Luke 21:24 And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

When did the ‘time of the gentiles’ begin? What was the the ‘time’ before this?

See also:

  • 1
    I see nothing wrong with this question, but if anyone thinks it is a duplicate of any of the linked questions, they can vote to close as such. But don't erase the question, that's not allowed.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Oct 16, 2021 at 5:36
  • @curiousdannii-The OP agreed, with me, to withdraw the Q. it being so closely aligned to my own (70090), of just around 2 hours before, even though asked in a round about way, at my request. We then subsequently erased our comments. It was a mutual decision. By you resurrecting, you are going against our mutual understanding. Commented Oct 16, 2021 at 7:28
  • Hint: nations and gentiles are not only synonymous, but, within the quoted text, translate the same Greek term.
    – Lucian
    Commented Oct 16, 2021 at 8:05
  • @Lucian Thanks! That perspective helps (me). For me it was a case of being blind to the obvious, because I knew about the two meanings, but somehow never ‘read’ that into this verse. Now it begins to make more sense!
    – Dave
    Commented Oct 16, 2021 at 19:57

3 Answers 3


I thought this was a good answer that I found on got questions.

Looking again at Luke 21:24, we see that Jesus mentions a time in which Jerusalem is under the dominion of Gentile authority. Nebuchadnezzar’s conquest of Jerusalem in 588 BC began that period, and it has continued through the present time.

Romans 11:25 gives us a hint as to God’s purpose in the times of the Gentiles: the spread of the gospel throughout the whole world.

I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in.<


In the first place, the Greek word καιροὶ = times, plural. The text of Luke 21 does not identify when these "times" were to begin. However, we have some very good clues based on the use of the plural word καιροὶ.

  • Matt 16:3 - and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.
  • Acts 1:7 - Jesus replied, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by His own authority.
  • Acts 14:17 - Yet He has not left Himself without testimony to His goodness: He gives you rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling your hearts with food and gladness.”
  • Acts 17:26 - From one man He made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their lands.
  • Eph 1:10 - to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
  • 1 Thess 5:1 - Now about the times and seasons, brothers, we do not need to write to you.
  • Rev 12:14 - But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle to fly from the presence of the serpent to her place in the wilderness, where she was nourished for a time, and times, and half a time. [= 3½ years, see Dan 7:25, 12:7]
  • Rev 11:2, 3 - But exclude the courtyard outside the temple. Do not measure it, because it has been given over to the gentiles, and they will trample the holy city for 42 months. And I will empower my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.”

Thus, it appears "times of the Gentiles were:

  • was future in Jesus' time
  • was associated with 1260 days, 42 month, 3½ years as noted above.

Note the comments of the Cambridge commentary:

shall be trodden down of the Gentiles So that the very thing happened which the Maccabees had tried to avert by their fortifications (1Ma 4:60). All sorts of Gentiles—Romans, Saracens, Persians, Franks, Norsemen, Turks—have ‘trodden down’ Jerusalem since then. The estai patounmene of the original implies a more permanent result than the simple future. Comp. Revelation 11:2.

The question about the interpretation of the 1260 days, etc, is very vexed and disputed and should be the subject of a separate question.

  • Thanks - I ‘see’ the use of ‘kairos’ is also plural in Luke 21 - although translated as a single time period. Would you suggest that the ‘time of the gentiles’ starts at the beginning of that 1260 day span?
    – Dave
    Commented Oct 16, 2021 at 0:13

Times of the Gentiles The context of this verse deals with the Destruction of Judea in 67-70 A.D. "Trampling" deals with military warfare, not just foreign occupation of a country. Verse 20 sets the stage.

The Roman General, Cestius, came and surrounded Jerusalem with his armies, then mysteriously retreated. (Some say it was due to drought, and lack of water for his men.) This retreat gave the Christians time to flee to the mountains (21:21) Nero heard of the retreat, and the rebellion of the Zealots, and summarily dispatched general Vespasian to conquer Judea. (F. Josephus, Wars of the Jews)

Synoptic Gospel What Luke describes is the same as the Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24-25. What most people reading this passage don't realize is that Luke is not just talking about the siege of Jerusalem and the Destruction of the Temple. But the Roman trampling was the statement describing a 3 and 1/2 year conquest of all of Judea, from Dan to Beersheba! Vespasian burned down villages in Galilee. Samaria, Perea, Negeb, as well as Judea proper, year after year. THIS BEGAN IN THE SPRING OF 67 A.D. This was the beginning of the THE TIMES OF THE GENTILES, and it wasn't completed ("fulfilled") until the Fall of 70 A.D.

Gentile Army Notice the accuracy of the prophecy in Luke! The Roman army of Vespasian (and later Titus) consisted of 4 Legions from Egypt, Syria, Rome, etc. They were comprised, not only of Roman soldiers, but composed of several mercenary legionaires--many nations! So TIMES OF THE GENTILES (NATIONS) was right on.

THE TIMES The "Time" referred to was the Time in fulfillment of all that has been written (v. 22) Daniel had prophesied about this destruction in chapter twelve, giving the exact number of days this 3 and 1/2 year trampling would happen: 1290, extended to 1335 days. (Daniel 12:11-12) Amazing!

The "trampling" which began in the Spring of 67 and came to a close in the fall of 70 A.D. was hindered from completely destroying all of Jerusalem, by a hold-out of some stubborn Zealots for 45 days: 1290--->1335 days. Just like Daniel was told.

Subsequent History The history of the Jewish people and Judea has been one of tenuous existence, chased from country to country. They have been oppressed, and suppressed. But the "Trampling" of this Luke passage deals with the army invasion by Rome in the first century. Trampling is what armies do, and Rome certainly did it. Notice the admonitions to flee, etc. These applied to that first century Christian congregation (and listening Jews) who "were in Judea." (21:21)

For in depth detail see Flavius Josephus, "Wars of the Jews"; Raymond Grant, "Times, They Are A'Changing"; Marcellus Kik,"Matthew Twenty-four".

  • Here you are again, trying to tie in the 1290 days + 45 with the "Trampling" of Judea by the Roman armies, culminating in 70 AD, and again you fail to give the starting and ending dates for this exacting period. But, now we are talking with reference to the Times of the Gentiles. FYI, I covered these most intriguing "Times" in my Q and A of 2021 (see the 3rd "Linked" question referenced above). At that time it was my understanding that, at the very least, a period of 2520 days were in question, but that more than likely, a period of 2520 years were being implied. Commented Jul 11, 2023 at 3:40

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