Discourse 65 - The two men in the field (Mt 24,40): who will be taken, and who will be left?




The two men in the field (Mt 24,40): who will be taken, and who will be left? / Lecture Jürgen Haizmann 01, 2003.

Does the New Testament not say anything about how the congregation should prepare itself for the Great Tribulation?/ Lecture Jürgen Haizmann 02, 2003

Why the Rapture is to be placed after the Great Tribulation.

The First Resurrection is not an event that forms part of the Great Tribulation / Commentary, Jens 00, 02-06-2015

(Texts enclosed in a black frame are quoted from visitors to the site or other authors.)

(The two men in the field (Mt 24,40): who will be taken, and who will be left? / Vortrag Jn 01, 2003)

Those who are unbelievers will all have to die (before the Millennial Kingdom - author’s comment), for nothing impure can enter the Millennial Kingdom. Consequently, it is the one who is taken who comes to judgment. The one who remains - Mt 24 - may also remain in the Millennial Kingdom, assuming that he is saved. Yes, yes - only the passage is always explained the wrong way around.

*) This extract is taken from the recording of a lecture by Jürgen Haizmann, Munich, on “The Rapture”.



Although the Lord here, in Mt 24, states with comparative clarity who will be saved and who will be left, we nonetheless frequently find discussion of this question who is actually to be counted among the one and who among the other. So let us take a look at the text itself:

Then there will be two men in the field; one will be taken and one will be left.

Mt 24,40 "Then there will be two men in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. 24,41 "Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one will be left. 24,42 "Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming. Mt 24,40-42;


Mr Haizmann expresses the opinion, in the passage from his lecture quoted above, that the ones who are taken are the unbelievers who come to judgment, whereas the others who are left are the saved, who are then permitted to enter the Millennial Kingdom. To subject this point of view, which is quite at odds with received opinion, to verification, let us first take a look at the relevant texts. We have here to look at the Lord’s eschatological discourse, at the start of which the disciples ask him (Mt 24,3):

Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?

Mt 24,1 Jesus came out from the temple and was going away when His disciples came up to point out the temple buildings to Him. 24,2 And He said to them, "Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down."

24,3 As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?" Mt 24, 1- 3;


In asking this question, then, they were curious about the signs of the coming of the Lord. And so the Lord proceeded, in Mt 24,4-28, to speak of all those events which would precede his coming. In Mt 24,29-31 he actually goes into the circumstances that will directly accompany his coming in power and glory, and describes them in specific detail.

And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect.

Mt 24,29 "But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 24,30 "And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.

24,31 "And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other. Mt 24,29-31;


On the coming of the Lord, then, the heavenly bodies will be darkened, the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and everyone will see him coming on the clouds in power and glory. And then he will send out his angels, and they will gather together his elect from the four winds - from all the ends of the earth.

So much, then, for what leads up to the passage we want to analyze. After warning us, in Mt 24,32-39, that we must be watchful, the Lord goes on - and this is still an integral part of his eschatological discourse - with the well known text we are examining (Mt 24,40-41):

Then there will be two men in the field; one will be taken and one will be left.

Mt Mt 24,38 "For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 24,39 and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be.

24,40 "Then there will be two men in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. 24,41 "Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one will be left. 24,42 "Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming. Mt 24,38-42;


Now if we look at the passage immediately preceding (Mt 24,31), where we are told:

“And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds


and extend the sense of this statement analogically, so as to embrace the text of Mt 24,40 -

“Then there will be two men in the field; one will be taken and one will be left


- it follows from this without any shadow of doubt that the angels are being sent out by the Lord on his Second Coming in order to gather the elect from the four winds - from the ends of the earth, that is - for the Rapture, and so the one group will be taken and the other will be left on earth to face the Day of the Lord, the Day of the Wrath of God, with its plagues and judgments. We can take it, then, as indubitable that those who are taken are the elect who are to be gathered together by the angels. Those who are left remain in their current situation - scattered about the world - and so cannot possibly be gathered together.

(See also Table 14: “The Revelation - classified by events.”)

We are compelled to ask ourselves, of course, how it is that some biblical commentators are capable of serving up an incorrect interpretation of what is a relatively straightforward text. Besides the possibility that the attempt is being made to turn the sense of the passage around because it does not fit with a person’s preconceived opinion, we see here also a problem that is extremely widespread - namely, that the texts are quite simply being read in isolation and without any regard to the context. So a person may read in Mt 24,40-41 of the two men of whom one is taken and the other is left, but the opening passage in Mt 24,31, about the gathering together of the elect, gets swept under the carpet - even though it forms the basis for the correct understanding of what we are being told here.

