Home
Search Bible
Click for Help   Click for QuickNav   Click for Advanced Search Options
Search KJV
KJVNKJVNLTNIVESVCSBNASB
Version Selector Up Arrow NETRSVASVYLTDBYWEBHNV
RVR60VULWLCLXXmGNTTR  

Search a pre-defined list


OR Select a range of biblical books

From:

To:


OR Custom Selection:

Use semicolons to separate groups:
'Gen;Jdg;Psa-Mal' or 'Rom 3-12;Mat 1:15;Mat 5:12-22'

Your Bible Version is the KJV
Go to Top
Link to This PageCite This Page
Version Selector Up Arrow
Version Selector Up Arrow

Cite this page

MLA format Copy link to clipboard

Note: MLA no longer requires the URL as part of their citation standard. Individual instructors or editors may still require the use of URLs.

APA format Copy link to clipboard
Chicago format Copy link to clipboard
Close
Share this pageFollow the BLB
Version Selector Up Arrow

Share this page using one of these tools:

facebooktwitter

googlepluspinterest

reddittumblrlinkedin


Or email this page to a friend:

Version Selector Up Arrow

Follow the Blue Letter Bible on:

facebooktwitter

pinterestgoogle+


Or subscribe to our Newsletter:

Printable Page
 
 
Left Contextbar EdgeLeft Contextbar Edge BackgroundRight Contextbar Edge2Prior SectionReturn to CommentariesReturn to Author BiographyNext SectionRight Contextbar Edge2Right Contextbar Edge BackgroundRight Contextbar Edge1
Cite Print
Version Selector Up Arrow

Cite this page

MLA format Copy link to clipboard

Note: MLA no longer requires the URL as part of their citation standard. Individual instructors or editors may still require the use of URLs.

APA format Copy link to clipboard
Chicago format Copy link to clipboard
Close
Version Selector Up Arrow

Share this page using one of these tools:

facebook twitter

googleplus pinterest

reddit tumblr linkedin


Or email this page to a friend:

Choose a new font size and typeface

Customize your font sizeIncrease your font sizeDecrease your font sizeReturn to default font size

Choose a Bible text color
Read the Bible in blackRead the Bible in dark blueRead the Bible in blue

Customize your text type
Arial font
Trebuchet MS font
Georgia font
Times New Roman font

Customize your Hebrew text type
SBL Hebrew font
Times New Roman font
Arial font

Customize your Greek text type
Gentium font
Times New Roman font
Arial font

Close font preferences
The Blue Letter Bible
BLB Searches
Search the Bible
Search KJV
KJVNKJVNLTNIVESVCSBNASB
Version Selector Up Arrow NETRSVASVYLTDBYWEBHNV
RVR60VULWLCLXXmGNTTR  
 [?]

Advanced Options

Search a pre-defined list


OR Select a range of biblical books

From:

To:


OR Custom Selection:

Use semicolons to separate groups: 'Gen;Jdg;Psa-Mal' or 'Rom 3-12;Mat 1:15;Mat 5:12-22'

LexiConc
 [?]
 

Advanced Options

Exact Match
Beginning of the Word
Any Part of the Word
Theological FAQs
 [?]
 
Multi-Verse Retrieval
x
Search KJV
KJVNKJVNLTNIVESVCSBNASB
Version Selector Up Arrow NETRSVASVYLTDBYWEBHNV
RVR60VULWLCLXXmGNTTR  

Line-By-Line Order:
Line-By-Line Verse-Reference  Verse-Reference
Line-By-Line Reference-Verse  Reference-Verse
Line-By-Line Separate Line  Separate Line
Line-By-Line Verse Only  Verse Only
Line-By-Line Reference Only  Reference Only
Reference Delimiters:
No Reference Delimiters  None — Jhn 1:1 KJV
Square Reference Delimiters  Square — [Jhn 1:1 KJV]
Curly Reference Delimiters  Curly — {Jhn 1:1 KJV}
Parenthesis Reference Delimiters  Parens — (Jhn 1:1 KJV)
Paragraph Order:
Paragraph Verse-Reference  Verse-Reference
Paragraph Reference-Verse  Reference-Verse
Paragraph Reference-Only  Reference-Only
Number Delimiters:*
No Verse Numbers  No Number
No Verse Delimeters  No Delimiter — 15
Square Verse Delimiters  Square — [15]
Curly Verse Delimiters  Curly — {15}
Parenthesis Verse Delimiters  Parens — (15)
Other Options:
Abbreviate Books  Abbreviate Books
Quotes Around Verses  Quotes around Verses
Remove Square Brackets  Remove Square Brackets
 
Sort Canonically  Sort Canonically

* 'Number Delimiters' only apply to 'Paragraph Order'

Let's Connect
x

Connect on Facebook Connect on Twitter Connect on Instagram Connect on Pinterest Connect on YouTube

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Daily Devotionals
x

Blue Letter Bible offers several daily devotional readings in order to help you refocus on Christ and the Gospel of His peace and righteousness.

