The Giving of the Seven Bowls of Wrath / The First Six Plagues, Matthias Gerung (1500–1570)
And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect’s sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days. ~ Mark 13:20, KJV
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. ~ Mark 13:27, KJV
And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened. ~ Matthew 24:22, KJV
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. ~ Matthew 24:24, KJV
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 24:31, KJV
One of the primary reasons why many followers of Christ Jesus do not believe in a pre-Tribulation Rapture is because they think that Christ Jesus is prophesying about the destiny of His Bride (the Body of Christ; The CHURCH), when He uses in His Olivet Discourse the word “elect.” The English word “elect” actually is eklektos in the Greek language, which is an adjective that means “choice” or “selected.” Therefore, the “elect” Christ Jesus is speaking about in Matthew 24:22, Matthew 24:24, Matthew 24:31, and also in Mark 13:20 and Mark 13:27 clearly refers to the “choice” individuals who will be living on the Earth at the end of the Tribulation Period.
Now “choice” (elect) definitely is a description God uses for His Jewish people, and a description the apostles use for the Bride of Christ. That is why it is important to note here that one of the main reasons why so many believers see the “elect” Christ Jesus speaks of in Matthew 24 and Mark 13 as the Bride of Christ is because they fail to distinguish between God’s plan for Israel and His plan for the Bride of Christ. These believers often forget that at the time Christ Jesus is speaking to His Jewish disciples in the Olivet Discourse that there was no Bride of Christ—no Christians! For sure, the Lord had not yet been crucified and resurrected, and the Holy Spirit had not yet fallen upon His Jewish disciples.
Thus, when believers declare that the “elect” in Matthew 24:22, 24, 31 and Mark 13:20, 27 definitively is the Bride of Christ, they actually have made a colossal interpretive mistake. The huge mistake they’ve made is taking the Olivet Discourse, which is a conversation a Jewish Jesus is having with His Jewish disciples, and then reading back into this conversation the destiny of the Bride of Christ (Body of Christ or The CHURCH). The Book of Acts explains exactly when the Body of Christ/Bride of Christ/The CHURCH/The Ekklesia was established on this Earth, and that was 10 days after the resurrected Jesus ascended to Heaven, when God then sent His Holy Spirit to fill the disciples (see Acts 1-2).
Without doubt, the Lord’s conversation with His Jewish disciples still today is NOT about the Bride of Christ per se. His conversation is about the destruction of the Jewish Temple and the Jewish city of Jerusalem, the signs of the end of the Age, and the sign of His Parousia, as in the sign of His coming (when He will establish His Messianic Kingdom for His Jewish people)!
The clear interpretation is that in the Olivet Discourse the Lord is focusing on Israel—His Jewish people as a whole. Now there are passages in Matthew 24 that have promises in them that the Bride of Christ also will receive. For example, the passages about two men being in the field, with one taken one left; and two women grinding at the mill, with one taken, one left certainly describe the promise of a rapture, so from these passages believers can imagine what The Rapture will be like for Christ Jesus’ Bride, who is raptured before the Tribulation Period begins. However, the images in these passages also depict God’s rapture plan for His Jewish people who, just before the start of and during the seven year Tribulation Period, will come to believe in Christ Jesus, and some of them will be raptured. The same is true of Matthew 25. The image of a Bridegroom coming for His Bride, with some virgins being caught up and some being left behind, can apply to the Bride of Christ (The CHURCH) and to God’s Bride (Israel).
Then too, unlike the many passages in which the apostle Paul calls the Bride of Christ “saints,” or in the verses that the apostle Peter calls Her the “chosen” and the “elect,” the “elect” ones Christ Jesus refers to in Matthew 24:22, Matthew 24:24, Matthew 24:31, the “elect” and “chosen” He refers to in Mark 13:20, and the “elect” in Mark 13:27 are not the Bride of Christ’s saints. The saints, in this case, the ones who survive the Tribulation, are the “elect” and “chosen” the Lord is speaking about in His Olivet Discourse, but they, first and foremost, are those end-time Jewish people the Lord says should flee to the mountains, once they see the prophesied abomination of desolation, because Jacob’s Trouble (cf. Jeremiah 30:7) or the Great Tribulation is about to take place (cf. Matthew 24:21).
