Question:

Where it says one will be left the other taken away, (always mentioned by people with the rapture and stuff). I was wondering what was your take on that verse.


Answer:

The same illustration is used in two different contexts, though the overall meaning of the illustration is the same:

"But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming" (Matthew 24:36-42).

In this passage the context is the second coming of Christ. We know this because Jesus states there would be no warning, unlike the signs he gave concerning the destruction of Jerusalem earlier in the chapter. (See "Understanding Matthew 24" for more details.)

While John told us that all would be resurrected, both the good and the evil (John 5:28-29), we also know that only the good will be gathered to the Lord. "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord" (I Thessalonians 4:16-17).

The point Jesus is making is that there is going to be a division or separation of people. Two people from seemingly similar situations in life will not necessarily end up in the same place. It is the same point made by the parable of the wheat and the tares (Matthew 13:24-30; 36-43). In the church (the kingdom) on earth, there will be both good and bad people intermixed. They cannot be separated now without causing damaged to the number of good people who will respond to the message of the Gospel. Thus they are allowed to grow together until the judgment. Then they will be separated.

"In that day, he who is on the housetop, and his goods are in the house, let him not come down to take them away. And likewise the one who is in the field, let him not turn back. Remember Lot's wife. Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. I tell you, in that night there will be two men in one bed: the one will be taken and the other will be left. Two women will be grinding together: the one will be taken and the other left. Two men will be in the field: the one will be taken and the other left" (Luke 17:31-36).

Once again, Jesus is talking about what appears to be an arbitrary separation, but this one is occurring on a physical level. Luke 17 is dealing with the destruction of Jerusalem. (See "Judgment: Understanding Luke 17" for more details.) During the horrors of war, not everyone survives. Two people may be from similar backgrounds, but one will be killed and another will survive for no apparent rhyme or reason.