Jesus Says Those “Left Behind” Are The Lucky Ones (the most ironic thing the movie won’t tell you)

Jesus Says Those “Left Behind” Are The Lucky Ones (the most ironic thing the movie won’t tell you) September 22, 2014

left

In the lead up to the release of the remake of Left Behind hitting theaters in a few weeks, I wanted to take a moment to tell you about the most ironic thing the Left Behind movie (or rapture believers) won’t tell you about getting “left behind.”

The basic premise of the theology is this: the world is going to get progressively worse as “the end” draws near. Before the worst period of time in world history (a seven year period called the “tribulation,” though there’s no verse in the Bible that discusses a seven year tribulation) believers in Jesus are suddenly snatched away during the second coming of Christ (which rapture believers argue is done in secret and without explanation, instead of the public second coming described in scripture).

The entire premise of the theology and the Left Behind movie is based on a passage from Matthew that you’ll see in the official Left Behind image included to your left. The passage states:

“Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken and the other left”.

And this is where we get the term “left behind”… Jesus said “one shall be taken and the other left.”

Pretty simple, no? It appears from this passage that Jesus is describing an event where some people actually do “get taken” and the others are “left behind.” It must be a rapture then.

Or maybe not.

As I have explained before, the chapter of Matthew 24 is a chapter where Jesus describes the events that will lead up to the destruction of the temple which occurred in AD 70. That’s not so much my scholarly opinion as it is what Jesus plainly states in the first few verses of Matthew 24; it is a context pretty difficult to explain away since Jesus says “this temple will be destroyed” and his disciples ask, “please, tell us when this will happen.” The rest of the discourse is Jesus prophesying the events that will lead up to the temple’s destruction, which we know historically unfolded as Jesus had predicted. (As I have alluded to in What Jesus Talked About When He Talked About Hell and Don’t Worry The Tribulation Is In The Past, if one does not understand the significance of the destruction of the temple to ancient Judaism, one will have a very hard time understanding what Jesus talks about when he talks about “the end.”)

Anyhow, during the end of this discourse in Matthew we hit the “rapture” verse: “one will be taken and one will be left.” Surely, this part must be about the future, and Jesus MUST be describing a rapture. Since that’s what my childhood pastor taught me, it’s probably a good idea to stick with that.

Just one problem: Matthew 24 isn’t the only place where Jesus talks about “some being taken and some being left behind.” Jesus also discusses this in Luke 17 when he says:

 “I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. 35 Two women will be grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left.”

Building a compelling case for the rapture yet? Not quite. Check this out: Jesus’ disciples in the Luke version of the discourse must have been interested in this left behind stuff, because they ask a critical followup question. However, they actually seem more concerned with those who were “taken” than those who were “left behind” and ask Jesus for a little more information on this whole getting taken away stuff.

“Where, Lord?” is the question of the disciples. Where did all of these people go??

If this were a passage about the “rapture” as depicted in the Left Behind movie, one would expect Jesus to answer something to the point of “they were taken to be with me to wait out the tribulation.” But, that’s not what Jesus says. Instead, Jesus gives them a blunt answer about those who were “taken”: “just look for the vultures, and you’ll find their bodies.” (v37)

That’s right. The ones who were “taken” were killed. Not exactly the blessed rapture.

The Roman occupation was brutal, and when they finally sacked the city and destroyed the temple in AD70, things got impressively bloody. To be “taken” as Jesus prophesied, was to be killed by the invading army. This is precisely why, in this passage and the Matthew version, Jesus gives all sorts of other advice that makes no sense if this is a verse about the rapture. Jesus warns that when this moment comes one should flee quickly– to not even go back into their house to gather their belongings– and laments that it will be an especially difficult event for pregnant and nursing mothers. He even goes on to warn them that if they respond to the army with resistance (the very thing that causes the mess in the lead-up to AD70), they’ll just get killed (“whoever seeks to save his life will lose it”). Jesus, it seems, wants his disciples to get it: when the Roman army comes, flee quickly or else you might not be left behind!

Surely, Jesus is not talking about a rapture. He’s not warning people to avoid missing the rapture because they went home to get their possessions… he’s talking about fleeing an advancing army and not doing anything stupid that will get them killed (v 30-34).

Very practical advice for his original audience and would have come in handy for those who wanted to avoid being “raptured” (slaughtered) by the Roman army.

And so my friends, this is the most ironic thing the Left Behind movie won’t tell you: in the original “left behind” story Jesus tells in the Gospels, the ones who are “left behind” are actually the lucky ones.

So the next time folks tell you that they don’t want to be “left behind,” you might want to tell them to be careful what they wish for.


Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


TRENDING AT PATHEOS Progressive Christian
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Kayla

    Hey there, Benjamin,
    Millennial here who grew up in a Southern Baptist church and attended a small Bible college here in Dallas, still dealing with the fallout from realizing many things that I was taught are harmful and wrong. Whenever I read things that are contrary to doctrine that I had engrained into my head, I always wonder what the fundamentalist response would be to your evidence. In my own journey, I’m still trying to figure out if I should jump back in to corporate worship with a progressive church or give myself more time to heal, so I don’t really feel like opening up those wounds and reaching out to that community for a rebuttal. How do they, in general, respond to evidence like this, where it seems pretty black and white in regards to interpretation?

    Edit: just realized that my identification as a millennial might have come across differently than I intended, which was to name my generation/give an age range for myself

  • Ron McPherson

    Ben,

    You’re seriously messing with my fundamental dispensationalist pretribulation, premillennial upbringing. Geez, I’m going to get my Scofield Bible and take you to task for that. Seriously though, thank you for forcing me to grapple with my own preconceived assumptions. I often feel like the apostle Paul when he wrote, “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” I love your blog because it forces me to think outside of my manmade religious box.
    I loved your book, Undiluted, so much that I actually hijacked our small group discussion with it by reading aloud some of the hard hitting passages. Problem is, I now no longer have the book, because a lady from the group confiscated it to read it herself she was so intrigued. Sorry about that. I probably cost you a sale by loaning it to her. God bless : )

    Ron

  • Gordie LaChance

    Kayla, I’ll jump in if you don’t mind. I imagine it really depends on the church. My former church (a huge, well-known Dallas church with a celebrity pastor) found out I believed and taught very similar eschatology and I was removed from membership in the church. One staff member (the “theological guru” as he was called) even told me he didn’t think I was a believer. (Side-note: I was in no way being divisive, just presenting evidence as Ben does here and quoting NT Wright and RC Sproul)

    I imagine smaller churches handle this better, or have the potential to. Large churches like my former church have so much to protect (or believe they do) and thus theological boxes are necessary to maintain their control. Sometimes you get caught in the crossfire. There’s a lot of fear new ideas that make people think they’re losing control of their vision, their ministry.

