Until the Times of the Gentiles Are Fulfilled – Guest Article
Jesus told his disciples that Jerusalem shall be trodden down until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. Dispensationalists tell us that the times of the Gentiles began with Babylon’s domination of Jerusalem and Judah. Some tell us that the times of the Gentiles ended in 1967. In my formal YouTube debate with prominent Premillennial debater and apologist Dr. Michael Brown, he appealed to Luke 21:24. My response visibly stunned him and he had no answer. I have been intending to write an article on this important subject for some time. However, Ed Stevens sent an article to me that he had written and I am sharing it here. It is an excellent analysis of “the times of the Gentiles.”
Times of the Gentiles Fulfilled (Luke 21:23-24)– Ed Stevens
“Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days; for there
will be great distress upon the land and wrath to this people; 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 [or nations] are fulfilled.” [Luke 21:23-24 NAS95
Pretrib Premillennialists, like Randall Price, connect the “Times of the Gentiles [or
nations]” with the “fullness of the Gentiles” in Romans 11:25, and assert that both texts are yet
future in fulfillment, at a time when “all Israel” will repent and accept Jesus as their Messiah, so
that Jerusalem and the Temple will no longer be desolate. They see the “trampling” as being the
desolation throughout the whole period from AD 70 until a future restoration. Many
commentaries share this perspective (e.g., Albert Barnes, Adam Clarke, Beza, Fourfold Gospel,
JFB, and others). [See Randall Price’s statements about this in Tim LaHaye and Thomas Ice,
gen. eds. The End Times Controversy, Eugene Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 2003. Chapter
15. p. 397]
However, both Meyer and Lightfoot see it as completely fulfilled in AD 70. For instance,
Meyer understands “the times of the Gentiles” as meaning “till the time that the . . . completion
of divine judgments . . . shall have run out. . . . Such times of the Gentiles are ended . . . by the
Parousia (Lk. 21:25-27), which is to occur during the lifetime of the hearers (verse 28); hence
those KAIROI [times] are in no way to be regarded as of longer duration…” [Heinrich August
Wilhelm Meyer. Critical and Exegetical Hand-book to the Gospels of Mark and Luke. Volume
3: Luke-John. Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, 1983. Reprint of the sixth
edition of 1884. pp. 530-531]
Lightfoot likewise understands the “times of the Gentiles” to have ended in that first
century generation that saw the signs: “…nothing could be said clearer . . . than that of verse 32;
‘Verily, I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away till all be fulfilled.’ It is strange this
should be no more observed … [since] these very words are as a gnomon [indicator of meaning] to the whole chapter…” [John Lightfoot. A Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud
and Hebraica. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1979. Reprinted from the 1859
edition of Oxford University Press. p. 199]
Meyer and Lightfoot both mentioned several verses in the context as indicating the time
of fulfillment (especially verses 25-28, and 32). The numerous contextual clues listed below
clearly point to a first century fulfillment of the “trampling” and the “times of the Gentiles.”
• Luke 21:20 says “when you see.” Jesus is talking to His contemporary disciples, not to
some generation thousands of years into the future.
• Luke 21:22 – Jesus is talking about a whole complex of events which had been
predicted in the Old Testament, “all” of which (including the “trampling” and the
“times of the Gentiles”) would be “fulfilled” during those “days of vengeance” which
His contemporary disciples would “see” in their lifetime.
• Luke 21:23-27 refers to those same “days of vengeance” again when it says that “in
those days” this whole group of events would occur: (1) women who are pregnant and
nursing will suffer “great distress,” (2) “wrath” upon the Jewish people, (3) “fall by
the edge of the sword,” (4) “led captive into all the nations,” (5) “trampled under
foot,” (6) “signs in sun, moon, and stars,” (7) “dismay,” “perplexity,” and “fear,” (8)
“powers of the heavens will be shaken,” and (9) “see the Son of Man coming.”
Josephus mentions all of these things in his writings.
• Luke 21:28 – There is no distinction made between two different sets of events at two
different time periods. Jesus refers to all nine of the above events as one group (“these
things”), which His first century disciples would see, and thereby know their
redemption had drawn near.
• Luke 21:31-32 – The first century fulfillment of “all these things” (including the
“trampling” and “the times of the Gentiles”) is further emphasized when Jesus says
here that his contemporary disciples (“you”) would “see these things happening” and
know that the Kingdom was about to come. Notice also that “fulfilled” is used twice
(vv. 22, 24) and “all things” twice (vv. 22,32). If there were any doubts remaining,
Jesus removes them all when He affirms with an oath, “Truly I say to you, this
generation will not pass away until all things take place.” All the events mentioned in
this context would occur before that first century generation would pass away.
