Thursday, June 8, 2017

Of course, you want to be left behind, it's a good thing (:

This class emphasizes reading the text of the Bible in context.  Sometimes the meaning of a text is not what we have always assumed or been taught.  Have you ever heard that a certain group of people will be "left behind"?  You may have heard this from a sermon or popular books or movies.  The text that the phrase "left behind" comes from is in Matthew.  Before you go any further, post your quick answer on Moodle as to  what category of people you have heard will be left behind.
Now read this below:

Read this text from Matthew.

Read it from scratch, with no preconceived ideas, looking for what it actually says and means.

But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son,[h] but only the Father. 37 For as the days of Noah were, 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 Noah entered the ark, 39 and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away, so too will be the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Then two will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left behind. 41 Two women will be grinding meal together; one will be taken and one will be left behind. 42 Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day[i] your Lord is coming. 43 But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.


Who was taken (swept away) in Noah's day?
 People  who were caught off guard, unrighteous and unprepared. Clearly the "good" or "righteous" people; believers if you will. 

 Who was left?  Clearly Noah and family,  the "good" or "righteous" people; believers if you will.  The only righteous family God found on earth,

The text says it will be the same way when Jesus (the Son of Man) comes again.
So...who will be taken then, if it's the same pattern? 
 Clearly  the same: the unprepared and unrighteous.
Who will be left then, if it's the same pattern?
 The righteous believers, just as Noah and his family who were saved.

Hmmm, then why have most of you heard that the unprepared and unbelivers will be left behind??
 It astounds people when you tell them that

no one 

reading the famous "one will be taken; the other left behind" 'rapture' passage..

(in context; and without everything you've ever heard that it said influencing what you hear)

will read it as Christians being taken/raptured.

It is the most obvious interpretation in the world that in this Scripture:

the Christians are left behind. And that it's a good thing, not a bad thing.

Try it out! Follow the flow and logic; read text and context prayerfully and carefully.


Only by combining this passage together with First Thessalonians can a dispensationalist begin to piece together their notion of 'left behind'...But here's the problem with their use of this passage in Matthew: Dispensationalists make the leap of assuming that the person 'taken' in this passage is a born-again Christian who is taken up to heaven, while the person 'left' is an unbeliever who is left behind for judgement. This is a huge leap, since Jesus himself never specifies whether Christians should desire to be taken or left! In the overall context of Matthew's Gospel, the verbs 'taken' and 'left' (Greek paralambano and apheimi) can be either positive or negative.

In the verses immediately preceding this passage, Jesus says that his coming will be like the flood at the time of Noah, when people were 'swept away' in judgement. If being 'taken' is analogous to being 'swept away' in a flood, then it is not a positive fate. That is the argument of New Testament scholar and Anglican bishop N.T. Wright:

'It should be noted that being in this context means being taken in judgement.
There is no hint here of a , a sudden event that would remove individuals from terra firma...It is, rather, a matter of secret police coming in the night, or of enemies sweeping through a village or city and seizing all they can.'
(NT Wright, Jesus and The Victory of God, p. 366

,, this means that 'left behind,' is actually the desired fate of Christians, whereas being 'taken' would mean being carried off by forces of judgement like a death squad. For people living under Roman occupation, being taken away in such a way by secret police would probably be a constant fear....McGuire suggests that the 'Left Behind' books have it 'entirely backward.'. McGuire, like Wright, points out that when analyzed in the overall context of the gospel, the word 'taken' means being taken away in judgement, as in the story of Jesus' being 'taken' prisoner by soldiers in Matt 27:27. 'Taken' is not an image for salvation"

(Rossing, pp 178-179)

HMMM... If you got the point, you can go back to Moodle know. If you want to read more on this, keep reading.
Let me say clearly, this exercise is NOT asking you to change your mind, or argue with what your church may teach, about the end times or rapture.   We are not saying you should tell all the "Left Behind" book and movie supporters that they are wrong, or that there is no "rapture." All we are doing is showing that in this passage, it's clear what Jesus meant.  It's an example of reading in context. 
So, here's more if you like, and want to consider.

