Thank you for your good question. Many people believe that Matthew 24:40-41 are speaking about the Rapture. However, the preceding verses make it plain that it is talking about when Christ comes to this earth to reign. In Matthew 24:21 we read, “For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will” (NASB). We then read in Matthew 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” (NASB). Therefore, it is plain that verses 40-41 happen AFTER the Tribulation.

The Rapture may happen at any moment. We read in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, “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. 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” (NASB). After the rapture will be seven years of terrible trouble called the Great Tribulation. The Lord promises believers that they will not be on the earth for the Tribulation. We read in Revelation 3:10, “Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth” (NASB).

Believers will be kept from the Great Tribulation since they will be raptured from this earth to heaven. What happens after the Tribulation? Let us keep reading in Matthew 24: 30-41. “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. 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. Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door. Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.

But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. 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, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be. Then there will be two men in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one will be left” (NASB).

After the seven years of Great Tribulation, Christ will return to this earth. We read of this time in Acts 17:30-31, “Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.” When Christ returns, He will come to judge the world. When it says in Matthew 24:40-41 that “one will be taken,” it is saying that one will be taken in judgment, just as the flood “took them all away” in judgment in Noah’s day. There will be people saved during the Tribulation. When Christ returns, all of the believers will be “left” to live eternally.

It is too lengthy to quote it here, but please read Matthew 25:31-46 where more details are given about what happens to the sheep (believers) and goats (unbelievers) when Christ comes to the earth to reign. The believers will have eternal life and the unbelievers will be eternally punished in the lake of fire.

Dear reader, please repent of your sins and trust Christ as your Savior today. If you reject the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, then after the Rapture you will believe a lie and be damned. We read in 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12, “And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” Those who have not had an opportunity to be saved before the Rapture will have an opportunity during the Tribulation. However, YOU have an opportunity NOW to be saved from the wrath of God. Will you accept Christ as your Savior? Please do so today so that you can look forward to a life walking with the Lord and eternal life in heaven. We read in Psalm 16:11, “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”  (DJ)  (557.5)