20 “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is near. 21 Then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those who are in the midst of the city must leave, and those who are in the country must not enter the city; 22 because these are days of vengeance, so that all things which are written will be fulfilled. 23 Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days; for there will be great distress upon the land and wrath to this people; 24 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 are fulfilled. Luke 21:20–24
As indicated here previously, the Romans flattened Jerusalem in 70 A.D. after laying siege to the city (Luke 19:43-44). It was methodical and brutal. Titus’ forces chose the time of Passover to entrap, starve, and butcher thousands. But as horrible as it was, it was but a practice run for what will occur at the conclusion of the Great Tribulation when the Lord touches ground again. One clue is the use of the plural “armies.” Here only the Romans were in view, but in the end, all the nations will rise up against the city (see Zechariah 14).
One needs to possess a long term view of God’s program when addressing this prophecy, and not lose sight of the words of prophets such as Daniel, Isaiah, and Zechariah. Since the Lord did not return following the desolation of Jerusalem at that time, there’s got to be more to come, for one, and the Gentiles are still firmly in control today. Look also at verse 22 for example, “Because these are days of vengeance, so that all things which are written will be fulfilled.” The vengeance wrought in 70 A.D. was for the Jews’ failure to recognize their “day of visitation.” The yet coming “vengeance” will be wielded to punctuate all of biblical prophecy.
Many Christians decline to focus on what is to come and permanently table big chunks of scripture (half of Daniel, after chapter 3 of Revelation, Ezekiel, etc.). Any student of the foreboding times in which we live should sense the enemy armies at the gate. Instead of burying our heads in the sand, let’s “straighten up and lift our heads” and look forward to our day of redemption. (Luke 21:28)