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The Persecuted Church




Rapture or second coming?

Does Mt.24:29-32 describe the rapture/ resurrection?

Matthew 24:29-31 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.  And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”

Does this mean after the Tribulation begins or when it ends?

There will be several blackouts continual blackouts, during the tribulation period, not just one.

The 6th seal begins the many blackouts Rev 6:12-7:5 “I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind.”

Since this verse in Mt.24 describes the end of the tribulation it cannot be the 6th seal which occurs before the middle.

Joel seems to describe the last day of the tribulation when armageddon occurs. Joel 3:14-15 “Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. The sun and moon will grow dark, and the stars will diminish their brightness.”

This is certainly speaking of after the tribulation runs its course. As it refers to the sign of the Son of man in heaven.” Jesus refers to Joel’s reference “immediately after the Tribulation which we know he means the end not the beginning because it refers next to him coming in glory. We have blackouts (plural) Rev.6 is the first one, not the last.  

 What is the sign of the son of man in Mt.24? His glory and power displayed, which is Jesus returning to earth with glory to rid evil and begin his kingdom.

Who are the elect that are gathered? We know he is rescuing Israel at this time as he has already spoken to Israel mt.24:15. This will also include the Saints that survive the Tribulation period. V.32 Angels- they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”

Elect is used in both a narrow and wider sense. It can be applied to anything that God has chosen for a purpose (Even Jesus in a metaphoric terms is called the elect as the chief cornerstone 1 Pt.2:6).  Gr. eklektos-picked out, chosen, chosen by God,

to obtain salvation through Christ;  Christians are called "chosen or elect" of God. It means  choice, select, that is, the best of its kind or class, excellence preeminent: applied to certain individual believers.

Same word eklektos is used for chosen in 1 Pet 2:4 Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious.” V.9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people,”

It is used in Romans 8:33 “Who shall bring a charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies.” Rom. 11:7 “What then? Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded.” Meaning there is a remnant of Jews who believe, they are the elect according to the new covenant.

These elect are Israel and the saints, both Jewish and gentile believers. We do know that all of Israel will be saved at the end

Let us look at how God spoke of Israel at the end of the Tribulation. This is crucial to understand what is taking place.

Zech. 2:6 "Up, up! Flee from the land of the north," says the LORD; "for I have spread you abroad like the four winds of heaven," says the LORD.” Same term he uses in Mt.24. Isa 11:12 “He will set up a banner for the nations, and will assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.”

Same concept he has portrayed in Mt.24. Isa 43:5-6 “Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your descendants from the east, and gather you from the west; I will say to the north, 'Give them up!' And to the south, 'Do not keep them back!' Bring My sons from afar, and My daughters from the ends of the earthSame concept- from the four corners of the earth (as Jer 29:14 speaks of)

We also have promises that go even further back of what will take place to the Jews who believe and are regatherd.

Deut. 30:3-6 "that the LORD your God will bring you back from captivity, and have compassion on you, and gather you again from all the nations where the LORD your God has scattered you. "If any of you are driven out to the farthest parts under heaven, from there the LORD your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you. "Then the LORD your God will bring you to the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it. He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers. "And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.”

Jer 29:14 “I will be found by you, says the LORD, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the LORD, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.

Ezek. 11:17-19 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "I will gather you from the peoples, assemble you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel."' "… "Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh,

Ezek. 36:24-26 "For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. "Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. "

 So we need to have a wider perspective to understand what Jesus was referring to in this event. Israel is rescued and brought into her land where God fulfills the promises of his covenant[s].

Let’s understand, Jesus’ discourse in Mt 24:39 is not the rapture, similarity does not mean sameness. It tells us it is at a certain time the Tribulation ends by the Son who appears to all as he comes to earth physically. He sends his angels with of the trumpet to gather his elect from all over the earth. The trumpet is to send the angels whereas 1 thess. 4:16 has a different purpose for the trumpet blowing.

This all occurs after certain other events have taken place.  Jesus has explained prior, the abomination of desolation in the temple and the Jews fleeing from the land to survive.

 What are the Problems with Mt.24 being called the rapture?

Angels do not gather all the people all over the world in a split second. There is no sense in sending angels to gather the church if they are transformed to be like Jesus instantaneously.

The rapture (caught up) are people who are believers (both dead and alive) all over the world being transformed; this is done by Jesus alone. The same One who died and rose again for His church. It is His church, His possession and He is the one who calls us up to Himself. Christ does not send angels for us; it is to be the Lord Himself.

Since trumpets were used in gatherings for Israel, we would expect to see them used here as well. But this Great sound of a Trumpet is NOT the same as the last Trumpet. Which is the last blowing of the trumpet in the Feast of Trumpets (which takes place before. It is a sound only to the Church, (both the dead and living.)

Second, the angels gather the elect, Israel is also the elect. These "elect" are also the people who become believers during the Tribulation. This gathering together is not the Rapture. This gathering of Tribulation believers as we will see, (this description in Mt.24) has the Lord Jesus coming to judge the armies of the world that have gathered and give the judgment of men during this period but he first he rescues his people.

At the Second Coming, Jesus will send his angels all over the world to re-gather all Jews into Israel, their homeland (Mark 13:27).  The Old Testament Isaiah 27:12-13 prophesied of this final restoration of Israel signaled by the sound of a great trumpet. The background to the Mark passage is Deuteronomy 30:4, which also emphasizes that the final restoration. Those Jews who are gathered from the uttermost parts of the earth will be living in Israel, the one-third Remnant that survived the Tribulation.

