Matthew 24 The Rapture & The 2nd Coming.
In Matthew 24, did Jesus refer to the Rapture?
With reading Matthew 24 many lose sight of that the disciples asked him two questions. Mt. 24:3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
Jesus had just told them about the coming destruction of the Temple. Mt. 24:1 Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. 2 “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”
Here Jesus doesn't seem to answer about the destruction of the Temple which took place in 70 a.d. Matthew may not address it here because he mentioned it in chapter 23, but goes into addressing the 2nd question, the signs of his 2nd coming and the end of the age. We see this with verses 4 thru 31. With verse 32 he begins addressing the first question, when will this happen or when will these things be. The focus seems to be more on the time leading up to Jesus' 2nd coming. At this time what we now refer to as the Rapture was still a mystery to them. But from what Jesus said and from other scriptures in the Bible, do we see a reference to the Rapture?
So, in Matthew 24, did Jesus teach a coming before the time of judgment and a coming after the time of judgement? Well, let’s take a look…
As we see in 1 Thes. 4:15-17 and John 14:1-3, the Rapture is a special event where Jesus does not come down to Earth, but meets His Church in the air and takes us to be with Him where He is, which is heaven. Its specific timing will remain unknown until it actually happens.
1 Thes. 4:15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be (caught up) together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
John 14:“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God: believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and (take you) to be with me that you also may be (where I am).
MT 24: 36"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
At the Rapture Jesus comes as a thief. No one knows when, no one left will see him. He’s taking his followers back to heaven, back to the Fathers house. Verse 36 as is John 14:1-3 is actually an illustration taken from the Jewish wedding custom of which only a pre-trib rapture will work with. See the Jewish Wedding and the Rapture.
MT. 24: 37As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.
Mt. 24: 42"Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
Notice the order of verses 36 thru 44. Verse 36, no one knows the day or hour. He’s referring to a coming of which no one will know when it will occur. Here Jesus is referring to the Rapture. This is made clear by verses 42 thru 44. Verses 37 thru 41 tells us how this coming will be and that this coming will be before the time of judgment for we see life will be going on as normal up until this coming. Here Jesus says this coming will be before the judgment of the tribulation.
From the statements Jesus made in Mt. 24 the idea that Mt. 24: 36-44 is referring to Jesus’ 2nd coming can’t be correct. Jesus was using the flood as an example to the judgment of the tribulation. The flood was the judgment of Noah’s day. The 7 years of the tribulation are the judgment. In all the previous verses Jesus foretold the things that would be occurring during the tribulation, the distress of those days. With v36 Jesus said no one knows the day or the hour. Of course no one knows exactly when the Rapture will occur, but no one knows when the tribulation will begin either. Jesus, as does Paul was linking the two together. Paul in 2 Thes. 2 said the (day of the Lord), the Tribulation, cannot begin until the man of lawlessness, the anti-Christ is revealed and the revealing of the anti-Christ cannot occur until after the Rapture, until the Church is taken out of the way. Just like with Noah and Lot.
2 Thes. 2: 1Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and (our being gathered to him) “concerning the catching up, the rapture”, we ask you, brothers and sisters, 2 not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us—whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter—asserting that the day of the Lord (the Tribulation) has already come. 3 Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day (the Tribulation) will not come until the rebellion(apostasy, falling way from the truth) occurs and the man of lawlessness(the anti-Christ) is revealed,
2 Thes. 2: 6 And now you know what is holding him(the anti-Christ) back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. 7 For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but (the one) (who) now holds it back will continue to do so till (he) is taken out of the way. 8 And (then) the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming.
The Holy Spirit of the New Covenant, ‘THE ONE, WHO, HE’ in the Church, in the true followers of Christ is now holding back the revealing of the anti-Christ thus holding back the coming judgment of the tribulation. The Church is referred to as the body of Christ. The Church is Jesus to the world. We are his ambassadors. The Church is holding back the revealing of the anti-Christ and the tribulation. We know from Daniel 9:27 that the anti-Christ is revealed with the signing of the 7 year covenant peace agreement with Israel and the many. The so called Palestinians and the Islamic nations.
Jesus said that --- As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Also Lk. 17: 28 “It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. 29 But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all.
