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12/10/2018 WHEN WILL THE TIMES OF THE GENTILES BE FULFILLED?

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WHEN WILL THE TIMES OF THE GENTILES


BE FULFILLED?
The only occurrence of the phrase “times of the Gentiles” is found in Luke 21:24, where
we read, “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 ful lled”.

When are the times of the Gentiles? The note in the Companion Bible on verse 21 of
the phrase “trodden down” reads, “…..The reference is to the Mohammedan possession
since AD 636 in succession to the fourth or Roman possession…”. Others believe the
times of the Gentiles began with the Babylonian Kingdom of Nebachadnezzar in 606
BC.  Still others believe they began with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. I believe
that at least part of the reason for the di erence of opinion is based on the fact that none
of these opinions can be substantiated by Scripture, because none of the times or events
said to begin the times of the Gentiles are spoken of in Scripture. It is only by
comparing Scripture with Scripture that we can come to a Scriptural conclusion.

I believe that “the times of the Gentiles” refers to the end times, and more speci cally, to
the great tribulation. That period is covered in Scripture, which makes any reliance on
secular historians unnecessary. By comparing Matthew 24 with Luke 21 we will nd our
Lord giving more or less, the same message, but at di erent times and at di erent places.
That being the case, we will also nd some di erences. I believe that if there are several
items that are the same in these two passages (and there are) and there are no
contradictions which would prevent us from seeing them as the same message (which
there are not), the most logical conclusion is that our Lord was delivering the same
message at two di erent times and at two di erent places.

The so-called “sermon on the mount” is another message preached by Christ at two
di erent times and two di erent places. As we shall see, when Christ preached this
message “on the mount” as recorded in Matthew, He preached a much more
comprehensive version than He did when He was on a “level place” as recorded in Luke.
Let us brie y compare this message as preached in two di erent places.
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Matthew chapters 5-7 records the message Christ preached when He “went up into a
mountain” (Matthew 5:1). In Luke 6:17 to the end of the chapter we have a record of
Christ’s message given as He “stood on a level place” (Luke 6:1). The sermon on the
mount begins,  “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven”. The
sermon on the level place begins, “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the
kingdom of God”. I will not digress too far to point out all the similarities of these two
sermons, or the fact that while on the level place Christ left out many of the sayings that
He preached while on the mount. If the reader will compare these two scriptures, he/she
will see that, while the two do indeed di er, there are many similarities and no
contradictions which points to the most logical conclusion that they are basically the
same message.

What is true of the sermons preached on the mount and on a level place is equally true of
the discourse of Matthew 24 and Luke 21. That is to say, there is a a total lack of
contradiction in the two and there are a plethora of similarities, so that we may be lead
to the most obvious conclusion that they are basically the same message. This point will
be proven from Scripture as we continue in this study.

A COMPARISON OF MATTHEW 24 AND LUKE 21

Our Lord’s discourse which included the phrase “times of the Gentiles” begins at Luke
21:6. “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”. (The reader is
encouraged to consider the Appendix at the end of this study for the Scriptural evidence
that this prophecy was not ful lled in 70 A.D. .) In verse seven the question is asked of
Christ, “Master, ..when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these
things shall come to pass?” We read the same statement and resulting question in
Matthew 24:2-3, “And Jesus said unto them, ‘See ye not all these things? verily I say unto
you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown
down. And…..the disciples came unto Him privately saying, ‘Tell us, when shall these
things be and what shall be the sign of Thy coming…”. By comparing Scripture with
Scripture we have learned that both Luke 21 and Matthew 24 address the same question
and give the same answer. Let us continue with our comparison.

Note Matthew 24:5, “For many shall come in My name, saying, ‘I am Christ’; and
shall deceive many”. Compare that with Luke 21:8, “….Take heed that ye be not
deceived: for many shall come in My name, saying, ‘I am Christ’…..”.

Matthew 24:6, “And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not
troubled….”. Luke 21:9, “But when ye shall hear of wars and commotion’s, be not
terri ed”.

Matthew 24:7, “For nation shall rise up against nation and kingdom against


kingdom…”. Luke 21:10, “Then He said unto them, ‘Nation shall rise against nation,
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and kingdom against kingdom”:

Matthew 24:9, “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye
shall be hated of all nations for My name’s sake”. Luke 21:12, “But before all these
(earthquakes etc., verse 11) , they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute
you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before
kings and rulers for My name’s sake”.

