The Times of the Gentiles
What period of human history would you consider the worst time of suffering ever inflicted by other human beings? What would you consider the height of man’s inhumanity to man?
Perhaps you would say Nazi Germany’s mistreatment and execution of millions of Jews and other “inferior” races.
Perhaps it was Mao Tse Tung’s murderous reign, or that of Cambodia’s Pol Pot. Maybe it was life under Stalin or Saddam or any one of a thousand dictators past or present.
Perhaps it is the way radical Muslim governments, like that of Iran, treat women. Or the way white men in positions of power abused those of differing races: the reign of the Ku Klux Klan in the American South, or examples in history of blacks being mistreated by their “masters.”
Maybe it was a time far in the past—the inquisitions through which Catholic-dominated Europe spared nothing to eradicate “heretics” from its midst.
Man’s bloody history gives us plenty of grisly examples to choose from.
Could man ever produce worse times than these? During His ministry, Jesus Christ talked a lot about the age we are living in right now. He said that “great tribulation” was coming—a time of suffering “such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time [the end time—our day today], no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:21).
That time is just ahead.
It won’t last long—and it will be followed by the greatest, most shining event ever to occur on Earth. But the dark times on the horizon will stagger the imagination, surpassing any time of terror that mankind has experienced. And no amount of wishful thinking or idealistic initiatives from the world’s greatest minds can stop this period of punishment. The only thing that could stop the Great Tribulation is mankind turning to God in heartfelt repentance for our sins.
These times will radically impact the lives of every individual on this Earth! What will this time be like?
Why Would God Allow It?
This Trumpet issue describes how the building blocks of the global power structure are tumbling into a new order. As the United States and Britain (representing the two major tribes descending from Israel) decline in strength, three significant non-Israelite (or “Gentile”) blocs have emerged: a radical Islamic resurgence led by Iran, a united Europe, and an integrating Asia. Furthermore, we see all three blocs in cahoots to challenge American supremacy and to pull the U.S. from its superpower perch.
This world is hurtling toward a time when American influence will be not only countered by these three power blocs, but also eliminated from global politics. Then these three superpowers-in-waiting will scramble for the lead.
Consider, if you can, what this time will be like!
In addition to describing the magnitude of human suffering at this time, Jesus Christ coined a phrase to describe this future, recorded in Luke 21:24: “And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.”
Revelation 11:2, which uses similar language, tells us the length of this period: 42 months.
The time is coming when Gentiles will dominate the world scene. Sadly, these “times of the Gentiles” will be times of unprecedented suffering. Man’s mistreatment of fellow man has never been so dastardly as it will be in just a few years.
While it may seem unbelievable in our modern age, all the human rights abuses that have occurred throughout history will be nothing compared to this 42-month cataclysm soon to engulf Earth.
Though man will bring this harm upon himself, God is also behind these events. He will use this time to punish the descendants of Israel for their sins. The main targets for these Gentile powers, at least at first, will be Israelite nations.
But in this tribulation lies an even greater purpose. God will allow us to reach the brink of annihilation in order to teach a vital lesson in aversion therapy: that man cannot successfully rule man!
The emerging radical Islamic power—which the Bible calls the “king of the south” (see Daniel 11:40), led by Iran—will wear down America’s will continue fighting the war on terror and leave the tiny nation of Israel in tatters. Islam has already succeeded in wearing thin America’s (and Israel’s) national will to fight. It has already succeeded in engaging the U.S. in a war where troops are stretched thin and bases are being abandoned in “less strategic” parts of the world.
The Bible prophesies that a full one third of American and British lives will be lost through internal violence and terrorism (our free booklet Ezekiel—The End-Time Prophet proves this). This would never have seemed realistic until 9/11 and the subsequent admission by many experts that nuclear terrorism is only a matter of time.
How bad will this reign of terror get? If Christ is to be believed, it will be substantially worse than any violence committed in the name of Islam or Christianity in history.
Consider the time when Islam’s founder, Muhammad, united and ruled all of Arabia—waging an average of nine military campaigns per year, slaughtering and humiliating non-Muslims in his jihad. Think of the ways Islamic radicals in positions of power subjugate and humiliate their own people even today: Women who do not adhere to strict dress codes are whipped in public or forced to put their hands in buckets of spiders. Others, who won’t agree to “temporary” marriages or who are accused of adultery when they’ve actually been raped, are buried up to their necks and stoned. Men can be sentenced to thousands (that’s right) of lashes for certain crimes. In Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, members of the political opposition were sent to the firing squad, fed to lions at the Baghdad zoo, or tortured indescribably.
The atrocities the Islamic power bloc—through terrorism—will wreak on the West will far surpass any previous such attacks. What power this Islamic bloc will rise to!
But soon after, according to Bible prophecy, this king of the south will push at the “king of the north”—a united Europe, led by Germany and the Vatican in a final resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire. In response, this king of the north will act decisively. It will have learned from the mistakes of the U.S. policy in Iraq. Europe will not go the route of precise missile strikes and exhausting occupation, reconstruction and counterinsurgency. It will move in Teutonic, blitzkrieg fashion! (Daniel 11:40). This “whirlwind” will utterly wipe out the Islamic power, and a united Europe will set up shop in the Middle East (verses 41-43).