  • Yeah, I’m a pretrib, rapture, type too, though very early on I adopted my uncle’s label, “pan millenialist” (sp?) because it all pans out in the end! I learned this theology right after I learned to read. I have been curious about the deconstruction of rapture theology, and how traditional Christianity views the end times so thank you for this.

    Statistics say that violence is really decreasing in the world. And I wonder if the second coming will happen when the “mustard seed” of the Kingdom reaches maturity.

    Thank you for the clarity and education that you bring to these posts. I want to get your book. Blessings…

  • Why have I never noticed or heard Luke 17:37 before. Why…

  • Gordie LaChance

    John Noe’s “Shattering the Left Behind Delusion” is a good, quick read.

  • Well, sounds like my daughter is eating Ramen Noodles again tonight. Good job, lady from small group ;-)

  • Because they don’t want you to know that it is there :)

  • Guy Norred

    I immediately thought the same thing

  • Gordie LaChance

    So I check and see that Noe’s book is out of print.

    Christianity’s Great Dilemma by Glen Hill is a good one too:

    http://www.amazon.com/Christianitys-Great-Dilemma-Jesus-Coming/dp/1453873740

  • Hahaha. I don’t think I even noticed this when I read Luke on my own. I guess that shows how much our pre-conceived notions can affect (distort?) what a text is actually saying.

  • Dan Roth

    We may not agree on all details, but we definitely agree on this – this passage is not a support of rapture theology. Jesus says in verse 39 that those who are taken away will be like those who were taken away by the flood in the story of Noah. And in the story of Noah, those taken away by the flood were definitely not “the good guys”.

  • They would say I am wrong because in the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24) Jesus says “and you will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds in judgement”, and they would say this obviously has not happened yet, thus the whole passage is about the future. The problem with this, is Jesus is quoting OT symbolism for God bringing judgement. There are other passages that talk about God coming in the clouds, walking on the clouds, etc., which are always interpreted symbolically. However, when the “literalist” gets to Matthew 24, they stop interpreting the symbolism and argue it must be taken literally. I would argue for a consistent interpretation: it is symbolic of God’s judgement which came on Jerusalem with the destruction of their temple, which to them, was the end of the world. Jesus himself hints at this coming judgement when he weeps over the city prior to his death.

  • Ed Taylor

    Most of the tribulation timeline junk comes from Daniel. Some people have made such an art of interpreting it, that they know exactly how many days after the treaty with Israel is signed that Jesus will return, etc. The silliness of all of that makes my head hurt.

  • Mike

    It was probably just translated very differently when you read it. I have no idea what translation “just look for the vultures, and you’ll find their bodies” might come from.

    The statement is also placed earlier in Matthew’s parallel account before the bit about one being taken and another left.

  • Gordie LaChance

    Yeah, I always ask which version is the true version of the coming:
    the one where every eye will see?
    the one where he’s riding a horse?
    the one where he’s riding a cloud?
    the one where he comes as quickly as lightning flashes from the west to the east?

  • Craig

    I, too, am unlearning an uber dispensationalism. I was even in a group that glorified E. W. Bullinger, a dispensationalist’s dispensationalist. What eschatology do you align with now? Is there a primer on it?

  • In Aramaic Peshitta, one is kind of seized, one is left. The same word which is being used in targums, when angels force take Lot & family out of Sodom. It’s close to some police arrest term. I know this causes some theology quake, but Jesus says Matt.13:30 “gather the tares 1st” and I have been thinking these two passages have a connection. Anyway, nice post, thank you!

  • Benjamin, Thanks for this clear understanding of the “taken away/left behind” scriptures. I knew about the Noah reference and the Matthew passage, too. I didn’t know about the movie, however. Thanks for the heads-up.
    A terrific great book on end times and the rapture stuff is Understanding Eschatology by Rob Dalrymple. Well written and organized, easy to understand.
    Loved Undiluted. Have recommended it several times, so no more ramen for you!

  • Alan Christensen

    KJV: “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.” Which seems more cryptic than the version Benjamin cited. The end times writers I’m familiar with certainly don’t give that verse much attention.

  • RS

    Can you be any more wrong…. There is a stricter Judgement for those that twist scripture!

  • Ron McPherson

    You realize that Ben’s view is way more in line with historical Christianity, right? Secret rapture theology did not get in full swing until the 19th century. That twisting scripture thing goes both ways so you may want to proceed with caution there. I want to be cautious accusing others of twisting scripture lest I myself am the guilty party. And coming on the forum condemning the author without scripturally refuting any of his points doesn’t win anybody over. If your motive is sincerely trying to help people come to the knowledge of the truth, would you then not provide the information instead of just using a hit and run approach without telling him where he erred?

  • Karen Zandstra

    I’ve always gone back and forth with this, and I have felt for sometime now that may not be all that correct. But here is a question for you. On the Seconding Coming, in John 14 Jesus is comforting His disciples by telling them that in His Fathers house are many mansions, (dwelling places my translation says) if it were not so, I would have told you for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am there you may also be.
    So what does this mean? Because we know He didn’t come back for the disciples…so has he already come? What does this mean for us? Why would He tell the disciples He was coming back for them if He knew that His second coming was way in the future?

  • Matt

    Hi Ben, can you explain Matthew 24:28. Jesus says the exact same phrase about the vultures and the corpses but not in the same context as Luke 17. Instead of the one taken and one left it is false Christs and the quickness of his coming. I would be interested in your thoughts on this. Could this phrase be cryptic or a proverb known to his audience?

