It’s time to connect the dots! We have seen that when Paul speaks of the rapture, aka ‘the gathering’, he has in mind the ‘Day of the Lord’ also known as the ‘Day of Christ’ and in case there is any doubt, he clarifies that this day happens after the abomination of desolation when the son of perdition, the man of lawlessness is revealed. I have shared previously about two separate occasions when Jesus will come again, first in Matt 24 as the Son of Man, and second in Revelation 19 as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We have seen how these two events differ in their description, and I have proposed they are not the same. By the time we get to Revelation 19, the Bride has already been raptured, because we see her in heaven, receiving fine linen to wear, and following the Lord out of heaven when He returns to judge and make war. This leaves us with Matt 24 as being the only remaining candidate that combines ‘a coming’ with a rapture/gathering’ that happens sometime after the abomination of desolation. Let’s look a bit closer at Matt 24 and see how it compares to Pauls teaching in Thessalonians:
15 “So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand),16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 7 Let the one who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house, 18 and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak. 19 And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! 20 Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. 22 And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. 23 Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you beforehand. 26 So, if they say to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather. 29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, 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 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.”
There are a great many similarities between Paul’s teaching in 1 and 2 Thessalonians and Jesus’ teaching in Matt 24 and 25, to point out a few: both Jesus and Paul define the gathering after the abomination of desolation, and after the tribulation, both Jesus and Paul teach Jesus will come again on the clouds, they both refer to the apostasy and falling away and they both mention the playing of a trumpet. Yet even with such conspicuous parallels between the two, it is still not enough for the astute disciple to say that just because similarities exist doesn’t mean that they are necessarily describing the same thing, and I would have to agree! Indeed, the pre-tribulation view is that the gathering in Matt 24 is not the rapture spoken of by Paul in Thessalonians, and this debate has persisted for a long time. So what can be done to reconcile the differences which can so easily divide the Body of Christ today? I am not looking to exert one viewpoint above another by shouting louder metaphorically, no we must approach this with utmost love and respect for all. Let us be those who listen to each other, especially when what they have to say can be supported with good biblical exegesis. It’s not about defending a particular position and scoring points, that’s not where I’m coming from, my objective here isn’t to take sides, or to persuade anyone to change theirs, no let that be left to the Holy Spirit to grant us all wisdom and understanding as we fervently study the scriptures with an open heart and mind. My objective is to give a Biblical Rationale of the Call2Come viewpoint, so that people know what we believe and why. I don’t like the labels pre-trib, mid-trib, post-trib or pre-wrath, though they may help to consolidate groups of people with similar views, they can also serve to alienate us from each other. I believe we need a new paradigm, a new approach, lest we continue going around in circles with no resolution. Is there such a way forward, a unified position that will draw us all together. I believe there is! It will take us all, laying down our positions and opinions, to embrace a new design. You will have heard me say by now, that I believe the key to unlocking the end times is the Bride, and next time I will share how the Bridal paradigm can open up a whole new perspective on the gathering in Matt 24.