Who Gets Left Behind?…And When?
Exposing The “Pre-Trib” Rapture
by Christine Egbert
In this article, I hope to show that Scripture does not support the modern church doctrine of a pre-tribulation rapture. Gerald E. Cronk, in his book, NOW ABOUT THAT RAPTURE (copy-right 1997), lists 14 tenants of the pre-tribulation rapture theory juxtaposed to summations of what Scripture teaches. Here they are:
According to Amos 3: 7, Yah does nothing without first reveling it to his prophets. And those who have returned to the Hebrew roots of our most holy faith know that since the 4th day of Creation, Yah has made known His Appointed Times through the luminaries– the moon for months, the sun for days–which He placed in the expanse of the heavens. These mo’eds, which have been rendered in most English Bibles simply as seasons, (Genesis 1: 14) are translated elsewhere in Scripture as “meeting(s)” (see tabernacle of meeting” or as Feasts. The word mo’ed can refer to an appointed time, an appointed place, or an appointed occasion or event.
Knowing that God keeps His appointed times, we can rest assured that Yeshua will not return at any moment, but at a predetermined time (on some future Feast of Trumpets–Yom Teruah).
A Time Which No Man Knows The Day Or Hour
“A time which no man knows the day or hour” is a Hebrew idiom for the Feast of Trumpets. WHY? Because this first of the yet-to-be-fulfilled fall feasts, which happens on the first day of the 7th month, is the ONLY feast determined by the sighting of the first sliver of the new moon, and it can occur over a 2 day period. Thus, it became known as a time of which no man knows the day or hour. So we can be certain of the season, but the exact day must be watched for.
In Avi Ben Mordechai’s book, “Signs In the Heavens” the author explains, from a rabbinical perspective, the idiomatic meaning of the scriptural phrase “no man knows the day or hour”. He writes: “Christians over the centuries have separated themselves from their Hebraic roots causing the misunderstanding of key Jewish biblical idioms. An idiom is a figure of speech. When Y’shua uttered His famous words concerning the Messianic Era in Matthew 24:26, “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in Heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father,” He was using a common Jewish figure of speech that referred to a specific Jewish Festival.”
What day did this Jewish idiom refer to? It referred to the Feast of Trumpets. Yeshua was a Jew who lived a written-Torah-observant lifestyle. He communicated with his Jewish audience in Hebrew, using Hebraic idioms. In volume two, “mo’ed”, tractate Rosh HaShanah we learn that once a month, the Sanhedrin proclaimed the new moon through the agency of the Torah-required two witnesses, who must never arrive at the same time or be questioned by the Sanhedrin at the same time. Then, once the Sanhedrin officially proclaimed the new moon, Rosh Chodesh, the new month, began.
The 7thmonth of Tishri, however, was the only month in which a Feast Day occurred on the first day of the month. The Feast of Trumpets could not be celebrated until the people heard “Sanctified!” proclaimed by the head of the Sanhedrin. Thus the Feast of Trumpets became known to all Israel as the feast of which “no man knew the day or hour.”
Mat 25:13 “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.”
1Th 5:1-6 But concerning the times and the seasons (Mo’ed/ appointed times), brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. (2) For you know perfectly that the day of the LORD so comes as a thief in the night. (3) For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. (4) But you, brethren, are not in darkness so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. (5) You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. (6) Therefore, let us not sleep as others, but let us WATCH and be sober.
On Some Future Feast of Trumpets:
1Co_15:52 … in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
1Th_4:16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
We also know from Matthew 24:27 that it will NOT be a secret stealthy event. For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. And it will not be BEFORE the tribulation!
Matthew 24: 29-31 says, “Immediately AFTER the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light. The stars will fall from heaven and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. THEN the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will SEE the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
Read my article “The Greater Exodus Not the Rapture” to understand who He is gathering, and where they will be going. But here is a hint.
They shall come with weeping, and I will lead them with prayers. I will cause them to walk by rivers of waters, in a right way; they will not stumble in it. For I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is My first-born. Hear the Word of Yahweh, O nations, and declare in the coastlands far away, and say, He who scattered Israel will gather him and keep him, as a shepherd his flock.
The event that Sunday Christians call the Rapture, a word found nowhere in the Bible, is scripturally known as the “Resurrection” and the “Day of Yahweh” (the LORD). For Scripture teaches that at the end of this current age, which culminates with the tribulation, Yeshua will return. The dead in Messiah will be raised first, with glorified bodies. Then those of us who are alive and remain will put on immortality. Together we will rise to meet Yeshua in the air as He returns to earth the second time (not third) to save Israel and pour out His wrath on Israel’s enemies. Then he will marry His bride.