Quite irrespective of which group the author we quoted at the start of this discourse may actually belong to, we have been able to demonstrate that his interpretation actually asserts the exact opposite of what is plainly written in the Bible. This is even more surprising in view of the fact that the Lord, in this context, has also referred just a moment before to Noah, the Ark and the Flood, by way of example. Then too - this is the point he is making - it was the case that eight individuals, Noah, his three sons and all their wives, were taken into the Ark and so saved, and the rest, the unrepentant blasphemers, were left and so lost their lives in the Flood. And Luke also mentions, in this connection, the Lord’s comment on Lot and the destruction of Sodom:

It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: when Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and destroyed them all.

Lk 17,26 "And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: 17,27 they were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.

17,28 "It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building; 17,29 but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. 17,30 "It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed. Lk 17,26-30;


Lot was likewise taken out of Sodom with his family, and the remaining inhabitants of the city were left, so that they subsequently lost their lives in a plague of fire and sulfur. So it will be, too, on the day when the Lord comes to be revealed. Peter also indicates, in his second epistle, that God saves the believers and keeps the unrighteous for the day of judgment:

The Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment.

2Ptr 2,7 and if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men 2,8 (for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds), 2,9 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment. 2Pet 2, 7- 9;


As we can see, it is a relatively simple matter to understand this passage if we read it in its entirety and take the context into account. This, though, is what a person will deliberately avoid, if because of a preconceived interpretation not founded on Scripture - like the view of our author here that “nothing impure can enter the Millennial kingdom” - he should have no use for the “wicked” among those who remain on earth and so survive, as he supposes, to be included in the Millennial kingdom. And as a result of the placing of the Rapture before the Great Tribulation, at this point in time it seems that the Christian believers as well have gone missing. So our author is compelled of necessity to see those whom the Lord here designates as the “elect” in a new light, as godless unbelievers, who supposedly are being gathered for the judgment. He thus takes these words of the Lord, and turns the significance of them completely back to front.

(See also Discourse 63: “Conditions of life in the Millennial Kingdom.”).



(Texts enclosed in a black frame are quoted from visitors to the site or other authors.)

(Does the New Testament not say anything about how the congregation should prepare itself for the Great Tribulation? / Lecture Jn 02, 2003*))

If the congregation were unable to escape from being involved in the Great Tribulation, why then do the authors of the New Testament not address the congregation, to tell it how it could (or should, or must) prepare itself for this moment in time? - seeing that this will be the most frightful time that humanity has ever had to suffer, such as there has never been before and never will be again. The most terrible time of all, in short. Why then did they neglect to prepare the congregation to face the Wrath of God, where it would have been particularly in need, after all, of help and support? We do not find a single passage in Scripture where we are told that the congregation will have to go through the Great Tribulation - and so there is no need to say anything more. We find a number of passages where we are told that the congregation will not have to suffer the Great Tribulation. If the contrary were true, God surely would have given us a great many indications as to how we should manage to cope with these events.

*) This extract is taken from the recording of a lecture by Jürgen Haizmann, Munich, on “The Rapture”.



In a previous Discourse it has already been demonstrated in the light of Scripture that the view that the Rapture of the congregation takes place before the Great Tribulation is not a biblical doctrine. The idea put forward in the passage above can only be attributed to the fact that those statements in Scripture that refer to the events of the Great Tribulation on the one hand, and those referring to the Day of the Wrath of God (that is, the Day of the Lord) on the other have not been distinguished from one another, both being conflated into one and the same event. The Great Tribulation happens before the Rapture, and the Day of the Lord and of the Wrath of God is the time of judgment after the Rapture has taken place. So while the above assertion that the congregation does not need to anticipate the Wrath of God is of course correct, the view that the Wrath of God represents the Great Tribulation and so that the Rapture takes place before the Great Tribulation is nonetheless a mistaken interpretation.

(See also Discourse 61: “Is the Great Tribulation identical with the Day of the Lord and the Wrath of God?”)

And this mistaken interpretation gives rise now to some really disastrous errors. I have already pointed out that the adoption of this view involves a complete misrepresentation of the conditions of life in the Millennial Kingdom - quite in contradiction of the clear statements made by the Bible. But what is more, the content of the Lord’s eschatological discourse in Mt 24,1-51 comes to be reinterpreted, as we have shown above, so that the wicked are turned into the good and the good into the wicked. And as a result the Lord’s warnings to the congregation, in his eschatological discourse in Mt 24, are of course ignored completely.

