Matthew 24:31 Commentary

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Apostle Matthew

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BY MATTHEW (shaded area)

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Matthew 24:31 "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: kai apostelei (3SFAI) tous aggelous autou meta salpiggos megales kai episunachousin (3PFAI) tous eklektous autou ek ton tessaron anemon avp akron ouranon eos ton akron auton:

  • He: Mt 28:18 Mk 16:15,16 Lu 24:47 Ac 26:19,20
  • angels: Mt 13:41 25:31 Rev 1:20 2:1 14:6-9
  • with: Nu 10:1-10 Ps 81:3 Isa 27:13 1Co 15:52 1Th 4:16)
  • gather: Isa 11:12 49:18 60:4 Zec 14:5 Mk 13:27 John 11:52 Eph 1:10 2Th 2:1
  • from: Ps 22:27 Ps 67:7 Isa 13:5 Isa 42:10 Isa 43:6 Isa 45:22 Zec 9:10 Ro 10:18


Parallel passage:

Mark 13:27 “And then He will send forth the angels, and will gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest end of the earth to the farthest end of heaven. 

A T Robertson - The Greek is very brief, “from the tip of earth to the tip of heaven.” This precise phrase occurs nowhere else.

Luke - no parallel description

He will send forth (649)(apostello from apo = from, away from + stello = to withdraw from, avoid) means to send off, to send forth, to send out. To send out; to commission as a representative, an ambassador, an envoy. The idea is to send forth from one place to another. But the meaning of apostello is more than just to send because it means "to send off on a commission to do something as one's personal representative, with credentials furnished" (Wuest) Three things are true of one sent from God: (1) He belongs to God, Who has sent him out. (2) He is commissioned to be sent out. (3) He possesses all the authority and power of God, Who has sent him out. (Practical Word Studies)

His angels - The King exercises His authority over all creation in sending His angels (cp Da 7:10). Their loyalty and allegiance are to Jesus. The King of kings (Rev 19:16-note) will send forth the angels, His ministering spirits (Heb 1:14-note).

Weber notes that "This section (Matt. 24:15-31) was intended to answer the disciples question about the sign of the end of the age and Jesus' second coming." (Holman New Testament Commentary)

Angels (32)(aggelos/angelos) literally means a messenger (one who bears a message - Lk 1:11, 2:9, etc or does an errand). Most of the NT uses refer to heavenly angels (messengers) who are supernatural, transcendent beings with power to carry out various tasks. All uses of aggelos that refer to angels are masculine gender (the feminine form of aggelos does not occur.)

A Great Trumpet - ("loud trumpet blast" = NET; "loud trumpet call" = ESV) - KJV has "great trumpet sound" which reflects the Greek word for sound ("phone") found in the Textus Receptus but not in the more modern Greek manuscripts (used by NAS, NET, ESV).

Glorious Day

One day the trumpet will sound for His coming
One day the skies with His glories will shine
Wonderful day, my Beloved One, bringing
My Savior, Jesus, is mine
Glorious day,
Oh, Glorious day

Trumpet (4536)(salpigx/salpinx from salos = vibration, billow or salpizo = to sound a trumpet) is a wind instrument like a bugle that was often used for signaling, especially in connection with war.

There are two other significant trumpets mentioned in the New Testament both associated with the appearance of the Messiah. However the great trumpet of Mt 24:31 is not synonymous with the trumpets mentioned in 1Cor 15 and 1Thes 4, because both of these are associated with the Rapture. On the other hand, if one holds to a post-tribulation rapture, then these three mentions (Mt 24:31, 1Cor 15, 1Th 4) of "trumpet" would be seen as the same trumpet. (See The Timing of the Rapture - Pre-, Mid- or Post-Tribulation)

1 Corinthians 15:51-52 Behold, I tell you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.

John MacArthur comments - This change will occur at the "last trumpet." I do not think that this trumpet necessarily will be the last heavenly trumpet ever to be sounded. It will, however, be the last as far as living Christians are concerned, for it will sound the end of the church age, when all believers will be removed from the earth. (1Th. 4:16-17). By that trumpet God will summon all of His people to Himself (cf. Ex. 19:16; Isa. 27:13). During the Civil War a group of soldiers had to spend a winter night without tents in an open field. During the night it snowed several inches, and at dawn the chaplain reported a strange sight. The snow-covered soldiers looked like the mounds of new graves, and when the bugle sounded reveille a man immediately rose from each mound of snow, dramatically reminding the chaplain of this passage from 1 Corinthians. (MacArthur New Testament Commentary)