In both Noah's and Lots days people had become totally rebellious, violent and sinful. Full of sexual sin especially homosexual sin. We see in the days of Noah, the days ‘before’ the judgment of the flood life was going on as normal. We also see in the days of Lot life was going on as usual. From this statement can the rapture occur on the day of Jesus’ 2nd coming? Well, by the time of Jesus’ 2nd coming life wont have been going on as normal. You will already had the mark of the beast causing no one to be able to buy or sell, have a job or do anything without taking that mark. All that refuse to take the mark will have to leave their homes and go into hiding. Also the whole earth will have just about been completely destroyed by all the nuclear weapons. It will get to the point that all the green grass will have been burnt or dried up. A third of all the trees are burnt up. All the water is polluted. All the Mountains and Islands removed. All the cities of the nations collapse. Continents shift, massive earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions. The sun, moon and stars darken. Most the population will have been killed or died. Like five to six Billion. No, life won’t be normal at the time of Jesus’ 2nd coming or anytime during the tribulation for we see with the 4th seal a fourth of the population is killed. Could be at least 1 ½ billion with just this judgment. For more detail see, How Severe will the Tribulation Be. Of the time of the tribulation Jesus said, Lk. 21: 22 For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written.
Jesus said life was normal up ‘until’ Noah and his family entered the ark. Life will be going on as normal up until the Rapture. They knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. The parallel is the flood as an example to the tribulation and the ark as an example to the Rapture. People now don’t know what is coming, they won’t know until after the Rapture and the door has been shut. See Matthew 25: 1-13.
Lk. 17: 34 I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. 35 Two women will be grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left.” 36 Two men will be in the field: the one will be taken and the other left.”
Let’s look at the Greek Lexicon meaning of the words taken and left here in Luke and in Matthew 24.
Taken, Greek Lexicon 3880
The very first translation is ‘to take to, to take with one's self, to join to one's self’.
This does not fit with taken in judgment at the 2nd coming but it does fit with being taken with Jesus back to heaven with the Rapture. So what about the word ‘left’?
Left, Greek Lexicon 863
to leave, go way from one
in order to go to another place
to depart from any one
to depart from one and leave him to himself so that all mutual claims are abandoned
to desert wrongfully
to go away leaving something behind
to leave one by not taking him as a companion
to leave on dying, leave behind one
to leave so that what is left may remain, leave remaining
abandon, leave destitute
Now doesn’t this sound like what will happen when Jesus comes and takes the Church with him, to be with him in the Father’s house and leaves those that haven’t accepted him behind, not some taken away in judgment and leaving some on the earth. The context is its Jesus that’s doing the taking and leaving. This occurs with the Rapture. With the Rapture he's taking those in him back to the Fathers house and leaving those that have not accepted him behind. At his 2nd coming there’s no taking and leaving behind. He’s bringing the Church, his bride with him. He's coming from heaven back down to earth.
Now compare this with what Jesus said in John 14.
1"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. 2In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
The King James, New King James, the New American Standard Bibles translate take, receive.
NKJ. 1 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.
In Mt. 24, Lk. 17 and John 14 Take, Taken and Receive are the same Greek word, (paralambanō) Lexicon 3880.
One taken, caught up with the Rapture, taken back to the Father’s house, one left to go through the judgement of the tribulation. The judgment of the flood of Noah’s time could not come until they were taken out of the way. We see the same with Lot and his family before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. We see in Gen. 19 that the angel told Lot that he couldn’t destroy the cities until they had escaped to safety. It will be the same with the coming judgment of the tribulation. The Church, the true followers of Jesus will be taken out before the coming wrath and judgment. With Noah and Lot we see that God does not judge the righteous with the unrighteous. God the Father does not pour out his wrath on the just. Jesus does not pour out his wrath on his bride.
Lk. 21: 34 “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap. 35 For it will come on (all those who live on the face of the whole earth). 36 Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape ALL that is about to happen, and that you may be able to (stand before) the Son of Man.”
Rev. 3: 10 Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you (from) the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.
We see a promise is made to those that are truly part of the Church that are living in the last days just before the Tribulation, that they will be kept from the hour of trial that is coming upon the world. Here Jesus said that he would keep the Church from the time of the hour of trail, remove the Church from it altogether. The Strong’s Greek Lexicon translation G1537 is (out of, from, by, away from). It is not keep ‘through’ as the post-trib view says.
The Rapture, the catching up of the Church, 1 Thes. 4:13-18, is the means of escape which keeps us from the hour of trial. It is Jesus, the groom coming for his bride to take her back to heaven, back to the Father’s house. John 14:1-3. The only way to escape, to get in the ark is to have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior. To believe he is who he said he is. Again, for an explanation of Mt. 24:36 and John 14:2-3 see, The Jewish Wedding and the Rapture.
On the other hand, The Second Coming is an event where Jesus comes (from) heaven all the way down to Earth (with) His Bride, his Church to establish his Kingdom here. Rev. 19. It will not be a secret, as a thief, because the general time of His coming will be known 3 ½ years in advance. Everyone on Earth will witness His arrival.
Mt. 24: 27For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. … 30"At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.
