“One will be taken, one will be left”: Misinterpreted Bible Passages #8

LaHaye and Jenkins Left Behind

“One will be taken, one will be left”: Misinterpreted Bible Passages #8

I suppose it’s about as good a time as any to deal with this popular misinterpretation, given Harold Camping‘s ridiculous prediction that the church will be raptured at 6PM on May 21 (time zone by time zone, no less!). Yet again, the passage in question deals with eschatology (the end times), a subject that has produced more than its share of misinterpreted passages. This particular passage is especially notorious, having provided the title of the Left Behind series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins and spawned several popular CCM songs, most notably Larry Norman‘s “I Wish We’d All Been Ready,” covered by DC Talk in the following video:

The passage is found in Matthew 24:40–41 and Luke 17:34–36 (with some variation); we’ll stick to the shorter version in Matthew for simplicity’s sake. The same concepts that apply here apply equally to Luke:

τότε δύο ἔσονται ἐν τῷ ἀγρῷ, εἷς παραλαμβάνεται καὶ εἷς ἀφίεται· δύο ἀλήθουσαι ἐν τῷ μύλῳ, μία παραλαμβάνεται καὶ μία ἀφίεται.

Then two men will be in a field: one will be taken and one will be left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and one will be left.

Popular Misinterpretation

In the fanciful world of Pre-Trib dispensationalist theology, this verse as been interpreted as a reference to the “Rapture of the Church” in which Jesus comes from heaven to “catch up” his church in the air and take them back to heaven with him, leaving the unbelievers behind to suffer the wrath of God, poured out in all its gory goodness for a short but hellish period of time known as the “Great Tribulation” (this framework rests on a host of other misinterpreted passages—most notably Daniel 9:24–27—but we’ll just stick to this one for the time being). According to this interpretation, the fulfillment of Jesus’ words will look something like this:

An old woman sat across the aisle from him, a passed out drunk next to him. He turned form his window and looked at the old woman. She had a pair of cotton nylon blend underpants in one hand and dentures in the other. She stared at Buff in shock.

“Excuse me mister,” she said.

It really is much better than the original.

“Yes?” Buff said.

“My Harold,” she said.

“Yes?” Buff said.

“He’s gone. He’s just gone, vanished, disappeared. Could you help me find him?

“I’m afraid that there is going to be no finding him, Ma’am.”

“Why?”

“Has he left all material things behind him? Clothes, dentures, hairpiece?”

“Yes.”

“Then he has finally turned his back on this world of matter and all things evil. He has jumped right out of the corruption that matter entails. he has taken everything essential to his being and left the rest behind. He has reached the enlightened world of forms where there is no jewelry but spiritual jewels, where dentures cannot go, where everyone is naked. He has been Raptured.”

“How do you know?” the woman said.

“I write bad apocalyptic fiction. I know things. Endgames are my game.”

“What is that?” the woman said.

“What?” Buff said.

“That pink thing in Harold’s seat. Right there in his trousers. It’s wet.” Buff looked closely, and was surprised.

“Ma’am, I’m afraid that’s Harold’s appendix. It’s been left behind.”

“Oh, how terrible!” Ma’am said, and she cried herself to sleep.

— Mr. Sock & Nathan Wilson, Right Behind, pp. 18–19.

Essentially, the idea is that (true) Christians will be “taken up” to be with Christ, with the unrighteous “left behind.” One will be taken, one will be left behind, as the passage says. It’s pretty straightforward, right?

Getting it Backwards (again)

Once again, we find that the passage has been interpreted to mean exactly the opposite of what it means in context. As usual, the antidote to bad interpretation is found in the immediately surrounding verses: let’s look at what immediately precedes these two short verses:

Ὥσπερ γὰρ αἱ ἡμέραι τοῦ Νῶε, οὕτως ἔσται ἡ παρουσία τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου. ὡς γὰρ ἦσαν ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις [ἐκείναις] ταῖς πρὸ τοῦ κατακλυσμοῦ τρώγοντες καὶ πίνοντες, γαμοῦντες καὶ γαμίζοντες, ἄχρι ἧς ἡμέρας εἰσῆλθεν Νῶε εἰς τὴν κιβωτόν, καὶ οὐκ ἔγνωσαν ἕως ἦλθεν ὁ κατακλυσμὸς καὶ ἦρεν ἅπαντας, οὕτως ἔσται [καὶ] ἡ παρουσία τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου.

“For the coming of the son of man will be just like it was in the days of Noah— just like in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage until the day Noah entered the Ark—and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away [Luke: “destroyed them all”]. The coming of the son of man will be just like that.” (Matt 24:37–39)

Who was “taken” in the days of Noah? It certainly wasn’t the righteous—they stuck around and inherited the earth after God removed the wicked. Jesus explains here that the coming of the son of man will be just like the days of Noah, when the wicked were taken away and the righteous will be left behind. To make this more clear, consider that the passage (which I translated rather traditionally above) is probably better rendered this way:

Then two men will be in a field: one will be seized and one will be released. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be seized and one will be released.

