In Matthew 24, Did Jesus Reveal the Timing of the Rapture?
Today, we’re going to answer the question: Did Jesus reveal the exact timing of the rapture in Matthew 24 where, upon His return to earth, the trumpet is blown and His elect are gathered from the four winds? Two are in a field, one is taken the other left. It sure sounds like the rapture, but the short answer is no, it’s not the rapture. But that similarity has caused a lot of confusion about the timing of the rapture. If it’s not the rapture, then what is it that’s happening? It’s actually two great events that will take place when Christ returns, foretold in Scripture, that are entirely different than the rapture. Let’s look into it.
The rapture is described as the blessed event when Christ will come for His Church and instantly take those who have trusted in Christ for their salvation out of this world to be with Him for all eternity. The apostle Paul described this great event this way:
“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. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” 1 Corinthians 15:51-55
“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.”
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18
Our blessed hope is that Christ will return for His Church and take us out of this world to be with Him. From Paul’s description, we can see several characteristics that will define this great event.
- Jesus Descends – The rapture will begin with Jesus descending from heaven to gather together His church
- Presence of Angels – Paul says that the rapture will be started with the voice of an archangel.
- Trumpet – It says a trumpet will sound. And not just any trumpet, but the last trump, meaning it will be the very last trumpet blast that occurs before this great event takes place.
- Sudden Disappearance – Following that trumpet blast, there will be a sudden disappearance of people from the earth. Those who have died already will be gathered together with Christ in the clouds first. Then, those of us who are still alive will also be gathered. This disappearance will happen suddenly, in the twinkling of an eye.
- Those Chosen are Gathered – Lastly, Paul makes it clear that the purpose of the rapture is to gather together those who are saved to be with Christ forever. They are given their immortal bodies which are incorruptable, totally incapable of sin.
And from that moment, we will be with Christ for eternity.
The timing of the rapture has been debated extensively over the centuries and groups fall into three camps:
- Pre-tribulation Rapture – occurs before start of the 7-year tribulation
- Mid-Tribulation Rapture – occurs at the mid-point of the 7-year tribulation
- Post-Tribulation Rapture – occurs at the end of the 7-year tribulation
But did Jesus tell us when the rapture will occur, both in Matthew 24 and a parallel passage in Luke 17? What Jesus said to His disciples sounds strikingly similar to how Paul described the rapture. Here are the verses from Matthew 24. Jesus is speaking to His disciples, saying:
“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.“ Matthew 24:29-31
“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.” Matthew 24:40-41
This sure sounds like the rapture, doesn’t it? These events described by Jesus have the exact same characteristics that Paul gave when he defined the rapture.
- Jesus Descends – First, we see Jesus descending from heaven to the earth.
- Presence of Angels – We see the presence of angels.
- Trumpet – An angel blows a trumpet just like Paul said would happen. You could even argue that this would be the last trump, the very last trumpet blown.
- Sudden Disappearance – Then we see the sudden disappearance of people. “Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.”
- Those Chosen are Gathered – And then Jesus Himself said the the purpose of all this would be to gather His elect.
Isn’t this the rapture? How could it not be?
If it is, then according to Jesus’ own words, this event will occur AFTER Christ returns at the end of the tribulation, for He prefaces all this by saying “after the tribulation of those days.” So if this is the rapture, then the 7-year tribulation happens first, then Christ returns to earth. Then, an angel will blow the trumpet, the last trump, just like Paul said would happen. And then people will suddenly disappear, one is taken while the other is not.
So can we say from this that the rapture will happen at the end of the 7-year tribulation? Absolutely NOT!
There’s one enormous problem with this logic: What Jesus is describing here has absolutely nothing to do with the rapture. The rapture is not even in view here. It sure sounds like the rapture, but it’s not. And that similarity has caused many a Christian to think that the rapture will not happen until the very end when Christ returns, which would mean that Christians would have to go through the tribulation.
But Matthew 24 sure sounds just like the rapture. If it’s not the rapture, then what is it? What is Jesus describing?
Let’s start by drawing a line between these two verses, because what Jesus is describing is not one event but two separate events, foretold in Scripture, that have absolutely nothing to do with the rapture. I’m going to tell you what these two events are and then I’m going to prove it to you using Scripture.
