"Matthew 24 - The Rapture Dilemma" (Part Six)
Are the Elect Exclusively Israel?
Another big problem with the challenge to Matthew 24, is claiming that the references there to "the Elect" CANNOT mean the Church. For instance, when Jesus says that the days of distress will be shortened "for the sake of the elect" (Matt 24:22) he must be referring to Israel.
The prohibition on using the ELECT to mean the Church extends throughout the bible, according to this teaching, and especially within the book of Revelation, where of course in the dispensationalist and pre-trib view, no Christian can still be present.
Who Are The Elect?
The word ELECT simple means CHOSEN. When Peter writes to Christians he tells them:
"But YOU are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own; that you should show forth the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvellous light," (1 Peter 2:9)
"Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 1:2)
Used in the Bible for Christians
Indeed, a quick search on the word "elect" and "chosen" in the bible shows that it actually IS many times used of the Church! Romans 8:33 asks "who shall bring an accusation against God's elect?" If Paul had intended ONLY Jews to be included in this, why did he not say so? He obviously means all believers!
Paul also refers to the elect in his letter to Titus: "Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth..."
What IS the "faith of God's Elect"? If they are right to say the Elect are only Israel, then Paul the Apostle must be claiming to have adopted the faith of ISRAEL again, after being saved. Clearly not. He is speaking of the CHURCH, believers, saved by grace.
If you would care to do a word search on the word "chosen" [identical to "elect"] throughout the New Testament you would prove to yourself that it is the CHRISTIANS who were and are "chosen in Him" as well as the Remnant Israel of the last days. (The Elect includes all who trust in Jesus for salvation including Jews.)
One summary of Election and the Elect says this:
The concept of God's chosen people is first found in the Old Testament. God chose Israel as His special people. "And because He loved your fathers, therefore He chose their descendants after them; and He brought you out of Egypt with His Presence, with His mighty power" (Deuteronomy 4:37). "For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth" (Deuteronomy 7:6 // Deuteronomy 14:2).
Who are God's chosen people now? Jesus warned: "Many are called, but few are chosen" (Matthew 22:14 // Matthew 20:16).
Now that the promised Messiah has come, God's chosen people are those who accept Him as Lord and Saviour: "Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work. What then? Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were hardened" (Romans 11:5-7).
The election is no longer based on physical lineage, but on one's relationship with the Messiah: "He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful" (Revelation 17:14). [Source]
A Set Time Cannot be Shortened
Another problem with the interpretation of the Elect, is that in Matthew 24 Jesus speaks of the time of trouble being SHORTENED for the sake of the Elect who are undergoing massive tribulation.
If this is applied only to a remnant of Israel suffering the seven-year "tribulation period" as many claim, then how can it be made any shorter than the prophesied time, which we have in the bible plainly enough. Can prophesy be overthrown for the sake of Israel at that time?
We are told in numerous places how long the authority of the devil lasts - three and a half years, or 42 months and then even the day-count of 1260 days.
- In Revelation 11:2, the gentiles will afflict Jerusalem for 42 months, that is, during the entire three and a half year period (albeit under varying circumstances).
- In Revelation 12:6, the woman Israel is said to be protected for 1,260 days, that is, during the whole 42 months of the Beasts' reign (expressed in standard 30 day months).
- In Revelation 12:14, the woman Israel is said to be protected for a time, times, and half a time, that is, during this same period of three and a half years.
- In Revelation 13:5, the unbridled reign of the beasts is said to last for 42 months.
What then CAN be shortened? WHO then can be rescued in this shortened time period? It is not the Woman who has been taken to the wilderness for her protection, for a set period of time, and who will not in fact become a believing ELECT of God until she receives her Messiah at his coming.
The only Elect remaining in Israel at this time are the small number of Jewish baby believers who have stood firm against the pressures (tribulations) and who would all be slaughtered if things were left to run their course. This "baby" who is destined like all those who belong to Jesus Christ to "rule and reign with him", is caught up to God and his Throne, thus cutting short their terrible trial.
We see them sealed to God in Chapter 7 of Revelation, caught up in 12:5, and thereafter in Heaven, glorifying God in praise and worship in chapter 14, where they are called "redeemed" and "firstfruits to God and the Lamb" - for they are the first gleaning of saved Jews before the End.
Their tribulation on earth has been cut short by the Rapture! This is the ONLY event that can happen suddenly and outside of time.
- Did the Church Exist in the Day of Jesus?
- Can Prophecies Refer to More than One Event?
- The Rapture or the Second Coming - or both?
- When and What is the Day of Jacob's Trouble?
- Are the Elect Exclusively Israel? (this page)
- Is the Tribulation a seven-year Wrath of God?
- Do we Need to Endure, as Christians?
- Are there Distinct and Absolute Dispensations of History?
- Replacement Theology
© 2016 Tricia Tillin-Booth. All rights reserved. Birthpangs Website: http://www.birthpangs.org/ This document is the property of its author and is not to be displayed on other websites, redistributed, sold, reprinted, or reproduced in printed in any other format without permission. Websites may link to this article, if they provide proper title and author information. One copy may be downloaded, stored and/or printed for personal research. All spelling and phraseology is UK English.