This translation is a bit clearer: it’s better to be in the latter group than the former, better to be “let go” or “released” than “taken” or “seized.” This runs completely counter to the picture in modern imagination, which relies upon the idea that the righteous will be taken and the wicked “left behind” to suffer in the Tribulation. What’s remarkable to me is how ingrained this interpretation has gotten within the Evangelical world, despite it being a relatively new theological perspective with less than 200 years of history and despite the fact that it reads this “proof text” passage to mean the opposite of what it means in context.

Conclusion

Once again, we have found that a passage dealing with eschatology is interpreted to mean the opposite of what it actually says. In this case, we have a passage talking about the destruction of the wicked at the Parousia (Second Coming) that has been creatively transformed into a story about people disappearing and leaving the wicked on earth. Why is this important? Well, for one, a proper reading of these passages is a safeguard against predictions by the likes of Harold Camping and Hal Lindsay, since these predictions consistently rest on misinterpretations of this and other passages. If the foundation is bad, the building is worse. It also should be understood that these passages are a promise of divine protection, not a promise that God will remove his people from times of trouble—something that quite simply has never been the case. Instead, Jesus promises that God will look after his people through tribulation rather than removing them from troubled times. This is a critical point, as it applies to every generation and not only to that one generation lucky enough to miss out on all the tough stuff (such a theology only works in the prosperous West to begin with). So next time someone asks you if you’ll be “left behind,” answer, “I certainly hope so!”

82 Comments
  • John Hartis
    Posted at 00:27h, 21 May Reply

    “Taken where, Lord?”… “Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.”
    -Luke 17:37

    It’s a reference to the 586BC temple destruction, the AD70 one would be similar (and it was).

    • Troy Peoples
      Posted at 23:34h, 06 June Reply

      Taken Where?
      In an instant everything will change from physical to Spiritual. There we are caught up with Him in Heaven. Heaven is more real than here.
      How do i know. In 1985 i went 50′ head over heels down a curb, no helmet (dumb law) recvd 3 fractures to my skull and had brain surgery. Doctors did not think i would live. But. MERCY said no. After a few weeks after brain surgery the Lord took me. I was out of ICU 2.5 weeks. Then one morning as i was laying in bed looking out the door of my room. I did not know where i was or that i was engaged to be married, where i worked, nothing
      Next thing I know I’m standong up looking down at myself laying in bed. He showed me 3 things. First all i saw was fire and I was there alive. Great pain and suffering and it was to late. Then i saw myself in a vegetative state. Which to me is worse than death except for what I just saw, death of hell fire. Last i saw all i had done wrong since I was old enough to know better. He showed me years. Then i saw myself back in bed and He said go back. I leaned over putting my hands on my knees, created in His image, and took a good look. Because of all i felt there, being enveloped in Love i had no desire to go back. I stood up and looked at the Spirit behind me and pointing my figure down said I’m not going back. I know what it’s like and I’m not going. I crossed my arms and took 2 steps back and eould not look down.
      He let me know in a strong thought: Your going back. I thought right back at Him “I’m not doing it”. Next thong i felt was His hand on my back and He pushed me back. Im headed back to my body, the physical, and there is no wind, since I’m looking at the physical. Now I’m looking back out the door. He let me understand all He just showed me and I thought on it all and i looked up and said Thank you Lord. Immediately the Holy Spirit filled mr from the bottom of my feet to out the top of my head and 50″ to 60″ outside my body i received the filling of the HOLY SPIRIT, more than i can see i am, i received. He healed me and I walked out of the hosp. in 45 days.
      Doctor wrote my recovery as miraculous.

      • Jason A. Staples
        Posted at 09:02h, 18 June Reply

        Great story. But it of course has zero relevance to what Jesus says here or in Matt 24:29–31.

        Your interpretation that the angels “will gather our spirits and leave earthly things, like our bodies” is not in the passage, and it does not cohere with earliest Christian teachings about that passage. That passage is about the angels gathering people to join the messiah in one place, not about going to heaven. Your description basically amounts to angels showing up and killing everyone, with their spirits winding up in heaven. This passage, however, says the people themselves will be gathered together in accordance with the prophecies that the people of God will join the messiah together in Jerusalem.

        • Alan E. Kurschner
          Posted at 12:41h, 16 July Reply

          Hi Jason,

          With all due respect, I do not believe you have considered the evidence for the other interpertation, and you have misunderstood the Greek as well as its context. See my argumentation here:

          https://www.alankurschner.com/2012/12/04/matthew-2437-41-one-will-be-taken-and-one-left/

          Thanks,
          Alan

          P.S. Citing the “left Behind” movie is a distraction. The reality is that at least half if not more of the pretrib literature argues that those who are left behind are the righteous, not the wicked.

