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Who Gets Taken (The Good or the Evil?)

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Click link ---> "One will be taken, one will be left": Misinterpreted Bible Passages #8 | Jason Staples

(Formatting is much better at the link above than below)-- Let me know your thoughts on this article please------------------

20 May “One will be taken, one will be left”: Misinterpreted Bible Passages #8[/B]
Posted at 13:07h in Biblical Studies, Misinterpreted Bible Passages, New Testament, Religion & Theology by Jason A. Staples 91 Comments

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!”
 
Unworthy Servant
Staff Member
Greetings,

below is a quote from fellow Member B-A-C
which explains the getting caught up to meet the Lord in the air

Some say the word "rapture" isn't in the Bible. However rapture simply means "caught up" as in
verse 17 below. Much of what is known about the rapture comes from 1 Thessalonians chapter 4.

1 Thes 4:13; But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope.
1 Thes 4:14; For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus.
1 Thes 4:15; For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.
1 Thes 4:16; For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.
1 Thes 4:17; Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.
1 Thes 4:18; Therefore comfort one another with these words.
Bless you ....><>

[CENTER]Love is For Giving
God is Love[/CENTER]
 
Loyal
Left behind?

Matt 24:36; "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.
Matt 24:37; "For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah.
Matt 24:38; "For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark,
Matt 24:39; and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be.
Matt 24:40; "Then there will be two men in the field; one will be taken and one will be left.
Matt 24:41; "Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one will be left.
Matt 24:42; "Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming.
Matt 24:43; "But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into.

Luke 17:30; "It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed.
Luke 17:31; "On that day, the one who is on the housetop and whose goods are in the house must not go down to take them out; and likewise the one who is in the field must not turn back.
Luke 17:32; "Remember Lot's wife.
Luke 17:33; "Whoever seeks to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.
Luke 17:34; "I tell you, on that night there will be two in one bed; one will be taken and the other will be left.
Luke 17:35; "There will be two women grinding at the same place; one will be taken and the other will be left.
Luke 17:36; "Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other will be left."
 
Active
Left behind?

Matt 24:36; "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.
Matt 24:37; "For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah.
Matt 24:38; "For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark,
Matt 24:39; and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be.
Matt 24:40; "Then there will be two men in the field; one will be taken and one will be left.
Matt 24:41; "Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one will be left.
Matt 24:42; "Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming.
Matt 24:43; "But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into.

Luke 17:30; "It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed.
Luke 17:31; "On that day, the one who is on the housetop and whose goods are in the house must not go down to take them out; and likewise the one who is in the field must not turn back.
Luke 17:32; "Remember Lot's wife.
Luke 17:33; "Whoever seeks to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.
Luke 17:34; "I tell you, on that night there will be two in one bed; one will be taken and the other will be left.
Luke 17:35; "There will be two women grinding at the same place; one will be taken and the other will be left.
Luke 17:36; "Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other will be left."

Thanks for that verse, I'm familiar but often times I've only read a shorter passage and not compared the two side by side.
What stands out to me is the part of Lot's wife. Jesus says to "Remember Lot's wife". Then He proceeds to talk about those
who seek to save their life will lose it and vice versa. This is right after He says that if one is on the rooftop they must not go
back. It seems to relate to not being tied to the love of this world. It also reminds me of Bible verses that talk about
not being weight down with the care of this world or the bondage of sin that so easily entangles us.
 
Active
The opening question -- the good or evil?

How about either being a born-again believer or Not being a born-again believer.

Has nothing to do with being good.

And I'm a firm pre-tribulation rapture person.
 
Active
The opening question -- the good or evil?

How about either being a born-again believer or Not being a born-again believer.

Has nothing to do with being good.

And I'm a firm pre-tribulation rapture person.
Good point Sue about not focusing on good or evil, our righteousness is in Christ Jesus not ourselves. I agree.

-WNL
 
Loyal
Has nothing to do with being good.
I wouldn't say it has "nothing" to do with it.

Luke 12:45; "But if that slave says in his heart, 'My master will be a long time in coming,' and begins to beat the slaves, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk;
Luke 12:46; the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces, and assign him a place with the unbelievers.
Luke 12:47; "And that slave who knew his master's will and did not get ready or act in accord with his will, will receive many lashes,
Luke 12:48; but the one who did not know it, and committed deeds worthy of a flogging, will receive but few. From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.

... this passage is sometimes used to say being an ignorant Christian is better than being a studious one. But either way, they are punished for their deeds.