As Lightfoot remarked above, Jesus could not have been more clear. All the events
mentioned in verses 20-32 are summed up together by the words “all things” (v. 22), “the things”
(v. 26), “these things” (v. 28), “these things” (v. 31), and “all things” (v. 32). And the time of
fulfillment for all these things was said to be “in these days of vengeance” (vv. 22-23) when His
contemporary disciples (“you” and “your,” see verses 20, 28, and 31-32) would still be alive to
“see” it (vv. 20, 27, and 31). If there was any remaining doubt, Jesus settled the time of
fulfillment once for all when He said (v. 32) that all these events (including the “trampling” and
“the times of the Gentiles”) would take place before “this generation” passed away.
There is no wiggle room here. Regardless of how we define the “trampling” and “the
times of the Gentiles,” we have to understand them as events that would occur in that first
Furthermore, in verse 22 Jesus says that all the events mentioned here had been predicted
in the Old Testament. This raises the question, “Where does the Old Testament predict the
“trampling” and “the times of the Gentiles”? The answer is easily found when we compare Luke
21:20 with its parallel in Matthew 24:15. Jesus quoted Daniel as his source for the Abomination
of Desolation. So it should not surprise us to find statements in Daniel about “trampling” and
“times of the Gentiles.” And Daniel is not the only place in the Bible we find references to a
trampling and Gentile times. Let’s look at some of them:
• Lam. 1:15 The Lord has rejected all my strong men in my midst; He has called an
appointed time against me to crush my young men; the Lord has trodden as in a wine
press the virgin daughter [Jerusalem] of Judah. [Notice the allusion to treading a wine
press. This same figure is used in the book of Revelation in regard to the judgment of
the Jews in AD 70. See the Targum version of this below.]
• [Targum] Lam. 1:15 The Lord has crushed all my mighty ones within me; he has
established a time against me to shatter the strength of my young men. The nations
entered by the decree of the Memra [Logos or Word] of the Lord and defiled the
virgins of the House of Judah until their blood of their virginity was caused to flow
like wine from a wine press when a man is treading grapes and grape-wine flows.
Note the past tense “trodden” here in Lamentations 1:15. The treading was not still going
on after 586 BC (as in an ongoing desolation). The “treading” was something that had already
been accomplished at the appointed time (in 586 BC) by the Gentile nation of Babylonia. That
treading down in 586 BC was an appointed “time of the Gentiles” upon Jerusalem. It was
finished and past at the time Jeremiah wrote. The city and the land were now desolate, but that
continuing desolation was not referred to as a treading down (as Randall Price and other futurists
would like to have it).
Jeremiah wrote this to lament the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar in 586
BC. The idea of treading upon Jerusalem (as in a winepress) by enemy Gentile nations was not
new to the Jews of the first century. It had happened several times before, the most notable of
which was this very destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BC. The book of
Lamentations was written by Jeremiah to lament that great “treading down” of his people by a
heathen Gentile nation. Notice that Jeremiah even says this “treading down” by Nebuchadnezzar
was an “appointed time.” In fact, all four of the elements included in Luke 21:24 (trampling,
Jerusalem, by Gentiles, for an appointed time) are found here in Lam. 1:15.
Nebuchadnezzar did not conquer Jerusalem in one day. He had to besiege the city for a
similar amount of time as the Romans did later. This was about three and a half years, from the
time the war began under Vespasian (AD 67) until Titus breached the walls and burned the
temple (AD 70).
The “appointed time” and “trodden” ideas here in Lam. 1:15 are very similar to the
“times of the Gentiles” and “trampling” ideas we saw in Luke 21:24. We find those same two
ideas again in Rev. 11:2, except there the “appointed time” or “times of the Gentiles” appears as
a three and a half year period or “forty-two months”:
• Rev. 11:2 Leave out the court which is outside the temple and do not measure it, for it
has been given to the nations; and they will tread under foot the holy city for fortytwo
So, there is a lot of similarity here between Lam. 1:15, Luke 21:24, and Rev. 11:2. All
three texts have all four of these same elements (Gentiles, Time, Jerusalem, Treading).
Lamentations uses those four elements in reference to the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BC.