  • John A. C. Kelley

    Jewish tradition says that when you die, you don’t go to judgement, you wait in the grave for judgement, which is sheol in Hebrew and hades in Greek. Those two words are generally translated to hell. The incorrect beliefs of hell in American Christianity is a whole separate topic though. Hell isn’t eternal fire, hell is the waiting place for judgement and after judgement you either “perish” (are completely destroyed forever) or you are gifted eternal life in heaven according to scripture. There is no eternal torment, that is from Dante’s Inferno, not scripture. Long story short, the disciples may very well be waiting in “hell” or their graves for the second coming of Christ depending on your interpretation.

  • James Ellis

    You are absolutely right. The “vultures” in the Greek can also be “eagles.” This can also be symbolic for the Roman armies that attacked Jerusalem and the temple in 66-70 AD. In any case it is judgment and death. Can I mention my book on these ideas?

  • Thanks…I’ve got one critiquing the rapture theology in my bookshelf . Just haven’t read it yet.

  • Most people believe the “destruction” of the temple is a past event, but the introduction to Isaiah, 1560 Geneva bible states, ”

    “And in reading of the Prophets, this one thing among others is to be observed, that they speak of things to come as though they were now past, because of the certainty thereof, and that they
    could not but come to pass, because God had ordained them in his secret counsel, and so revealed them to his Prophets. ”

    “…they [speak of things to come] {as if they were now past.}”

    The prophets wrote in the past tense about future events according to this introduction. People we think are historical were not even born yet.

    Isaiah 46:10, “….telling the end from the beginning…”

    http://www.genevabible.org/Geneva.html

  • How about addressing the points in the post instead of using fear and making threats to try and persuade people?

    Also, what you said isn’t in the bible. You’re adding to scripture while trying to accuse someone else of twisting it…

  • The Greek is ἀετός, which has been translated both as “eagle” and “vulture.” But from what I understand of eagles, they are also willing to eat carrion when the opportunity presents itself, so which bird exactly is meant is perhaps a moot point.

    And yeah, I feel like most people just disregard verse 37. Especially but not exclusively those who want to present being taken away as a good thing.

  • There is in Scripture a warning that teachers will be judged more harshly, which is not at all the same thing as what RS is trying to say. And also a warning specifically about editing the Revelation to John, which often gets grossly misinterpreted (though even that one doesn’t say anything about a stricter penalty).

  • Artistree

    Ben, you said, “There are other passages that talk about God coming in the clouds, walking on the clouds, etc., which are always interpreted symbolically”.

    So true. A couple of those passages that you mention are, Isaiah 19:1 , where Egypt is judged, “Behold the Lord is riding on a swift cloud and comes to Egypt…”

    Also Jeremiah 4:13-14, where God uses the Babylonians to judge apostate Jerusalem in 586 BC on the 9th of Av, ” Behold He shall come like a cloud, and His chariots like a whirlwind, for His horses swifter than eagles”.
    Interestingly, when Jerusalem was destroyed the Romans in 70 AD, it was the 9th of AV.

  • louismoreaugottschalk

    is it a fear & joy 2 ‘know’ one is ‘in’ & others are out? also that one has trusted an ‘authority’ that interprets in order to control by fear & one is in agreement w/ that autority.

  • dwightnave

    Aetos in Koine Greek can only mean eagles. There are no Koine Greek literature that ever translates aetos as vultures. Jonathan Edwards made this commentary on the verse making the correct understanding of the word and btw, Jonathan Edwards knew his Koine Greek, “That this tribulation should be suffered from Rome, or in the spiritual Babylon, is signified by Christ, in ver. 28. ” Wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together:” the tribulation is by the eagles, i.e. the Roman powers preying on the carcasses of Israel. (The Works of Jonathan Edwards v.VI, p. 1071)

  • Very interesting! I dumped the popular pretrib rapture stuff back in college pretty soon after I found out that there were actually other options. But I never got much further than that as far as figuring out eschatology. All the talk about amill, premill, post-trib, pretrib, preterism (outside of orthodoxy?), partial preterism, and next thing you know, there’s a traffic jam in my brain! :(

    But anyway, as others have stated, I can’t believe I never noticed Luke 17:37!

  • This is great! I’ve never heard it analyzed this way. Thank you! And thanks to @ic_greg for sharing the link.

  • ERSchindler

    Yes, in my mind, Jesus’ explicit reference to the Noah story poses the strongest argument against this Rapture nonsense.

  • ERSchindler

    Yes, the more accurate “eagles” translation referring to the Roman armies is key!!

  • Brandon Roberts

    wow did not know this! this was an awesome article.

  • escuzme

    Wonder how much money the Left Behind empire has brought in so far, all premised on Jesus as the divine kidnapper. Will he employ the help of Santa at all?

  • Matthew

    I would agree Ron. Benjamin is going straight to the Scriptures and attempting to illustrate a different eschatological paradigm. It is challenging me as well.

  • Realist1234

    Debateable.

  • John A. C. Kelley

    Debatable in modern culture and interpretation? Yes. Debatable with what the early church is recorded to believe? Not so much.

  • Realist1234

    I think all of it is debatable. Revelation, for example, gives the impression of the ‘saints’ being aware of some things, and not exactly ‘sleeping’ as we understand sleep. And the truth should not depend on what the early church thought (Peter incorrectly initially thought some of the food laws still applied etc) but rather what Scripture says. But that is indeed open to interpretation all down the ages.

  • John A. C. Kelley

    Jesus along with the Jews who wrote the Tanakh (Old Testament) and the early Christians all believed that when we die, we “sleep” until judgement day. The only reason that belief is no longer common is because of the Dante’s Inferno, the militarization of Christianity through Constantine, and the hierarchical systematic take over of the Roman Catholics. Before those things happened: Hell was a waiting place and judgement meant heaven or non-existence, Christianity was peaceful and laid it’s life down no matter what, and everyone was equal under Christ. You can debate whether they were right or wrong, but in doing so, you inevitably say that the writers of the Bible were wrong and even that Jesus was wrong. Jesus said himself that Lazarus was merely sleeping.

  • What does it matter? Prophecy can’t be read as a timeschedule for the local train, isn’t it? I think it’s not meant to reveal the details of future things (although it could reveal them, but not as mayor but a minor theme), but to wake us up to lift our eyes uphigh and to focus on the fulfilling of God’s plan with mankind. The different interpretations might have the same effect on our lives. If they confuse us, it is because we loose sight on the higher purpose.

