Friday, June 13, 2008

The Rapture of Matthew 24

Now we come to probably the most famous text thought to loudly proclaim this idea of the rapture- Matthew 24:36-43. Has the one "taken" been raptured and the other one "left" been left behind? Upon closer inspection and with a correct historical reading of this text, my belief is otherwise. In 24:37, Matthew states that as it was in Noah's days, so it will be when the Son of Man returns. So, what happened in Noah's days? The ones who were taken were swept away by God's judgment in the great flood. These were the wicked. The ones "left behind" were left behind floating on top of the water, free from judgment. These were the righteous.

So, being taken in Matthew, and in this context, is to be taken for judgment. It has absolutely nothing to do with a pretribulation rapture. In fact, as Ben Witherington puts it: "the ones who are left behind after judgment comes are fortunate and are wiping their brows" out of relief.

My hope is that this helps by convincing and convicting you that there is no rapture nor is there a need to be rapture ready. One of the gravest and potentially harmful errors of this theology is that there is the potential of a second chance. This second chance theology gives one the impression that upon being left behind, one still has a chance to get things right before the final and ultimate second coming of Christ. Unfortunately, for those of us living our lives in a hedonistic sort of way and banking on such a "second chance," I'm sad to say that such a time will never come.

I'll talk more about this second coming in the days ahead, but for now, know that you can't start living the life God wants you to live soon enough.