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Matthew 24:29–31

29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 “Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 “And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. NKJV, 1982

Questions

  1. Who are the elect?
  2. Why were they scattered?
  3. To where were they scattered?
  4. When are they gathered?
  5. To where are they gathered?
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Also Mark 13:24-27.


The Elect (ἐκλεκτόι)

Whoever the elect are, they are the same that Matthew refers to earlier in the parables of the hired laborers (20:1-16) and the wedding banquet (22:1-14). The Greek word is ἐκλεκτός (eklektos), also translated as chosen in many translations in different verses.

Jesus' enigmatic closing on both occasions (Many are called but few are eklektoi) informs that the elect (or chosen) were first called and presented with a choice of whether to accept or not to accept the call.

Theophylact's commentary on the wedding parable explains:

"Many are called" for God calls many, indeed, all, "but few are chosen [eklektoi]." For few are saved and found worthy to be chosen by God. For it is God's part to call, but to become one of the chosen or not, is our part. He shows, then, that this parable was spoken for the Jews who were called but were not chosen, as they did not listen.1


The Gathering

The "gathering" occurs sometime after the tribulation (v.29), when all the tribes ... see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory (v.30). One cannot help but recall the Apocalypse (7:9-15) here:

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no man could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels stood round the throne and round the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God for ever and ever! Amen.” Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and whence have they come?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation

The Didache, a 1st century Christian text, describes the event depicted in Matthew and alludes to a number of related Scriptures:

Watch for your life’s sake. Let not your lamps be quenched, nor your loins unloosed;2 but be ye ready, for ye know not the hour in which our Lord cometh.3 But often shall ye come together, seeking the things which are befitting to your souls: for the whole time of your faith will not profit you, if ye be not made perfect in the last time. For in the last days false prophets and corrupters shall be multiplied, and the sheep shall be turned into wolves, and love shall be turned into hate;4 for when lawlessness increaseth, they shall hate and persecute and betray one another5, and then shall appear the world-deceiver6 as Son of God, and shall do signs and wonders,7 and the earth shall be delivered into his hands, and he shall do iniquitous things which have never yet come to pass since the beginning. Then shall the creation of men come into the fire of trial,8 and many shall be made to stumble and shall perish; but they that endure in their faith shall be saved9 from under the curse itself. And then shall appear the signs of the truth; first, the sign of an outspreading in heaven; then the sign of the sound of the trumpet; and the third, the resurrection of the dead; yet not of all, but as it is said: The Lord shall come and all His saints with Him.10 Then shall the world see the Lord coming upon the clouds of heaven.11

The "when" of the gathering is the Second Coming of Christ. Orthodox commentator Lawrence Farley explains:

The disciples asked the Lord not only about the destruction of the Temple, but also about the final end, and here Christ begins to answer that part of their question. In referring to the judgment of God on Zion, He was speaking not only of an event that occurred in AD 70, but also of its effects throughout this tumultuous age. (The parallel description of that judgment in Luke 21:24 describes it as Jerusalem being “trampled by the nations until the times of nations are fulfilled” at the end of the age.) Thus Christ’s reference here to the tribulation of those days looks beyond ad 70 to encompass all the upheavals of the present age.

As part of that final Coming and cosmic transformation, Christ will send His angels with a great trumpet, and they will gather together His chosen from the four winds. Israel had long nurtured the hope that when Messiah came, all the Jewish exiles would be called home to the Promised Land to live in security forever (Deut. 30:4; Is. 43:6; Zech. 2:6), and this hope is fulfilled in Christ. But His chosen [or "elect"] ones are not simply faithful Jews, but His faithful Christians from all nations, both Jew and Gentile. These will be brought by His angels at the Second Coming, when the great trumpet sounds, and all are gathered together as a single army to stand before their King, though they be scattered from one end of the heavens to the other end (1 Cor. 15:52; 1 Thess. 4:16).12


The Scattering

I am not sure what you are alluding to, as the scattering is implied but not explicit in Matthew. Perhaps the greeting in Peter's first Epistle (1:1-2):

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To the exiles of the Dispersion [διασπορά - diaspora] in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, chosen [ἐκλεκτός - eklektos] and destined by God the Father and sanctified by the Spirit for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.

I have seen some commentaries try to connect this to Matthew's and Mark's eschatologies, but I don't think it is a good fit. Peter seems to be writing in the context of the dispersion of Jews that followed Stephen's martyrdom (Acts 8:1), who were dispersed throughout Greek provinces in Asia Minor.13 But perhaps there is something deeper here or elsewhere that I am missing.


