Sean the Baptist has an interesting reading on Matthew 24:40-41 (this Sunday’s lectionary). This follows the famous passage about no one knowing “the hour” (or more fully, “about that day and hour no one knows”)
Then two will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left.
Two women will be grinding meal together; one will be taken and one will be left.
Usually, the ones who are “left” are seen as those who didn’t get onto the ark with Noah. “Left” is seen as lost, hence the “Left Behind” series. As it turns out, Sean reports that many commentators have read the passage in just the opposite way – to say that the ones “taken” are like those taken in the flood. That puts a rather different spin on things.
He end with
Anyway, for what it is worth, I am persuaded for the time being that Matthew intends those who are left behind are those who are saved. That puts the kibosh on a whole section of the contemporary church scene, not to mention a multi-million dollar publishing industry. At the very least, the debate illustrates something of the reality of textual ambiguity and indeterminacy in the Bible that too many people are too happy to ignore.
I now wait for the Google searches that will, hopefully, bring thousands to visit this post before they get to this nonsense.
H/T James McGrath.
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