    • Polly Berry
      Posted at 21:51h, 28 June Reply

      I am so glad to learn that many more people are becoming aware that we will be here for the Tribulation. There are still too many believing the Rapture lie and we must share the truth with them. In all this, my concern is are people working on patience? In our patience possess we our soul and Jesus spoke in Revelation of the reward to those who overcome by the word of His patience. Are we preparing by knowing our God? Daniel wrote that they who know their God will be strong and will do great exploits. May we continue to love and recognize truth because in Matthew 24, Jesus warned us that if it were possible the elect would be deceived. Knowing truth sets and makes us free from deception. Love you brethren and followers of Jesus. Stay strong. Expect persecutions. Tribulation and persecution is synomous to Christian

  • David Paal
    Posted at 17:46h, 21 May Reply

    Great post. God way has always taken His people through — not around. Through the desert, through the Red Sea, through the den of lions, through the fiery furnace, even ultimately through the cross. The notion we are “checking out early” is pure nonsense, as you have correctly dialed it in once again. Itching ears has been the new normal in today’s evangelical church for decades; it will get progressively worse still as we draw closer to His real return. By that time, the majority (the outer court) will be so desensitized in delusion they will miss it completely. As Gary Wilkerson correctly put it recently, “It’s time for wheat and not chaff” to be preached. It’s time to get serious.

  • Michelle Adams
    Posted at 12:21h, 25 May Reply

    Hi Jason,
    Please share your interpretation of I Thes 4:17. Thanks.

    • Jason A. Staples
      Posted at 15:40h, 26 May Reply

      Michelle, I’ll get to that in another post as soon as I’m able.

  • Dn4sty
    Posted at 01:50h, 26 May Reply

    While I agree that this passage does not fit rapture ideas, I was under the impression it referred not to a 2nd coming destruction of the wicked. Full disclosure: I don’t think any of the passages (Matt 24, Mark 13, Luke 17) have anything to do with a future second coming. I also don’t buy a dual fulfillment (1st Century and 2nd Coming). It appears to me to be a judgment against the Israel which is culminated by being “taken by Rome”

    Thoughts? or am I completely off-base?

    • Jason A. Staples
      Posted at 15:39h, 26 May Reply

      The difficulty in applying these passages solely to the destruction of Jerusalem is the reference to the “coming of the Son of Man,” which appears to be something in addition to the judgment against Jerusalem. It’s clear that most, if not all, of these passages involves the destruction of Jersualem/Jewish War, but (especially if these gospels were penned after that destruction), I think it’s hard to read the “coming of the Son of Man” as equivalent with those events.

    • Troy Peoples
      Posted at 22:28h, 06 June Reply

      Matthew 24:29-30 States after tje Tribulation then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in Heaven.. 31 He sends His angels to gather His elect. They will gather our spirits and leave earthly things, like our bodies where thefowls of te air will feast on them. In an instant all will change. From physical to Spiritual.
      It is Awesome. I know for i had a motorcycle wreck in 1985. I went 50′ head over heels, no helmet (dumb law). 3 fractures. Skull etc. Not expected to survive brain surgery and yet I walked put of the hosp. In 45 days after having am Out of body experience. I dif not want to come back
      So He had to push me back. He gave me the understanding of the spirit in the flesh, so i could choose. I asked Him into my life and received the HOLY SPIRIT. The Spirit filled me up as i layed in bed, where He put me back, and i received more than i can see i am, 50 60 inches outside my body i received thr filling of the Holy Spirit and walked ouy of yhe hosp. In 45 days. Doctor wrote recovery as miraculous. It’s more real than here.

  • Eric Thum
    Posted at 23:29h, 10 August Reply

    looks like we may have studied to show ourselves approved unto God, workmen that needeth not to be ashamed, RIGHTLY dividing the word….. a breath of fresh air…the TRUTH. Jesus is the truth. JN 14:6
    also check out Eze 39:17 and Re 19: 17,18 and Job 39:30. with the (Mt 24 and Lu 17)

    IF YE CONTINUE IN MY WORD, THEN YE ARE MY DECIPLES INDEED;
    AND YE SHALL KNOW THE TRUTH, AND THE TRUTH SHALL MAKE YOU FREE …. JN. 8: 31,32

    Eric Jn 3:5 Acts 2:38 Mt 3:11 Mk. 1:8 Lu 3:16 Jn. 1:32

    ohh my ……………………. J O H N 16:12

  • Troy
    Posted at 01:33h, 04 January Reply

    I was reading in 1 Thes. 4 tonight when I came upon the verse: 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. I have always believed that many people in the church today misinterpret the verses to say that those who are taken are the ones who are raptured. But according to Thes 4:17 he comes for the ones who are left behind not the ones who are taken. Good article on this topic.

  • Don
    Posted at 07:06h, 15 February Reply

    Taking scripture out of context is a skill I am grateful not to have. The wisdom of man is foolishness with God. Jesus said be ready at all times, for you “know not the time”. Where strife and vain glory is, there is confusion and every evil work. It is the Holy Spirit that teaches. We do not need a teacher, but the unction within will teach us. Do not be agry over anything, for this is a strong deception, and do not follow those who are angry, and teach division. We can hear his voice. He promissed us that we will hear him., As we rejoice in him that we are his, we do not need to be afraid of what this world may go through, or the tribulation that is ahead, or the rapture that may take us out. It is all based on fear, and fear has torment. What pleases God is unity, and love for God and our brothers through our faith in him. The sin of strife and disunity is not of God but is a work of the flesh. If any think himself to be wise, let him be a fool that he may be wise. Fear God brothers and sisters. This is the beginning of true wisdom. Receive the truth of the word with meekness. The truth is given by the Holy Spirit, and not any man. You can hear his voice. You raelly can. Seek him, and hear. If you believe that your brother is is error, be humble and speak to him. Never be proud of the wisdom you seem to have, or you will be destroyed of the destroyer, for he was destroyed through the same means. Love with all your hearts. He that loveth not knoweth not God for God is love. Love you brothers. This is THE commandment.

