We are currently looking at the Post-Tribulation view of the Rapture. In the last part of our study we saw Jesus tell His disciples about the Great Tribulation.
For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.Matthew 24:21-22
Who are the elect for which “those days will be shortened”? Was Jesus speaking about Israel, the Church or both?
Jesus said that His physical return to earth would be “as the lighting comes from the east and flashes to the west” (Matthew 24:27). The Apostle Paul wrote that Christians, both alive and deceased, would be “caught up” in the air to be with Jesus forever. Do those events occur at the same time or at different times?
Post-Tribulationists believe those events occur at the same time. They view the “elect” Jesus spoke about as being Israel and the Church.
Pre-Tribulationists and Mid-Tribultionists believe those events occur at different times. They view the “elect” Jesus spoke about as being Israel and view the believers “caught up” in Paul’s writings as being the Church.
We know that both of these views can’t be true at the same time and at different times, so which is it?
The Greek word translated “elect” is eklektous. It means select, by implication favorite, chosen out. I have found that many, many Christians don’t like the term because they’ve heard teaching that God selects some people to be saved and others not to be saved. They don’t think that’s right or fair that God would do that, so they don’t want to discuss it.
I think that’s a mistake because it’s a teaching of Jesus and His apostles. Becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ means obeying the Lord’s teachings. I understand why some Christians feel the way they do about the term (elect), but that’s no reason to not want to learn what Jesus meant when He used the word.
The adjective eklektous is used more than 20 times in the New Testament. The noun eklogé (selection out of) is used seven times. The verb eklegó is used more than 20 times.
The Hebrew word for “elect” is bachir (chosen) and is used almost 20 times in the Old Testament. The verb is bachar (to choose) and is used more than 150 times in the Old Testament.
Here are several examples of how the words are used in the Bible:
And because He loved your fathers, therefore He chose their descendants after them; and He brought you out of Egypt with His Presence, with His mighty power, driving out from before you nations greater and mightier than you, to bring you in, to give you their land as an inheritance, as it is this day.Moses, Deuteronomy 4:37-38
For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lordyour God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth. The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples; but because the Lord loves you, and because He would keep the oath which He swore to your fathers, the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.Moses, Deuteronomy 7:-8
For you are a holy people to the Lord your God, a nd the Lord has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.Moses, Deuteronomy 14:2
O seed of Israel His servant, You children of Jacob, His chosen ones!King David, 1 Chronicles 16:13
I have made a covenant with My chosen, I have sworn to My servant David: ‘Your seed I will establish forever, And build up your throne to all generations.’Ethan the Ezrahite, Psalm 89:3-4
Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles. He will not cry out, nor raise His voice, Nor cause His voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench; He will bring forth justice for truth. He will not fail nor be discouraged, Till He has established justice in the earth; And the coastlands shall wait for His law.Prophet Isaiah, Messianic Prophecy, Isaiah:42:1-4
For Jacob My servant’s sake, And Israel My elect, I have even called you by your name; I have named you, though you have not known Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other; There is no God besides Me. I will gird you, though you have not known Me, That they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting That there is none besides Me.Prophet Isaiah, Isaiah 45:4-6
Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?’ So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen.Jesus, Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard, Matthew 20:15-16
And unless the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake, whom He chose, He shortened the days. Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘Look, He is there!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. But take heed; see, I have told you all things beforehand.Jesus, Mark 13:20-23
Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?Jesus, Parable of the Persistent Widow, Luke 18:6-8
And the people stood looking on. But even the rulers with them sneered, saying, ‘He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ, the chosen of God.Rulers of Israel, Luke 23:35
Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.Apostle Paul, Romans 8:33
Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.Apostle Paul, Colossians 3:12-13
I charge you before God and the Lord Jesus Christ and the elect angels that you observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing with partiality.Apostle Paul, 1 Timothy 5:21
Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began, but has in due time manifested His word through preaching, which was committed to me according to the commandment of God our Savior.Apostle Paul, Titus 1:1-3
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.Apostle Peter, 1 Peter 1:1-2
Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, Behold, I lay in Zion A chief cornerstone, elect, precious, And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.Apostle Peter 2:4-6
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.Apostle Peter, 1 Peter 2:9-10
The Elder, To the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth, and not only I, but also all those who have known the truth, because of the truth which abides in us and will be with us forever.Apostle John, 2 John 1:1-2
These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.Apostle John, Revelation 17:14
As you can see from the Bible verses above, the word “elect” is about God’s choice. God’s choice goes to the doctrine (teaching) of God’s Sovereignty. Unfortunately, there is within Christianity a fear of God’s Sovereignty. It’s my belief that the teaching of humanism during the past century or so has affected Christianity in a negative way. When Christians stray from the straight teachings of the Bible and try to mix human wisdom with Divine wisdom, what we get is a mixed-up theology that muddies our ability to understand what God has done, is doing, and will do.