1. Explanation of the Holy Gospel According to Matthew (tr. from Greek; Chrysostom Press, 1993), p.189
2. cf. Luke 12:35
3. Matthew 25:42
4. cf Matthew 24:11-12
5. cf Matthew 24:10
6. cf 2 Thessalonians 2:3,4,8; Revelation 12:9
7. cf Matthew 24:4
8. cf 1 Peter 4:10
9. cf Matthew 10:22
10. Zechariah 14:5
11. cf Matthew 24:30
12. The Gospel of Matthew: Torah for the Church (Conciliar Press, 2009), pp.321,322
13. see, e.g., Bede's commentary on 1 Peter, Bede the Venerable: Commentary on the Seven Catholic Epistles (tr. from Latin, Cistercian Press, 1985), pp. 69-70

  • 1
    I think you did a good job with this answer but yes there is something deeper AND you are missing something. – JLB Mar 7 '18 at 12:08
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This article proposes that the gathering is martyrdom:

http://www.preteristcentral.com/What%20is%20the%20Gathering%20of%20Matt.%2024.29-31.html

I'm not sure if I agree or not but it is very compelling. It starts like this:

What is the "Gathering" of Matt. 24:29-31?

Matt. 24:29-31 describes the coming of Christ in the events culminating in the destruction of Jerusalem, AD 70. Verse 31 says "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." What is this "gathering"? There are several views, but the one that we have settled upon at this time is that this is Christ's gathering the saints unto rest by martyrdom...

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Texts from the NWT

[] Added Questions 1. Who are the elect? By saying “elect” some Christians are not of the “elect.”

Paul, John and Peter spoke of fellow Christians or “the elect” (“Chosen Ones” in some Bibles) and they will be Kings, Priests, and Judges in heaven:-

1 Peter 2:9 “But you are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, . . .”

2 Timothy 2:11, 12 “This saying is trustworthy: Certainly if we died together, we will also live together; 12 if we go on enduring, we will also rule together as kings; . . .”

1 Corinthians 6:2 “Or do you not know that the holy ones will judge the world? . . .”

Revelation 1:5, 6 “To him who loves us and who set us free from our sins by means of his own blood— 6 and he made us to be a kingdom, priests to his God and Father. . .”

Revelation 5:9, 10 “ .you were slaughtered and with your blood you bought people for God out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, 10 and you made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God, and they are to rule as kings over the earth.”

Revelation 20:4 “And I saw thrones, and those who sat on them were given authority to judge. …. And they came to life and ruled as kings with the Christ for 1,000 years.”

How many of them are there:-

Revelation 14:3, 4 “… 144,000, WHO HAVE BEEN BOUGHT FROM THE EARTH. ….. These are the ones who keep following the Lamb no matter where he goes. THESE WERE BOUGHT FROM AMONG MANKIND AS FIRSTFRUITS TO GOD AND TO THE LAMB,

These are the “Elect” or chosen ones or holy ones.

  1. Why were they scattered? Because they come out of “every tribe and nation over the earth Sacattered because the are all over the earth. [] added:-

Revelation 5:9, “You are worthy to take the scroll and open its seals, for you were slaughtered and with your blood you bought people [the elect] for God out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation.”

Revelation 14:4 “These were bought from among mankind. . ."

  1. To where were they scattered?

Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the holy spirit comes upon you, and you will be witnesses of me in Jerusalem, in all Judeʹa and Samaria, AND TO THE MOST DISTANT PART OF THE EARTH.”

To find them.

Mark 13:27 “And then he will send out the angels and will gather his chosen ones together from the four winds, from earth’s extremity to heaven’s extremity.”

  1. When are they gathered?

Matthew 24:29-31 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days, … And he will send out his angels with a great trumpet sound, and they will gather his chosen ones together from the four winds, from one extremity of the heavens to their other extremity.

Aftwer the “tribulation” of vss. 29-30 but before Armaggedon:-

Matthew 24:22 “In fact, unless those days were cut short, no flesh would be saved; but on account of the chosen ones [or Elect] those days will be cut short.”

As the “Elect” will Judge “nations” then they must be in thier heavenly roll acting as Judges, Kings over the earth during Armeggedon:-

Revelation 5:10 “you made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God, and they are to rule as kings over the earth.”

Revelation 16:14 “They are, in fact, expressions inspired by demons and they perform signs, and they go out to the kings of the entire inhabited earth, to gather them together to the war of the great day of God the Almighty.”

