#4 Answer to Matthew 24:29-31

Please read the below very carefully:

Matthew 24:29) Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:

30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. 

There are 3 things in the above scripture quotation which are often accounted as proof that The Rapture is a “Pre-Wrath” event.

1. This gathering happens AFTER the tribulation of THOSE DAYS

2. There is a great sound of a trumpet

3. The angels……gather together his elect

BUT….before we go any further, let us define what is meant by the words, “Pre-Wrath“: for in fact, there is no solid consensus in Christendom about what these words mean!

Pre-Wrath” is a relatively recent term in the language of eschatology. It refers to the general idea that even the most faithful Christians will be on the earth for some part of what was always called “The Great Tribulation”. Pre-Wrath is the latest incarnation of what used to be called “Mid-Trib” (a doctrine that I never hear mentioned anymore).

The old (and now nearly forgotten) Mid-Trib scheme asserted that the Tribulation was a full 7 years long, and that all Christians were on the earth for the first 3 1/2 of those years. They then distinguished this first 3 1/2 years from the last 3 1/2 years, by calling the first 3 1/2 years, “The Tribulation”, and the last 3 1/2 years “The Wrath”.

The first 3 1/2 years were chiefly characterized by increasing persecutions and political tumults; wars; and natural disasters of various types. Life was tough for the saints, but not totally unsurvivable. Those that survived the persecutions and the disasters and made it to the mid-point of the 7 years were Raptured. AFTER the Rapture, the “Wrath” began, and things became horrific on the earth.

The Mid-Trib scheme considered the term “Wrath” to be a subsidiary term to the general term “Tribulation”. The Tribulation was longer than but included The Wrath. The whole 7 years was called “The Tribulation”, but only the last 3 1/2 years was called “The Wrath”.

I still have no explanation for why the old Mid-Trib scheme is no longer being presented and defended – unless that is because it is much harder to refute under it’s new name, “Pre-Wrath”.

“Pre-Wrath” is easier to defend because it is MORE VAGUE. It does not assign any particular time to the Rapture in respect to The Tribulation period. Pre-Wrath simply asserts (without specificity) that all Christians shall be here for some part of the ugly times during the “Tribulation” period leading up to the “Wrath” period, but will not be here during the aforementioned “Wrath” period. A Pre-Wrath Rapture could occur at anytime AFTER the Antichrist has come to power and AFTER the Christians have been subjected to SOME amount of ORGANIZED persecutions by and under the Antichrist.

Pre-Wrath is SO VAGUE, that it cannot be plainly said whether this scheme suggests that Christians shall be confronted with the mark of the beast or not. I have heard the term “LOOSE form of Pre-Wrath” being used.

Pre-Wrath definitely asserts that some, many, most, or all Christians SHALL be pursued and/or arrested and/or tortured and/or killed by the “Antichrist Police” BEFORE the Rapture. By “Antichrist Police” is meant the formal organization that supports and defends the Antichrist. Those who always hated Christianity and Christians; those who commonly persecute Christians now, are NOT “The Antichrist Police”.

The Pre-Wrath Doctrine teaches:

1. The Antichrist arises and comes to power

2. The Christians are then subjected to ever increasing persecution, including such things as mass internments in “the camps”; confiscation of property; separation of families; hostile and brutal interrogations; various means of torture; enticements to renounce their faith; and execution if and when they do not “cooperate”.

3. At some point BEFORE God really “unleashes His wrath” against the earth, the Rapture happens. All (real) Christians are removed. The period of “Wrath” begins. The most horrific scenes in the Revelation which are commonly assigned to the Tribulation period begin to take place. Christians are NOT HERE for the “100 pound hail”, and etc.

Revelation 16:21) And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great. 

The GREAT DIFFICULTY in answering to the Pre-Wrath Doctrine is in it’s vagueness. A “loose form of Pre-Wrath” could be understood to include even what I believe. I DO BELIEVE that Christians shall see the Antichrist BEFORE the Rapture. I DO BELIEVE that there shall begin some limited organized persecutions of PROFESSING Christians before the Rapture: but that these persecutions will be confined to and aimed at those persons who under the cover of being “preachers”, have sought to meddle with and influence politics; or have set themselves to scandalize the rich and the powerful in either politics or organized religion.