The author goes on to put the question, in the passage quoted earlier:

“Why then do the authors of the New Testament not address the congregation, to tell it how it could (or should, or must) prepare itself for this moment in time?”


It appears to have escaped the attention of our author that in Mt 24 we have one of the longest chapters of the New Testament, one containing sayings of Our Lord’s that are exclusively concerned with this theme. In Mt 24,4-8, for example, we are told:

For nation will rise against nation, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes.

Mt 24,4 And Jesus answered and said to them, "See to it that no one misleads you. 24,5 "For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many. 24,6 "You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. 24,7 "For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. 24,8 "But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs. Mt 24, 4- 8;


There will be wars of nation against nation, with famines and earthquakes all over the world. And as the Lord says here, this is only the beginning of the birth pangs! Then too, Christians will be hated by all nations, they will be persecuted and killed.

You will be hated by all nations because of My name; but the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.

Mt 24,9 "Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. 24,10 At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. 24,11 Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. 24,12 Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. 24,13 But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. 24,14 This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” Mt 24, 9-14;


But among Christians themselves, in this time of persecution, there will be cases of apostasy and falling away from faith, and mutual betrayal of brothers and sisters in the Lord. And as the Lord warns us here, lawlessness will increase and most people’s love will grow cold. And only the one who endures through all this, and persists even in these frightful circumstances, will be finally saved by the Rapture, as Mt 24,13 states.

And in the face of all these warnings our author now asks why we are not told anything about this in the New Testament:

“Why then do the authors of the New Testament not address the congregation, to tell it how it could (or should, or must) prepare itself for this moment in time? - seeing that this will be the most frightful time that humanity has ever had to suffer, such as there has never been before and never will be again. The most terrible time of all, in short.”


He here expresses the opinion - quite correctly - that the Great Tribulation will be the most terrible time that humanity will ever have to face. Clearly he has in mind here the prophecy of Dan 12,1, where we are told:

There will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time.

Dan 12,1 "Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued. Dan 12, 1:


As he is plainly aware of this scriptural passage, our author would now have to recognize the connection with the sayings of the Lord that we have quoted here, seeing that we find the Lord in Mt 24,21 describing this time of the Great Tribulation in identical terms.

For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will.

Mt 24,15 "Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), 24,16 then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains. 24,17 "Whoever is on the housetop must not go down to get the things out that are in his house. 24,18 "Whoever is in the field must not turn back to get his cloak. 24,19 "But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 24,20 "But pray that your flight will not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath. 24,21 "For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. Mt 24,15-21;;


Whereas the earlier text, from Daniel -

"There will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that"

- still leaves open the theoretical possibility of a later and even greater time of tribulation, the assertion here, in Mt 24,21 -

"Then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will"

- of logical necessity excludes the possibility of another, a second Great Tribulation taking place. While one would certainly be inclined to assume that Dan 12,1 refers to the same event, the point is actually proved by this crucial statement in Mt 24,21 - showing that in the entire context of Mt 24 what we have to do with is the Great Tribulation.

In view of this, the author’s assertion quoted above -

“We do not find a single passage in Scripture where we are told that the congregation will have to go through the Great Tribulation”


- can be refuted quite easily. After the Lord has in this chapter, Mt 24, indicated all these dangers and afflictions coming to the Christian faithful, warning us of them in advance, there finally comes, in Mt 24,29-30, his announcement of his Second Coming, along with the phenomena by which it will be accompanied:

But immediately after the tribulation of those days they will see the Son of Man coming with power and great glory.

Mt 24,29 "But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 24,30 "And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. Mt 24,29-30;


In his remarks here the Lord refers to “the tribulation of those days”. He cannot possibly mean anything but that tribulation which he has described, just a few verses back, as the most terrible of all time - so this has to be the Great Tribulation. He goes on to say that people will see the Son of God coming on the clouds. And this “immediately after the tribulation of those days”. And as was to be expected, in the next sentence (Mt 24,31) we find the announcement of the worldwide gathering together of the Christian elect, and of the Rapture whereby they join the Lord in the air, of which Paul likewise prophetically tells us in 1The 4,15-18 and 1Cor 15,51-53.

His angels will gather together His elect from one end of the sky to the other.

Mt 24,31 "And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other. Mt 24,31;

The Lord Himself will descend from heaven with the trumpet of God and we will be caught up.

1The 4,15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 4,16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 4,17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. 1The 4,15-17;

For the trumpet will sound, and we will be changed.