Revelation 11:2 mentions the same four things in connection with the downfall of Babylon the
harlot city. In both of those texts, the meaning is clear: the trampling was an event that lasted
only three and a half years. When the Gentile armies were through destroying, the trampling was
finished. The times of the Gentile trampling did not refer to millenniums of desolation
Rev. 11:2 is very similar to Luke 21:24, and here it is obviously speaking of a three-and a-
half year period (42 months). Note that all four of the same elements that were mentioned in
Luke 21:24 (Gentiles, trampling, Jerusalem, and a time period), are mentioned here in Revelation
11:2. This very clear text leaves little doubt about the meaning of Luke 21:24.
All the things mentioned in the book of Revelation were about to be fulfilled [which was
written by John in about AD 62-63, just three years before the war with Rome began]. Rev. 11:2
indicates that this treading of Jerusalem by unclean abominable Gentiles would last for three and
a half years, until every last drop of blood was tread out of the winepress. Imagine treading in
a winepress for three and a half years! There would not be any juice left in the mass of grapes
below your feet. The wrath outpouring was not cut short. It continued unabated until the Jews
were utterly destroyed. No escape. It had to run its full course. Only when everything was
fulfilled, did the trampling cease and the appointed time of the Gentiles come to its end.
The “times of the Gentiles” was that three and a half years of trampling from the time
Vespasian began his assault (AD 67) until it was completely trodden down and crushed in AD
70. These were the “days of vengeance” when all these things were fulfilled. Context is king
here in Lk. 21:24. Notice verses 20-24 especially. Jesus told his disciples to watch for the armies
approaching Jerusalem. That would be the signal to get out of Jerusalem and Judea, and flee to
the mountains. That would begin the days of vengeance in which all that had been prophesied in
the Old Testament would be fulfilled. The destruction of Jerusalem would fulfill all those OT
prophecies. Notice the word “fulfilled” there in Lk. 21:22. When would all those things be
fulfilled? During those days of vengeance upon Jerusalem and Judea, when the armies encamped
against them and desolated them.
So, the times of the Gentiles were not open-ended, as the Futurists wish to think. There is
a definite endpoint given. Notice what NIGTC has to say about this.
“There is no thought of the shortening of the period of terror, as in Mark.
Instead, Luke depicts clearly what will be involved for the Jews. Some will fall by
the mouth of the sword (cf. Jer. 20:4–6; 21:7)… Others will be taken captive (cf.
Rom. 7:23; 2 Cor. 10:5; 2 Tim. 3:6) and carried off among the nations (cf. Tob.
1:10; Dt. 28:64)… Jerusalem itself will be ‘trodden down’ (Lk. 10:19). …but a
limit is set to it, namely the fulfillment of an allotted time, here called the times
of the nations. [Howard Marshall and Donald Hagner. The New International
Greek Testament Commentary. Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans
Publishing Company, 2005. comments on Lk. 21:24. boldface mine, ees] There is no indication that this period of judgment upon the Jews would be cut short, like
it was for the church during the great tribulation. This period of wrath-outpouring must run its
full course until everything that was prophesied about it has been completely fulfilled. In net
effect, Jesus is saying that the Gentiles will kill the Jews, lead them captive into all the nations of
the Roman empire, and utterly destroy Jerusalem until everything that Moses had predicted about
the End of Days was fulfilled — until the Gentiles (the Romans) had done everything to them
that they had been predicted to do — until their time of conquest was complete. The Romans
indeed stayed there in the land until they utterly demolished the Jews.
We meet up with this three and a half year time period again in Daniel 7 where the
“trampling” idea is found three times in the immediate context:
• Dan. 7:7 …a fourth beast, dreadful and terrifying and extremely strong; and it had large
iron teeth. It devoured and crushed and trampled down the remainder with its feet…
• Dan. 7:19 …the fourth beast . . . with its teeth of iron . . . devoured, crushed and
trampled down the remainder with its feet
• Dan. 7:23 …The fourth beast will be a fourth kingdom . . . and will devour the whole
earth and tread it down and crush it.
• Dan. 7:25 …he will intend to make alterations in times and in law, and they will be
given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time.
