Sunday, January 9, 2011

Who is Taken and Who Is Left at What Rapture in Luke 17:34-37?

     In order to discern the messages given to us by those wrote the Bible, it is more important to understand exactly what a word means in the original manuscript rather than how and what we interpret the words actually mean. There is no denying the fact that all Bible translations are derived from the original manuscript, whether it is the Textus Receptus or the renderings give to us by Hort-Wescott. (see Analysis of Hort-Wescott version) It should also be noted that the King James Version was translated from the Textus Receptus. Nevertheless, where debates still exist as to which original rendering or the original manuscript is more accurate or concise, for the most part, the majority of the earlier translation is basically the same with the exception of minor translation differences. Also, for the most part, scholars throughout history who have deeply studied the original Greek and Hebrew text, and who have published the respective dictionaries for both languages, agree in the deeper meaning of Bible words.
     Based on the supplemental groundwork noted above, in order to gain greater insight to the text under consideration, a word comparison study as to how each word in the Bible is used can and normally does provide the student with a more accurate rendering as to what each Bible word truly means, and its initial intent. Many words in the Bible, although varying in their respective usage, can only have one true meaning based on the original word used in either the Greek or Hebrew lexicon. For example (as we examine certain doctrines that have been formed based on the usage of one single word) while various words are used in certain scripture, there is no denying that the actual Greek or Hebrew definition of each word in question can have no other meaning besides the actual word used in the original manuscript.
     The most obvious example found in the Bible that actually refutes the entire Left Behind notion is (among other verses) found in Luke 17:34-37, where it speaks about one person is taken and the other is left. We quickly point out that in the verses used in this group of scripture we never find the word behind after the word left. The word behind is not included whatsoever (although it is implied by theorists) in the original manuscript.
     In order to get a more full and distinct meaning of the two words used to identify who is supposedly taken to heaven and the other supposedly left behind to suffer God’s wrath, we must examine the word LEFT, which is the Greek word APHIEMI. Once we examine the word APHIEMI, we find that definition is also used for the words such as SUFFER, FORGIVE, CEASE, REMIT, YIELD, and LET [The word SUFFER above does not mean to undergo or feel pain or distress, but rather it means to tolerate o allow] The following definitions are from W.E. Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words:

* to permit "to let, permit," is translated "to suffer" in Matt. 24:43; Luke 4:41; 22:51; Acts 14:16; 16:7; 19:30; 28:4; 1 Cor. 10:13. See LEAVE (a) No. 9, LET, No. 4. Verb,863, aphiemi; "to send away," signifies "to permit, suffer," in Matt. 3:15 (twice); Matt. 19:14; 23:13; Mark 1:34; 5:19,37; 10:14; 11:16; Luke 8:51; 12:39, AV (RV, "left"); 18:16; John 12:7, RV, AV and RV marg., "let (her) alone;" Rev. 11:9. See FORGIVE.

