Is the Gathering in Matt. 24 Jews or Christians?

The following article is a transcript of a video found on our YouTube channel. “The Pretrib. Rapture Disproven” in ten minutes.  And we have added a few additional points for our dedicated readers. There has been a lot of demand for written transcripts of these videos so that those of you who prefer slow and methodical study can refer back to them again and again.

Thanks to Sandra Haas who formatted this transcript, we are happy to provide it to you.

The video appears directly below and the transcript article follows.

In this article we’re going to disprove the Pre-Trib Rapture in 10 minutes and we’re going to do it using one of the most currently popular proofs for the Pre-Trib Rapture. This proof comes from a website called A Little Strength, by Greg Lauer. If you’ve seen it, you know that it contends that the gathering together in Matthew 24:31 is a gathering of Jews. Now, both the Pre-Wrath and Post-Trib Rapture theories believe this passage is the Rapture, so if instead it actually is a gathering together of the Jews, those other Rapture theories can’t be correct… it can’t be both. And conversely, if the gathering isn’t the Jews, well then it can’t be a Pre-Trib Rapture.

Why Dispensationalism May be Mistaken

The Pre-Trib Rapture disproven in 10 minutes? We’re going to do that by proving the gathering in Matthew 24 isn’t a gathering together of newly saved Jews. Not only that, but we’re going to show why the whole notion of dispensationalism may be  mistaken as well. And this is a bit controversial, even among our Prewrath brethren.

Now, let’s look at Mr Lauer’s point, which is really pretty simple. He compares Matthew 24:31 to a number of Old Testament passages about a future gathering of Israel (like Isaiah 27:12-13).

In that day from the river Euphrates to the Brook of Egypt the Lord will thresh out the grain, and you will be gleaned one by one, O people of Israel. And in that day a great trumpet will be blown, and those who were lost in the land of Assyria and those who were driven out to the land of Egypt will come and worship the Lord on the holy mountain at Jerusalem. (Isa. 27:12-13)

He points out in both passages there is a gathering or harvesting and both have a trumpet call; and of course he points out that it is the people of Israel who are being gathered. Mr. Lauer then demonstrates how the rest of Matthew 31 quotes other Old Testament passages as well.

God will scatter the Jews to the four winds of heaven as we learn in Zechariah 2 and in Mr. Lauer’s opinion, Matthew 24:31 is Jesus’s explanation of how this regathering will take place.

And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Matt. 24:31)

Up! Up! Flee from the land of the north, declares the Lord. For I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heavens, declares the Lord. (Zech. 2:6)

Mr. Lauer contends that these references to the Old Testament prove it is Jews who will be regathered and that it is not a Rapture. In Mr. Lauer’s mind this disproves both the Pre-Wrath and Post-Trib Rapture positions.

This proof has convinced a lot of people and do you know what, even I agree with Mr. Lauer that Jesus was quoting the Old Testament in Matthew 24:31. I just don’t agree with his conclusions.

The first thing Mr. Lauer misses is that believers in the Messiah now include and have included many who are Jewish by birth. Paul, Peter, John, etc. were all Jewish as are many of my Christian brothers and friends today. So when Isaiah says God will gather Israel at the great trumpet he will! On the day of the resurrection and rapture many, many genetic Jews will be raised and raptured.

Second, when God’s Word refers to Israel, it sometimes refers to the nation, the genetic Jews, and sometimes it refers to a greater group – the Israel of God.

Mr. Lauer and most Pretrib.  followers believe that God has two distinct people, the Jews and the Christians. That after the crucifixion God stopped working with the Jews and began dealing soley with the Christians. Then when the Tribulation finally begins, God will take the Christians out of this world in the Rapture and begin dealing only with the Jews to finally bring them to faith in Jesus. This is the basic idea behind dispensationalism. To many, this sounds correct. It sounds good but it’s totally unbiblical. God has only one people on earth, neither Jew nor Gentile, but all one in Jesus.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Gal. 3:28)

Christians Grafted Into The Olive Tree … Which Is The Israel of God

The Apostle Paul describes God’s people as a single olive tree and that olive tree is the Israel of God. Not the nation of Israel or those who are genetic Israel, but the Spiritual inhabitants of the New Jerusalem. What about Christians? Paul tells us that although we aren’t Jewish by birth, we were grafted into the root of the tree which is Spiritual Israel. By becoming Christians we became part of true Israel. This is a critical truth that is rarely taught.

You, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree. (Rom. 11:17)

And what is that nourishing root? Paul tells us in Romans as well.

Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises,  whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh (Rom. 9:4-5)

So to the Israel of God belong the adoption as sons, our coming glorification, the covenants, the Law, the promises of scripture, and our Messiah himself. That is what we were grafted into.

Paul additionally says this in Ephesians

You were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.  But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. (Eph. 2:12-13)

So there is something called the “commonwealth of Israel” to which gentile Christians were brought near by the blood of Jesus. Paul calls this the Israel of God in Galations.

For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.  And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God (Gal. 6:15-16)

The Israel of God is a new creation neither Jew nor Greek whose capital is the new Jerusalem. But what About The Unsaved Jews?

Their branches were broken off because of their unbelief, so currently they aren’t currently part of true Israel. They are genetically Israel and part of the nation of Israel but not true Israel. Amazing, but that is what the Bible teaches.

They were broken off because of their unbelief. (Rom. 11:20)

So, God has only one people on the earth… a single olive tree. The unsaved Jews have been cut off for their unbelief, but God has a plan to regraft them in some day. This is critical because God made promises to the genetic descendants of Jacob and he will fulfill them.

A partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in;  and so all Israel will be saved … From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God’s choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers; for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. (Rom. 11:25-26, 28-29)

What Does This Have To Do With The Gathering Together?

But what does all this have to do with the gathering together in Matthew 24? Because of dispensational beliefs, Mr. Lauer and most Pretrib. followers make a very faulty assumption that Old Testament Scriptures, like the ones he quoted, are only for the unsaved Jews. This is so wrong! The church IS part of the Israel of God, the one true Israel, into which they were grafted and into which the unsaved Jews will be grafted back someday.

Let’s look at why this dispensational approach is faulty thinking. The New Covenant that Jesus said was in His blood at the Last Supper (that is what all Christians believe we are now living under) was made with the houses of Judah and Israel, not with Christians.

Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. (Jer. 31:31)

So how does it apply to us today? We know that it does. It applies to Christians because we were grafted into the Israel of God and get the same benefits in the same way many other Old Testament passages, like the ones Mr. Lauer looked at, applied to Christians as well. When Jesus taught in Matthew 24, He took many of these Old Testament prophecies and put them together like a jigsaw puzzle so the disciples and we could know how they all fit together. But, and this is crucially important, there was no church yet. No one had been grafted back at that point.

So, when Mr. Lauer makes his so-called proof he only looks at half the story. He stopped with Jesus’s explanation, but there is one more critical explanation. It took the Apostle Paul to explain to us how Christians fit into the picture Jesus painted. So when Paul wrote to the Gentile believers in Thessalonica, he told them that they would be part of this gathering together that Jesus described. He told them Jesus would descend from Heaven, resurrect the dead in Christ, and the living and dead would be gathered together to meet the Lord in the air. This is Paul’s explanation of how Matthew 24:31 applies to Christians.

For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. (I Thess. 4:16-17)

Now you may be saying, “wait a minute… what you’re reading is the Rapture in I Thessalonians. Paul was describing the Rapture and Matthew 24:31 is the Second Coming”. But that’s wrong… they are exactly the same event. They are both the Rapture and we prove it in a separate video  called, Is Matthew 24:31 The Rapture Or Second Coming?. Click on the link to watch the VIDEO to prove this to yourself as well; it is very, very important information.

Remember, if we’re going to get through this in 10 minutes you’ll have to do some additional research on your own, but be sure to check out that video. So, returning to the gathering together, there were three teachings:

• First, Isaiah taught that Israel would be gathered at a great trumpet and at that point in time it looked like this would just be the Jews (Isa. 27:12-13).