The first event where the trumpet is sounded and Christ’s elect are gathered is not the rapture, but the final regathering of Jews back to Israel. Christ is going to gather together His elect, those chosen Jews who came to know Christ during the Tribulation, back to Israel to populate the land that He gave them, where they will live during Christ’s Millennial Kingdom reign.
The second event is where unbelievers who have survived the tribulation are removed from the earth in judgment, so that only those who have come to faith in Christ during the seven-year tribulation will be left alive to enter Christ’s Millennial Kingdom, where Christ will reign on earth for 1,000 years.
When Christ returns, before He begins His 1,000 year millennial reign on earth, there will be a cleansing period, a short period of time where Christ cleanses the earth and restores all things. It is during this cleansing period that Christ will restore all Jews back to the land of Israel from wherever they are scattered around the world. And then Christ will cleanse the earth of all unbelievers, all those whose sins are not covered by His blood that was shed on the cross. Those are the two events being described in Matthew 24, not the rapture.
Now, let’s prove it using Scripture, starting with the first great event:
The Final Regathering Of Jews To Israel
It’s fairly easy to prove that this is what Jesus was referring to when He said, upon His return, the trumpet would sound and He would gather His elect from the four winds. Let me give you four reasons.
Reason #1: It was foretold in Scripture
This event of the Messiah regathering the Jews was a repeated topic in the Old Testament. Here are just a few of the many verses that describe the regathering of God’s elect, the people of Israel. When I read these, notice how similar it sounds to the rapture. There’s even a trumpet. But it’s not the rapture. It’s the Messiah regathering Jews from the four winds back to the land of Israel, where they will live during Christ’s Millennial reign.
“As I live, saith the Lord God, surely with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out, will I rule over you: And I will bring you out from the people, and will gather you out of the countries wherein ye are scattered, with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out.”
“And it shall come to pass in that day, … 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. Isaiah 27:12-13
This sounds like the trumpet blast for the rapture, doesn’t it? But it’s not. This is strictly for Jews, for the elect of Israel. A lot of people mistake the events described in Matthew 24 for the rapture just because of the trumpet. Paul said that the rapture will occur at the last trump. But that doesn’t require it to be the last trumpet of Revelation or the trumpet in Matthew 24. There are other options, showing that the last trump could occur during any year. For example, every year Israel celebrates the Feast of Trumpets. Could the last trumpet blast of that feast be the last trump referred to by Paul? Or, and here’s a controversy, could President Trump be the last trump? But let’s not get into speculation. Let’s continue on about the regathering of Israel.
“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.” Deuteronomy 30:3-5
This sounds a lot like the wording in Matthew 24, where Christ said He would gather His elect from the four winds.
“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.” Isaiah 11:11-12
Four corners of the earth? Four winds?
“Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together: a great company shall return thither. Hear the word of the Lord, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock.” Jeremiah 31:7,8,10
And then Ezekiel tells us the reason why the Jews will be regathered: to cleanse and restore them.
“For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.” Ezekiel 36:24-27
These are but a few of the many verses in the Old Testament where the regathering of Israel is prophesied.
Then we have reason #2 why Matthew 24 could not possibly be referring to the rapture.
Reason #2: The Rapture was not revealed until approx. 20 years after Jesus spoke the Words of Matthew 24
When the Apostle Paul wrote of the rapture in 1 Corinthians 15, he started his description with these words:
“Behold, I shew you a mystery…“ 1 Corinthians 15:51
The word “mystery” in the Greek is the word, “mystērion.” It means “a hidden or secret thing.” When you see the word “mystery” in the Bible, it signifies something that has been a secret and never before revealed. Paul wrote these words in His letter to the Corinthian church, and indirectly to us, revealing for the first time this great event that we today call the rapture. Paul wrote this letter sometime between AD 53-57, over twenty years after Jesus spoke the words of Matthew 24. Paul didn’t say, “I’m going to now tell you something that was referred to by Jesus.” No. He said, “I’m going to show you a mystery, something that has never before been revealed.” If Jesus was referring to the rapture in Matthew 24, then Paul would not have been revealing a mystery, a secret never before shared.
Secondly, Paul was the Apostle to the Gentiles, so it made sense for him to speak of the rapture, while Jesus came only to the Jews.
“But (Jesus) answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Matthew 15:24
So in Matthew 24, Jesus wasn’t even speaking about the church. That wasn’t His ministry. He was speaking solely to and about Jews. He could not have been speaking of the rapture because the rapture was not even revealed until over twenty years later, where it was referred to by Paul as a “mystery,” a new secret for the church never before revealed.