Revelation 16:16 “And they gathered them together to the place that is called in Hebrew Armageddon.”

Revelation 19:17, 18 “Come here, be gathered together to the great evening meal of God, 18 so that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of military commanders and the flesh of strong men and the flesh of horses and of those seated on them, and the flesh of all, of freemen as well as of slaves and of small ones and great.”

  1. To where are they gathered?

Matthew 5:3 ““Happy are those conscious of their spiritual need, since the Kingdom of the heavens belongs to them.

Matthew 5:10 “Happy are those who have been persecuted for righteousness’ sake, since the Kingdom of the heavens belongs to them.”

Matthew 11:12 “From the days of John the Baptist until now, the Kingdom of the heavens is the goal toward which men press, and those pressing forward are seizing it.

2 Timothy 4:18 “The Lord will rescue me from every wicked work and will save me for his heavenly Kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.”

  • I am surprised that you mentioned nothing about the 144,000 coming from the 12 tribes of Israel and explain how that applies. Is that not important to your understanding? – JLB Dec 2 '18 at 14:33
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Peace.

The Lord will send out His messengers to gather together His elect from the 4 winds (4 = all directions)….that is, from EVERY wind (4 winds) of doctrine that that is currently being preached in every church gathering/denomination where the false prophets handle the Word of God deceitfully for unjust gain. They are sent out by Him for the purpose of building the body of Christ....the One body of Christ.

Ephesians 4:11-16 KJV (11) And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; (12) For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

We (who are currently scattered by every wind of doctrine in divisions of fleshly-minded men) are to be gathered together in this coming time in the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God unto a complete man unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

We shall be of One Mind in His knowledge and One body in Christ as we shall see eye-to-eye and will not any longer argue over theological doctrines of fleshly-minded men who want us to live in their divisions…in their denominations where they can receive money from us. They profit in divisions and rejoice in them.

(13) Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

When we receive the full knowledge of the Son of God who comes to give us an understanding by the opening up of the Scriptures, then we shall no longer be “children” in understanding where we were once tossed to and fro and carried about by every wind (the 4 winds) of doctrine of men that preach in their cunning craftiness as they lie in wait to deceive us in their retailing of the Word of God and making merchandise of those they are deceiving.

(14) That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

We are to grow up into Him in all things which is the Head. We are to have His full knowledge in the mind of Christ whereby we speak the truth in love for one another…true love and not feigned love. We are gathered together in ONE mind...one understanding...and ONE body as we have true love for one another.

(15) But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: (16) From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

But the false Christs and false prophets who have been rejoicing while the people of God have been scattered into every wind of man’s doctrines (the tribulation of His sheep) in the denominations of men will then mourn at what they hear as they see His people that they once deceived receiving (in belief) the Word of God spoken in truth.

Their church denominations will suffer losses as the believers shall depart from them. They will lose people of their congregations and will suffer financial loss at which the covetous pastors will bemoan.

Woe (GRIEF) unto them that are rich now….

Luke 6:24-26 KJV (24) But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation.

…woe (grief) unto them that laugh now for they shall mourn and weep as the Lord shall come and deliver His sheep from their “pastors” where they have been deceived by the false prophets. The pastures of the pastors who are only feeding themselves with earthly things (preaching for money….minding earthly things: what to eat, what to drink, what to wear) will be ruined.

(25) Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep.

The deceived sheep once spoke well of the false prophets that have led them astray from the Way of righteousness. They were once "stars" of the heaven to them...highly esteemed among them.

But once the Lord delivers His elect, they (the false prophets) will be brought to grief at what they see happening in their churches. The “stars” will fall from heaven as they lose their once high position over the deceived where they once were spoken well of by all.

(26) Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.

It has been a time of tribulation. The pastors have destroyed and scattered the sheep of His pasture as they feed only themselves.

Jeremiah 23:1-5 KJV (1) Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD. (2) Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD.

He will gather the remnant....those who will escape.... of His flock out of all denominations where they have been scattered by the pastors.

(3) And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. (4) And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the LORD. (5) Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.

After the tribulation of those days (the scattering of His sheep by false Christs and false prophets), then the sun shall be darkened and the moons shall not give her light and the stars shall fall from heaven.

That is, all joy of those who once rejoiced in their profitable divisions will turn to gloom and doom as the darkness of what is happening will settle in. Nothing will brighten their day.

They will lose congregations and money as people depart from their company. The stars will fall from heaven as they lose their positions over those who will believe.

Woe unto those who laugh now for they will mourn and weep (all light within them will be darkened in their gloom). Nothing will brighten their day in the day these things start to happen.