I suppose it all depends on how you define “wrath”. To me, for God to loose His restraint on the powers of evil in an unprescedented way and leave me here as victim to those powers, would be “wrath”.

Psalms 17:13) Arise, O LORD, disappoint him, cast him down: deliver my soul from the wicked, which is thy sword

Whether God expresses His wrath personally or through an intermediary, it feels the same to those who are the subjects of that wrath.

1 Thessalonians 2:14) For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews:

15) Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men:

16) Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.

But there was nothing of note happening to the Jews when Paul wrote this: God’s wrath was in prospect; His wrath was going to be expressed; and it was……but not by the hand of God alone, but through Titus and the Romans.

Thus, I cannot receive this distinction that the Pre-Wrath advocates like to make: that there will be no expression of God’s wrath against mankind when God turns them over to be deceived and destroyed by the Antichrist, but only when God rains down the 100 pound hail (and etc.) upon them.

I do NOT believe that the very day we see The Antichrist on TV is the first day of The Tribulation (whether 3 1/2 or 7 years long): but that The Antichrist APPEARS some weeks or months BEFORE he actually comes to full power and BEFORE the full-out organized persecution of ALL Christians begins.

2 Thessalonians 2:1) Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,

2) That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

3) Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 

PLEASE!……WHAT MUST I DO?…..to get you to acknowledge that the Antichrist is revealed BEFORE The Day Of Christ/Day Of The Lord begins? (Please see chapter 2 of The Great Dream for more on this matter)

The Antichrist is revealed BEFORE The Day of Christ/Day Of The Lord; the Antichrist is revealed BEFORE the Rapture; and the text quoted above PLAINLY AND UNAMBIGUOUSLY STATES THIS FACT.

The first day anyone identifies the Antichrist is NOT the first day of the Tribulation period. NO ONE can show me any scripture that tells us how long a time transpires between the day in which the Antichrist is revealed, and the day he comes to full power. This could be days, weeks, months, or even years.

I teach a….

“PRE-mass organized persecution by/under The Antichrist-Rapture”.

So, HOPEFULLY (that a few things are now understood between us), let us return to our scripture text, which is commonly offered by the advocates of the Pre-Wrath view as a proof that ALL the Christians shall be here on the earth during some part of the organized worldwide persecutions by/under the Antichrist:

Matthew 24:29) Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:

30) And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

31) And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. 

There are 3 things in the above scripture quotation which are often accounted as proof that The Rapture is a “Pre-Wrath” event.

1. This gathering happens AFTER the tribulation of THOSE DAYS

(this, they say, was the pre-wrath persecution of the saints)

2. There is a great sound of a trumpet

(this trumpet, they say, is the “last trumpet” of 1 Cor.15:51)

3. The angels……gather together his elect

(this, they assert, is the Rapture mentioned in 1 Thess.4:17)

THE FIRST thing I call you to notice is that there are NO resurrections of any kind mentioned in Matthew 24:29-31. Please go back and look……..neither is there anything about anyone being “transformed” or changed “in the twinkling of an eye”.

SECONDLY: these elect are gathered from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. This does not agree with plain language describing the Rapture:

1 Thessalonians 4:16) For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 

The Raptured and resurrected saints are not gathered from the four winds, BUT FROM THE EARTH. All of them, Raptured and resurrected, are gathered from the earth. The elect that are gathered by these angels are spread out from one end of heaven to the other. This may well include the earth, as being within the (limitless) boundaries described, but is not confined in any way to the earth. These elect are already dispersed in some way from one end of heaven to the other when the angels do this gathering. The synoptic passage in Mark refers also to the earth:

Mark 13:24) But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light,

25) And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken.

26) And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.

27) And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.

But we now also have the uttermost part of heaven, which phrase can hardly be reduced to meaning just “every part of earth”.