Forgive, Forgave, Forgiveness:
Verb,863, aphiemi; primarily, "to send forth, send away" (apo, "from," hiemi, "to send"), denotes, besides its other meanings, "to remit or forgive" (a) debts, Matt. 6:12; 18:27,32, these being completely cancelled; (b) sins, e.g., Matt. 9:2, 5,6; 12:31,32; Acts 8:22 ("the thought of thine heart"); Rom. 4:7; Jas. 5:15; 1 John 1:9; 2:12. In this latter respect the verb, like its corresponding noun (below), firstly signifies the remission of the punishment due to sinful conduct, the deliverance of the sinner from the penalty Divinely, and therefore righteously, imposed; secondly, it involves the complete removal of the cause of offense; such remission is based upon the vicarious and propitiatory sacrifice of Christ. In the OT atoning sacrifice and "forgiveness" are often associated, e.g., Lev. 4:20, 26. The verb is used in the NT with reference to trespasses (paraptoma), e.g., Matt. 6:14, 15; sins (hamartia), e.g., Luke 5:20; debts (see above) (opheilema), Matt. 6:12; (opheile), Matt. 18:32; (daneion), Matt. 18:27; the thought (dianoia) of the heart, Acts 8:22. Cp. kalupto, "to cover," 1 Pet. 4:8; Jas. 5:20; and epikalupto, "to cover over," Rom. 4:7, representing the Hebrew words for "atonement." Human "forgiveness" is to be strictly analogous to Divine "forgiveness," e.g., Matt. 6:12. If certain conditions are fulfilled, there is no limitation to Christ's law of "forgiveness," Matt. 18:21, 22. The conditions are repentance and confession, Matt. 18:15-17; Luke 17:3.
Leave, Left:
863, aphiemi; apo, "from," and hiemi, "to send," has three chief meanings, (a) "to send forth, let go, forgive;" (b) "to let, suffer, permit;" (c) "to leave, leave alone, forsake, neglect." It is translated by the verb "to leave" (c), in Matt. 4:11; 4:20,22, and parallel passages; Matt. 5:24; 8:15, and parallel passages; Matt. 8:22, RV, "leave (the dead)," AV, "let," and the parallel passage; Matt. 13:36, RV, "left" (the multitude)," AV, "sent ... away;" Matt. 18:12; 19:27, and parallel passages, RV, "we have left" (AV, "we have forsaken"); so Matt. 19:29; 22:22,25; 23:23, RV, "have left undone" (AV, "have omitted," in the 1st part, "leave undone" in the second); Matt. 23:38, and the parallel passage; Matt. 24:2,40,41, and parallel passages; Matt. 26:56, RV, "left;" Mark 1:18, "left;" Mark 1:31; 7:8, RV, "ye leave;" Mark 8:13; 10:28,29; 12:12,19-22; 13:34; Luke 10:30; 11:42 (in some mss.); Luke 12:39, RV "have left," AV "have suffered" (No. 9 in Matt. 24:43); John 4:3,28,52; 8:29; 10:12; 14:18,27; 16:28,32; Rom. 1:27; 1 Cor. 7:11, RV, "leave" (AV "put away"); John 7:13 (AV and RV); Heb. 2:8; 6:1; Rev. 2:4. See FORGIVE.

Let (alone, go):
863, aphiemi; for the meanings of which see LEAVE, No. 1, frequently denotes "to let, suffer, permit," e.g., Matt. 5:40 (translated "let ... have"); 7:4; 13:30; 15:14; 27:49 and Mark 15:36, RV, "let be," probably short for "let us see" (Moulton and Milligan, Vocab.); Mark 7:27; 11:6 ("let ... go"); 14:6 ("let ... alone"); so Luke 13:8; John 11:48; in Acts 5:38 (where some mss. have eao, "to permit, let, suffer"); in John 11:44; 18:8 ("let"); 1 Cor. 7:11,12, RV, "let ... leave," AV, "let ... put away;" 1 Cor. 7:13 ("let ... leave").

Remission, Remit:
"a dismissal, release" (from aphiemi, B), is used of the forgiveness of sins and translated "remission" in Matt. 26:28; Mark 1:4; Luke 1:77; 3:3; 24:47; Acts 2:38; 5:31 (AV, "forgiveness"); 10:43; 13:38, RV (AV, "forgiveness"); 26:18 (ditto); Heb. 9:22; 10:18. See FORGIVE, B, and A, No. 1. "a passing by of debt or sin," Rom. 3:25, AV, "remission" (RV and AV marg., "passing over"). See PASSING OVER. Note: No. 2 is a matter of forbearance, No. 1 a matter of grace. "to send away" (akin to A, No. 1), is translated "to remit" in John 20:23 (twice), AV (RV, "to forgive"). Scripture makes clear that the Lord's words could not have been intended to bestow the exercise of absolution, which Scripture declares is the prerogative of God alone. There is no instance in the NT of this act on the part of the Apostles. The words are to be understood in a "declarative" sense; the statement has regard to the effects of their ministry of the gospel, with its twofold effects of "remisson" or retention. They could not, nor could anyone subsequently, forgive sins, any more than that Joseph actually restored the butler to his office and hanged the baker (Gen. 41:13), or any more than that the prophets actually accomplished things when they declared that they were about to be done (Jer. 1:10; Ezek. 43:3). See FORGIVE, No. 1.