  • D.c
    Posted at 14:47h, 01 March Reply

    Wrong this is clean not talking about protection. Jesus said unless the days be shortin their shall be no flesh saved. This a pre-trib rapture. Theirs no were to had on earth when the wrath hits lol.

  • George
    Posted at 01:31h, 14 January Reply

    And except those days be shortened, there should no flesh be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.. Matt 24:22 The word “rapture” is nowhere in the Bible and the rapture itself doesn’t exist, most people are misinformed about the word of God.

    • Darlene Stevenson
      Posted at 08:34h, 07 August Reply

      In the NT Greek Lexicon the word “Harpazo” is used. In Latin the word is translated to “Rapturo” which in English is Rapture. Harpazo appears 13 times in the New Testament. I do agree the Church will have to endure to the end, the the Great Day of the Lord will happen…..but please, just because of the misinterpretation of “when” this will take place does not mean it will not happen, and does not mean it is not in the Bible..

      • Jason A. Staples
        Posted at 11:48h, 10 August Reply

        I’m fully aware of the Latin word used in the Vulgate. But “Rapturo” is still a verb, not a noun, and it describes an action, not an event separate from Christ’s coming, which is what Paul says he is talking about in the passage. The idea of a “rapture of the church” as separate from the return of Christ to the earth is not present in the New Testament.

        • Carol Plum-Ucci
          Posted at 12:18h, 18 July Reply

          We wouldn’t use the argument “the word ‘rapture’ is in the NIV.” The Vulgate is a translation of the 4th century, and perhaps some are getting caught up in a concept such as an old translations is as worthy as originals. We can garnish much wisdom from most translations, old and new (Jesus and his disciples read the Septuagint, a 300-year-old Greek translation of the Hebrew), but the word “rapturo” is in a translation. (BTW I agree the righteous don’t get a free advanced ticket into the clouds.)

          • Jason A. Staples
            Posted at 16:11h, 03 August

            1) Jesus and his disciples were not Greek speakers and did not read the Septuagint. They would have read an Aramaic version (Targum) or, if any of them were especially educated in this respect, a Hebrew edition.

            2) “Rapturo” is indeed a translation from the Vulgate, but even in that context, it doesn’t mean what people mean today by “rapture.”

  • George
    Posted at 01:36h, 14 January Reply

    “And except those days SHOULD be shortened”

  • the rapture in matthew 24 | reality is not optional
    Posted at 16:00h, 21 January Reply

    […] stumbled across an excellent blog today. One of the better articles was on how modern Christians misinterpret Matthew 24 to mean the […]

    • curiousg2653
      Posted at 01:22h, 19 July Reply

      The word “rapture” doesn’t exist in the Bible. The two in the field is referring to the antichrist fooling those who think he is Christ, they will be the ones taken having the mark of the beast, but they won’t believe it until the real Christ returns, about 5 months later. The one who remains will be doing the work of the real lord in the field which is the world.

      • Troy Peoples
        Posted at 21:33h, 06 June Reply

        Cn: Rapture
        Reaf Matthew 24:29-31 Clearly talks about Tribulations and Christ return and He shall send Jis Angels to gather His elect. Which is being Raptured.

  • revgabel
    Posted at 20:47h, 11 April Reply

    Your idea works until you look at Matt 24:31… He does come and gathers his people… he gathers and does not leave them…

    • Melvin
      Posted at 07:33h, 31 October Reply

      This really puts a spanner in this so called theory.

    • Jason A. Staples
      Posted at 09:04h, 31 October Reply

      Gathers to where is of course the question. The prophets of course talk about how he will gather his people to the land, not take them away to heaven. “Gather” and “remove” are very different concepts. Again, understanding the context of these things is critical.

      • Carol Plum-Ucci
        Posted at 12:30h, 18 July Reply

        Interesting. Jason, can you provide the scriptures of which you speak from “the prophets of course talk about…” I’m interested in scriptures that might also explain Revelation 3:10 and if God might provide a place or places of escape that are on earth. Thanks if you see this.

        • Jason A. Staples
          Posted at 23:37h, 06 August Reply

          Hi Carol. Take a look at Deut 30:3–4; Isa 11:10–16; Jer 29:14, 31:7–26; Ezek 11:17, 20:41, 28:25, 34:14, 36:24. There are dozens of other examples throughout the Prophets.

      • Troy Peoples
        Posted at 21:54h, 06 June Reply

        Matthew 24:31 He sends His Angels to gather His people which are the elect.
        Prior in verse 30 after the Tribulation, then shall appear tje sign of the Son of Man in Heaven. Where else but Heaven would we go? The Angles gathering all from one end of Heaven to the other..
        Have you been there, Heaven/Spirit and felt His Enveloping Love? I have and the things i read hear are very troubling. Deciving for when you use mans logic your are lost spiritually. I base this off what i read here. People need to read their bible and learn the Truth.
        Matthew 24:4 Jesus answered. Take heed that no man decieve you.

