Donna's Blog

The Rapture

Posted by donnadawson on June 10, 2009 at 11:56 AM

Matthew 24:36-41 NIV

"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.  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.  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."

I love this section of this chapter.  It clarifies so much.  We begin with three very important words:  No one knows.  Since the birth of Israel as a nation there has been a surge of 'false prophets' predicting the end of the world.  People have marched in picket lines holding signs that declared 'the world will end tomorrow'.  There are those who have written books appointing the turn of the millenium as the day of Christ's return.  And yet what did Jesus say?  No one knows.  How often do we get caught up in the possibilities of his return and neglect the harvesting of souls before his return?  Jesus was quite emphatic about no one knowing the day or the hour of his return.  He even ruled out the angels and himself.  Only the Father knows.  The next time you hear a self-appointed prophet making pronouncements about when Christ will return, shake your head and pity them for they will answer for their folly.

 

The scripture goes on to make a comparison with the days of Noah.  I have heard and read sermons preached about this phrase 'as it was in the days of Noah' and too many seem to think that it refers to the level of corruption.  Not so.  Jesus is simply pointing out that the people in Noah's day were ignorant of the importance of the flood.  They had been told judgement was coming.  They had been told it was because of their sin.  But they went on their merry ways, eating and drinking and marrying as though it was all nonsense--just like today's generation worldwide is doing.  When the believer talks about Christ's return there is a concensus that it is a nice fairy tale from a well-meaning group of people.  It is this same uncaring attitude to which this portion of scripture referred.  In Noah's day, the people hadn't seen rain.  They had no idea what a flood was.  I'm sure Noah explained it but would they really understand?  What was key here was that it didn't matter that they didn't understand.  They knew what sin was and they knew it was wrong.  It doesn't really matter how God decides to deal with apathy and disobedience.  The important point is that he WILL deal with it eventually.  Jesus is making the comparison to the days of Noah because the concept of people suddenly disappearing is fantastic!  Many can't wrap their minds around the idea of people vanishing into thin air--unless they are watching Star Trek.  It was no coincidence that Jesus referred to that time.  Because people couldn't wrap their minds around the incredibility of a flood--and people can't wrap their minds around the incredibility of a rapture--Jesus compared them.  In essence, he was saying that it didn't matter how fantastic it was, the people still ended up dead.  In the end times, it doesn't matter how fantastic a rapture sounds, those who reject Christ will still miss it.

 

Jesus then goes on to describe what the rapture will look like.  He gives two examples and in both cases it is a literal removal of that person, physically, mentally, spiritually, from earth.  It is a rapid event.  Each person doesn't even have time to stop doing the task at which they are working.

 

I have heard people explain this portion as being written chronologically but it isn't really.  Jesus prophecies and then he goes back and clarifies.  In verses 27-31 Jesus describes future events in broad terms.  In verses 36-41 he narrows it down and lets us see more detail.  Like the people in the days of Noah, none of us can possible imagine what the Rapture will look like.  Unlike those same people, we have the opportunity to prepare and to help others prepare.

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7 Comments

Reply Peter Black
1:43 PM on June 11, 2009 
Thanks, Donna,
I like your treatment of various elements--e.g. "as ... in the days of Noah ...so shall it be ..." and your bringing a contemporary perspective to applying the comparison Jesus made. Also the aspect of although they didn't know what rain would be like, they knew what sin was, and God would deal with it; then the comparisons you draw to the rapture, etc.
A personal note: I've tended to question the view that the Son doesn't know day and hour of His Second Advent. What I mean is this: Jesus didn't know when He gave this Temple Discourse. That was during the days of His "humiliation in the flesh" -- in other words, during his earthly ministry, prior to the Cross at Calvary, His Resurrection, Ascension, and Glorification at the right hand of the Father / Majesty on high -- when He was subject to such limitations of omniscience as the Father in wisdom planned.
We might well consider that now, in His glorified state, He would unlikely be subject to the same limited level of divine knowledge as was appointed for Him then.
I wonder if, in fact, the Son and Father (both completely aware) eagerly await the day and the hour when the Holy Spirit's work in the world till that appointed time is fulfilled relative to the building up of the church -- the body of Christ -- on earth. I'm not about to build doctrine on this or start my own church, or something! ;) but the thought introduces the matter of biblical context to this little section of the word of our Lord.
Peter.
Reply Donna
1:47 PM on June 11, 2009 
You have a very valid point Peter. After all, didn't Jesus say, "I and the Father are one"? Oh so many things that we will never comprehend. I wonder if God is frustrated sometimes at how thick headed we can be:) Thanks for this view.
Reply Jim and Cathy Fox
11:16 AM on June 12, 2009 
I also like how you expanded on Jesus' comparison between the days leading up to the flood and these days when we are waiting for the second coming of our Lord.
I have a tendancy to agree with Peter's comment on Jesus' knowledge of future events. As a man, walking on this earth He had only limited access to what the Father knew. When He was taken up into Heaven and sat down beside the Father I see no reason for him not knowing all that the Father knows. Unless, Jesus being the word, He doesn't know everything until God the Father speaks the word. It's just another question we can ask when we get to Heaven, whether through the natual process of death to our earthly bodies or through the rapture.
As for the rapture, we still have no idea of when it will come, or who,s belief of when is right. The bottom line is, When our Lord returns are we going to be ready to go with Him. Or are we going to be too busy defending what we believe.
Reply Peter Black
2:46 PM on June 12, 2009 
So true, Jim and Cathy,
in reference to your concluding thought.
Peter.
Reply donna dawson
2:59 PM on June 12, 2009 
I agree with you Jim. Our main focus should be to look to the harvest of souls. It's why I'm doing this study and I'm thrilled that the point is coming across. Thank you both for your comments.
Reply MrKredit
9:29 PM on February 8, 2011 
i think i was reading about that on NYT last week
Reply Donna Dawson
12:57 PM on February 9, 2011 
MrKredit says...
i think i was reading about that on NYT last week

I didn't know it was posted there. I appreciate your comment and hope you continue to have input here. Blessings:)