Here are some excerpts from my studies that may help answer your questions:
As Jesus is returning to Earth after the Tribulation, He will send angels to gather His "elect".Matthew 24:31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
Who are they? The term "elect" is used in Scripture to describe the following groups:
Messiah: Isaiah 42:1, 1 Peter 2:6 Angels: 1Timothy 5:21 The Church: Romans 8:33, Colossians 3:12, 2 Timothy 2:10, 1 Peter 1:1-2, Romans 11, Titus 1:1 Israel: Isaiah 45:4, Isaiah 65:9&22, Romans 11:7
Which group is represented in Mathew 24? It is obviously not the Messiah. We know it is not angels either, as they are the ones gathering the elect. Taking a closer look at other parallels to the passage in question, and letting Scripture interpret Scripture, it is obvious that Israel is the group representing the "elect" in Matthew 24. (It must be noted that the verses that call the Church the "elect" do not have any parallels to Matthew 24:31):Matthew 24:31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.Isaiah 65:9 I will bring forth descendants from Jacob, And from Judah an heir of My mountains; My elect shall inherit it, And My servants shall dwell there.Deut 30:1-4 "Now it shall come to pass, when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the LORD your God drives you, and you return to the LORD your God and obey His voice, according to all that I command you today, you and your children, with all your heart and with all your soul, that the LORD your God will bring you back from captivity, and have compassion on you, and gather you again from all the nations where the LORD your God has scattered you. If any of you are driven out to the farthest parts under heaven, from there the LORD your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you.Isaiah 11:12 He will set up a banner for the nations, And will assemble the outcasts of Israel, And gather together the dispersed of Judah From the four corners of the earth.Isaiah 27:12-13 And it shall come to pass in that day That the LORD will thresh, From the channel of the River to the Brook of Egypt; And you will be gathered one by one, O you children of Israel.The great trumpet will be blown; They will come, who are about to perish in the land of Assyria, And they who are outcasts in the land of Egypt, And shall worship the LORD in the holy mount at Jerusalem. So it shall be in that day:
The purpose of this gathering is for the Jews to be given their eternal inheritance that was promised to Abraham:Genesis 17:7-8 And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God."
We can also see that the Church and the Tribulation Martyrs are NOT the elect, based on the order of events in Revelation:
First, the elect are gathered by angels as Christ is coming on clouds:Matthew 24:30-31 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
Then we see the Church, in their fine linen, coming with Christ. This is not the rapture here, because the Church will NOT be gathered by angels, but by Christ Himself (1 Thessalonians 5:16-17):Revelation 19:11-14 Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses.
After that, we see that the Tribulation Martyrs will be resurrected after the 2nd Coming; NOT before:Revelation 20:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.http://www.trackingbibleprophecy.com/rapture3.php#elect
The Falling Away and the Restrainer:
Isaiah 59:19... When the enemy comes in like a flood, The Spirit of the LORD will lift up a standard against him.John 16:7-8 Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment1 John 3:4-9 Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him. Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God1 John 3:24 Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.
We see in the passages above, that in the dispensation of Grace, evil is restrained through the conviction of the Holy Spirit. In the dispensation of the Law, evil was also restrained through the Law and the conviction of the Holy Spirit working through the prophets (Zechariah 7:12). In the dispensation of Judgment, evil will be unrestrained (2 Thessalonians 2:5-10). Therefore, the restraining work of the Holy Spirit will cease during the dispensation of Judgment:2 Thessalonians 2:5-10 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.http://www.trackingbibleprophecy.com/rapture.php#restrains
Previously, we saw that the restrainer in 2 Thessalonians 2:5-10 is the Holy Spirit:2 Thessalonians 2:5-10 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
How will the Holy Spirit be taken out of the way of evil? Believers have been sealed and are indwelt by the Holy Spirit till the day of our redemption (Ephesians 1:13-14). If the Holy Spirit is taken, then so must the Church. As the saying goes "if you take the restrainer, you take the container". The rapture event will accomplish the restrainer being taken out of the way. For a more thorough discussion on the passage in 2 Thessalonians, I recommend Pastor Wayne's commentary here.
I would recommend reading the whole study from the beginning, because it helps explain why Pre-Trib is the only doctrinally sound view:http://www.trackingbibleprophecy.com/rapture.php
Amy Van Gerpen
Christina (2 Aug 2011)
"The Elect, The Restrainer, The Falling Away? What did He mean Doves??"
Not to long ago I worked at PTCB. (Christian Broadcasting)
When I worked there most of the programers were post-trib. (alot of Torah teachers also) even the co-founders and most the staff. I had been taught pre-trib, so I was kind of looked at but I would ask questions and ask some of the programers also. And I have to say they were so convincing, even using Gods Word. So convincing I came to much doubt about being pre-trib and started searching the scriptures and asking God. Please show me Lord, I want to know. I felt so inbetween wondering which one was right. I would always think about the immency of Christs return, and think, well if He was going to come back at the end of the 7 years, how could that be a surprise? It didn't make sense.
One night as I lay there in bed after reading my bible talking with the Lord, 3 things came to my mind. I felt He was trying to tell me something so I jumped out of bed and ran and got a pen and wrote them down.
The "3" things were:
1. The Elect
2. The Falling Away
3. The Restainer
Why these "3" things I wonder?
Ok, the "Elect is the church right?
the "Restrainer" is the Holy Spirit right?
the "Falling Away", but in the bible it says, "Rebellion",,, Means people falling away right?
Why these "3" things???
The Lord knew I wanted to know Pre or Post trib. I wanted to know if He was coming back for us.
Am I missing something here Doves????
In my heart I still believe Pre-trib. After all I read in the Word and study.
I look for His return!
These "3" things were said to me months before I had the dream I posted a few days ago where He said He was coming back soon.
I just feel I didn't fully understand what He was trying to tell me.