Ruling from the Mideast, the king of the north will hold the world in its palm. What will it do with that power? Prophecy tells us it will utterly decimate an already frayed America, Britain and Israel, taking captives from all these conquests that will amount to another one third of these populations being taken into slavery (our Ezekiel booklet also explains this).
Again, using Jesus Christ’s words as our reference, we can look to historical comparisons for a glimpse at the brutality this European power will unleash.
It will be a time of church-state dominion on the Continent worse than Europe’s Dark Ages and surpassing the violence witnessed during the rule of Charlemagne, who took the church-state combine to new heights and waded through a “sea of blood.” Similar to Muhammad, Charlemagne was constantly engaged in battle. He forced Catholicism on those he conquered and executed any who refused to convert. Through four separate inquisitions, Catholic-dominated Europe led a massive witch-hunt to convert “heretics” to Catholicism—a gruesome campaign that led to the murder of an estimated 50 million people.
The coming tyranny of this European power will eclipse the demoniacal reign of Adolf Hitler, whose victims were taken to “labor camps” for the supposed crime of belonging to the wrong race or religion. In these concentration camps, people faced either forced labor, gas chambers—or “donating” their bodies to Nazi science as guinea pigs (without anesthesia). Six million died under these nightmarish conditions.
But the coming “times of the Gentiles” will be far worse!
Again, as Jesus Christ said, this will be “great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be”!
The new world order, under the jackboot of this dreadful superpower, will be war, inquisition and genocide all in one. Tens of millions will be taken captive—forced into labor camps of unprecedented severity. And those “heretics” who will not accept the religion of Europe will be persuaded through grisly means to convert. No inquisition will have ever been so fierce! No genocide so appalling!
And who will be able to stop it? This king of the north will be the world’s only superpower—unmatched and unchecked—that is, until another power bloc builds up enough strength to threaten it.
This is where the last of the three power blocs enters. Russia, China, Japan, India and other Asian powers will have seen what Europe did to the Middle East’s predominant power and be gravely concerned. They will link together to “make war” with this beast.
United Europe will sense the gathering storm to its north and east (Daniel 11:44). The king of the north will then, again in historic Germanic fashion, launch a pre-emptive strike against this conglomerate. Its attack will leave the Earth in unimaginable ruin.
But Asia will return in kind, capitalizing on its vast population to build an army of unheard-of size. Ruthless leaders like Genghis Khan and Joseph Stalin did not achieve the level of inhumanity to be attained by those who will lead this massive combine. The horrors of Tiananmen Square and the Gulags will be trivial by comparison. Their cruelty will exceed that of Japanese soldiers at the Rape of Nanking in 1937, where tens of thousands of women and female children as young as 7 were raped, mutilated and killed. It will be far more barbaric than the Japanese treatment of enemy soldiers during the Bataan Death March (which ground out 10,000 lives), the way the Vietcong treated its prisoners during the Vietnamese War, or the way North Korea still treats its 150,000 to 200,000 political prisoners. Great European captains and generals will hide themselves and whimper like children in the face of this onslaught. (For more on this clash, request our free booklet Russia and China in Prophecy.)
Asian armies, after their initial conquest of the European power, will march their troops toward the Middle East for the final humiliating blow. What’s left of the European armies will go to meet these “kings of the east” for this final nuclear showdown—one that will bring this world to the precipice of self-destruction.
Enter one more superpower—the greatest world power of all. One that mankind has ignored for six millennia.
Through the clouds, on a piercingly bright white horse, the King of this empire will appear: Jesus Christ riding with a resplendent cavalry behind Him! (see Revelation 19).
This new power bloc will descend upon man’s forces, which will then turn to fight this supernatural force—the true “kingdom of heaven.”
The mortal armies will be obliterated on the battlefield. The times of the Gentiles will be “fulfilled”—utterly finished!
A New Day Dawns
This new kingdom, which will have taken the world by force, will keep it—in peace—forever!
Imagine a world under this kind of domination—governed by benevolent, perfectly selfless spirit beings under the rule of the righteous Jesus Christ. What would it be like to be ruled by this global empire? How different would it be from that of carnal Israel, or of the Gentile kingdoms soon to propel this world into darkness?
There will be stringent enforcement of God’s eternal, perfect law—which is the only means to real happiness and peace. But God’s nature is the way of give; His ambitions, goals and desires consider what is best for others—not some satanic lust to get power.
Therefore, there will exist none of the conditions so prevalent under the rule of power-crazed men.
No oppression of women.
No injustice, no torture. No terror.
There will be no genocide or racism.
It will be a time when all humanity, Israelite and Gentile, will live in perfect harmony—all enjoying the bounteous blessings of the great God! He wants to give us these blessings. He wants to teach mankind the ways that lead to such gifts. In this new world, mankind will learn to take on this divine nature.
Just as Jesus Christ prophesied of the dreadful times of the Gentiles, so too He issued the advance news of this prosperous, peaceful Kingdom of God. Its future is certain—as sure as the rising of tomorrow’s sun!
To learn more about this vision of a hopeful future promised in your Holy Bible, request a free copy of Herbert W. Armstrong’s The Wonderful World Tomorrow—What It Will Be Like! Not only does the booklet describe this inspiring utopian era, it shows how you can escape the dreadful times of the Gentiles just ahead!