Is the Church in View in Matthew 24-25? -- By: Bruce A. Ware
BSac 138:550 (Apr 81) p. 158
Is the Church in View in Matthew 24-25?
[Bruce A. Ware, Doctoral Student, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington]
Robert Gundry, in his book The Church and the Tribulation, devotes one chapter to a discussion of the Olivet Discourse in which he argues that the church should be seen as participating in the tribulation and rapture events as described by the Lord in Matthew 24 and 25 .1 Gundry has two purposes in this chapter. First, he endeavors to show that the church is in fact in view in the events of the Olivet Discourse and that it therefore is in the tribulation described in these chapters. Second, he argues that the church (which has entered the tribulation) shall be raptured out of the world at the end of the tribulation. The concern of this article focuses on the first of these two purposes, namely, whether or not Gundry is correct in seeing the church in the tribulation period as described in the Olivet Discourse of Matthew 24–25 .
Before looking at either Gundry or the biblical text, one must understand just what is (and what is not) at stake in this particular issue. First, even if Gundry is correct in asserting that the church is in view within Matthew 24–25, he still has not proved that the church will be raptured at the end of the tribulation. Certainly a posttribulational rapture requires that the church be in the tribulation. But to prove a posttribulational rapture (as opposed to a midtribulational rapture) Gundry must not only show that the Olivet Discourse has the church participating in the tribulation, but that this text also shows that the church then is raptured out at the end of the tribulation (which
BSac 138:550 (Apr 81) p. 159
issue he addresses in the second half of his chapter on the Olivet Discourse2 ).
Second, if Gundry is wrong and the church is not in view in the tribulation described by the Lord in His discourse on the Mount of Olives, then obviously a posttribulational rapture cannot be sustained from this text because there is no church in the tribulation of Matthew 24–25 to be raptured. It must be acknowledged, however, that the absence of the church in Matthew 24–25 does not by itself eliminate the possibility of a scripturally sound posttribulational rapture, it only shows that proof for such a position cannot be derived from this passage.
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