Matthew 24: KJV (29) 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:

To those who laugh now as they are rich now as they retail the Word of God and make merchandise of those who they are deceiving, the manifest knowledge of the Son of God in this coming time will be a savor of “death unto death” in those who perish as they will not like what they hear.

Their joy will turn to deep gloom as their sun goes down so-to-speak and the moon does not give out her light. Joy goes away for them. Again, nothing will brighten their day when they see these things start to happen.

2 Corinthians 2:14-17 KJV (14) Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. (15) For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: (16) To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things? (17) For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.

The powers of heaven shall be shaken as those who are focusing on things above (love, peace, kindness, gentleness, patience, etc) will tremble at the hearing of His Word spoken in Christ.

To this will He look (scan for): to those who are poor and of a contrite spirit (breath) and tremble (shudder in fear) at His Word. They are the elect…the chosen…as they tremble at His Word and do those things that He delights in. He will look to them.

They will use FEW humble words …being poor in spirit….poor in breath…in response to what they hear: His Word spoken in Christ. They will give His Spirit rest as they will be found peaceful and will receive what they hear. They will drink in the living water of the Spirit and give His Spirit rest within them as they will not resist what they hear.

Isaiah 66:1-2 KJV (1) Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? (2) For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.

Not so with those who will be found resisting His Spirit of Truth as they will respond by doing evil….doing those things that do not please Him towards the hearing of His voice. They will contend in evilagainst what they hear.

Isaiah 66:4 KJV (4) I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not.

The sign of the Son of man (who is in Heaven) shall appear (SHINE) as those who will tremble at His Word shall have the light shine brighter and brighter within their very own once-darkened hearts. The sign of the Son of man who is in Heaven speaking to us is within our very own hearts. It does not come with an outward observance of an outward sign but is a personal sign (the witness of God within saying that this is His Son whom we are to hear) within the heart of those who will hear His Word.

But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. (Malachi 4:2).

They will rejoice in what they hear.

Yet, the tribes of the “earth” (those who are bogged down in their earthly wisdom in envy, strife, hatred, wrath, etc) will mourn. They will not rejoice as they see the effects of the Son of man upon the believers as they (the clouds of people who are focusing on those things above) will receive His words and be gathered together in One mind and One body as they will receive the full knowledge of God in this coming time. They will depart from the churches of men where they once were deceived and living in hatred of one another and arguing over theological differences.

Matthew 24: (30) 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. (31) 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.

  • Thank you for your answer. Are you a preterist? – JLB May 11 at 15:23
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The very short answer is that the "elect" are the saints, the Christians.

But, this question encompasses the destruction of Jerusalem, and the prophesies from Daniel and Revelation. We have to identify the context, and the time in order to be able to identify the elements of the prophetic language in Matt. 24:29-31.

In Matt. 24:2, Jesus had just told the disciples that the beautiful temple was going to be torn down. The main building of the temple had been completed before Herod died, but the rest of the buildings were still undergoing reconstruction while the disciples spoke to Jesus.

So, the news that the temple was to be torn down was an astounding statement to the disciples, indeed to any Jew, as not only were these massive buildings, but the temple was the center of their lives. If it was going to be torn down, then in their minds it meant the end of their world as they knew it. (See more information at Herod's Temple)

Understandably, they asked Christ in verse 3 when that temple would be torn down, and what would be the signs. They recognized enough to attribute the destruction of the temple as a judgment from God, and continued to ask about the signs of His coming. Think "day of the Lord" - and of the end of the "world", and a time of judgment.

"And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?" (KJV)

The correct word in verse 3 that is translated as "world" in the KJV is 'αἰῶνος', or "aionos", and in the English is "age". An age is a cycle of time. Time is an element of the "age."

Excerpt from Benson Commentary on Matt. 24:3-5,

"These seem to be only different expressions to denote the same period with the destruction of Jerusalem, the disciples supposing, that when the destruction of Jerusalem should take place, then would be the coming of Christ and the end of the world, or, the conclusion of the age, as συντελεια του αιωνος should rather be translated here, and often signifies. See especially Hebrews 9:36; and 1 Corinthians 10:11. Accordingly, in the parallel place of Mark 13:4, their question is expressed thus, When shall these things be, and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled? And in that of Luke 21:7, thus, When shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass? The disciples therefore inquire concerning two things; 1st, the time of the destruction of Jerusalem; and, 2d, the signs of it. The latter part of the question our Lord answers first, and treats of the signs of his coming from the 4th to the 31st verse, inclusive; and then passes on to the other part of the question, concerning the time of his coming." Source: here

We know that the temple was destroyed in A.D. 70 in the Jewish-Roman wars. So, the end which Jesus was telling the disciples to watch for was going to be during that time period. The subject of the question was the destruction of that temple. Therefore, the end they were to watch for, and the signs they were to watch for was for the end of the temple, and the end of the old sacrificial covenant.

