Did the rapture occur in A.D. 70? Matthew 24:31 seems to teach such: “And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.” Whatever this verse means, Jesus affirms only three verses later that “all these things” will take place in “this generation” (Matt 24:34). We must realize also that the word “angel” can be and often means “messenger” in Scripture when it refers to human messengers. We find this usage in Matthew 11:10; Mark 1:10; Luke 7:24 and 27.
Actually Jesus is speaking of his sending forth his messengers to trumpet the gospel of salvation. The fall of the old covenant economy is the sign that the gospel of God’s saving grace is spreading to all the world, overflowing the boundaries of Old Testament Israel (cp. Psa 147:19–20; Amos 3:2; Eph 2:11–12). God is finished with sacrifices and human priests (Heb 8:13); he will no longer confine his grace to a single nation (John 4:20–24). Now the gospel will go to all nations (Matt 28:18–20).
When the messengers go forth and declare the gospel, they call people and gather them into a new body, the Church of Christ. In fact, this “gathering” language appears in a very significant passage in Hebrews 10:25, where the Jews are commanded to “gather together” as Christians, and not to fall back into Judaism: “Not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.”