Ask a Bible Teacher
by Jack Kelley
Question: I was speaking with a Messianic Jewish friend of mine about his interpretation of end times prophecy and he stated that it is his belief that there will be no gathering up (rapture) of the Church but rather all people will experience a new exodus in which the old law will be reinstituted to the letter (even including sending unclean people out of the camp).
He sited for this arguement Matthew 24 where Jesus made mention of the believers of the tribulation having to leave immediately and how they should pray that it not be winter.
I re-read those passages and it does appear that he has a strong arguement there. I'm aware that the key to prophecy is determining the intended audiance, but I can see how you can make an arguement for either tribulation saints, Jewish people or the Church itself. Can you expand on this at all? I'd appreciate it. Thanks
Answer: If you're referring to Matt 24:16-20 your friend's argument only makes sense as far as Old Covenant Jews living in Israel when the anti-Christ makes his appearance are concerned. Judea was the first century name for Israel, and only Old Covenant Jews are forbidden from traveling on the Sabbath. Even if you don't believe in a rapture, there is no such travel restriction on Messianic Jews, tribulation saints or the Church, all of whom also happen to be scattered all over the Earth.
The same event is referenced in Revelation 12:14 where language reminiscent of Exodus 19:4 is used. There the context is also Israel, being referred to as the woman who gave birth to the child who will rule the Earth. It was Israel who gave birth to the Messiah, not the Church.