Scant few scripture passages are used to “prove” the erroneous pre-tribulation rapture theory. Some people use this one: “Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left” (Mt. 24: 40). They will just pluck it up out of its context, prop it up, display it, and use it to try to prove that the rapture happens before the Tribulation Period begins.
I agree that the word “taken” here is a good thing, for the Greek word (#3880) is translated in other places as “receive,” as in receiving the word of God [ http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/Lexicon/Lexicon.cfm?strongs=G3880&t=KJV ]. So, yes, one is “received” or “taken” by God and the other is left. But, when does this take place? Is it before the tribulation starts or after? That is the question whose scriptural answer cannot be ascertained by just plucking the verse out of context.
So let’s dig deeper into the “one taken, the other left” passage. This verse starts with the word “Then.” “Then” signifies that something else has had to have happened before “one is taken.”
And that something that Christ alludes to is the flood of Noah, as seen in verses 37-39, just before the “taken/left” passage. We are talking ultimately here about the “coming of the Son of man” (v. 37). Noah and his family were those who were taken or received by God and preserved through the tribulation of the flood. The others would not listen to Noah and “knew not until the flood came” (v. 39).
But Noah knew when the flood would come! “For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights…” (Gen. 7: 4). Noah knew that in seven days the flood would start. He knew, for God told him. And, yet, unenlightened preachers expound in pulpits across the land that “no one can know the day or hour of His coming.” And they cite this very passage! But Noah knew! In seven days the flood would come. Will God tell a righteous man in our day when His coming will be?
What no man will know is when “heaven and earth shall pass away” in Matt. 24: 35! “But of that day and hour knows no man” (v. 36). “But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (v. 37). Christ likens when the coming of the Son of man will be just like it was in Noah’s day. Noah knew and was “taken” by God in the Ark, and the others were left.
This is the context leading to verse 40: “Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.” The Tribulation has already started! The “abomination of desolation has already taken place in verse 15, which is further context for v. 40.
The Anti-Christ standing in the rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem is a stupendous sign. “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” (24: 21). The Tribulation Period starts here, 19 verses before the supposed rapture-proving verse 40 where one is taken, one left.
“And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved” (v. 22). Great calamity and distress and destruction is happening. But for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened” (v. 22). The elect chosen ones of God, His church, are in grave danger of being destroyed in the tribulation. They are on earth in harm’s way, and to spare them, God shortens the time of destruction; He cuts it short to save their lives.” They are still on earth, for why would God have to spare them if they were with Him in heaven, having been raptured out of danger earlier?
And make no mistake who the elect in this passage are. They are His church, His body of believers. And since they will be “caught up to meet Him in the air,” upon His return, it must be after the tribulation period ends.
The going will get rough for the last generation of His elect, those alive when Christ returns to set up His kingdom here on earth. For they will have to endure the Great Tribulation Period. But He is faithful to protect us from those hard times. [For other articles disproving the pre-tribulation rapture theory click here: http://immortalityroad.wordpress.com/?s=rapture ]