Chapter 1 - Overview of the TIMES of the Gentiles

In AD 33 Jesus predicted in Luke 21:24:

 “They (Israel) will fall by the edge of the sword,
and (1) be led away captive into all nations (fulfilled AD 70).
And (2) Jerusalem will be trampled (dominated) by Gentiles
 Here Jesus speaks of a special prophetic time-period called
‘the Times of the Gentiles’, that was determined by God to run
its course. These Times measure a definite period of Gentile
dominion over Israel, her land and especially Jerusalem, which
constitute a disciplinary judgement of God upon Israel’s sin.
 Jesus referred to ‘the Times of the Gentiles’ as if they were well-known to His hearers, and indeed they were. The beginning of these Times is well documented in the Old-Testament. They began when Israel fell into idolatry and went into Captivity to Babylon (607-588 BC). God removed her dominion (rulership in the land) and gave it to the Gentiles. Thus the Times of the Gentiles refer to and measure the time of Gentile dominion over Israel, her Land and Jerusalem (as a result of her sin). 
 At the time of Jesus these Times had already run for over 600 years (Israel was then under Roman control). Jesus was announcing that because of Israel’s rejection of the Messiah, these Times of Gentile domination would soon enter a more severe phase of judgement upon Israel. This happened as He predicted in AD 70 when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and evicted the Jews fromthe land, scattering them to the nations. Moreover, in His prophecy Jesus also confirmed the other implication of ‘the Times of the
Gentiles’: that when they had run their course Israel would be regathered to her land and also regain control of Jerusalem.
 In Luke 21:24, Jesus predicted: 
(1) the dispersion of Israel and
(2) the domination of Jerusalem, but that these would both be
temporary, only lasting until these Times had run their course.
 Then at the end of this time-period of Gentile dominion Israel: 
(1) would be regathered to the land and 
(2) regain control of Jerusalem.
Thus according to Jesus’ prophecy, the ending of the Times of the Gentiles would be marked by these two events.
 This indeed happened exactly as predicted in our recent history:
(1) Israel was reborn as a nation in May 1948 and
(2) Jerusalem was recaptured in June 1967,
signifying that the Times of the Gentiles are now fulfilled!
 Luke 21:24 is the start of a countdown of events leading to the
Second Coming, that was given by Jesus in Luke 21:24-36:
“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” (v24).
 In this verse, Jesus jumped from AD 70, near the start of the
Church-Age to a point near the end of the Church-Age, when the Times of the Gentiles would be over. This was fulfilled in 1967,signalling that God is bringing Israel back onto centre-stageand making preparations for the (Messianic) Kingdom to be restored to her (Acts 1:5). Thus the end of the Times of the Gentiles in 1948 and 1967 is a clear sign we have entered the last times of the Church-Age!
 The Tribulation. The next verses confirm this, for immediately He goes on from the recapture of Jerusalem, to describe the Tribulation with its ‘labour-pains’, indicating that it will follow on soon after:
“And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the
stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity,
the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from
fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on
the earth, for the powers of heaven will be shaken” (v25,26).
 Then He describes His Second Coming as following immediately on after the Tribulation: “Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory” (v27).
 Then He concludes: “Now when these things begin to happen (when we see Israel reborn and Jerusalem back in Jewish hands and the labour-pains characteristic of the Tribulation begin to happen, as we have done in the last century), then look up and lift up your heads (in expectation), because your redemption (the redemption of our body in the Rapture)draws near (for the stage is now set and the world is racing towards the Tribulation)”
 (Luke 21:28). 
 We can see all these things happening in the world today. 
We can see the world racing towards the Tribulation. 
This should cause us to get and stay ready for the Rapture, when we will stand before the Lord and give an account for our lives.
 “Then He spoke to them a Parable (to reinforce what He had just been saying in v28): "Look at the Fig Tree (the sign of Israel), and all the Trees (these are other world events growing and moving toward their state in the Tribulation. The Trees that are fully mature in the Tribulation have their beginning in the time just before it starts, that is in the last-days of the Church-Age).When they are already budding (‘when these things begin to happen’), you see and know for yourselves that summer is now
near. So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near” (Luke 21:29-31).
 Then He promises in very strong terms that all this will happen within a man’s lifetime of the end of the Times of the Gentiles:
 "Assuredly, I say to you, this generation (those alive who see the rebirth of Israel as a nation) will by no means pass away till all things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away” (v32,33). 
 Notice some have misread this by saying the end comes within a generation of 1948. It does not say that. It says that those people who are alive in 1948 will not all die. That is, it is within a man’s lifetime of 1948.
 Therefore we must always stay ready: "But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day (the Tribulation) come on you unexpectedly. For it will come(suddenly) as a snare (a trap that closes tight on animals, bringing great pain and preventing any escape) upon all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man (resurrected in the Rapture)" (Luke 21:34-36). 
 Here Jesus clearly states that the true Church will be raptured just before the Tribulation and thus escape it!