Should Pretribulationists Reconsider the Rapture in Matthew 24:36-44? -- By: John F. Hart

Journal: Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Volume: JOTGES 20:39 (Autumn 2007)
Article: Should Pretribulationists Reconsider the Rapture in Matthew 24:36-44?
Author: John F. Hart

Should Pretribulationists Reconsider the Rapture in Matthew 24:36-44?*

Part 1 of 3

John F. Hart

Professor of Bible
Moody Bible Institute
Chicago, IL

I. Introduction

The Olivet Discourse of Matthew 24 and 25 has always been of unique interest to expositors of the Scriptures. For one thing, it is the only extended and uninterrupted discourse of Christ recorded in all three Synoptic Gospels. One might have expected this most extended teaching of Jesus to be predominantly ethical. Surprisingly, it is largely prophetic instead with ethical admonitions drawn from the eschatological teachings. Next to the Apocalypse, the Olivet Discourse contains the most extensive eschatological revelation in any one portion of the NT.1 Ice remarks about the importance of the Olivet Discourse, “This discourse is so significant that the way a person interprets it will impact his understanding of the rest of the prophecy passages in the Bible.”2 Similarly, Hodges states, “without it [the Olivet Discourse] we could hardly understand the other prophetic passages in the NT, including the book of Revelation” (italics original).3 Interestingly, out of the four Gospels the technical term for the future coming of Christ, parousia (“arrival, presence”), is found only in Matthew (24:3, 27, 37, 39). Matthew 24–25 has

contributed to such watershed doctrines as preterism vis à vis futurism, and pretribulationism vis à vis posttribulationism. For these reasons, the Olivet Discourse—particularly Matthew 24—is a crux passage for any teaching on the Rapture. Pettigrew’s claim is of interest. “[F]rom a negative side, the Olivet Discourse is important because all incorrect Rapture systems go astray in this passage.”4

Most if not all posttribulationists argue that the Rapture of the church is described in Matt 24:36–44 and that this Rapture coincides perfectly with the return of Christ after the Tribulation period mentioned in You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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