1Cor 15,51 Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 15,52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 15,53 For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. 1Cor 15,51-53;


But there is another passage, too, that has something to tell us about this Great Tribulation. In Rev 7,13-15 the Great Tribulation is explicitly referred to:

These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

Rev 7,13 Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, "These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and where have they come from?" 7,14 I said to him, "My lord, you know." And he said to me, "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 7,15 "For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them. Rev 7,13-15;


This uncountable multitude in white robes who John here sees are undoubtedly Christians. Otherwise they would not have “washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb” - that is to say, they have had their sins forgiven through the redeeming sacrifice of the Lord Jesus. And among them is to be found, naturally, the congregation of the Last Days, which shortly before this, on the Second Coming of Christ (cf. Mt 24,29-31 and Rev 6,12-17), was taken up into the Rapture, along with the dead in Christ who have been raised. And moreover - a much more important point, in this connection - they stand in heaven before the throne of God, and serve him day and night. But Mr Haizmann takes a different view of this as well, seeing that he says:

“With the Rapture, it is a decisive factor here as well, if a person has come to Christian belief, what race he has been born to. If he is a Jew and becomes a Christian, he then will no longer be counted as one of the congregation. This is because the congregation, at this point in time, has been in heaven for a good while already. They have come to the judgment of reward and will receive their due. Jews on the other hand, here below in the Great Tribulation upon earth, if they come to Christian belief, will be counted as belonging to the people of Israel.

The great multitude, which no one could count, who come to believe in the Great Tribulation, as Revelation tells us, these will be the heathen - the nations who are saved. These will be the peoples who will live alongside Israel in the Millennial Kingdom.”


To begin with our author has here overlooked the fact that every human being - of what nationality soever, whether he happens to be a Jew, a Greek, a German or an American - who comes to believe in Jesus Christ thereby automatically becomes a Christian, and thus in the sight of God will not be seen as belonging to a particular race but rather to the congregation. And secondly, according to this interpretation this uncountable multitude is not in heaven, before the throne of God, where it serves him day and night, as the Lord Jesus prophesied to John in Rev 7,14-15 as quoted above - no, in view of Mr Haizmann these are the heathen nations here on earth, who supposedly will live alongside Israel in the Millennial Kingdom.

Let us at this point attempt a summing-up:

-  According to Rev 7,14-15 this uncountable multitude is presently in heaven, before the throne of God.

-  The fact that they are wearing white robes demonstrates their Christian credentials.

-  So if these Christians are now in heaven, then at an earlier stage they must either have been raised from the dead, if they were dead already, or have been caught up in the Rapture if they were alive.

-  The statement made in Rev 7,14 - “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation” - does however confirm that the Rapture does not take place before the Great Tribulation but immediately after it.


If, then, Scripture here confirms without any doubt that Christians will be taken up into the Rapture out of the Great Tribulation, while the Pretribulationists, on the other hand, claim a Rapture that takes place before the Great Tribulation, then we would seem to be faced with two Raptures. We would then also, of course, be prompted to put the very reasonable question why some of the Christian congregation should be caught up in the Rapture before the trials of the Great Tribulation, while the rest of the congregation of the Last Days has to live through this time of persecution and suffer the pangs of death before it finally comes to be redeemed.

The argument that these people are Christian believers who have only been converted in the Great Tribulation - after the supposed Rapture before the Great Tribulation - does not succeed in doing away with the uncomfortable fact that two Raptures are necessary here; and in any case this position is bereft of all logic. For if this period really represents, for the faithful in especial, the greatest tribulation of all time, in which they will be hated, persecuted and killed by all men, then the suggestion that in these circumstances people will be flocking to the Christian faith is about as far removed from reality as the supposition that in the Third Reich millions of Germans would have been queuing up to become believing Jews. Consequently we must have to do here with people who were believers before the start of the Great Tribulation. And then we are again compelled to ask the question, if a Rapture took place before the Great Tribulation, how it comes about that these Christian believers were not already caught up in the Rapture on the previous occasion.

Finally we must also take issue with the view that people could still be converted to belief in Jesus after the Second Coming of the Lord, and that for two reasons. First of all, in accordance with the point of view put forward by Immanuel.at with reference to the Rapture in Mt 24,29-31 and parallel passages in connection with the sixth seal in Rev 6,12-17, we do not find in subsequent passages of Revelation any reference at all to Christian believers. On the contrary, Rev 9,3-4 tells us that at this point in time, apart from the 144,000 who were sealed and so escaped from the plagues, there are only unbelievers left on earth, and it is these on whom God’s plagues will be visited.

They were told to hurt only the men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.

