Jerusalem will be trampled by the nations until the Gentile Times are Fulfilled. — Luke 21:24

by Fisherman 36 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Disillusioned JW
    Disillusioned JW

    I disagree with Jeffro, in regards to what the writer of the book called "According to Luke" means by when the when "times of the Gentiles are fulfilled". For simplicity, in the rest of this post I will refer to the writer of the book as 'Luke', though the writer is actually anonymous.

    Luke 21:24 (NASB) says "and 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 times of the Gentiles are fulfilled." The Roman empire took many Jews as captives and did place them into various nations which were under Roman control, but the trampling of Jerusalem by gentiles didn't permanently end in 70 CE. [Furthermore, the trampling by gentiles began when the Babylonians conquered Jerusalem.] Note that the latter part of verse 24 uses the plural word of "Gentiles" and it used it twice. The verse does not say "a Gentile nation" will trample upon Jerusalem, but rather "Gentiles" (possibly meaning multiple gentile nations). Perhaps by "Gentiles" it simply means multiple gentile individuals (such as in the composition of the Roman armies), but it also speaks the trampling continuing until the times of the Gentiles end (are "are fulfilled").

    Though the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in 70 CE, the trampling of Jerusalem by Gentile armies did not come to a permanent end then. Furthermore, the writer of the Gospel likely knew such, for the the gospel account was likely written well after the year 100 CE (possibly even after the Bar Kokhba revolt ended in the year 135 [or 136] CE). For example consider the following. The Jews, led by Bar Kokhba, had another revolt in Judah (after Masada fell in 71 CE to the Romans) and they temporarily liberated much of Judea (even Jerusalem) from the Romans, but the Romans armies eventually reconquered what they lost in Judea (including Jerusalem). See . It says the following.

    "Fought c. 132–136 CE,[6] it was the last of three major Jewish–Roman wars, so it is also known as the Third Jewish–Roman War or, the Third Jewish Revolt. Some historians also refer to it as the Second Revolt[7] of Judea, not counting the Kitos War (115–117 CE), which had only marginally been fought in Judea.

    ... Despite arrival of significant Roman reinforcements from Syria, Egypt, and Arabia, initial rebel victories established an independent state over most parts of the province for over three years, as Bar Kokhba took the title of Nasi ("head of state"). Many Jews regarded him as the Messiah, who would restore their national independence.[13]

    ... The Bar Kokhba revolt resulted in the extensive depopulation of the Jewish communities of Judea, more so than during the First Jewish–Roman War.[15] Some scholars describe it as a genocide.[15][16]

    The Bar Kokhba revolt greatly influenced the course of Jewish history and the philosophy of the Jewish religion. Despite easing the persecution of Jews following Hadrian's death in 138 CE, the Romans barred Jews from Jerusalem, except for attendance in Tisha B'Av. Jewish messianism was abstracted and spiritualized, and rabbinical political thought became deeply cautious and conservative. .. It was also among the key events to differentiate Christianity as a religion distinct from Judaism.[22] Although Jewish Christians regarded Jesus as the Messiah and did not support Bar Kokhba,[23] they were barred from Jerusalem along with the other Jews.[24] "

    Note the Wikipedia article says "It was also among the key events to differentiate Christianity as a religion distinct from Judaism". It is a significant point and it might indicate the gospel of 'Luke' was written after the Bar Kokhba revolt (or give us clues to the thinking of the writer of the gospel named after 'Luke'). Also keep in mind that 'Luke' was likely a gentile Christian instead of a Jewish Torah-keeping Christian.

    Note that the Wikipedia source says it lasted from about (c.) 132 CE - 136 CE, however according to it lasted from 132 CE to 135 CE, for that source says the following.

    "Bar Kokhba Revolt, also called Second Jewish Revolt, (132–135 ce), Jewish rebellion against Roman rule in Judaea.

    ... With the fall of Jerusalem and then Bethar, the fortress to the southwest of Jerusalem where Bar Kokhba was slain, the rebellion was crushed in 135. According to Christian sources, Jews were thenceforth forbidden to enter Jerusalem."

    The Jewish site at also says the war was from 132 CE to 135 CE. So which year did it end in, 135 CE or 136 CE? Did the war last for about 3.5 years?

    The previously mentioned Jewish site says the following.

    "In 135 C.E., Hadrian’s army besieged Bethar and on the 9th of Av, the Jewish fast day commemorating the destruction of the first and second Holy Temples, the walls of Bethar fell. After a fierce battle, every Jew in Bethar was killed. Six days passed before the Romans allowed the Jews to bury their dead.

    Following the battle of Bethar, there were a few small skirmishes in the Judean Desert Caves, but the war was essentially over and Judean independence was lost. The Romans plowed Jerusalem with a yoke of oxen. Jews were sold into slavery and many were transported to Egypt. Judean settlements were not rebuilt. Jerusalem was turned into a pagan city called Aelia Capitolina and the Jews were forbidden to live there. They were permitted to enter only on the 9th of Av to mourn their losses in the revolt. Hadrian changed the country’s name from Judea to Syria Palestina."

