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Who Is Left Behind In Matthew 24?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
February 13, 2024 4:30 pm

Who Is Left Behind In Matthew 24?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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February 13, 2024 4:30 pm

Episode 1423 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

Show Notes

  1. In my prayer, am I only allowed to pray to the Father?   2. Do our loved ones in heaven know what we are doing on Earth?   3. Who exactly is taken and left behind in Matthew 24?   4. If God is outside of time, why aren't we converted at birth?   5. Can I be forgiven if I walked away from the faith but came back?       Want to partner with us in our work here at Core Christianity? Consider becoming a member of the Inner Core.   View our latest special offers here or call 1-833-THE-CORE (833-843-2673) to request them by phone.

Core Christianity
Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

In Matthew 24, who exactly is taken and who is left behind? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of CORE Christianity. Hi, this is Bill Meyer, along with Pastor Adriel Sanchez, and this is the radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day. You can always leave your question via voicemail at that number. You can also email us anytime at First up today, let's go to Amanda in Springfield, Missouri. Amanda, what's your question for Adriel?

Yeah, I wanted to find out. When we are praying, do we pray to God alone? Or can we pray to Jesus?

Great question, Amanda. We can certainly pray to Jesus. We can pray to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, any of the persons of the Holy Trinity. Now, ordinarily, we pray to the Father through the mediation of the Son. Jesus Christ is our mediator, our great high priest, and by the power of the Holy Spirit. But that doesn't mean that we can't approach Jesus in prayer, saying, Jesus, that we're praying. And, of course, there's evidence for this in scripture.

Jesus himself said in John, chapter 14, verse 12, of this in the book of Acts, I think of Stephen, as he's being stoned to death in the book of Acts, crying out to Jesus in prayer. And so there is absolutely nothing wrong with praying to Jesus. I think the reason that ordinarily in scripture you have prayer addressed to the Father through the Son and in the Spirit is because it's that reminder that we approach God through Christ. We can come boldly to the throne of grace, as the author of the Hebrew says, because of Jesus Christ, because he is our great high priest, our advocate with the Father. And so pray to the Father, pray to the Son, and pray to the Holy Spirit, and be blessed as you do. I mean, what is prayer? It's an offering up of our desires to God for those things that are agreeable to his will, with thanksgiving, with confession of our sins, humble acknowledgement of his mercies. We're coming before the Lord for all of our needs, and he hears our prayers. He hears your prayers.

Amanda, thanks for giving us a call. And a sad one, Adriel, he says, I've been widowed twice. My childhood sweetheart lost her life to cancer, and my second wife recently died after 33 years of marriage.

Both were sold out Christians and were examples of strong faith and trust in God. I've been hearing many different sermons and Bible teachers voice different views and interpretations of what happens when we die. Some say we go immediately into God's presence, or our souls go, but we're not raised until Jesus returns. Or we just sleep in the grave until the resurrection. Some think that our loved ones can know what we're doing on earth, and others say no.

What is your view? By the way, I'm asking you this because I'm a longtime listener, and your theology seems to resonate with me. Thank you. Harold, thank you for that question. I'm sorry to hear that you've been widowed twice, but I am grateful for the hope that Christ gives to us. He's risen from the dead, and so we don't have sorrow as those who are hopeless, like Paul tells the Thessalonians. We have the hope of the resurrection.

The question here is, what about our loved ones now who have died? Are they in the presence of the Lord? Are they just asleep until the day of resurrection? I would say, and I think that this is definitively what the Bible teaches, that when a believer dies, that the souls of believers are immediately made perfect in holiness and pass into glory.

Their bodies go down into the grave, and we're waiting for the time of the resurrection, but when you die, when we die as believers, we're in the presence of Jesus Christ. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. The author of the Hebrews, in Hebrews chapter 12, he has this great vision of the worship that's taking place in heaven right now, and what does he see there? He sees the souls of the righteous made perfect.

That is our loved ones, again, the people who have died in Christ in the presence of the Lord around the throne of God, worshiping God. To the Philippians, Paul said in Philippians chapter 1, he's thinking about his death, which he sees is just around the corner, and he's saying, look, I want to continue and be with you all, you Philippians, for your encouragement and joy in the faith. That would be better for you, but I know that to depart and be with Christ is far better for me.

