End of the Age / Latter Days

3:  Raptures

Matthew 24 is part of what is known as the Olivet Discourse (also Luke 21 and Mark 13).
God‘s faithful to His word, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses, a thing is established.

2 Corinthians 13:1

1 This will be the third time I am coming to you. "By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established."

Deuteronomy 19:15

15 "One witness shall not rise against a man concerning any iniquity or any sin that he commits; by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established."

Considering these chapters, one notices the audience is Jewish and they refer to Israel and Jerusalem (eg: Fig Tree is Israel (Joel 1:3)). Jesus is speaking to the elect who have been looking for their Messiah. Jesus tells of the rapture of Israel in Mark 13:26-27, Matthew 24:30-31.

The Body of Christ is now looking and waiting for the imminent rapture of the Christian Church. Rapture is a term used for the catching away to Heaven of individuals or groups of people. There are seven raptures - Enoch, Elijah, Jesus, the next one will be the Church (Christians). This will herald the beginning of the Tribulation where the great multitude will be caught away mid-way during this period. The latter two raptures of the 144,000 and then the two witnesses will be Jews. All this is explained in Revelation 7 and Revelation 11 to be considered later.

Acts 1 gives the account of Jesus being raptured with instructions for the Church. Verses 9-11 describe the rapture of Jesus.

Acts 1:9-11

9Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, 11 who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”

Jesus will return, once in the clouds to gather His church, and later to earth as King of Kings and Lord of Lords to reign forever. Next consideration will be the rapture of the Church as described in Thessalonians. Christians are gathered out of the wrath to come, just as Noah and his family were saved out of the judgment of the flood.