“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.“ (Matthew 24:36-37 KJV)
These two verse of Scripture are used by many Christians to describe the Rapture of the Church, The Bride Of Christ. Am I saying there is no Pre-Tribulation Period Rapture? NO I am not saying that! In fact, The Pre-Tribulation Rapture is fully supported in Scripture. I am saying that the passage of Scripture in Matthew 24:35-37 is not about the Rapture. This may come as a surprise to many because many pulpits teach Matthew 24 completely out of context and fail to understand that in Matthew 24 Jesus is talking to the Jewish peoples, the nation of Israel. You see, the church did not even exist when he told this to His disciples.
The first 3 1/2 years of the Tribulation Period may be hard times but the last 3 1/2 years is called The GREAT Tribulation. All hell will break lose on the Earth. In Matthew 24:29 is reads,
“Immediately AFTER THE TRIBULATION of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:” (Matthew 24:29 KJV)
Because verse 29 is obviously discussing events after the Tribulation Period then the reference to the “days of Noah”, later in verse 36, is also not about the Rapture as many are teaching today. The reference to the Days of Noah is being addressed to the Nation Israel just before the Second Coming. Jesus continues telling the Disciples about what will happen AFTER the Great Tribulation and just before Christ returns at the Second Coming – not the Rapture in verses 30-31 saying,
“And THEN shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and THEN shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” (Matthew 24:30-31 KJV)
Jesus says “AND THEN” as in after these things He just spoke about happening. That is pretty clear right? Matthew 24 is NOT about the Rapture. It is addressing those alive after the 7 Year Tribulation Period and is addressing the Nation of Israel.
Who is the elect the angels are gathering?
These are the Jewish people from the Tribulation period who have come to faith and belief in Christ. Not all Jewish people will be saved. Most in fact will believe the Antichrist is the Messiah returned to Earth. Those gathered are the 5 wise Virgins of Matthew 25 in the Parable of the Ten Virgins (another Scripture not about the Rapture) that are permitted entrance to the wedding celebration of Christ and the Bride (Christians previously raptured). God will have His angels gather these believers from the Tribulation Period and relocate them to Israel in preparation for the 1000 year reign of Christ on the Earth. He has His angels gather them from where they are currently scattered all over the Earth. In contrast, Angels do not gather the believers at the Rapture. At the Rapture we are quickly snatched up into the cloud to meet Christ in the air. The gathering by angels here is not about the rapture.
What Did Jesus Mean By Not Knowing The Day Nor Hour Then?
It is important to not just read Matthew verse 36 without reading the verse just before it. Again context is everything. Up until verse 34, Jesus is answering the question the disciples had of when will the Second Coming happen. At the time Jesus was telling His disciples this, they had no knowledge of the Rapture. Information about the Rapture came later through the Apostle Paul and was revealed AFTER Jesus Ascended. Again, this answer of Jesus was for the Nation of Israel and Jewish peoples – not for the church which did not even exist at the time of Jesus answering them.
Remember that God is treating and fulfilling promises to Israel as well as to the Church Bride. We cannot mix this together as some do today with ‘Replacement Theology’. That is a very wrong teaching. In Matthew 24, Jesus is talking strictly to the Jewish peoples and the Nation of Israel. In the end times Israel will become a nation again and that has already happened and been fulfilled in 1948. The BIG sign that the end times have begun. That is how close we are to the Rapture folks. Very close!
The Jewish feast called the Feast of Trumpets is well known to the Jewish community as the feast where ‘the day nor hour’ is not known. The disciples knew exactly what Jesus meant by this phrase! (Here is a great article explaining this: http://www.hebroots.org/hebrootsarchive/9807/980715_c.html)
While answering the question about when the Second Coming would occur, Jesus answers them and then tells them that this will happen with CERTAINTY and tells the disciples,
“Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.”
Some teach this verse is telling us we cannot know the time of the Rapture. However, is that what is really being said here in proper context? I ask you this, ‘when’ will Heaven and Earth PASS AWAY? Is that to happen at the rapture? Not according to the Scriptures. There is still the Tribulation period and another 1000 years with Christ ruling on Earth right? That event was described by Peter as a time the people on Earth will not know.
“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” (2 Peter 3:10 KJV)
This event happens at the END of the 1000 year reign of Christ on Earth. The Great White Throne judgement of non believers happens and the believers in Christ see the NEW heavens and the New Earth God creates for us. This current Earth and Heavens will burn!
Jesus is just telling the disciples that my answer to your question about WHEN the Second Coming will happen is as true as His Words NEVER passing away. Heavens and Earth will pass away (there’s a major event!) but not Jesus words. Not the Word of God! Every word of God will be fulfilled to the exactness that only God can orchestrate.
Wait a minute.. did you miss verses 32-34?
What is that all about if this is not about Israel becoming a nation nor the rapture as many are teaching falsely today? First let’s compare two different Gospels of the same event when Jesus was asking the disciples about when the Second Coming would happen:
“Now learn a parable of THE FIG TREE; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.” (Matthew 24: 32-34 KJV)
“And he spake to them a parable; BEHOLD THE FIG TREE, AND ALL THE TREES; When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.” (Luke 21:29-32 KJV)
There are no contradictions in the Bible, only misinterpretations. Here we see that both Matthew and Luke are writing about the same event, yet Luke does not just mention the FIG TREE and he also mentions ‘ALL THE TREES’. So this makes it clear that these verses in Matthew are not about Israel becoming a nation in 1948. There are in fact other Scriptures that foretold of Israel becoming a nation again and they were fulfilled in our generation. (Amos 9:14-15,Ezekiel 37:10-14,Isaiah 66:7-8,Jeremiah 16:14-15 and others!) So understand that Israel becoming a nation is most certainly foretold for the End Times, and it exists again today! We are in the End times, make no mistake about that!
Jesus is just telling them in plain language that you see signs before summer comes right? Trees start to bud and leaves start showing and you KNOW “Here comes summer!” Right? Well Jesus is saying the same thing. When you see these signs I just told you about, know that the Second Coming is near. Again, this is talking to the Nation of Israel and the Jewish peoples after the Tribulation Period because of the context Jesus provided in Matthew 24:29 and just before Christ Returns to Earth.
It is not a prophecy for the Bride of Christ and those already Raptured. After all, we will be the ones returning WITH Christ at His Second Coming.