  • krislang

    How do you reconcile the fact that in Luke 17:37, there is no mention of dead bodies and the word Jesus uses that the NIV translates “vultures” is actually eagles?

  • Guthrum

    We know that 7 is considered an important, symbolic number in the Bible. With the tribulation, there is a period of seven years that will actually be divided into two periods of 3.5 years. See Daniel, chapter 9 , and Revelation – opening of the seals which will signal the beginning of the great tribulation. Bible scholars know that 7 main events will occur before the day of judgement: Restored state of Israel – done; global economy – began about 30 years or so ago with trade agreements;technology – started with super conductor chip; world government – i.e. UN, World Bank, NATO, the economic summit conferences; rise of middle east power – Iran with nuclear power; church in state of apostacy – can anyone really doubt the apostate condition today’s church is in ? Look at the mainline denominations in the US – most no longer preach the Bible and even deny basic Christian doctrines (see EC in US for prime example of today’s apostate church leadership) ; rebuilding or firm plans to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. All but the last have been fulfilled.
    In October will be the second of four blood moons (signs and portents in the sky), an event even affirmed by NASA ! See the video and read the book “The Four Blood Moons” by Pastor Hagee. You will be shocked, amazed! There are some good videos with Pastor Hagee answering questions about this important event that can easily be found on the internet. The four blood moons will culminate next year and has always been accompnied by an important event.
    I used to not go in for these sort of Biblical end time prophecies. But a while back a friend invited me to a special Bible prophecy seminar. My interest has grown ever since. Few pastors will delve into this area.
    No doubt about it, we are in the last days !

  • LowEndOperative✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

    It’s impossible to kidnap that which is already yours.

  • Caspian

    Very interesting…

    And actually, even in the Matthew chapter, Christ eludes to
    the ones ‘taken away’ (not left behind). In the verses just proceeding verse 40, Jesus is referring to the flood of Noah. He states in verse 39 “…and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away.”

    In this context, the ones ‘left behind’ would be Noah and his family, the ones ‘taken away’ we’re those that died in the flood.

    The one verse that still lends itself to rapturous thinking is verse 31. “ And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.”

    Ben, you’ve been spending much time knocking the legs out from the ‘rapture’ table. It would be much appreciated if you could present the alternative. From a scriptural standpoint, how do you
    envision the second coming? Perhaps a separate blog post?

  • KentonS

    Some day we should get together and swap Dallas church stories. Are you still in Big D?

  • Sabra

    Hey!

    Really enjoy reading anything that challenges what Christians have been told by their elders in repetition. But to me it seems obvious that Jesus is speaking of the destruction of the temple and the signs that will occur before His second coming. He is not stating these signs are going to take place before the destruction of the temple.

    You also used the reference of one man standing in a field and one taken and tried to connect it to the times leading up to the destruction of the temple. However the few following verses clearly state that its about the second coming of Christ the Son.

    40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.
    42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.

    Also addressing the tribulation period of 7 years you’re absolutely right it’s not stated anywhere in the Bible and here’s a great article that goes more in depth in explaining that.

    http://gracethrufaith.com/end-times-prophecy/there-is-no-seven-year-tribulation/

    Best wishes and God bless! :)

  • KentonS

    If’n you don’t mind my .02: I don’t think his audience thought it was cryptic at all. In their minds the concept of “Christ” (“Messiah”) was not something that meant “a person who would be a sacrifice for sins.” No, for them “Christ” meant “someone who would lead a military/political revolt and liberate Judea from (Roman) oppression.”

    And a lot of guys tried to be just that. Their failure made them false messiahs. You can read about Simon bar Giora in Wikipedia. He was the one who had everyone holed up Jerusalem as it fell.

  • Luke 17 “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst.” I think Jesus means the Kingdom of God is not coming in the future, it is here now. It exists in the hearts of those who believe in it.

  • Gordie LaChance

    Yup. And at another big church. Haha. Although this time the decision was made for wiser reasons.

  • Chris Crawford

    Whoa…obviously, RS needs to hope he’s wrong then. :)

  • Solo712

    Hi Ben, funny thing, I have always read the Lukan vultures as feasting on the bodies of those “that are left”. FWIW, Mark’s(13:26-27) and Matt’s (24:30-31) idea of the rapture is derived from Paul’s 1 Th 4:16-17 (Mt 24:43 even elaborates Paul`s saying of the Lord coming as a thief in the night of 1 Th 5:2). Matt and Luke then add the saying of the ones taken (living) and the other left behind (dead) which appears to come from another strand of tradition attested by Thomas (whether he was the original source is debatable – I happen to think it is) #61 : Jesus said: Two will rest upon a bed; one will die, the other live. Salome said:
    Who are you, man, whose son? You have mounted my bed and eaten from my table.
    Jesus said to her: I am he who comes forth from the one who is equal; I was
    given of the things of my Father. I am your disciple.
    Therefore I say: If he is equal, he is full of light,
    but if he is divided, he will be full of darkness.

  • Soli Gloria

    Sure doesn’t sound like hell in these passages:

    2 Cor. 5:8, “we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. ”

    Luke 23:43, “And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.””

    Philippians 1: 23 But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better;

  • ALLauer

    I’m not a literalist by any means, but I must admit I never thought about it this way either. I went to Gordon and remember being taught to question what I believe and why, but apparently I didn’t learn that lesson as well as I thought I had. I will have to check the campus bookstore while I’m there for the reunion next month to see if I can find any of your books.

  • escuzme

    Isn’t it possible for a parent to kidnap their own child?

  • That’s really great Ben!

  • Jonathan Bernier

    Sigh. As someone who comes from the Plymouth Brethren and weaned on Darbyite theology, I once again apologize to the world for giving it the Rapture. Such utter bullcrap, that theology is.

  • Jonathan Bernier

    I’m sure you think you’re very clever, but of course that wasn’t the point of escuzme’s post. The point is there is a certain terrorism to the Rapture-God. This is a god who promises to, without warning, steal away fathers, mothers, and children from their family. This theology leads to such disturbing material as the Left Behind for Kids series, which tells children that one day they might be abandoned by their parents…and that it would be God’s will, and it would be a good thing, and that moreover they are to blame because if they had accepted Jesus they would have been taken too. Tell me that isn’t psychological abuse. I spent years in crippling terror at the thought of being left behind. None of it was productive or necessary, and certainly not healthy. It was the result of abusive language inflicted on me as a child.