  • Gina
    Posted at 14:55h, 10 August Reply

    I am sure no two people agree on everything about scripture, on this point I agree with you entirely! So refreshing to see someone apply logic and correct contextual application! Wow…reading some of the responses has been nothing short of interesting. Grace and peace brother.

  • Ramon
    Posted at 21:58h, 19 October Reply

    El Shaddai, has always guided us through his holy active power. He uses people like u Jason, to set us in the correct meaning of his word…

  • Renee
    Posted at 20:14h, 09 December Reply

    In reading and re-reading Matthew 24 numerous times, I’m beginning to think that there actually may be two events taking place. The setting in the first half of the chapter, up to verse 35 seems to be different after verse 35. In the first half, the setting is wars, famines, turmoil – and the days will be cut short so that there are survivors. I tend to believe that in this half, Jesus is answering the question about the destruction of the temple, when it will be and what will be the signs. In the second half, after verse 35, the setting is normal everyday life, people eating, drinking, working, marrying as normal. This setting does not seem to have the turmoil of the first half of the chapter, the destruction of the temple. I am leaning toward the idea that the disciples were asking a big question: when is the temple going to be destroyed and is this tragic event the end of the world? Maybe the first half is about the destruction of the temple, and then after 35 Jesus goes on to tell about the end of the world. Verse 35, Jesus seems to bring up the end of the world for the first time: “35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

    36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” In verse 36, the “that” day is a pronoun which must have an antecedent to tell which day “that day” is referring to. The anticedent is in verse 35 “Heaven and earth shall pass away.” So quite possible, Jesus is now changing the subject from the destruction of the temple to the passing away of heaven and earth, thus accounting for the setting change.

    But I am still studying and processing all of this. After much processing, I’m leaning toward seeing quite logical sense in these explanations..

  • Brenda Alexander
    Posted at 02:06h, 02 March Reply

    Whenever I talk to a rapture-believing Christian, it’s the most difficult false teaching to rid them of. They hang on to it like it’s a life preserver. I was taught it as a child but never gave it much thought until I was born again. I started doing research on things and when you want to know how these theories come in to play, ask yourselves if the early Christian church believed this; does the Bible really support it; look at past historical events in the Bible; and find out when this theory became so-called “truth.” It is my opinion that anything with the word “theory” behind it, it needs to be researched. Theories are just that…theories. They come and go. Even as a child, this somehow never sounded like what I read in the Bible but back then I thought, I’m just a child, what do I know. Jesus says we are babes but we are not to remain babies. We are to seek the truth and be ready to find out that what you’ve been taught may not be what Jesus and/or the early Church taught. I also am firm that Sunday worship too is wrong. I urge all Christians to look at the information and remember, the Sabbath was given at creation, not just in the 10 Commandments, which we are still under!

    • Rochelle H.
      Posted at 13:10h, 06 September Reply

      Loved your comment and I am in total agreement except for the last part, respectfully. We are not under the law and Jesus is our Sabbath rest.

      Matthew 22:38-40

      38 This is the first and great commandment.

      39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

      40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

      This article breaks it down Jesus as the Sabbath rest…..

      http://www.gotquestions.org/Jesus-Sabbath.html

  • John Rivera
    Posted at 02:28h, 06 April Reply

    What about the great crowd coming out of the great tribulation mentioned in revelation.

  • Jason A. Staples
    Posted at 09:04h, 06 April Reply

    What specifically are you asking about, John?

  • Pa Shakede Oinah
    Posted at 05:06h, 20 May Reply

    Thank you Mr. Jason. You have done justice to this topic. Jesus reference to the days of Noah is sufficient to know that those left behind are the righteous. Remember there will be a new heaven and new earth which will be free of sin.

  • Fred Thomas
    Posted at 10:01h, 21 July Reply

    Matt 25:1-13

  • Steve Sherrill
    Posted at 04:44h, 05 August Reply

    What about the 10 virgins 5 taken 5 left??

    • Jason A. Staples
      Posted at 11:52h, 10 August Reply

      Such a parable does not exist. The parable discusses ten virgins, five of whom enter fellowship with the bridegroom at the wedding feast, and five who do not. All the virgins go out to meet the bridegroom (Matt 25:1), and none are “taken.” Rather, the bridegroom comes and begins the wedding feast, at which point the five foolish virgins are locked out of fellowship with the bridegroom.

  • Diane Hayes
    Posted at 14:50h, 11 August Reply

    one will be abducted and the other left to continue the Lord’s work

  • Michael Hesterberg
    Posted at 19:19h, 06 October Reply

    Jason, what a great website! Let me just question you on one point. In the issue of the “…one will be taken, and the other one left.” verses in which you pointed out what Jesus himself stated, when he said:….”as it was during the days of Noah, so shall it be at the coming of the Son of Man”

    I read that entire verse slightly different. The subject of the passage was about the fact that no one was prepared for the impending major event—in this case it was a deadly flood, hence anyone not prepared died!! They were all just going about normal daily activities, rather than expecting the tragedy to overtake them!! That is the subject; the theme of that verse. Not the fact that the first to go were the ones destroyed!!

