I have always been taught that in order for the rapture to occur, the fulness of the Gentiles must be reached. In other words, once the last person whom the Lord knows will accept Him during the church age does so, the rapture will occur.
"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
It would seem that this verse is saying that once the rapture occurs, the Lord will return His focus to the Jewish people. Not only that, but it sounds like once the rapture event takes place, many of their eyes will be opened, because of it. Notice how Paul also uses the word "mystery", which is used in reference to the church age, and the rapture.
I recently came across these verses...
"And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. 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 21:20-24
These verses in Luke are obviously refering to the abomination of desolation, at which time the Jewish people will know to flee to safety. This is the midpoint of the tribulation. This also sounds like it may be speaking of the Gog/Magog invasion, when it says Jerusalem is compassed with armies. Although it does say when they see this taking place, the abomination will be soon after, so perhaps Paul is giving an advanced warning.
My question is: Is there a difference between the terms "fulness of the Gentiles", and "times of the Gentiles"? Or are these two verses linked together somehow, and I am incorrect in attributing Romans 11:25 to the rapture?
I'd like to say that fulness of the Gentiles means fulness of the body of believers (church age), and times of the Gentiles is refering to the Gentile people who remain (unbelievers), but I'd like thoughts on this... Thanks!