Rev 9,3 Then out of the smoke came locusts upon the earth, and power was given them, as the scorpions of the earth have power. 9,4 They were told not to hurt the grass of the earth, nor any green thing, nor any tree, but only the men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. Rev 9, 3- 4;


In Rev 9,18-21 we are told in specific terms that the plagues of the sixth trumpet result in the death of a third of humanity, and the remainder still did not repent. Those people who were killed by these plagues were killed because of their unbelief. But those who survive can be recognized as unbelievers as well, through the stated fact that they did not repent. And that constitutes a completely unambiguous proof of the fact that at this point in time there is not a single believing Christian left on earth.

A third of mankind was killed and the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent.

Rev 9,18 A third of mankind was killed by these three plagues, by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone which proceeded out of their mouths. 9,19 For the power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails are like serpents and have heads, and with them they do harm. 9,20 The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, so as not to worship demons, and the idols of gold and of silver and of brass and of stone and of wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk; 9,21 and they did not repent of their murders nor of their sorceries nor of their immorality nor of their thefts. Rev 9,18-21;


And as a result, when we come to the subsequent events related in Rev 16,9, 16,11 and 16,21, we hear only of unbelievers on earth - unbelievers who blaspheme the name of God because of the plagues with which they are afflicted, but still do not repent:

Men blasphemed the name of God who has the power over these plagues, and they did not repent so as to give Him glory.

Rev 16,8 The fourth angel poured out his bowl upon the sun, and it was given to it to scorch men with fire. 16,9 Men were scorched with fierce heat; and they blasphemed the name of God who has the power over these plagues, and they did not repent so as to give Him glory. Rev 16, 8- 9;

Men blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains; and they did not repent of their deeds.

Rev 16,10 Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became darkened; and they gnawed their tongues because of pain, 16,11 and they blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores; and they did not repent of their deeds. Rev 16,10-11;

Men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, because its plague was extremely severe.

Rev 16,18 And there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder; and there was a great earthquake, such as there had not been since man came to be upon the earth, so great an earthquake was it, and so mighty. 16,19 The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. Babylon the great was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath. 16,20 And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. 16,21 And huge hailstones, about one hundred pounds each, came down from heaven upon men; and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, because its plague was extremely severe. Rev 16,18-21;


On the other hand, the view that it might be possible for people to be converted after the Second Coming of the Lord must also be wrong for semantic reasons. In Mt 24,30 the Second Coming of the Lord is described in the following terms:

They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.

Mt 24,29 "But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 24,30 "And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. 24,31 "And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other. Mt 24,29-31;


All human beings on earth, then, will see the Lord coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. They have all seen him and they all know that it is the Son of God who has come. And just in the same way as it would be impossible to assert that we human beings “believe in” the sun and the moon, because these heavenly bodies are evident objects that we can observe by day or by night, so we cannot possibly suggest that people might come to “believe in” the Son of God after he has shown himself alive, in power and glory, to all peoples.

So if the Lord becomes visible in the sky at the time of the Rapture of the elect into heaven, from that point in time belief has to be regarded as a thing of the past. The time of belief, or the time of grace (cf. Jn 20,29 and Jn 1,11-13), in which people may be saved by their faith, lasts from the Ascension of the Lord until his Second Coming. After that, “belief” will no longer exist. Then there will only be seeing, rather than believing - and the Wrath of God. It will then be the reality of God which fills the earth entirely, and this will then leave human beings only the choice of either giving God the glory or else meeting with utter downfall.


Why the Rapture is to be placed after the Great Tribulation

While the Pretribulationists want to place the Rapture before the Great Tribulation, there are four key scriptural statements that refute them. First of all, in Rev 7,9-17 John sees a great multitude of people from every nation:

"A great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues."


And as the elder then adds, in explanation (Rev 7,14-15):


"These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them".


Quite plainly, then, we have here an uncountable multitude of Christians of all nations, who have come out of the Great Tribulation. Through the redeeming sacrifice of the Lord they have obtained forgiveness, and they now stand before the throne of God in heaven. If the Rapture were to have taken place before the Great Tribulation, we would find ourselves compelled at this point to ask the crucial question how these Christian believers have gotten into heaven. According to 1Cor 15,52 and 1The 4,16-17, after all, when the Rapture occurs all the dead in Christ will be raised and all those Christians who are still alive will be caught up with them into the clouds of the sky. If this were to have happened before the Great Tribulation, and if we now nonetheless find this uncountable multitude from all nations who have just come out of the Great Tribulation here in heaven, then a second Rapture must have taken place for their benefit.

