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GATHERING THE ELECT

Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr. —  March 14, 2012 — 5 Comments

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.”

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Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

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Ken is a Presbyterian pastor and the author or co-author of over thirty books, most on eschatology. He has been married since 1971, and has three children and several grandchildren. He is a graduate of Tennessee Temple University (B.A., 1973), Reformed Theological Seminary (M.Div., 1977), and Whitefield Theological Seminary (Th.M., 1986; Th.D., 1988). He currently pastors Living Hope Presbyterian Church (affiliated with the RPCGA) in Greer, SC. Much of his writing is in the field of eschatology, including his 600 page book, He Shall Have Dominion: A Postmillennial Eschatology and his 400 page, Before Jerusalem Fell: Dating the Book of Revelation (his Th.D. dissertation). He contributed chapters to two Zondervan CounterPoints books on eschatological issues: Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond (edited by Darrell L. Bock) and Four Views on the Book of Revelation (edited by C. Marvin Pate). He also debated Thomas D. Ice in Kregel's The Great Tribulation: Past or Future? His books have been published by American Vision, Baker, Zondervan, Kregel, P & R, Greenhaven Press, Nordskog, Wipf & Stock, and several other publishers. He has published scores of articles in such publications as Tabletalk, Westminster Theological Journal, Evangelical Theological Society Journal, Banner of Truth, Christianity Today, Antithesis, Contra Mundum, and others. He has spoken at over 80 conferences in America, the Caribbean, and Australia. He is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society and a Church Council Committee member of Coalition on Revival.

5 responses to GATHERING THE ELECT

  1. Thank you for this post, Pastor Gentry! It was an encouraging way to start my day!

  2. Thanks for the great post dealing with a verse that supposedly “supports” the rapture.

    Are you going to be dealing with Matthew 24: 40-41? I think that this would be useful because people say that this also supports the rapture.

    Thanks

  3. I appreciate this post Ken, it seems their is much miss understanding on Heb.8:13.The writer says “is near disappearing”( the Old Covenant), which was written some 30 years after the cross, and before 70 A.D. Even in Paul’s letter to the Galatians ch.4:24-31 He speaks of the two Covenants after the cross.What would be the threat of “falling back to judaism” if it had already disappeard. I have one question though, is Col.1:23 “…the hope of the Gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven”, and Col.1:25 “…the stewardship from God which was given to me for you ,to fulfill the word of God…also the fulfillment of Matt.28:18 and 24:14, “All these things” will take place “in this generation”(Matt.24:34). Thanks very much for your patience.

  4. OMGosh you folks stretch the spiritual meaning to say what you want it to say. The Scriptures are NOT for private interpretation or for over-spiritualizing. No wonder the Body of Christ is so confused. You better repent and believe what it says. When the Lord gives literal days in Revelation He is not spiritualizing. You folks once again are interpreting the Bible privately. You are as bad as the Pretrib folks.

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