Q. My question has to deal with the “elect” in the Olivet Discourse. Jesus was indeed talking to a Jewish crowd (his disciples). However, they were also His followers. I’ve taken Matthew 24 to mean that He’s referring mostly to persecution of the Jews in His teaching. However, Luke 21:12, Jesus says, “…You will be brought before kings and ruler’s for my name’s sake.” Jews obviously don’t recognize “His name” as a deity, so clearly Jesus is referring to Christ followers at this point. Historically, both Jews and Christians have been brought before kings and rulers, and been persecuted. So, I guess my question is, “Is Jesus talking to Jews, Christians, or both?” Also, do you believe the elect gathered from the 4 winds are Jews, or all of the Christians?
A. The difference between the Olivet discourse accounts in Matt. 24 and Mark 13 and the one in Luke 21 is that Luke’s account is the only one that clearly answers all three of the disciples’ questions. Matthew skipped the first question altogether, “When will this happen?” and just addressed the second and third ones, “what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” (Matt. 24:3). Mark kind of mixed the near and far future together making it difficult to differentiate between the two.
The answer to the first question is contained in Luke 21:12-24 and describes the time between the crucifixion and the destruction of Jerusalem. Therefore in Luke 21:12 the Lord was speaking directly to the disciples, who would soon be brought before kings and rulers for His name’s sake (Mark 13:9 alludes to this.)
As for the elect gathered from the four winds, Matt. 24:31 has the Lord referring to the elect in Heaven, while Mark 13:27 has Him also including the elect on Earth. Both groups will be believers in Jesus, some living and some deceased, some Jewish and some Gentiles, but I don’t believe any of them are part of the Church. The Church does not have to stand firm to the end to be saved as Matt. 24:13 and Mark 13:13 say. Our salvation is guaranteed when we believe (Ephes. 1:13-14). Also, we will have gone in the rapture at least 7 years prior to that time, and will be in the New Jerusalem.