to become steadily more discreet. Discretion has led to greater caution when it comes to calling a Bible account a prophetic drama unless there is a clear Scriptural basis for doing so. Additionally, it has been found that some of the older explanations about types and anti-types are unduly difficult for many to grasp. The details of such teachings—who pictures whom and why—can be hard to keep straight, to remember, and to apply. Of even greater concern, though, is that the moral and practical lessons of the Bible accounts under examination may be obscured or lost in all the scrutiny of possible antitypical fulfillments. Thus, we find that our literature today focuses more on the simple, practical lessons about faith, endurance, godly devotion, and other vital qualities that we learn about from Bible accounts.
Really, if Daniel 4:25 was read as it was intended, readers would realise that there is no antitypical meaning to this verse as the antitypical explanation is provided by Daniel to Nebuchadnezzar and is fulfilled within the same chapter. Jehovah’s Witnesses would do well to “become steadily more discreet” and not apply this verse as a partial antitypical meaning to Luke 21:24. In reality, when you read the words from the Watchtower as quoted above, it’s a craftily worded piece of text that when reviewed carefully is an admission that they have been falsely prophesying since their inception and that now they are going to “become steadily more discreet” for obvious reasons.