Both Rev. 11:2 and Daniel 7:7-25 refer to this “trampling” event as occurring over a
period of three and a half years. So, if Jesus in the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24 and parallels)
was indeed alluding to Daniel, as He claims, then the “trampling upon Jerusalem” mentioned in
Luke 21:24 is definitely pointing to the period of three and a half years when the Romans came
and destroyed Jerusalem (AD 67-70). That was the appointed time for the Gentiles to trample the
Jews underfoot. That appointed “time of Gentile trampling” was not talking about the post-70
period of desolation and Diaspora which has now lasted almost two thousand years. Both
Revelation and Daniel indicate that the trampling was a short three and a half year period ending
in AD 70.
In my research, I checked several futurist commentaries, plus J. S. Russell, Milton Terry,
John Bray, F. W. Farrar, Meyer, and Lightfoot. I also used my computer to search the Hebrew,
Greek, and English texts of the Dead Sea Scrolls Bible, Qumran Documents, Philo, Josephus,
Yosippon, the Talmud, Midrash, Zohar, Targums, Pseudepigrapha, Septuagint, and the
Apocrypha, looking for other examples of this same language about the “trampling” and the
“times of the Gentiles.” Here are some more texts that I found from that research which shed
additional light on the meaning of “trampling” and “the times of the Gentiles.” The first one on
the list even uses the same phrase “time of the Gentiles”:
• Ezek. 30:3 For the day is near, even the day of the LORD is near; it will be a day of
clouds, the time of the Gentiles. (NKJV). Here is how some other Bible versions
render this phrase: “a time of the nations” (WEB, ASV, Darby) and “a time of the
heathen” (Geneva Bible, KJV); “an hour of [invading] nations” (Jewish Pub. Society);
or “a time of doom for the nations” (NAS95). In this particular context, the phrase
(time of the Gentiles) appears to mean a time of doom upon the nations of Egypt,
Ethiopia, Put, Lud, Arabia, and Libya, at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar. Those nations
had laughed at Israel when its “time” of destruction had come. Now it was their “time”
to feel the pain. This interpretation seems even more likely when compared with
Jeremiah (27:7) below, who was one of Ezekiel’s contemporaries.
• Jer. 27:7 All the nations shall serve him [Nebuchadnezzar] and his son and his
grandson until the time of his own land comes; then many nations [Medes and
Persians] and great kings [Cyrus, Darius] will make him their servant. [Here it
appears to be very clear that “the time” is a reference to the time of destruction by an
invading army, not to the indefinite period of desolation afterwards.] • Mark 13:33 “Take heed, keep on the alert; for you do not know when the appointed
time will come. [Here we have a passage parallel to Luke 21:24 which calls this
judgment “the appointed time” similar to Lam. 1:15; Daniel: 8:19; 11:27; 11:29; and
11:35. cf. Acts 17:26.]
• [Qumran War Scroll] 1QM 15:1 For it is a time of distress for Isra[el, an appoin]tment
for battle against all the nations. The purpose of God is eternal redemption… [This is
an extremely interesting passage from the War Scroll describing the apocalyptic
endtime war between the sons of light and the sons of darkness. Notice that this war
will be an appointed “time of distress for Israel” when “all the nations” will come
against her for battle. Notice the reference to the appointed time and the Gentile
nations. Both of these elements are found in Luke 21:24. This War Scroll predates the
destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. It shows that the phraseology in Luke 21:24 is not
exclusive to the Christian scriptures. It was used independently by the Essenes and
other Qumranian groups in the first century and earlier.]
• Sepher Yosippon (ch. 84) [Dr. Steven B. Bowman’s 2004 translation, pre-publication] —
Did not Hannibal, king of Carthage, go with all his force, invade, and trample our
land [Italy], destroying our fortifications and annihilating the mass of our troops
by sword – he and his army? He besieged us for many days as we have done unto
you; and after all this we captured him… [This uses the trampling idea in reference to a
destruction, not as an extended desolation.]
• 1 Maccabees 4:60 — At that time also they builded up the mount Zion with high walls
and strong towers round about, lest the Gentiles should come and tread it down as
they had done before. [This uses the trampling idea in reference to a destruction, not
as an extended desolation.]
• Enoch 99.2 (p. 141 in R. H. Charles edition) — Section on Admonitions for his Children
— “Woe to them who … transgress the eternal Law … they shall be trodden under
foot upon the earth.” [This uses the trampling idea in reference to a destruction, not as
an extended desolation.]