Daily Bible Reading Plans
x

Recognizing the value of consistent reflection upon the Word of God in order to refocus one’s mind and heart upon Christ and His Gospel of peace, we provide several reading plans designed to cover the entire Bible in a year.

One-Year Plans

Two-Year Plan

Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Thomas Ice :: An Interpretation of Matthew 24-25

Thomas Ice :: Part 29 - Matthew 24:31 Posttribulational Position

toggle collapse

AN INTERPRETATION OF MATTHEW 24-25

by Thomas Ice

Part 29 - Matthew 24:31 Posttribulational Position

 

And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.—Matthew 24:31

Many non-pretribulationists contend that Matthew 24:31 teaches a posttribulational rapture. All agree that this passage teaches a return of Christ. This means that the question revolves around whether Matthew 24:31 and Mark 13:27 are references to the rapture. I contend that the rapture is not in view in this passage.

POSTTRIBULATIONAL POSITION


Posttribulational radio personality, Irwin Baxter, believes that the rapture and the second coming “are the same event” in Matthew 24:311Matthew 24:29 teaches that the coming of the Son of man and the rapture are the same event,” contends Baxter. He arrives at this conclusion by comparing Matthew 24:29-31 to Christ’s return in Revelation 19. In the discussion cited, Baxter does not refer to 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, the undisputed rapture passage, as a baseline for defining the rapture.

Posttribulational rapture scholar, Dr. Robert Gundry, also equates the rapture with the second coming in Matthew 24:31. “Posttribulationists,” contends Gundry, “equate the rapture with the gathering of the elect by angels at the sound of the trumpet (Matthew 24:31).” 2 Unlike Baxter, Dr. Gundry does interact with the rapture passage (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). He says, “If we define the rapture strictly as a catching up, only one passage in the entire New Testament describes it. That passage is 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.” 3

DEFINITION OF THE RAPTURE


Baxter does not even attempt to define the rapture. Apparently this allows Baxter flexibility to find the rapture in Matthew 24:31. Dr. Gundry includes in his definition of the rapture “a catching up” from 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. Dr. Gundry wants to “broaden the definition to include a gathering or reception” from Matthew 24:31, etc. 4 Since the present debate is whether or not Matthew 24:31 is a rapture passage, it would beg the question to include Matthew 24:31 in an a priori definition of the rapture.

1 Thessalonians 4:17 is the only undisputed passage describing the rapture event. Only in this passage is the Greek word harpazô (“caught up”) used, from which the English word rapture descends. Whatever else the rapture may include in 1 Thessalonians 4:17, it clearly consists of a translation of living believers.

COMPARISON OF PASSAGES


In an attempt to equate Matthew 24:31 and 1 Thessalonians 4:17 as referring to the same event, Dr. Gundry notes “parallel terminology in Paul’s Thessalonian discussion of the Church’s rapture, where we read of a trumpet, clouds, and a gathering of believers just as in the Olivet Discourse.” 5 Indeed, there are some similarities between the rapture and the second coming. There are also some similarities between Christ’s first advent 2,000 years ago and His second advent. But they are not the same events. We know they are not the same because of the differences. It is the differences that are important when comparing Matthew 24:31 and 1 Thessalonians 4:17. Enough differences exist between the two passages to clearly conclude that they must be separate events.

Dr. Steven McAvoy notes that “the differences between Paul’s Thessalonian statements and Matthew 24:30-31 far outweigh any alleged similarities.” 6 He says:

Sproule asks,

Where does Paul mention the darkening of the sun (Matthew 24:29), the moon not giving its light (Matthew 24:29), the stars falling from the sky (Matthew 24:29), the powers of the heavens being shaken (Matthew 24:29), all the tribes of the earth mourning (Matthew 24:30), all the world seeing the coming of the Son of Man (Matthew 24:30), or God sending forth angels (Matthew 24:31)? 7

Feinberg also notes the dissimilarities between the two accounts:

