The Rapture – Will we be taken away, while others are left behind? Misunderstandings regarding Mat 24:37-42

Estimated Reading time – 10 to 15 Minutes

If you have been taught about the rapture, you are familiar about the idea of Believers being taken away to Heaven (away from the time of Tribulation) while the wicked are left behind to endure through this period. The doctrine of the Rapture which was introduced in the 18th Century AD, and was popularized first by John Nelson Darby in the 1830s, uses the verse in question Mat 24:37-42 also as a proof text. Let’s see whether the doctrine of Rapture is supported by this verse.

Mat 24:37-42 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

Mainline Christianity takes the above verse and teaches us that we will be taken away (raptured) while the wicked would be left behind. But look at the verse a little closer and you will see that Christ speaks of the wicked being “taken away” by the flood. If the 2nd coming mirrors Noah’s time, as per Christ – who is taken away, and who is left behind?

In Noah’s time, the flood took away the wicked while Noah and his family settled the earth as the only humans left behind. Yeshua‘s words even say that the flood “took them all away”. Next He explains that one will be taken and the other left Behind. So is it not the wicked that is taken away according to the analogy Messiah makes in this verse? Is it not the righteous that is left behind, contrary to what we have been taught?

Mat 13:24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

Reading the above parable, gives you more clues for the same reasoning. The tares (wicked) were gathered first by the Angles and burnt (put to death), and only then were the wheat (Righteous) gathered into His Barn (Kingdom). It is abundantly clear when you read a few verses before Mat 24:37-42 that Messiah Yeshua is speaking of a time after the Tribulation, and that He comes after the time of Tribulation to gather His elect.

Mat 24:29-31 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

If the “Rapture” is an event that saves the believers from the period of Tribulation, the verse in question (Mat 24:37-42) does not make any sense, as Yeshua says the events happen after the Tribulation. Not only that, the verse in question that has led to Movies and Books such as “Left Behind”, is taken completely out of context, as the proper interpretation clearly shows the ones who are taken away to be wicked, while the people who are left behind are the righteous who enter His Kingdom on Earth for a Thousand Years.

16 thoughts on “The Rapture – Will we be taken away, while others are left behind? Misunderstandings regarding Mat 24:37-42

  1. Valerie Csepe

    Hi Ramesh,

    Thanks for this article. It is very thought provoking and makes me realize even more how people can understand scripture in completely opposing ways! It’s just like 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12 says. When I talk to people who don’t believe the law of the Lord or believe that it has changed, I’m aghast at how they can’t see the truth, and pray for their eyes to be opened.

    I am praying that you and your family have been spared from the atrocities committed today in your country. What a terrible tragedy perpetrated by evil men. I’m awaiting good news from you that you are safe!

    May God protect and bless you!
    Good Passover!


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    1. rameshdesilva Post author

      Dear Sister Valerie,
      Me and my family are safe thanks to God. But it is a sad day when innocent people die because of inhumane acts. Thank you for your encouraging words.
      Love and Shalom!
      Be a blessing to everyone around you!

  2. Eddie Sejour-Gonzalez

    Hi Ramesh!
    I too am very happy to hear that you are safe and well but am so sorry for what happened.
    I did have one question … you say the wicked are “taken away” and we are left to enter His Kingdom for a thousand years, but one 1) if the wicked are taken away, who is it that makes war against the saints after the thousand years? and 2) How or to where are the wicked taken away if the Final Judgment occurs *after* the thousand years?

    1. rameshdesilva Post author

      Dear Eddie,
      I think the answers to both your questions lie in Rev 20. In it John says that the Serpent was bound for a thousand years so that he may not deceive anyone for that time period(2,3). The Dead who were raised to life ruled and judged a 1000years(4). The dead who inherited eternal death were not resurrected as it would be done at the end of the 1000 years(5). Whoever is resurrected the first time will not die again, which is the second death or lake of fire(6). So who are the resurrected judging/ruling over? It is the nations who surrendered (Zec 14:16-18). These are nations living in the 1000 years who can still go against Christ’s will. Remember Sin and death are still not removed and put into the lake of fire… this will be done only after the 1000 years. These nations are the people who are deceived by the Serpent. These Nations are not deemed wicked, but comes under Yeshua’s rule for the 1000 years, but they are able to still go against His will, which most of them would do at the end on the age. When I said the wicked is taken away… if it is compared to Noah’s Story, the wicked being taken away means they were put to death – as we see in Rev 19:21.

