If you are a Pretribulationist King James Version Only Advocate this post may be disturbing news. A few years back I examined a facsimile of the original King James Version—1611 edition.
I was looking at instances of textual variant notes found in the King James Version; there are 2,193 instances. (Yes, the early 17th century Anglican King James translators made textual critical choices when they translated it. Just as do modern translators make textual decisions today.)
During my research of textual variant notes, I came across something that was interesting. As you know, pretribulationists claim that Matthew 24:31 does not refer to the event of the rapture or resurrection. They claim that the “gathering of the elect” in verse 31 refers to a group of Jews who are gathered at the end of the seven-year period, not the rapture or resurrection of the church. This is to avoid the implication of the rapture and resurrection happening after the Antichrist’s great tribulation; and in the pretrib system they cannot have the church being persecuted during this time, and it would undermine their doctrine of imminence since it would have the rapture following after prophesied events.
In the image above, notice the asterisk at the beginning of Matthew 24:31 and the two cross-references in the margin: 1 Cor 15:52 and 1 Thess 4:16. The former verse is the twinkling of an eye resurrection passage, and the latter is the classic rapture and resurrection passage! In other words, King James Version translators understood that Matthew 24:31 refers to the rapture and resurrection.
So for pretribbers who invest ultimate authority into the textual critical decisions of early 17th century Anglican churchmen, I thought I would highlight this interesting King James Bible fact.
For a larger image, click here.