LEFT BEHIND: A Study in Matthew Chapter 24
In Matthew 24, Jesus met with His disciples privately. And they asked them of The sign of His coming and the end of the age. He met with them and gave them signs that would be there up to His coming.
The pre-trib view, or those who are deep into dispensationialism, believe that His disciples were supposed to represent "unsaved" Jews who get saved at the tribulation. The Jews are discussed in "The Elect." However, this supplement examines the meaning of disciple and How the disciples developed in the New Testament.
First of all the word disciple comes from the Greek word mathetes meaning "taught or trained one." Specifically, Jesus' disciples were instructed by Him. Disciple is also known in reference to Jesus as followers of Christ. It is true during Jesus' ministry, His disciples were Jews. However, after Christ's death and resurrection and ascension, Gentiles became disciples as well.
In Luke, Peter was one of the four disciples who met with Jesus privately and asked Him what was the sign of His coming. In Matthew chapter 16, Peter confessed that Jesus was the Christ the Son of the Living God (verse 16). And Jesus' reply was:
Peter's confession of Christ as the Son of the Living God is the basis for Christ's church. Every believer who confesses it is also part of His church regardless of when the confession is made, either before or during the tribulation.
In the gospel of Luke, Jesus said regarding His disciples:
In the above verse, You must be able to carry your own cross and come after Jesus, or you cannot be His disciple. This is hardly a description of someone who is still unsaved and will be a "saved Jew" during the tribulation. You must be a follower now or you can't be a disciple until you do follow Him..
In the book of Acts after Christ's death, resurrection and ascension, the church was in it's infancy. Many of the Jews had received the Gospel message that Peter and His other disciples preached. Their number increased.
In the above verse, the number of disciples were increased. And also a great number of priests were becoming obedient to the faith. It is very clear the early believers were Jews. Later, Peter was sent by God to preach to the one of the first known Gentile converts whose name was Cornelius. While Peter preached to him:
While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.
And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.
For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,
Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?
The Gentiles have received the Holy Spirit just as these saved Jews. Then the Number of Gentiles were also added among the others who believed. In the next chapter at Antioch, the disciples were given another name:
In the above verse, the disciples were first called Christians. This is a description that is contrary of what Pre-tribbers would like to give to those in Matthew 24. The word Christian came from "disciple" because they were followers and imitators of Christ. They were not in any way waiting to get saved during the tribulation. Up to this point Jew and Gentile believers were disciples and they were called Christians.
This supplement ends by examining Matthew 28:
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Before His ascension, Jesus instructed His disciples to go and teach all nations. Jesus didn't tell them just to make disciples to just the Jews only. They were to baptize them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He told them also to teach those disciples to observe all things He commanded them. And in the 24th chapter of Matthew He told His disciples they will be delivered into tribulation. And they are to observe these signs that lead up to his coming which will happen after the tribulation, and to be on the alert because they do not know the day or hour when He comes.
Articles in this study