      Be a blessing to everyone around you!

  3. TK

    Hi, My name is TK, I’m from Ghana, west Africa. You are doing a great job making us understand the word of GOD. Your articles are a source of insight into the Bible. However, isn’t the passage about rapture 1 Thessalonians 4:17? I think that’s what most preachers quote. Please HELP

    1. rameshdesilva Post author

      Dear TK,
      The word translated as “shall be caught up” is G726 (Harpazo) which can be plucked, pull catch away. This we believe will happen at the 2nd coming of Yeshua – which we all know as the rising of the dead. But the modern view of the “Rapture” is that the church is taken away before tribulation, which is against the words of Yeshua discussed in this study. He clearly states that the tribulation needs to happen before the coming of Christ.
      May you be a blessing to everyone around you

  4. Sydney Warren

    Hallo Ramesh
    It is quite wrong to use Mt 24:37-42 to denounce the rapture. It is NOT the rapture there, but the coming of the Son of Man (Christ) to the earth in glory and judgement.
    Now for Him to come with ten thousand of His saints in judgement (Jude 1:14), these saints (the Church) must have been caught up BEFORE. So the Lord says to His disciples – “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14:3). Note, He will receive true believers TO HIMSELF.
    In Colossians we read: “When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear WITH HIM in glory” (Col 3:4). So true Christians will appear with Him when He comes to the earth in glory, just as we find in Titus – “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).
    True believers will NOT go through the Tribulation. There are so many proofs of this in the Word, that it is surprising people claiming to teach the truth, ignore them. Now there is a wrath (Tribulation) coming upon this earth – “the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth” (Rev 3:10), but notice what the Lord Jesus says about His faithful believers – “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the HOUR OF TEMPTATION” (Rev 3:10) – this is the WRATH to come. So please read Rom 5:9, 1 Thess 1:10, 1 Thess 5:9, as some clear biblical statements that true Christians will not pass through the Tribulation – “saved from the wrath through Him”; “delivered from the wrath to come”; “not appointed us to wrath.”
    And 1 Thess 4:13-18 is only ONE of many Scriptures that prove the rapture.

    1. RameshDeSilva Post author

      Dear Sydney,

      The Rapture, is not the question here. There is no doubt in the fact that Christ will come for us and take us to be part of His Kingdom. The issue is in the timing of the Event. The majority view of a Pre/Mid-Tribulation rapture is what is in question. The Pre/Mid-Trib Rapture doctrine is an attempt to break Christ’s second coming into 2, which will have him coming a third time. A Second coming is clearly mentioned in the Bible, but I have not seen a third coming mentioned in Scripture.

      Jud 1:14 is an interesting passage, but does it really speak of a rapture? It

      says that the Lord comes with the Saints, which is spoken earlier by both Moses

      and Zechariah in regard of the Messianic Kingdom. “Comes with” does not

      nessecarily need to mean “comes down from heaven”, but can easily mean similarly

      “comes with the resurrected saints”. In 1Thes 3:13, Paul says the same thing –

      that the saints come with Christ. But then 2Thes 1:7 speaks of the same event,

      but only speaks of Angels “coming from heaven”. But then in verse 10 speaks of

      Him being glorified in the Saints. There is only one coming mentioned in all of these verses. The issue is in us trying to squeeze in another event of saints being taken away, before this appearance.

      Col 3:4 also does not show the saints descending from heaven. Will we appear with Him in Glory at His second coming? – Yes. Will we be taken away to heaven and reappear again at His third coming? – It is hard to come to that conclusion using these verses as evidence.

      In Rev 3:10, the question is not that there will be an HOUR OF TEMPTATION. But in the word “Keep thee”. What does “keep” mean? It means guard or watch over. Will God watch over us in the times of Tribulation as He has done many times in the past? I believe so. But it is hard to derive an idea of being taken away or

      raptured from this verse.

      Romans 5:9, 1Thes 1:10, 1Thes 5:9 is not speaking of the Tribulation, but of the

      judgement that comes upon the world. These things are separate, as there will be

      a time of Tribulation which will end with the Judgement of all who are alive. Please check Romans 2:5 on this regard.

      1Thes 4:13-18, brings up many questions. But let’s look at the same event through the eyes of Paul himself.

