Matthew 24 – When does Jesus Return?

Much of the email we receive is around a few topics which cause the most confusion and argument. Some people send anonymous comments, and unfortunately that means we can’t reply. We don’t mind anonymous comments, but do believe “to every man an answer”, and when a comment is on a heated issue, we believe it merits a reply in case someone else has similar questions.

Recently, someone pointed out Matthew 24:29 as claiming a post-tribulation rapture.

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: 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. 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. (Matthew 24:29-31 KJV)

This person then went on to scold us for teaching lies, and filling people with false security, saying we need to be counted worthy to escape the tribulation.

But what does this passage mean in context? Remember, context is Genesis to Revelation. In this passage context is vital, as it tells you who Jesus speaks to — and it’s not Christians.

Matthew 24 starts out with the disciples asking Jesus what will be the end? In verse 20, Jesus says “pray your flight not be on the Sabbath”. That’s bizarre. Why as gentiles would we care if our flight is on the Sabbath? We won’t — Matthew 24 speaks to the Jews, not the Church.

The confusion with Matthew 24 arises because people don’t realize Jesus comes twice. Once in secret for his bride the Church (the rapture), once publicly at the end of Revelation (the Second Coming).

Those two events are not the same. Careful examination of the NT shows one is private, one public. They can’t be the same event, and they aren’t.

Some people become confused because they mix the Jews and the Church. But those are two different groups, with two different plans. Don’t make the mistake the Church has taken the place of the Jews — the promises to the Jews in the OT are still in effect.

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