John 5:28; "Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice,
John 5:29; and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.

The Bible says here, your "deeds" are what determines which kind of resurrection you go to. There isn't really an equivalent your "faith" is what determines which resurrection you go to.

Rom 2:5; But because you are stubborn and refuse to turn from your sin, you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself. For a day of anger is coming, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.
Rom 2:6; He will judge everyone according to what they have done.
Rom 2:7; He will give eternal life to those who keep on doing good, seeking after the glory and honor and immortality that God offers.
Rom 2:8; But he will pour out his anger and wrath on those who live for themselves, who refuse to obey the truth and instead live lives of wickedness.

It doesn't say here He will judge them by what they believe, it says He will judge them by their deeds.

2 Cor 5:10; For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

We will stand before the judgment seat of Christ one day, and yes we may be rewarded for "good" deeds. But apparently we will also pay for "bad deeds".

I'm not saying we have to be perfect, I'm nt saying there is no mercy or no grace. But I am definitely saying your deeds matter.

Tit 1:16; They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.

People can say they believe in Jesus (even the demons believe) but actions speak louder than words.

Rev 20:12; And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.
Rev 20:13; And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds.

Again, yet another passage that says people are judged by their deeds, not by what they say they believe.
 
Loyal
Good point Sue about not focusing on good or evil, our righteousness is in Christ Jesus not ourselves. I agree.
I wonder if you could show me this in scripture? Don't worry, there are at least two passage that talk about our righteousness in Christ... but in context neither says
our righteousness doesn't matter.
 
Active
Scripture Does say that by their fruits we will know them. A born-again believer Will exhibit the fruits of the Spirit. Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, etc. in Galatians 5: 22.
In other words -- the changes in our lives when the Holy Spirit Does come to indwell us Will cause us to Want to live a more righteous life. And That is found in Ephesians 1: 13 - 14. "having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Hoy Spirit, wh is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession. To the praise of His glory.

So - yes -- by our deeds we will be known to be believers.
 
Active
I wouldn't say it has "nothing" to do with it.

Luke 12:45; "But if that slave says in his heart, 'My master will be a long time in coming,' and begins to beat the slaves, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk;
Luke 12:46; the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces, and assign him a place with the unbelievers.
Luke 12:47; "And that slave who knew his master's will and did not get ready or act in accord with his will, will receive many lashes,
Luke 12:48; but the one who did not know it, and committed deeds worthy of a flogging, will receive but few. From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.

... this passage is sometimes used to say being an ignorant Christian is better than being a studious one. But either way, they are punished for their deeds.

John 5:28; "Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice,
John 5:29; and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.

The Bible says here, your "deeds" are what determines which kind of resurrection you go to. There isn't really an equivalent your "faith" is what determines which resurrection you go to.

Rom 2:5; But because you are stubborn and refuse to turn from your sin, you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself. For a day of anger is coming, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.
Rom 2:6; He will judge everyone according to what they have done.
Rom 2:7; He will give eternal life to those who keep on doing good, seeking after the glory and honor and immortality that God offers.
Rom 2:8; But he will pour out his anger and wrath on those who live for themselves, who refuse to obey the truth and instead live lives of wickedness.

It doesn't say here He will judge them by what they believe, it says He will judge them by their deeds.

2 Cor 5:10; For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

We will stand before the judgment seat of Christ one day, and yes we may be rewarded for "good" deeds. But apparently we will also pay for "bad deeds".

I'm not saying we have to be perfect, I'm nt saying there is no mercy or no grace. But I am definitely saying your deeds matter.

Tit 1:16; They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.

People can say they believe in Jesus (even the demons believe) but actions speak louder than words.

Rev 20:12; And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.
Rev 20:13; And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds.

Again, yet another passage that says people are judged by their deeds, not by what they say they believe.

Well -- we won't receive the crowns we Could have gotten for that which Could have been done for Christ and Wasn't. The consequences of non-doing.

Maybe that is where we get the idea from that there are degree of hell. Maybe those who simply have not accepted Christ as personal Savior but haven't done anything especially Bad will be in a different area than the cold-blooded murderers or pedifiles, etc.

Maybe we should be examining our lives / attitudes NOW while we can still do something about it. That's what This life time is For.
 
Active
I wonder if you could show me this in scripture? Don't worry, there are at least two passage that talk about our righteousness in Christ... but in context neither says
our righteousness doesn't matter.

I'm thinking about Philippians 3:9 let me know your thoughts brother. It reads " And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: "
 
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