• Then Jesus placed this piece of the puzzle in the chronology of end times, telling us the gathering together happens after the Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:31).

• But it took the Apostle Paul to show that the gathering of true Israel, the one and only olive tree, is actually the Rapture of Christians (I Thessalonians 4:16-17).

In fact, all three of these teachings are the same event.

Now it’s time for a couple bonus facts about the gathering together. The unsaved Jews will eventually be grafted back into the olive tree and will be regathered to the nation of Israel, but it won’t happen supernaturally with the help of angels. After the return of Jesus it will be by camel, horses, and mules as Isaiah 66 tells us… and also by boat.

And they shall bring all your brothers from all the nations as an offering to the Lord, on horses and in chariots and in litters and on mules and on dromedaries, to my holy mountain Jerusalem. (Isa. 66:20)

The ships of Tarshish first, to bring your children from afar. (Isa. 60:9)

So, the gathering together by angels in Matthew 24 can’t be the Jews because the Bible shows their gathering is by natural means; plus, there is the matter that those who are gathered are called “The Elect”.

Watch Is Matthew 24 for Jews or Christians?  for a full explanation of why those who are gathered, the elect, can only be Christians…not unsaved Jews. This is an important part of the full picture!

So, the Pre-Trib proof that everyone has been so excited about actually helps us uncover a number of facts:

• First, that God has one people on the earth, not two. One true Israel, and all Christians have been grafted into it. This is our true identity.

• Second, shockingly Matthew 24:31 and the most universally accepted passage on the Rapture, I Thessalonians 4, are the same event… the Rapture.

• Third, God will regather Israel by using physical means like horses and camels, not using angels.

• The Elect in Matthew 24 are Christians, not newly saved Jews.

• And finally, as Mr. Lauer tells us himself, if the regathering together (Matthew 24) isn’t of Jews then it’s the Rapture; and by his own admission then, since we’ve shown it isn’t the Jews, this proves there isn’t a Pre-Trib Rapture. It is the Prewrath Rapture

This article is part of an ongoing series called, Dawn Of A New Day, about the timing of Jesus’s return; you may also wish to watch the VIDEO version, produced by The Gospel Of The End Times Ministries. WATCH IT HERE

2 thoughts on “Is the Gathering in Matt. 24 Jews or Christians?”

  1. Nelson, first I am so grateful to Sandra Haas for this great transcription service. It makes it so much easier to thoughtfully respond.

    In my opinion your article on Matt. 24 brings out one of the foundational issues between the prewrath view and the pretrib view. The pretrib view HAS to see this gathering as referring to a Jewish gathering, otherwise the straightforward interpretation of the sequence in Matthew 24 has a rapture after the great tribulation.

    There are so many things in your article I would love to comment on because I believe you have shown great insight in all these issues, but time and space do not permit it. One that I really thank you for taking on is your questioning of Dispensationalism and its teaching that seems to disregard Paul’s teaching in Romans 11, Eph. 2, and Gal. 6 as well as other places.

    I would like to add another verse from Jesus’ teaching before the church was started (of course its start was no mystery to Him). In John 10 Jesus gives us the sustained metaphor about the sheepfold and the door and the good shepherd. In verse 16 He makes this statement: “And I have other sheep, which are not of this fold (clearly a reference to Gentile believers); I must bring them also, and they shall hear my voice; and they shall become one flock with one shepherd.” I think Jesus is clearly talking about the Israel of God, and it is ONE flock with ONE shepherd. It seems like this dividing up that goes with Dispensationalism is not what the Bible teaches at all.

    There are many other additional points we could mention relative to the gathering such as the Bible clearly teaches that there will be ONE day when the righteous are rescued and the wicked will begin to receive the wrath of God, just as in the days of Noah or the day Lot was rescued. It is easy to show that Matthew 24:31 is precisely that one day, because Jesus says it plainly in the next few verses. To say that a rescue came seven years before flies in the face of Jesus’ teaching, as well as Paul’s in 2 Thess. 2:1-4.

    Thank you for posting this great article. Paul Kalbach

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