1 Thessalonians 4:16-note For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first.

Robert L. Thomas explains why the "Great Trumpet" in Mt 24:31 is not synonymous with the trumpet associated with the Rapture - Similarities between this passage in 1 Thessalonians and the Gospel accounts include a trumpet (Mt. 24:31), a resurrection (Jn 11:25, 26), and a gathering of the elect (Mt. 24:31)….Yet dissimilarities between it and the canonical sayings of Christ far outweigh the resemblances….Some of the differences between Mt 24:30, 31 and 1Th 4:15-17 are as follows: (1) In Matthew the Son of Man is coming on the clouds… in 1 Thessalonians ascending believers are in them. (2) In the former the angels gather, in the latter the Son does so personally. (3) In the former nothing is said about resurrection, while in the latter this is the main theme. (4) Matthew records nothing about the order of ascent, which is the principal lesson in Thessalonians. (The Expositor's Bible Commentary- Ephesians through Philemon- 1979 Edition, Pages 276-277)

Salpinx - 11x - Mt 24:31; 1Cor 14:8; 15:52; 1Th 4:16; Heb 12:19; Rev 1:10; 4:1; 8:2, 6, 13; 9:14

In the Morning of Joy
When the trumpet shall sound,
And the dead shall arise,
And the splendors immortal
Shall envelop the skies;
When the Angel of Death
Shall no longer destroy,
And the dead shall awaken
In the morning of joy:

In the morning of joy,
In the morning of joy,
We'll be gathered to glory,
In the morning of joy;
In the morning of joy,
In the morning of joy,
We'll be gathered to glory,
In the morning of joy.

When the King shall appear
In His beauty on high,
And shall summon His children
To the courts of the sky;

Shall the cause of the Lord
Have been all your employ,
That your soul may be spotless
In the morning of joy?


O the bliss of that morn,
When our loved ones we meet!
With the songs of the ransomed
We each other shall greet,
Singing praise to the Lamb,
Thro' eternity's years,
With the past all forgotten
With its sorrows and tears.



THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds - The angels of the King will gather the King's subjects, both Jewish and Gentile believers, from throughout the earth. What a glorious meeting this will be! After three and one-half years of the Great Tribulation, imagine how the elect will feel when they see their King and are gathered to Him by His angels. The writer of Hebrews describes His angels by asking a rhetorical question - "Are they (His angels) not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?" (Heb 1:14-note) It is interesting to recall that the angels were also closely associated with Messiah's first coming bringing "good news of great joy which will be for all the people." (Lk 2:10).

Hiebert on gather together - The double compound verb gather together conveys the thought that they will be gathered at a central rallying point, namely, around Himself. The precise identity of these elect will depend upon one's eschatological views. Some would interpret the scene here to include believers of all ages, implying the resurrection of the dead; but there is no reference made to a resurrection here, and the further designation "from the four winds," the four cardinal points from which the winds blow, rather suggests people alive in all parts of the world. More consistent is the view that the reference is to the believers who have come through the Great Tribulation." (Bolding added)

Jesus elsewhere explains that His angels will not only gather believers for salvation but unbelievers for judgment and punishment -

And the enemy who sowed them (Ed: "Them" = Unbelievers in Mt 13:38 = "the tares are the sons of the evil one" - the tares will coexist with the wheat, the believers, until the King sends His angels to gather them out from the presence of the believers) is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the age (Ed: This is at the end of the Great Tribulation, the consummation of this present age); and the reapers are angels. "Therefore just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age. "The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness (Ed: all unbelievers), and will cast them into the furnace of fire; in that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. "Then THE RIGHTEOUS WILL SHINE FORTH AS THE SUN in the kingdom of their Father (Ed: The believers who are left on earth at the end of the Great Tribulation will enter into the Millennial Kingdom). He who has ears, let him hear. (Mt 13:39-43)