Matt. 24:34 confirms the time period of this "end" was their generation.

"Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled." (KJV)

"This generation" was their generation, the generation in which Christ spoke the words. Not the generation in which we are reading the book; but, the generation in which Christ was manifested on this earth in the first century A.D.

Therefore, the prophesy language of Matt.24:29-31 is of that time period for the destruction of the temple and of Jerusalem in the days leading up to the wars in Judea AD 66 to AD 70. This is important because it is a time marker for the prophesies Christ references in these verses.

Verse 29 references Daniel's prophesy of the tribulation.

" 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:" (KJV)

Dan. 12:1,

" 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." (KJV)

In the OT, Michael prefigured Christ as the warrior for His people, and is so referenced again in Rev. 12:7. The prophesy to Daniel was about Daniel's people - the Jews. So the deliverance of Dan. 12:1 from the trouble or tribulation was referenced by Christ in Matt. 24:29 in the prophetic language of rulers being removed from their stations of power.

That Christ referenced Daniel in this prophesy of the destruction of the temple marks Daniel's prophesy for that same generation of the 1st century AD.

Christ also told them the "end" would be "immediately" after the tribulation of those days. In other words, there would be no delay between the tribulation - the persecution and the war - and the destruction of the temple.

Excerpt from Benson Commentary:

" Immediately after, &c. — We are now come to the last act of this dismal tragedy, the destruction of Jerusalem, and the final dissolution of the Jewish polity in church and state, which our Lord, for several reasons, might not think fit to declare nakedly and plainly, and therefore chose to clothe his discourse in figurative language. Commentators, indeed, have generally understood this, and what follows, of the end of the world, and of Christ’s coming to judgment: but the words, immediately after the tribulation of those days, show evidently that he is not speaking of any distant event, but of something immediately consequent upon the tribulation before mentioned, and that must be the destruction of the temple and city of Jerusalem, and the abolition of the Jewish polity, civil and religious." Source: here

Darkening of suns and moons was God's standard prophetic language throughout the OT for the downfall of kings and queens, princes or whatever ruling authority governed the people.

The people under discussion in Matt. c 24 were the Jews, Daniel's people (Dan. 9:24). The same people to which Christ appeared, and to whom He was speaking. The stars falling from heaven were the tribes of Israel, which are defined throughout the OT prophetic language.

God promised Abraham in Gen. 22:17,

" that blessing I bless thee, and multiplying I multiply thy seed as stars of the heavens, and as sand which [is] on the sea-shore; and thy seed doth possess the gate of his enemies;" (YLT)

While speaking to Isaac, God repeated the promise He gave to Abraham in Gen. 26:4,

"and I have multiplied thy seed as stars of the heavens, and I have given to thy seed all these lands; and blessed themselves in thy seed have all nations of the earth;" (YLT)

Moses reminded God of His promise in Ex. 32:13,

" `Be mindful of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Israel, Thy servants, to whom Thou hast sworn by Thyself, and unto whom Thou speakest: I multiply your seed as stars of the heavens, and all this land, as I have said, I give to your seed, and they have inherited to the age;'" (YLT)

The "stars of heaven" were the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob / Israel. Joseph's dream in Gen. 37: 9-10 identify his brothers - the other children of Israel - as stars.

So, the falling stars in the prophesy of Matt 24, just as in many others from the OT were the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel.... the tribes of Israel, and specifically those of the priesthood and the Sanhedrin.

Prophetic language that speaks of the "powers of heavens being shaken" does not speak of the heaven where God sits on His throne. That heaven cannot be shaken. The "heavens" that can be shaken are the earthly kingdoms of men, who rule over the people. They are a type of heaven, as they have authority and station above the common man.

Just as God from His heavenly throne has authority over all men, the earthly kings rule from their "heavens" of their kingdoms on earth. We have to be careful to identify which "heavens" are being spoken of in prophesy. If the "heavens" can be shaken, then they are the ruling authority or kingdoms of men.

Therefore, shaking the "powers of heavens" in Matt. 24:29 meant the removal or downfall of the ruling authorities of the Jews, specifically the Sanhedrin and the priesthood who tyrannically ruled the lives of those in Jerusalem and Judea.

