Jesus Did Not Say That The Ungodly Would Be Left Behind


Amazing how biblical expositors can twist the Bible to mean what they want it to mean, and even more amazing that thousands of people believe them without checking the facts!

Take the popular theory that Jesus will take believers to heaven when He comes and that the ungodly will be left behind. “Left Behind” is even the theme of a series of novels which have garnered millions of dollars in royalties but do not have a shred of truth in them. Many have even based a false hope on the idea that they or their loved ones will get a second chance to believe in Jesus when the church is “raptured” and the antichrist takes over the world. Where in the world does that idea come from and how can they justify it from the Scriptures?

Now let’s look at what Jesus did say.

As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the Ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. (Matt. 24: 37-39)

“As it was . . . so it will be” is quite clearly a comparison. Just as it happened then, so it will happen now. That is clear, isn’t it? So what happened then? God told Noah to build an ark because it was going to rain. The people of the earth had become so corrupt that God decided to purge the earth of its evil and rescue only one family, Noah’s. It had never rained before because the earth was watered by a mist (see Gen. 2: 5-6).

While Noah and his sons constructed the ark, Noah warned the people of coming judgment.

. . . If He did not spare the ancient world when He brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others . . . (2 Peter 2: 5)

Whether his preaching was verbal or silent, Peter did not say but, what he and his sons were doing was enough to alert his neighbours that something big and catastrophic was about to happen. But they obviously refused to take him seriously because they carried on living the way they always did until the flood came.

What was God’s provision for the Noah family? He did not rapture them to heaven. He protected them from the flood in a well-constructed boat. Here again is what Peter had to say about the event.

. . . To those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water . . . (1 Peter 3: 20)

Peter compared what happened to Noah and his family when God rescued them from the flood by protecting them in the ark, to what happens to those who are baptised, implying that they have been identified with Jesus’ death and resurrection and have been initiated into God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The very water that took the lives of the ungodly in Noah’s day was the water that saved him because he was in the ark.

Jesus’ comparison falls flat if we insist that it was the ungodly who were “left behind”. Clearly Noah and his family survived the flood when everyone and everything that was not in the ark perished. God did not destroy the earth with the flood. He re-established it in another form. Everything was changed by the water which fell from above and burst out of the ground.

In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month – on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights. (Gen. 7: 11-12)

At the end of the catastrophe, who emerged from the ark onto a transformed and purged earth? Who was left behind? Many thousands of corpses and one living family, Noah! God had accomplished His goal. He preserved a righteous man and his family to start all over again.

Where, then, does the idea come from that Jesus will whip the righteous from the earth and leave the ungodly behind to carry on as normal? Before you get hot under the collar and point me to the “rapture”, we have to examine the big picture. This is only point one. Jesus did not say that He would take the church out and leave the ungodly behind. He did say that, just as Noah was saved in the ark when God poured His judgement on the earth and its corrupt inhabitants, so those who are “in Him” will be protected when He brings judgment on the earth and its corrupt people once again.

As the writer to the Hebrews testified:

See to it that you do not refuse Him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused Him who warned them on earth, how much less will we if we turn away from Him who warns us from heaven.  At that time His voice shook the earth, but now He has promised, ‘Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.’ The words ‘once more’ indicate the removing of what can be shaken – that is, created things – so that what cannot be shaken may remain. (Heb. 12: 25-27)

Tomorrow we’ll examine point two of what Jesus did not say and what He did say.  

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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