    When Jesus said “Just as in the days of Noah…..” I believe he was referring to how it was going to “overtake” the unwary by surprise—like a thief in the night!! Today, we are doing the same. Even though the Bible says what is going to happen—no one is expecting it. Just like the days of Noah!!!

    Would this make sense?? Then the unexpected raising up of believers first, also makes sense!!! I don’t think that we Christians will “WANT” this world after the restrainer is removed!!! Write me, let’s chat!!

    • Jason A. Staples
      Posted at 18:37h, 27 October Reply

      That’s only part of it. The other part involves Christ and his people on earth. The thing that restrains being removed has no impact on this discussion, as Christ-believers will be present throughout.

  • Lynne
    Posted at 20:01h, 26 November Reply

    I beleive the left behind story has to do with a strong warning to the jewish people in nazi germany and europe of the horrors to come

  • julie gilbert
    Posted at 07:40h, 15 December Reply

    I get as in the days of noah…in the days of noah there absolutely was homosexuality and the earth will be destroyed by fire .no flood because of rainbow promise which homosexuals trampled its precious symbolism.we are instructed to not love the things of this world.and to pray the flight not be in winter or on the Sabbath.

    • Jason A. Staples
      Posted at 13:59h, 02 January Reply

      Did you just use a random text generator for this comment or was it supposed to convey meaning of any specific nature?

      • Andy
        Posted at 15:51h, 29 July Reply

        I stopped reading as soon as you “showed” it’s like in the days of Noah when the wicked were swept away and righteous left. The problem with that is that it’s completely wrong. If you would simply read the verses directly after that verse in Matthew, you would see it says: “When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day. 38 In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat. 39 People didn’t realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes.” Jesus compared it to Noah because the wicked never saw it coming. It’s very plain and obvious in the Bible when you simply read the verses right next to it. Instead you twisted things to fit an agenda, which I can only assume is of fearing the possibility that the rapture could be true. If you can’t even get that part right, I can’t take your analysis seriously. I guess they’re giving PhDs to anyone these days.

        • Jason A. Staples
          Posted at 23:22h, 06 August Reply

          Interesting how you are capable of determining that Jesus only meant to compare one aspect of the Noah story to the time of the coming of the Son of Man and that he did not intend any other parallels.

          It’s also fascinating that you would imagine someone might “fear the possibility that the rapture could be true,” since that teaching involves the (false) assurance that Christians won’t suffer when terrible distress comes upon the world at the end of the age. The actual New Testament teaching is much harsher: nobody is going to be whisked away to be spared from suffering.

  • Rachelle C.
    Posted at 11:35h, 22 December Reply

    I am studying out this rapture idea in scripture and I am wondering how do the believers meet the Lord in the air at His coming if Matthew 24 keeps believers on earth and takes the wicked away?

    • Jason A. Staples
      Posted at 14:01h, 02 January Reply

      First of all, the “rapture” isn’t a biblical concept. The meeting of the Lord in the air mentioned in 1 Thessalonians is a reference to those believers alive at Christ’s return being gathered together to him as he returns to the earth. It’s being drawn to a central place, not being removed from the world.

      • FDR
        Posted at 10:41h, 15 September Reply

        Why would God gather people in the air just to bring them back down?

        • Jason A. Staples
          Posted at 14:32h, 04 October Reply

          Because the point is the gathering, not the air part. These are all based upon the OT promises about gathering all the people back together in the land.

          • Mike
            Posted at 09:00h, 03 September

            The Lord has already gathered his people back to their land from the far reaches of earth. Jews started Returning to Israel in 1800s and became a nation again in 1948 – quite miraculously considering the event that surrounded that. The meeting in the air is of a different nature. It involves believers, the church. Now true-looking at all these comments here, There is much misinterpretation. I’ve not heard much about the blood of Christ and those that come to him are considered his people, blood-borne Jews. I’m going to read more comments and then comment more later if I feel led.

          • Jason A. Staples
            Posted at 09:29h, 03 September

            Israel has not returned as promised in the prophets. The Jews are only the part of Israel from Judah, not the whole people. The prophets promised that all twelve tribes would be restored and reunited, which is something that has not happened. That promise is of special interest throughout the New Testament, as the earliest Christians believed all Israel would be reconstituted through the work of Jesus.

  • Marjorie Meeks
    Posted at 14:07h, 06 April Reply

    I have never believed in a secret rapture theory because Jesus said in verse 11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And in Rev 6:15 Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and everyone else, both slave and free, hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. 16 They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17 For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can withstand it?” I also believe Jesus is not only talking about when he return, but also when we die because we could die before he returns. So we need to be ready at all times because we don’t know when we will die. 44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. 48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; 49 And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

  • Treva Peres
    Posted at 22:15h, 28 May Reply

    Jason, you have hit the nail on the head with this interpretation, because it is correct!

  • Elaine
    Posted at 22:26h, 30 July Reply

    Revelation 7:13And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?
    14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
    15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.
    16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.
    17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

    • Jason A. Staples
      Posted at 16:16h, 03 August Reply

      That’s a very nice passage, though the translation is problematic. Verse 14 should say, “these are those who are coming out of the great tribulation.”

      Care to explain why you posted this passage without comment?

