MF Blume

The two interpretations of the "times of the gentiles" are as follows:

Futurist viewpoint : The "times of the Gentiles" relate to the Gentile possession or dominance over the city of Jerusalem, and over the people of God -- Israel. 

Jerusalem was first captured by Gentiles, and its inhabitants taken into captivity by Gentile nations, in 604-607 B.C., when Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, conquered it.  In a subsequent conquest, he razed and burned the Temple in 586 B.C. 

In essence, this awesome dream describes the fullness of the "times of the Gentiles" -- that is, the "TIMES" and seasons when GENTILE KINGDOMS, or Gentile-influenced kingdoms, would rule over the world, or vast sections thereof.  In other words, from the time of king Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, till the present time, today, the world has been living under or within the "times of the Gentiles" -- the times GENTILE KINGDOMS would dominate and have the supremacy over the nations of the world!

And futurists propose that the
time since the cross in which Israel is generally blinded from the Gospel due to their rejection of Jesus is included in these times of the gentiles.  They believe that all generations, including the one that crucified the Lord, are held back from salvation, with the exception of a few here and there, just as a few gentiles in the Old Testament days were involved in God's work with Israel. It is alleged that its now the gentiles' turn with God, since the entire Old Testament was exclusively for the Israelites.

They also propose that the "times of the gentiles" can alternatively be called the church age, since the church is in the alleged GAP between the 69th and 70th weeks of Daniel, when Jews are blinded, and the city of Jerusalem continues to be dominated by the gentiles. Pre-tribulation rapturist proponents believe that when the rapture takes place, the times of the Gentiles for salvation will expire. A few gentiles will be able to be involved again, just as it was during Old Testament times, after the church is removed from this world.  But although the domination over Jerusalem is still accomplished by Gentiles, the 70th week of Daniel, which they propose is still future, will be included in the times of the gentiles.  It is as though the times of the gentiles cease when the millennium begins after the 70th week of Daniel is expired.

It is, therefore, taken for granted by the futurists that the "times of the gentiles" is synonymous with "the church age" and beyond into the tribulation period of the 70th week of Daniel. This makes the times of the gentiles predominantly a period of salvation for Gentiles (a few Jews accepted as well).

Kingdom Eschatology Viewpoint :

The "times of the gentiles" is the period of time Rome, preceded by other Gentile powers, afflicted Israel as a form of God's judgment upon them for disobedience.  In Paul's day, when he wrote of the fullness of the gentiles coming in, when Israel would not longer be blinded, he was speaking of the generation Jesus Christ cursed in Matthew 23 for rejecting Him and crucifying Him, their groom.  Nothing could be more heinous than the Bride of Christ, Jerusalem, rejecting Him as her groom, and plotting to slay Him.  And Rome would afflict Israel and send one great blow against her by besieging Jerusalem and burning her with fire in three and one half years of absolute horror.


T he Bible never states that "the times of the Gentiles" is a time of salvation for gentiles only. In fact, it never equates this period with salvation in any sense. The association the Bible gives to the "times of the Gentiles" is one of destruction upon Jerusalem.

First of all, let us note the reference of who God intends to be involved in the "church age".

Romans 10:11-13 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. (12) For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. (13) For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Gentiles and Jews both are baptized into one Body of Christ for the time after the cross until the resurrection. There is no time for exclusive involvement with Gentiles. Where did this idea come from that teaches the Gentiles will be exclusively dealt with before the Jews? Surely not the Apostles!

Since the time of the cross, the Jews will not be dealt with exclusively after any period of work with the gentiles. Yes, the Apostles did indeed mention "the times of the gentiles" being fulfilled. And somewhere along the line, despite the absence of any such explanation by those apostles, the idea was contrived by futurists that God will primarily work with the gentiles in saving them, after which the Jews will exclusively be dealt with. It was furthered imagined that this involved the removal of the gentile "church", as though it were primarily gentile, after which the time for dealing with Jews will arrive. Yes, the apostles mentioned the "times of the gentiles" being fulfilled. But they did not explain anything about that being a time when gentiles are exclusively saved, and Jews are excluded, to be dealt with afterwards.

