The Matthew 24 Rapture Dilemma


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:

  1. When will the Temple be destroyed, no stone being left upon another
  2. What are the signs that you are coming back for us?
  3. 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.

  1. 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)
  2. There will be troubles and cosmic signs and deceptions, but the coming in the air will be as bright as lightning. (24:31)
  3. 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)

Counter-Arguments

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:

  1. Introduction
  2. Did the Church Exist in the Day of Jesus?
  3. Can Prophecies Refer to More than One Event?
  4. The Rapture or the Second Coming – or both?
  5. When and What is the Day of Jacob’s Trouble?
  6. Are the Elect Exclusively Israel?
  7. Is the Tribulation a seven-year Wrath of God?
  8. Do we Need to Endure, as Christians?
  9. Are there Distinct and Absolute Dispensations of History?
  10. 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.

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2 thoughts on “The Matthew 24 Rapture Dilemma

  1. Hi Tricia and all;
    The comment Glenn left promoting dispensationalism is a perfect example of the subtle deception involved in the furtherance of that theory. (You are much more gracious of a host than i Tricia, I would have sent that comment to the trash bin lest some one be led astray by it.) There are not TWO main theories on election but THREE. A dispensationalist will thoroughly point out the errors of Covenant/Replacement theology as proof of his own theory. And this works so wonderfully well because Replacement Theology IS error, and it’s easy to show that Scripturally. But this is in no way an endorsement of Dispensational theory!

    The truth of the matter is that BOTH Dispensational /Separation theology and Covenant /Replacement theology are falsehoods; and the true Biblical teachings on the election of God center around the concept of ‘Remnant Theology’. That there was a remnant of believing Jews who KEPT their status as the elect when national Israel rejected Christ and were ‘cut off’ by that unbelief. And the Gentile Church was grafted into that believing remnant to share in their election. We (the Church) do NOT replace the Jews as elect, nor are we a separate entity from the Jewish elect, we have become a part of them! This is clearly taught in Romans chapters 9-11, and particularly chapter 11. It is clearly and plainly taught in a manner a grade school student could grasp. It takes a theologian to turn it into a confusing mess. Just leave it alone and BELIEVE it!

    For a truthful look at this concept of election please consider this writing by a man who puts it much better than I ever could.

    http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Articles/Israel/israel.html

    It is probably the best treatment of this issue I have ever read.

    Blessings;
    Paul Benson
    http://www.paulbenson.me

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  2. Hi Tricia,

    I follow your blog via newsreader and read your articles whenever they appear. I haven’t read all of the articles in your series yet but I am pretty sure where this is leading. Let me say first off that it can lead anywhere you want it too, I am not going to dispute your right to believe what you want.

    However I would like to provide a few links for your other readers to reference if they would like to get the dispensational perspective on this topic (I understand you are opposed to Dispensationalism). Arnold Fruchtenbaum, a Hebrew Christian, has a series of six articles on Israel and their place in history. These articles are fairly academic but they are very relevant to what you are discussing, I think you will agree with Dr. Fruchtenbaum’s very first paragraph:

    The issue of Israel is one of the major points of division in evangelical theology today. This is true both among Arminians and Calvinists. An evangelical theologian’s view of Israel will determine whether he is a Covenant Theologian or a Dispensationalist. It will also determine what kind of Covenant Theologian he is: postmillennial, amillennial, or premillennial.

    Israelology, Part 1 of 6, by Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum
    Israelology (Part 2 of 6), by Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum
    Israelology (Part 3 of 6), by Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum
    Israelology (Part 4 of 6), by Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum
    Israelology (Part 5 of 6), by Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum
    Israelology (Part 6 of 6), by Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum

    For any reader who would like to know how dispensationalists describe themselves they could do worse than “What is Dispensationalism?” by Thomas Ice.

    Thank you!

    Glenn

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