The description of the endtimes in Matthew 24 has become a focus of attention in past months. It has been used to show the differences between the Rapture and the Second Coming.
However it’s also been used to eliminate the Rapture and even the Church entirely from what Jesus said.
Some deny that Jesus was talking to Christians at all. They see no correlation between Matthew 24 and the Book of Revelation, and fix all the events Jesus mentioned during what they claim will be seven years of Tribulation. Although these beliefs are commonplace, are they actually supported by the bible text itself?
In Matthew 24 Jesus answered three questions asked by the disciples:
- When will the Temple be destroyed, no stone being left upon another
- What are the signs that you are coming back for us?
- What are the signs of the End and Final Judgement, and the setting-up of the earthly kingdom?
Jesus answers these in turn. He prefaces everything with a warning “do not be deceived”. Then he replies to the three questions with a prophecy that not only relates to their own time but also the far distant future.
- The Temple will be destroyed in AD70 but there will be another greater time of destruction. At both times there will be an “abomination” to defile the Temple, and on both occasions those who love God will escape. (24:15 and following)
- There will be troubles and cosmic signs and deceptions, but the coming in the air will be as bright as lightning. (24:31)
- When the Throne is set up on earth, all men and women will appear before God for Judgement. Jesus will rule. (25:31 and following)
Inevitably, those who follow the classic evangelical teachings have been quick to defend their opinions on Matthew 24.
For instance, recently a group dedicated to the Pre-trib Rapture, Dispensationalism and Once-Saved-Always-Saved posted a blog purporting to show how Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 24 must only refer to Israel and has nothing to do with the Church as “Matthew 24 is not about the Church which didn’t even exist on the day that they asked Jesus these questions”.
I don’t wish to single anyone out, nor do I want to point fingers in anyone’s direction, but it seems useful to look at the points raised in their blog as a foundation for discussion. In general I have no problem with the way Now The End Begins reports snippets of news and other topics, but I must take issue with this particular teaching.
So I’m going to look at each point raised in a series of pages on my website. They will be:
- Did the Church Exist in the Day of Jesus?
- Can Prophecies Refer to More than One Event?
- The Rapture or the Second Coming – or both?
- When and What is the Day of Jacob’s Trouble?
- Are the Elect Exclusively Israel?
- Is the Tribulation a seven-year Wrath of God?
- Do we Need to Endure, as Christians?
- Are there Distinct and Absolute Dispensations of History?
- Replacement Theology
I would love for you to follow through these points with me, and see if you can follow the thinking behind what Jesus said. Was he referring to the Church? Did he mention the Rapture? Or not. See for yourself. Go direct to the article by clicking the links above.