We don’t need to let the idea of human freedom conflict with the truth of God’s Sovereignty. God is Sovereign and He chooses to do what pleases Him. The Psalmists wrote “But our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases” (Psalm 115:3), and “Whatever the Lord pleases He does, In heaven and in earth, In the seas and in all deep places” (Psalm 135:6). God’s choices are based on His Divine attributes and character, not on human ideas about God.
God has been pleased throughout human history to choose some humans instead of others for His purposes. God chose Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, children of Israel, Joshua, the Judges, Samuel, David, Jerusalem, Solomon, the prophets, the Twelve Apostles, the replacement apostle for Judas Iscariot, and the Apostle Paul (Saul of Tarsus). Humans within each context chose something or someone else, but God’s choice overruled human choice. “Election” is something God does because it pleases Him.
So David said to Michal, ‘It was before the Lord, who chose me instead of your father and all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the Lord, over Israel. Therefore I will play music before the Lord.David, 2 Samuel 6:21
Since the day that I brought My people Israel out of Egypt, I have chosen no city from any tribe of Israel in which to build a house, that My name might be there; but I chose David to be over My people Israel. 8:16Solomon, 1 Kings 8:16
Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, The people He has chosen as His own inheritance.David, Psalm 33:12
He sent Moses His servant, And Aaron whom He had chosen. They performed His signs among them, And wonders in the land of Ham.Psalmist, Psalm 105:26-27
For the Lord has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His dwelling place: ‘This is My resting place forever; Here I will dwell, for I have desired it.Psalmist, Psalm 132:13-14
Say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: ‘On the day when I chose Israel and raised My hand in an oath to the descendants of the house of Jacob, and made Myself known to them in the land of Egypt, I raised My hand in an oath to them, saying, ‘I am the Lord your God.’Prophet Ezekiel, Ezekiel 20:5
Again proclaim, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts: My cities shall again spread out through prosperity; The Lord will again comfort Zion, And will again choose Jerusalem.Prophet Zechariah, Zechariah 1:17
Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles.Jesus, Luke 6:12-13
You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you … If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.Jesus, John 15:16, 19
The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.Luke, Acts 1:1-3
And they prayed and said, ‘You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen to take part in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.’ And they cast their lots, and the lot fell on Matthias. And he was numbered with the eleven apostles.The Eleven, Acts 1:24-26
But the Lord said to him, ‘Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and thechildren of Israel.Jesus about His choice of Paul, Acts 9:15
And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls), it was said to her, ‘The older shall serve the younger.”Apostle Paul, Romans 9:10-12
But what does the divine response say to him? ‘I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.’ Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work. What then? Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded. Just as it is written: God has given them a spirit of stupor, Eyes that they should not see And ears that they should not hear, To this very day.Apostle Paul, Romans 11:4-6-8
For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.’ Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience, even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy. For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all. Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! ‘For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has become His counselor?’ ‘Or who has first given to Him And it shall be repaid to him?’ For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.Apostle Paul, Romans 11:25-36
We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers, remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father, knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God. For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake.Apostle Paul, 1 Thessalonians 1:2-5
Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.Apostle Peter, 2 Peter 1:10-11
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.Apostle Paul, Ephesians 1:3-6
Romans 11 is a key chapter to help us understand God’s election and how it will impact the Day Jesus spoke of when “He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” We will look at that in the next part of our special series “God’s Judgment: How It Works.”
If you have not read all of the parts of this study we’ve published so far, we invite you to do that now for the Scriptural background to Christ as Judge.
- Part One
- Part Two
- Part Three
- Part Four
- Part Five
- Part Six
- Part Seven
- Part Eight
- Part Nine
- Part Ten
- Part Eleven
- Part Twelve
- Part Thirteen
- Part Fourteen
- Part Fifteen
- Part Sixteen
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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