Sunday, January 16, 2011

Comparing the Olivet Discourse with I & II Thessalonians: Part 1

This will be a two-part post on the comparison of Matthew 24 with I Thessalonians, and then a comparison of Matthew 24 with II Thessalonians.

Let's start with a warning from II Thessalonians chapter 2.

“Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;” (2 Thess. 2:1-3)

Paul warns the Thessalonians very strongly that they should not let any man deceive them about “the day of Christ.” The “day of Christ” is the day when Jesus comes for His saints. (I Cor. 1:8, 5:5; 2 Cor. 1:14; Phil. 1:6, 10, 2:16; 2 Thess. 2:2). It is the day of the Rapture.

The Day of Christ

"Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ." (I Corinthians 1:8)

"To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus." (I Corinthians 5:5)

"As also ye have acknowledged us in part, that we are your rejoicing, even as ye also are our's in the day of the Lord Jesus." (II Corinthians 1:14)

"Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:" (Phil. 1:6)

Etc., etc. Just a cursory examination of the "day of the Lord Jesus" shows that it is the day when the saints are finally re-united with their Lord. It is the day of the Rapture.


The doctrine of the pre-Tribulation Rapture will admit that the day of Christ is the Rapture in every passage EXCEPT the passage in II Thessalonians chapter 2. This is arbitrarily inconsistent.

Why would they do this?

To acknowledge the Rapture in this passage would be to admit that the Rapture occurs AFTER the Antichrist is revealed.

Paul states that there are TWO events which must occur BEFORE the day of Christ:

1. A falling away (Gk. apostasia)

2. The revealing of the man of sin

Before the Rapture can occur, the man of sin must be revealed.

The Olivet Discourse

This is exactly what is taught in the Olivet Discourse! It is AFTER the Abomination of Desolation stands in the Temple, and AFTER the Tribulation of those days, that the Lord will come again. Let's look at Mark and Matthew:

“And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth, to the uttermost part of heaven.” (Mk. 13:27)

“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.” (Matt. 24:31)

According to Matt. 24 and Mark 13, sometime after the Antichrist is revealed, the angels will gather together God’s elect with a great “sound of a trumpet” (i.e. a trump) from the earth and from heaven.

How can the pre-Tribulationist’s last trump come before this trump? If this is not the Rapture, what is it?

The Olivet Discourse, given just days before the Crucifixion, agrees exactly with the order of events in I and II Thessalonians!

J. Sidlow Baxter said:

“Yet the remarkable feature, which must surely impress all but those who simply will not see, is the singular correspondence between the phraseology here (Matt. 24:30-31), and … I Thessalonians 4:15-18 … Then what kind of Bible interpretation is it which can take EXACTLY the same phrases and symbols in I Thess. 4:15-16 and say that there they teach a secret coming! … Nothing can disguise to an honest eye the parallel between Matthew 24:30-31 and I Thess. 4:15-16.”

Here is a chart of comparison between Matthew 24 (the Lord's Olivet Discourse) and I Thessalonians 4 & 5 (Paul's discussion of future things):


MATT. 24

I THES. 4&5

Christ himself returns



From heaven



With a shout



Accompanied by angels



With the trump of God



Believers gathered

24:31, 40, 41


In clouds



Time unknown



Come as a thief


5:2, 4

Lost unaware of impending judgment



Judgment as travail upon a woman



Believers not decided



Believers to watch



Warning against drunkenness



When Paul uses the phrase “as a thief” (I Thess. 5:2, 4), he is borrowing from the Lord’s Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24:36)! He is NOT referring to an at-any-moment imminent Rapture, but to the same event the Lord was referring to — His own post-Tribulation return!

(You might want to read that last paragraph again.)

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