      • Mike
        Posted at 09:04h, 03 September Reply

        The passage Elaine mentioned Is referring to people that accepted the blood of Christ (repented and became saved) during the tribulation and paid the ultimate cost by losing their lives. That is the general interpretation of the Scripture. Jason I’m interested in knowing what you think?

        • Jason A. Staples
          Posted at 09:32h, 03 September Reply

          That is only the “general interpretation” among dispensationalists, which is a tradition of interpretation that is very new in the history of Christianity. Most Christians through history have interpreted the 144k otherwise. It’s also worth noting that the passage in Revelation you’re referencing refers to the “Great Tribulation” as a present reality, not a future event.

  • Dianna Blackketter
    Posted at 13:52h, 03 September Reply

    thank you Jason, I am so pleased to have come across your website, this clears up a lot for me, I learned a lot.

  • Ed Taylor
    Posted at 20:56h, 13 October Reply

    Are those that are seized addressed anywhere else in scripture?

  • Jason Mitchell
    Posted at 14:30h, 16 October Reply

    great article if it was correct…In your explanation of misunderstood scripture, you yourself have misunderstood it because you have failed to acknowledge and understand just who Jesus is in fact talking to.in this instance/portion of scripture. This whole passage starts at verse three, where Jesus was kicking it at the mount of olives with His disciples and that they came up and asked Him to explain to them the signs of the end of the age.. Lets take a quick rabbit trail to Matthew 13:11 and mark 4:11 where it says the secret things of the kingdom are not given to those outside (the scope of discipleship) who are given nothing but parables without explanation but to you the secrets are indeed given ((Mark 4:34)… Now back to main text. Jesus is indeed speaking to His disciples (those in covenant with Him) and NOT to those outside, so everything He is saying to the disciples at this exact moment is for their benefit and instruction. The reference to the days of Noah are NOT meant to imply the righteous get saved but the evil left to deal with destruction, but it IS MEANT to convey the importance of heeding a warning when one is given and NOT to dismiss it out of hand. So yes in this very passage Jesus is in FACT talking to the disciples about making sure they too are ready (perfecting holiness out of the fear of the Lord and working out their salvation with fear and trembling as they put to death the deeds of the body because without holiness, none will see the Lord) because when that day comes like a thief in the night, among the church (believers) one will .be taken and another left. Jesus left His apostles to build His church and thus this warning now applies to the whole body of Christ. Revelation verifies that this verse /warning of one taken one left is for the church when it says of the church of Smyrna “you will be thrown into prison by Satan and tortured 10 days, but hold fast to my name and you will be saved (learning obedience by that which they suffered), and to the church of Philedelphia “because you have held onto my word in quiet strength, I will spare you from the hour of trial that is coming upon the whole world (having worked out their salvation).. As we see, two churches (bodies of believers,) one gets taken as the Lord knows how to rescue his goldy ones, and one gets left behind, the not so godly believers who will face tribulation. One taken and one left, a warning for the church just like in the days of Noah…

    • Jason A. Staples
      Posted at 11:40h, 20 October Reply

      An admirable attempt to rescue an exceptionally poor interpretive paradigm, but none of this is correct. Just taking one example, those of the church of Philadelphia to whom the letter in Revelation was written were not removed from the world but passed through their suffering. Getting pulled out of the world to be spared from suffering is never promised at any point in the New Testament (or the Hebrew Bible, for that matter).

  • Judy H Joseph-Herbert
    Posted at 06:26h, 28 November Reply

    I am a bit late in seeing this interesting topic. Let us remember that the Bible is it’s own expositor-it explains itself-line upon line precept upon precept, here a little, there a little-all in context which is the key to proper Biblical exposition. Matt 24 is a prophetical outline that answers a two fold question asked by the disciples- when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming and the end of the world?
    The first thing Christ told the disciples was in verse 4- take heed that no man deceive you- and in spite of this warning- most are being deceived with this Rapture Theology.. He then gives them a chronological outline of events to transpire before the destruction of Jerusalem -AD 70 and also what will take place leading up to his return-2nd coming. Matt;24:38-41 outlines that “took them all away, one taken” is explained in destroyed them all Luke 17: 24-37- he uses the word destroyed them all in place of took them all away see verses Luke 17: 27, 28, 29. In verses 34, 35, 36 the words again taken and other left-. the disciples asked where to LORD -implying taken where since if you are left no need to ask where. He answered in verse 37- where their bodies are taken to; the eagles will be there to eat them. Let us then go to Revelation 19: dealing with the judgement of the great Whore who persecuted God’s people; begin to read from Verse 17 onward. In verse 21 you read that the angel summons the fowls of the air to come to the great super to eat the flesh of kings, captains mighty men the beast, kings of the earth and their armies who were gathered to make war with God’s people- fowls were filled with their flesh and were all taken and cast alive into the lake of fire. Brothers and sisters- let us study to show ourselves approved unto God, don’t be afraid rightly dividing the word of truth- God’s word is truth. Let us all go back and prayerfully study this subject with God’s word- the Bible in hand and like the Bereans search the scripture to find out what is truth as taught in the word of God- this is the only way you will not be deceived by this rapture theology that is not biblical and out of context- man’s doctrine..Blessings.

