Times of the Gentiles 

23But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days!  For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people (unbelieving Israel). 24And they (unbelieving Israel) will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations (Roman Empire), And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles (Roman armies) until the TIMES OF THE GENTILES are fulfilled.(Luke 21:24).

Luke 21:23 was fulfilled.  The historian Josephus recorded many of the atrocities which were committed during those days, in The Wars of the Jews: II:XIV:8, 9; II:XVIII:1-5; III:VII:36; III:XI:2-4; III:X:9; IV:VI:3; V:IX:4; V:XI:1-2; V:XII:3-4 and VI:IX:3-4.  Those passages will help you get some idea what it was like in that perverse generation.

Also, notice “great distress upon the land, and wrath to this people.”  Which land and people was Jesus talking about in this context?  It was only the land of Israel and the Jewish people.

Lastly, in Luke 21:24, “They will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles until the time of the Gentiles be fulfilled.”

It would be advantageous for us to do a short topic study right here to allow the Bible to put into perspective for us what it is referring to when it talks about a “time of the Gentiles,” and/or a “trampling/treading.”

Luke 21:24 lists 4 constituent elements: Gentiles, Time, Jerusalem, Trampling.  Let us look at some other verses in the Bible to see if other scriptures help to shed some light on the meanings in this verse.

Lam. 1:15, “The Lord has trampled underfoot all my mighty men in my midst…the Lord trampled as in a winepress the virgin daughter of Judah.”

  • Jeremiah is mourning over the past events of the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians in 586 BC.  The Lord used the Babylonians to carry out His judgement, but Jeremiah refers to this as being “the Lord” who did the trampling.
  • This battle and destruction by the Babylonians was not a long drawn out process over decades, centuries or millennia – it was a swift battle over, a time of trampling and destruction – it was the time of judgement on Judah for all the violations and breaking of the Mosaic law/covenant.
  • Throughout the Bible you will often find this type of talk and descriptions, and not as a drawn out period, but speaking of this “time of the Gentiles” as referring to the fulfilling of judgement and the pouring out of God’s wrath.
  • You will find these exact same 4 constituent elements in: Dan. 12:6-7 and Rev. 11:1-2.

**** Not one single reference found in the Bible ever refers to a time of trampling, or Gentiles or nation, as a long drawn out time. 

Let’s also look at the following:

  • (Read) Dan. 7:7, 17, 19, 21-23, 25, “Fourth beast…iron teeth…devouring, breaking in pieces, and trampling…shall persecute the saints…the saints shall be given into his hand for a time and times and half a time.”
    • Same 4 constituent elements – and look at the time this is stated to take place – during the time of the forth beast, or forth empire (same as Dan. 2:40-43), and this is widely acknowledged among the scholarly world as the Roman Empire.
    • Dan. 7:7 is also stated in “past tense” – not a long or drawn out or continuing process.
  • An example of this same descriptive language referring to Gentile nations being trampled by another Gentile nation is in (read) Ezek. 30:3-5, “…the day of the Lord; it will be a day of clouds, the ‘time of the Gentiles.’  The sword shall come upon Egypt…Ethiopia…Libya, Lydia…Chub…”
    • This was all in a 3 ½ year period around 586 BC.  In addition to Jerusalem, Babylon took all of these nations as well, and it is called “the day of the Lord,” and “the time of the Gentiles.”  God used a Gentile nation to carry out His judgement.
    • Babylon’s time would come as well, and we are told of this in (read) Jer. 27:7, “So all nations shall serve him…until the time of his land comes; and then many nations and great kings shall make him serve them.”
      • This “time of his land comes” is referring to the time when Belshazzar will see the writing on the wall, speaking of Babylon’s own “time” of destruction at the hands of the Medes and the Persians.  (That was a time of swift battle and destruction – not any long drawn out process).

Here are some other verses showing Treading/Trampling is a short-time:

  • Isa. 10:5-6, 16:8, 63:3, 6, 18; Jer. 21:10; Ezek. 26:11; Mic. 5:6; Luke 8:5; Rev. 14:20, 19:15; Deut. 28:33.

This “times of the Gentiles” in Luke 21:24 clearly refers to, and is confined to, the time of the four kingdoms/beasts described in Daniel 2 and 7.  Rome was clearly that fourth/final kingdom to oppress Israel.  God used the Roman armies to “pour out His wrath” on Old Covenant Israel for their continual breaking of their covenant/marriage with Yahweh, and He would conduct this 3 ½ year “times of the Gentiles” to trample the adulterous Old Covenant wife and destroy their earthly temple and burn up their city of Jerusalem (Matt. 22:7, 23:38; Lev. 21:9; Ezek. 16:41; Rev. 11:2, 17:16).

** This phrase “times of the Gentiles” is not to be mistaken with Paul’s statement of “the fullness of the Gentiles” in Rom. 11:25!  (For a more in-depth study, we will do a thorough study into this “fullness of the Gentiles” in eschatology Study Series 11 Study on Romans 11).


See also related “Topic Studies & Terms”:

Time, Times and Half a Time (3 ½ Years)

Time of the End

Last Days

Seventy Weeks (Daniel)


Related full “Study Series” (available upon request if not hyperlinked):

[For a more in-depth study see eschatology “Study Series 7 Lesson 2 Matt. 24:15-28”]

[For a more in-depth study see eschatology “Study Series 9 Lesson 2 The Book of Daniel Chpt 10-12”]

[For a more in-depth study see eschatology “Study Series 16 Lesson 3 Rev. Chapters 10 thru 12”]