There is much confusion in Christian circles about the meaning and application of the phrase “times of the Gentiles” as spoken by Jesus and recorded in the Book of Luke. Many modern expositors consider the “times of the Gentiles” to still be underway, despite what Jesus said about its duration, essentially making him a liar and a false prophet if they are correct.
The exact usage, the only place the phrase “times of the Gentiles” occurs in the entire Bible, can be found in the Book of Luke, chapter 21, where Jesus prophesied as follows: “And they [the Jewish people] 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.” (Luke 21:24) [The phrase “times of the Gentiles” in Luke 21:24 should not be equated by expositors with the phrase “fullness of the Gentiles” in Romans 11:25. They are two separate eschatological events.]
Notice that the first criterion that Jesus used to define the time period known as the “times of the Gentiles” is dispersal of the Jews among the nations by force. Also, notice that the second criterion Jesus used to define the “times of the Gentiles” is that Jerusalem would be “trodden down of the Gentiles,” which means that Jerusalem would be under non-Jewish sovereignty and thus under the control of Gentiles during that time period.
Jesus spoke his prophecy in the year of his crucifixion, 30 CE. Beginning in the year 66 CE, the first Jewish-Roman War began, and the prophecy began to be fulfilled. The Jews were initially successful, but the Romans soon began to gain the upper hand in the conflict. By late 67 CE, Vespasian had recaptured the Galilee, whereupon he started resettling Jews from that area to various parts of the Roman Empire by force. They were “led away captive.” Eventually, the entire land of Israel was subdued, with most of the population exiled. By 135 CE, at the culmination of the Second Jewish-Roman War, almost all Jews had been removed from Jerusalem and Judea. From then on, the Jewish people were forced to live among the nations of the world, and that state of affairs persisted until the new sovereign and independent Jewish State of Israel was founded in 1948 and the Israeli Knesset (parliament) passed the Law of Return in 1950.
The Law of Return essentially stated that any Jew anywhere could come live as a citizen in Israel. With the passage of that law, Jews were no longer “led away captive” and forced to live among the nations, as had been the case for almost two-thousand years. The times among the nations for the Jewish people had ended. Then, in the Six-Day War, Israeli forces liberated Old Jerusalem during the miraculous and foretold (Dan. 8:13-14) events of June, 1967. With the capture of the Old City and the Temple Mount by Israel Defense Forces troops, Jewish sovereignty over Jerusalem was re-established once again. Jerusalem was no longer “trodden down” by non-Jewish rulers, and both parts of Jesus’ prophecy about the fate of the Jewish people were fulfilled. AS can be easily seen, the the “times of the Gentiles” was not about Gentiles but about the Jewish people in the latter days.
Of course, as we know, Jesus was most certainly NOT a liar or false prophet. As a true prophet, what he said came true exactly as he said it would. The “times of the Gentiles” thus ended in 1967.
And, by the way, if you are one of those people who thought that the conclusion of the “times of the Gentiles” would usher in the end of the world or something similar, it didn’t. Since you are reading this article, you are still here on Earth! … and since you are, you might want to take a few minutes to read a bit more about the fulfilled prophecies pertaining to Israel and the Jewish people in my book, Daniel Unsealed, which explains everything predicted for Israel and the Jewish people in the Book of Daniel in detail.