Today, October 3, 2014, the re-make movie titled “Left Behind” makes its debut in theaters across America. Based on the “Left Behind” series co-authored by Tim La Haye and Jerry B. Jenkins, the movie depicts events associated with the false teaching of the “rapture.” Despite this flawed teaching, being left behind does have serious implications for God’s Church in the end-times.
Jesus Christ prophesied about a time of trouble to engulf this world right before His 2nd Coming.
“For in those days there will be tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the creation which God created until this time, nor ever shall be.” (Mark 13:19)
He describes this same event with more detail in Matthew 24.
“For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved (alive); but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.” (verses 21-22)
In verse 22 Christ refers to a group of people called “the elect.” Who are these people?
In Revelation 12, John describes how two groups of people within God’s Church will be affected by “great tribulation.” In verse 14, the first group receives protection for the entirety of the Great Tribulation.
“But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time, times and half a time (3 ½ years), from the presence of the serpent.”
After three full years of “tribulation”, Satan is cast out of heaven at the sound of the 5th trumpet (Rev. 9:1). Once back on the earth he goes after this protected group with a military army. When his plan is miraculously thwarted, he makes war with the second group, which is not protected (Rev. 12:13, 15-16).
“And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” (verse 17).
The protected group is a remnant of God’s people who have remained faithful since the Philadelphian era of God’s Church, holding fast to God’s Truth and not denying His name (Rev. 3:8, 10-11). The other group are Christians who have become spiritually lukewarm during the era of Laodicea and must go into “tribulation” to repent (Rev. 3:16, 18-19).
Christ describes how those who have held fast will be “taken” to a place of protection at the same time those who are spiritually lukewarm are “left” behind.
“For as it was in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. Then two men will be in the field: one taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one taken and the other left.” (verses 38-41)
To “be taken” in the Greek means “to receive near”, while the word “left” means “to send forth.”
Those who are “taken” will go to a location on the earth and be protected by God for 3 ½ years (Rev. 12:14). Those who are spiritually lukewarm will be sent forth into Great Tribulation to bring them to repentance (Rev. 3:18-19).
“The elect” of Matthew 24:22 are the same Christians “taken” into protection for 3 ½ years. These human beings have proven themselves faithful to God through the fulfillment of Matthew 24:14, the falling away (II Thes. 2:3a) and the spiritual lukewarm era of Laodicea.
Will you be “taken” or “left” behind when the time comes?