Look at the biblical instances in which this period of time is noted, and notice the association applied to it.
Luke 21:24 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 fulfilled.

Revelation 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 . (This verse is noted because the duration of time for the Gentiles to tread Jerusalem underfoot is indicated here, and directly relates to Jesus' words in Luke 21:24 concerning the "times of the gentiles". )

Romans 11:25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
These are the only verses that mention this issue.

Please note that Revelation 11:2 associates the times of the gentiles with destruction upon the city of Jerusalem. And it says that siege will last 3.5 years. This is precisely how long it took Rome to destroy Jerusalem, which ended in 70 AD! In Luke 21:24, Jesus also associated the times of the gentiles with the destruction of Jerusalem . Had nobody read any views of futurists concerning the "times of the Gentiles," no one would ever guess that such a term in the Bible is synonymous with the period of salvation for the Gentiles exclusively (with the exception of a few Jews here and there, like the early disciples). The Apostles said nothing about times of the gentiles being the church age!

Luke 21 mentions the times of the gentiles in lieu of the Jerusalem destruction, which occurred in 70AD. Jesus said that Jerusalem would be trodden down until this period is fulfilled. Jesus said those were the days of vengeance. Jerusalem would be surrounded by armies and that would signal the church to flee. So when this siege would be over, the times of the Gentiles would be completed. And Revelation 11 says the duration would be 3.5 years. Think about it. The gentiles would do the treading. And Rome indeed tread down Jerusalem for 3.5 years. And Jesus said that would be the end of the times of the gentiles.

The Romans were the Gentile power of the earth at this time.

So what is the times of the gentiles? Its the period God used Gentile nations to afflict Jerusalem! This occurred since Old Testament times.

Daniel's vision of the four gentile kingdoms (not five) spoke of the very same thing! Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and finally Rome, all afflicted Jerusalem throughout history. But it would end in 70 AD. Those years would be fulfilled in 70 AD. One of the first elements of the partial ly fulfilled concept that caught my attention, and pointed me in this direction, was the discovery that Rome took precisely 3.5 years to tread down Jerusalem, and it ended in 70 AD, as Revelation 11:2 noted!

A futurist interpretation of Romans 11 is highly regarded as the key chapter for the futurist perspective. However, a closer look at this chapter will reveal that it, too, is referring to the days of the early church until 70 AD. Keep in mind that nowhere do the apostles teach that the "times of the gentiles" refers to the "church age", as it were, as futurists propose. Nowhere do they teach that God will work exclusively with Jews after Gentiles are dealt with. The church is comprised both of Jew and Gentile, and there never will be any division of those groups. God is not dealing with the Gentiles today as though the Jews are in reserve for a future dealing. the church is the last thing God is working with and it will continue to be the greatest entity in relationship to God throughout all eternity! The church age is not some interim work to occupy the Lord while the Jews, His major concern, have been put on hold. His major concern is the Church! The Church is what has been His goal since before mankind fell into sin. The Lord Jesus was ordained to be slain on the cross for the salvation of all humanity before the world existed! It is not some Plan B, as though Plan A (Israel) failed and must be recovered.

Paul taught that God took a remnant out of Israel and put them in the church. He was one of them! (verse 5). And verse 7 says that Israel did not obtain what it looked for. The remnant or election obtained it instead. Why? Israel rejected Jesus. The rest of the people of Israel were blinded. Now, we must not forget about Romans 1 when we read about the blinding of Israel. Romans 1 teaches us that God presents truth to people, and then awaits their reaction. If they accept the truth and glorify God with it, then He reveals His righteousness to them, and saves them. But if they hold the truth and refuse to honour God with it, but continue on as though nothing has changed, then God reveals wrath to them. He gives them over. It is in this sense that Romans 11 says that God blinded Israel. They refused Jesus. Therefore God revealed wrath against them and blinded them.

