Jesus said, “They [the Jews] 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
“For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.” Rom.11:25
Despite the difficulties encountered by Biblical chronologists, it would be true to say that from Abraham until Christ approximately 2,000 years passed. Of greater certainty is the fact that since the days of Christ another 2,000 years has passed. Could there be some significance in this? That the Israeli nation, founded on Abraham, was granted two millennia, and the Gentiles granted a similar time span?
Our two references contain two aspects of the Gentile era. First of all, the Jewish people have been in exile until very recently, and have been “laid on one side”, so to speak, whilst secondly the Gentiles, (the rest of the world) has been gradually gathered into God’s fold.
But the word UNTIL dominates both. Just as the rejection of the Jews is prophesied to end, so the number of Gentile believers will reach a fullness. Both events are linked together. Paul tells us that “all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.” Rom.11:26-27
Jesus said to the Jewish rulers, “Behold, your house is left to you desolate: and truly I say to you, You shall not see me, until the time comes when you shall say, Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” Luke 13:35.
And Hosea was given a word to this effect. “I will go and return to my place, until they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early. Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for He has torn, and He will heal us; He has smitten, and He will bind us up. After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.” Hosea 5:15-6:2
Some have been drawn to the mention of “two days” and a “third day” as meaning the 2,000 years of Jewish exile followed by the Millennial reign of Christ. This may tie in with my earlier mention of chronology.
But once again we are presented several times with this important word UNTIL. In each case the certainty of God’s word stands out boldly in high relief, and even if none of us can calculate “the day or the hour” of Christ’s return to set up the Kingdom, the necessity to BELIEVE and DECLARE our stand is essential. We have strong hope and expectation that God’s word will be fulfilled, utterly and completely.