But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be… Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left (Matt. 24:37,40)
As a recap to our previous message, we saw that being “caught up” refers to a spiritual attainment where we are raised up to a higher state of mind in the spirit. This a theme that threads through the New Testament as the Spirit of God continually bids us to be renewed in the spit of our mind (Eph. 4:23) and to set our minds on the things above and not things on the earth (Col. 3:2). Only when our thinking, understanding and consciousness become heavenly can we be elevated to a state of being that can manifest the kingdom. Therefore, whenever the scriptures talk about being caught up, raised up, or translated, we should not assume that it refers to a physical experience.
This brings us to the topic of the rapture, which many in the evangelical church erroneously hold to. On this matter Preston Eby writes: “The church systems are literally filled today with carnal, earthly-minded Christians who sit back in ease and self-complacency and await a future rapture that will translate them out of the midst of earth’s Great Tribulation at the beginning of the Day of the Lord. To this generation of Lukewarm Laodiceans the Spirit speaks in certain tones of warning: “Woe unto you that desire the day of the Lord! to what end is it for you? the day of the Lord is darkness, and not light” (Amos 5:18). In the vast majority of evangelical circles we are taught that at any moment Jesus will come and secretly, silently snatch away His elect to a heaven in the far-flung skies – to escape the Great Tribulation which shall soon visit the earth. It is not true. The saints shall be “caught up” all right; but it is not speaking of distance in terms of miles or light years, but to glorious reality in the Spirit. When Christ comes to lift our inner-man nature UP into the fullness of UNION IN HIM we certainly know the reality of being raised up and made to sit together in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus. This is not a place in the sky, but a spiritual position of eminence, glory and authority.”
Despite its widespread acceptance among evangelicals, the specifics around the rapture remain contested among end-time teachers. A variety of views exist on the topic with some believing in a rapture taking place either before the tribulation, in mid-tribulation or after the tribulation, while others altogether rejecting the notion. It’s also worth noting that the word ‘rapture’ appears nowhere in scripture nor was it taught by the early church. According to sources, teachings on the rapture did not begin until the early 1800s.
As one who once held to the rapture theory, I can attest that it is a lifeless and self-serving teaching that misrepresents the plan of God and keeps many from laying hold of present spiritual realities. It is a ploy ignorantly used by religion to delay the weight matter of God’s kingdom program to some future time. This valuable time in the flesh that God has given His saints remains spiritually unexploited as men and women embrace the carnal delusion of a physical relocation. The rapture is a false hope.
There are a number of scriptures that the rapture teaching is based on, one of which is the statement by Jesus in Matthew 24.
“But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left” (Mat. 24:37-40).
Many have used the last part of this passage to defend the rapture. But let us carefully consider the text in its context. Jesus tells us that the coming of the Son of man will be like the days of Noah. In what respect? Well, every aspect of the accounts of the flood that Jesus mentioned have significance and serve as a shadow of the day of the Lord. So, it must be that; Noah, the people of that day, their conduct, the ark, entering into the ark, the flood, and the taking away, all have something to reveal to us concerning the spiritual realities of the coming of the Son of Man.
Many often view Noah as representing Christians in the story. But, I believe that the man Noah typifies the regenerated, recreated, born-again spirit of man. Thus, we read that “Noah was a just man, perfect in his generation. Noah walked with God” (Gen. 6:9). It is the renewed man of our spirit that is perfect and always walks in accordance with the will of God, for our spirit is the candle of the Lord (Prov. 20:7). On the same token, the wicked people of Noah’s day represent the flesh. Jesus describes the conduct of the people as eating, drinking, marrying, and giving in marriage to indicate their giving over to corruption and fleshly indulgence. Thus: “God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. And God said to Noah, ‘The end of all flesh has come before Me’” (Gen. 6:12-13).
The days before the flood are important, for they are appointed by the Lord for building the ark and not for eating, drinking or marrying. The Ark symbolizes Christ! “By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith” (Heb. 11:7). Young’s Literal reads that Noah “did prepare an ark to the salvation of his house”. Building the Ark will save you and your household.
