Is Luke 21:20-24 Historical or Future?
by Sheila Lewis Busby

"But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is at hand. "Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are in the midst of the city depart, and let not those who are in the country enter the city; because these are days of vengeance, in order that all things which are written may be fulfilled. "Woe to those who are with child and to those who nurse babes in those days; for there will be great distress upon the land, and wrath to this people, and they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
Compare the following passages: 
Matt 24 Mark 13 Luke 21
1-3 1-4 5-7
4-5 5-6 8
6 7 9
7-8 8 10-11
9-14; 10:17-22 9-13 12-19
24:15-22 14-20 20-24
23-28 21-23 17:22-25
29-30 24-26 21:25-27 
31 27 28

Is it possible that in these parallel passages, which each describe false christs, wars, famines, martyrs... that suddenly one version skips back to the past, then they all resume with "flee," more false christs, sun/moon/stars, Son of Man coming, gathering, etc.??? Because of context, I seriously doubt it, though there could be a double reference. 

Matthew and Mark describe a time of tribulation which is cut short, for the sake of the elect. Could Luke (the only Gentile writer) be speaking of a different time period which is not cut short, but continues "until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled"? Perhaps it is "the time of Jacob's distress" described in Jer 30:7. Luke 21:24 tells us that Jerusalem will be trodden "until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled."  

How long will Jerusalem be trodden? According to Rev 11:2, the nations (Gentiles) "will tread underfoot the Holy City for 42 months." This would appear to be the last half of the seven years if the fleeing in all 3 gospels occurs mid-week at the abomination of desolation, and the occupation continues for 42 months. 

What else happens when "the fulness of the Gentiles has come in"? According to Rom 11:25-26, the partial hardening of Israel has occurred until that time, but after "the fulness of the Gentiles has come in," "all Israel will be saved." Furthermore, this appears to coincide with the time described in Ezek 36:25-28, when the Lord says, "Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone [partial hardening] from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances." 

And furthermore (let every fact be established by the testimony of two or more witnesses), this perfectly agrees with the very definition of the seventieth week given in Dan 9:24. "Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy [place.]" By definition, this must be accomplished before the seventieth week has concluded! 

Dan 12:6-7 " And one said to the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, "How long [will it be] until the end of [these] wonders?" And I heard the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, as he raised his right hand and his left toward heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever that it would be for a time, times, and half a time; [3 1/2 years or 42 months] and as soon as they finish shattering the power of the holy people, all these [events] will be completed." 

It seems that Luke 21:20-24 is not history, but is yet to come!

 Copyright © 1997, 1998  Sheila Lewis Busby
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