Here's Benjamin Corey, who builds the case from Luke:

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

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 andDon’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 thatcauses 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.  -Benjamin Corey, link

of course Christians will be left behind

Preface (sigh); Don't hear what I'm not saying. I am not
- See more at:

Adam Maarschalk adds some evidence from sources in 1700s and 1800s:

In our study of Matthew 24:36-51, I also proposed that Jesus said it would be better to be “left behind” than to be “taken,” and noted that 2-3 centuries ago this was taught by John Gill (1746-1763) and Albert Barnes (1834). Benjamin Corey does an excellent job showing the revealing connection between what Jesus says in Luke 17 and what He says in the more frequently quoted Matthew 24:40. His article also comes at a good time, less than two weeks before the remake of the Left Behind movie hits the theaters on October 3rd. Hopefully the theology in this film will soon be left behind by many followers of Christ.  link


"Why you WANT to be left behind"

Steve Bremmer is an awesome missionary in Peru.

Here on his podcast he interviews James-Michael missionary
 to and from the US (:

Topic: "Why you WANT to be left behind." Listen here
Pretty surprising and cool this article excerpted appeared in Christianity Today.  It says what I said several years ago here...and folk far more famous like N.T. Wright have been saying all along ,

Maybe the Camping thing will help bring this to the table...(But you should've seen the rabbi's face when I brought it up on his radio show   (:'s worth it to hear his voice in the podast here. (Click May 28).

Jesus' best-known teaching about end times is recorded in Matthew 24-25, with perhaps the most famous section found in 24:40-41. Here Jesus describes the impact of his Second Coming: "Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left." These two verses, along with the parallel passage in Luke 17, have inspired one of the most famous Christian songs of all times, Larry Norman's 1972 classic "I Wish We'd All Been Ready" (from an album tellingly titled Only Visiting This Planet). More recently, the hugely successful Left Behind book and film series has inspired the imaginations of countless Christians.

These verses are worth close consideration. According to Jesus, at least one key to understanding this teaching is the story of Noah, as Jesus explains in the preceding passage, Matthew 24:37-39:
As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.
Notice what Jesus says twice in this passage. The coming of the Son of Man will be "as it was in the days of Noah" (v. 37). In case we missed it, we are told again: "That is how it will be" when the Son of Man comes (v. 39). Anytime Jesus says something twice, it is doubly worth paying attention to. Jesus seems to be emphasizing two aspects of the Noah story. One is simply the surprise factor of the Flood. Nobody was expecting it. Until the day it happened, people were going about their business, living their daily lives. They were taken by surprise. So too will the Second Coming of Jesus come unawares. We should always be ready.

We ought also to notice the presence of two groups of persons. One is Noah and, implicitly, his family. Noah is righteous and follows God. He and his family are saved; they are not caught by surprise. The second group is the unnamed "people" (v. 38): those who were eating, drinking, and marrying. This second group—described in Genesis 6:5 as full of wickedness, their hearts and thoughts continually evil—gets caught by surprise. Its wickedness prompted the judgment of the Flood. But as the story makes clear, the people who "knew nothing about what would happen" got taken away.

We have to pause for a moment and observe how thoroughly this inverts some popular understandings of the end times. Those who do not follow God are, in the language of this passage, "taken away." By contrast, Noah and his family are "left behind." While the flood washes away the wicked, God rescues Noah and his kin, leaving them to enjoy the goodness of the renewed and restored creation.
And then, we are told—not once, but twice—that the Second Coming of Jesus will happen just like this. Consider once more verses 40 and 41. They describe two pairs of persons. In each case, one person is taken away and one is left behind. And verses 37 and 39 tell us that this outcome mirrors the days of Noah. The entire passage strongly suggests that the ones "left behind," in Jesus' description of the Second Coming, will not be the wicked ones but the followers of God. They are rewarded by being left behind to enjoy, as embodied creatures, God's new kingdom. The wicked are "taken away," losing the chance to experience the new creation.

Christ or Plato?

Of course, I may be wrong. Jesus often tells stories whose main ideas are not immediately obvious. Indeed, other passages seem at first glance to shine a different light on the concept of being "left behind." In Luke 17:26-36, for example, we have a different version of this teaching, where Jesus twice speaks of two persons, only one of whom will be taken. Here, Jesus refers not only to the Flood, but also to the story of Lot and the destruction of Sodom. In the Lot story, the righteous are taken away from Sodom, while the ones left behind get destroyed. Does this reverse the lesson we derived from the Noah story? Perhaps it has nothing to do with being taken or left, but simply with the imperative of being ready.
There is, however....continued: Who Gets Left Behind? How end times theories shape the ways we view our earthly abode" byMatthew Dickerson

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