“Take heed that no one deceives you.” -Jesus, Matthew 24:4b
Everyone loves a good story of victory over evil. What “Left Behind” brings about is a story of faith, persecution, and victory of those who are faithful to God. You may say that there is nothing wrong with that. You may say that every Christian needs to know that victory will be coming in order to increase their faith. But is there something else that is being left behind in the process?
If I told you that “Left Behind” is more about a story that is to confuse Christians, not to save them… would you listen? Would you even care how end time events will play out? Do you even think it is even relevant to your faith? If I told you that the fallen one (satan) is a master of Scripture and uses it to his advantage in our Christian walk, would you listen then? I know that you are a truth seeker and I pray that those of you that read this, read this with an open mind and heart and know that my heart desires to share what is good for all of us.
There are some Scriptures that are used to support a “secret rapture” by those that teach this theory, but I will focus on a passage that is often used to support this theory so that we may dig deep in understanding and determine whether or not it supports the case. If one part of the equation fails, the whole equation is not solved.
“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 24:40-42
This verse is often used to teach that there is some kind of secret rapture in the end where some people will be mysteriously taken unannounced. However, true Bible-believing Christians have a standard in which they are to understand Scripture. They are to look at context and compare Scripture with other Scripture.
“Whom will he teach knowledge?
And whom will he make to understand the message?
Those just weaned from milk?
Those just drawn from the breasts?
For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept,
Line upon line, line upon line,
Here a little, there a little.” -Isaiah 28:9-10
Knowledge is power. And in this case, knowledge is understanding. Many people take the words of man and because they have not investigated themselves, they believe what he says because it seems to make sense. However, the fallen one is a master of utilizing Scripture against the people of God in order to create confusion and mislead them. In the Garden of Eden, the fallen one twisted the Words of God in enticing Eve. In the ministry of Jesus on this Earth, the fallen one tried to use Scripture to tempt Jesus.
Further investigation should include context. If people who believed Matthew 24:40-42 to be the secret rapture, they should look at the context of the verses. Reading the previous passages help us understand that this will be a time like the days of Noah. What happened to those who were left in “the days of Noah?” They were destroyed. Period. Why would Jesus use an analogy that is totally different if He is trying to help us understand truth. Here is the passage before Matthew 24:40-42.
“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.” Matthew 24:36-39
We can see clearly that “so also will be the coming of the Son of Man” means exactly what it says. Jesus uses this analogy so we can see that the end time will be replicated in a surprising manner too. In Noah’s days, people were warned, but they scoffed at the idea that end was near, carrying on their worldly life until it was over. Today, people of this world also scoff at the idea that Jesus will come to put an end to all this sin.
The secret rapture theory suggests that the people of God will be taken unannounced and then the others will be left to sort out their faith. Those who eventually get it, will be saved but have to go through seven years of persecution on Earth… while the others are in heaven, escaping the persecution. However, if we compare Scripture like we are supposed to do, we will see that the ones who are left are not alive anymore. See this same passage in Luke, but with more information.
“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.”
And they answered and said to Him, “Where, Lord?”
So He said to them, “Wherever the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together.” Luke 17:31-37
So the ones that are left, Jesus specifically calls those who are left, “body.” Why “body” and why are the eagles with the body? What will the eagles be doing with the body?
Again, we must investigate further for understanding. Explaining this on our own with no Scriptural support is irresponsible. In Revelation, speaking specifically about the time of the end, John sees what is happening in a vision and explains it this way:
“Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, ‘Come and gather together for the supper of the great God, that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great.’” -Revelation 19:17-18
Revelation 19:21 concludes, “And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh.”
Now we know what the eagles will be doing. They will be eating the carcasses of all who were left behind.
For me, this is quite simple. Jesus is not coming again for some secret rapture. When Jesus comes again, there will not be a second chance to live through persecution and then be saved. Jesus promises to come again and when He comes again, it will be final for all of us. When Noah closed the door of the ark, it was over for those who were left. They did not live through the flood. When the Lord comes again, it will be over for those who refused to believe.
“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?” -2 Peter 3:9-12
“Thief in the night” does not mean a secret event, but it means an event you don’t expect. Who expects a thief? The “day of the Lord” is the “thief in the night.”
So why is this important to understand? Why should I even care that I believe in this secret rapture or not? How does this affect my faith in Jesus?
The fallen one has a singular goal to deceive God’s people so that he can persuade them to unwillingly look for him instead of Jesus in the end time. Check this out:
“Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand.”
“Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together.” -Matthew 24:23-28. [NOTE: Jesus also says here that the eagles will be gathered around the carcasses (bodies)… further explaining that those left behind will be dead.]
If Jesus is warning us that in the end times the fallen one will try to deceive us, don’t you think it is important for us to study this further? You may say it is not important, but Jesus says, “See, I have told you beforehand.” (v25). He is emphasizing this because He does not want us to be deceived.
Believing that you will be raptured secretly and not have to go through persecution on this Earth creates a sense of complacency among believers. Furthermore, believing that you will still have a second chance after the “secret rapture” creates even more complacency. This is exactly what the fallen one wants from us. The last thing he needs are millions of Christians preparing their hearts and minds for the second coming of Christ.
“For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.” -Matthew 24:21-22
Jesus is telling us that we will go through persecution. He point blank tells us in Matthew 24:9-13. “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.”
Those that believe these will be the people “left behind” have no proof for this. Man has invented this untruth and it is permeating throughout Christianity. Jesus tells us that those who are alive during the end time just before He comes again, will have to go through the tribulation period. However, He encourages us with, “he who endures to the end shall be saved.”
I believe that understanding truth is relevant to our faith. We have spent too much energy trusting what man tells us instead of delving in deep into Scripture to find out what God wants to tells us. The fallen one is determined to get us lost and unless we understand how much so, we will not understand how important it is to know the truth. I pray that you have taken to heart what I have written and at least contemplated what is truth.
I choose victory over sin and I am anxious for the second coming of Christ. But in the process, I’m not going to leave behind the truth that Jesus has given us and believe something else. “Take heed that no one deceives you,” says Jesus. It was important to Jesus that we know this truth so it is important to me to understand it.
A book I highly recommend for further study about this subject. What “Left Behind” Left Behind.