Notice how each of these texts define the idea of treading. It is a short period of
destruction by hostile armies, not a long period of desolation following that destruction. For
other similar uses of “trampling” as a complete destruction like this, see Zech. 12:3; Dan. 8:10-
13; Psa. 79:1; 1 Mac. 3:45,51; 2 Mac. 8:2; Psa. Sol. 17:25; Is. 63:18; Is. 10:6; Is. 16:8; Is. 63:3;
Is. 63:6; Jer. 12:10; Ezek. 26:11; Mic. 5:6; Luke 8:5; Rev. 14:20; 19:15. The New International
Greek Testament Commentary (NIGTC) on Luke 21:24 says, “These references show that this
was a set theme in prophecy,” not something newly invented by Jesus and the New Testament
writers. [Howard Marshall and Donald Hagner. The New International Greek Testament
Commentary. Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2005.
comments on Lk. 21:24].
For additional insight into the meaning behind the motif, it might be helpful to look at
both Deut. 28:45-68 and Daniel 12:7, where the same concept of destruction is dealt with.
Compare the phrase “until the time of the Gentiles” in Lk. 21:24 with the idea in Deut. 28-33 of
judgment upon the perverse and crooked generation of Israelites in the latter days “until they are
totally destroyed” (Deut. 31:29; 32:5; 32:20; cf. Acts 2:40 and Phil. 2:15). The times of the
Gentiles is speaking about the war with the Romans (the Gentiles) in which the Jews would be
conquered, killed, evicted, and dispersed, just as Moses had predicted in Deuteronomy chapters
31-32. It seems that Jesus had Deut 28-33 clearly in mind when He predicted the appointed time
of trampling by the Gentiles.
In Deut. 28-33, where Moses predicts the final generation of Jews who would be
covenantally judged, there is a constant repetition of the phrase, “until you are destroyed” or
“until He has destroyed you” or “until they have caused you to perish.” Notice especially the
usage of these phrases in Deut. 28:49-52 (see also Deut. 28:45,48,51,61,63; 29:19-21,22-28;
30:18; 31:17,29; 32:5,20-24,34-43; 33:26-29). Note that there is no mention of “treading” or
“Jerusalem” or any appointed “times” in Deut. 28-33. But it does mention Gentiles (nations)
coming into their land and attacking them in the last days “until they were utterly destroyed.”
This is a similar idea to what Daniel said about the Gentiles trampling, a complete end, an
appointed time, and a complete shattering during the “time, times, and half a time.”
The Gentile nations trampled on Jerusalem “until they were destroyed” or completely
shattered (or until the Gentiles fulfilled everything that was prophesied for them to do, or “until
the [destroying] times of the Gentiles be completed”). This was a common idea used in the
conquest of nations. “Don’t tread on me” was well known to mean, “Don’t bring your armies into
my borders.” According to Moses in Deut. 28:49, God would use the foreign armies “whose
language you will not understand” to tread up and down throughout the land (like they had
originally done in their conquest of Canaan) until the Jewish strongholds everywhere in the land
were completely dismantled, the last of which was Masada. This occurred in AD 66-73. Luke
21:24 was definitely fulfilled at that point.
Dan. 12:7 mentions a complete Shattering, appointed end, or time of the end. In the
parallel accounts of the Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24 and Mark 13, Jesus connected the
prophecy of Daniel (abomination of desolation) with this desolation mentioned in Lk. 21:20. So,
we need to see what Daniel had to say about this desolation. According to Dan. 2:44-45 during
the days of the fourth kingdom (Rome) God would set up His eternal Kingdom. Notice in Dan.
7:19 and 7:23 that this fourth kingdom or beast (Rome) would have teeth of iron and would
trample down the whole land. Then notice in Dan. 7:25 how long this trampling would last (for a
time, times, and half a time — i.e., three and a half years). These are the times of the fourth beast
trampling the land. That is exactly what happened in AD 67-70. The Romans under Vespasian
beginning in AD 67 and continuing with Titus until AD 70, trampled the whole land from
Galilee to Judea and fulfilled all these predictions of Daniel which Jesus (and Luke) are referring
to here Luke 21.
Daniel talks about “a complete end” when “the holy people are completely shattered”
(Dan. 12:7). Moses predicted such a complete end of a “perverse and crooked generation” of
Israelites in the Last Days of their national existence when their enemies would attack them until
they were completely destroyed (see Deut. 28-33).
The “times of the Gentiles” (Lk. 21:24) sounds very similar to the “complete shattering”
mentioned in Daniel 12:7. Daniel refers to it as an appointed time. It was when the Romans came
and trampled underfoot the whole land of Israel and especially Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.
