The Olivet Discourse – I Wish We’d All Been Ready

30Apr11

Matt 24: [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

In the early 70’s, at the height of the Jesus Movement a young, long blond haired “hippie” named Larry Norman penned a little folk tune that would become an anthem for a generation of new Christians. That tune was called, I Wish We’d All Been Ready. Also at this time the popularity of Left Behind theology had spread and become a focal point of this movement of young recent converts. Most sermons seemed to be about the soon coming Rapture and Great Tribulation.

The previously mentioned folk song was based loosely on the above verse from the Olivet Discourse. The lines from that song had become such a part of the fabric of the Jesus Movement and Christian music in general that it was the default postilion that those verses must be related to the soon approaching Rapture of the Church.

But do these two verses have anything to do with the rapture?

As we have seen previously it is vitally important to see if there are any parallel passages that may help enlighten us as to what these verses may be trying to communicate. Then we must tackle the issue as to what certain key parts of the verse may also be trying to portray. For this verse the important issues are…

  • Why is one taken and one left
  • What does it mean to be taken and where are they “taken” to?
  • What does it mean to left

The general, popular consensus is that this verse supposedly plainly teaches a Rapture in which those who are “taken” are raptured up into Heaven and those that are “left” are the ones discussed in the popular “Left Behind” books who must try and survive through the seven year tribulation. These are the ones who will be under the control and command of the Antichrist and must receive this “mark of the beast” under the penalty of death.

But is this really what the Lord had in mind? And can we find any parallel passage that could shed some light on this subject?

Yes!

The passage is found in the book of Luke. First let’s discover if this is actually a parallel passage…

Luke 17:35-37 (ESV) There will be two women grinding together. One will be taken and the other left.” [36]Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

Most definitely yes!

But is this all there is to the context? No, Luke’s passage add a question from the disciples that atytempts to add clarity to the subject. Like most readers, the initial question the Disciples ask has to do with where are those who are “taken” taken?

[37] And they said to him, “Where, Lord?”

The Disciples are just like us. they want to know where they are taken? What is to come of those who are “taken.” Remember the Dispensational and Left Behind proponent claims these are those who are taken in the rapture to be with Jesus in Heaven.

But where does the Lord say they are taken?

He said to them, “Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.”

Those who are “taken” are the ones whose lives are “taken” from them. they are the nearly 1/2 of the population of Jerusalem that were killed during the siege and destruction of the city and Temple. It is NOT a good thing to be taken in this instance. Just like those who are taken or “swept away” in the previous passage, the issue here is a warning of the soon coming destruction!

And besides that…if this is a Rapture it’s by no means a Pre-Tribulation one!

This actually concludes our discussion of the Olivet Discourse. This post will be followed by a quick Bullet Point review and then we will make a transition to dealing with the popular characters and themes of eschatology. Those include the Antichrist, Beast, Man of Lawlessness, Mark, 666 and much more.

In other words, it’s time for the fun stuff!

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