    Now, I know where fundies go: you’ll respond with “Well, it’s not abuse or terrorism if it’s the truth.” First, that’s utter BS: a true statement can be uttered in an abusive or terrifying way. Second, I’m not convinced that something unthought of before the 19th century and today held by a really quite small percentage of Christians globally qualifies unquestionably as the truth.

  • Jonathan Bernier

    It matters because it causes a lot of heartache. I left my fundamentalist upbringing the better part of fifteen years ago. I hold a Ph.D. from a major research institute. I know that the premillennial Rapture is utter doctrinal bunk. Yet I still panic sometimes if I’m with someone and we get separated and I can’t find them. For a moment I think “OMG. The Rapture was true, and I missed it. I’ve been left behind!” Then I think, no, that’s silly. It matters because these sort of teachings are destructive and can cause a lifetime of anxiety and panic.

  • Jason Gardner

    We might also attribute a great deal of hell-as-punishment to Jewish apocalyptic works. Some of the depictions therein are downright terrifying! I would look also to apocrypha that postdate the NT–also some terrifying imagery there–that likely fed tradition over time.

  • Th

    Lol I hope this was a joke. :-) The worker is worth his wages. (Luke 10:7). But if you’re like most of us (almost anyone doing anything significant for the World right now has no $) then those things are loaded to the brim with stupid amounts of sodium! Keep your daughter’s Heart as healthy as possible! You’d be amazed how much rice and/or spaghetti you can get in the place of ramen noodles. :)

  • Guthrum

    “The Four Blood Moons” explains in detail and plain language what the Bible says about today’s events in the middle east . It is up to date and educational, also fascinating. There is more interest today in Biblical prophesies because of the middle east.
    Attacks on Israel and Christians have been predicted. It is all coming together.

  • Sabra

    It is not a kidnapping or a terrible, horrific event. To be taken up unto God and given new, perfected bodies so that we will not have to suffer the destruction of our broken world before the creation of a New Earth and New Heavens is our greatest hope.( 1 Cor. 15:51-53, Isaiah 65:17, Romans 8:21, 2 Peter 3:13) Perfected bodies with clean hearts on a perfect Earth and Heaven without the curse of sin or death. That is the plan God has for humanity, that is what He wants for every living soul. Look around the world, look what humanity has made of this world. Slaughter on a daily basis, rape, greed, selfishness, so often we all hurt ourselves and others without even realizing it. That is what human knowledge has given us repeatedly throughout history. There is goodness in us too, everyone has in their hearts the potential of Love. But too often we choose a path that “seems” better to our earthly eyes. Too often we our led astray or distracted. Every person with their own agenda, everyone thinking they are right. But we are mere men trying to challenge a God bigger than the universe He created. We constantly think like ignorant children that we know better than our Creator. God wants to leave all that behind, and wipe away our every tear, he does not want humanity to be perpetually dying and suffering on this Earth for all eternity. What kind of God would do that? The Rapture is the greatest event for any believer to look forward to. And the words of prophecy have been in the Bible since before the 19th century. It is very clear Jesus came, died for us, was resurrected and then assured His followers He would be back. It is what all of creation has been yearning for. Romans 8:22-25 says it perfectly

    “For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. 23 And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. 24 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees?”

    Like pains of childbirth, everything that we have suffered and persevered in this world is leading to the birth of a new world. And it specifically states that this hasn’t happened yet. It’s saying yes Jesus has come and paid for our sins and we have just tasted the Spirit of what is to come but the complete redemption of this world and our bodies/ souls is something we still hope for.

  • Well, I understand your problem, but has it to do with the pre-trib rapture-thing? In that schedule no believer can miss the rapture ….
    So why are you afraid of Jesus overlooking you?

  • The Four Blood Moons is junk theology as part of a money making scheme. In addition, it’s actually divination something Christians should stay away from.

  • Guthrum

    Many people today are interested and fascinated in propthetic scripture. If a pastor wants to attract a lot of people, just offer a series of sermons and seminars about it. Most seminaries are not even teaching it, so many beginning pastors are unprepared and will not know what to do when church members ask them about end time Biblical prophesies and what the books of Daniel and Revelation have to say. Most churches and mainline denominations stay away from it, to the detriment of their members. I suggest that people and most pastors seek out churches where the Biblical prophesies are taught with clear understanding.

  • True Bible scholars don’t subscribe to this at all; those who subscribe to thinking they know what will happen subscribe to this. No one knows what events will occur, nor what time Jesus will return, as Jesus himself stated.

  • John A. C. Kelley

    Funny how none of those passages mention hell…

  • John A. C. Kelley

    With all due respect, the apocryphal books as well as the Gnostic gospels are for the most part Gnostic works and therefore are obviously based on Gnosticism. Gnosticism is not Jewish tradition; Gnosticism believes that the god of the Old Testament or Tanakh is evil and that the snake in the creation story was the true benevolent deity. It also believes that flesh is utterly depraved and that Jesus wasn’t flesh because all things that are physical are evil; they believe that Jesus merely appeared as flesh. They also employ the extra- (some may even say anti-) Biblical concept of our souls all having immortality rather than immortality being a gift from God on judgement day. To use the Apocrypha or the Gnostics to explain Biblical tradition is to butcher and skew Biblical tradition into the separate tradition that is Gnosticism.

  • Jeff Preuss

    “I suggest that people and most pastors seek out churches where the Biblical prophesies are taught with clear understanding.”

    This statement is ironic, because you’re imploring believers to seek out churches that teach about the prophesies which are all conjecture and unclear predictions (which have been sloppily applied to many events for the last 100 years and more as “proof” of the end times) with clear understanding. Omens, portents, and prophesies are by their very nature unclear and indistinct if they have a message to convey. And the “clearest” ones often do not come true.

    Bottom line: there is no church with a clear understanding of what the prophetic passages of the Bible mean, because there is no benefit of hindsight for prophesized events that have not happened, and may not ever happen.

