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“UNTIL THE TIMES OF THE GENTILES ARE FULFILLED”

Quite a number of Bible Readers would know where to find the above quotation!  Can we become too familiar with such passages of Scripture so that they lose their impact for us?  We read Luke Ch. 21 very slowly this morning.  It is evident that the first 24 verses were primarily for those who heard Jesus: and these except for the elderly, were going to experience these “days of vengeance” and “great distress upon the earth and wrath against this people” [v.22,23].

There is a striking parallel between this and our reading in Ezekiel Ch.24 where the message the prophet sent to Jerusalem is totally blunt. Twice he writes, “Woe to the bloody city” [v.6,9].  Less than 2 years are now left before God acts to destroy the city and the wonderful Temple Solomon had built. The totally unspiritual behavior of the inhabitants would finally cause God “to rouse my wrath, to take vengeance … on account of your unclean lewdness” [v.8,12].  There are direct parallels to our generation – and we look carefully at the words of Jesus that apply to our generation.

Are the words of Jesus in v.25 & 26 symbolic or literal or a mixture of both?  Jesus’ statement is plain enough that Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” [v.24]

What we cannot say for certain is whether the part of Jerusalem still not under Jewish control, the Mount on which the Temple stood, is significant in the fulfillment of this prophecy. Jerusalem is not being trampled underfoot as it was in former generations. Is there significance in that the Jews were prevented from gaining a good degree of control of the Old City until 1967?  The oft quoted passage, “this generation will not pass away until all have taken place” [v.32] is in the context of “the kingdom of God is near” [v.31].

We are mindful that Jesus said, “that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels, nor the son” [Matt.24 v.36] but Christ’s message at the end of today’s chapter is surely for us in 2016!  “But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.  For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth” [v.34,35]  Not just Jerusalem! So let us from now on – “stay awake at all times” [v.36]

By Bro D.Caudery

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