If Christians will be raptured as some claim, why would God need to shorten the days of the Tribulation for the sake of the elect?
Matthew 24:1 - 51
ESV - 1 Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. 2 But he answered them, "You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.
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Christians are not the only group in the Bible called "elect". In Isaiah's prophecy concerning the forthcoming redeemer, the Lord is called the Father's elect. (Isaiah 42:1-7) Israel is called God's elect. "For Jacob my servant's sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me." (Isaiah 45:4) See also (Isaiah 65:9 and 65:22). Bear in mind that Christ's earthly mininstry was primarily to the Jews. He was speaking to his Jewish disciples when giving the discourse of Matthew 24 (see V.4) Although in the mind of God from eternity past, the Church had not yet come into existence. There is nothing in scripture I'm aware of that indicates the Church's later advent nullified God's dealings, covenant promises and future restoration of Israel. I personally believe the "elect" mentioned in Matthew 24:22 are the Jewish remnant of the great tribulation. (Matthew 24:21-28)
The very popular secret rapture doctrine has no Biblical base. Although sounds very appealing to many, the Scripture does not support such belief. The Scriptures teaches Christ's coming, the resurrection, and catching up of the saints to meet Jesus in the air, as a singular event taking place at the end of the world. Jesus promised to be with His Church until the end of the world (Mat 28:20). Such promise would make no sense if the elect were to be raptured seven years before the end the world. Jesus also said that wheat and tares would grow together until the "end of the world" and then would be separated (Mat 13). Furthermore, the rapture doctrine teaches that the righteous would be separated from the wicked seven years before the end; yet Paul declares that the saints are caught up to meet the Lord at the same time the dead in Christ are raised (1 Thes 4:16-17). Hard to imagine graves opening and the righteous rising without anyone noticing. There are many Bible texts that describe the second coming of Christ to gather His saints; all point to a public manifestation, anything but secret (Rev 6:16-17; Mat 24:27; 1 Cor 15:52; Rev 1:7; Mat 24:30-31). Jesus said that a terrible time of trouble would come upon the world just before His return, echoing a similar prophecy made by the prophet Daniel (Mat 24:21-22; Dan 12:1). The great tribulation corresponds with the time during which the seven last plagues of Revelation 16 will fall (Rev 15:1) and God's wrath will be directed against the ungodly (Rom 1:18). Some Bible scholars believe that the tribulation will last only a month or two. They base this belief on Revelation 18:8 that talks about "plagues come in one day." A "day" in Bible prophecy represents one literal year (Eze 4:6,Num 14:34, Luke 13:32). So when Revelation says that "her plagues come in one day," it could mean within, or less than, one year's time. The very nature of the seven last plagues, the rivers and seas turning to blood and the planet being scorched with great heat, would render it impossible for the human race to survive more than few weeks. And this is why Jesus said, "And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake those days will be shortened" (Mat 24:22). The text makes it abundantly clear that the saved will be present on earth during the great tribulation and not raptured.
I have never understood where proponents of a pretribulation Rapture base their belief. From the first time I read the book of Revelation, I understood that there would be a midtribulation Rapture. I have tried to study scripture to understand the pretrib theory but I don't find it. I have found some scripture that might support posttrib but to me midtrib is most likely. This fits with your question as to why. The whole pattern of the tribulation period shadows the periods of warning that God sent to Israel to bring them to repentance. Plagues, invaders, etc. Were sent against Israel to get them to return to the worship God asked for instead of the high places, baal worship etc. That they were guilty of. God then sent the Babylonians to destroy Israel and send them into exile. Then God had mercy on Israel and sent judgement against Babylon. The book of Revelation is basically the same pattern. God sends all types of judgements to try to bring the world back to him in a last chance scenario. After 3 and one half years the opportunity for repentance is over. He then he takes out his people that are true to him through Jesus, and pours out his Wrath on the remainder. And since the period of Revelations is the worse time of tribulation ever, then yes, it is important than we be taken out and for us, that period to be shortened.
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