In Matthew 24:29-31, it is angels that are doing the gathering. This language also does not agree with the primary text which describes a Rapture; again:

1 Thessalonians 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 

In Matthew 24:29-31, the Lord does NO “descending”, and neither is it said that he does any “shouting”; but sends out angels to gather the elect.

The Rapture/resurrection occurs as a response to a verbal summons from Jesus Christ. It says that the Lord “shouts” with the voice of the archangel. What this means, I do not know, but there is in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 no inference of saints being “fetched” by angels: but rather, they are responding to the voice of Our Lord Jesus.

John 5:25) Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.

26) For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;

27) And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.

28) Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,

29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. 

Matthew 24:29-32 makes no mention of the voice of the Son of God, but only of angels gathering the elect.

Note the difference between verse 25 and verse 27. In verse 25, it is only they that hear, while in verse 27, it is all that are in the graves. There is apparently a distinction being made, between a resurrection when ONLY they that hear shall respond, and a different resurrection in which ALL that are in the graves shall hear His voice. It is from statements like this that the idea of the “secret Rapture” (now so openly despised) is derived. If only SOME can hear His voice, then it will be a SECRET withheld from the rest!

1 Corinthians 15:51) Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

52) In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 

Again, I remind you that nothing whatsoever about resurrections or instantaneous transformations into glorified bodies is mentioned in Matthew 24:29-31. These are saints who are ALREADY in the heavens (sky, space) as well as on the earth. It is not said that they are resurrected; it is not said that they are changed; it is only said that they are gathered.

*NOTE: this writer does not claim to know what is happening in Matthew 24:29-31, but only to be able to prove that whatever this is, it is NOT the Rapture of 1 Thessalonians 4:17.

How much warning before the Rapture?

Matthew 24:30) And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 

It seems obvious that THE WHOLE WORLD is plainly put on notice that the END is here and near. But this language does not in the least agree with what Jesus said about the state of the world at the time of His coming:

 Matthew 24:37) But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

38) For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,

39) And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

40) Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

41) Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

42) Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

The above words describe a world that is going on as usual. Everyone is making plans for their futures and having parties, and etc. They knew not until the flood came. Now either verses 29-31 contradict verses 37-42, or these separate passages are talking about DIFFERENT EVENTS. Are all tribes of the earth mourning, or are they celebrating their lives and planning weddings when the Rapture happens?

This gathering by angels has to be an event subsequent to the Rapture. Just exactly what it is and why it is I do not yet know, but the language that characterizes the Rapture and the time just preceding the Rapture is so different from Matt.24:29-31, that I cannot see how these could describing the exact same event. Is there NO warning? Or do the tribes of the earth all get plenty of warning?

Revelation 16:15) Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. 

How can Jesus come as as thief if the whole world sees the sign of the Son of man in heaven before the Rapture?

But some will say the Tribulation will come as a thief upon all who are not prepared for it…but that is NOT what the scripture says here: Jesus says I COME as a thief. and….

Matthew 24:43) But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. 

Isn’t Jesus here asserting that a thief is characterized by SUPRISE?

What SURPRISE, if they see the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and……all the tribes of the earth (are) mourn(ing), and they(all) …. see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory?

Will you suggest that they will be eating and drinking and making weddings at the same time that all the tribes of the earth are mourning? They are so terrified that they flee into caves to hide: but who is fleeing and hiding?

Revelation 6:15) And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; 

This sounds like the whole population of the earth to me. What does it sound like to you? Compare these events again:

Luke 17:24) For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day.

25) But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation.

26) And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.

27) They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.

28) Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded;

29) But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.

30) Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. 

Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. So tell me…are they eating, drinking, buying, selling, PLANTING, and BUILDING (which presumes that life is normal and the future looks hopeful)?

OR….are they all mourning and getting ready run and hide in the caves?

What will be the situation on earth when the Rapture happens?

Will everything be as good as usual or better?

OR

Will all the tribes of the earth be mourning?

How much notice will the people of earth receive before the Rapture?

Will it come as surprise, when no one is expecting it?

OR

Will everyone see the sign of the Son of man in heaven first?


