Who are the “elect” of Matthew 24:22
Posttribulationists (those who believe the Church of Jesus Christ will endure the terrible period of the Tribulation) like to use this verse—”Except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened” (Matthew 24:22)—saying this passage proves the Church will remain on earth because we are the “elect.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Many do not realize that God has two elect groups on earth. There is the Church (see Ephesians 1:4; 1 Peter 1:2), but that is not the group referred to in Matthew 24:22. How do I know this? Isaiah 42:1 speaks of the Jews as God’s elect. So does Isaiah 45:4; 65:9; and 65:22.
How does one know that the Jews are the elect for whom the days are being shortened in Matthew 24:22? It’s important at all times to keep the biblical text in context, and this is especially true here. First of all, this elect group is to flee from Judaea to the mountains. Judaea is the Holy Land, the area where Christ walked and ministered in human flesh (see Matthew 24:16). They are not to flee on the Sabbath day (shabbat) (Matthew 24:20). According to Exodus 31:13, the Sabbath day is to be eternally practiced by the Jews. In Mark 13:9, we find that they are beaten in the synagogues… not in the churches. We don’t meet in synagogues because we are the Church (see Acts 2:47).
Finally, all these events take place in the area of Jerusalem (see Luke 21:24). The elect, therefore, at this time in history, are Jews, God’s chosen people, the Israelites. Because of their history of rejecting Jesus Christ as Messiah (Savior), God, in His foreknowledge, has set up a different schedule for the Jews as a nation.
Because the true Church, all born-again believers, wholeheartedly accept Christ as Savior (John 1:11-12), they are called to heaven to escape the Tribulation period, or Time of Jacob’s Trouble. During this time of disillusionment and despair, the Jews as a nation will finally recognize Jesus Christ as Messiah and King in the midst of their suffering (Romans 11:26). This clarifies Matthew 24:22, which states, “But for the elect’s sake [Israel, Deuteronomy 7:6-7] those days shall be shortened.”
The judgment seat of Christ for the Church then occurs in the heavenlies as the Tribulation judgment hits the earth with massive force. Both elect groups are being prepared for the Millennium—one in heaven, the other upon earth. At the conclusion of this Time of Jacob’s Trouble, Christ returns with an army of believers and judges the nations on the basis of their rejection of Christ and their treatment of Israel (Matthew 25:31-46).
And I heard the number of them which were sealed:
and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand
of all the tribes of the children of Israel. Revelation 7:4
This information comes from Dr Van Impes book called The Great Escape.