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Matthew Chapter 24

Updated October 2023

Bible passages are copied from the Holy Bible, New International Version (NIV), Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011

by Biblica, Inc., Used by permission.  All rights reserved worldwide.

Portions of this article will make more sense if you read the Prewrath Explained article on this website.


Keep your Bible opened to Matthew chapter 24 as you read this article.


References to the Seven Years are speaking of the “seven” found in Daniel 9:27.  I also at times refer to this time period as “Daniel’s Seven Years.”  This period is commonly call the “Tribulation,” but I do not refer to it in this way because I do NOT believe that the first half of this period is a time of tribulation or is ever referred to in Scripture as a time of tribulation.


Matthew 24:27-31

This passage appears to be the Bible’s perfect description of the Second Coming of our Savior Jesus Christ.  So, why can Pre-Millennial Christians NOT agree on whether or not this passage describes the Second Coming of Jesus and the Rapture of the Church?


Definitions below are my own understanding of these terms.

Pre-Millennial Christians believe that the Rapture occurs prior to the earthly Kingdom of Jesus.

The two Pre-Millennial positions that I contrast in this article are: 

Pre-Trib position which states that the Rapture occurs before the Seven-Year Tribulation Prewrath position which states that the Rapture occurs before the Wrath of God which begins with the Trumpet Judgements from Revelation 8:6

There is a great temptation here to view Matthew 24:15-51 relative to one’s own preconceived view of the timing of the Rapture.

The Pre-Trib Position

A person who is convinced of a Pre-Trib Rapture must believe that this passage in Matthew chapter 24 refers to the gathering of the elect that have been saved during the Tribulation because the Rapture will have occurred before the beginning of the seven years, and this passage clearly takes place after the “abomination that causes desolation” at the midpoint of the seven years.


There is a significant Biblical problem with this widely held Pre-Trib position that suggests a secret Rapture and also suggests that the gathering in Matthew chapter 24 is actually the return of Jesus at the end of the Tribulation. Consider the passage below:


 Matthew 13:40-43

“As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the blazing furnace where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear.


In Matthew chapter 24 we see the elect being gathered and in Matthew chapter 13 we see the ones that do evil being collected. Both of these cannot happen at the end of the Tribulation. It would seem that the events in chapter 24 happen after the midpoint of the seven years (Matthew 24:15) and before the end of the Tribulation (Matthew 24:22). The Rapture occurs during the last half of the seven years.

The Prewrath Position

A person who believes in the Prewrath position will almost surely believe that this is the Rapture which is believed to come during the last half of the Seven Years.


For the purpose of this article, I choose to focus only on the Pre-Trib and Prewrath positions because these are the positions that I have personally held.  I can tell you from my own personal experience that I found this chapter to be troubling back when I still held to the Pre-Trib position.


My current Prewrath beliefs hold this chapter to be easy to understand.  Since Jesus seems to be addressing believers throughout this chapter, I assume that this chapter is something that still applies to believers today and will continue to apply to those believers who are alive when all this occurs.  If believers will have already been raptured by the time of the Abomination, there is little reason to address this chapter to believers; but this chapter is told in such a way to imply that believers are still present.  Believers are supposed to be watching for these events!


I personally believe that Jesus only returns once at the Rapture in the last half of the Seven Years and that He remains with Jewish believers (including the 144,000) until they retake Jerusalem and that this happens at the time of Revelation 14:1-5.  I believe that the timing of this is at the end of the Seven Years and prior to the seven Bowl Judgements that are in turn prior to the Battle of Armageddon.  Please note that I do believe that Jerusalem reverts to Jewish control at the end of Daniel’s Seven Years and that the Bowl Judgements and the Battle of Armageddon occur later shortly after the end of the Seven Years.  (My understanding of the timing of endtime events is explained elsewhere on this website.)


Following is my understanding of a number of important and defining sections found in Matthew chapter 24.


Matthew 24:4-14

This section lists the “beginning of birth pains.”  There is disagreement among Bible scholars as to whether the items given in these verses happen throughout the entire period between the resurrection and return of Jesus or if they appear or increase as the Second Coming comes near.  Since all of the events listed in this section are general in nature, we cannot pick out any one specific event to identify nearness.  Since these verses appear to be of little use as signs of the nearness of Jesus’ Coming, I tend to believe that these are simply Jesus’ way of saying that life will go on as usual and that they are not necessarily signs of His coming.  The first identifiable sign will be the “abomination that causes Desolation.”  However, if the frequency of the events in this section quickly increases, I reserve the right to change my perspective.


Matthew 24:15

The “abomination that causes desolation” from Daniel 9:27 is the first event that knowledgeable believers should be able to specifically identify.  This event occurs three and a half years after the confirmation of some Covenant.  Some knowledgeable believers at that time may correctly identify the covenant in question, but the Daniel reference is probably too general to be sure.  If we as believers are able to experience the “abomination” as Jesus’ statements imply, the Church must not have been raptured yet.  The Rapture will become imminent after the “abomination” since no other sign is required by Scripture.  Note, however, that this event does not signal the timing of the Rapture, but rather is a warning for residents of Israel to get out of the country as quickly as possible.  Since most of the people living in Israel are not familiar with the New Testament, the exodus from Israel at this event might not be all that large.  There will probably be a number of insightful Israelis who will quickly identify this event as an immediate danger and who will leave even without the knowledge of the New Testament.  Hopefully, this event will get them at least thinking about Scripture and the Messiah.


