Q. I recently heard another great Bible teacher discuss an alternate view regarding the concept of the ‘Times of the Gentiles being fulfilled.’ He wrote:
Weren’t the “Times of the Gentiles” fulfilled when Israel recaptured the city and Temple Mount in 1967? For many, that has become a matter of doctrine — 1967 marked the conclusion of the “Times of the Gentiles.”
Unfortunately, it is more a case of wishful thinking than doctrinal truth. Israel may have captured Jerusalem and the Temple in 1967, but neither has been under exclusive Israeli sovereignty. The Gentiles still call most of the shots in East Jerusalem and all the shots on Temple Mount.
Bible prophecy says that any handover over the city and sanctuary in the last days would be the temporary product of a false peace. The Prophet Daniel says that the anti-Christ will work out some kind of temporary accommodation over Jerusalem and the Temple Mount that will allow the Jews access to the Temple Mount, but that agreement will only last three and one half years.
The Prophet Zechariah (12:1-4) predicts the whole world would one day stand against Israeli possession of both Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, going so far as to say that any who ‘burden themselves’ with God’s city will be ‘cut in pieces.’
What are your thoughts on this very important prophetic theme?
A. Luke 21:24 reads as follows: “Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”
The word translated trample there means to tread upon or crush underfoot. It comes from a root meaning to strike, smite, or sting. Strong’s Concordance adds, “to treat with insult and contempt: to desecrate the holy city by devastation and outrage.”
Some say that Luke 21:24 specifically refers to the Temple precincts which although technically owned by Israel are under the administrative control of the Moslem Waqf. There’s no question that Moslems are still trampling all over the Temple Mount.
Others say that when the Lord said Jerusalem, He meant the city. But all the talk about dividing the city again, if it happens, can also lead us to conclude that the Times of the Gentiles are not over yet.
In Daniel 2 the vision of the statue described what’s called the Times of the Gentiles, or Gentile Dominion. It doesn’t really end until the Lord destroys all traces of the statue in the time of the ten toes, sometimes called the revived Roman Empire, in Daniel 2:44.
I believe that while the re-unification of Jerusalem didn’t totally fulfill the prophecy of Luke 21:24 it did signal that the fulfillment was near and would occur within the lifetimes of those who were being born when it happened. (Luke 21:32). It was the second major sign that the End of the Age is upon us, the first being the re-birth of Israel.
This is why I visualize a 19 year long window of time within which I believe all end times prophecies will be fulfilled. A Biblical lifetime is about 70 years according to Psalm 90:10. By adding 70 years to 1948 we come to 2018, and by adding 70 years to 1967 we get 2037. If I’m right, all end times prophecies including the 2nd Coming could be fulfilled as early as 2018 but no later than 2037. (Please notice that there’s neither a day nor an hour mentioned here.)
As for Zechariah 12, it does mention Jerusalem, but not the Temple. And the fact that its leaders say in their hearts that the Lord Almighty is their God (Zech. 12:5) indicates that this takes place after the Battle of Ezekiel 38-39.
In Zechariah 14 Jerusalem is mentioned as being attacked and divided in the last battle before the Lord’s return, implying that it wasn’t divided before the battle.
So, if Jerusalem is divided soon it’ll only be until after Ezekiel’s battle when, as the victors, Israel will demand and receive their eternal city back.