Who is Left Behind? Understanding the Order of the Final Gathering ()
The 1970’s Christian movie “A Thief in the Night” portrayed a woman waking up to a news report of millions missing. She then discovered that her husband was one of those taken. This concept is taken from the words of Jesus:
“I tell you, in that night there will be two men in one bed: the one will be taken and the other will be left. Two women will be grinding together: the one will be taken and the other left. Two men will be in the field: the one will be taken and the other left.” (Luke v17:34-36)
The question obviously is whether the people taken are taken to be the with the Lord or are they taken for judgment. Clearly, the movie “A Thief in the Night” interpreted those taken as Christians. Yet when the disciples asked Jesus where were those people taken he does not say to heaven or to His side.
And they answered and said to Him, “Where, Lord?” So He said to them, “Wherever the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together.” (Luke 17:37)
The disciples were asking where one of the people (in bed, grinding, in the field) would be taken and Jesus answered where the body is there the eagles will be gathered. The place where the eagles (Greek: “aetos” meaning “eagle”, “vulture” “bird of prey”) will be gathered is a reference to the invitation the birds to come and enjoy the feast of those slain in the battle of the great day of the Lord.
“And as for you, son of man, thus says the Lord GOD, ‘Speak to every sort of bird and to every beast of the field: “Assemble yourselves and come; Gather together from all sides to My sacrificial meal Which I am sacrificing for you, A great sacrificial meal on the mountains of Israel, That you may eat flesh and drink blood. You shall eat the flesh of the mighty, Drink the blood of the princes of the earth, Of rams and lambs, Of goats and bulls, All of them fatlings of Bashan. You shall eat fat till you are full, And drink blood till you are drunk, At My sacrificial meal Which I am sacrificing for you. You shall be filled at My table With horses and riders, With mighty men And with all the men of war,” says the Lord GOD. (Ezek 39:17-20)
This same feast is mentioned in Rev 19:17-18
Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, “Come and gather together for the supper of the great, “that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great.”(Rev 19:17-18)
Thus, Jesus’ answer that they will be taken to where the eagles are tells us that they are not the righteous but rather the wicked and they are taken away for judgment. They are not taken to be with the Lord as the movie “A Thief in the Night” would have us believe.
This agrees with what Jesus said in Matthew 24:39 concerning the evil people who were taken in the flood: “and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.” (Matt 24:39) Noah and his family were hidden away safely whereas the wicked, outside the ark, were carried away by the flood to destruction.
The idea of the wicked taken away and the righteous left is also taught in the Hebrew Bible where the righteous are not removed from the land but the wicked are removed.
The righteous shall inherit the land, And dwell in it forever. (Ps 37:29)
The righteous will never be removed, But the wicked will not inhabit the earth. (Prov 10:30)
The challenge of putting all of this together lies in the statement that Jesus will return on the clouds and then send out his angels to gather his elect and then if two are in the field and one is taken, it would seem the one taken must the good guy. However, if we understand there to be three classes of people, then things line up better. Those individuals are:
- The elect (Commonwealth Israel = followers of Christ)
- Those who took the mark of the beast (Hybrids/Rephaim cf. Isaiah 26:19, Rev 14:9-10)
- Those who were righteous but didn’t know it – they don’t take the mark or follow beast but they don’t necessarily seem to be followers of Christ either. (Matthew 25:37)
With these elements in mind, we can construct a likely outline for Jesus’ return and the gathering of the wheat and tares.
Rapture / Gathering Scenario
- Jesus returns in flame and fire
- Resurrection: Your dead shall live; Together with my dead body they shall arise. Awake and sing, you who dwell in dust; For your dew is like the dew of herbs, (Isaiah 26:19)
- Mark of the Beast Recipients Rephaim Hybrids fall – “And the earth shall cast out [tapil תַּפִּֽיל] the dead [rephaim רְפָאִ֥ים]” (Isa 26:19)
- Jesus sends his angels to gather his elect who will receive new bodies (I Cor 15:51-52)
- Resurrected and gathered believers are hidden away for a brief period (Isaiah 26:20)
- The tares (Rephaim/hybrids/mark of the beast recipients) are gathered (Matt 13:41)
- Two will be grinding, one taken – where? (Luke 17:34-36)
- To where the eagles/vultures are – great feast of the Lord, Mat 24:37, Rev 19:17, Ezek 39:17-20
- The non-elect righteous are left to inherit the earth as mortals (Matt 25:34; Ps 37:29; Pr 10:30)
a. To have children, build houses, etc. (Isaiah 65:20-23)
In conclusion, we see that the ones taken from the bed, mill, and field, are not the righteous, but the wicked who have taken the mark of the beast. They are removed to destruction where the birds will eat their flesh. The righteous who didn’t know it will inherit the earth as flesh and blood and have children. The elect (commonwealth of Israel) are gathered by the angels and are transformed in a flash into their new bodies and become rulers with Christ during the thousand-year rule.