  • Jeff Preuss

    I was shocked and amazed at how beautiful the Blood Moon was when I photographed it the last time.

    The idea of a “blood moon” serving as an omen of the coming of the end times comes from the Book of Joel, where it is written “the sun will turn into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes.”

    See, the thing is, there have been blood moons before, and there will be blood moons after. Those who attribute this tetrad of blood moons as signifying the endtimes have also said that the 7 years of tribulation were to begin in 2008, culminating in the return of Jesus in 2015. Um, okay.

    Also, these magical tetrads have occurred repeatedly throughout recorded history, so there is nothing that makes them stand out as definitely signifying the end times this time.

    http://earthsky.org/space/what-is-a-blood-moon-lunar-eclipses-2014-2015#tetrad Go to the section titled “How common is a tetrad of total lunar eclipses?”

  • Jason Gardner

    Jewish apocalyptic hardly qualifies as Gnostic; as for the post-NT works I had in mind (granted I didn’t provide specific references) I was not referring to Gnostic literature. There are apocalyptic works from the first couple of centuries CE that show a developing view of the underworld and existence there, a picture that is worse that what it depicted in the canonical scriptures. You can’t ignore the Apocrypha and pseudepigrapha in understanding the development of Jewish conceptions of the underworld and afterlife (as well as other elements of their theology and belief).

  • escuzme

    Amen Jonathon. Well said. It is terror disguising itself as…of God. It reminds me of the person taking the fish from the sea in order to “save it.” Don”t thinks it’s what Jesus would do.

  • John A. C. Kelley

    I apologize, I completely misread what you said and it is solely my fault. I read apocryphic rather than apocalyptic.

  • Brad

    Wow, Kenton. Swapping stories is a great idea. I have several stories from Dallas churches. From Baptist to Russian Orthodox. Hmmm

  • craig take a look at preterist.org

  • Love it! Hard to go wrong in biblical interpretation when we place it squarely in the context of the Roman Empire and its predations, as you’ve done here.

  • Realist1234

    So when Jesus was transfigured and spoke with Moses and Elijah, they had just been woken from their unconscious ‘sleep’? That must have been a shock! The reality is you can’t be sure of anything about the ‘afterlife’ because the Bible itself is unclear.

  • Jason Gardner

    No worries! I suspected a misreading, but offered a reply just in case. I would still maintain the importance of the apocrypha and pseudepigrapha for understanding ever-evolving Jewish theology.

  • John A. C. Kelley

    I would disagree purely because the apocrypha isn’t part of the Jewish theology, it’s part of Gnostic theology, which is distinctly separate. It is, in a way, a form of Jewish theology, but it is exceedingly twisted and separate.

  • You and I agree on one thing, at the very least: it’s a shame that so few pastors will delve into this area. Surely their silence has encouraged the great deal of nonsense that keeps cropping up – including over a dozen predicted dates for the Rapture that have already come and gone, while the Church remains.

  • Moonpoint

    i thought maybe you’d (or anyone reading this comment) would interested in this article about how hell is leaving the bible, but so is “forever”
    http://www.tentmaker.org/articles/Hell_is_Leaving_the_Bible_Forever.html

  • Michael Peele

    I agree with the concept, though my thinking is the ones who were “left behind” were left behind for buzzard bait, often by crucifixion. And it was the ones taken went into slavery. Or at least that’s how I read it. Peace.

  • Adam

    This would be a good topic for your podcast.

  • Adam

    I’ll buy your book if you do ;)

  • Jonathan Bernier

    You have conveniently ignored the issue under discussion, namely the message being delivered about those who are “Left Behind.”

  • Wesley Rostoll

    Every time someone says “blood moon” somewhere in the world a theologian poo’s in his pants a little.

  • Randy White

    The problem is that only the uninformed use Matthew 24 as a defense of pre-trib rapture. You’ve built a straw man. Matthew doesn’t contain teaching about the rapture, it contains teaching about the tribulation and beyond. Responsible proponents (or attackers) of the pre-trib view base their teaching on other passages.

  • VerbalKint

    Like many of the things Jesus said, what Mr. Corey states can absolutely be true yet there could still be future prophecy involved (FTR I’m a non-denominational Christian who wouldn’t fit in with most denominations because of my idiosyncratic beliefs; I’m not sure where I stand on literal interpretations of a Second Coming). For instance, when Jesus talks about the destruction of “the temple” most Christians realize that he is discussing both the Jewish temple AND the temple of His earthly body. This is most explicitly noticeable in Jesus’ remarks to the Pharisees about “raising” the destroyed temple after three days’ time. That being said, this was a challenging and thought-provoking piece and I thank him for writing it.

  • Jeremy S. Crenshaw

    Yes, but to make NT eschatology completely past is just as much in error as to make it all futuristic.

  • Brian Johnson

    Actually, the disciples asked THREE questions, and Jesus answered all of them in a discourse that requires some unraveling by also referencing Revelation, Daniel, and the Thessalonian letters. God does require us to STUDY to show ourselves approved, not just open, glance, and go, “Oh, I can now explain theology to the masses.”

    Which means your claim that Jesus was simply describing the destruction of the temple in answer to the disciples’ question is incorrect. So the entire foundation for your entire article misses the point and fails to show itself approved.

  • You’re right about needing to study. I should probably go spend a few years in seminary to do that. Maybe I could even get some fancy letters after my name if I work hard enough.

  • Charlie Rizzo

    As I view the world since 1948 and 1967 and 9/11 I’d say Israel’s rebirth, and the significance of Jerusalem is the biggest “coincidence” I have ever seen. With one fell swoop you have simplistically invalidated the Apostles, the first 3 centuries of the church re Christ’s return, and last but not least failing to distinguish between literal and hyper-literal. Your strawman argument is obvious….let’s spiritualize when it suits and be literal…..I.E. “this generation” when it suits. Tim LaHaye does not speak for me.Sorry my brother….James 3:1- Not many [of you] should become teachers ([a]self-constituted censors and reprovers of others), my brethren, for you know that we [teachers] will be judged by a higher standard and with greater severity [than other people; thus we assume the greater accountability and the more condemnation],AMP — or don’t you believe we will “answer” for our careless words or teaching? Or was that just for 70 A.D. as well? I have some dear Christian friends who have embraced the “preterist” view. I think they are wrong….I do not arrogantly mock them….grow up.