We go now to Matthew 24:15-16, “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of


desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let
him understand:) Then let them which be in Judea flee to the mountains”. In Luke
21:20-21 we read, “And when you see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that
the desolation thereof his nigh. Then let them which are in Judea flee to the
mountains….”.

Matthew 24:19, “And woe unto them that are with child that give suck in those days”.
Luke 21:23, “But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in
those days!…”.

The key to the answer to our question as to when are the “times of the Gentiles” is found
in Matthew 24:21, “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the
beginning of the world to this time, no nor ever shall be”. And in verse 29 we
read, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened
and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven and the
powers of the heavens shall be shaken”. In Luke 21:24-25 we read, “…..and Jerusalem
shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be ful lled. and
there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars: and upon the
earth……”.

There is, in my opinion, no question but that Matthew 24 and Luke 21 both speak of the
great tribulation. Therefore, the “times of the Gentiles” have to do with end
times, not times which are not even covered in Scripture.

Let us come back to the comparison of Matthew 24:15-16 with Luke 21:20-21 . In
Matthew we read, “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of
desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place…let them which
be in Judea ee…”. And in Luke we read, “And when ye shall see Jerusalem
compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them
which are in Judea ee…”. We have already determined that both Matthew 24 and Luke
21 concern the tribulation. And Christ tells His listeners to flee. But in Matthew they
should ee when they see the abomination of desolation, while in Luke 21 they should
ee when they see Jerusalem compassed about with armies. Are these two di erent
events, or are they the same event?. That question is answered in Daniel 11:31.

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Because this is a very di cult passage I will quote verse 31 from the NIV, which is, in
my opinion, easier to understand. “His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the
temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the
abomination that causes desolation”. Here we have a description of the scene during
which the antichrist will set up the abomination of desolation which, according to
Matthew 24:15 will mark the beginning of the time that all should ee, i.e. the time of
the impending tribulation. The antichrist will bring his armed forces to the temple. That
makes sense; he has in mind to put the abomination (Scriptural term for an idol) in the
house of God. One can only imagine how the appearance of an idol in God’s house
would e ect those who worship there. It is not di cult to understand why the antichrist
would have his armies to help in the process of setting up this abomination of desolation.

What we learn from Dan.11 is that while Matthew tells us what the antichrist will do in
the temple, Luke tells us what he will do with his armed forces in order to facilitate
his actions in the temple. There is no contradiction here, there is only a fuller account
of the same event.

Let us review what has been presented thus far. Matthew 24 is a record of Christ’s
answer to the question asked by His disciples as to what will be the sign of the end of the
age and of His coming. By comparing Luke 21 with Matthew 24 we have seen that
Luke 21 answers the same question and also includes a warning as to what to look for.
Where Matthew’s Gospel gives the sign of the abomination of desolation being placed in
the temple, Luke gives the sign of the temple  being compassed about. We have read in
Daniel 11 that the temple  will be compassed about by the armies of the antichrist when
he, the antichrist, places the abomination in the temple. Therefore, the encompassing of 
the temple  and the placing of the abomination in the temple are one and the same
event.

The times of the Gentiles will begin at the beginning of the tribulation and will
end at the appointed time, i.e. at the end of the tribulation.

A DISCUSSION OF OTHER VIEWS

The idea put forth by E.W. Bullinger is that Luke 21:6-11 refers to the tribulation, but
that verses 12 through 24 speak of events that will take place before the tribulation,
i.e. in 70 AD. Dr. Bullinger suggested in his Companion Bible App. 155 that “all that is
recorded concerning Jerusalem in vv. 12-24 would take place” before the great
tribulation”. In other words, the phrase “before all these” tells us, in Dr. Bullinger’s view, 
that vv. 12-24 will take place before the tribulation, i.e. in 70 AD. Let us examine that
thought.

I will quote Luke 21:12 and the preceding verse as well, ” And great earthquakes shall
be in divers places, and famines, and pestilence; and fearful sights and great signs shall
there be from heaven“. But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and
persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought
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before kings and rulers for My Name’s sake”. The question is: does “before all these”
refer to before the tribulation ( i.e. vs. 6-11), as Dr. Bullinger asserts, or does it refer to
before the signs (vs. 11 only) that signify the beginning of the day of the Lord?

As mentioned above, Dr. Bullinger suggests that “before all these” refers to before the
tribulation, i.e. in 70 AD. But there are several contradictions with other Scriptures if
one accepts that view.

