The Great Gathering

The righteous and the unrighteous will be “gathered” before Jesus on the Last Day, the former for vindication and salvation, and the latter for condemnation. This event is linked consistently in the New Testament to the “arrival” of Jesus at the end of the age when he will resurrect the dead, judge the dead and living, and consummate the Kingdom of God.

In the parable of the “Wheat and Tares,” Jesus gave us a picture of this final harvest when he will send the “reapers to gather up first the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them but gather the wheat into my barn.”

Assembly - Photo by Ambitious Creative Co. - Rick Barrett on Unsplash
[Photo by Ambitious Creative Co. - Rick Barrett on Unsplash]

In his interpretation, he located the harvest at the “
end of the age.” The “reapers” represent the “angels” sent to “gather all things that cause stumbling” out of his Kingdom to be cast into the “furnace of fire.” In contrast, the righteous will “shine forth as the sun” - (Matthew 13:30, 13:40-43).

In his ‘Olivet Discourse,’ he describes his ‘Parousia’ or “arrival” when the nations of the Earth see the “Son of Man coming on clouds.” On that day, he will dispatch his “angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together [‘episunag├┤’] his Elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” – (Matthew 24:27-31).

In his parable of the “Sheep and Goats,” Jesus illustrates the judgment that will occur on that day. When the “Son of man comes in his glory,” he will be accompanied by “all the angels,” and take his seat on the “throne of his glory.”

All nations will be “gathered before him” for judgment. He will separate the “sheep” from the “goats.” The “sheep” will inherit the Kingdom, but the “goats” will receive “everlasting punishment” - (Matthew 25:31-46).


In his first letter to the Thessalonians, Paul describes the ‘Parousia’ or “arrival” of Jesus when faithful believers will become the Apostle’s “crown of glorying.” He prayed for God to establish their hearts “blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the arrival of our Lord Jesus with all his saints” – (1 Thessalonians 2:19, 3:13).

When he “arrives,” the righteous dead will be resurrected and reunited with those still alive, and together they will be “caught up in clouds” and “meet” Jesus as he descends from Heaven. He will be accompanied by the “voice of an archangel and the trumpet of God.” At the sound of the “trumpet” the “dead in Christ” will rise from their graves – (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

In his second letter, Paul describes the “revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with the angels of his power.” On that day, he will “render vengeance to them that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus,” and they will suffer “everlasting destruction.” In contrast, Jesus will be “glorified in his saints and marveled at in all those who believe” - (2 Thessalonians 1:5-10).

In the next chapter, Paul explains the “Day of the Lord” and the “arrival” of Jesus. That day will mean “our gathering together unto him.” His statements echo the words of Jesus about the “gathering together of his elect.”

In his Corinthian correspondence, Paul declares that just as “in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive, but each in his order, Christ the first fruits, then they that are Christ's, at his arrival [‘Parousia’].” The resurrection of the righteous is linked once more to the “arrival” of Jesus. Not only so, but that event will mean the termination of death and the consummation of God’s Kingdom – (1 Corinthians 15:20-28).

At the “last trumpet,” the dead will be raised and those believers still alive will be transformed. Mortal men will “put on immortality,” and “death will be swallowed up in victory” - (1 Corinthians 15:51-57).

The New Testament paints a consistent picture. The “arrival” of Jesus will be accompanied by angelic activity and the “trumpet.” The righteous dead will be resurrected and gathered to him along with those saints who remain alive, and all will be transformed and receive immortal bodies.

At the same time, the wicked will be gathered for judgment. The righteous will inherit the Kingdom and immortality, but the wicked will receive “everlasting punishment from the face of the Lord.” Moreover, in each passage, the New Testament refers to one and only one “coming” or “arrival” of Jesus to gather his saints.

  • Final Events - (In explaining the future resurrection, Paul lists key events that will precede or coincide with the arrival of Jesus at the end of the age)
  • The Final Day - (The arrival of Jesus will mark the end of the present order and the commencement of the age to come and the New Creation)
  • His Parousia - (The arrival of Jesus will mean the resurrection of the dead, the commencement of the New Creation, and the final judgment)



Silence in Heaven

Sorrow Not