      2 Thessalonians which is an explanation of the 1st letter, is seldomly read by all who look at the 1st letter for the rapture. In the 1st chapter, he speaks of enduring persecution and tribulation. Then he goes on to say-

      2Th 1:7-10 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.

      The above again shows us that the day of glorification is a single event. In Chapter 2, Paul asks the believers not to be shaken by rumours and false doctrines.

      2Th 2:1-4 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

      Paul makes it clear that the “Day of the Lord” (Singular event) will not happen before the “son of perdition” is revealed, and sits in the Temple.

      Please do check whether there are any instances of 2 separate events are mentioned ever in Scripture, where Christ comes and takes His Bride and then goes to heaven for a time and comes back again for Judgement. We cannot make a theology using a select few scriptures, but need to see whether all of Scripture agrees with an idea of Pre/Mid-Tribulation Rapture.

      Be a blessing to everyone around you.

      1. Sydney Warren

        Hi Ramesh
        Yes! There are only two “comings” of the Lord Jesus Christ to the earth – no intent to squeeze in another. With the rapture He does not come to the earth; Scripture says “we shall meet Him in the air.” And No! He does not then return immediately to the earth with His saints. What about the Bema and marriage supper of the Lamb? No, this can’t happen after the tribulation, because then Christ comes with His saints in glory.
        So Jude speaks of the Lord coming the second time to earth in power and glory, WITH His saints (after the rapture), to set up His millennial kingdom. Be careful not to change words to mean what you prefer – that’s eisegesis! And yes! 1 Thes 3:13 and 2 Thes 1:7 say the same thing. Scripture interprets Scripture. The fact of angels also coming with Him doesn’t change anything concerning the saints, who indeed will be glorified in Him – Col 3:4 – “we shall appear with Him in glory” at His 2nd coming of course. It’s sad that with many verses confirming this truth, some will still try to change the Word for personal reasons – it’s “private interpretation” as the Word says.
        You are in a sense right about 2 Thes 2:1-4. But this is what it was about – the Thessalonians knew perfectly about the “day of the Lord” and the “day of Christ.” They are not the same. After their conversion, they were waiting for the Son from heaven – the rapture – “”who delivered us from the wrath to come” (1 Thes 1:10). Note AGAIN, deliverance from wrath to come. But they were confused about the saints who had died. So Paul explains it all in 1 Thes 4. So, they would not pass through the “day of the Lord” – the tribulation (check every verse in the OT about judgement, destruction, vengeance, etc). The “day of the Lord” would come as a thief in the night, BUT the Thessalonians were not of the darkness, but of the light (1 Thes 4:4-5), which means that they would not go through the day of the Lord. Unless you twist Scripture, there is no other possible interpretation. BUT, coming back to 2 Thes 2:1-4, they were deceived by false teachers and a fraudulent letter, supposedly from Paul, to believe that the day of the Lord had indeed come, because they were passing through terrible persecution. How ironic perhaps, that some teachers are telling Christians that they will pass through the tribulation!
        You need to understand that in Rev 2 and 3 John is speaking about the “things that are” just as the Lord Jesus Himself explained. In other words, speaking about the Church on earth and its moral history going forward. So in the seven churches you will see this history unfolding, including terrible persecution, from which the Church was NOT delivered or kept. But the “hour of temptation” is something entirely different; it is future. It is the tribulation during those seven years of Daniel’s prophecy.
        Then John is caught up to heaven to see “the things that shall come.” From Rev 4 to 19, dealing with God’s wrath upon the earth, there is not a hint about the Church. See where you find the Church passing through the tribulation! It is about Israel and the Gentile nations. The Church is in heaven.
        It’s not necessary to confound “wrath” (tribulation) and “judgement.” As in Rom 2:5, the “day of wrath” is the day of God’s righteous judgement. After the Rapture there will be a period of tribulation on earth – it is a time of God’s wrath, speaking generally. Rev shows how these “judgements” will take place. Peter speaks of a “day of judgement” (2 Pe 3:7). Rev 14:7 speaks of the “hour of judgement.” There is reference to the great tribulation. But keep in mind “Jacob’s trouble” (Jer 30:7) – no other time ever like it. This is all about ISRAEL, not the Church.
        Unless one separates Israel, as an earthly nation that God chose, which turned from Him and was declared Lo-ammi (not My people), and the Church, which is a heavenly creation, a heavenly people with a heavenly calling, you cannot rightly interpret OT prophecy pertaining to Israel – impossible! Prophecy has to do with Israel and the earth. Although there are types or pictures of the Church in the OT, there is no doctrine of the Church in the OT. Paul was the one who revealed the mystery of the Church.
        The Israel (a godly remnant) that will be saved – that will look upon the One whom it crucified and believe – is an earthly people with earthly blessings, to be restored to the land of Israel. But it must first pass through what is called “Jacob’s trouble” (tribulation). Note – not the “Church’s trouble.” So the Church will not pass through the tribulation. Spiritually speaking, the Church (body of Christ) is already seated together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Eph 2). Strange that this is already our position before God, in Christ – this is how God sees us the Church NOW – but then some would have us to “return” to pass through the Tribulation on earth!
        Isn’t it strange that 2000 years of true Christians that have died – absent from the body and present with the Lord in heaven – will not pass through the tribulation. These millions and millions are in the joy of heaven with Christ right now. But their brethren on earth now, if the Lord comes soon, will pass through the tribulation. Does this make sense? If I die today, I will miss the tribulation, yes?