We see in Daniel and Revelation that the 2nd coming will be known ahead of time. Jesus’ 2nd coming back down to earth will be able to be calculated from the time the anti-Christ enters the Temple and desecrates it, the abomination of desolation. Dan. 9:27, Mt. 24:15, 2 Thes. 2:4. We see in Rev. 19 that satan(the anti-Christ) knows when Jesus is returning for he has what remains of the armies of the world gathered together in the valley of Megiddo waiting on him to try and stop him. Rev. 19 19 Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage war against the rider on the horse and his army.
We also see in Rev. 19 the Church age saints described as a bride, then as the army of Jesus coming with Jesus, following him (from) heaven. John said he saw heaven standing open.
Rev. 19: 11 I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. 12 His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. 13 He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. 14 The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean.
In verses 7 & 8 we are told who these are riding on white horses dressed in fine linen, white and clean. We see the Church age saints as a bride then as the armies of heaven. We know from Paul that the Church is the bride of Christ, that we have been betrothed to Christ. We see the Church age saints coming with Jesus riding on white horses.
7 Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory!
For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.
8 Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.”
(Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.)
for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. NKJV
Here we see Jesus coming from heaven WITH his bride, with the Church age saints. John said he saw heaven standing open. No meeting in the air. The Church age saints are coming FROM heaven with Jesus. So, the Church had to have been Raptured, caught up before Jesus’ 2nd coming. Here with the 2nd coming Jesus and the Church are not going back to heaven as Jesus said in John 14 but are coming from heaven back down to the earth.
Matt. 24:29-30 says this will happen immediately after the distress, the tribulation of those days, and all the nations will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds in the sky. So Jesus in Mt. 24 v36 saying no one knows the day or hour cannot be referring to his 2nd coming.
Because there is a known time which everyone will see his coming and an unknown time coming as a thief shows that the catching up, the rapture and the 2nd coming cannot occur at the same time. Jesus’ 2nd coming will not be as a thief, it will be as lighting illuminating all the earth. With 1 Thes. 4: 16-17 and John 14: 1-3 we see Jesus coming from heaven, and the Church, the Bride going back to heaven, back to the Fathers house with him. This is the Rapture, the catching up of those in Jesus. With Rev. 19 we see on the day of his 2nd coming back down to earth, the Church, his bride coming with Jesus from heaven. This alone shows that the Church had to have been caught up, taken back to heaven before the day of his 2nd coming.
Add to this the fact that Paul said in 1 Thes. 4:16 that the dead in Christ will rise first, but in Rev. 20 we see 'after' Jesus and the Church have already return back to the earth, those that died during the tribulation for their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God are raised back to life, this too shows the rapture, the catching up does not occur on the day of Jesus’ 2nd coming.
Rev. 20: 4 I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
With verse 4 John says he saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. This is the 24 elders we see in chapters 4 & 5 of Revelation of which 12 could very well be the first apostles, which includes Matthias since he replaced Judas, as well as others that are mentioned in the New Testament like Paul, that had a major role in establishing the early Church.
We see a clear description of what will be happening during the Tribulation. We see this from the statement, “the 'souls' of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life”.
We see here AFTER Jesus and the Church age saints have returned to the earth those that died during the Tribulation being raised from the dead. With a post-trib Rapture having the Church going through the Tribulation, these would be included in the Church. But wait a minute. Paul in 1 Thes. 4 said the dead in Christ (church age saints) rise first then those that are alive and remain are changed and caught up, Raptured. If the Rapture had just occurred in Rev. 19 with Jesus’ 2nd coming, these we see here that died during the Tribulation would have already been raised from the dead. Paul said the dead in Christ will rise first, then those that are alive will be caught up together with them.
With a post-trib Rapture, with the Rapture and 2nd coming occurring at the same time, having the Church going through the Tribulation, these would be included in the Church and would have already been raised from the dead. We just saw from Rev. 19 the Church, the bride of Christ coming from heaven with Jesus. And we don’t have any mention in chapter 19 or 20 of a catching up, transforming of the bodies of those that are alive as Paul says in 1 Thes. 4.
With Mt. 24 we see there’s a coming which is at an unknown time as a thief, before the time of judgment, and a coming that will be known ahead of time after the time of judgment of which everyone will see. The Rapture and 2nd coming are two separate events. Just like the Old Testament paints two pictures of the coming of Jesus, so does the New Testament.
From what we have seen from just these scriptures shows the Rapture will occur before the Tribulation, (before the day of the Lord, before the distress, the tribulation of those days, before the time of the judgment). We see that those that have believed on Jesus are Taken back to heaven, back to the Father’s house and those that have not believed on Jesus are Left to go through the time of judgment. Just like with Noah and Lot.
So, from the scriptures we have looked at, yes, Jesus did reference the Rapture, the catching up of the believers, for we see he addressed a coming before the time of judgment and a coming after the time of judgement.
Rev. 22: 12 “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.
Maranatha, Come Lord Jesus.