Notice what happens when you examine both passages carefully. In Matthew the Son of Man comes on the clouds, while in 1 Thessalonians 4 the ascending believers are in them. In Matthew the angels gather the elect; in 1 Thessalonians the Lord Himself (note the emphasis) gathers the believers. Thessalonians only speaks of the voice of the archangel. In the Olivet Discourse nothing is said about a resurrection, while in the latter text it is the central point. In the two passages the differences in what will take place prior to the appearance of Christ is striking. Moreover, the order of ascent is absent from Matthew in spite of the fact that it is the central part of the epistle. 8 9

In addition to the above differences, the order of events are different between the two passages. In 1 Thessalonians 4 believers are gathered in the air and taken to heaven, while in Matthew 24 they are gathered after Christ’s arrival to earth. “In order for Gundry to establish his view that Matthew 24:31 refers to the rapture, he must reconcile the dissimilarities; not simple point to a few similarities.” 10 Thus, the differences in the two passages support the contention that they speak of two distinct events.

WHO ARE THE ELECT?


I believe the elect in Matthew 24 is a reference to the Jewish remnant who will come to faith in the Messiahship of Jesus during the tribulation period. Commentators generally recognize that “elect” “may refer to Israel, to the Church, or to both.” 11 The context is the determinative factor in any attempt to discover which nuance the author intended. The contextual usage of Matthew supports the elect as a reference to Israel because of the Jewish orientation of the passage. “Such terms as the gospel of the kingdom (Matthew 24:14), the holy place (Matthew 24:15), the Sabbath (Matthew 24:20), and the Messiah (Matthew 24:23-24) indicate that Israel as a nation is in view,” 12 observes Dr. Stanley Toussaint. Dr. Renald Showers provides a more focused explanation:

The elect are the faithful, believing Israelite remnant in contrast with the unbelieving sinners within the nation. In Isaiah 65:7-16 God drew a contrast between these two groups and their destinies. In Isaiah 65:9 He called the believing remnant “mine Elect,” and in Isaiah 65:17-25 He indicated that in the future Millennium His elect remnant of the nation will be blessed greatly on the earth. 13

Since the term “elect” is used three times in Matthew 24:22, 24, 31; (see also Mark 13:20, 22, 27), it is most likely that the author uses it to refer to the same entity all three times. Dr. McAvoy says, “The rule of context precludes understanding ‘elect’ in Matthew 24:22, 24 as referring to Israel and then nine verses later as referring to the church. Without some indication of transition from one intended meaning to another ‘elect’ in Matthew 24:31 must mean the same as it does in Matthew 24:22, 24.” 14

THE ANGELIC GATHERING


To me, the most convincing reason why Matthew 24:31 is not a rapture statement is found in the fact that this verse includes citations from Old Testament passages, specifically Deuteronomy 30:4. These references clearly support the notion that this angelic gathering, which was predicted in the Older Testament, references a regathering of saved Jews who need to be returned to the land of Israel in which they will live for a thousand years during Christ’s Kingdom. Instead, of using El Al airlines, the Lord will use angelic carriers to transport His people back to their land. What is the support for this view? Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum tells us the following about the use of Old Testament citations in Matthew 24:31:

The Matthew passage is a rather simple summary of all that the prophets had to say about the second facet of Israel’s final restoration. Its purpose was to make clear that the world-wide regathering predicted by the prophets will be fulfilled only after the second coming. 15

Dr. Renald Showers has done an excellent job collecting evidence and arguing for this view. 16 After noting that “from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other” means that “the elect will be gathered from all over the world at Christ’s coming,” 17 Dr. Showers provides three lines of proof for his view as follows:

First, because of Israel’s persistent rebellion against God, He declared that He would scatter the Jews “into all the winds” (Ezekiel 5:10, 12) or “toward all winds” (Ezekiel 17:21). In Zechariah 2:6 God stated that He did scatter them abroad “as four winds of the heavens.”…God did scatter the Jews all over the world.

Next, God also declared that in the future Israel would be gathered from the east, west, north, and south, “from the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 43:5-7). We should note that in the context of this promise, God called Israel His “chosen” (Isaiah 43:10, 20). …Just as Jesus indicated that the gathering of His elect from the four directions of the world will take place in conjunction with “a great trumpet” (literal translation of the Greek text of Matthew 24:31), so Isaiah 27:13 teaches that the scattered children of Israel will be gathered to their homeland in conjunction with the blowing of “a great trumpet” (literal translation of the Hebrew).…

Gerhard Friedrich wrote that in that future eschatological day “a great horn shall be blown (Isaiah 27:13)” and the exiled will be brought back by that signal. Again he asserted that in conjunction with the blowing of the great trumpet of Isaiah 27:13, “There follows the gathering of Israel and the return of the dispersed to Zion.”