Zodhiates explains the distinction between these two groups - These two, the wheat and the tares, will coexist on earth until the Lord sends His angels to make a final separation at the time of harvest. In reality, the wheat will be gathered in two stages. First, believers of the church age will be gathered at the rapture. Only unbelievers will remain on the earth after the rapture, but the Holy Spirit will immediately begin sowing seed, which produces believers again (Ed: In other words, assuming a pre-tribulation rapture, there will be many who will be born again during the seven years of tribulation). Then will come the complete gathering of both, but this time, the wheat will be left alive for the Millennium after the judgments described in Matthew 25. The tares will be placed in hell until the second resurrection and the great white throne judgment of Revelation 20:11-15. These events constitute the consummation of the age. (Exegetical Commentary on Matthew)

So it will be at the end of the age; the angels shall come forth, and take out the wicked from among the righteous, and will cast them into the furnace of fire; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Mt 13:49-50)

"For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and WILL THEN RECOMPENSE EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS. (Mt 16:27)

"But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. "And all the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33 and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. 34 "Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the (Millennial) kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world (Ed: These are the Gentile believers left on earth who have been gathered together by the angels who will populate the Millennium). 35 'For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in (Ed: In other words their actions toward the Jews in this horrible time are evidence that they are believers).; 36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.' 37 "Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You drink? 38 'And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39 'And when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' 40 "And the King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.' 41 "Then He will also say to those on His left, 'Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; (Mt 25:31-41)

Gather together (1996)(episunago from epi = on, upon, near + sunago = to lead or bring together; related = episunagoge = a gathering together - 2Th 2:1, Heb 10:25, cf sunagoge) means to lead or bring together upon a place. In passive sense to gather or come together (Mk 1:33). Twice Jesus used this verb in description of birds - of a hen gathering her chicks (Mt 23:37) and of vultures gathering over a dead body (Lk 17:37). To gather together people in a place - to assemble, to convene (Mk 13:27).

In the Septuagint (Lxx) episunago describes the future end times gathering of the Gentile nations against Jerusalem (Zech 12:3, 14:2). In Psalm 106:47 the psalmist prays "Save us, O LORD our God, and gather us from among the nations," this request expressing an understanding that Jehovah would scatter the Jews throughout the world because of their continued rebellion (Dt 28:64-65). He will answer this prayer and bring them back to their land in the future in the same general time that the Stone (Messiah) returns (Da 2:34-35, 44, 45) to set up His Millennial kingdom (see Ezek 34:13, 16, 36:24, 25, 26)

Episunagoo - 8x in 7v - gather… together(2), gather together(2), gathered(2), gathered together(1), gathers(1).

Matthew 23:37 "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.

Matthew 24:31 "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.

Mark 1:33 And the whole city had gathered at the door.

Mark 13:27 "And then He will send forth the angels, and will gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest end of the earth to the farthest end of heaven.

Luke 12:1 Under these circumstances, after so many thousands of people had gathered together that they were stepping on one another, He began saying to His disciples first of all, "Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.

Luke 13:34 "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not have it!

Luke 17:37 And answering they said to Him, "Where, Lord?" And He said to them, "Where the body is, there also the vultures will be gathered."

Thayer - 1. to gather together besides, to bring together to others already assembled (Polybius). 2. to gather together against (Micah 4:11; Zechariah 12:3; 1Maccabees 3:58NRSV, etc.). 3. to gather together in one place: Mt 23:37; 24:31; Mk 13:27; Lk 13:34; passive: Mk 1:33; Lk 12:1; 17:37

Liddell-Scott-Jones - I. collect and bring to a place; gather together, Passive - to be combined, accumulated interest, counted up II 1. bring in, in a discussion

Episunagoo - 19v in the Septuagint - Gen 6:16; 38:29; 1Kgs 18:20 ("brought the prophets together at Mount Carmel''); 2Chr 5:6; 20:26; Esther 10:3; Ps 31:13; 106:47; 147:2; Isa 9:5; 52:12; Jer 12:6; Ezek 40:12; Dan 3:2; 11:34; Mic 4:11; Hab 2:5; Zech 12:3; 14:2;

Here are some representative uses from the Septuagint:

Psalm 106:47 Save us, O LORD our God, And gather us from among the nations, To give thanks to Your holy name And glory in Your praise. (A prayer Jehovah will answer at the end of the Great Tribulation when He saves a believing Jewish remnant, cf Ro 11:26-27-note).

Psalm 147:2 The LORD builds up Jerusalem; He gathers the outcasts of Israel.

Micah 4:11 "And now many nations have been assembled against you Who say, 'Let her be polluted, And let our eyes gloat over Zion.'

