The Rapture has fascinated Christian imaginations since the late 1800’s when an Australian pastor developed the idea. The thought is that at some point in time, God will take all the good people up to heaven while the bad people will remain on earth as it falls to ruin, prey for the myriad apocalyptic disasters mentioned (or even hinted at) in the rest of the bible.
Today’s New Testament passage is one of the foundational texts for this particular line of thought. “Two will be in their field: one will be taken and one left behind.” In fact, Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins named their 16-book premillennial series “Left Behind” after this very verse.
But one large problem is never mentioned by those promoting a Rapture theology. In the verse before, Jesus sets up this passage by talking about Noah and the flood. Did you notice how Jesus framed it? …the flood came and took them all away.” Who was taken away? Not Noah and his family, but the wicked of the world. Noah and his family were the ones left behind. So with Jesus’ own words the whole thought falls apart.
Add to this the other passages they quote from Revelation and we see the whole Rapture collapsing for lack of a foundation. Revelation, rather than talking about God taking His people away, speaks of the redemption of this world that sin has taken hostage. God will redeem this world, creating a New Heaven and a New Earth with a New Jerusalem coming down out of the sky, a symbol of redemption and resurrection.
So before we write off this world as a lost cause that is just going to burn up anyway, let’s re-read our apocalyptic literature throughout the scripture and realize that God’s call is always to redemption, to making right what sin has made wrong, of re-creation. And we get to join Him in that work! Hallelujah!
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