But we do not have any report of such an event in Scripture. Just like the more or less conscious identification of the Great Tribulation with the Day of the Lord that is, the Day of the Wrath of God, which we pointed out at the start of this Discourse, the futile attempt to see this great multitude from all nations as people who have come to faith in Jesus after the Rapture cannot stand up to a serious examination of the scriptural evidence. Those who advocate the theory of the Rapture taking place before the Great Tribulation have to avail themselves of this dubious interpretation if they are to have any way at all of explaining this countless multitude that comes out of the Great Tribulation, and is here suddenly found standing in heaven before the throne of God.

On the other hand we find in Rev 20,4 the martyrs of the First Resurrection:

And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and who had not worshiped the beast or his image.

Rev 20,4 Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. Rev 20, 4;


Here John sees the souls of martyrs who undoubtedly belong to the congregation, because we are told that they have been killed because of their testimony of Jesus. Here they are also in heaven, receiving the judgment of reward, and so it necessarily follows that at the time of the raising of the dead and the Rapture they must have been raised along with the other dead who sleep in Christ and caught up in the Rapture together with the living. And it is said of them that “they had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand”. This confirms that they must have lived and been martyred in the time of the dominion of the beast, the Antichrist - that is to say, in the Great Tribulation itself (Rev 13,15).

If then the theory is advanced that a cowardly congregation of the Last Days, one that that fought shy of suffering, took flight into the Rapture before the Great Tribulation, we have to explain here as well just when these brave and faithful victors can have gotten into heaven - and why it should be that a part of the congregation of the Last Days should experience the Rapture before the sufferings of the Great Tribulation, while another part, like the martyrs with whom we are concerned here, should have to undergo this time of trial, and actually lose their lives as a result.


(Texts enclosed in a black frame are quoted from visitors to the site or other authors.)

(The First Resurrection is not an event that forms part of the Great Tribulation / Commentary, Jens 00, 02-06-2015)

Hello Mr. Horak, I have just reread one of your Discourses, for which you currently provide a link on your starting page (https://immanuel.at/Diskurs65E.htm#Why the Rapture - Why the Rapture is to be placed after the Great Tribulation), and it struck me that you see the Second Antichrist (the beast from the sea) as featuring already in the context of the Tribulation. You wrote:
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“And it is said of them that ‘they had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand’. This confirms that they must have lived and been martyred in the time of the dominion of the beast, the Antichrist - that is to say, in the Great Tribulation itself (Rev 13,15).”
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This however is in contradiction with your “new” insights. Perhaps you should correct this, or add an additional remark, because it is a bit confusing. Above all because this topic – the mark of the beast, and the time to which it is to be allocated – is of major importance. Wishing you every blessing! Jens



Thank you for your visit to Immanuel.at, and for pointing this out. Of course you are completely right. This whole interpretation dates from the year 2004 (see Discourses outline), and at that time I actually had not arrived at these new insights which I expound in Discourse 86 “The first and the second Antichrist”and thereafter.

Now even if this passage cannot rightly be used to make a case, there remains the earlier argument in Rev 7,14-15, which likewise documents the presence of the congregation in heaven – after the Great Tribulation, that is to say, as is demonstrated by the text of Rev 7,14: “These are the ones who come out of the Great Tribulation”.

But seeing that the visitor quoted above puts my “new” insights in quotes, it leads me to suppose that he has his doubts here as well. Which is why I would like advance here the most important biblical proof of these “new” conclusions – that is, the biblical existence of two “Antichrists”.

The lawless one the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming;

2The 2,7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. 2,8 Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; 2,9 that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, 2,10 and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. 2,11 For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, 2,12 in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness. 2The 2, 7-12;

After the battle of Harmagedon the besst was thrown alive into the lake of fire.

Rev 19,20 And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone.. Rev 19,20;


The “lawless one”, who is generally interpreted as the “Antichrist”, will be slain by the Lord Jesus on his appearance for the Rapture of the faithful (2The 2,8). But the beast from the sea as well, who is likewise interpreted as being the “Antichrist”, will be thrown alive into the lake of fire after the battle of Harmagedon (Rev 19,20).

From this it emerges that the Antichrist cannot be slain by the Lord on one occasion, and then on a subsequent occasion be thrown (now alive again) into the lake of fire. So there are two Antichrists, who however in actual fact are just one Antichrist. I have tried to bring all this “to order” in Discourse 86. If anyone has a different solution for these biblical statements, they are warmly invited to let me know their own “new” insights on the matter. – But now to continue with our text:

But we also find in Paul’s second epistle to the Thessalonians a quite specific statement about the time of the Second Coming of the Lord. It is evident that there were teachers of false doctrine among the Thessalonians, who tried to persuade the Christian congregation (apparently even by forging letters as coming from Paul) that the day of the Second Coming of the Lord, of which Paul had already written to them in his first epistle (1The 4,13-18), had already taken place. We can imagine the consternation of these brothers and sisters in Christ at the thought that the Rapture might have already taken place, and they had missed out. But also, if we interpret the sentence in such a way as to indicate that the day was imminent, we can imagine that some of the Thessalonians, thinking the Rapture was due to happen soon, had dissolved all earthly ties, and were only concerned now to wait for the arrival of the Lord.