Zechariah 12:3 (Future prophecy) "It will come about in that day (What day? This will take place in the last 3.5 years, the Great Tribulation) that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely injured. And all the nations (Gentiles) of the earth will be gathered against it. (cp Lk 21:20-24-note which describes the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD, which foreshadowed Zechariah's prophecy of a future fate of Jerusalem - see also Zec 14:2 below)

Zechariah 14:2 (Future prophecy) For I will gather all the nations (Gentiles) against Jerusalem to battle, and the city will be captured, the houses plundered, the women ravished and half of the city exiled, but the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city.

His Elect - His Chosen ones gathered together by His angels at His return. O glorious day! While Jesus is clearly addressing the Jews (and the Jewish elect) in Mt 24, this passage surely applies to both Jewish and Gentile elect who are alive at the end of the Great Tribulation. We know that many will already have been martyred during the Great Tribulation (see Rev 7:9, Rev 7:14). The elect are mentioned 3 times in Matthew 24 (Mt 24:22, 24, 31).

His elect "asserts His choice and ownership of them; He will act to establish His claim on them." (Hiebert)

Kent Hughes comments "His angels are dispersed, not as grim reapers, but as joyous reapers to the harvest as he gathers his Church from every nook and cranny of the world." Notice that Hughes clearly believes the Church is still present and will experience the horrific times described in Revelation 6:1-19:21. Clearly Hughes does not believe in either a pre-tribulation or mid-tribulation rapture. Putting aside the timing of the rapture, it should be noted that careful observation of the book of the Revelation reveals a clear description of the Church with seven distinct "churches" addressed by the Lord of the Church in Revelation 2:1-3:16-note. Notice the next phrase after Jesus' final words to a definitive church in Laodicea - The Greek reads "meta tauta" which means "after these things." What things? A very comprehensive depiction of seven churches. The phrase "after this" indicates sequence, signifying after these seven churches are addressed. You may be saying "I agree with that, but what is your point?" The point is that there is not one specific mention of another church in Revelation 6-19. Why not? Ask the Spirit of God to enable you to meditate on these indisputable observations. What is fascinating is that Hughes then quotes Wesley's wonderful words...

Lo, He comes with clouds descending
Once for favored sinners slain;
Thousand thousand saints attending
Swell the triumph of His train:
Alleluia! Alleluia!
God appears on earth to reign.
-Charles Wesley

The question is how to "thousand thousand saints" "swell the triumph of His train?" How did they get there, so that they might follow Him back to earth in His triumph over all enemies (cf Rev 19:11-16-note)? Ponder that question. And notice the phrase "God appears on earth to reign," a wonderful description of Jesus reigning in His Kingdom in the Messianic Age.

Elect (chosen) (1588)(eklektos from verb eklego which in middle voice [eklegomai] means select or pick out for one's self which is derived from ek =out + lego =call) means literally the "called out ones" or "chosen out ones". The idea of eklektos is the ones who have been chosen for one's self, selected out of a larger number. In regard to election as related to salvation, Wuest comments that "This election does not imply the rejection of the rest (those not chosen out), but is the outcome of the love of God lavished upon those chosen-out." (Wuest)

The doctrine of election is mysterious and we will never fully comprehend it on this side of glory (cp 1Cor 13:11-12). However, Paul shows us how we are to live in the face of this doctrine (and not let it be divisive!) - "For this reason (referring to the "Gospel unchained" in 2Ti 2:9) I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen (the elect), that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory." (2Ti 2:10-note) Paul did not know who the elect were, but he nevertheless endured for their sake and so too must we. We see a similar pattern in First Thessalonians where Paul reminds the believers at Thessalonica of God's "choice (ekloge) of you." (1Thes 1:4-note) Then he explains how their election was effected, explaining "our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction." (1Thes 1:5-note) As W A Criswell says "The word "for" introduces a clause that explains the way in which election works. However one understands this mysterious doctrine, the text makes clear its intimate relationship to the Gospel of Christ, the preached word, and the ministry of the Holy Spirit." (Believer's Study Bible Notes)

Related Resources:

Spurgeon on Election - Andrew Fuller remarks, in a letter to two relatives:: ' I used to think that the doctrine of election was a reason why we need not pray, and I fear there are many who split upon this rock, who think it is to no purpose to pray, as things will be as they will be. But I now see that the doctrine of election is the greatest encouragement instead of a discouragement to prayer. He that decreed that any one should be finally saved, decreed that it should be in the way of prayer; as much as he that has decreed what we shall possess of the things of this life, has decreed that it shall be in the way of industry; and as we never think of being idle in common business, because God has decreed what we shall possess of this world's good, so neither should we be slothful in the business of our souls, because our final state is decreed.'

