“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,” Matthew 24:31 NASB
Gather – Yeshua is speaking about a time when all believers will be gathered into the Kingdom. He quotes some Old Testament verses, but not exactly as they are written. Instead, Yeshua produces a montage of selected phrases from several different verses. He uses an echo of Deuteronomy 30:4 (gathering), a portion of Zechariah 2:10 (the four winds) and some allusion of Daniel 7:13-14 (the Messianic return). Suffice it to say that Yeshua has several images in mind and His “citation” incorporates them all into a single verse. This might not be the way we would cite a reference, but it is typical of rabbinic citations in the first century.
What is more important is what Christian commentators have done with these Old Testament inferences. R. T. France says, “On the one hand, this [prediction] is a climactic act of judgment, incurred by the failure of his [God’s] own people Israel. But on the other hand it is also a symbol of a new beginning, the heavenly enthronement of the Son of Man . . . It is on the basis of that authority that he [Jesus] will then send his disciples to gather a new community out of all nations (28:19), and it is as a result of that ingathering that a new and far more inclusive ‘chosen people’ will be formed to take on the mission of God’s people which had hitherto been focused in Jerusalem and its temple.”
It doesn’t take much reflection to recognize that this is a fundamental statement of replacement theology. Israel has failed. God has given up on the Jews. The “church” has taken Israel’s place. The “church” is universal in its appeal, no longer constrained by all those Jewish perspectives. The destruction of the Temple is an act of God’s judgment confirming that God has replaced Israel.
What hogwash! This idea doesn’t come from Scripture. It is read into Scripture through the paradigm on Origen, Chrysostrom, Augustine and other early Church fathers. It is anti-Semitic through and through. It does not reflect the rabbinic teaching of Yeshua or Sha’ul nor does it account for the continued Torah obedience among the apostles or the believing community well into the third century CE. Replacement theology is an interpretive scheme placed over the text; a scheme that allows, endorses and justifies the “beginning” of the Church at Pentecost, the disassociation of the early believers in the Jewish Messiah from the Torah and the artificial separation of Judaism from a new religion called Christianity. It is historically inaccurate and scripturally unjustified. But that doesn’t prevent it from being the majority opinion of Christian theologians.
We should know better. Yeshua takes his reference from Deuteronomy. God has never endorsed an exclusive community of ethnic derivation. Abraham brought his entire household. The Exodus contained Egyptians and many others. Rahab and Ruth clearly demonstrate an open heart in the midst of the camp, even one that overcomes Torah prohibitions. No one who sought YHWH was ever turned away because they didn’t have the right lineage. France has created an artificial demarcation that fits his assumptions. He won’t find it in the Scriptures. It might have been true of the Judaizers, but Yeshua and Sha’ul both fought against that brand of racial discrimination.
It’s time for us to say, “No, this is not accurate. This is not unifying. This is nonsense.” We follow the Jewish, Torah-observant, Messiah. We accept the writings of His Torah-observant, Jewish disciples. We are one with the people of God at Sinai. We belong to the one Kingdom with one purpose under the one God. The “church” has existed since God constituted His people after Egypt. It has always been universal in scope and intention. We belong to the same community, the same commonwealth. There is no other.
Topical Index: church, replacement theology, Israel, Matthew 24:31
 R. T. France, The Gospel of Matthew, p. 928.