For the Sake of the Elect

July 24, 2009 at 8:03 am | Posted in Eschatology, Theology | Leave a comment

          I have written some in the past about my pilgrimage from Dispensational pre-millennium, pre-tribulation theology to Historic pre-millennium, post-tribulation theology.  Here is another thought from Matthew 24.  Once before, I blogged on this chapter, and it’s parallel in Mark 13.  In both chapters Jesus describes what has to be the Great Tribulation, then he adds what will happen “immediately after those days,” including, “he will send his angels with a loud trumpet to gather his elect from the four winds.” (Mt 24:29-31; Mk 13:24-27)  Today I noticed that in the midst that description of the Great Tribulation, Jesus says “There will great distress, unequaled from the beginning of time until now – and never to be equaled again.  If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect, they will be cut short.” (Mt 24:21-22; see also Mk 13:19-20)

          What could Jesus possibly mean by “for the sake of the elect?”  There are three possibilities: First, he could mean the elect have been raptured and are all with him, and he shortens the Tribulation for them. But that is senseless; there is no reason to shorten the pains of others for the sake of those who suffer nothing.  Second, he could mean those who come to Jesus during the Great Tribulation.  This is the standard Dispensational explanation, as I remember it.  But the biblical indications are that people on earth during the Great Tribulation will curse God rather than turn to him (see Rev 9:20-21; 16:9, 11, 21).  The third possible understanding of Jesus’ words is also the simplest and best understanding – the elect are still on earth during the Tribulation.  They will be gathered from the earth immediately after it, and for their sake God will end it.

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