From the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other - These phrases speak of a global gathering of the elect who are scattered to the "four corners" of the world (from the four points of the compass). Mark writes that "then He will send forth the angels, and will gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest end of the earth, to the farthest end of heaven." (Mk 13:27)

The four winds are related to heaven in Jer 49:36, Daniel 7:2, Daniel 8:8 and Zechariah 2:6. Specifically in Zechariah Jehovah spoke of the dispersion of the Jews to the four winds of the heavens

"Ho there! Flee from the land of the north," declares the LORD, "for I have dispersed you as the four winds of the heavens," declares the LORD.

In Deuteronomy Moses prophesied of the future salvation of the elect of Israel…

So it shall be when all of these things have come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind in all nations where the LORD your God has banished you (Ed: cf dispersed), and you return to the LORD your God and obey Him with all your heart and soul according to all that I command you today, you and your sons, then the LORD your God will restore you from captivity, and have compassion on you, and will gather you again from all the peoples where the LORD your God has scattered you. (Ed: From context, this gathering is not up to heaven, but back to the land promised to Israel in Genesis). "If your outcasts are at the ends of the earth, from there the LORD your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you back. "And the LORD your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers. "Moreover the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, in order that you may live (Ed: This is the essence of the radical heart change wrought by the New Covenant). "And the LORD your God will inflict all these curses on your enemies and on those who hate you, who persecuted you. (Ed: The final fulfillment of this prophecy will occur at the end of the Great Tribulation when Messiah will utterly defeat all the Gentile nations gathered against Israel - cf Zech 12:3, 14:2). "And you shall again obey the LORD, and observe all His commandments which I command you today. "Then the LORD your God will prosper you abundantly in all the work of your hand, in the offspring of your body and in the offspring of your cattle and in the produce of your ground (Ed: Note that this implies redeemed Israel during the Millennium will finally, fully inhabit the literal land promised to Abraham, Isaac and Joseph), for the LORD will again rejoice over you for good, just as He rejoiced over your fathers. (Deuteronomy 30:1-9)

When Messiah returns everything changes, even as it did when He came into each of our hearts the moment we believed in Him! Israel will mourn over Him (Zech 12:10, cf Mt 24:30-note, Rev 1:7-note). Unrepentant Israel (two thirds!) will be destroyed (Zech 13:8). Repentant Israel, the believing remnant, will believe in Him Whom they have pierced and ALL will be saved (Ro 11:26, 27-note = "All" of the third that come through the "refining fires" [Zech 13:9, Da 12:10-note] of the time of Jacob's distress - Jer 30:7-note, the time of distress such as has never occurred - Da 12:1-note, the Great Tribulation that begins when the Jews in Jerusalem see the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place -Mt 24:15-note, Mt 24:21-note). They will be saved because Messiah "will sprinkle clean water on" them and they "will be clean." He "will cleanse (them) from all (their) filthiness and from all (their idols)." (Ezek 36:25-note, cp fulfillment of Da 9:24-note) and "give (them) a new heart and put a new spirit within (them) and… will remove the heart of stone from (their) flesh and give (them) a heart of flesh. And (He) will put (His) Spirit within (them) and cause (them) to walk in (His) statutes, and (they) will be careful to observe (His) ordinances (because now they have the law written in their heart - Jer 31:31, 32, 33,34-note) and (they) will live in the land (of Israel - in the Millennium) that (He) gave to (their) forefathers (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob), so (they) will be (His) people and (He) will be (their) God." (Ezek 36:26, 27,28-note).

John Walvoord - The entire passage from Matthew 24:15-31 is the specific answer to the disciples of the sign of His coming and of the end of the age, with the climactic sign being the second coming and the glory that attends it, and will fulfill the prophecy of Acts 1:11 that Christ will return as He went up into heaven, that is, His return will be physical, gradual, visible, and with clouds. Matthew 24:31 brings to a close the first doctrinal section of the Olivet discourse, and what follows is a series of applications and illustrations.