7721 - Times of the Gentiles


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In our study of the book of Luke we are now in chapter 21, within the last week of the life of Jesus.
The primary subject of chapter 21 is Jesus sharing prophetically about the future of Israel and Jerusalem.
Jesus has been sharing with his disciples for three years that he had come into the world to give his life to save the world. He has told them in plain, direct terms that during this final week the things written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He would be killed, but would rise again on the third day.
In the passage today, Jesus unfolds much information about the Jews and Jerusalem.
Listen to Luke 21:20-24 then we can talk more:
"When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
Jesus talks about the city of Jerusalem being surrounded by armies. This was not an entirely new concept to the Jews. Centuries earlier armies had occasionally surrounded Jerusalem. God often spared the city but in 586 BC the Babylonians took the people into captivity and completely destroyed the city, even the walls.
The sobering words of Jesus told his disciples that the next capture and destruction would be a time of punishment of the nation in fulfillment of all that had been written in the Scripture.
In Deuteronomy 28 there is described curses and rebukes in everything you do if the nation does not obey the Lord your God. There will be drought, hunger and disease. You will be defeated before your enemies. Other prophets have written such warnings also.
Jesus warns this will be a dreadful and distressing time. People will fall by the sword and be scattered as prisoners to all nations.
Jerusalem will be trampled by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. This has been understood by some to say that Jerusalem will be under Gentile pressure in some manner until a distant future day when Israel will once again have prominence.
In 66 AD the Jewish nation openly rebelled against the Romans. The Romans laid siege to Jerusalem. Famine, disease, distress, hardship became daily fare in the city. For four years the Romans did not let up. In 70 AD they broke through the walls and slaughtered some 600,000 people. They completely destroyed the city.
Outside the city, in Judea, another million or more Jews were put to death. The Jewish nation ceased to exist.
Jesus tells us this would be judgment of the Jewish nation for years of idol worship and rejection of the true God.
However, God’s promises for Israel are not canceled. The present struggling Israel is not the glorious fulfillment, which will one day occur. Romans (11:25-26) gives some explanation: “...Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved.
In the future, Jesus Christ, Son of God, descendent of David, will descend from heaven to establish his glorious kingdom. A believing, restored Israel will be a part of that glad time.
However, that day will be a day of judgment upon the whole world. Those people and nations, which have not humbled themselves, and trusted Jesus in faith will be held accountable, just as Israel was in 70 AD.
Oh friend, trust Jesus by faith, so you do not face God’s judgment.