Study Lesson 12
Determining True End Time Truth
Scripture To Consider:
“Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes [families] of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He [Jesus] will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” Matthew 24.30-31
A Few Words Of Warning:
Can We Determine The True End Time Truth
One thing must be made perfectly clear at the outset of lesson 12, as we study in depth Matthew 24.30-31 and other Scriptures related; that it is apparent that Jesus is most likely describing in brief terminology, a to the point short synopsis of more end time events leading up to what is biblically named as the blessed hope, or more recently depicted as the rapture.
No matter which term you prefer to use, Jesus is indeed explaining an end time event He describes as the gathering of His still alive on earth and enduring elect believers, before God releases His wrath upon a Christ rejecting generation or after He has protected His enduring to the end true believers from His wrath.
This biblical determination cannot be rightfully disputed without altering, neglecting, or willfully overlooking these divinely inspired words of Jesus. This brief condensed version of the controversial end time event spoken of by Jesus as the gathering of His elect is dealt with by Jesus in greater detail later in Matthew 24.37-41. The above Scripture to consider as well as most all of Matthew 24 can also be found in Mark’s gospel chapter 13, and in Luke’s gospel chapter 21. For something to have been repeated three times, must be considered by the Holy Spirit as vastly important and something to be meant to be understood.
Something To Consider:
An End Time Gathering According To Jesus
To not appear to be too overly emboldened to one view only, let us examine two passages of Scripture that some claim to contradict Jesus’ description of the end time gathering of saints in Matthew 24.29-31. And in case we are still having difficulty with associating believing saints as the elect, I would suggest a review of study lesson 9.
Nonetheless, some declare that these verses cannot accurately picture the blessed hope or rapture, or gathering of the saints, because certain details written by the apostle Paul are not present or do not exactly match Jesus’ words in the gospel accounts concerning this end time event.
In 1 Corinthians 15.51-52, Paul affirmed, “Behold, I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep [die], but we shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” And yet, in Matthew 24.30-31, there is no mention by Jesus of the dead who have died believing in Jesus being raised.
Can we be unequivocally assured that the mentioning of the dead being raised by Paul, and the silence on Jesus’ part of the dead being raised, means that Jesus and Paul are indeed speaking of two separate events and not the same event?
The fact that Jesus indeed does proclaim loud and clear in Matthew 24.31, the long-awaited hearing of a great sounding trumpet, of that there can be no mistake. And Paul does not mention the presence of angels in 1 Corinthians 15.51-52, but in Matthew 24.31, Jesus revealed His sending forth angelic beings to commence the gathering of His saints from the four winds of the earth and from one end of heaven to the other.
Paul also in 1 Thessalonians 4.16-18, announced, “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up [gathered] together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.”
Paul was speaking of the same event here in 1 Thessalonians 4.16-18 and also in 1 Corinthians 15.51-52, of which we quoted from in the previous paragraph. And yet in one Scripture Paul does not mention the presence of angelic beings, but in the other he does. Does that mean Paul is contradicting himself? God forbid!
But again Paul mentioned the dead in Christ being raised first from the dead, and Jesus in Matthew 24.30-31 does not. One should be wise enough to ask, does the silence of something mean it did not take place?
Jesus, in the presence of some hypocritical fault-finding Pharisees in Matthew 22.32 stated, “God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” Therefore, when Jesus explains, “And they [angels] will gather together His elect [true present tense believers] from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other…” He may have been speaking of those also who have died in Jesus and those yet alive. We will speak again of this matter.
Something Else To Consider:
Is There An End Time Gathering Of Enduring Saints
According to Jesus, “Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes [various ethnic family groups] of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” Will that sign be the inescapable sign of the cross of Christ?
We simply are not told. It would indeed be certainly an unmistakable reminder and divine sign of great conviction. But those hiding in their billion-dollar bunkers will fully understand the cataclysmic and astronomical end time events as being the wrath of an Almighty God, according to Revelation 6.16 and our previous lesson.