It may also reference the next "heavens" or authority over them, as the Sanhedrin answered to Rome. At that time, Judea was a province of Rome. Rome was going to come under judgment as well during the Year of Four Caesars in A.D. 69 - 70, and afterwards.

See similar language in Ezek. 32:7-8; Joel 2:30-31.

Matt. 24:30 spoke of Christ's coming in the prophetic judgment language against Jerusalem and that old temple in the same manner in which Christ had told Caiaphas that he would see the Son of Man "coming upon the clouds of the heaven, with power and much glory;"

Matt. 26:64,

" Jesus saith to him, `Thou hast said; nevertheless I say to you, hereafter ye shall see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of the power, and coming upon the clouds of the heaven.'" (YLT)

This is the same prophetic language of Dan. 7:13 of the ascension of Christ,

" I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him." (KJV)

Coming in the clouds was a time of judgment upon the people and nation(s). See also Luke 21:27.

The sound of the trumpet in In Matt. 24:31 was the announcement of His coming and the gospel call. The angels are messengers, and could be those heavenly beings that carry out God's instructions, but the word is also used for any agent of God, including the apostles who were leading the people of God during this time, preaching the gospel throughout all the Roman empire (rule or "heavens").

Excerpt from Gill's Exposition:

" With a great sound of a trumpet, meaning the Gospel; see Isaiah 27:13 so called in allusion either to the silver trumpets which Moses was ordered to make of one piece, and use them for the calling of the assembly, the journeying of the camps, blowing an alarm for war, and on their solemn and festival days, Numbers 10:1. The Gospel being rich and precious, all of a piece, useful for gathering souls to Christ, and to his churches;...." Source: here

The gathering of His elect was the gathering of His saints into a safe place, away from the judgment / battle on the "earth" of Judea. It is seen in Daniel's prophesy.

Dan. 7:26-27, speaking of the fourth kingdom in which Christ would be manifested,

" But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end. 27 And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him." (KJV)

The coming of the Lord in Matt. 24 was the same as "judgment shall sit" in Dan. 7:26.

The elect are His saints, those who believe in Him, who have chosen to obey the command to be immersed in His name - baptized in His name, and are then written in the book of life (Phil. 4:3; Rev. 3:5; Rev. 21:27).

The election is made on both sides of the agreement: the first of the offer from God, the call from God to obey the gospel of Christ; and the second on behalf of the ones who answer that call. It is a free will gift from God (grace), and a free will acceptance by each who will obey the command. Therefore, "the elect".

Those "elect" or saints of the first century AD that were going to have to go through that tribulation would be safeguarded by the angels / messengers / apostles and be removed from the danger of the Jewish-Roman wars. Christ had told them in Matt. 24:16 to flee to the mountains when they saw certain signs. See also Luke 21:21-22.

(Note: It does no good to flee from a world-wide destruction such as Noah's flood, so this chapter and Christ's warnings were not speaking of the end of all the physical cosmos / world.)

The elect who heeded the warnings are the ones who would be "taken" out of danger in verses Matt. 24:40-41. Those who heeded the warnings fled when they saw the signs Christ spoke of: the Roman armies, the false prophets, etc.

The ones who did not heed the warnings - those left behind - faced the judgment battle, and suffered injury, enslavement, or death.

Those taken were not some rapturous removal in to the sky. They were the ones who heeded Christ's warning to flee to the mountains. Tradition has it that they all safely fled to Pella, or the surrounding area.

Eusebius recorded that

"The members of the Jerusalem church by means of an oracle, given by revelation to acceptable persons there, were ordered to leave the city before the war began and settle in a town in Peraea called Pella." Book III, 5:4.

Epiphanius (375 AD):

"The Nazoraean sect exists in Beroea near Coele Syria, in the Decapolis near the region of Pella, and in Bashan in the place called Cocaba, which in Hebrew is called Chochabe. That is where the sect began, when all the disciples were living in Pella after they moved from Jerusalem, since Christ told them to leave Jerusalem and withdraw because it was about to be besieged. For this reason they settled in Peraea and there, as I said, they lived. This is where the Nazoraean sect began." (Panarion 29:7:7-8)

Eutychius of Alexandria (10th c AD)