WHATEVER this gathering by angels is, and whatever this trumpet is that is blown to announce this gathering – I don’t really know. But it’s better to make Matthew 24:29-31 and Mathew 24:37-42 into SEPARATE EVENTS than to force one scripture passage upon another in such a way that they are both contradicted and neither makes any sense.

Take note again, and let us analyze these words from the mouth of Jesus Christ:

Revelation 16:15 Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.

This is a PARENTHETICAL statement. Certainly, even a pre-wrath Rapture has happened by the time we are in chapter 16 of the Revelation. Jesus interrupts the saga to issue the above warning to all listeners.

1. Jesus is coming as a thief (by surprise)

A THIEF STEALS, OR TAKES SOMETHING SLYLY, SECRETLY

2. Those who do not watch and keep their garments will end up walking naked and everyone else will see their shame.

To walk naked is to be EXPOSED: exposed at and by the coming of Jesus Christ. HOW? Exposed for WHAT? Could it be that these who did not watch are the very same persons who are addressed here?

Luke 21:36) Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man. 

 

IF the Rapture happened, and it was a total surprise, and someone was LEFT BEHIND – wouldn’t they be EXPOSED for their lack of worthiness? Wouldn’t they then walk naked, and wouldn’t other men see his shame?

Matthew 24:44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.

How can Jesus come in an hour when we think not if we all see the sign of the Son of man in heaven and all the tribes of the earth are mourning?

PLEASE…allow me to make my case ONE MORE TIME, that I am NOT required to produce an alternate explanation for Matthew 24:29-31 in order to discredit and disbelieve the forced interpretation of the Pre-Wrath advocates.


Matthew 24:29-31 is the most difficult passage in the arsenal of the pre-wrath advocates to answer to, but this is NOT so much because it proves their view, but the difficulty arises because I have no sound alternative to offer. I do not yet know what is happening in Matthew 24:29-31.

It’s as if we are beholding a strange beast, and one says,

“It is a cow, because it has horns and udders”;

I say, “It cannot be a cow, because it does not split the hoof”.

He then says, “You tell me what it is, then!”

I answer, “I don’t know!”.

He says, “Well then, it is a cow, and you don’t know anything better”.

But I say, “But it can’t be a cow, for it has a hoof like a horse!”

He then calls to some idle bystanders, and says, “Tell us, comrades, what is that beast over there?”

They glance over at the beast, and say, “It is a cow”.

I protest, “But it cannot be a cow, for it does not split the hoof!”

The bystanders say, “We cannot see that!”

I say, “Well come over here and examine this beast’s feet!”

They say, “We’re too busy to indulge you in your trifles, and besides, if we come too near the beast we may be attacked!”

My opponent smugly grins at me, and says, “It is a cow…….and everyone sees a cow….but you.”

I cry out, “There is no refuge in willful ignorance!!!!”

They all turn and look at me with anger, and say, “AND JUST WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE TO SPEAK TO US LIKE THAT?”


I apologize to you for the length of this article. This is a most difficult subject, and it is obvious to me that God intended for it to be so. Perhaps, with more time and further inquiry and study, I will be able to reduce and organize this article better. For now, this is the best I can do. But one thing is sure (to me): Matthew 24:29-31 does not announce the same event as 1 Thessalonians 4:17. There are just too many BIG differences between these events for them to be the same.

THE REASON why I have never before entered upon this attempt to answer to all the various objections against a Pre-Trib Rapture is BECAUSE in many instances, I cannot provide a sure explanation for the scriptures that are presented to me. I do NOT have the whole sequence “ironed out”, and I am at a loss to provide convincing alternative explanations for many of the scriptures that are presented by the advocates of the pre-wrath and post-trib views.

BUT THIS DOES NOT MEAN that their “explanations and interpretations” must be automatically received because neither you nor I have anything more sure to offer. So far, I insist that in this matter of dispute, I am “MORE correct” than those who oppose my view. I invite EVERY ONE OF THEM to try and undo the plain testimony of Luke 17:26-30 and Luke 21:36 from THE INSIDE OUT, just as I have done to their Matthew 24:29-31.

Any takers?

Luke 21:36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

Even so, Come Lord Jesus!

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