The rapture in Matthew 24


I have heard different teachings on Matthew 24-25. Some say it’s about the church (rapture), some say it’s not. Can you give a summary of what Jesus was teaching here?


Matthew 24-25 is one long teaching from Jesus to the 12 disciples before the Last Supper. He had said that the temple was going to be torn down, and they asked him two questions: “When will these things happen?” and “What will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” In these chapters, Jesus answered only the second question and gave a lot of information. (The answer to the first question was when Rome flattened Jerusalem and the Temple in AD 70.)

In chapter 24, Jesus explained about the Tribulation, how terrible it would be, and what would happen when he came to rescue Israel. He refers back to Daniel 9:27 and the “abomination of desolation” that the Antichrist will erect in the Temple (see Revelation 13:15 and 2 Thessalonians 2:4).

Jesus describes the end of the Tribulation as “the days of Noah,” referring to the wickedness and the judgment of that time. This is not the Rapture of the church, where Christians will be taken away. (That is before the Tribulation.) In Noah’s day, the people taken away were the unbelievers, and they were taken to judgment.

In chapter 25, we find two parables about Jesus’ Second Coming (not the Rapture). The virgins refer to the Jewish people waiting for Messiah (the Bridegroom). The foolish virgins are the Jews who will not be ready when he comes. The wise virgins are the Jews who will be ready and will go into his kingdom. The servants with the talents cannot be Christians because the last servant is prevented from entering the kingdom based on his unfaithfulness, but all Christians will be with Jesus in the kingdom. This is a promise/warning to Israel.

Chapter 25 finishes with Jesus judging the Gentiles for how they treated the Jews during the Tribulation. “The least of these, my brothers” refers to the Jewish people. The nations will stand before Jesus’ throne for judgment. If they treated the Jewish people well, they showed their trust in God’s promise (Genesis 12:3) that “I will bless those who bless you,” and they will enter the kingdom. If they mistreated the Jewish people, they showed that they didn’t believe God’s warning that “the one who treats you lightly I must curse,” and they will be condemned forever.

Nothing in Matthew 24-25 has to do with Christians or the church. It is about Jesus’ deliverance of Israel in keeping with the promises God made through the prophets.

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