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When the Trumpet Sounds: Part 5
Thursday, September 21, 2017 by Dr. Paul D. Norcross

Why Are So Many Christians Confused About A Pre-Trib Rapture?

The language of Matthew 24 can bring confusion to the fact that the church is no longer on the earth during the tribulation. Why is this confusion so pervasive? 

Simply because believers forget that in Matthew 24, Jesus is addressing Israel, not the born-again Body of Christ. Matthew 24 is Jesus Christ’s response to the disciples’ question (who were not part of the post-Pentecost church yet) in verse three: “Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?”

The reason for the confusion is because believers today assume that every statement by Christ applies to them. However, we must always keep in mind to whom a Biblical passage is speaking. The Bible classifies people into three categories – Jew, Gentile, and church of God. The church is the Body of Christ. Once a Jew or Gentile confesses Jesus Christ as their Lord and believes in their heart that God raised Him from the dead they are saved and become part of the Body of Christ (Romans 10:9-10). 

Thus they are saved from the tribulation and become part of the rapture of the church. 

The four Gospels, while widely applicable to the church today, are specifically focused on the ministry of Jesus Christ which was to fulfill/complete the law[1]. His commission from God our Father was to the lost sheep of the house of Israel exclusively. 

For the church to arise, the law had to be completed. Jesus Christ became our complete, one-time sacrifice. He tore the veil of access into the Holy of Holies and abolished the law. Faith in Jesus Christ is our righteousness, His blood sacrifice our redemption payment.

Matthew 24 therefore pertains to the completion and fulfilling of the law. 

Christ is answering the questions of his Jewish disciples in verse three of Matthew 24. The disciples were not yet born again because Pentecost had not yet happened. Jesus’s answer to the disciples’ questions did not and does not concern the rapture of the church, about which the disciples were not yet able to comprehend. 

Jesus was speaking solely about what will happen to Israel in their last days. Even His use of the term “the elect” in this chapter (24:22, 24, 31) is speaking about the Jewish elect (as noted in Isaiah 42:1, 4, 65:9, 22).

When Jesus spoke of being hated of all nations (v9) and when He spoke of enduring to the end in order to be saved (v13), He was speaking to Israel during their tribulation. 

When He spoke of seeing the abomination of desolation in the holy place (v15, Mark 13:14, Daniel 9:27, 12:11) causing those IN JUDEA to flee to the mountains (Matthew 24:16 and Mark 13:14), etc. – these all pertain to Israel, not to the church who, at this time have already believed on the Lord Jesus Christ unto salvation and have already been gathered together in the rapture. 

The church has to have been removed from holding back the Anti-Christ in order for him to commit the abomination of sitting in the temple in place of God (Daniel 9:27 and 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4). 

What a comfort!

[1] Matthew 15:24  But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Matthew 5:17  Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil [meaning to complete].

2 Corinthians 3:13  And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished:

Ephesians 2:15  Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;

 

NOTE: This is the fifth of a 10-part series on this topic taken from Principles for Overcoming in Spiritual Warfare,  Copyright © 2016 Paul D. Norcross. 

Part 6 will look at where we are now in the order of end time events.

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