The Bible refers to a period called the “Fullness of the Gentiles.” Romans 11:25 says,
“For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.”
When will this time take place?
Believer’s Bible Commentary, pages 1447 and 1727 says, “The fullness of the Gentiles refers to the time when the last member will be added to the Church, and when the completed Body of Christ will be raptured home to heaven.”
The MacArthur Commentary, page 1543 reads, “Israel’s spiritual hardening (which began with rejecting Jesus as Messiah) will last until the complete number of elect Gentiles has come to salvation.”
So when does the fullness of the Gentiles actually occur? The Bible does not reveal this time. We can only speculate.
According to the Believer’s Bible Commentary, and many others, this happens at the rapture of the Church. If this is the case, then those Gentiles saved during the Tribulation would not be considered part of the Church. They are always referred to as “saints” in the book of Revelation. They are still believers who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ, but they are classified as saints, and may not be part of the Church, or the Body of Christ.
Believer’s Bible Commentary, page 1915 states, “The Church is a company of people called out from the world between Pentecost and the Rapture…and being the body of Christ.”
Ephesians 1:22-23 says, “the Church, which is His body, the fullness of Him…”
We see by this verse the church is His body and His fullness. Dr. Chuck Missler says, “We, the Gentiles make up the Church.”
Some questions remain:
- Is the Church complete at the Rapture?
- Would those who are saved during the tribulation not be considered part of His Church?
- Would they not be considered part of His Body?
- Is the fullness of the Gentiles simply a time period only, and not referring to the body of Christ?
We don’t know the answers to these questions.
Another thing to consider is that the Church is never mentioned after Revelation 4:1. Many believe this verse could be representative of the rapture since John was called up to heaven and the Church is seen in heaven after that. Revelation chapter 4 and the chapters following deal only with the people on the earth and not the Church.
In addition, the main point of the seven-year period known as the Tribulation is to deal with the Nation of Israel. The Church age could be ended at the beginning of this seven-year period because God has this time reserved for Israel. The body of Christ and the Church age would be finished before God deals with Israel for those seven years. The fullness of the Gentiles could very well be at the Rapture of the Church.
The second possibility is that the fullness occurs at the middle of the Tribulation, when Israel becomes aware that the antichrist is not the Messiah. This is when he declares himself to be God. Romans 11:25 states that their blindness in part is removed at some point in the future. This could be that time.
The MacArthur Bible Commentary, page 2016, states, “At the midpoint of the Tribulation, the antichrist breaks his covenant with Israel, puts a stop to temple worship, sets up the abomination of desolation and devastates Jerusalem. At that time, many Jews flee for their lives. God will preserve them during the last 1260 days…constituting the Great Tribulation…”
An article at Liberty University by Thomas D. Ice states, “One of the major Divine purposes for the Tribulation in relation to Israel is the conversion of the Jewish remnant to faith in Jesus as their Messiah. This unique horrid time of God’s wrath is what it will take for them to admit their true Messiah and repent of their rejection of Jesus Christ.”
Zechariah 12:10-11, 13:8-9 and Jeremiah 30:11 all make reference to this. It is also known as the time of Jacob’s trouble.
God changed Jacobs name to Israel (Genesis 32:28). Jacob represents the nation of Israel. The Jewish people as a whole will most likely wake up at the middle of the Tribulation, thereby possibly ending the fullness of the Gentiles.
Personally, I believe the “fullness of the Gentiles” will take place at the Rapture of the Church, which I believe is prior to the seven-year Tribulation. There is however no way to know for certain when this verse will be fulfilled.
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By Bill Wiese, author of 23 Minutes in Hell