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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Days of Noah, the Rapture, & the 2nd Coming


As The Days of Noah

Matthew 24:37-39 KJV  But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.  (38)  For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark,  (39)  And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

The days of Noah will be quite similar to the time of the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ.  Matthew 24:37 has generated much speculation throughout the years, particularly the past few years.  Tom Horn (and others) claim that the last days will witness a resurgence of fallen angels, Nephilim giants, chimera, and demonic entities of various flavors.  I consider this doubtful to actually occur.  Never mind that Jesus specifically described the parallels between the days of Noah and the last days.

This particular scripture does not concern Noah and his family but only the people living during the days of Noah.  It also appears to only be concerned with the flood as the wrath of God and nothing extraneous.  The inhabitants of those days ignored the preaching of Noah and other grand sires.  They continued their “life as usual” by eating, drinking, and marriage customs with no regard for the coming annihilation that was proclaimed by Noah and others.  At the time, many probably believed that Noah was a gibbering fool and that God either did not exist or would not destroy the world with a flood, much like today.  They were completely astonished when the rain started falling and water gushing from the ground, as most people will be today when the mass killings, plagues, and falling meteorites begin in earnest.  It will be the unbelievers who will be taken away (to death) not the believers.  Noah was not taken away – he merely entered the ark and was saved from death to begin a new generation of individuals.

One Taken, the Other Left

Matthew 24:40-41 KJV  Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.  (41)  Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

Within the context of Matthew 24:37-39, the next two verses (40-41) are an extension of the Noah verses concept and part of the general thought structure.  At the flood all were destroyed except Noah and his family.  During the days of tribulation and the final wrath of God, more will be preserved than eight but many will be destroyed.  Jesus proclaims that some will be left alive and others will be taken.  The question to be answered is:  which group will be taken and which group will be left behind?

This is one of the rapture crowd’s favorite rapture verses, particularly the pre-trib rapturists.  They claim the ones taken are raptured and according to Tim LaHayes Left Behind series of books and movies, the ones left behind are the unbelievers and the taken are the believers floating off into heaven leaving behind a pile of clothing.  The belief of a BIN writer (DTBR) is that the left behind group are the believers and the taken are sent to Hades (the bottomless pit / hell / the lake of fire / etc.)  I do not believe this DTBR interpretation is correct.

Because verses 40-41 are within the same context as 37-39 then the ones taken will be the unbelievers.  The flood took away all the unbelievers of Noah’s day and likewise the unbelievers will be taken away in verses 40-41.  They will be taken away by death and destruction just as the flood took away the unbelievers by death and destruction.

A Different Rapture View
1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 is probably the most well-known passage concerning the rapture and the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ.

1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 KJV  (15)  For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.  (16)  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.

It will be said that Paul was centering his focus upon the order of events as they would occur and not necessarily the timing of events.  As for timing, most exegetes consider that the resurrection of the dead and the harpazo (caught up / rapture) of the living will occur almost simultaneously which may not be the case as will be discussed later.

The first event will be the resurrection of the dead in Christ.  Paul proceeds and uses the word “then” which means “next” rather than meaning “not immediately”.  According to Dr. Stephen Jones, the feast of trumpets (the trump of God) occurs on the first day of the seventh month on the Hebrew calendar.  This prophesies of the resurrection of the dead.  The harpazo, or “catching away” occurs during the feast of Tabernacles which begins on the 15th day of the seventh month, therefore these events are at least two weeks apart.  In other words the resurrection of the dead and the catching away of the saints will be, at a minimum, two weeks apart in timing.

The next event in Paul’s statement is, “to meet the Lord in the air” in which “meet” is the Greek word apantesis.  The various Greek dictionaries add little substance to the meaning other than “to meet as in an encounter”.  However, the usage of the word in the New Testament implies by application that it means:  to meet and return with as an escort or entourage.  Two of the four New Testament usages can be found in Matthew 25:1 and 6. 

The ten virgins were to “meet” the bridegroom.  At the bridegroom’s arrival, five virgins were foolish and left the scene to acquire oil for their lamps.  The wise virgins went to meet the bridegroom and traveled back to the door of the wedding and went in.  The door is the place where all ten were waiting; the five with extra oil went out to meet the bridegroom and returned with Him to the wedding room door.  The five foolish virgins were late and the door was closed and would not be reopened.  Therefore, the five wise virgins went to meet the bridegroom and returned with Him (to meet and return with as an escort).

Matthew 25:1 KJV  Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet (apantesis) the bridegroom.

The Bridegroom did not come to snatch away the wise virgins and take them back to heaven with Him (or anywhere else for that matter). Instead, the virgins escorted Him back to the place where they had been waiting i.e. the door of the wedding ceremony. 

More information concerning the story of the 10 Virgins can be found at the following link:

The next use of the word apantesis is found in Acts 28:15.  Paul, as a prisoner, is taken to Rome.  Believers came from Rome to meet Paul and returned to Rome with him as an entourage. 

Acts 28:15-16 KJV  And from thence, when the brethren heard of us, they came to meet us as far as Appii forum, and The three taverns: whom when Paul saw, he thanked God, and took courage.  (16)  And when we came to Rome…….

Paul was explaining that believers would meet the Lord in the air and accompany Him to the earth in His return as explained symbolically (or prophetically) in the story of the ten virgins.  The five foolish virgins would continue to be alive (not sent to hell) but would have to attend school (bond servant) taught by the fire of the word of God.

How far above the surface of the earth is “in the air”?  Many consider it to be the upper atmosphere where clouds are found (too many movies and so-called Christian fiction).  In the air only means “not in the ground”.  It could be a mile or a millimeter.

No one is given a free ticket to escape “the great tribulation” as some claim is coming.  As proof of this for pre-trib rapturists, Revelation 7:14 is invoked, where it says, "these are the ones who come out of the great tribulation."  These individuals come out of, not escape any tribulation at all.  In my opinion, the only tribulation that is escaped is the wrath of God.

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