When you read Matthew 24:29-31 for the first time, you might agree with the post-tribulation rapture proponents. Jesus prophesied in 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.”
In Mark 13:24-27 Jesus stated, “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.”
The discourse in Matthew and Mark is the same.
Now, you have to ask yourself several questions. What is the purpose of the tribulation? Who is the audience Jesus is speaking to in Matthew 24 and Mark 13? Is this the same gathering the Apostle Paul wrote about in I Thessalonians 4:13-18 and II Thessalonians 2:1? What are the four winds pertaining to?
Let’s look at the first question. We know that Matthew 24 and Mark 13 are an outline of Daniel’s 70th week. In Jeremiah 30:7, it is called “the time of Jacob’s trouble.” If the first 69 weeks pertained to the nation of Israel, the last week of years will pertain to Israel.
Daniel 12:1 states, “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.”
Jesus referred to this verse in Matthew 24:21, “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.”
God will not just be dealing with individual Jews at this time. He will be dealing with them as a nation.
Hosea 5:15 states, “I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early.”
When Jesus ascended to Heaven in Acts chapter 1, the preaching of the Gospel gradually was transferred to a mostly Gentile Church. It has been almost 2,000 years since Jesus ascended to the third Heaven.
Jesus stated in Matthew 23:37-39, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate (Destruction of Temple in 70AD). For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.”
Jesus clearly said in verse 39 that He will not return until they say “blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.” This will be at the height of their affliction during the great tribulation. When the anti-Christ desecrates the temple in Jerusalem at the midpoint of the tribulation, the elect or born-again Jews and Gentiles in Judea are commanded by Jesus to flee. The “man of sin” will become the “man of lawlessness.” He will cause the temple offerings to cease. He will make war on the saints of God.
I have already answered the second question above. The audience in Matthew 24 and Mark 13 are mainly elect Jews living in Israel at that time of the end. The woman in Revelation 12 is clearly Israel. The people that are protected by the nations in Revelation 12 are the elect Jews that were commanded to flee in Matthew 24:16-18. I believe some Gentiles will be part of this Exodus like at the time of Moses.
How will these Jews get saved? By the preaching of the 144,000 Israelites in Revelation Chapters 7 and 14. They will preach the Gospel of the kingdom to the whole world, starting in Israel. This was the pattern during the time of Jesus and the Apostles. They went to the Jews first, then to the Gentiles. Also, you have the two Jewish witnesses in Revelation 11 who will be prophesying in Jerusalem for 42 months. The gifts of the spirit listed in 1 Corinthians 12 will be in full operation. The two witnesses will be anointed with great power.
Revelation 11:5-6 states, “And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.”
Let’s look at question three. Is the gathering in Matthew 24 the same gathering the Apostle Paul wrote about in I Thessalonians 4:13-18 and II Thessalonians 2:1-4?
I Thessalonians 4:13-18 states, “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 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: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”
II Thessalonians 2:1-4 states, “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.”
This question will be answered later in the article.
What are the four winds pertaining to? The four winds pertain to the four corners of the earth, not the third heaven. When I entered four winds or four corners into a Bible search box, I was astonished to find that many of the scriptures that speak to the four winds or four corners pertained to the gathering of the Jews in the latter days. Here are some:
Ezekiel 37:9-14 states, “Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army. Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts.
“Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD.”
May 14, 1948 was the beginning of this fulfillment.
Next, Isaiah 11:11-16 states, “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.
“The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off: Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim. But they shall fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines toward the west; they shall spoil them of the east together: they shall lay their hand upon Edom and Moab; and the children of Ammon shall obey them. And the LORD shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea; and with his mighty wind shall he shake his hand over the river, and shall smite it in the seven streams, and make men go over dryshod. And there shall be an highway for the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt.”
Finally, Deuteronomy 30:1-5 and Isaiah 27:12 are the icing on the cake.
Deuteronomy 30:1-5 states, “And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither the Lord thy God hath driven thee, And shalt return unto the Lord thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul; That then the Lord thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the Lord thy God hath scattered thee.
“If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will the Lord thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee: And the Lord thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers.”
Isaiah 27:12-13 states, “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall beat off from the channel of the river unto the stream of Egypt, and ye shall be gathered one by one, O ye children of Israel. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the Lord in the holy mount at Jerusalem.”
Please notice the great trumpet. The great trumpet in Matthew 24 and Isaiah 27 initiates the same event.
As stated above, the 144,000 Jews selected by the Lord will preach the Gospel of the kingdom to the whole world during the tribulation.
Revelation 7:1-4 states, “And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.”
Please notice again the four corners, four winds of the earth. Also, how the four corners, four winds pertain to Israel.
Based on the scriptures above, the gathering in Matthew 24 and Mark 13 clearly refers to the gathering of the born-again Jews from the four winds or four corners of the earth. This is the fulfillment of the Abrahamic land and spiritual covenants. The Jews that lived in the northern kingdom [Israel] were dispersed by the Assyrians in 722 BC. Some did migrate to Judah, but most were scattered throughout the Assyrian empire.
In 586 BC and 70AD, the first and second Jewish temples were destroyed. In 70AD, the Romans destroyed the second temple. Jesus prophesied the destruction of the second temple buildings in Matthew 24 and Mark 13. There was one more attempt to take back Jerusalem in 135AD, but that attempt failed. The Jews that were in Israel were scattered throughout the nations until May 14, 1948.
The rapture of the Church takes place in Revelation 4:1. Jesus wrote the following promise to the Church of Philadelphia. Jesus prophesied in Revelation 3:10-11, “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.”
The overcoming Church is exempt from the “hour of temptation.” The overcoming Church will be gathered prior to Daniel’s 70th week, and then the man of sin will be revealed in Revelation 6:2 and II Thessalonians 2:3, 8.
The Church indwelt by the Holy Spirit is the restraining force that is currently stopping the anti-Christ from being revealed. Jesus said He will come “quickly” for the Church.
I Corinthians 15:51-53 states, “Behold, I shew 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. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.”
The twinkling of an eye is less than a second. Now, that is quick.
Jesus made unbelieving Israel the following promise during His first coming:
Jesus states in John 5:43, “I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.”
The “son of perdition” will confirm an existing covenant with Israel and other nations for 7 years (Daniel 9:27).
The Jews will listen to this man for the first 42 months because of promised peace. But, there will be such great affliction after the “abomination of desolation” that Israel as a nation will finally accept Jesus as their Messiah. It will be at a great cost.
Zechariah 13:8-9 states, “And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the Lord, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God.”
The angels in Matthew 24:31 may be the 144,000 Israelites from the 12 tribes, or heavenly angels that appear to every born-again Jew throughout the world. This will occur “immediately” after the tribulation. The bottom line is that the gathering in Matthew 24 and II Thessalonians 2 are two different harvests. Jesus made promises to the Church and to Israel. Israel, or the natural branch, will be grafted back into their olive tree. Why? “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance” (Romans 11:29). This land belongs to God and the Jews.
This is a warning to you in the Church that are teaching replacement theology. God made promises to Abraham that will come to pass. Israel’s borders will be enlarged to the specifications promised to Abraham. The natural and wild olive branches will finally be grafted into the same tree as one new man in Christ Jesus. Jesus will rule and reign on David’s throne in Jerusalem for 1,000 years (Luke 1:32; Revelation 20:2-7).
The last enemy that will be destroyed by our Lord will be death. After the reign of Christ for 1,000 years, the final judgment will take place. This is called the second death. A new heaven and new earth will be created. The New Jerusalem will come to earth. Day eight will commence, and the Lord’s kingdom will never, ever end. Amen.