    Note that in 135 CE Jews were taken captive by Roman armies and sold into slavery and that many of them were taken to Egypt (a gentile nation) - and thus taken into captivity. That is very significant since Luke 21:24 says "will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled". Thus from 132 CE to 135 CE (or possibly even to 136 CE) the Romans (a force made of up of gentiles) trampled Jerusalem under their feet. Note that after the war ended in 135 CE (or 136 CE) that Jerusalem was turned into a pagan city, with no Jews being allowed to live there. Surely for decades after 136 CE Jerusalem was thus being trampled by gentiles and under gentile control and thus the times of gentile rule upon Jerusalem was still in progress. I think it is very possible that 'Luke' (the writer of the gospel named after Luke, regardless of whom the actual writer was), wrote the gospel after the year 132 CE. Over about the next 1800 years (after 136 CE) various gentile nations took control of Jerusalem. West Jerusalem continued to be under gentile control until Jews conquered it in 1948, and East Jerusalem continued to be under gentile control until Jews conquered it in 1967. The times of gentile control over Jerusalem finally ended in 1967, though Israel allows gentile (Arab/Palestinian) citizens of Israel to be part of the government of Israel, and though Israel might make a peace treaty in which East Jerusalem (or some suburbs of it) becomes part of an independent Palestinian state recognized by both Israel and the U.S.A.

  • Disillusioned JW
    Disillusioned JW

    Correction: I forgot include "..." when I wrote:

    "as a genocide.[15][16]

    The Bar Kokhba revolt"

    Instead I should have written the following.

    "as a genocide.[15][16]

    ... The Bar Kokhba revolt".

  • Jeffro

    Even without considering the superstition involved in extending the period to the modern era, Revelation 11:2 specifies the length of the ‘gentile times’ as 3.5 years.

    Also, Luke was written before 132, and there is no reason to suppose the book is magical.

  • Disillusioned JW
    Disillusioned JW

    I am not convinced that "Revelation 11:2 specifies the length of the ‘gentile times’ as 3.5 years", however it does specify that the length of time which the nations/gentiles would trample the 'holy city' is 42 months [3.5 years]. To me "gentile times" probably means rule by gentiles, not merely the length of one siege by gentiles. Though the writer or writers of Revelation might have had only 3.5 years in mind, the writer of the gospel called Luke might have had a different length of time in mind (maybe even on of indefinite length). Some scholars (promoting the Christ myth theory), including Richard Carrier (an atheist), claim that all of the gospels were written after all of the other books of the NT were written.

    Regarding when Luke was written, how can it be known that it was written before 132 CE instead of after 132 CE.? Granted a number of information sources say it was written before 100 CE (with various scholars disagreeing as to the year, though stating a year prior to 100 CE) but how can we be sure it wasn't written later? says "The most probable date for its composition is around AD 80–110, and there is evidence that it was still being revised well into the 2nd century.[11]" [Update: I now think that probably was originally written before 132 CE (though probably revised later) since Marcion of Sinope used "a shorter version of the Gospel of Luke" than the common one and since Marcion "... was excommunicated by the church of Rome around 144" CE (see ).]

    I agree that there is no reason to believe that the book of Luke (nor the book of Revelation) is magical.

  • Vidqun

    Disillusioned, I cannot fault your historical account. I do differ with you as to your interpretation of events. Jerusalem used to be the capital of unified Israel, later of Judah-Benjamin. It housed Jehovah’s temple on Mount Moriah (2 Chron. 3:1), and the throne of David on Mount Zion (1 Kings 8:1; 2 Chron. 5:2). Thus, Jerusalem would symbolize theocratic government on earth. After the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, the Davidic line of kings would be interrupted. After the destruction of the temple by the Romans, earthly Jerusalem would lose its significance. Since its demise in 70 CE, the name Jerusalem would take on a figurative meaning. The functions of the city would be transferred. The writer of Hebrews set Mount Zion, i.e., “heavenly Jerusalem,” as a goal for anointed Christians to strive for (Hebr. 12:22).

  • peacefulpete
    Would you be so kind as pointing me to a historical or reference work where Antiochus is responsible for destruction of the city and the sanctuary. If so, then I’ll also apply it to Antiochus.

    Vidqun....Daniel is a blow by blow description of events of the Antiochus "the madman". Yes they destroyed the city, even took down the walls. The city and walls were rebuilt.

    1 Macc opens with: 20 After subduing Egypt, Antiochus turned back in the one hundred forty-third year and went up against Israel and came to Jerusalem with a strong force. 21 He arrogantly entered the sanctuary and took the golden altar, the lampstand for the light, and all its utensils. 22 He took also the table for the bread of the Presence, the cups for drink offerings, the bowls, the golden censers, the curtain, the crowns, and the gold decoration on the front of the temple; he stripped it all off. 23 He took the silver and the gold and the costly vessels; he took also the hidden treasures that he found. 24 Taking them all, he went into his own land.

