24. 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.
[Until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.] "Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled": and what then? in what sense is this word until to be understood? Let every one have his conjecture, and let me be allowed mine. I am well assured our Saviour is discoursing about the fall and overthrow of Jerusalem; but I doubt, whether he touches upon the restoration of it: nor can I see any great reason to affirm, that the times of the Gentiles will be fulfilled before the end of the world itself. But as to this controversy, I shall not at present meddle with it. And yet, in the mean time, I cannot but wonder that the disciples, having so plainly heard these things from the mouth of their master, what concerned the destruction both of the place and nation, should be so quickly asking, "Lord, wilt thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" Nor do I less wonder to find the learned Beza expounding the very following verse after this manner: "Then shall there be the signs in the sun, &c.; that is, after those times are fulfilled, which were allotted for the salvation of the Gentiles, and vengeance upon the Jews, concerning which St. Paul discourses copiously." Romans 11:25, &c: when, indeed, nothing could be said clearer for the confutation of that exposition, than that of verse 32; "Verily, I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away till all be fulfilled." It is strange this should be no more observed, as it ought to have been, by himself and divers others, when, in truth, these very words are as a gnomon to the whole chapter. All the other passages of the chapter fall in with Matthew 24 and Mark 13, where we have placed those notes that were proper; and shall repeat nothing here. Which method I have taken in several places in this evangelist, where he relates passages that have been related before, and which I have had occasion to handle as I met with them.