Let us consider Luke 21:22 which falls in the context of what many believe to be the
events of 70 AD. That verse reads, “For these be the days of vengeance, that all things
which are written may be ful lled”. God had promised in Ezek. 5:9 that He would never
again destroy Jerusalem after the Babylonian destruction. That verse reads, “And I will
do in thee that which I have not done, and whereunto I will not do any more the
like”. Therefore, the destruction of 70 AD was not from God and therefore, was not
His vengeance. That is one di culty with seeing this passage as having been ful lled in
70 AD. But let us continue.

When are “the days of vengeance”? We read in Is. 63:3-4, “I have trodden the winepress
alone; and of the people there was none with Me: for I will tread them in Mine anger,
and trample them in My fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon My garments, and
I will stain all My raiment. For the day of vengeance is in Mine heart, and the year of
My redeemed is come”.

“The year of My redeemed is come” refers to the second coming of Christ when His
redeemed will be raised. That ts perfectly with the fact that the Lord will return to
earth right after the day of wrath, which is right after the tribulation. All these things
(the day of wrath, the day of vengeance and the year of the Lord’s redeemed) are end
time events.

In other words, by comparing Luke 21:22 with Is. 63:3-4 (Scripture with Scripture) we
see that the day of vengeance will be in the end times, not in 70 AD.

Let us consider one more di culty with the view that Luke 21:12-24 is not an end time
prophecy. If Luke 21:12-28 is, as I believe it to be, an end time prophecy, then the
times of the Gentiles will be ful lled in the end times. If it is not an end time prophecy,
and the times of the Gentiles will be ful lled when Jerusalem is no longer “trodden
down” we have a contradiction in the Word of God. Let me explain.

The entire city of Jerusalem was freed from Palestinian control in 1967, i.e. Jerusalem
was no longer trodden down. The Greek word translated “ful lled” in the phrase,
“until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled” is “pleeroo”, and is often used of the
ful llment of prophecy. That means that once the times of the Gentiles have been
fulfilled, Jerusalem will never again be “trodden down”. And therein lies the
contradiction.

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We read in Rev. 11:2, “But the court which is without the Temple leave out, and
measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under
foot forty and two months” (three and one half years) . The Greek word translated
“tread” is “pleeroo”, the same word used in Luke 21:24 and is translated “trodden” in the
phrase, “and they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all
nation: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the
Gentiles be ful lled”. Note that this treading down will be for 3 and 1/2 years, i.e the
time of the tribulation.

My point is that Jerusalem will be trodden down again in the end times, i.e. the
tribulation. That means that in order to avoid a contradiction, we must conclude that the
times of the Gentiles spoken of in Luke 21:24 refers to the end times. But let us
continue with other Scriptures that speak of the destruction of Jerusalem in the end
times.

We read in Zech. 14:2 “For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the
city shall be taken, and the houses ri ed, and the women ravished; and half of the
city shall go forth into captivity.….”. Proof that this has to do with the end times is
found in the context. Zech. 14:3-4 reads, “Then shall the Lord go forth, and ght against
those nations, ……And His feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives….”.

Dan. 11:33 does not speci cally mention the destruction of Jerusalem, but note the same
catastrophes are spoken of in this verse as are spoken of in Luke 21:24. “But they “shall
fall by the sword and by flame, by captivity and by spoil many days” Let me quote
Luke 21:24 for comparison. “And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall
be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem will be trodden down of the
Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be ful lled”.

In short, because Jerusalem will be trodden down in the end times, the times of the
Gentiles will be ful lled in the end times. That being the case, Luke 21:24 is an end time
prophecy. If Luke 21:24 is an end time prophecy, and as shown above verse 23 is an end
time prophecy (the day of vengeance) I believe that it is most logical to conclude that the
entire passage from 12-14 is an end time prophecy.

Mr. Charles Welch believed that the times of the Gentiles began with the rule of
Nebuchadnezzar over Jerusalem and will end at the second coming of Christ. I will
quote from the Alphabetical Analysis. Vol. 5 page 145, “Daniel 2 makes it certain
that Gentile dominion continues unbroken until the Coming of the Lord, when the whole image,
not some portion of it, will be broken to pieces (Dan. 2:35, 45).” May I remind the reader that
Dan. 2 is the record of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream (and the interpretation of that dream) in
which he, Nebuchadnezzar was the head of gold. It is in reference to that dream that Mr.
Welch believed that the “times of the Gentiles” began with Nebuchadnezzar.