As earlier mentioned, in the New Testament, the English word translated as “elect” or “chosen” is the Greek word eklektos, which, once again, is an adjective that actually means “choice” or “selected.” So Matthew 24:22 really should read as: “And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the choice [ones’] sake those days shall be shortened.” Then too, a better translation for Matthew 24:24 would be: “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very choice [ones].”
Where Matthew 24:31 is concerned, Christ Jesus definitely is making it very clear in this verse that the “elect” He mentions in Matthew 24:22, 24 mainly is the Jews who have gone through the Great Tribulation (Jacob’s Trouble). Borrowing from Isaiah 11:12, the Lord says, “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 24:31 KJV). Once again, “…his elect…” should read “…his choice [ones]…”
Be that as it may; there can be no doubt in the above quoted verse that Christ Jesus is referencing the gathering of the Jews as prophesied in Isaiah 11:12, which reads this way: “And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth” (KJV). Put differently, the prophet Isaiah is foretelling of a time when the ten tribes of Israel (the outcasts) and the two tribes of Judah (the dispersed) will be gathered together from the “wings of the Earth” and restored as one whole nation.
Since Christ Jesus is referencing this prophesied gathering of the Jews in Matthew 24:31, which Isaiah 11:12 vividly describes, this is an excellent reason why Matthew 24:31 is not about The Rapture of the Bride of Christ, even though Messianic Jews are included in the Bride of Christ. More accurately, Matthew 24:31 obviously is about the Lord sending out His angels at the end of the Tribulation primarily to gather His now believing entire nation of Israel. Since this is an end of the Age gathering, there no doubt also will be some believing Gentiles out of many nations included, but neither these surviving “elect” Jews nor any of the surviving “elect” Gentiles are the Bride of Christ.
Additionally, the fact that it is the Lord’s angels who are gathering those Tribulation Period’s survivors whom the Lord calls His “elect” should alert believers to the fact that this gathering is not The Rapture of the Bride of Christ, because The Rapture involves the Lord Himself descending from Heaven and snatching away His Bride! Angels have nothing to do with getting the Lord’s Bride together, even though She also is His “elect” or “choice” one!
Next is another verse in which some translators have wrongly used the English words “elect” and “chosen.” That verse is Mark 13:20. In fact, it really sounds redundant to say, in the KJV of this verse, “for the sake of the elect…whom he has chosen.” For this reason, a better translation would be: “And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the choice [ones’] sake, whom he hath [commissioned], he hath shortened the days.”
Like in the Matthew 24 verses, the English word “elect” in Mark 13:20 really is the Greek adjective eklektos, which once again means “choice” or “selected.” However, the English word “chosen” in this Mark 13 verse is the Greek verb eklegomai, which means “commissioned” or “appointed,” as in having a specific responsibility to fulfill.
Clearly it is the “choice” 144,000 sealed Jewish evangelists who are the ones who will be given the very important as well as specific commission to fulfill during the Tribulation Period, and not the Bride of Christ or THE CHURCH! Beginning in the Old Testament, for the “choice” individuals who qualified for an “appointed” or “commissioned” office or responsibility, such as the judges for Israel, the Temple’s Levitical priests, Joshua’s warriors, and so on, they knew that their office or responsibility was expected to be fulfilled to the best of their ability. The same is true about the New Testament’s “choice” (elect) Jewish people. When they qualified for a commissioned or appointed office or responsibility, they knew it always came with the obligation of fulfilling it to the best of their ability. Therefore, there is no doubt that this fulfill to the best of their ability is the same obligation that comes with the commission to evangelize the end-time world, which is why the 144,000 sealed Jewish evangelists are the only ones who could qualify as Christ Jesus’ “choice” or elect.