And so he viewed his own death as, okay, what's going to happen when I die? It's not that I'm just going to be asleep waiting for the resurrection, it's that I'm going to be with Jesus, and that's going to be far better than anything I've ever experienced here on earth. And so when we die, we're in the presence of Christ, worshiping God around the throne together with all the saints and angels, waiting for the resurrection of the dead. In other words, heaven isn't our final destination.

It's not that we die just so that we can go float around in heaven in a disembodied state. Jesus rose again from the dead to secure that hope of the resurrection for us. We, too, are one day going to be raised from the dead. The whole creation is going to be restored.

We're going to have a new heavens and a new earth, scripture says, and so that's what we look forward to. Now, there was another part of your question there, and that was to what extent do the departed, those who have died in Christ, do they see the things that are going on here on earth? Are they aware of it? There is some indication in places like the book of Revelation that there is a degree of awareness. I think of the souls of the martyrs that John has a vision of in Revelation chapter 6. By the way, I take these martyrs to be all those who have persevered in faith and died in faith in the presence of the Lord now in heaven. But it does seem like there is this kind of awareness, and they're praying out, they're crying out, saying, how long, O Lord, until you avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?

There are some texts that seem to maybe indicate that there is a level of knowledge, a level of awareness, but I think that the focus of those who are in heaven is not the happenings on earth. I mean, they're around the throne of God, and so they're focused, I believe, on worship, on being in the presence of the triune God together with all the saints and angels, as I already said. And so I think that's what's occupying their time and attention, and we have the hope that one day we're going to join them in Christ, through Christ, because of what He's done for us. Thank you again, Harold, for your question. May the Lord bless you.

Amen. By the way, we have that great core guide on heaven. It's called Seven Things You Need to Know About Heaven, and you can find that by going to forward slash core guides. We actually have a lot of free core guides on various topics to really help you as you study God's word, as you try to deepen your faith.

Again, go to forward slash core guides. Hey, Adriel, just a follow-up question to you on the whole thing about heaven and those who are in heaven. Can they see us?

Can they know what we're doing? What do you make of that story about the rich man and Lazarus and the fact that they seem to be interacting with each other, even though some have died? And now, of course, we're talking about hell, in that case, not heaven. But how would you talk about that with the spiritual realm?

Mm-hmm. Well, one of the things I think... Some people say, well, is that a parable? We think that that's a parable.

There are other people who say, I don't think that that's a parable. I would say, one, with parables in particular, we want to be careful that we're not just getting all of our theology from the parables. They're meant to communicate something to us. They're specifically what is being communicated, this story that Jesus tells. It's the importance of faith now, the reality that once we die, there isn't another chance.

It's not like we can say, hey, God, I think I changed my mind. I want to believe in Jesus now, that sort of a thing. That's one of the things that's highlighted there in that story that Jesus told.

But there again, some people might point to that story and say, look, it seems like they're really focused on what's taking place on earth, and there's that concern for family members. Of course, Jesus says that they have the prophets, Moses. If they don't believe God's word, they're not going to believe even if someone comes back from the dead. I think there you have this subtle anticipation of his own resurrection, Jesus' own resurrection from the dead, and the fact that his own people were going to reject him still even after that. You have a lot of things going on there, but I would say there are other passages of scripture that make it clear that in heaven what's happening right now is worship. I think our loved ones are in perfect bliss in the presence of the Lord, perfected in holiness, worshiping him. Of course, we don't know entirely what that looks like specifically.

We have some of those pictures in places like the book of Revelation and in the book of Hebrews, but it's going to be far more magnificent than I think we can even grasp or imagine. Good explanation. Thanks for that. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. You can call us 24 hours a day with your question. Leave us a voicemail. We do our best to review our voicemails each day, so if you've got a question for Adriel, call us up. Here's the number. It's 1-833-843-2673.

That's 833-THE-CORE. Here's a voicemail from one of our listeners named Joyce. I would like in Matthew where it talks about one taken and the other one left. Who is taken and who is left?

