05 May 2007

Matthew 24 Part 10

A Great Trumpet and the Elect

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 24:31

So far, we have seen how words and phrases can have their origins from the Old Testament. Certainly, Christ used the same arrangement in vs. 31. The the New Testament however trumpets are often associated with the heralding of the end of time. For example, in 1 Thes. 4:16 we read, For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Here and in 1 Cor. 15:52, we read of trumpets declaring the end of time. These verses are often sighted by dispensationalists to assert that the text of Matthew 24 does indeed refer to the end of time. Despite this seeming clarification of the use of trumpets, a more equitable assessment can again be derived by referring to the Old Testament.

It is more plausible, as well as consistent with the context that the trumpet is in reference to the Year of Jubilee in Lev. 25. The significance of the Year of Jubilee can be found in Is. 61:1-2. In Luke 4:17-21, Jesus read the Isaiah passage to those present and then stated in vs. 21, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. The Year of Jubilee was a foreshadowing of Christ's work which confirmed by Christ in this verse. In fact, the Hebrew word for jubilee means shout or blast. After this trumpet blast His angels joyfully will gather the elect, declaring freedom from sin by the work of Christ on the cross.

The Greek word for angel here does not necessarily mean angelic being. Rather, it's meaning is messenger. The messengers are those who go out and gather the elect proclaiming the good news of redemption through the cross.

These messengers are gathering the elect from the four winds. The four winds is obviously symbolic for the entire world. Other similar figurative expressions can be found in Ps. 2:27; Is. 45:22; and Luke 13:29.

J. Marcellus Kik summed up these verse marvelously when he wrote in An Eschatology of Victory, The trumpet of Matt. 24:31 indicated deliverance of universal scope, not from physical bondage but from bondage to sin and Satan. As Isaiah's reference to trumpet sounding had nothing to do with the second coming of the Lord, so one must not feel that the trumpet mentioned in the Olivet Discourse refers to the inauguration of the consummate kingdom, especially in view of our Lord's clear indication that the sounding of it was to occur within the span of the contemporary generation. The trumpet sound was figurative for announcing the time of worldwide deliverance from sin through the Gospel now at hand.
The worldwide mission to conquer the world for Christ began actually on the day of Pentecost when the Apostle Peter preached to the Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. By a study of the book of Acts and the Epistles, we know that some of these devout Jews tried to shackle the worldwide mission with forms and rituals of the Old Dispensation. But the destruction of Jerusalem forever removed the shackles of Judaism, and the message of salvation was no longer impeded by those attempting to retain the carnal ordinances. All the nations of the earth were to benefit from the coming of the Messiah and His atoning death (pg. 150).

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