Jesus only cursed that single generation of Jews, though! He did not curse the entire Jewish race on past that generation! The futurist interpretation makes the grand error of claiming God cursed all Jews of all generations up until our day! And that in our future, He will lift the curse and reveal Christ to them again. This is absolute error, and somewhat racist! The only Jews ever cursed to be blinded were the Jews of that generation who crucified Jesus.
Matthew 23:35-38 That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. (36) Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. (37) O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! (38) Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.
Matthew 24:34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
Mark 13:30 Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done.
Luke 11:50 That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation;

Luke 21:32 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.
Notice that Jesus noted fulfillment in light of the reference to that generation. I propose that this includes the thought of the fulfillment of the times of the gentiles.

You will only discover Jesus cursing that generation of Israel. Since that generation was judged, Jews are no more blinded in general than Chinese people or Indians or any other race! It is for whosoever will!

To say that God would judge the subsequent generations of a wicked people is to refute scripture itself.
Ezekiel 18:20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.
Futurists readily admit that God cursed Israel for their rejection of Christ. However, He cannot curse all generations of the sin of the generation that rejected Him! Futurism glaringly errs in this point.
Romans 11:11 I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.
Notice this point about why salvation came to gentiles. Keep it in mind as we proceed! The gentiles were resorted to in the endeavours of the apostles and their Gospel preaching to provoke the Jews to come back to God in jealousy.
Romans 11:12-15 Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? (13) For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: (14) If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them. (15) For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?
Notice that Paul distinctly explained that he was preaching to Gentiles in his day in hope s of provoking Jews to jealousy. Paul did not look at his present time as one that was simply never going to see Jews saved, and permanently blinded. He believed God blinded the Jews of his day, and that also, in his day, the blinders would be lifted. Paul preached to gentiles partly for the sake of provoking Jews to jealousy that they might come to Christ. In other words, he believed the blindness would be lifted during his day! If he believed that the blindness would continue on for several centuries longer, he would not have preached to provoke them to jealousy.
Rom 11:19-21 Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in. (20) Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: (21) For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.
The blindness of the Jews would be removed if they would believe. Unbelief brought on their blindness. In other words, their faith would cause them to be grafted back onto the tree!

He said this very thing!
Rom 11:23 And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again.
And they would come in through faith by accepting the preached word of the Gospel!

Then we come to the text in question.
Romans 11:25-26 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. (26) And so all Israel shall be saved ; as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
The words of verse 26, "and so all Israel shall be saved..." speak explicitly of the manner Israel would be saved. It answers the question "In what manner?"

You must read all the previous verses that I have discussed in order to know what that manner of saving the jews will be. And that manner is the provoking of Jews to jealousy through the preaching ot the Gentiles. And that was the very thing Paul was doing, giving us the understanding that Paul's words had nothing to do with a future time when Israel might come into the Church. He was the one who wrote the words of the times of the gentiles being fulfilled. And he fully believed that would occur in his day.

Jesus had told the disciples that His coming in wrath against Jerusalem would occur at any moment. They knew not the day nor hour. He told them to flee Jerusalem when the city would be encompassed with armies, for then would occur the abomination of desolation.

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:) (16) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:

Luke 21:20-24 And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. (21) Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. (22) For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. (23) But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. (24) 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 fulfilled.
Here we see the reference to the times of the gentiles in distinct context of the 70 AD siege.

Whatever the abomination was, we know from these words that it would occur when Jerusalem was surrounded by armies.

And Paul fully believed the words of the Lord that it could happen at any time. When the gentiles were finished in destroying the city, the blinders would be lifted. That generation would have been dealt with, and all subsequent generations of Jews would be as free to accept the Gospel as any other nation of people!