Christian Universe ™
Gathering The Elect
July 12, 2009
Many times throughout the ages God has destroyed cities and nations that had turned away from Him. Every time, He preserved a remnant of the righteous, who often were scattered into foreign nations. From time to time, He gathered them together again into one place. In Matthew 24, He is speaking of a new way and place for this gathering. Israel and Judah were no more, and God gathered His people together into Christ and His church, or called out assembly.
Gathering The Elect
by Bernie Parsons
presented to Globe church of Christ on July 12, 2009
Matthew 24:30: “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
31: 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.”
Over the years, I read this to mean that the angels would gather the elect together and take them to heaven. But, after running across an Old Testament scripture that Jesus was quoting, I have begun to see this differently. It got me to thinking about the elect.
Isaiah 11:9: “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.
10: And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.
11: And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.
12: And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.”
For ages, Bible students thought that the earth was flat, like a carpet, with four ninety-degree angled corners. However, the term four corners, as well as four winds, refers to the four directions of the compass—north, south, east, and west, or from every direction.
In context, we can see that the gathering of the elect refers to the gathering of the dispersed Israelites and Jews from everywhere that they had been previously scattered when Assyria defeated the ten tribes of Israel, and then Babylonia conquered Judah.
Jeremiah 50:14: “Put yourselves in array against Babylon round about: all ye that bend the bow, shoot at her, spare no arrows: for she hath sinned against the LORD.
15: Shout against her round about: she hath given her hand: her foundations are fallen, her walls are thrown down: for it is the vengeance of the LORD: take vengeance upon her; as she hath done, do unto her.
16: Cut off the sower from Babylon, and him that handleth the sickle in the time of harvest: for fear of the oppressing sword they shall turn every one to his people, and they shall flee every one to his own land.
17: Israel is a scattered sheep; the lions have driven him away: first the king of Assyria hath devoured him; and last this Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon hath broken his bones.
18: Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will punish the king of Babylon and his land, as I have punished the king of Assyria.
19: And I will bring Israel again to his habitation, and he shall feed on Carmel and Bashan, and his soul shall be satisfied upon mount Ephraim and Gilead.
20: In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found: for I will pardon them whom I reserve.”
Scattered Israelites and Jews would be gathered back from where they had been taken as captives of the Assyrians and Babylonians.
Ezekiel 6:8-10 tells that God reserved a remnant among the scattered tribes.
Ezekiel 11:16: “Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Although I have cast them far off among the heathen, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet will I be to them as a little sanctuary in the countries where they shall come.
17: Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will even gather you from the people, and assemble you out of the countries where ye have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.
18: And they shall come thither, and they shall take away all the detestable things thereof and all the abominations thereof from thence.
19: And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:
20: That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.
21: But as for them whose heart walketh after the heart of their detestable things and their abominations, I will recompense their way upon their own heads, saith the Lord GOD.”
Romans 2:3: “And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?
4: Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
5: But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;
6: Who will render to every man according to his deeds:
7: To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:
8: But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,
9: Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;
10: But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:
11: For there is no respect of persons with God.”
Ezekiel 20:32-38 God speaks of gathering the scattered Israelites, but only those who are obedient. The disobedient will not be gathered together with the righteous.
Ezekiel 37:21-23, God promises that He will reunite the ten tribes of Israel with the two tribes of Judah, and they would live together in righteousness under king.
Ezekiel 34:11: “For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out.
12: As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.
13: And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country.
14: I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel.
15: I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord GOD.
16: I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgment.”
Acts 2:4: “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
5: And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.”
Jeremiah 31:6: “For there shall be a day, that the watchmen upon the mount Ephraim shall cry, Arise ye, and let us go up to Zion unto the LORD our God.
7: For thus saith the LORD; Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations: publish ye, praise ye, and say, O LORD, save thy people, the remnant of Israel.
8: Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together: a great company shall return thither.
9: They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.
10: Hear the word of the LORD, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock.
11: For the LORD hath redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he.”
Matthew 11:4: “Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see:
5: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.”
John 10:11: “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
12: But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.
13: The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.
14: I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.
15: As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.
16: And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.”
1 Peter 2:25: “For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.”
Romans 9:24: “Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?
25: As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.
26: And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.
27: Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved:
28: For he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth.”
Romans 1:16: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”
Ephesians 2:11: “Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;
12: That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
13: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
14: For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
15: Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;
16: And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:
17: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.
18: For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with
the saints, and of the household of God;
20: And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
21: In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
22: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.”
The Old Testament prophecies, which Jesus and the apostles quoted, stated that God would save a remnant of His people, the Israelites and Jews, and that He would gather them together from the far reaches of the earth into one place. The prophecies also said that He would call those His people who had not been known as His people. That is, the Gentiles would be included in the gathering into one people. That one place is the church of the Lord Jesus Christ.