The point here is that Christ Jesus NEVER was chosen from among many other possible Sons to be God’s “choice” One, for God appointed Him because Christ Jesus was the ONLY “choice” One (cf. Luke 9:35, KJV) and therefore the only worthy One—the Only begotten One. Similarly the 144,000 sealed Jewish evangelists NEVER will be chosen among many possible Jewish evangelists to convert the lost world during the Tribulation Period. God will commission them, because they will be the ONLY “choice” ones worthy to receive God’s seal.
Moreover, understanding who really is worthy to be considered the “choice” ones who will be the “elect” Christ Jesus speaks about in Matthew 24 and Mark 13 without doubt is settled in the aphorism “…many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14, KJV). The Lord uses this particular aphorism in the parable of the King’s Wedding Feast (cf. Matthew 22:1-14, KJV). Once again, there is a better translation of Matthew 22:14, and this better translation is “…many are summoned, but few are choice.”
The crux of the parable of the King’s Wedding Feast is that the “choice” ones are not “choice” because the King “chose” them, for in the parable of the King’s Wedding Feast the King (God) didn’t choose anyone. He sent an invitation to one entire group, and after everyone rejected His invitation, the King (God) extended the invitation to every person His servants could find (good and bad). The point here is that the few “choice” (chosen; eklektos) individuals in this parable are “choice” only because it is by the Grace of God they have responded correctly to the King’s invitation or summons. Their ‘right’ response not only is accepting the King’s invitation to the feast, which is done by accepting His Son as Lord and Savior, but also is coming to the feast wearing the appropriate heart clothing—having the right inward attitudes (a born-again spirit), which manifests outwardly in their holy and righteous deeds.
In other words, the parable of the King’s Wedding Feast proves that it always was God’s Plan that, even though He appointed the Jews to be His “choice” people and Israel His “choice nation,” because the Jews, as a whole, failed to fulfill their invitation’s responsibility, God then appointed the Bride of Christ (Jews and Gentiles) to be His new “choice” people (cf. 1 Peter 2:9, KJV). What’s more, after the Bride of Christ is raptured, God then will appoint the 144,000 Jewish men to be His “choice” people. They will be a remnant of the Jews living in the Tribulation Period who will have accepted God’s Grace, will be redeemed and therefore will be blameless (“without fault”) virgins (“without blemish”) who have not been defiled by women, and who will be followers of the Lamb (cf. Revelation 14:3-4).
Finally, as earlier mentioned, in the Old Testament, God promises that He will save Jacob (both Israel and Judah, or the entire nation of Israel), out of the time of great trouble, Jacob’s Trouble, or the Great Tribulation (cf. Jeremiah 30:7). Then in Jeremiah 30:10-11, God adds the following promises:
Therefore fear thou not, O my servant Jacob, saith the Lord; neither be dismayed, O Israel: for, lo, I will save thee from afar, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and shall be in rest, and be quiet, and none shall make him afraid. For I am with thee, saith the Lord, to save thee: though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet I will not make a full end of thee: but I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished. ~ KJV
In the above verses, God is confirming that He not only will discipline His Jewish people but also He will rescue them from the Great Tribulation—save them from total annihilation. God also promises to destroy all of His Jewish people’s enemies so that the Jews never will have to fear them again. Additionally, God promises to return His Jewish people to their Promised Land of Israel where they will live in peace. Since God has yet to fulfill these promises, it should be evident that the “elect” that Christ Jesus is speaking about in Matthew 24:22, 24, 31 and Mark 13:20, 27 only can be the Tribulation’s surviving elect (“choice”) Jews. However, some surviving Gentiles also will be the elect (“choice”) ones who are rescued from total destruction.
