Are the Rapture and the Second Coming the Same Event?
Dr. Mark Hitchcock: Well, there’s a lot of people that hold that idea, because there’s statements in Matthew 24 that seem to refer to the fact that the coming of the Lord is going to be something that’s going to be a surprise. You know, two are going to be walking in the field, one’s taken and one’s left. And people will ask, “Well, how can that refer to the second coming because you have all these signs that precede the second coming?” And they go to, you know, passages like that where one’s taken and one’s left. And that, you know, often conjures up the idea of the rapture if someone’s going to be snatched away to heaven, someone’s going to be left behind.
But I think when we look at the context of Matthew 24-25, it’s a very Jewish context. The context is referring to the second coming of Jesus back to the earth. And when it says there that one is taken and one is left, I think it refers to one at the second coming who’s taken away in judgment and the other person is left to enjoy the millennial kingdom. So really I think in Matthew 24 you have the opposite of the rapture. At the rapture the one who’s taken is taken to heaven, the one left is left on the earth. I think you have the opposite thing going on there in Matthew 24.
Dr. Ron Rhodes: The parallel passage of the passage Mark was talking about is in Luke 17. And the disciples ask, “Where, Lord? Where will they be taken?” And Jesus says, “Where the bodies are, the vultures will gather.” Now that’s a Jewish way of describing judgment. So he’s exactly right, you know, they’re taken away in judgment. It’s not the rapture at all.
Dr. John Ankerberg: Yes. I would say that if you look at the context, like Mark was saying, that if you go back a few chapters and if you look at the parables that are given there, that you will find that the ones that are taken are always the unbelievers, okay. It’s not the believers. So that this is not talking about the rapture where believers are taken. This is where you have the unbelievers are taken away into judgment, alright? And it’s the believers that are left on earth here in Matthew 24 that go into the millennial kingdom.