  • Cindy

    Benjamin, you are as wrong as you can be, having taken so much scripture out of context. Satan knows a lot of scripture, also and can twist it just as well as you have.

  • If by “twisting” you actually mean “gave a very basic historical exegesis consistent with the dominant thought throughout Church history and the vast majority of theologians today”, I totally agree with you.

  • Cindy

    Nope! I, of course, mean you are wrong, misinterpret it all, and you don’t know what you’re talking about. Plain and simple, sir.

  • Okay then, how about an alternative instead of a drive by comment? If Christians have been wrong for 1800 years on this, please explain why you feel they have been wrong. Dissenting comments without actual content don’t help people move forward. Where have I misinterpreted?

  • Cindy appears to have created this account specifically to make these oh-so-helpful comments. Curious…

  • Nic

    My Dad mentioned once that he thought the Second Coming was not an event fixed in time. His theory was that, given that God created the universe, it follows that God is not bound by the universal laws and dimensions (mass,
    energy, time etc.). Thus the Second Coming is outside of time, happening in past and present and future simultaneously just as God himself is – individual people take part in it when they die and leave their physical bodies, but the event never quite meets the physical world…

    (I’m probably explaining it badly, as Dad died a while back so I can’t check I’m remembering his reasoning correctly)

  • beenthere

    I couldn’t imagine anybody telling a child that they could be left behind. we who know the words of Jesus, suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not. for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven…. So Jonathan. I’m asking you why were you frightened?

  • By the way, Cindy, I thought Benjamin’s question is straight forward. Where did he get his interpretation wrong?

  • Dont fall into Brian Johnson’s trap, Benjamin. He is just trying to make you make you angry by indirectly saying your Biblically ignorant… I would have expected him to deal with your argument but he has decided to go after your personality… Can’t Christians discuss without threats and personality attacks

  • Peter Llewellyn

    Spot on Benjamin. I would add that οἱ ἀετοὶ ἐπισυναχθήσονται in Luke 17:37 is a deliberate Lukan play on the fact that “Eagles” refers both to the scavenging of corpses, and to the Roman aquilae. Too many Lukan commentators miss the fact that the European Golden eagle (almost certainly the basis for the Roman aquila) is a scavenger of carrion, just like the Egyptian vulture, hence the unhelpful NRSV translation “vulture”. So Jesus is ironically hinting that the grand Roman legions, authors of the impending catastrophe, are consumers of carrion.

  • Jon-Michael Ivey

    Dicache 3:4 My child, don’t observe omens, since it leads to
    idolatry. Don’t be an enchanter, or an astrologer, or a purifier, or be
    willing to see or hear about these things, for these all lead to
    idolatry

  • Jon-Michael Ivey

    Sure. In fact, the majority of kidnappings are committed by noncustodial parents of the children being kidnapped. Kidnapping usually amounts to a parent disagreeing with a family court that chose to give the child to the other parent, or court that requires some sort of joint custody or visitation rights for a parent that the kidnapper does not believe is good for the child.

  • Tracy

    I tend to agree with you… although I have listened to Greg Boyd’s take on it and another theologian, and while similar, lines up better for me. They stated that during the Roman oppression where Christians were being crucified by the thousands, this is one of the ways that Rome flexed it’s muscles. It would just come and take someone from the field, or bed, and take them away to be crucified or killed to keep everyone under fear of Rome and the ruling Caesar. The birds are vultures who eat the dead, and because there would be a number of bodies – you could trace their whereabouts from looking where the birds were gathering. Truly horrible and historically accurate. Rome was a monster under the leadership of Nero and the other rulers around that time. The acts of cruelty were horrendous. I might have misread you Ben, but I think this was part of the lead up to 70AD, not at the time of 70AD.

  • Ryan Fairchild

    …and to agree from another perspective with being left behind being a good thing, what if martial law was declared in these modern times in countries around the world…or at least the major power centers of the world?
    People get rounded up and told it’s for their own good…taken to camps.
    …all for the greater good of depopulation – just as the government itself has officially predicted and made public under their predicted population from now to the year 2025. I believe it is some sort of project 2025 type of name, in which the United States of today with about 315 million people will be down to approximately 85 million by the year 2025. That’s the goal. How will they get to that goal is the question. Where are these people that aren’t here going. That’s over 2/3 of the population gone. The government will not deny that the massive supply of sterilite coffins that have been on open display in parts of the country are being stockpiled in case of emergency. This is shrugged off, perhaps, because our world would see it as, “Well, hey…that’s a good thing to be prepared for the worst.”, but be aware, these cost efficient and convenient coffins have a body capacity of two or three people. This sounds more like a mass extermination or as Bill Gates coins depopulation as “a good thing”.

  • Glenn Harvey

    I don’t know if this is the “remake” you are referring to, but last week I checked out from the library a copy of a 2014 film by that name starring Nicholas Cage as an airline pilot.

    I hadn’t paid that much attention to the plot description when I reserved it – thinking it was just a disaster film. But, I started having my suspicions when
    Cage’s wife was hyper-religious and I figured out it was a rapture film before
    people’s clothes started dropping.

    The thing that made the film — and the concept of “rapture” unbelievable was that the people who disappeared were presumed to be good and holy and the people left behind were not.

    Except that the movie demonstrated that the people in the plane, while having normal human faults were demonstrating compassion and caring for each other — something of which Jesus would approve. The viewer is left sympathetic to those left behind and left seeing “redemptive” qualities in them.

    The logical conclusion one might make from the movie is that love and compassion are all well and good traits in a person, but you also must
    follow the rules if you are to be “holy” and merit the rapture.

    But, the Jesus of the Bible didn’t seem to me to be that kind of person who would abandon anyone (reference the lost sheep and the prodigal son stories). A rapture would represent an abandonment of the balance of humanity — a most
    “unchristian” thing to do.

    If humanity merited some kind of world-wide divine punishment, I would think that rather than abandoning those who didn’t make the cut, the attitude would be closer to what Pope Francis suggested to Congress the other day:

    “…I also offer encouragement to all those who are convinced that a just and necessary punishment must never exclude the dimension of hope and the goal of rehabilitation.”