    He shed much blood
    and spoke with great arrogance.
    25 Israel mourned deeply in every community;
    26 rulers and elders groaned;
    young women and young men became faint;
    the beauty of the women faded.
    27 Every bridegroom took up the lament;
    she who sat in the bridal chamber was mourning.

    28 Even the land trembled for its inhabitants,
    and all the house of Jacob was clothed with shame.

    The Occupation of Jerusalem

    29 Two years later the king sent to the cities of Judah a chief collector of tribute, and he came to Jerusalem with a large force. 30 Deceitfully he spoke peaceable words to them, and they believed him, but he suddenly fell upon the city, dealt it a severe blow, and destroyed many people of Israel. 31 He plundered the city, burned it with fire, and tore down its houses and its surrounding walls. 32 They took captive the women and children and seized the livestock.

    2 Macc 5: Antiochus, he thought the whole country of Judea was in revolt, and he became as furious as a wild animal. So he left Egypt and took Jerusalem by storm, 12 giving his men orders to cut down without mercy everyone they met and to slaughter anyone they found hiding in the houses. 13 They murdered everyone—men and women, boys and girls; even babies were butchered. 14 Three days later Jerusalem had lost 80,000 people: 40,000 killed in the attack and at least that many taken away to be sold as slaves.

    15 But Antiochus was still not satisfied. He even dared to enter the holiest Temple in all the world, guided by Menelaus, who had become a traitor both to his religion and to his people. 16 With his filthy and unholy hands, Antiochus swept away the sacred objects of worship and the gifts which other kings had given to increase the glory and honor of the Temple. 1

  • Fisherman

    The context of the Scripture is at the return of Christ, the time when his kingship is undisputed. In 70CE, Jerusalem had no Davidic king. The only explanation of Gentile times must refer to the period of time from Gentile rule over Jerusalem until the parousia.

  • Vidqun

    Fisherman, I prefer Jesus' interpretation. Most attempt to pin Daniel’s prophecies to events during the reign of Antiochus IV Epiphanes. These follow the interpretation found in the book of Maccabees, one that Jesus rejected outright (cf. 1 Maccabees 1:54, 59; Matt. 24:15, 16). Jesus warned: When one catches sight of the disgusting thing that causes desolation, “standing in a holy place,” “standing where it ought not,” then let those in Judea begin fleeing to the mountains (cf. Matt. 24:15; Mark 13:14). The Maccabees did try their best to apply Daniel to their situation, but they failed and the Maccabean Dynasty would eventually be overthrown (cf. Dan. 11:14).

    Disillusioned, another point. If earthly Jerusalem still featured in God's purpose, why is it necessary for a "New Jerusalem" to come down from heaven (Rev. 3:12; 21:2; 21:10)?

  • peacefulpete
    The only explanation of Gentile times must refer to the period of time from Gentile rule over Jerusalem until the parousia

    According to the OT, Egypt sacked and conquered Jerusalem around 925 BCE, made a vassal state,

    About 850 it was conquered by the Assyrians and still a vassal state.

    Shortly later it was sacked by the Philistines and Arabs and looted. and killed most of the Kings family.

    Hazael king of the Arameans conquered Jerusalem about 20 years later and looted again and killed all the prices.

    About 50 years later Israel King Jehoash sacks Jerusalem over throws the king and destroyed its walls again.

    About a hundred years later the land was conquered by the Assyrians and Jerusalem was still a vassal state paying tribute.

    Then around a hundred years later the Babylonians took the city and hauled off the king.

    The vassal king Zedekiah rebelled about 10 years later and the city was again conquered and walls torn down and a new vassal Gedaliah put into place. The next 5 years were prosperous with a new optimism attracting many Jews back who had fled earlier. (Jer 40:9-14).

  • peacefulpete

    Gedaliah was assassinated and many fled fearing reprisals.

    The Persians then after conquering the region appoint Nehemiah as a vassal governor with a wave of immigrants to Jerusalem.

    The Greeks under Alexander then conquered the region

    The Ptolemaic empire then followed in governing Jerusalem.

    The Seleucids then took control under Antiochus the Great. Eventually under Antiochus IV again destroy the city, it's walls and loots the temple. Sets up the alter to Zeus in the temple.

    Then the Maccabean brothers conquered the city and region forming the Hasmonean kingdom. This is the celebration of Hanukah as for about 100 years Jerusalem is ruled by Jews.

    Herod the Great, a Jewish convert, then conquers the city made vassal King under the Romans. he rebuilds the walls and Temple to a scale never seen before.

    After a series of rebellions Jerusalem is again sacked and partially destroyed by the Romans, temple looted gain.

    The Herodian dynasty continues for about 30 years with a return to normalcy.

    Hadrian decides to rebuild the city and limits the Jewish cult practices. The Bar Kokhba (135) revolt happens with Hadrian killing about a half million Jews. Banishes Jews from the city.

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