The Unexpected Coming: Matthew 24:40-51
“Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.” — Matthew 24:40
Do you want to be left or taken?
If you were to ask this question almost any Seventh-day Adventist they will respond without hesitation and say, “I want to be taken” of course believing that this means to heaven. But is this so? Come let us search into the matter a little more closely.
Most of Evangelical Christians take this verse to justify the teaching of a secret rapture of all the saints prior to the great tribulation at the end of the world. Seventh-day Adventists are quick to discount this theory as unscriptural believing that this verse applies to the visible second coming of Christ in the clouds of glory after the seven last plagues. However, their thinking will come as a big surprise when they discover that the popular position on this scripture is not to their liking. How can this be so you may ask? Don’t Seventh-day Adventists have the correct understanding since we don’t believe in the secret rapture. Are you will to examine the matter out a little more closely and discover why this is the case first by asking the simple question . . .
What is the meaning of the word “taken”?
“And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offense to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken.” — Isaiah 8:14-15
“To whom he said, This [is] the rest [wherewith] ye may cause the weary to rest; and this [is] the refreshing: yet they would not hear. But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, [and] there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken” — Isaiah 28:12-13
“Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because ye have made your iniquity to be remembered, in that your transgressions are discovered, so that in all your doings your sins do appear; because, [I say], that ye are come to remembrance, ye shall be taken with the hand.” — Ezekiel 21:24
From these verses it is clear that for one to be taken is not a good thing, but rather a snare where the recipient stumbles, falls, and is broken.
What will be the fate of false prophets and teachers and their followers in the church who prophecy “peace, peace when there is no peace?”
“Why [then] is this people of Jerusalem slidden back by a perpetual backsliding? they hold fast deceit, they refuse to return. . . . How do ye say, We [are] wise, and the law of the LORD [is] with us? Lo, certainly in vain made he [it]; the pen of the scribes [is] in vain. The wise [men] are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken: lo, they have rejected the word of the LORD; and what wisdom [is] in them? . . . The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved” — Jeremiah 8:5, 8-9, 20
“For because thou hast trusted in thy works and in thy treasures, thou shalt also be taken: and Chemosh shall go forth into captivity [with] his priests and his princes together. And the spoiler shall come upon every city, and no city shall escape: the valley also shall perish, and the plain shall be destroyed, as the LORD hath spoken” — Jeremiah 48:1, 7, 8
The false prophets, teachers, and their devotees will be destroyed as the Lord has spoken. Taken clearly means death, destruction! There is no getting around this.
So where are the wicked taken?
“I tell you, in that night there shall be two [men] in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. Two [women] shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two [men] shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body [is], thither will the eagles be gathered together.” — Luke 17:34-37
The wicked are taken where the eagles gather and this is what happens to their slain bodies as shown in the following verses.
“And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;” — Revelation 19:17 (destruction during the 7th plague)
“For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. ” — Matthew 24:28
The eagles are gathered together to consume the bodies of the wicked, not to gather them in the sky which is what happens to the saints when Christ comes at the second advent in the clouds of glory (cf. 1 Thess 4:17) .
“Doth the eagle mount up at thy command, and make her nest on high? She dwelleth and abideth on the rock, upon the crag of the rock, and the strong place. From thence she seeketh the prey, [and] her eyes behold afar off. Her young ones also suck up blood: and where the slain [are], there [is] she.” — Job 39:27-30
“And, thou son of man, thus saith the Lord GOD; Speak unto every feathered fowl, and to every beast of the field, Assemble yourselves, and come; gather yourselves on every side to my sacrifice that I do sacrifice for you, [even] a great sacrifice upon the mountains of Israel, that ye may eat flesh, and drink blood.” — Ezekiel 39:17
“And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the LORD: and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung.” — Zephaniah 1:17
So as we turn back to Matthew 24 it is plain to now see that the coming of the Son of man spoken of in the following verses is not strictly the second advent, as most Seventh-day Adventists believe, but rather a coming to take away the wicked from among the righteous just in the same manner that God separated Noah and his family in the ark before the destruction of the earth and the wicked in that day by the flood.
“But of that day and hour knoweth no [man], no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. 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.” — Matthew 24:36-41
The Paradox: A Coming of the Lord That the People Don’t Expect.
“Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.” — Matthew 24:43, 44
This coming therefore is not the second advent, but the coming of the Lord to purify His church. The following verses confirm this by revealing the two classes in the church that will be separated at this coming, the faithful and wise servant and the evil servant.
Who is the Faithful and Wise Servant?
“Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed [is] that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods” — Matthew 24:45-47
If the wise servant is giving “meat in due season” (present truth) when the Lord comes then probation must still be open since there would be not point in giving a message after probation closes. This proves that this coming is not the visible second advent.
Who is The Evil Servant?
“But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite [his] fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for [him], and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint [him] his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” — Matthew 24:48-51
There are two classes in the church, wheat and tares. God must come (secretly or unexpectedly) to separate the two classes prior to the visible second advent while probation is still open for the world. This separation is taught in more detail and from many different angles, for example, in the of the sealing of the 144,000 in Rev. 7 and the cutting of the stone out of the mountain in Daniel chapter two.