Olivet Discourse Matthew 24:37-42

Do you want to be taken or left behind? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

We all remember the Left Behind series. I tried to go through it listening on audio. I couldn’t. I got through about three books and found the whole thing abysmally boring. The book I read even ended on some cliffhanger and I never cared for how it would work out.

It’s not just because I disagreed with the whole theology of the book. The Da Vinci Code was awful history and ridiculous, but I actually thought the story was enjoyable. On the other end, I think the Harry Potter books are just awesome literature and I thoroughly enjoyed them. All of these books I also read audio.

However, the whole thing about Left Behind is that you don’t want to be left behind. When Jesus comes, He comes to take away the righteous and those who are Left Behind get to go through the tribulation period. After all, look at what these verses say.

37 For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, 39 and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. “

These people miss the rapture. Right? They’re left behind. Right? Well, no. Jesus has said nothing in the text about coming and taking away people. If anything, this is a passage of judgment. We see this in the parallel in Luke 17.

22 And he said to the disciples, “The days are coming when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. 23 And they will say to you, ‘Look, there!’ or ‘Look, here!’ Do not go out or follow them. 24 For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day. 25 But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. 26 Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. 27 They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. 28 Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot—they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, 29 but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all— 30 so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed. 31 On that day, let the one who is on the housetop, with his goods in the house, not come down to take them away, and likewise let the one who is in the field not turn back. 32 Remember Lot’s wife. 33 Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it. 34 I tell you, in that night there will be two in one bed. One will be taken and the other left. 35 There will be two women grinding together. One will be taken and the other left.” 37 And they said to him, “Where, Lord?” He said to them, “Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.”

This is all about how to avoid judgment. Vultures gather at corpses which means there are going to be a lot of dead people here. That’s just like in the flood of Noah. When people are taken, it means that they have died. In reality, you do not want to be taken. You want to be left behind.

The series has it wrong. Those who are left behind are the ones who are fortunate. It’s the ones who are taken who are the victims of judgment.

When Christ returns one day, I want to be left behind.

In Christ,
Nick Peters