Yesterday, I said that the Rapture of the Church occurred before the Tribulation, and that believers often mistake the gathering of souls in Matthew 24 as the Rapture. The following explanation of the event described is consistent with the context of the Second Coming of Christ.
Two Warnings About His Second Coming (24:40-51)
In this passage, Jesus again tells us that life will be going on as usual; workers will be working in the fields and grinding the harvest when He returns. One will be taken and the other will be left. Some have interpreted this as a picture of the Rapture, but Jesus is teaching chronologically. This passage begins, “then shall” which shows the event follows the Tribulation (see v. 29). Those taken will no longer be here, while the others will remain. Since the next event is the Millennium, the ones left will live on Earth under the authority of the King of kings (Rev. 19:16 - 20:6).
Jesus, in what must seem to most as a strange illustration, describes Himself as a “Thief,” and Satan as “the Goodman.” The Word says that Satan is the god of this world (2 Cor. 4:4). In the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness, Satan offered the world to Christ if He would simply fall down and worship him (Mt. 4:8-9). Notice that Jesus didn’t tell Satan that it wasn’t his to give. And, Jesus said He would come as a "thief in the night" (2 Pet. 3:10; Rev. 16:15). What does the “Thief” take? He takes the “Goodman’s” prize possessions: the souls that still belong to him. Those left enter the Millennium.
In verses 45-51, Jesus tells us of how the division of the people will be determined. Those who are faithful in their stewardship over His sheep through the Tribulation, protecting and shepherding them until He comes, will remain for the Millennium; those who are unloving toward His sheep will be cast out where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Revelation 19:11-21 indicates that those taken were killed by the Word which is described as a sword from the mouth of Jesus (vv. 15, 21). Revelation 19:20 tells us that those removed had either received the mark of the beast, or they had worshiped his image. The antichrist and the false prophet, are then cast alive into the lake of fire. Those remaining enter the Millennium with Christ. During this time, the rest of the prophecies concerning Israel's Messiah will be fulfilled.
The Parable of the Ten Virgins (Mt. 25:1-13)
Just as in the above examples, in the Parable of the Ten Virgins, some will be found faithful, and some will not. Jesus again begins with the word “then” indicating He is going to tell them about the next event to occur. The previous chapter ended with the Lord warning those awaiting His return, to be found faithful. This chapter begins with the same idea; the faithfulness of the virgins had to do with their preparation for a wedding. This coincides with the same sequence of events in Revelation 19:7-10.