  • Lou Sozo
    Posted at 13:31h, 23 February Reply

    The tone of your remarks is one of contempt and mockery, not love. You are sinning in pride, my brother.

  • Lou Sozo
    Posted at 13:35h, 23 February Reply

    Riddle me this, caped crusader: how are the end times like the days of Noah? The earth is filled with wickedness, and the Lord God provides a way to separate and protect His people–Noah’s ark = the rapture.

    • Jason A. Staples
      Posted at 13:52h, 23 February Reply

      Fascinating comment from the same person who just called someone out for a tone of contempt and pride.

    • Mike
      Posted at 09:18h, 03 September Reply

      I don’t believe when we discuss the topics of the Lord (or any topic) we should ever name-call or disrespect anyone. That’s not love. Yes In the days of Noah, God did prepare a way of escape for those that loved him. He invented the way, especially since it had not rained upon the earth to date yet. Even Paul as we can also call Saul, life could’ve been spared if he had not appealed to Ceasar And went that distance. God also sent angels to remove Lot and his family from Sodom and Gomorrah , Though I don’t look upon Lot as being the elite in the example of righteousness, but he was accredited it as so. I’m sure (cause Jesus said so) we don’t know the day or hour of his return (a day like any other). But all we can hope for is for the example situations of the past, that the Lord has planned a way out/thru for his people. It will be a time like no other and currently we are looking thru stained glass.

  • Susanne Haynes
    Posted at 00:08h, 11 March Reply

    James 3:11, for you, sir. I agree with Lou Sozo. I feel confident in saying that we care deeply for our Lord and do not like to see arrogance displayed in those who teach others about His word. We also care about you. You are well aware that satan fell because of arrogance. Do not make the same mistake. Your learning and knowledge is nothing compared to God’s wisdom. You should be more humble when dealing with others. I know too many like you, and imagine it will be a huge struggle for you not to respond to me in a demeaning manner, just to prove your intelligence and superiority. Before you do so, answer this question: who are you pleasing, God or satan? Learn humility.

  • Rob Poteet
    Posted at 16:54h, 05 May Reply

    Interesting. My beliefs follow more closely below:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ii-iqapb2zs

  • John Knapp
    Posted at 02:31h, 06 May Reply

    Either way, whether Lord Jesus takes True Christians before or after the tribulation, is the least of our issues. Because for a True Christian, he will be with the Lord either way and have the True Love of His or Her Life! The real issue is; are we lovingly obeying Lord Jesus’s commands in the here and now? Are we preparing for that wedding feast with our Lord, by lovingly obeying his commands now in our lives? Let us not be divided in such things, but unite in true love for one another. May the Holly Spirit come upon all believers and make them True Christians. Thank you Father, in Lord Jesus’s name for loving us so much, whatever you do in this matter.

    • Mike
      Posted at 09:21h, 03 September Reply

      Agreed. 🙂

  • Gloria Miller
    Posted at 01:27h, 24 May Reply

    All of this is just making me insane! So much confusion, even the bible has words that should not be there! The devil is
    sifting everyone! What will remain is Jesus the cross and resurrection and will we have faith!

  • Vicki Annette Woody
    Posted at 16:08h, 27 July Reply

    Whoever wrote this commentary missed the point ENTIRELY and grossly misinterpreted the scripture! “For the coming of the son of man will be just like it was in the days of Noah— just like in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage until the day Noah entered the Ark—and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away [Luke: “destroyed them all”]. The coming of the son of man will be just like that.” (Matt 24:37–39) Just like it was in the days of Noah. Well in the days of Noah, people were living their lives as always, not giving any thought to the coming flood, even though they were warned. That is how it will be when Jesus returns to take His Bride, the Church, home. People will be living their lives as usual, giving no thought to Jesus’ return, even though they have been warned to be ready. The narrator stated that this passage actually meant that [the wicked would be taken, and the righteous would be left to the tribulation. NOW PLEASE TELL ME WHY THE RIGHTEOUS AND NOT THE WICKED WOULD BE LEFT TO GO THROUGH THE TRIBULATION? You do understand that during the tribulation God’s wrath will be poured out on the earth, don’t you? The righteous believers were not meant to suffer this wrath. “For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,” 1st Thessalonians 5:9. So it would make absolutely NO SENSE for the wicked to be taken and the righteous to be left. YOU have that backward.

    • Jason A. Staples
      Posted at 10:38h, 01 August Reply

      Unfortunately, your comment rests on a dispensational notion of a tribulation that does not accord with the New Testament or earliest Christian interpretation. There is simply no basis for anything you’re arguing.

    • Mike
      Posted at 09:29h, 03 September Reply

      Biblically speaking, I’ve never read God pooring his wrath on those that love Him. Psalm 37:25. But for testing and for example-faith(I call it), God has allowed Satan to poor out on people’s lives at times. I can say more but not trying to be to deep, This has happened for legal reasons as well as the Lord’s personal prerogatives which no man/woman can contest.

      • Jason A. Staples
        Posted at 09:43h, 03 September Reply

        That of course isn’t really germane to the discussion. Nobody suggested that God would be pouring out his wrath on those who love him.

        • Mike
          Posted at 11:15h, 03 September Reply

          Hi Jason, my comment was for Vicki with confirmation.

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