Q. One question that constantly comes out of the mouth of Post Tribbers is Matt. 24:30 and it’s relation to verse 29 before it, insinuating the rapture is the gathering spoken of and happens after the tribulation. I am sure I have read some reference about this in one of your articles but I am not sure which. My explanation usually deals with the fact that Jesus, here speaking to Jews is also prophesying the fate of the Jews living through the tribulation (context). However the explanation always seems to come across as my interpretation and I really have no clear scriptures to back it up. Any thoughts or scriptures I should consider?
A. The best response to this is another question. Where is the Church mentioned in Matt. 24? Answer, It’s not. This is a point both the pre-wrath and post-trib people miss. They assume the message is for the Church because it’s in the Gospels. But the Olivet Discourse is the answer of a Jewish Prophet to questions His Jewish disciples have asked about the End of the Age for Israel. We know this because their questions were in response to the Lord’s prophecy about Jerusalem and the Temple being destroyed.
Also, in His answer the Lord mentioned the persecution of the Jews (v. 9), the desolation of the Temple (v.15), the need for those in Judea at the time to flee (v. 16-17), the Sabbath laws that would prevent it (v. 20), and the beginning of the Great Tribulation (v. 21). But nowhere, nowhere, did He give any direction to the Church concerning those times. Once you understand that, it becomes clear that the Church is not going to be on Earth then. As of verse 29 the Great Tribulation ends, beginning in verse 30 the second coming is in view, and for the balance of Matt 24 and all of Matt. 25, the narrative is focused events on Earth after the 2nd Coming.
Remember, Israel was just completing the 483rd year of a 490 year prophecy (Daniel 9:24-27) that would end the Age. Seven years short of the deadline the Lord said in effect, “We’re going to destroy everything and start over” (Matt. 24:2). The disciples were astonished and at their first opportunity asked Him to clarify things. His answer to them is what we know as the Olivet Discourse. They didn’t know anything about a 2000 year pause for the Church and He didn’t tell them. We know this because in Acts 1: 6 they once again asked Him about restoring the Kingdom.
And 20 years later it’s obvious they still didn’t understand. James had to set them straight. He said “First, the Lord will take for Himself a people from among the Gentiles. After this he’ll return and rebuild David’s fallen Tabernacle.” Paul was there and said the same thing in Romans 11:25. “Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of Gentiles has come in.”
The Olivet Discourse was not intended for the Church, but for Israel.