It can be very interesting to embark on word studies when examining the Bible. It is particularly interesting to look at the uses of the words “if” and “until”. They are both very small words and can easily be missed but these words can dramatically define the meaning of a passage.
The two following uses of the word “until” are very important and indicate that God’s dealing with Israel and the “time of the gentiles” are mutually exclusive. In order words, God has separate plans and timelines for both Israel and the “time of the gentiles” as God reveals his chronology for His plan for mankind.
And they 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, emphasis added)
For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. (Romans 11:25, emphasis added)
God’s dealing with mankind was focused primarily on the nation Israel until the time of Christ. After this, God’s dealing with Israel as a nation seems to have been put on hold as mankind entered the “time of the Gentiles”. When the “time of the Gentiles” is completed (i.e. the period of time we are living in now), we believe God will rapture His Church and His attention will then return to the Jews when many Old and New Testament prophecies will be literally fulfilled. This seems to be the only way to make sense of these passages without having to do grammatical gymnastics to make them fit into some other theological concept.
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