Thank you very much. Thank you for that question. This is a verse, or these are some verses that a lot of times people will point to as sort of a proof text for the idea of the rapture. Some people are just going to be snatched away, taken.

But the context here, I think, reveals something a little bit different. Jesus is talking about the second coming, his final coming to judge the world. We read in verse 36, concerning that day and hour, no one knows, not even the angels of heaven nor the Son, but the Father only. For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.

For as in those days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away. That's being taken there, being swept away. So will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two men will be in the field, one will be taken and one left.

Two women will be grinding at the mill, one will be taken and one left. Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know what day your Lord is coming, but know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore, you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

So there, in the context, being taken isn't a positive thing. It's being taken in judgment. It's being caught unaware of the coming of the Lord. This is why Jesus says, look, I'm coming as a thief in the night.

Be ready. Of course, that analogy for the coming of Christ is repeated throughout the New Testament. Paul refers to Christ as a thief in the night in places like his letters to the Thessalonians. So the call for us, Joyce, is for us to be prepared, living in light of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and walking in the light, not in the darkness, but walking in the light as Christ is the light. That's the focus of that text, and that's what it means to be taken there. It's a negative thing. It's being taken in judgment, being caught unaware when Christ returns.

Good explanation. Thanks for that. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. We'd love to hear from you. If you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, you can call us anytime at 833-843-2673. Or, as we said, you can email us at questions at

Hey, we have a group of people we want to say thank you to today, and we've talked about this group before. We call them our Inner Core. The Inner Core is a group of monthly supporters who bless us with their prayers, with their financial gifts. It's a gift of $25 or more a month, but it really helps us to continue to do the work that we're doing, both by broadcasting this throughout the airwaves, producing also a lot of written material. We have Bible studies that we write and articles and booklets that we put together, all to encourage you in your faith and to help give you a deeper understanding of what the scriptures teach. And so, brothers and sisters, if you have been blessed by the work that we're doing here at Core Christianity, answering your questions about the faith every day, I want to ask that you would prayerfully consider joining the Inner Core. Again, it's a monthly donation of $25 or more.

It's not very much at all, but it's a huge help to us, and so I ask that you would do that. And as a thank you, we'll send you a copy of the book, Core Christianity, written by Dr. Michael Horton, a wonderful introduction to the core doctrines of the Christian faith that we know will bless and encourage you. Love to have you join that inner core, and you can find out more by going to forward slash inner core, just forward slash and one word inner core to learn more about joining the inner core and getting that wonderful book from Dr. Michael Horton. Well, we do have a YouTube channel here at Core Christianity every day at 1130 a.m. Pacific time.

You can go to YouTube and watch Adriel do the show live in the studio, and you can also send him a question through our YouTube channel. Here's a YouTube question from one of our listeners named Seong. She says, if God can see past, present and future, does this mean our conversion has always been accomplished? If so, how come we have to be in a state of being unconverted or unregenerate before being born again in our lifetime?

Yeah. Well, God does see and know all things. He knows those who are his even before the foundation of the world, and this is what Paul says in Ephesians chapter one.

In love, he predestined us to be conformed to the image of his son. This is the reality from God's perspective, but that doesn't mean that we are eternally justified or that we aren't outside of Christ until the time that God lays a hold of us, that faith is worked in our heart through the proclamation of the Holy Gospel. We're talking about there specifically the application of redemption. Redemption has been accomplished once for all by Jesus Christ. There's no more redemption to be done, but that redemption is applied in time to us by the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is the link between the work that Jesus did for us 2,000 years ago and our experience of that work right now today through faith, that gift of faith, justification, adoption, sanctification, growing in grace, even glorification on the final day. That happens in time. This is something that we experience in our lives. Now, why then do we have to go for so long in the state of being unconverted or unregenerate before being born again? Why was it that I didn't understand the Gospel or lay hold of the Gospel until I was in my 20s or 30s or 50s or 70s?

Well, we don't always know the answer to those things. Oftentimes we can point to our own sinful hearts and disobedience in clinging to our own ways, but we know that ultimately faith and salvation is the work of the Holy Spirit, and God is working in our lives to open our eyes, to draw us to himself. Even prior to our coming to faith, the Lord is still at work in our lives doing things, orchestrating things. Perhaps when we're in the presence of the Lord, we'll be able to understand all of those things clearly.

