The Secret Rapture - Taken or Left: Which One Do You Want to Be?

Nader Mansour

Raptured or Left Behind?
Examining the doctrine of the secret rapture.

The Secret Rapture Debate

In the realm of biblical prophecy, the question of being "raptured" or "left" has long intrigued and puzzled many. The popular doctrine of the Secret Rapture teaches that when Jesus returns, true believers will be "raptured" or taken up to heaven, while those left behind will face tribulation and destruction. However, a closer examination of the relevant scriptures reveals a different perspective.

A Key Verse

Matthew 24:37-42 has been a focal point in this debate. To shed some light on this matter, let's delve into the words of Matthew and explore their meaning.

Matthew 24:37-42
37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.38 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,39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

In these verses, Jesus draws a parallel between his second coming and the days of Noah. He describes how people in Noah's time were preoccupied with their daily lives, oblivious to the impending flood. They were unaware of the flood until Noah entered the ark and the waters came, sweeping them away. The flood took them all away. This is important to keep in mind.

According to Matthew's account, when Jesus returns, it will be akin to the events of Noah's time. Some will be "taken," while others will be "left." However, the key to understanding this passage lies in the interpretation of what it means to be "taken."

Understanding "Taken" and "Left"

Digging deeper into the text, we find that those who are "taken" at the coming of Jesus are not the saved ones, as one might initially think. Instead, they are the ones who are lost, taken away, and destroyed by the brightness of His coming (see 2 Thessalonians 2:8).

To make it simpler, think of it like this: Imagine a flood sweeping through your town. Those who managed to escape and survive would be the ones "left" by the waters of the flood, while those who perished would be "taken" away by the water's destructive force. Matthew makes it clear that those who perished in Noah’s time were taken away by the flood. Contrary to popular belief, being “taken” does not mean being raptured or whisked away to be with Jesus. The Bible picture for being “taken” is to perish.

Taken = Destroyed

Left = Saved

The Truth About Those Who Are "Taken"

Moreover, a parallel passage in Luke 17:37 provides additional insight into the fate of those who are "taken."

Luke 17:37
And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.

In this passage, Jesus' 12 apostles ask Him, "Where, Lord?" and his answer is in reference to those who are taken (perish). Jesus responds with a cryptic but revealing statement: "Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together." This response clarifies that those who are "taken" will, in fact, meet a grim end, symbolized by the gathering of eagles seeking to consume the dead. Much like Noah’s flood.

A Biblical Perspective: Left vs. Taken

Thus, when examining these scriptures, it becomes evident that the Bible does not support the idea of a secret rapture for the saved. Instead, it paints a picture where the ones taken are the ones who face destruction, while the saved are "left" to partake of the blessing of the second coming of Jesus.

Far from describing a secret rapture, Jesus was rather emphasizing a separation between the righteous and the wicked at his second coming. Those who are "left" will be those who have accepted Jesus as their Savior and lived righteous lives, while those who are "taken" will be those who have rejected Jesus and continued in their sins.

Further Evidence: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17

This understanding is supported by other passages in the New Testament, such as 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17, which describes the resurrection of the dead and the gathering of believers to meet Jesus in the air. This passage does not mention a secret rapture, but rather a public gathering of all believers at the time of Jesus' return. While the concept of a secret rapture has gained popularity in recent years, it does not find support in the Bible.

A Clear Evaluation of the Secret Rapture

In conclusion, Matthew 24:37-42 offers a clear perspective on this question. It emphasizes the importance of being spiritually prepared for the return of Jesus and warns against misinterpreting the fate of those who are "taken." When approached with a simple and thoughtful perspective, these verses encourage us to be vigilant, live righteous lives, and stand among those who will be "left" to receive God's blessings when the Son of Man returns.

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