Q. I’ve had several post trib believers tell me the rapture will take place in Matt. 24:31. They say the trumpet mentioned in that verse is the same as the “last trump” Paul mentioned in 1 Cor. 15:52 because it’s the last trumpet before the 2nd coming. How would you respond to that?
A. Here’s an excerpt from my study titled Matt. 24 And The Pre-Trib Rapture.
“Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other” (Matt. 24:30-31).
Some claim this is a description of the rapture but if that’s true it violates the Jewish context of the passage without any explanation or justification. It’s based primarily on the fact that the Greek word for trumpet appears both here and in 1 Cor. 15: 52. But that is not an acceptable reason to tie these verses together, because there are other factors that make them obviously different. One is that in 1 Thes. 4:16-17 the only angel mentioned is “the archangel” not some unknown number of angels scouring the heavens for “his elect”. Another is that it turns the rapture from a signless, secret event into one that can’t happen until there is a sign for all the world to see, and until the second coming is already in progress. It would mean that while all the world is standing there watching Jesus descend from heaven in power and glory, He will suddenly scoop up the Church and return to heaven without completing His trip to earth.
It would also violate His promise, made personally and through Paul, that He will keep us from the hour of trial that’s coming upon the whole world (Rev. 3:10), delivering us from the time and place of God’s wrath (Romans 5:9, 1 Thes. 1:10).
Those who see the rapture here claim that the Church is “the elect” the Lord was talking about. But I disagree. Throughout the Old Testament, Israel was called God’s elect and since Israel was the topic of the Lord’s discussion, it’s much more likely that’s who He had in mind. Also, according to Daniel 12:2-3 Israel’s resurrection will take place at the Second coming making it possible that Matt. 24:31 is referring to Old Testament saints being rounded up to receive their resurrection bodies.
Finally, there’s no mention of the Church being “the elect” in the gospels. In the only times the Lord mentioned the Church at all (Matt. 16:18 and Matt. 18:17) He did not use any form of the Greek word for “elect”. The first clear description of the Church as the elect did not happen until Romans 8:33 which Paul wrote over 20 years later. In my opinion, to think that the disciples would have understood the Lord to be referring to the Church in Matt. 24:22 and Matt. 24:31 is an unwarranted assumption.