37 "But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 38 "For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 "and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 40 "Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. 41 "Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left." (Matthew 24:37-41)
Many quote this verse about the days of Noah and say it has to do with giants, Nephilim, or transgenics. (Dan. 2:43) While we see the technology being developed for such a thing, the passage explains itself. There's no need to make such a leap. "They were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until..." In other words, life was carrying on as usual up to the point when Noah entered the ark. The Tribulation will begin with sudden destruction and before that day there is a time of peace and safety. (1 Thes. 5)
Just as it was then, so it will be in our day just before the Tribulation begins. The prophets use this symbol of the overflowing waters, the deluge of Noah, to describe the Tribulation. "Like a flood of mighty waters overflowing." (Is. 28:2) "When the overflowing scourge passes through." (Is. 28:15,18) "His breath is like an overflowing stream." (Is. 30:28) "That make a rushing like the rushing of mighty waters." (Is. 17:12) "The mountains saw You and trembled; the overflowing of the water passed by." (Hab. 3:10) "But with an overflowing flood He will make an utter end of its place." (Nah. 1:8) "Behold, waters rise out of the north, and shall be an overflowing flood." (Jer. 47:2) "For this is like the waters of Noah to Me." (Is. 54:9)
Notice the picture we are being shown. Before this time, life is going on as usual. There is relative peace and quiet. The day being spoken of here is not the end of the Tribulation, spoken of earlier in the chapter: "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." (Mat. 24:21) During that time of great Tribulation life is not going on as usual. It's a time of great chaos as severe judgments are being poured out upon the earth. Rather, the days of Noah leading up to the deluge are described as, well, normal. This is the context for what's spoken next.
When the Tribulation begins "two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left." Many people read this and think "oh, this must be the rapture of the Church." No, sorry, it is not. The gathering of the elect occurs at last trumpet, at the physical return of Christ; at the end of that Day, not the beginning. Yahshua (Jesus) explains this in the very same chapter. "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." (Mat. 24:31) "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." (1 Cor. 15:52) "Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!" (Rev. 11:15) "And you will be gathered one by one, O you children of Israel. So it shall be in that day: The great trumpet will be blown." (Is. 27:12-13)
People who believe in a pre-tribulation rapture also believe in a post-tribulation rapture. They believe in two raptures of the Church. They surmise the second gathering, or catching away, is of those who became saved during the Tribulation. But they don't take God's Word to heart when he calls us his witnesses. (Is. 43:10,12, 44:8, Acts 1:8) They do not consider God's people need to be here during the most important point in human history; to give our witness. Nor do they understand what God is rhetorically asking in Amos 3:3: "How can two walk together unless they are agreed?" What? You want me to reward you for bad behavior? You want me to rescue you before the trouble begins? Uh, no, sorry, we are not in agreement. My bride is filthy and I am holy. I'm returning for a spotless bride, without any blemish. "That He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish." (Eph. 5:27) On this point they conclude the blood of Christ makes us clean. Which it does, when we first turn to him and begin walking with him. But when we draw back into a walk of the flesh, rather continuing to walk in the Spirit, we become defiled once again. Though we continue to offer worship and profess his great name, he is not pleased with us (Heb. 10:38) as we continue to use our liberty in Christ as a cloak for vice. (1 Peter 2:16) By taking that covenant for granted we are insulting the Spirit of grace. (Heb. 10:29) Nor do they consider that judgment begins at the house of God. (1 Peter 4:17) Nor do they take his words to heart which explain that a message of peace of the last days taught to a defiled people is a doctrine of demons and worthy of severe punishment. (Is. 28, Jer. 23, 28, Ez. 13, 34, Mal. 2, et.al.) As teachers we never want to find ourselves in a position of contradicting the basic precepts of the Word of God. "Thus says the LORD of hosts: Do not listen to the words of the prophets...They continually say...'You shall have peace', and...'No evil shall come upon you.'...In the latter days you will understand it perfectly." (Jer. 23:17-20)
So, if this passage is not speaking of the rapture, what is it? Who is taken, who is left? Where are they taken? From this passage it simply is not clear. The prophecies were not meant to be understood by themselves. To properly understand we must study and compare all the messages in his Word regarding our day. This is why God says through Hosea: "I have also spoken by the prophets, and have multiplied visions; I have given symbols through the witness of the prophets." The word "symbols" is similitudes in the KJV and it means points of comparison. We must study the whole picture to understand the whole picture. If a blind man only feels the leg of an elephant he thinks it to be a tree.
When we study all the prophecies we see the Day begins with sudden destruction. One rich, prominent nation of our day, filled with God's defiled yet still worshiping people, is made utterly desolate in just one day. But God will pardon and preserve a remnant from that land. The remnant is preserved through the Tribulation just as Noah and his family were preserved through the deluge and the Hebrew boys were preserved through the furnace heated seven times hot. But the wicked were taken in judgment. For an in-depth study of that first day, read my book, "Quenched Like a Wick."