In 1 Thess. 4 the gathering of those “in Christ” may seem to be an insignificant difference until ones looks carefully at the meanings. First:  for the church it is instantaneous, angels do not gather us, we are gathered by hearing his voice, called up to Him in an assembly.

In Matthew 24:29-31, angels do the gathering. In 1 Thessalonians 4:16 “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first” (a single angel is involved)

The Rapture/resurrection occurs as a response to a verbal summoning from Jesus Christ. It says that the "shout" is by the voice of the archangel. One angel announces him. The living and the dead respond to the voice of Our Lord Jesus.

John 5:25-29 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. … for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” (This can have a dual application to those who die in the millennium)

Note the difference between verse 25 and verse 27. In verse 25, it is only they that hear, while in verse 27, it is all that are in the graves. There is apparently a distinction being made, between a resurrection where ONLY they that hear shall respond, and a different resurrection in which ALL that are in the graves shall hear His voice.”

Matthew 24:29-32 does not mention of the voice of the Son of God, but only of angels gathering the elect.” Again similarity does not mean sameness. The Mt.24 passage has nothing about the dead and the living being transformed, yet both passages of 1 Cor. 15 and 1 Thess. 4 do.  Again, both rapture references (1 Cor.15:51; 1 Thess. 4:16) say nothing about angels doing this gathering.

Speaking to believers 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 “Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”

At the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52). “with the trumpet of God (not of angels). And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).

Mt. 24: And he shall send forth his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

See the difference.

 The Raptured and resurrected saints are not spoken of as being gathered by the trumpet. The elect in Mt.24 are gathered by angels sent by the trumpet. there are NO resurrections mentioned in Matthew 24:29-31. No "transformation" taking place "in the twinkling of an eye" because this is not that event.

The synoptic passage in Mark refers also to the earth:

Mark 13:24-27 “But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.

This phrase has the meaning - "every part of earth", from the four quarters of the globe-east, west, north, and south. The Jews expressed those quarters by the winds blowing from them (See Ezek. 37:9. See also Isa 43:5-6. "From one end of heaven, etc." Mark says (Mark 13:27), from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven. The expression denotes that they shall be gathered from all parts of the earth where they are scattered. The word "heaven" is used here to denote the "visible" heavens or the sky, meaning that through "the whole world" (from Barnes' Notes)

I might add that phrase the uttermost part of heaven we can also consider men in space. Who knows what this can mean at the time. This may sound offbeat but we do know we are speaking and planning of going to other planets and there are people living in space stations today. So this can be an actual consideration.

In Matthew 24:29-31 has nothing whatsoever about resurrections, or instantaneous transformations into glorified bodies mentioned. It is not said that they are resurrected; it is not said that they are changed; it is only said that they are gathered. His trumpet blown to send angels to gather is a SEPARATE EVENT from the Resurrection.  To force one scripture passage to fit another makes a contradiction and then neither makes any sense.

The question is where and what for is this gathering? And the answer to where is found in Mt.24, as it continues to chapter 25 where it adds the explanation.

Matt 25:31-34 "When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.”

This is where the elect are gathered to. The judgement that takes place before the Millennium officially begins. Proving that this is NOT the Rapture of 1 Thessalonians 4:17.

Matt. 13:40-41 "Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. "The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness.” Again another description of this judgement. When Jesus returns to earth, after he ends the tribulation He separates the wicked from the just. The sheep, saints, go into the kingdom. Mt.25

Mt 24:38-42, “For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.”

Jesus makes the correlation that those taken way in Noah’s day were judged, so it will be with those in the end of the age who are taken away.

The preceding Bible passage is NOT speaking about the Rapture of the saints; but rather, the separating of the tares from the wheat at the Second Coming of Christ.   It makes no sense to have the Rapture happen at this same time as the tares taken. The separating of the tares from the wheat is NOT the Rapture. The Rapture is when the saints are “CAUGHT UP” to be with Christ. Jesus’ and Paul’s language is clearly defining different events.

1Thessalonians 4:13-17 says the righteous (those in Christ) are taken and the wicked are left behind.

Matthew 13:30, 49 Jesus says the wicked are removed and righteous are left behind. This points to two separate events, the rapture and the second coming.

  If God raptures the saints at the time of His Second Coming, then what would be the purpose of separating the tares from the wheat? This has to do with Christ's Millennial reign, where He separates the wicked (tares) from the wheat (righteous), whom will enter the Kingdom.

In conclusion, at the rapture the church goes up to be with Christ who takes us to his Father's house in heaven, it is announced by a trumpet where he descends and the believers both dead and alive are summoned up to Christ by his voice.

Matthew 13:36-42, “… and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field. He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”

Again we have the angels doing this harvest and the tare s are taken, judged and burned in the fire so that they do not enter his kingdom. God removes all that offends and ends this world system ruled by the false Messiah, this is Mt.25:46.

The tares will be separated from the wheat after the END of the 7-year Tribulation. The Lord returns at the Second Coming- the Battle of Armageddon the tares will be separated from the wheat. The wheat (righteous) are left, they are saved and allowed to enter the Millennium when Christ shall reign from Jerusalem over the entire earth.

The tribulation is about the scattered Jews repenting and being regathered, in Israel. For the Jews to believe and become a believing nation. It is a testing the people of the world (Rev.3:10). Unbelievers must decide whom they will follow, the true or false messiah. For the world, it is the ultimate test, it ends man rejection of God and his corrupt ruling over men.




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