Reason #3: If Matthew 24 is speaking of the rapture, then the timing would conflict with Revelation 19, where we see the church in heaven before the return of Christ
In Revelation 19, we see the church already in heaven for the Marriage of the Lamb.
“And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God:” Revelation 19:1
The events in Revelation 19 take place in heaven at a time described as “after these things.” What things? The things that were described in the previous chapters of Revelation, which would include all of the judgments that will occur during the 7-year tribulation. So this scene is taking place in heaven at the end of the tribulation. And when we get to verse 7, we see the glorious event taking place called the Marriage of the Lamb, where Christ marries His church, the saints.
“Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.” Revelation 19:7-8
This marriage takes place in heaven between the saints and Christ. Who are the saints? Those who have trusted Jesus for salvation, the church. Notice that it says they will be clothed in fine linen, representing the righteousness of the saints. This is the church appearing in heaven.
This gathering happens before Christ returns to earth. So the saints are already in heaven before the second coming. In fact, toward the end of chapter 19, we see Christ coming to earth with His saints. This is the second coming.
“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns; and He had a name written, that no man knew, but He himself. And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.“ Revelation 19:11-14
Notice that when Christ returns to earth, He will be accompanied by what are referred to here as “armies,” riding white horses and clothed in fine linen. Who are these armies? They are the saints, those believers who were just married to Christ in heaven. How do we know? Because it says they are wearing fine linen, which chapter 19 already defined as meaning the righteousness of the saints. So these are saints, the church, riding with Christ when He returns to earth. Still unsure? Let’s confirm this with Jude 14.
“And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment upon all…” Jude 14-15
Before the second coming of Christ, the church is already in heaven, the marriage of the Lamb occurs, and then Christ returns to earth accompanied by the church.
But in Matthew 24, what do we see?
We see Christ returns to earth and then, after He returns, after every eye has seen Him, it says He gathers His elect.
“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.“ Matthew 24:29-31
Who is the elect? It cannot be the church, because the church has already appeared in heaven, having already been gathered. The church has already gone through the marriage ceremony with Christ in heaven. The church is already accompanying Christ in His return to earth. If Christ wants to find the church, all He needs to do is look behind Him. The church is already there with Him, on horses, wearing fine linen.
So who are these elect? Again, at His first coming, Jesus came only to Jews, the lost sheep of Israel, and was only speaking to Jews in Matthew 24. What would those Jews at that time have understood when Jesus used the term, “elect?” It would have been clear to them that He was referring to them, the Jews. In Matthew 24, “the elect” refers to those Jews who will go into the Millennial Kingdom. It’s not referring to the church.
And for those nay-sayers who say the term “elect” can only refer to the church, the Old Testament begs to differ:
“For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me.” Isaiah 45:4
“And I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor of my mountains: and mine elect shall inherit it, and my servants shall dwell there.” Isaiah 65:9
“Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.” Isaiah 42:1
“They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.” Isaiah 65:22
At least four times in the Old Testament God refers to Israel as His elect. In Matthew 24, Jesus is speaking to Israel. Now let’s read again the passage in Matthew 24 and the meaning should be clear.
“(Jesus) 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. Matthew 24:31
During the entire 7-year tribulation, God will be dealing once again with Israel. When Jesus returns, He will set His feet on the Mount of Olives in Israel, where He will gather His elect, the Jews who survived the tribulation and believe in Him, from the four winds, to inhabit Israel during His Millennial Kingdom reign. This is the first great event described in Matthew 24.
The second great event, however, is entirely separate and again has absolutely nothing to do with the rapture. Instead, it has everything to do with judgment.
The Removal of Unbelievers From The Earth In Judgment
This second section of Matthew 24 sounds an awful lot like the rapture doesn’t it?
“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.” Matthew 24:40-41
A sudden vanishing of people occurs, but this is not the rapture. The people that are vanishing are not being taken to be with Christ. Instead, these are unbelievers who are being removed from the planet before Christ’s 1,000 year millennial reign on earth begins. The people are being taken to face immediate judgment for rejecting Christ. Here are four reasons that prove it.
Reason #1: The context of Matthew 24 shows that those being taking are being taken away for judgment, not the rapture
Let’s look at the verses immediately before this section and it will become clear.
