In recent studies we have unpacked the meaning of the Elect, so that we may identify those Jesus speaks of in Mat 24:31 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.” From our studies we now know who His Elect are, and as we discovered there was no great mystery, no complex solution, the answer is as the text says; His chosen, that’s you and I, His Bride, the One New Man, which Peter beautifully describes in 1 Pe 2:9 NKJV as “a chosen (eklektos, Elect) generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light”
We also know from verse Matt 28:29 that we shall be gathered immediately after the tribulation, when the sun will be darkened and the moon will not shine. This is a direct reference to Joel’s prophecy in Joel 2:31 [ESV2011] who writes “The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes.”
But is that the end of the matter? Maybe not, for we may probe deeper and say “well, when will the great tribulation end? How long will it be?” This question seems valid because Jesus himself taught in Matt 24:22 NKJV “And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.” Does that mean that the gathering (or rapture) of the Elect, takes place sooner that expected? If the days are shortened, how long will the great tribulation be? The prophet Daniel was given the answer to that question in Dan 7:25 and Dan 12:7 concerning the apocalyptic visions he saw, Dan 7:25 He (that is the anti-Christ) shall speak words against the Most High, he will wear out (harass) the saints (holy ones) of the Most High, And shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints (or holy ones) (the Septuagint doesn’t say saints but power) shall be given into his hand for a time and times and half a time.
Who are the saints (or holy ones) of the Most High referred to here? Many will say these are Israel, but what does the text say, let’s allow the scripture to speak to us and read further in verse 27 Then the kingdom and dominion, And the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, Shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. His kingdom [is] an everlasting kingdom, And all dominions shall serve and obey Him.’ In this verse we are told who the saints are – they are the ones to whom the dominion, and greatness of the kingdoms under all of heaven will be given. And who is it who will share the Kingdom with the Lord? Paul answers that question when he writes to Timothy in 2 Tim 2:12 If we endure, we shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us. It is the Elect, who are destined to reign with the Lord. You see how difficult it is when we try to separate Israel from the church? It doesn’t work. If the church is to reign with the Lord, then she must place herself into the context of Daniel 7, or if the church says no no this passage relates to the nation of Israel, then she can’t claim the blessing promised here to reign. But why does it have to be one or the other? That’s what we’ve inherited through different theological systems that separate Israel and the Gentile church like dispensationalism. That’s why the Bridal mindset is critical here, because it sees the Bride, the One New Man, and doesn’t make the distinction. This is a profound mystery and a miracle of Divine Grace. We hear much talk of ‘reformation’ but reformation merely re-forms, what we need is beyond reformation. We need transformation. Not a re-form but a change of form, a transform. The church can’t take the promises made to Israel, and not be identified with her also. She can’t take the promise of being gathered which was made to Israel and change the timing of when that promise would be fulfilled. It’s all or nothing, we’re either in or out, not a pick and mix theology, taking the assurances and promises made to Israel, without the solidarity of standing with her through the tough times ahead. So when are the Elect gathered? They are gathered after the great tribulation, which is 1260 days after the revealing of the Anti-Christ. Finally then, when Jesus said “but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.(meaning cut off as in amputate)” (Matt 24:22) He did not mean that Daniel was wrong, or that there had been a revision to the dates, but instead the meaning of those days being shortened, or amputated, is that the wickedness of the Beast would not be permitted to take its full course, those days will be cut off, the short reign of the Anti-Christ will be terminated before his plans succeed.