  • Terri Knoll

    This Israel is not our Zion. Jesus will usher that in with all 12 tribes not the two secular Nazi ones that is Israel today. This Israel is the anti-Christ. Talk to your brothers and sisters in Bethlehem and Jerusalem and then let’s dialog.

  • Nico

    It always good to do your Biblical research; yet please be careful when substituting your own words or other commonly misinterpreted words in the Bible. The Bible did not refer to these birds as vultures, it referred to them as eagles. “Eagles” is the literal translation of “αετοι”. Yet many Bible translators substitute “eagles” with “vultures” in Matthew 24:28 and Luke 17:37 based on the assumption that these verses describe the sight of birds eating dead flesh. “Vultures” is chosen because they are known for eating dead flesh (although hungry eagles also eat dead animals). Birds eating the flesh of evil men is a common imagery in the Bible. However, these verses in Matthew and Luke do not describe any act of eating. This may be because the “gathering of eagles” is not a reference to carnivorous birds.

    Isaiah spoke of eagles as an allegory of Gods faithful people:

    “But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31 Isaiah 40:31But they that wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
    American King James Version×).

    Where does Job say the eagle dwells? On the rocks, when using the symbolism of Gods people, points to Jesus Christ, who is our spiritual Rock (1 Corinthians 10:4 1 Corinthians 10:4And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
    American King James Version×).

    What is the “prey,” which is “afar off” that the “eagles” seek? The answer is found in Matthew 6:33 Matthew 6:33But seek you first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.
    American King James Version×;the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.

    Now that we have unlocked the symbolic meaning of Job 39:27-30 Job 39:27-3027 Does the eagle mount up at your command, and make her nest on high? 28 She dwells and stays on the rock, on the crag of the rock, and the strong place. 29 From there she seeks the prey, and her eyes behold afar off. 30 Her young ones also suck up blood: and where the slain are, there is she.
    American King James Version×, we need to read Christ’s statement in Luke 17:37 Luke 17:37And they answered and said to him, Where, Lord? And he said to them, Wherever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.
    American King James Version×and Matthew 24:28 Matthew 24:28For wherever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together.
    American King James Version×and ask what the context surrounding these verses is.

    In both accounts, the context is about the coming Kingdom of God on Earth. Notice how right before Luke 17:37 Luke 17:37And they answered and said to him, Where, Lord? And he said to them, Wherever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.
    American King James Version×in verses 24-36, Jesus prophesies the events immediately preceding His return to this earth and the resurrection of Gods faithful people:

    “For as the lightning that flashes out of one part under heaven shines to the other part under heaven, so also the Son of Man will be in His day…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” (Luke 17:24 Luke 17:24For as the lightning, that lightens out of the one part under heaven, shines to the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day.
    American King James Version×, Luke 17:35-36 Luke 17:35-3635 Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 36 Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
    American King James Version×).

    The same is true in the verses right before Matthew 24:28 Matthew 24:28For wherever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together.
    American King James Version×. So the context of the statement is of the end of the age, just preceding Christs return and the resurrection of Gods people.

    We can now understand that Jesus Christ is the “body” around whom the “eagles” (the Church, His faithful people) will congregate at the resurrection when Jesus returns to this world to rule over all the nations as King of Kings (Revelation 11:15 Revelation 11:15And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
    American King James Version×, Zechariah 14:9 Zechariah 14:9And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.
    American King James Version×, Revelation 5:10 Revelation 5:10And have made us to our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
    American King James Version×).

    It was our Savior Jesus Christ who allowed Himself to be pierced and bleed to death to become a “carcass” before He was resurrected. He was dead for three days and three nights and did not go to His Father in heaven during His time in the grave.

    Did the faithful “eagles (Gods faithful disciples) gather around Jesus Christ when He was resurrected then? Yes they certainly did. Paul recorded how Jesus was seen by over 500 brethren during the 40 days He revealed Himself after His resurrection to life again (1 Corinthians 15:6 1 Corinthians 15:6After that, he was seen of above five hundred brothers at once; of whom the greater part remain to this present, but some are fallen asleep.
    American King James Version×).

    Will Gods faithful people be resurrected in the end of the age and gather around the “body” of the returning Jesus Christ? Yes, indeed they will:

    “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 1 Thessalonians 4:16-1716 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
    American King James Version×).

    We too can be considered by God to be worthy “eagles” in that resurrection, to be with the “body” of Jesus Christ when He returns in power to set up His Kingdom on Earth, and to rule over all the nations with His faithful people.

  • Jason

    I know this is a really old post, but the eagle was commonly associated with Rome…so maybe the “Eagles” were the Romans….

  • Terry Firma

    “Jesus gives all sorts of other advice that makes no sense if this is a verse about the rapture.”

    That sentence is about eight words too long.

  • John Carter

    Wow, I never read this verse this way, but it makes more sense. Thank you!

  • John Carter

    Everything you just stated is the commonly held understanding of this verse, which I personally have always felt did not quite fit the context. The understanding that the author of this article suggests makes more sense to me, in the context of the situation (the imminent destruction of Jerusalem by Rome.) Also, much of the commonly held understanding rests on Luke’s account. I have always put much more credence on the apostle Matthew, since they were the ones that Jesus charged with disseminating truth and his teachings correctly.

  • John Carter

    Why is it that Christians believe they will be taken up without clothing? I don’t ever remember reading where Jesus was taken up naked.

  • Julie Andras

    NICE TRY………….

  • Chriz Amp

    With all humility and love let me correct the author of the article, for context were completely taken away:

    “just look for the vultures, and you’ll find their bodies.” (v37) – This is not talking about the missing people that are of course raptured. And that is not V37, but v28.

    Now this is what v28 is talking about: False prophets/teachers will say that our LORD has come back and is somewhere here in the land, and that we should not believe them. Here are the verses:

    23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it.
    24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.
    25 See, I have told you ahead of time.
    26 “So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it.
    27 For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.

    Thus, the real context is that the verses say that no man should say “Jesus is there, let’s go there” since v28 compares false teachers/teachings to carcasses, where vultures gather. V27 says that JESUS coming back is seen across the globe. The “vultures & carcass” part is a metaphor about false teachers and teachings and not about killed missing raptured people.