Matthew 25:6 is a parable about Messiah’s return for His bride. “And at midnight came the cry: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!”
There are only four places in the New Testament that the Greek word apantesis, which is translated in this verse as meet, is used. You will find the word in Matthew 25: verses 1 and 5; Acts 25:15; and in 1st Thessalonians 4:17, which says: “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 be with the Lord forever.”
Anyone who’s read Revelations knows that when Yeshua returns (the second time), He will reign from Jerusalem in Israel (the Kingdom of God) for 1000 years, and after that for all eternity in the new Heaven and new Earth, which at that time will then be joined together. Saints will not go to Heaven to sit on pink clouds and play harps. Yeshua will return and RESTORE ALL THINGS. He will reverses the consequences of Adam’s fall, and we shall eat from the Tree of Life.
What About Meeting The Lord In The Air?
So what does “meet Him in the air” refer to? Simply this: In ancient times when a dignitary came to town, his reception party would go outside the city gate to meet him and to usher him in. It’s that simple! “And at midnight came the cry: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!”
Day Of The LORD
Isaiah 34:8 For it is the day of the LORD’S vengeance, the year of recompense for the cause of Zion.
Joel 2:31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD.
Obadiah 1:15 “For the day of the LORD upon all the nations is near. As you have done, it shall be done to you! Your reprisal shall return upon your own head.
Zep 2:2-3 Before the decree is issued, or the day passes like chaff, Before the LORD’s fierce anger comes upon you, Before the day of the LORD’s anger comes upon you! Seek the LORD, all you meek of the earth who have upheld His justice. Seek righteousness! Seek humility! It may be that you will be hidden in the day of the LORD’s anger.
Notice that the verse does not say to pray that we are taken out of the world to Heaven, but that we should pray to be hidden during the Day of the LORD. Yeshua also prayed to the Father, in John 17:5, asking Him not to take those who are His out of this world but to protect them. In Yeshua’s letter to the congregations in Revelation Chapter 2, He encourages believers, over and over, to be overcomes, not escape artists.
Everything that happened to the patriarchs will happen again in the end of days. This is called the greater exodus. Just as the Lord protected the children of Israel from the plages in Egypt, He will protect His remnant (His bride) during the tribulation.
Isaiah 26:20-21 Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide yourself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be over. For, behold, the LORD comes out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity. (Yeshua is NOT coming to punish His bride!)
As Noah and his family were hidden in an arc (on the earth) during the flood, and as the children of Israel had light in Goshen when darkness covered the rest of Egypt, we will be provided for. There will, however, be a select number of believers who will be put in prison for ten days, and then martyred. (Rev 2:10)
Psalms 91 Is Prophetic!
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide in the shade of the Almighty. I will say to YHVH, My Refuge and my Fortress, my God, I will trust in Him. For He delivers you from the fowler’s snare, from destruction’s plague. With His feathers He will cover you, and under His wings you shall seek refuge. His truth is a shield and buckler. You shall not fear the terror of night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, of the plague that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction laying waste at noonday. A thousand shall fall by your side, and a myriad at your right hand; it shall not come near you. Only with your eyes you shall look, and see the retribution of the wicked. Because You, O YHVH, are My refuge. You who make the Most High Your habitation, no evil shall happen to You, nor shall any plague come near Your tent. For He shall give His angels charge over You, to keep You in all Your ways.
Matthew 24:29 Is The 6th Seal
Matthew 24:29 clearly states when Yeshua will return. It will be “Immediately AFTER the tribulation of those days…” The sequence is this: (1st) The tribulation occurs. (2nd) The events of the 6th seal heralding the Messiah’s return: the sun is darkened; the moon gives no light; stars fall from heaven. Powers in heaven are shaken. (3rd)Then Yeshua returns, and (His) dead are raised with incorruptible bodies along with those of His who remain. (4th) Then, Yeshua pours out His wrath on the ungodly.
How do we know the events of Matthew 24:29 are the same events of the 6th seal? Because John informs us of these very same 6thseal events in Revelations 6:12-17:
Rev 6:12-17 And when He had opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake. And the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, even as a fig tree casts her untimely figs when she is shaken by a mighty wind. And the heaven departed like a scroll when it is rolled together. And every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every freeman, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains. And they said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him sitting on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of His wrath has come, and who will be able to stand?
References To The Greater Exodus:
Micah 4:10 Be in pain and deliver, daughter of Zion, like one giving birth. For now you shall go out from the city, and you shall live in the field. And you shall come to Babylon. There you shall be snatched back. There YHVH shall redeem you from the hand of your enemies.