Why did God allow this to happen, or why did it take so long for me to understand the truth? But God doesn't give us the answer to that right now. We rest in his providence, in his sovereign purposes, and in his mercy that he has shown us in Jesus Christ. You know, Adriel, several years ago I had to come to the point where I said there's a lot of questions I'm never going to be able to answer, and that's because as human beings we are limited. We are finite. We have finite minds. We can't grasp the mind of God.

We can't really, truly grasp what eternity is and how God is sovereign. We just have to trust. And that is, it's a challenge for some people because they really want to know, right? Yeah.

Well, absolutely. And I think it is important for us to be able to submit to some of the mystery that's there. I mean, when we're talking about God the Lord, we're never going to know God as he is in his essence.

Why? Because we're creatures, and he's the creator. And so we do have what God has revealed to us. We can call it like baby talk, you know, God lisping to us through his revelation, through the world around us, but also through his special revelation, and we lay hold of that. We say, okay, we can learn about God and know God truly, but we'll never fully be able to comprehend him or even his ways in the world, at least not now, not in this present state still darkened by sin. And now we see through a mirror dimly, Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13. One day we will see face to face when we were in the presence of the Lord. And so at this stage, I think, you know, like you said, Bill, we want to be humble. We want to trust in the Lord and rest in his promises and in what he has revealed, and not to go further than that because it's typically when we go further than that, that we get ourselves into trouble. Good counsel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. We have a voicemail from one of our listeners.

This is Dana. My question is for Christians who kind of lose their faith for a little bit. For me, it was for a few years, but I told a lot of people that I didn't believe in the Bible and I didn't go to church. I'm wondering for people like that that slip away and come back and slip away and come back, are they forgiven?

Thank you very much. Oh, well, thank you, Dana, for that question. The answer is, yeah, when you come to the Lord in faith, he does receive you. I think of the parable of the prodigal son in Luke chapter 15. And friends, if you're listening right now and you've slipped away, maybe you're not walking with Christ like you once did, and you know that you're in a dark place, I want to encourage you to find a Bible and read Luke chapter 15.

I'm going to read some of it right now, but I want you to do this on your own as well. Luke chapter 15, verse 11. There was a man who had two sons, and the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me. And he divided his property between them.

Not many days later, the younger son gathered all that he had and took a journey into a far country. And there he squandered his property in reckless living. And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything. But when he came to himself, he said, How many of my father's hired servants have more than enough bread?

But I perish here with hunger. I will arise and go to my father. And I will say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you I am not worthy to be called your son.

Treat me as one of your hired servants. And he arose and he came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you I am no longer worthy to be called your son. But the father said to his servants, Bring quickly the best robe and put it on him and put a ring on his hand and shoes on his feet and bring the fattened calf and kill it and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead and is alive again. He was lost and is found.

And they began to celebrate. Maybe right now you are like that prodigal son or daughter and you've wandered far, far away from the Heavenly Father, far, far away from your faith in Jesus Christ and your suffering. Boy, you're experiencing the consequences of a life of rebellion against God. And you want to turn back to him, but you wonder, would he accept me after everything that I've done, after the things that I've said, after the people that I've hurt, after the gifts that I've squandered, would he accept me? What does he say here? When we turn to him, when we begin to make that approach, even as we're weighed down by guilt and the shame of our deeds, what does the father do there? He feels compassion. He runs to his prodigal children, embraces them, kisses them, and clothes them in what? In the righteous robes of Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God who came to earth for us and for our salvation so that our sins, that dirty garment that we have of living in the pigsty, in rebellion, turning away from the Lord, so that we might be covered, washed white in the blood of the Lamb. Friends, if that's you, man, turn to the Father and know that he embraces you, that he loves you, that he will forgive you and welcome you back home into his house, giving you food and a place to stay in his grace and protection. May the Lord be with you and bless you. We'll be right back with the truth of God's word together.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-13 19:51:49 / 2024-02-13 20:01:36 / 10

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