“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 you Lord doth come” (Matt.24:40-42).
How often the above passage has been interpreted to apply to our Lord’s coming for the members of His Body! At the rapture of the Church, it is said, two will be working in the field, when one will be taken to heaven and the other left to go through the day of God’s wrath, and so also with two women who may be grinding side by side at the mill: one will be caught up to be with the Lord and the other left behind.
But actually this passage cannot have anything to do with the rapture of the Body to be with Christ.
First, the truth of our Lord’s coming for the members of His Body was a secret first revealed by the glorified Lord through Paul (ICor.15:51-58; IThes. 4:15-18).
But from Matthew 24 itself it is still more evident that the passage cannot refer to the rapture.
True, the passage says: “The one shall be taken, and the other left”, but where and how will the one be taken, and what will be the lot of the one who is left behind?
From the verses immediately preceding, it is evident that the coming of Christ to earth to judge and reign is in view. This coming is likened to what happened in the days of Noah. The people ate and drank, married and gave away again in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, “and knew not until the flood came and took them all away“. These people were not “taken away” to glory; they were “taken away” in judgment.
Since verses 40 and 41 are a continuation of this illustration, it is evident that the two “taken away” are taken away in judgment at our Lord’s return to reign, while the two who are “left” are left to enter into His millennial reign. This interpretation alone is consistent with the whole context in which we find this passage.
How much confusion would be avoided if the truth of the rapture of the Body to be with Christ were recognized to be what it is: a divine secret first revealed to Paul concerning the Church of this present dispensation, the Body of Christ.
To the Reader:
Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:
"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."
To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.