Zep 2:3 Seek YHVH, all the meek of the earth, who have done His justice. Seek righteousness! Seek meekness! It may be you shall be hidden in the Day of YHVH’s anger.
Zec_14:5 Then you shall flee through My mountain valley, for the mountain valley shall reach to Azal. Yes, you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Thus YHVH, my God, will come, and all the Saints with You. (In our resurrected, glorified bodies.)
Dan 11:31-35 And forces shall be mustered by him, and they shall defile the sanctuary fortress; then they shall take away the daily sacrifices, and place there the abomination of desolation. (32) Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits. (33) And those of the people who understand shall instruct many. Yet for many days, they shall fall by sword and flame, by captivity and plundering. (34) Now when they fall, they shall be aided with a little help, but many shall join with them by intrigue. (35) And some of those of understanding shall fall, to refine them, purify them, and make them white, until the time of the end; because it is still for the appointed time. (37) He shall regard neither the God of his fathers nor the desire of women, nor regard any god, for he shall exalt himself above them all. (38) But in their place he shall honor a god of fortresses, a god which his fathers did not know he shall honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and pleasant things. (39) Thus he shall act against the strongest fortresses with a foreign god, which he shall acknowledge, and advance its glory; and he shall cause them to rule over many, and divide the land for gain.
(40) “At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him; and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through. (41) He shall also enter the Glorious Land, and many countries shall be overthrown; but these shall escape from his hand: Edom, Moab, and the prominent people of Ammon. (42) He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape. (43) He shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; also the Libyans and Ethiopians shall follow at his heels. (44) But news from the east and the north shall trouble him; therefore he shall go out with great fury to destroy and annihilate many. (45) And he shall plant the tents of his palace between the seas and the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and no one will help him.
(Dan 12:1-3) “At that time Michael shall stand up, the great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people (Israel). And there shall be a time of tribulation such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time. And AT THAT TIME your people shall be delivered, everyone who is found written in the book. (2) And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt. (3) Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever.
Dan_7:21-22 “I was watching, and the same horn was making war against the saints and prevailing against them, until the Ancient of Days came, and a judgment was made in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came for the SAINTS TO POSSESS THE KINGDOM.
Dan_7:27 Then the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, shall be GIVEN TO THE PEOPLE, the SAINTS of the Most High.
Rev 21:2-3 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (3) And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.
Rev 21:22-27 But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. (23) The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light. (24) And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it. (25) Its gates shall not be shut at all by day (there shall be no night there). (26) And they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it. (27) But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
In closing, I would like to share the parable found in Matthew 13: 38-43 that gives the true understanding of just who gets taken and who gets left behind, but before I do, we must take a close look at Luke 17:20, where some Pharisees asked Yeshua when the Kingdom of God will come, by which they meant when will the Kingdom be restored to Israel. Then in verse 34, Yeshua says somethings which Pre-tribbers cite as a proof-text that believers will be snatched away to heaven, leaving the unsaved behind to go through the tribulation (in spite of the fact that in Matthew 24:29, Yeshua states that the sign of his coming will occur immediately after the tribulation).
Let’s read it: (ESV) Luke 17:34-36.
“I tell you, in that night there will be two in one bed. One will be taken and the other left. There will be two women grinding together. One will be taken and the other left.”
If pre-tribbers would just stop plucking “sound-bites” out of context, they’d be confronted with the truth regarding exactly “who” gets “taken” and exactly “where” they are taken. For in it is explained in the very next verse, Luke 17:37!
After Yeshua tells them “one will be taken and the other left” they respond with a question: “Where, Lord?” To this, Yeshua responds: “Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.” Yeshua refers to those who are taken as a corpse. How do we know? Yeshua gave the answer in parable form in Matthew 13: 38-43.
“The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one. The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall GATHER OUT of his kingdom all things that offend and those who practice lawlessness (Tora-lessness), and shall cast THEM into a furnace of fire. There shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.”
So you see, it is the righteous, the saints, who are “left behind”…and according to the prophecy of Daniel 7:18, these saints of the Most High will receive the kingdom (here on earth) and possess it forever. This same promise is made throughout Scripture:
Psalms 37:29 “The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever.”
Pro 10:30 The righteous shall never be moved, and the wicked shall not dwell in the land.
Psa 58:10 The righteous shall rejoice when he sees vengeance (God’s wrath); he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked.
Mat 5:5 Blessed are the meek! For they shall inherit the earth.
Psa 37:9-11 For evildoers shall be cut off; and the ones waiting on YHVH shall inherit the earth. It is not but a little while and the wicked shall not be. Yea, you shall consider his place (the wicked), and he is no more. But the meek shall inherit the earth. Yea, they shall delight themselves in abundant peace.