Yes, all the earth will mourn and they will see with their own eyes exactly what their arrogant opposition to Jesus has accomplished. God’s time of indignation and long-awaited wrath will fully and finally come upon unbelievers who are alive upon planet earth at that time. And no hiding place, no matter how deep within the earth, will shelter a single soul from receiving their well-deserved poured out portion of wrath, unless they cry out in repentance to a forgiving and just God. Otherwise, there will be no escape!
According to Jesus, the believing elect will be safely gathered together with other saints and under the care and forever Lordship and leadership of Jesus and their heavenly Father. For according to Jesus, “And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect [enduring present tense believers] from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”
Something More To Consider:
A Conversation With Tribulation Martyred Saints
Mark reported the words of Jesus in his gospel as Jesus spoke of end time events. As Jesus exposed the truth concerning His coming in great power, simultaneous with or soon after the sun is darkened and the moon not giving any light, and the stars of heaven falling, Jesus proclaimed; “And then He will send His angels, and gather together His elect [end time believers] from the four winds, from the farthest part of the earth to the farthest part of heaven.”
Jesus, in Matthew 24.31 was speaking of gathering His elect who are alive upon planet earth, from all regions, from all time zones, and from all walks of life who are presently enduring and presently believing in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. We know that the Word of God cannot contradict itself. We also know that all Scripture is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness.
Therefore, let us turn our undivided attention to Revelation 6.9-11. John wrote, “When He [Jesus] opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar [in heaven] the souls of those who had been slain [killed] for the Word of God and for the testimony [witness of Jesus] which they held. And they [enduring to the end of their lives saints] cried with a loud voice, saying, ‘How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?’”
John continued, by reporting the response to their question, “Then a white robe was given to each of them [those slain for their witness]; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants [still alive on earth enduring believers] and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.” Now, from everything recorded in Revelation 6.9-11, these martyred saints seen under the altar appear to be living in heaven, having died as true Christians. Again, we know according to Jesus, God is not the God of the dead, but He is the God of the living.
A Few Final Words:
Is Life More Important Than Being With The Lord
In chapter 5 of 2 Corinthians thus far, Paul was teaching on the assurance of life after death, when he explained, “We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body [to have entered into new eternal life through death] and to be present with the Lord. Therefore we make it our aim [spiritual goal], whether present or absent [alive or dead], to be well pleasing to Him [Jesus].”
That is, according to Paul’s teaching, at the time of death for the true present tense believer in Jesus, he or she is in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, in the very presence of the Lord. Therefore, is life here on earth more important than our being in the eternal presence of our Lord? This is a question we must all answer!
Those of Revelation 6.9-11, had died, and they had entered into new eternal life through death, and were now in heaven present with the Lord. They were in His presence speaking and asking questions and receiving answers to their questions. Those of Revelation 6.9-11, were also enjoying an up to date and continuing personal present tense relationship with Jesus even after death. Let us therefore, even in the midst of the tribulation and affliction of the coming end time events, continue steadfast as enduring to the end true believers.
Let us also be overwhelmingly assured, that even if martyred for our holding firm to our faith in Christ Jesus, our long-awaited graduation to heaven in the eternal presence of Jesus, does indeed await us. Therefore, let us be ready to repent when required, continue to bring forth spiritual fruit worthy of repentance, continue in Christ’s Word, and abide in the Vine, as well as overcome temptation and the enemy by the precious blood of Jesus and our faithful personal testimony.
And yet, let us be reminded that we accomplish these things only with the help of the Holy Spirit of whom God makes readily available to us as true born-again present tense believers in this 21st century possible end times.
Prayer: Our Father in heaven help us in discerning true end time truth from tradition, fiction, and fable. Help us to ready ourselves for any end time upheaval by our drawing close to Your Son and seeking first Your kingdom and Your righteousness in Christ. May we be prepared and accounted worthy by You to escape the predicted wrath of God upon a Christ rejecting world. In Him Always, Amen!