The fact does remain that the Rapture has not yet occurred and that it cannot happen until some unspecified time after the “abomination.”  Please notice that nothing is mentioned either in Daniel or in Matthew about a time of Tribulation prior to the “abomination.”  In fact, no seven-year Tribulation is ever referenced anywhere in the Bible – all seeming references to a time of tribulation are given as three and a half years as explained elsewhere in this website. Do notice also the supporting documentation that the Rapture cannot occur until after Antichrist is revealed (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4). The ‘abomination’ and the ‘revealing’ will probably occur as part of the same event.


 Matthew 24:22

“If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.”

This verse has often mystified readers, but it fits perfectly with the Prewrath Rapture position.  As I have implied above, this last half of Daniel’s Seven Years incorporates the entire Tribulation period.  Believers will be raptured at some point after the midpoint of the Seven Years, but this verse tells us that they will not experience the entire final three and a half years of Daniel’s time period – their time will have been cut short.  Those who have not yet believed by the time of the Rapture will be left to experience some very frightening and dangerous time.  We cannot tell from this chapter, but we find a number of places elsewhere in Scripture that indicate a small number of those left will eventually believe and either be martyred or will enter the Kingdom that will later be established.  These later believers will be less frightened than the majority of the earth’s population, but they will be in greater danger of harm from Antichrist and Satan’s forces than the rest of the population.  They will actually understand martyrdom as a privilege.


Matthew 24:27-30

This passage describes the Second Coming as an extremely public happening.  Undoubtedly this event will be the most dramatic event in the lifetime of anyone who experiences it.  Believers will still be on earth up until this time and will recognize that their physical salvation is only moments away.  Non-believes will be frightened and become increasingly more frightened as they begin to realize what is happening and the horrific implications of what lies ahead.  Some individuals may immediately become believers in Jesus as Savior and others will become believers over a period of time. Unfortunately, most will stubbornly reject Jesus and will believe that human ingenuity will find a loop hole.  Satan will be more than willing to help this last group believe that he and they together can overcome Jesus and His coming Kingdom.


Matthew 24:31

“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.”

I believe that an unbiased reading of this one verse will present you with an excellent picture of the Rapture at an unspecified point during the second half of the Seven Years.


Matthew 24:32-34

The phrase “all these things” in verse 33 may mean either all the events from Matthew 24:4-30 or the events from Matthew 24:15-30 depending upon how you interpret verses 4-14.  One way or the other, verse 33 lets us know that if we are paying attention to the world around us, we should know the Return of Jesus will occur within a relatively short period of time.  Combining what we know about Daniel’s Seven Years with Matthew 24:15 and Matthew 24:22, we should realize that the Rapture must occur within a three and a half year period.  I suspect that if we have been truly paying attention to world events, we will know by this time exactly when the Covenant signaling the beginning of the seven-year period was established.  “This generation” in verse 34 must be speaking of the generation in existence at the time of “the abomination that causes desolation.”  No earlier generation can possibly have witnessed these events.  This will be the first generation since the earthly ministry of Jesus to experience these specific events and therefore be able to legitimately know that the Rapture is imminent.  It cannot be imminent until after the abomination mentioned in Daniel 9:27 and again in Matthew 24:15.


Matthew 24:36

“About that day or hour no one knows.”  The Prewrath position does not claim to know the day or hour.  The closer to the end of the Seven Years we get the more we can narrow it down; but we will not get to the point that we can narrow it to a specific day or hour until the events of Matthew 27-30 are actually in progress.


Matthew 24:37-39

This passage informs us that the majority of the earth’s population at the time of the Second Coming will not have any idea about what is going to happen.  Some of these, perhaps many of these, will be believers who have neglected to pay attention to God’s Word and to the signs of the times.  They will still be raptured, but probably will face some loss of heavenly rewards.


Matthew 24:40

This is a continuing view of the Rapture and will occur along with verse 31.


Matthew 24:42-44

“Therefore keep watch” implores the reader to not ignore what is written in this passage because – aside from watching for these events – there is no way to recognize the events that will become imminent shortly prior to Jesus’ coming.  We would not be told to keep watch unless there was something to watch for.  By giving us this chapter, God has told us that better times are coming and the events that will signal the nearness of those times.  If we do not have something specific to watch for, it would be useless to tell us to keep watch.


The remainder of this chapter reminds us how we, as Christians, are to act as we wait.  Remember that we will be in a time of Tribulation, probably increasing in intensity, between the “abomination” and the Rapture.  We are not to become complacent and worldly such that we bring shame to the Name of Jesus or so that we miss the signs of the times.


NOTE:  Passages parallel to Matthew chapter 24 are found in Mark chapter 13 and Luke chapters 17 and 21.  Other passages related to events expressed in this chapter are found throughout both the Old Testament and the New Testament.


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