One Shall be Taken
Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Matthew 24:40
Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Matthew 24:40-41
I tell you, in that night there shall be two men 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. Luke 17:34-36
Do these words apply to the secret rapture
of the saints or to some other snatching away?
Our Lord Jesus Christ used these words to warn of the coming destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman armies in 70 A.D. The ones taken were those destroyed by that sudden event, and the ones left were those who heeded His warnings and escaped. The warning of this severe judgment from God and the possible escape for believers were common themes in the New Testament.
1. Our texts are Matthew 24:40-41 and Luke 17:34-36.
2. Read Matthew 24:1-50 and Luke 17:20-37.
3. There is no secret rapture taught in the Bible. Our Lord’s return involves a single resurrection of both the just and unjust (John 5:28-29; I Thess 4:13-18; Acts 24:15).
4. There is no secret rapture taught in the Bible. This idea both in word and doctrine is unknown in the Bible and unknown to man before the Irvingites in England around 1830.
5. There is no secret rapture taught in the Bible. The common view of airplanes crashing due to “raptured” pilots is a figment of the imagination created by false teachers.
6. There is no secret rapture taught in the Bible. The modern speculation of a “rapture” has as much Scriptural basis as William Miller’s false predictions of Christ’s coming in 1844.
7. The large context of Matthew 24:40-41 is the entire chapter, which is dealing with the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ in power and judgment on the nation of Israel in 70 A.D.
8. The immediate context is a personal warning “of that day and hour” (24:36). Having predicted all the events would certainly occur within that generation (24:34-35), our Lord exhorts to vigilance and faithfulness due to the unknown timing of those events.
9. The precise context is the example of an Old Testament judgment that caught men unawares (24:37-39). The flood came when men were at ease and took them all away. The coming of the Son of man is His coming in judgment on the nation (Matt 16:28).
10. The ones taken are compared to the ones which Noah’s flood took away – the ones taken are the wicked (Matthew 24:39; Luke 17:27). The ones taken are not the saints.
11. The concluding context is an exhortation to watchfulness due to the unknown timing of this sudden judgment coming upon the unsuspecting (24:42-51). Paul pressed the Hebrews to greater faithfulness in their duties in light of the same event (Hebrews 10:25)
12. Malachi warned of the Lord coming in judgment upon the Jews of His generation (Mal 3:1-6; 4:1-6). Do not be mistaken – Elijah is John the Baptist (Matt 11:7-15; 17:10-13).
13. John the Baptist warned of Jesus coming in judgment upon his generation (Matt 3:10-12).
14. Jesus warned of His glorious coming in judgment upon that generation (Matthew 16:28; 21:33-46; 22:1-10; 26:64; Luke 12:49; 23:28-31).
15. Peter warned of the coming judgment upon that generation (Acts 2:40).
16. Paul warned of the coming judgment upon that generation (I Thess 2:16; Heb 10:25).
17. James warned of the coming judgment upon that generation (James 5:1-9).
18. The large context of Luke 17:34-36 is the verses from 17:20 to the end of the chapter, which deal with the coming of our Lord’s kingdom in power and glory in 70 A.D.
19. Luke’s context (17:20-37) confirms our interpretation by combining those events for that generation (Matt 24:1-35) with the warnings following (Matt 24:36-50).
20. At least some of the disciples then alive would be included in this situation (17:22).
21. Luke adds the warning of not going down from the housetop to gather any stuff (Luke 17:31), as such a delay could cost them their lives in the suddenness of the Roman siege. Such words have no meaning in light of the “rapture,” for it is said to happen in a twinkle without any warning! Who would have time to go and collect stuff for the rapture?
22. Luke also adds the warning of Lot’s wife (Luke 17:32), since destruction would occur to any whom delayed their exodus from the city as the armies approached (Luke 21:20-21).
23. The ones taken would be taken by eagles eating the Jewish carcass (Luke 17:37), and this figure is used by our Lord in the middle of the things for that generation (Matt 24:28). And when the Jews were packed into Jerusalem for the Passover, the siege was initiated.
24. This was an event from which escape was possible for believers who would observe the signs and act accordingly (Matt 24:22; Luke 21:36; Acts 2:40).
25. Understanding these words in light of 70 A.D. is not novel, for John Gill the Baptist (1697-1771), Adam Clarke the Methodist (1715-1832), Albert Barnes the Presbyterian (1798-1870), and many other commentators have understood the prophecy this way also.