For sure, both the Tribulation’s “elect” Jews and Gentiles will be those believers in Christ who are sold out for Him, either because of the 144,000 sealed Jewish evangelists/servants’ preaching or the preaching of those once unwatchful and unprepared believers who got left behind. Put differently, the “elect” at the end of the Tribulation will be believers who remain loyal to Christ Jesus, especially when they face death. Clearly, the believers who will face martyrdom in the Tribulation Period definitely would be God’s “choice” ones, but so would the specific remnant of believing Jews who find safety from the Antichrist’s persecution and God’s wrath (God’s judgment on the unbelieving world and His discipline of Israel during the Great Tribulation).
According to the Scriptures, around mid-Tribulation, a remnant of the Tribulation’s Jewish “elect” will be the ones who flee to the hills. Of the numbers of the “elect” Jews and Gentiles who do not hide in the hills, the Scriptures warn that they must be very careful not to be found by the Antichrist, because he either will force them to take the Mark of the Beast, or he will behead them. These “elect” who did not flee to the hills also must be aware of all the false christs and aware of all the other deceptions that are initiated during the Tribulation, because these deceptions could cause them to abandon Christ Jesus. Their goal should be to survive the Great Tribulation and be ready to stand and worthy of standing before Christ Jesus as His wheat/sheep, when the Lord makes His bodily return on the Day of the Lord.
Now, since the Lord’s Second Coming is all about destroying the wicked (wiping them off this Earth), it also should be evident that the Bride of Christ is not Christ Jesus’ “elect” in any of the abovementioned Matthew 24 and Mark 13 verses. The definitive Scriptures that prove the Bride of Christ won’t go through the Tribulation are Isaiah 26:19-21 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18. Not only do these verses prove that the Groom comes for His Bride and raptures Her before the Tribulation Period begins but also these verses have the same order of events, which are: 1. The dead rise first; 2. The alive righteous individuals are snatched away, then hidden behind a shut door; and 3. The Lord comes to punish the world and/or God pours out His wrath.
Then there are the verses in 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3. Where 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 is concerned with The Rapture and the HOPE of being rescued from the wrath to come, 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3 is concerned with judgment or the wrath of God. That apostle Paul has changed the subject from hope to judgment means he is now speaking about the Day of the Lord in 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3, which is a day that will not include The Rapture!
Instead of being the day of The Rapture, the Day of the Lord is the day Christ Jesus will send His angels out to gather the “elect” or “choice” survivors of the Tribulation Period, primarily the Jews and those left-behind unprepared, unwatchful believers whose lives needed to be sifted like wheat. Now, the only ones the Day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night for are the Tribulation’s surviving unbelievers, because they are living in darkness, and more likely than not they are not aware of what the Scriptures say about the Day of the Lord. More important, the Day of the Lord is not The Rapture of the Bride of Christ, because the Day of the Lord is mainly about the outpouring of God’s punishment/discipline on Israel and the outpouring of terror and death on Israel’s enemies (chiefly the Arabic nations).
The bottom line, once again, is that the “elect” Christ Jesus speaks of in Matthew 24:22, 24, 31 and Mark 13:20, 27 is not the Bride of Christ. This “elect” is primarily the Tribulation’s surviving Jewish people. As earlier stated, to declare that Christ Jesus definitively is speaking about His Bride in said chapters is a colossal interpretive mistake. Why is that such a huge mistake? Well, it is because the Olivet Discourse is a conversation the Jewish Jesus is having with His Jewish disciples about the destiny of the Jewish Temple, the Jewish city of Jerusalem, and the Jewish people as a whole. Forgetting who the Lord’s audience is and the questions His Jewish disciples ask Him to answer invariably will lead to the usual oversight—mistaking the Bride of Christ for the Tribulation’s “elect.”
The Bride of Christ absolutely is not the Tribulation’s “elect,” because the Scriptures show that it is the spiritually blind Jewish people, the unbelieving Gentile masses, and the unprepared, unwatchful Body of Christ members who are the ones who will experience the Tribulation Period. Where’s the Bride of Christ during the Tribulation Period? She’s in Heaven with Her Groom, because the Bride of Christ (the faithful, obedient, prepared, and watchful Body of Believers) is raptured before the seven year Tribulation Period ever begins! A word to the wise should be sufficient. Amen