      2. RameshDeSilva Post author

        Dear Sydney,
        I think it is important to figure out whether as you say “The Church” and “Israel” are 2 entities or one. I think it is important that we first understand what the “church” is. Was it there before Christ or was it created after Christ. None of the promises have been made to anyone other than “Israel”. The whole reason that people see two comings (one to the Air and one to the Earth) is that people have separated the “congregation” from Israel. God never made a New Covenant with anyone other than Israel. I think all who purport that there is a “rapture” should listen to Yeshua’s words:

        Mat 24:15-24 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened. Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

        The Elect(Elektos) who appear in Rev 17 are mentioned to have gone through the Tribulation as per the words of Christ.

        I have believed in the pre/mid-trib rapture doctrine at one point and changed my mind because of all of the evidence I have seen. I wonder whether you have looked at this subject critically enough, to call anyone “trying to change God’s Word for personal reasons”. I am fine if you believe that you will be caught away at the time of Tribulation. I have no private reason to change your mind in anyway. But please don’t call everyone who disagrees with your opinion as trying to change God’s Word.

        Be a blessing to everyone around you

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  6. John Turner

    Answer please…..2 Thessalonians ch 2-3 …man of sin be revealed…v4…..and exalteth himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped..v5….V6 And now you know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his own time…v7… only (he) who now letteth Will let until (he) be taken out of the way..

    1. RameshDeSilva Post author

      Dear John,
      I believe what you meant here was who the “He” in the text is. The He, I believe is Rome. Rome as a kingdom and governing system still runs the world of Democracy. This also explains Paul’s efforts on not naming the “He” as it could be an issue for the Thessalonians. Wouldn’t he have said it was plainly the church which is taken away, if that was the case?
      Be a blessing to everyone around you

  7. Andrew

    The book of Revelation can be confusing taken alone…..certainly is to me. I rather follow the intent and chronology of end-times espoused by Jesus himself in the Olivet discourse in Matthew 24 rather than the book of REVELATION. Speaking to HIS FOLLOWERS/BELIEVERS, Jesus espouses vs7-10 the reason for the falling away FIRST because of vs 4,5. Then the gospel will FINALLY have been preached throughout the entire world (about to happen soon in our time). The whole world will be at war, economic or weapons. Then the false prophets begin to take advantage of confusion to capitalize on peoples search for a savior from world havoc. Jesus warns BELIEVERS (vs 23-26) that if your friend or neighbor tells you that Christ is in the next town, let’s go hear Him, DO NOT GO! for they are “False Christs and Prophets”, even performing “miracles”. So, this tells me that the Antichrist and the False Prophet will be on the earth BEFORE THE RAPTURE, which doesn’t occur (according to Jesus) until vs 39-41. So, BELIEVERS will still be on earth AFTER the Antichrist and False Prophet appear and undergo some persecution before being raptured at the time of the Abomination of Desolation…….a “mid-trib” rapture. One of the most regarded early-church fathers, Iraneus, espoused to a Mid-Trib rapture. I’m inclined to believe we believers will undergo some tribulation before being caught-up, maybe as a test of our faith.


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