Mr. Welch’s view is that the “times of the Gentiles” is one of “Gentile dominion”. But
Luke 21:24 in which we read of the “times of the Gentiles” does not speak of dominion,
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as such. It reads, “and Jerusalem will be trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of
the Gentiles be ful lled”. To be trodden down is not the same as to be ruled over. Let us
look at each of the ve occurrences of the Greek word “pateo” translated “trodden” in
Luke 21:24.

Luke 10:19 is the rst occurrence. It is where we read of our Lord telling His disciples,
“behold I give unto you power to tread serpents and scorpions….”. Note that power is
one thing and to tread is something else. The second occurrence is found in Luke 21:24
which has been quoted.

The next three occurrences are in Revelation. Rev. 11:2 is particularity interesting in
regard to this subject. “But the court which is without the Temple leave out, and
measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under
foot forty and two months”. “Forty two months” is an obvious reference to the time of
the tribulation. The exact same word is used as is used of the times of the Gentiles in
Luke 21 which also speaks of the trodding down of Jerusalem by the Gentiles. I do not
believe that this is just coincidence. I believe that this is the parallel verse to Luke 21:24,
and that both verses refer to the destruction of Jerusalem in the time of the
tribulation.

The fourth occurrence of the Greek word “pateo” is in Rev. 14:20. Beginning with verse
19 we read, “And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of
the earth and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God: and the winepress
was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress……”. This shows
the destruction inherent in the word, it is not simply dominion.

The fth and last occurrence of “pateo” is in Rev. 19:15 where we read, “And out of His
mouth goeth a sharp sword that with it He should smite the nations; and He shall rule
them with a rod of iron: and He treadeth the winepress of the erceness and wrath of
Almighty God”. Here again, this is no simple dominion

In all the centuries in which Jerusalem has been controlled by Gentiles, most of that time
Jerusalem has not been trodden down. But Jerusalem will, according to Scripture be
“trodden down” in the tribulation.

Because the times of the Gentiles are characterized, not as “Gentile domination”, but as
being “trodden down” of the Gentiles, and because the parallel verse puts that in the
tribulation, I must very respectfully disagree with Mr. Welch’s view that the times of the
Gentiles began with Gentile domination, i.e. with Nebuchadnezzar.

I believe that the times of the Gentiles is the tribulation period and that the ful llment of
the times of the Gentiles will come as the tribulation ends with the return of Christ.

APPENDIX: “One Stone Upon Another”

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This Appendix considers the question of when Matt. 24:2 was or will be ful lled. That
verse reads, “And Jesus answered unto them,’See ye not all these things? Verily I say unto
you, ‘there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down'”.
As we all know from pictures, at least, the western wall, the so-called “wailing wall” still
stands.  Therefore, the prophecy that there will not be one stone upon anther has not
been ful lled.

But some have suggested that the western wall was not part of the temple. Strictly
speaking that is true, the western wall was part of the retaining wall that surrounded
the temple. But I believe a careful study of the phrase in Matt. 24:1 is called for. That
phrase is, “for to shew Him the buildings of the temple”. The Greek word translated
“buildings” in this phrase is “kubia”. It is indeed a very interesting word. It is used
eighteen times and is translated “building(s)” six times and “edify” or
“edi cation” twelve times. It is clear that the basic meaning of the word is “edi cation”.
The archaic de nition of the English words “edify” and “edi cation” means “build or
construct“. The noun form then is “structure”

In fact, if we look again at Matt. 24:1 I think we may see that de nition more clearly.
“…..His disciples came to Him for to shew Him the buildings of the temple”. Note that
we do not read that they showed Christ “the temple” but the “buildings of the temple”.
In my opinion, because the Greek word is so often translated “edify” or “edi cation” this
indicates the structures of the temple as that is what “edify” means. (I never cease to
marvel at how God used the exact word so that we might know exactly what He
intended us to understand.) Let us continue with this phrase “the buildings of the
temple” with a consideration of the word “of”. In my opinion it is the Genitive of
Relation which the Companion Bible de nes as “equivalent to ‘pertaining to‘”.

In other words, the phrase “the buildings of the Temple” may be understood as “the
structures pertaining to the temple”.

So the Greek word does not tell us that it means a building as we think of a building, but
it means a structure. In that case, I believe that, as used in Matt. 24:1, the word includes
the retaining wall. And because part of the retaining wall is still standing, the prophecy
of Matt. 24:2 (“there shall not be left here one stone upon another”) was not ful lled in
70 A.D.

This paper was written by Joyce Pollard. I would like to hear your thoughts on this question.
Please e-mail me at: janjoyce@aol.com

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