LEFT BEHIND: A Study in Matthew Chapter 24
Take to One's Self
In our main study of Left Behind, I concluded the Church will go through the tribulation. I also concluded the ones taken in verses 40 and 41 not raptured into heaven, but the one who is taken is destroyed at the coming of the Lord after the tribulation. However, many pre-tribbers still insist the one taken is raptured into heaven before the tribulation. There are other noted pre-tribbers like Dwight Pentecost, who affirm the ones who are taken are destroyed after the tribulation. However, as like-minded pre-tribbers, they still contend that Jesus was talking to the "tribulation saints" throughout Matthew 24. Another reason why other pre-tribbers insist the ones taken are raptured before the tribulation is their notion of John 14:
it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
In their view, the word taken is from the Greek paralambano which can mean "to take with one’s self." And since Jesus said in John 14 that He was going back to the father's house in Heaven to build mansions, and He will come back and "receive you unto myself" and go back to heaven with them, this constitutes a pre-trib rapture. I have examined John chapter 14 and came up to some of these conclusions which can be read from My Father's House :
Therefore, pre-tribbers cannot claim Jesus was referring to a rapture. To apply their standard of claiming one verse says pre-trib rapture means the other verse does likewise falls short on the merits of John 14.
As we look back into Matthew chapter 24, Jesus met with His disciples privately . The "tribulation saints" were nowhere in the audience, and neither were the "Jewish remnant." And His Disciples merely asked them the sign of his coming at the Olivet discourse. And Jesus spoke of things to come and applied His earlier instructions along with the sign of His coming.
Referring back to Matthew 24:
Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
Did Jesus say this was happening before the tribulation?
Did He say the one taken is a Christian and he will be raptured into heaven?
Since the answers to the questions are no, we cannot conclude this is pre-tribulational. Nor can we conclude Christians are going to be raptured into heaven.
Jesus instructed His disciples on his coming earlier in His ministry. He Instructed them on the same above verses in Luke chapter 17:
I tell you, in that night there shall be twomen in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left.
Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
Jesus gave the illustration of the ones taken and the ones left. The Disciples asked Him the question "where, Lord?" And he answered "Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together." And in Matthew Chapter 24 Jesus made the same statement:
Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.
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.
For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.
Immediately after the tribulation of those days ...
Jesus inserted this sentence in which His coming is "Immediately after the tribulation of those days..." This is very clear that this is not before the tribulation but after. And it must be noted that pre-tribulationalists do not examine scriptures thoroughly enough. After all, if they claim that the "one taken" parallels with "I will come again, and receive you unto myself, " then they must also apply "wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together" to a post tribulational setting as well.
Why I Support the one taken is not raptured but destroyed.
While many pre-tribbers and some post-tribbers support this as a rapture, My conclusion is this is not the case. In a since, at the rapture, the elect who are ready will be raptured up to meet Jesus in the air and the rest are left on earth.. However, after examining this part of scripture in context with the previous verses in Matthew, I came to my conclusion It was not speaking of a rapture!
For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
One can make a case Noah was symbolically taken up by being preserved from the flood by being in the ark. However, Noah wasn't raptured up into heaven, nor was he separated from the earth. Noah stayed in the ark while the ones outside "did not understand until the flood came and took them all away." And after the ones were taken away, Noah was left. And if you compare Jesus' instructions in Luke 17, Jesus said the flood came and destroyed them all:
And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.
The flood didn't come to destroy Noah and his family, but the flood came and destroyed those who were outside the ark. And we cannot apply this to a pre-tribulation setting. As pre-tribbers claim, His coming will be secret to the unbelievers and they will remain on earth for seven years. And at this coming, Jesus comes to destroy (or take) those who are not ready. And this part of scripture cannot support "Imminence." There were signs in Noah time, the construction of the ark. The purpose of constructing the ark was to preserve Noah and his family through the flood. And the flood couldn't come until the Ark was completed. The ark was a sign of things to come but people did not pay attention to what was going to happen until the flood came and destroyed them.
As we examine the word paralambano, it can mean "to take with one’s self." It can also mean "to take along side of." Does it necessarily mean rapture? There are other verses in scripture that uses paralambano, but they do not support a rapture. For example In John:
Jesus was delivered to be crucified. And He taken and led away. This is not a scene in which a rapture took place. Another example is in Matthew 27:
The soldiers took Jesus to the common hall. Notice Jesus was not raptured in this verse. From these examples (and from the table below) we can conclude the word paralambano does not necessarily apply to a rapture.
Articles in this study