"Qistus, governor of Jerusalem, died and the city was without any authority or sovereign to govern it. The Jews then arose and rioted and killed James, son of Joseph, known as the “brother of the Lord”, stoning him to death (14). Then they harassed a group of disciples and expelled them from the city. The Christians abandoned Jerusalem, crossed the Jordan and settled in those places (15). Informed of this fact, Nero Caesar sent word to the commander stationed in the East, named Vespasian, to rally his troops and go to Judea with orders to kill all the inhabitants, sparing none, and to destroy the houses." The Annals of Eutychius of Alexandria, ch. 9:

John Lightfoot (1889):

"Jerusalem was taken in the autumn of 70 A.D. Before its fall the Christians had left the doomed city. While the greater part retired beyond the Jordan and founded Christian colonies at Pella and the neighborhood, the principle leaders of the church -- the surviving apostles and other personal disciples of the Lord -- sought a new home in proconsular Asia. Henceforward we find the headquarters of Christendom no more at Jerusalem, nor even at Antioch but, (for the time at least) in Ephesus. Here John fixed his abode after his temporary banishment in Patmos." (Lightfoot, J.B.; Translated and edited; Apostolic Fathers: Clement, Ignatius, Polycarp; first published 1889; Pub. Hendrickson; Vol. 1, pg. 438.)

This was the same flight that Christ prophesied to John in Rev. 12:6 of the "woman" (the church of Christ) who fled the "dragon" (Rome) into the wilderness for 1260 days, or 3-1/2 years. The revolt began in Jerusalem about Oct. 66 AD, and after Cestius Gallus failed to put down the rebellion here, Nero sent Vespasian who began his campaign in early 67 AD marching inward from Galilee and working his way through Judea here.

In AD 69 Vespasian left his son Titus in charge of the campaign, and gathered his supporters to return to Rome and take control of the falling empire during the year of 4 Caesars, as the destruction in Rome under Galba, Otho, and Vitellius had almost destroyed the city.

Meanwhile, Titus had reached Jerusalem in March / April AD 70, waited until the gates of the city were shut for the Passover, and laid siege. Six months later, approx. Sept. 8-10 AD 70 Jerusalem fell, and the temple was destroyed.

" The siege of Jerusalem was probably the greatest single slaughter in ancient history." J.E. Lendon, Military History Quarterly Summer 2005, The Roman Siege of Jerusalem here

Those that had fled Jerusalem and the battle areas in Judea when they saw the Roman armies approaching sheltered in Pella and other areas beyond the Jordan. Many then moved on and settled in different areas after the destruction was over.

So, after A.D. 70, the scattered Jewish Christians all dispersed throughout the nations, which furthered the teaching of the gospel of Christ to all the world.

Isa. 2:3,

" ...for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem." (KJV)

Joel 3:16,

" The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel." (KJV)

Christ, our Lord roared from Zion (Jerusalem) during His earthly ministry, at His death on the cross, when He was resurrected and appeared to the disciples, when He ascended to heaven, and when He sent them the Comforter, and poured out the Holy Spirit upon the people of the first century A.D. The Holy Spirit's record of His testimony is still roaring today!

The judgment of Jerusalem, and the tribes of Israel was fulfilled in the destruction of that temple in A.D. 70, and the scattering of the once chosen people of God. See Ezek. 22:20-22; Dan. 12:7.

Today, the chosen are the elect - the saints - who have put on Christ through baptism (immersion). When we are baptized into Christ (Mark 16:16), we are covered by His blood (Ex. 12:13; Rom. 5:9), and are clothed in His righteousness (the wedding garments of Matt. c. 22). Then we are counted for the seed of Abraham (Gal. 3:26-29), and are children of faith (Rom 4:10-18), and we become the Israel under the new covenant of the gospel of Christ which is saved with an everlasting salvation (Isa. 45:17).

Those of us who are in Christ are Israel.

Through the gospel of Christ, our heavenly Father has given us everything we need to attain salvation (Acts 4:12; 2 Pet. 1:3-4). We are not waiting for Him to do anything more. We are assured through His word that He has already accomplished the predetermined plan of salvation (1 Pet. 1:20; Matt. 25:34; Rev. 13:8) in His sacrifice on the cross, and His fulfillment of the old covenant, and His destruction of that old sacrificial temple.

We rejoice greatly because He did it all! He came back to those of the first century A.D. just as He promised them that He would. He continues to sit in judgment, and rules from the right hand of the Father over all of His kingdom. He continues to judge the nations from heaven above as He has always done. He doesn't have to come back to earth to do His will, or to execute any necessary judgment.

Today, we live our lives according to His will and remain faithful unto death. Then, we will hear our last trump. We will be resurrected, changed in the twinkling of an eye (1 Cor. 15:51-54), and be gathered together into heaven with all of the saints that have gone before us. 1 Thess. 4:16-17:

" 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:

17 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."