Dear reader, the Ark that God is quickening us to build today is Christ! Jesus tells us that, the people of that day were unaware of what Noah was doing, just as many today who walk according to their natural understanding fail to recognize what the Spirit is revealing in this hour. No wonder then that many view these messages we write as overly spiritual, not practical enough, detached from reality and over-emphasizing Christ. But, there is nothing more practical in this world than Christ. Building the Ark will seem a foolish endeavor in the sight of the earth-dweller. But, God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise (1 Cor. 1:27). Dear brother/sister, when you begin to build the Ark in your land, rest assured that rejection will come from every side. How fitting that David declared: “because of Your sake I have borne reproach; shame has covered my face. I have become a stranger to my brothers, and an alien to my mother’s children” (Psal. 69:7-8).
Despite this, the Ark is necessary for our existence. It’s where we find shelter, provision, rest, freedom, protection and an escape from every fleshly corruption of the earth. But this is not just for ourselves, it is for all of creation. Notice that: “pairs of all creatures that have the breath of life in them CAME TO NOAH and ENTERED THE ARK” (Gen. 7:16). All creation came to Noah knowing that their deliverance rested with him and the Ark. Only Noah can build the Ark. And for those long years that Noah labored, creation waited in eager expectation for the day that the Ark would be unveiled, just as “the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the manifestation of the sons of God” (Rom. 8:19).
When the corporate Christ rises up in each of our spirit and is manifested on the earth, He will draw all of creation from the bondage of its corruption (Rom. 8:21). Isaiah prophecies: “Lift up your eyes all around, and see; they all gather together, they come to you” (Isa. 60:4). One translation reads: “look and see, for everyone is coming home”. Hallelujah! What a great hope God has placed within each of us. This is a picture of the restitution of all things in Christ – the gathering together of creation in the Ark. Surely, He is before all things and in Him all things consist. This is the heart of the message Jesus was pointing us to when He illustrated His coming with Noah’s day.
Dear saint, what are you building in your land today? As God was with Noah and gave him careful direction on how to build the Ark, the Lord is with us, wisely instructing us on how we should go about with the task of bringing forth the Christ. It’s high time for the people of God to get serious about the mission at hand, for what we have all built will be revealed by the flood in the day of the Lord.
The flood is an instrument in God’s divine program, for “the Lord sits upon the flood” (Psa. 29:10). Those wishing to escape it are rebellious. The flood represents tribulation. The purpose of the flood is to cleans the earth of wickedness and to elevate Noah above the earth. “And the flood was forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bare up the ark, and it was lift up above the earth” (Gen. 7:17). As we find our sufficiency in Christ, every tribulation we face presses us into Him and elevates us to higher realities in God, raising us above the corruption of the earth realm. But, all carnality of our old Adamic humanity is brought to death by the flood of God’s trials. It’s important to bear in mind that both Noah and the people went through the flood. However, one came out refined while the other died.
For the vast number of comfortable Christians today, the rapture is simply a ticket out of tribulation. Dear saint, you would be greatly mistaken to think that you have no part in tribulations or even the great tribulation. Both mentions of the ‘great tribulation’ in the book of Revelation relate directly to the church. This is the way of the kingdom, for “we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). Of those who in obedience go through the great tribulation, it is written: “these are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Rev. 7:14).
The coming of the Son of man shall be accompanied by a flood that will purge every fleshly corruption of man. That corrupt institution that has indoctrinated the Lord’s people with its false teachings and man-made traditions shall also be overflowed by the flood. As Egypt was drowned by flood, so shall be the destiny of Babylon. “Shall not the land tremble for this, and every one mourn that dwelleth therein? and it shall rise up wholly as a flood; and it shall be cast out and drowned, as by the flood of Egypt” (Amos 8:8). Nahum also declares: “with an overrunning flood He will make an utter end of the place thereof, and darkness shall pursue his enemies” (Nah. 1:8).
Here is also where rapture teachers contradict Jesus’ statement: “two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left” (Matt. 24:37,40). They take this to mean that Christians will be raptured while unbelievers will be left behind. But, this is the exact opposite of what happened during the days of Noah. Who was left behind? Was it not Noah and his family? The flood was used to take away or rid the earth of fleshly corruption. The earth was purged. That which needed to die died. This is a reoccurring theme. Notice that Lot remained and Sodom and Gomora was removed from the earth. The children of Israel remained and the flood and plagues destroyed the Egyptians. In the parable of the wheat and the tares, the unrighteous (i.e. the tares) are removed while the wheat remains.
All this has been written for our admonition to show us that the man in the image of Christ remains while the corruption of the flesh is removed from the earth. This is why Jesus said: “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil” (Joh. 17:15). Again, this is why He taught us to pray: “Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”.
To be continued…