“But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 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.” Matthew 24:37-41
Jesus ties this vanishing of people to the story of Noah. In this story, who was taken away? “And (they) knew not until the flood came, and took them all away.” Do you see it? The people who were taken away were the ones where were being judged, the ones who were perishing.
An interesting side-note is that the story of Noah is actually a picture of the rapture, where God lifts His people out of danger before destruction comes. But in this passage, Jesus did not compare those being taken away to Noah. If He did, then you could make an argument that this might be referring to the rapture. But Jesus instead compares those who were taken away to those in the story of Noah who were taken away in judgment, those who perished in the flood and were removed from the earth.
Those taken are not being raptured. They’re being removed from this earth in judgment and they will perish, just like the people were taken and perished at the time of Noah. This is one time where it is good to be left behind.
Then, in Matthew 24, right after Jesus speaks about one being taken and one left behind, He follows that up by telling the parable of the faithful and wise servant versus the evil servant.
“Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over His household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when He cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That He shall make him ruler over all His goods. But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth His coming; And shall begin to smite his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for Him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.“ Matthew 24:44-51
Do you see how this passage is not about the rapture at all but about judgment? No one is sent to hell at the rapture. The rapture is our blessed hope. No one at the time of the rapture will be sent to hell, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. The context of Matthew 24 totally eliminates the option of this chapter being about the rapture.
Reason #2: The parallel passage in Luke 17 also shows that this taking away at the second coming of Christ is about judgment, not the rapture.
Luke 17 is a parallel account of Mathew 24, also referring to some being taken and some being left at the second coming. Starting at verse 26:
“26And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. 27 They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.” Luke 17:26-27
Notice how Jesus is using the very same analogy of Noah to describe the coming judgment. The people who were taken away were those who were destroyed by the flood. Jesus then gives us another analogy to drive the point home:
“28 Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; 29 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. 30 Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. 31 In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back. 32 Remember Lot’s wife. 33 Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it. “ Luke 17:28-30
Jesus spoke of Lot and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah as an example of how it will be when He returns. It will be a time of tremendous judgment. And then, immediately after these two examples of judgment, we have the very same taking-away as in Matthew 24:
“ 34 I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. 35 Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 36 Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.” Luke 17:31-36
The people who are taken are the ones who are taken away for judgment, not for the rapture. They will be taken for destruction. This is also shown by the very next verse and the concluding verse of the chapter:
“37 And they (His disciples) answered and said unto Him, Where, Lord? And He said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.” Luke 17:37
The body described here is a dead body and the birds are carrion birds that eat the flesh of dead bodies. What does all this have to do with birds? What do eagles have to do with any of this? Listen to this verse from Revelation 19 about what happens immediately when Jesus returns.
“And (Jesus) hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, King Of Kings, And Lord Of Lords. And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.” Revelation 19:16-18
The judgment of God reaches its climax the moment Jesus sets His feet on the Mount of Olives. At that moment, people from all the nations gathered together for the battle of Armageddon will be struck dead and there will be a great feast for the birds who will feed on their dead bodies.
Interestingly, in recent years, Israel has seen a massive increase in migratory birds of prey that feed on dead flesh. The plains of Megiddo have been reported as now having one of the largest populations of carrion birds of prey in the world. Are we that close to the end? I think so.
Suffice to say, this taking-away in Luke 17 is clearly referring to judgment, not the rapture.
Reason #3: This taking away of unbelievers into judgment fulfills Jesus’ parable about separating the sheep from the goats
Right after Matthew 24, Jesus told the parable of the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25. This is all part of the same conversation. This parable illustrates what is meant in Matthew 24, where it says one will be taken and the other left. Let’s look at this parable beginning in verse 31.
“31 When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory: 32 And before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth His sheep from the goats: 33 And He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 “Matthew 25:31-46
Notice in this verse how there will be a great dividing of people upon the return of Christ. The sheep, those who are saved, will be on His right, while the goats, those who are doomed to judgment in hell, will be on His left.
“Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave Me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave Me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took Me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed Me: I was sick, and ye visited Me: I was in prison, and ye came unto Me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we Thee an hungred, and fed Thee? or thirsty, and gave Thee drink? 38 When saw we Thee a stranger, and took Thee in? or naked, and clothed Thee? 39 Or when saw we Thee sick, or in prison, and came unto Thee? 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto Me. 41 “Matthew 25:31-46
Notice in the very first verse here that those who are left alive, the sheep, who are not taken away, inherit the Kingdom. They are the ones who will enter Christ’s Millennial Kingdom reign on earth alive. But then Christ addresses the goats:
“Then shall He say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave Me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave Me no drink: 43 I was a stranger, and ye took Me not in: naked, and ye clothed Me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited Me not. 44 Then shall they also answer Him, saying, Lord, when saw we Thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto Thee? 45 Then shall He answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to Me. 46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.“ Matthew 25:31-46
In Matthew 24, where it says, one is taken the other left, those who are being taken are not being taken to the rapture. They are being taken unto judgment. They are being taken away, removed from this earth, to everlasting punishment. Those that remain behind are those who will enter the Kingdom. Matthew 24 will be the fulfillment of this parable.
Reason #4: If those taken away in Matthew 24 refers to the rapture, there there will be no human beings left to enter the Millennial Kingdom?
When Matthew 24:40 says, “Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left,” if this happens at the return of Christ and those taken are the saints, the church, then those who are left would be those who are rejected and not taken. They would be those doomed to hell. If that’s true, then who is left to enter the Millennial Kingdom, where Christ will rule on earth for 1,000 years? If this is saying that Christ will take away all believers to be with Him, then the only people left behind would be unbelievers, those who are going to be doomed to hell for rejecting Christ. There would be no one left to enter the Millennium.
The answer, of course, is that Matthew 24 is not referring to the rapture at all.
Instead, I believe Scripture supports a timeline that looks like this. Since the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ and the coming of the Holy Spirit at that first Pentecost, we’ve been in the dispensation called the Church Age, or the Age of Grace, where God is pouring out forgiveness to all who turn in faith toward Christ. But that age is coming to a close and we are now right at the end. The next event is the rapture of the church, which will close the Church Age. After that, God again deals with Israel and pours out His wrath on this world for 7 years. Meanwhile, in heaven, believers who have been raptured will receive rewards for their service at the Judgment Seat of Christ and will then become the bride at the Marriage of the Lamb. Christ will then return to earth with His bride, the Church, at which time the words of Matthew 24 will be fulfilled by a period of restoration and cleansing, in which the Jews are regathered to Israel and unbelievers are removed from the earth unto judgment for their sins. After which, Christ begins His 1,000 year millennial reign on earth, which ends with a final battle and destruction of the earth. Then comes the Great White Throne Judgment of Revelation chapter 20, in which all unbelievers are cast into hell. Then God remakes the heavens and the earth and those who are saved will live with God there forever.
So what does all this mean? It means it’s time to repent. If you’re not already there, it’s time to get right with God. It’s almost closing time.
When Jesus died on the cross, His suffering paid for our sins so that we could be forgiven. Because of Him, God opened the period of time we now live in, a window of opportunity, where we can freely receive God’s gift of forgiveness and eternal life. It’s available now to anyone who will take it. But that time of God’s grace is coming to a close. We’re at the end of days. And things are getting really dark in this world. That window of opportunity to be saved is closing. And once it is closed, it’ll be too late.
What if Christ came today for His church? Would your name be called? Or would you be left behind? If you are the least bit unsure, settle it now, while you have the chance. God will freely accept you right now because of what Christ did for you. You can be 100% sure you’ll be saved, no guessing required, because God made is sure.
If you are not 100% sure that you are saved, that if you died today, God would welcome you into heaven, I urge you to make your commitment to Jesus secure right now. Here’s a prayer for salvation that you can pray. But keep in mind that a prayer does not save you. You are saved only when you place your trust in Jesus alone, believing in your heart that He died to pay your debt of sin to God and that He rose from the dead to show you the eternal life that He offers. This prayer, then, is just a way of formalizing that decision, putting a stake in the ground, saying that you are trusting in Him and never going back. If that’s what you would like to do, please pray with me:
“Lord, I have sinned and I need you to save me. I believe that Your Son Jesus died on the cross to pay for my sins and that He rose from the dead to show us the new eternal life You have for us. I believe solely in Jesus to save me, that He paid my debt of sin 100%. Please forgive my sins and save me now, Lord, according to your promises. In Jesus Name.”
If you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, know right now that you are eternally saved.
Thanks for watching and God bless.