And here are the words now - comforting words which explain the situation clearly - that Paul writes to them:

That day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed.

2The 2,1 Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, 2,2 that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. 2,3 Let no one in any way deceive you, for that day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 2,4 who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. 2,5 Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things? 2The 2, 1- 5;


(See also Discourse 16: “Will the Rapture take place before the Great Tribulation?”)


By “falling away” Paul here quite plainly means a falling away from God, a term used also by the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews (Heb 3,12).

Take care that there not be in any one of you that fall away from the living God.

Hbr 3, 12 Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. Heb 3,12;


The Lord also warns us of “lawlessness” in his eschatological discourse (Mt 24,13), and adds, “But the one who endures to the end” - the one, that is, who manages to get through this time of lawlessness, this Great Tribulation - “he will be saved” and will be taken up into the Rapture on the Second Coming of the Lord.

Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold.

Mt 24,9 "Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. 24,10 "At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. 24,11 "Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. 24,12 "Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. 24,13 "But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. 24,14 "This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come. Mt 24, 9-14;


(See also Table 05: “Synopsis of the Lord's eschatological discourses.”)


In Lk 17,24-37 the Lord tells us what happens on this day when the Son of Man is revealed and comes for the Rapture of His people:

Just like the lightning, when it flashes so will the Son of Man be in His day

Lk 17,24 "For just like the lightning, when it flashes out of one part of the sky, shines to the other part of the sky, so will the Son of Man be in His day. 17,25 "But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.

17,26 "And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: 17,27 they were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. 17,28 "It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building; 17,29 but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all.

17,30 "It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed. 17,31 "On that day, the one who is on the housetop and whose goods are in the house must not go down to take them out; and likewise the one who is in the field must not turn back. 17,32 "Remember Lot’s wife. 17,33 "Whoever seeks to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. 17,34 "I tell you, on that night there will be two in one bed; one will be taken and the other will be left. 17,35 "There will be two women grinding at the same place; one will be taken and the other will be left. 17,36 [["Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other will be left."]]

17,37 And answering they said to Him, "Where, Lord?" And He said to them, "Where the body is, there also the vultures will be gathered." Lk 17,24-37;


(See also Discourse 38: “The raising of the dead in Christ and their Rapture with the living.”)


So as Paul writes in the above passage, the day of the Second Coming of the Lord, together with the Rapture and the union of the faithful with him in heaven, will not come about until the falling away and the appearance of the man of lawlessness - and this has to be a reference to the Antichrist, and so to the Great Tribulation. This too is a quite unambiguous biblical demonstration of the fact that the Antichrist and the Great Tribulation come first, and only after that do the Second Coming of the Lord and the Rapture take place.

But as if that were not enough, Paul adds a further statement which puts all the arguments we have been considering hitherto with reference to the time of the Rapture in the shade. He tells us that the Lord Jesus, when he comes again to bring about the Rapture (our union with him), will slay the Antichrist (the man of lawlessness). And if when the Lord Jesus comes again, to take up his faithful into the Rapture, he is going to destroy the Antichrist, then the Antichrist must of necessity have existed before this time, must in fact have been ruling over the earth. But this once again implies that the Great Tribulation takes place before the Second Coming of the Lord, and so also before the Rapture.

Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will bring to an end by the appearance of His coming.

2The 2,6 And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed. 2,7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. 2,8 Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; 2.9 that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, 2,10 and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. 2,11 For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, 2,12 in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness. 2The 2, 6-12;


Paul confirms for our benefit the sequence of the events of the Last Days, giving us the following program:

-  First of all the falling away (the Great Tribulation) must come, and the man of lawlessness (the Antichrist) must be revealed (2The 2,3);

-  Then follows the arrival of Our Lord Jesus Christ (the Second Coming) and our union with him (the Rapture) (2The 2,1);

-  And when he comes on this occasion, the Lord will slay the lawless one with the breath of his mouth.