They finished “treading on” the Jews by 73 AD when the temple structure was completely
dismantled and the fortress of Jerusalem was completely disabled. Conquest of Israel by Rome
was complete. Israel was “completely shattered.” Therefore, this treading and times of the
Gentiles is a reference to the OT prophets (such as Daniel) who predicted this time of complete
shattering and judgment upon Israel.
Consequently, we can now see that Luke 21:24 can not be talking about the same thing as
Rom. 11:25. These two texts are talking about (respectively): (1) Times of the Gentiles (AD 66-
70), and (2) The Fullness of the Gentiles (AD 30-64). Luke 21:24 is a Gentile judgment context,
whereas Rom. 11:25 is a Gentile salvation context.
John Bray agrees that they are talking about two different things: “One is talking about
the duration of time during which Gentiles have control of Jerusalem; the other is talking about
the performance and completion of what God is doing for the Gentiles spiritually. These are two
separate things altogether.” [John L. Bray. Matthew 24 Fulfilled. Fifth Edition. Powder Springs,
Georgia: American Vision Inc., 2008. p. 105] “Times of Gentiles” (i.e. God’s use of Gentile army in judging Jerusalem) was fulfilled in
70 AD. “The full number of the Gentiles” (i.e. the Gentiles who were to become Christians
before the final shut down of the Old Covenant) was also, by God’s election and historical
reality, fulfilled before the Parousia began in 66 AD.
The “fullness of the Gentiles” (Rom 11:25) was when the Gentiles were fully grafted into
the Church (accepted as being on equal footing with the Jews). Paul labored hard to accomplish
this incorporation of the Gentiles, so that both Jew and Gentile are ONE body in Christ (see his
statements in Ephesians 4). According to his statements in Colossians and Romans, it appears
that he indeed accomplished that task of getting the Jewish Christians to accept the Gentile
Christians as joint-heirs of the coming Kingdom. His trips to Jerusalem with Gentile offerings
helped smooth the way for Jewish Christians to accept the Gentiles. His epistles, which argue
forcefully for Gentile inclusion in the Kingdom, were finally canonized by Apostle Peter (cf. 2
Pet. 3:15-16) shortly before Peter died in the Neronic persecution (late AD 64). It appears then,
that the fullness of the Gentiles arrived just before Jerusalem was destroyed.
Thus, the “fullness of the Gentiles” in Rom. 11:25 is talking about the incorporation of
Gentiles into the Church during the transition period from AD 30-70. The fullness of the Gentiles
found its completion at AD 64 (before the war). The kingdom was taken away from the
unbelieving Jews and given to the righteous remnant of believing Jews into which the believing
Gentiles had been grafted. That process began in earnest with the conversion of Apostle Paul and
gradually advanced as all the apostles authorized his sharing the gospel with the Gentiles,
without forcing circumcision and lawkeeping upon them. It was Apostle Paul’s missionary
journeys which stimulated this Jew-Gentile solidarity. Believers from all the nations of the
Diaspora (Roman empire) had to be brought into the fullness of the Kingdom before the
kingdom was taken from the disobedient and unbelieving Jews and given to a new nation
producing the fruit of it, which was composed both of the righteous remnant of believing Jews
plus the ingrafted believing Gentiles.
One may legitimately ask when the trampling was supposed to begin and end. If it did not
begin until AD 70, then certainly the futurists have a strong case. However, I think the evidence
we have considered here shows that the trampling was fulfilled in those days of vengeance and
wrath outpouring in AD 66-70.
Milton S. Terry sums all this up rather nicely in his Biblical Hermeneutics (Second
Edition, published by Zondervan, p. 445):
The statement in Luke 21:24, that “Jerusalem shall be trodden down by Gentiles
until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled,” is supposed to involve events which
did not take place in that generation. The “times of the Gentiles” (kairoi eqnwn)
are assumed to be the times and opportunities of grace afforded to the Gentiles
under the Gospel. But to understand the words in this sense would be, as Van
Oosterzee observes, to interpolate a thought entirely foreign to the context. “The
times of the Gentiles,” says Bengel, “are the times allotted to the Gentiles to tread
down the city;” but there is nothing in the passage or context to authorize his
further remark that “these times shall be ended when the Gentiles’ conversion
shall be fully consummated,” and that the treading down by Romans, Persians,
Saracens, Franks, and Turks is to be understood. These kairoi are manifestly times
of judgment upon Jerusalem, not times of salvation to the Gentiles. The most
natural and obvious parallel is Rev. 11:2, where the outer court of the temple is
said to be “given to the Gentiles,” by whom the holy city shall be trodden down
forty-two months, a period equivalent to the. “time and times and half a time” of
Rev. 12:14, and of Dan. 7:25; 12:7. This is a symbolical period of judgment, but
does not denote ages and generations. It is three and a half – a divided seven, a
short but signal period of woe. The “times of the Gentiles,” therefore, are the
three and a half times (approximating three and a half years) during which the
Gentile armies besieged and trampled down Jerusalem.