The tendency of most people when reading the above two verses is to link them in time. The word "then" in verse 17 makes a distinction in time for those that remained alive... those who had not yet fallen alseep... when the Lord came back to them in A.D. 70.

"Then,"... afterwards ...after the judgment against Israel, and after the destruction of the temple. It indicates that afterwards life was going to continue on; that after the Lord's second appearance in that generation (Heb. 9:28) the living would be taken up as they died.

After the temple was destroyed, Christ opened the gates of Hades (Rev. 1:18) and carried out the first resurrection of all of the dead who had been waiting in Hades (Matt. 25:31-33; Rev. 20:12), all those that had died before His judgment coming in A.D. 70. (See the my post at ShreddingTheVeil - "The Burning of Jerusalem and the Hadean Death.")

Then (after), the resurrection process changed from a group or general resurrection to the individual resurrection.

Rev. 14:13,

"And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them." (KJV)

Today, Christ is still sitting on His throne. His judgment has never stopped; it is on-going. For all that remained alive at His second appearance, all that had not yet died would be caught up as they passed from mortal to immortal life to be gathered into heaven to be with the Lord forever more.

"Caught up together" means being taken to where they are in heaven, to be with them. It does not mean at the same time. Any version of the translation that reads "simultaneously" is in error.

Ever since the judgment of A.D. 70, the gathering of the elect has been happening every hour of every day that a soul in Christ passes from this corruptible, mortal life into everlasting, eternal life in heaven.

There are many sources that can be reviewed for the history of the Jewish wars with Rome. Here are a few: Causes of the War; Titus' Siege of Jerusalem;and Josephus' War of the Jews, Book 4

All bold emphasis is mine.

There is much more scriptural evidences of Christ's soon return in that same generation of the first century AD for the judgment of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple at my blog ShreddingTheVeil. All ten parts of "It's Not The End of The World", the eight parts of "The Signs of Revelation", "Daniel and The End Times", "The Whore of Babylon," "God's Definitions Part I - The House of Israel" and others expand on this theme.

  • Thank you for your time answering a part of the question, but you left a lot of it unanswered. I know you wrote, "where we are all gathered to, is another topic for another question." , but it is actually part of this question. I believe if you answer each part of the question scripturally accurate you will come to different conclusions. – JLB Jul 31 '17 at 10:39
  • Please reread, as I've expanded much and added more in response to your comment. – Gina Jul 31 '17 at 13:40
  • So if you think these events have already transpired (correct me if I am wrong about your view) in the context of Matt 24-25 it says that when the King/Messiah COMES and sets up His Kingdom "But when the Son of Man COMES in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne", #1 - If that is in "heaven". Why does it say He "COMES" - where does He come from and go to? #2 - When you made the assertion that every time a "Christian" goes to heaven that that is the gathering together? #3 - Are you a preterest? – JLB Aug 1 '17 at 10:55
  • The "coming" is from the OT usage in prophetic language and was used as a day of judgment or "day of the Lord" or the "coming of the Lord" when He would judge the wicked people. Psa. 96:13; Mal. 3:2; 4:5. The "coming" used throughout all of the NT was the same meaning... coming in judgment, and that judgment was directed against backsliding, unfruitful Jerusalem... those who rejected and crucified the Messiah. His coming in judgment was much prophesied in both the OT & NT. Just a few are Zech 14:1-2; Joel 2:1, 11; 1 Cor. 1:8; 2 Pet. 2:9; 3:10. – Gina Aug 1 '17 at 12:19
  • Further, the melting described in Ezek. 22:18-24 in "the day of indignation" is the prophesy of 2 Pet. 3:10 "melting of the elements" in the "day of the Lord". These are all terms for judgment of nations, and evil people. They are not referring to the end of the physical cosmos. I am a full preterist. That does not mean that I believe God is not ruling, or has walked away from His creation or His elect. Rather it means that He rules now, and has established His kingdom for all those who wish to enter in, and the process is on-going to allow for a continued harvest of souls. – Gina Aug 1 '17 at 12:25
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The elect is God's chosen seed they are spread across planet earth scattered like books and the stars bit you need to think in a non physical sense to understand that. and they returned to an ark constructed above us to receive mercy from the Lord and his promises. God is was and will be! some of them do good some choose bad some are sleeping some awake some trying to keep others sleeping and some trying to wake others up god is just as present as he was then and he will be exalted above all may the peace and mercy and our Lord most high be with you

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