WHO IS "TAKEN" AND WHO IS "LEFT BEHIND"?
Michael F. Blume
© 2003 Michael F. Blume
1 Thess. 5:2-3
2 Peter 3:10
The above scriptures teach us that the coming of the day of the Lord is as a thief.
But what aspect of a thief's coming are we supposed to understand in these verses?
When we think of thief coming, we think of several things.
2) Then there is the aspect of the unexpectedness of a thief's arrival. Nobody knows when a thief will come, because the thief wants to successfully rob a person.
Announcing his time of coming would ruin his opportunity to steal anything.
Which of the above scenarios are the two scriptures we quoted trying to convey?
The popular "Pre-Tribulation Rapture" interpretation of prophecy promotes the first scenario. They teach that a secret coming leaves nobody having known the time that thief came or went, and the aspect of wondering what happened to some articles that are suddenly not present. People will be left in the world and will notice that their loved ones are gone. Why are they gone? When did they go? They believe that the reference to the Lord's coming as a thief in the night refers to a secret, silent stealing away of the Church.
But this is not the aspect of a thief that we are supposed to think about when we read the details of the words involved in the scriptures. The element that we are supposed to think about is not the thief's hidden coming, but the unexpected time element when the thief comes. Nobody knows what time the thief will come.
That does not mean that we will not see the thief when he comes, but we just did not expect him. So, in other words, everyone may see the thief come, but not everyone expected him to come when he did. They are caught offguard, having had no time to prepare for his coming that they might not be robbed. This is the aspect of the thief that we are supposed to think about when we read of Jesus' return. I can prove it. Watch these verses and notice this very stress in Jesus' own words:
This says that everyone saw the flood come, but they did not expect it to come when it did. Actually they did not expect it to come at all. Now, this is speaking of the sinners. Noah knew it would come. But the world did not. They would not believe it would come. So the flood did not come secretly and steal Noah away. Everyone in the world saw it when it came. So it is the time element that is in question when we read about the thief's coming.
Watch this also:
People take these verses and say this proves people will simply disappear in the midst of sinners who remain. But that is wrong. The flood came and took certain people away. Who were the people in question whom the flood took away?
The sinners were taken by the flood when they were eating and drinking, etc., instead of getting ready like Noah. And that is the way it is going to be at the end. Since the sinners were taken in Noah's day in destruction, the sinners are the ones who are taken when two are in the field and the one is taken. You have to find out who was taken in Noah's day to see who is taken in the time of the end. And the sinners were taken in Noah's day.
And this says that the issue was what watch the thief would come. If the goodman knew the time in which the thief would come, he would not have seen his house ransacked. That does not mean he did not see the thief when the thief came, but rather he saw him but did not expect the thief to come. That is why we read verse 44. Jesus came in 70 AD in wrath upon Jerusalem using Rome's armies as God often used Armies of the heathen to come against Israel when they dwelt in apostasy. Everyone saw the destruction, but not everyone expected it, because only the Church believed His Word and looked for him to come in wrath.
This was told to the very people to whom Jesus spoke. They would not have gone over all the cities of Israel till the Son of man came. He came in their day, before they went over all the cities of Israel, in wrath against Jerusalem.
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