Michael F. Blume

© 2002 Michael F. Blume

All Rights Reserved

Let me state from the start that the futurist interpretation of the phrase "the times of the Gentiles" is not found anywhere in Scripture. Here is their interpretation. They propose that the "times of the Gentiles" is a period of time since the cross in which Israel is generally blinded from the Gospel due to their rejection of Jesus. 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 it's 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. 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.

So, until the Church age is over, or until the times of the Gentiles is fulfilled, God is reserving the Jewish nation for salvation during the Great Tribulation period. Through this tribulation period, the futurist proposes that God will coerce Israel through troubles to eventually come to Jesus Christ during a single grand revelation of Himself to the entire people of Israel.


So, it is taken for granted by the futurists that the "times of the Gentiles" is synonymous with "the Church age". This makes the times of the Gentiles predominantly a period of salvation for Gentiles (a few Jews accepted as well). However, the 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.


Let me explain.


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


Romans 10:11-13

(11) 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.


The scriptures that speak of this issue are as follows:


Luke 21:24

(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

(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

(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 A.D. 70. 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 it in lieu of the Jerusalem destruction, which occurred in A.D. 70. 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 trod down Jerusalem for 3.5 years; Jesus said that would be the end of the times of the Gentiles.


So what is the "times of the Gentiles"? It's 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 A.D. 70. Those years would be fulfilled in A.D. 70. One of the first elements of Kingdom Eschatology 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 A.D. 70, 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 A.D. 70. 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 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 reads 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 taught us that God presents truth to people, and then awaited their reaction. If they accept the truth and glorify God with it, He then 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, God then reveals His 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 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

(35) 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

(34) Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.

Mark 13:30

(30) Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done.

Luke 11:50

(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

(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, and since that generation was judged, Jews are no more blinded in general than are Chinese, Indians, or any other race of people! The truth of Jesus 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

(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

(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 endeavors of the apostles and their Gospel preaching to provoke the Jews to come back to God in jealousy.


Romans 11:12-15

(12) 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 hopes of provoking the 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.


Romans 11:19-21

(19) 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!


Romans 11:23

(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

(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. (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. 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 to 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

(15) 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

(20) 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 A.D. 70 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!  


Michael F. Blume is a minister with Rightly Dividing the Word. He is assistant pastor Bible Truth Church, El Campo, TX. His website’s address is: www.mikeblume.com                                                   




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