"to let go," is translated "let us cease to" in Heb. 6:1, RV (marg., "leave") for AV, "leaving." See FORGIVE, LEAVE

863, aphiemi; "to send away," is translated "yielded up (His spirit)" in Matt. 27:50 (cp. paratithemi, "I commend," Luke 23:46, and paradidomi, "He gave up," John 19:30). See FORGIVE, etc.
     Can there be any doubt whatsoever that how the word LEFT in this group of scripture means the exact opposite of what theorists posit in their Left Behind scheme?
     We can find many other words that are derived from the original Greek word APHIEMI to add to the above examples cited; however, for the sake of time and space it is obvious that there can be no confusion or doubt that the Greek word APHIEMI (used to define the word LEFT in Luke 19:34-37) can mean anything else other than to forgive, leave alone, suffer, cease, yield, remit, etc., which is a major contradistinction to how the word is used by theorists such as Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins to convey the notion that believers are taken up to heaven and sinners left behind to suffer the wrath of God. The more disconcerting (and troubling reality) is that the question as to who are they that are to be taken is answered immediately after verse 36, where it clearly and concisely states that no one is taken to Heaven:
     37 “Where, Lord?” they asked. He replied, “Where there is a dead body, there the vultures will gather,” (Luke 17:37).
"No thanks! I want to be left behind to greet
Jesus when He returns back to Earth!"

     And to think that Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins have sold over 65 million Left Behind books (and still counting) based on a notion that has no scriptural foundation whatsoever. Go figure!

     For more information about the author and his books The End Times Passover and Why Christians Will Suffer Great Tribulation, please click on Joe Ortiz.


  1. I ran into this blog of yours and did some checking and found that you are spot-on in your evaluations of Scripture. And your conviction that Scripture does not teach a pre-tribulation rapture is correct also since no theology book or Christian creed before the 19th century ever taught such a concept. It sad that so very many TV preachers, radio broadcasters, and prophecy writers don't seem to know what you know - and, even worse, they don't seem to even WANT to know and teach all of God's truth! Keep standing tall, dear Brother!
    In His love, Alicia

  2. You are wrong. If you would just separate comments in the Bible that are meant for law-keeping Jews and written by law-keeping Jews (amongst them, Jesus) and those comments written by Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, maybe you can get your theology straight. The Jews have been BLINDED until the times of the Gentiles have been fulfilled. Then God will try them and remove their blindness in the time of Jacobs trouble. The sad thing about the church today which is part of your trouble in interpreting these scriptures is that you mix the church and Israel. We are not Israel! Many churches today are going around claiming what belongs to Israel. Many churches are siding with the Palestinians who claim that there never was a temple on the temple mount. They deny that God does NOT know the end from the beginning- that God made a mistake by choosing the Jews. You dominionists are throwing away God's plan for the plan of Ishmael- creating your own prophecy by supporting God's enemies and planting your own antichrist in the world. Read Zechariah 9-14 and Paul's epistles. All of it is true- none of God's promises fail.

  3. Just found your blog. Thank you for telling the truth. Your study on the subject is excellent. If we understood who we are and what we gave been called to do, a completely different picture emerges. I came to understand the untruth regarding the pre-trib "let's get out of Dodge" escapisim most of us are taught by our leaders and teachers, when I began to understand the scriptures in their Hebraic context. Huge difference. Even the viewpoint of tribulation has changed. Yah's people will be delivered during the time when those who have rejected Him are perishing in His judgment. There is no reason for us to fear, so as long as we are obedient and faithful. Scriptures tell us the prophets of old longed to see the days to come. Why would we want to run away?