It would really hardly be possible to spell it out in plainer terms than Paul has resorted to here, to make it plain to the brothers and sisters that the Lord Jesus will only come to effect the Rapture after the Great Tribulation and the appearance of the Antichrist, and it is on this occasion that the Antichrist will be destroyed. This, then, is the third biblical proof, a quite unambiguous one, that the Second Coming of the Lord and the Rapture will take place after the Great Tribulation.

Last but not least, however, we also find a clear confirmation of the fact that the congregation will have to live through the Great Tribulation when we look at the Lord’s eschatological discourse, in that same chapter 24 of the Gospel according to Matthew which we discussed earlier. First of all we have the statement in Mt 24,21, referred to earlier, that this will be a great tribulation such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world and never will again. And this serves to prove - if proof were at all necessary - that these remarks of the Lord do indeed refer to the Great Tribulation. And then the Lord speaks, in this context, of the fact that this time of tribulation will be cut short.

But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.

Mt 24,21 "For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. 24,22 "Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. 24,23 "Then if anyone says to you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ,’ or ‘There He is,’ do not believe him. 24,24 "For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.

24,25 "Behold, I have told you in advance. Mt 24,21-25;


According to these statements made by the Lord, then, it appears that the days of the Great Tribulation will be shortened, in keeping with the will of God. And the Lord also points to the reason for this intervention on the part of God: this is something that happens for the sake of the elect, that is to say, in order to preserve those who are left from among the congregation of the Last Days. The Lord also adds in confirmation of this point that if it were not for this shortening of the Great Tribulation, no life would have been saved.

Now, this inconspicuous remark is actually significant in a number of ways. To begin with, it tells us that those elect for whose sake this time of tribulation has been cut short by God, and of whom we are told, shortly after this (Mt 24,29-31), that when the Lord comes he will gather them to himself, are at this point in time really and truly the last Christians living on earth.

But we also learn in Mt 24,24 why this Great Tribulation has to be cut short for the sake of the elect - why, that is, if this terrible time had been prolonged, even the elect would have been at risk of being eternally lost:

"For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect."


So false Christs will arise and will show great signs and wonders. We are familiar with similar manifestations on a relatively small scale in our own day, in the appearances of Mary hallowed by the Catholic church; and we know how many believers are led astray as a result by visions and the atmosphere of miracle. This, then, is the last - and probably also the greatest - of the dangers facing the faithful in this period: the appearance of a demonic being, who pretends to be Christ and is able to perform unbelievable signs and wonders.

But these very sayings of the Lord are of course also a completely convincing proof of the fact that the congregation of the Last Days - the elect - must go through the Great Tribulation, and that the Second Coming of the Lord and the Rapture will follow immediately on the Great Tribulation, as Mt 24,29-31 confirms. This makes the eschatological discourse of the Lord in Mt 24 the final knock-down refutation of the Pretribulationist theory of an earlier Rapture.

Now there are some who think that this discussion of the question whether the Rapture is to take place before or after the Great Tribulation is of a rather theoretical nature, and that such questions are not of any great importance for the congregation. But we have seen that the Lord himself gave us very detailed information on this point, and Paul too, in the passage quoted earlier (2The 2,1-12), definitely thought it a matter of sufficient importance that the brothers and sisters should be enlightened in this respect, and warned against the risk of their being led astray by teachers of false doctrine. And Paul gives the reason for this as well, when he writes in 2The 2,4 that the Antichrist will take his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.

So the Antichrist - whose name may also be translated as “instead of Christ” - will take his seat in the temple in Jerusalem, making out that he is God (or God’s Son) and induce humanity to pay worship to Satan, as we are also told in Rev 13,4:

Rev 13,4 They worshiped the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?" Rev 13, 4;


And if we now picture to ourselves a congregation which believes in a Rapture before the Great Tribulation, and expects - as the “next earth-shattering event” - the Second Coming of Christ, and then along comes someone who claims to be this same Christ and the promised Messiah of the Jews, and appears to provide proof of this by performing incredible signs and wonders, so that both Jews and Christians joyfully conclude that now at last the biblical prophecies have been fulfilled and Jesus Christ is ruling over the earth - then we can recognize the very real danger of playing down the implications of this issue, and the frightful consequences which could follow from this mistake. It is not without good reason that the Lord says in the passage quoted earlier (Mt 24,25): “Behold, I have told you in advance”.

It is indeed true that the congregation of the Last Days will be saved by the Rapture from the Wrath of God (the Day of the Lord). But the Great Tribulation, which precedes this, is something they will have to live through. We have the statements of Our Lord in Mt 24 (not to speak of Rev 6 and 7) to prove it.

(See also Discourse 49: “The elect of Mt 24,31 - Christian congregation of the Last Days or Israelites?”)