Just at the time that Christ comes to this earth to set up His kingdom, at the crucial time when all the nations of the earth are gathered together for war at a place called Armageddon (Rev. 16:16), He will gather together all the elect—all those who will be a part of the coming kingdom.
But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken, 30 and then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. And He will send forth His angels with a GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect FROM THE FOUR WINDS, FROM ONE END OF THE SKY TO THE OTHER.
Now as for the gathering, it is a gathering of all the saved elect in world history; it is a gathering of all who will go into the millennial kingdom to reign with Christ. Those who have died will at this time be resurrected and given glorified bodies. This will include the Old Testament saints and the believers who will be martyred during the tribulation (Rev. 20:4). They will all be gathered together by the angels and be brought to their new home in the New Jerusalem to reign over the earth.
Then there is the gathering of all living believers, Jew and Gentiles, who have thus far survived the tribulation—those who will live in their mortal bodies and repopulate the earth in the millennium. They will be gathered by angels and brought to a safe place (or places) to be held there and protected until all the unsaved are judged and killed.
God will protect the Jews in particular (in Israel) who will flee to safety, first, into the wilderness (described in Revelation 12; this will happen at the midpoint of the tribulation), then, when He comes in judgment, through a valley to a place called Azel (described in Zech. 14). Here are the two passages where it talks about it.
Revelation 12:6, 14
6 And the woman fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God, so that there she might be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days…
14 And the two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman, in order that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she was nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent.
And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south. 5 And you will flee by the valley of My mountains, for the valley of the mountains will reach to Azel; yes, you will flee just as you fled before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord, my God, will come, and all the holy ones with Him!
Copyright © 2014 by Stephen Nielsen
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