It is significant to note that Isaiah 27:13, which foretells this future regathering of Israel, is the only specific reference in the Old Testament to a “great” trumpet.

Although Isaiah 11:11-12 does not refer to a great trumpet, it is parallel to Isaiah 27:13 because it refers to the same regathering of Israel. In its context, this passage indicates that when the Messiah (a root of Jesse, Isaiah 27:1, 10) comes to rule and transform the world as an “ensign” (a banner), He will gather together the scattered remnant of His people Israel “from the four corners of the earth.” 18

What Jesus describes in Matthew 24 and Mark 13 is the Jewish ingathering that will fulfill the prophetic aspects of the Feast of Trumpets for the nation of Israel. In fact, a prayer for this regathering of the children of Israel appears to this day in the Jewish Daily Prayer Book. 19

CONCLUSION


It is quite clear that since the church is not mentioned in Matthew 24, then Matthew 24:31 cannot be a reference to the rapture of the church. Instead, as one studies the context and Old Testament references that our Lord alludes to, it becomes quite clear that He speaks of an end time regathering of elect Israel in order to return them to the land for the Millennium. At Christ’s first coming he wept over Jerusalem and expressed His desire to gather Israel to Himself “the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling” (Matthew 23:37). At His second coming, elect Israel will look upon Him whom they have pierced (Zechariah 12:10) and say, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!” (Psalm 118:26; Matthew 23:39). Maranatha!

1  This information is take from the web site of Irwin Baxter at www.endtime.com, under the Question and Answer section dealing with the rapture. All subsequent quotes from Baxter are from the same source.

2  Robert H. Gundry, The Church and the Tribulation (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1973), p. 135.

3  Robert H. Gundry, First the Antichrist: Why Christ Won’t Come Before the Antichrist Does (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1997), p. 71.

4  Gundry, First the Antichrist, p. 71.

5  Gundry, The Church and the Tribulation, p. 135.

6  Steven L. McAvoy, “A Critique of Robert Gundry’s Posttribulationalism,” Th. D. dissertation, Dallas Theological Seminary, 1986, p. 136.

7  John A. Sproule, “An Exegetical Defense of Pretribulationism,” Th. D. dissertation, Grace Theological Seminary, 1981, p. 53.

8  Paul D. Feinberg, “Response: Paul D. Feinberg,” in The Rapture: Pre-, Mid-, or Posttribulational? by Richard R. Reiter, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1984), p. 225.

9  McAvoy, “Critique of Gundry,” p. 137.

10  McAvoy, “Critique of Gundry,” p. 138.

11  Gundry, The Church and the Tribulation, p. 135.

12  Stanley D. Toussaint, Behold The King: A Study of Matthew (Portland: Multnomah, 1980), p. 277.

13  Renald Showers, Maranatha: Our Lord, Come! (Bellmawr, NJ: The Friends of Israel, 1995), p. 182.

14  McAvoy, “Critique of Gundry,” pp. 140-41.

15  Arnold Fruchtenbaum, The Footsteps of the Messiah (San Antonio: Ariel Press, 1982), p. 299.

16  For more information supporting this view see Showers, Maranatha, pp. 181-84.

17  Showers, Maranatha, p. 182.

18  Showers, Maranatha, pp. 182-83.

19  For this prayer see Showers, Maranatha, p. 183.

Part 28 - Matthew 24:31 An Angelic Gathering ← Prior Section
Part 30 - Matthew 24:32-35 The Unity of the Parables Next Section →
CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

View Desktop Site

'View Desktop Site' currently only works on tablets and phones.

Loading...

Interlinear
Bibles
Cross-Refs
Commentaries
Dictionaries
Miscellaneous
Verse Tools Arrow
Login to your account

Email / username or password was incorrect!

Check your email for password retrieval

 

Complete the form below to register  [?]

Error: That Email is already registered

Error: Please provide a valid Email

Error: Passwords should have at least 6 characters

Error: Passwords do not match

Error: Please provide a valid first name

Error: That username is already taken

Error: Usernames should only contain letters, numbers, dots, dashes, or underscores

[ Cancel ]← Login to Your Account

Passwords should have at least 6 characters.
Usernames should only contain letters, numbers, dots, dashes, or underscores.

Thank you for registering. A verification email has been sent to the address you provided.

Error: That Email / Username is not registered

Enter Your Email or UsernameUsername or Email Address

 

← Return to Login

Close LoginCLOSE
Tap to Close