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One Taken the Other Left

In Matthew 24:40,41 Jesus says that when He returns two people will be working side by side and He will take one and leave the other.  If this isn't referring to some people being "raptured" while others are left behind to continue living on this earth for another seven years until Jesus comes a "third" time, what does it mean?

If you haven't done so already, click on the verse and read for yourself the context of Jesus' statement. Notice that Jesus likens the conditions that will exist at the time of His return to the conditions that existed at the time the world wide flood occurred in Noah's day.  Though the world had warning while Noah was building the ark, they paid no attention to it.  Thus, Jesus said, "the flood came and took them all away."  All who had not entered the ark with Noah perished in the flood.  "And so also," Jesus said, "will the coming of the Son of Man be." Matthew 24:40,41

In other words, when Jesus returns some will be prepared and others will not.  Those who have prepared themselves by a forever friendship and relationship with Him, Jesus will take to be with Him.  All those "left behind" will perish, just as happened when the flood came.

The gospel of Luke contains a parallel passage which quotes Jesus comparing His return not only to the flood in Noah's day, but also to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah in Abraham's day. Luke 17:26-36  Three times Jesus says, "one will be taken and the other left."  The point He makes in this passage is the same He made in Matthew 24–just as those who failed to follow the angels' warning to get out of Sodom and Gomorrah before those cities were destroyed, perished with them, so too all those who don't have a relationship with God prior to Jesus' return will perish.

Jesus was very clear about this.  Those who are not prepared for His second coming, and are thus "left behind" when He returns, will not go on living for another seven years under any conditions whatsoever.  Because those who are left behind will simply not be left alive.  Anyone who counts on having a "second chance" after Jesus returns is relying upon a dangerous and fatal deception.

Why wait any longer?  Immediately after He said, "one will be taken and the other left," Jesus added, "watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming." Matthew 24:42  In other words, don't wait for a more convenient time to enter into a forever friendship, a personal relationship with God.  That's how we prepare for Jesus' return–by having a relationship with God.  It's the only way to be prepared.  The authors of Left Behind got this part right.  Our presentation on "The Truth of the Spotted Leopard" which can be accessed from our home page discusses in more detail what it means to have a relationship with God, but you don't have to wait.  You can begin or renew a relationship and friendship with God right now if you choose to.

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