It is abundantly clear from all these canonical and non-canonical texts that the
“trampling” and “times of the Gentiles” mentioned in Luke 21:24 are referring to a very short
period of time such as three or four years in which an invading Gentile army would tread
throughout the land of Palestine, destroy all its fortresses, and completely shatter the nation of
the Jews. We did not find any texts which define the “times of the Gentiles” as a long indefinite
period of desolation lasting centuries or millenniums. The “times of the Gentiles” lasted the same
length of time as the “trampling,” and we noticed in several texts that the “trampling” was used
in a past tense (“trod”, “trodden”, etc.) referring only to the battle which ended in defeat, and not
to the subsequent period of desolation which followed.
In view of all these texts that we have examined in relation to Luke 21:24, it appears that
the Futurist idea of a long period of trampling and indefinitely extended times of the Gentiles is
simply not supported by the evidence.
These words were well-understood by Luke’s readers, and definitely reflected concepts and
motifs found in the Old Testament, especially the book of Daniel, which talks about an appointed
time of the end which had to be fulfilled.
Every indication within the Luke 21 context is that this time of “trampling” by the Gentiles
was something that would occur within the lifetime and experience of his listening disciples, as
J. S. Russell well notes:
Here the prophecy and the parable represent the self-same scene, the self-same
period: they alike speak of the close of the aeon or age, not of the end of the
world, or material universe; and they alike speak of that great judicial epoch as at
hand. How plainly does St. Luke, in his record of the prophecy on the Mount of
Olives, represent the great catastrophe as falling within the lifetime of the
disciples: “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up
your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:28). Were not these
words spoken to the disciples who listened to the discourse? Did they not apply to
them? Is there anywhere even a suspicion that they were meant for another
audience, thousands of years distant, and not for the eager group who drank in the
words of Jesus? Surely such a hypothesis carries its own refutation in its very
front. [J. Stuart Russell. The Parousia: The New Testament Doctrine of Christ’s
Second Coming. Bradford, Pennsylvania USA: International Preterist Association,
2003. Reprinted from the 1887 edition issued by T. Fisher Unwin in London. pp.
The times of the gentiles mentioned here in Lk. 21:24 is merely referring to the trampling
process which lasted three and a half years. In net effect it is saying that the Gentiles will trample
the land for a time, times, and a half time (the times mentioned by Daniel) and fulfill everything
that was predicted by Daniel. The times of the Gentile trampling mentioned by Daniel would be
fulfilled when all the things mentioned here in these five verses (Lk. 21:20-24) have come to
pass (specifically when Jerusalem itself was finally destroyed). When the Gentile armies of
Rome destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple, then their TIMES (three and a half years) of
trampling were finished. The Gentiles had trampled upon the land until they fulfilled all the
things that had been prophesied for them to do. They did not leave one thing undone that the
prophets had predicted. The appointed time of destruction had been fulfilled to the maximum.
If you would like to study more about the first-century fulfillments of Matthew 24 and its
parallels in Mark 13, Luke 17 and Luke 21, here are some resources I highly recommend, all of
which are available from the IPA website (http://preterist.org)–
• First Century Events in Chronological Order (73-page book) by Ed Stevens.
• Josephus Complete Works — Eyewitness account of the Jewish and Roman events
leading up to and including the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.
• Josephus The Essential Works. By Paul L. Maier. Readers Digest edition of Josephus’
complete works, with full color maps, pictures, charts and commentary.
• Matthew 24 Fulfilled. By John L. Bray. One of the finest historical commentaries on
the fulfillment of Matthew 24. Very well documented.
• The Early Church and the End of the World. By Gary DeMar and Francis X.
Gumerlock. An amazing historical defense of the Preterist view from early church
writers and non-Christian historical sources.
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