by Paul George
We have seen that the return of Jesus to planet earth is said to be “on the clouds of the sky” and will be accompanied “with power and great glory.” In the process of that return, apparently as our Lord descends, He will then send out His angelic company to gather in the Jewish, believing remnant that He will rescue from the danger of all the world’s armies who have gathered by the anti-Christ in an attack upon Israel and Jerusalem. The passage before us now, Matthew 24:31, describes this event.
In Matthew 23:37 Jesus weeps over Jerusalem as He pronounces the a.d. 70 judgment and declares, how He wanted to gather the residents of Jerusalem together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and they were unwilling. Now in chapter 24, this same Jesus is returning when Jerusalem is again in peril. But this time the Jews respond positively to the Messiahship of Jesus, so our Lord sends out his angels to gather saved Jews at the end of the tribulation from around the world and bring them to Jerusalem, instead of scattering them as in a.d. 70 (Luke 21:24), such a regathering was predicted in the Old Testament.
“So it shall be when all of these things have come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind in all nations where the Lord your God has banished you, and you return to the Lord your God and obey Him with all your heart and soul according to all that I command you today, you and your sons, then the Lord your God will restore you from captivity, and have compassion on you, and will gather you again from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you. If your outcasts are at the ends of the earth, from there the Lord your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you back.” (Deuteronomy 30:1- 4).
According to Isaiah 11:12, Jesus will lift up a standard for the nations, and will assemble the banished ones of Israel, and will gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.
Deuteronomy 30:1- 4 reveals an important covenantal promise made by the Lord to His people Israel. Matthew 24:31 reveals that our Lord, the same One who made the promise in Deuteronomy will fulfill His promises in history, even if it requires a miraculous solution. The Deuteronomy passage also provides an answer for why our Lord used the term “elect” in Matthew 24:31 to characterize His people. It is because at this pivotal point in history, the Jews will fulfill the requirements of Deuteronomy 30:2 and will turn to the Lord and obey Him with all their heart and soul according to all that the Lord commanded. This was also our Lord’s requirement for the second coming in Matthew 23:39.
In the New Testament, the final regathering revealed by the Old Testament prophets is summarized in Matthew 24:31 and Mark 13:27. In this passage, Jesus stated that the angels will be involved in the final regathering and they will bring the Jews back into the land. The two passages are a simple summary of all that the prophets had to say about Israel’s final restoration. The Matthew passage is based on Isaiah 27:12-13 and the Mark passage are based on Deuteronomy 30:4. Its purpose was to make clear that the worldwide regathering predicted by the prophets would be fulfilled only after the second coming. What Jesus describes in Matthew 24 and Mark 13 is the Jewish ingathering that will fulfill the prophetic aspects of the Feast of Trumpets for the nation of Israel.
The term “elect” in Matthew 24:31 refers to those Jewish individuals who will become believers in the Messiahship of Jesus by the time the Second Advent occurs. In Daniel 12:1 it is written, “Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued.” This passage in Daniel uses the phrase “everyone who is found written in the book,” to refer to Jewish individuals who will come to faith in Christ during the tribulation period, which is the context of this passage. Jesus apparently had this passage from Daniel in mind and shortens the phrase “everyone who is found written in the book, to “the elect.” Therefore, elect is an excellent term that refers to an individual, in this context a Jewish person, who will come to faith in Christ and not just any individual who will come to faith in Christ during the tribulation. This is supported in Daniel 12:1 by the modifier “your people. Who are “your people, the Jewish people?
At Christ’s first coming he wept over Jerusalem and expressed His desire to gather Israel to Himself the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings and they were unwilling (Matthew. 23:37). At His second coming Israel will look upon Him whom they have pierced (Zechariah 12:10) and say, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord (Psalm 118:26; Matthew 23:39).