"As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming ..." (Matthew 24:38-43)

"As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come." (Matthew 24:38-43)

Was Jesus trying to scare people?

These statements by Jesus have been misconstrued, leading to mistranslations. The result has been to scare people with a threat of the end of the world. Is this what Jesus really meant?

Jesus is continuing his private (Matt. 24:3) discussion with some of his disciples. As we've shown in the previous verses, he is predicting a now-historical event along with its resulting effect:

1) The Jewish-Roman wars to come in the next few decades (starting around 66 AD) - a time when most of his disciples would be slaughtered along with hundreds of thousands if not millions of Israelites including many of Jesus' followers.
2) The moment of death, leading to Jesus' followers being reunited with Jesus in the spiritual realm.

Jesus' discussion, when the original Greek is examined, does not indicate he was predicting the end of the world. Neither is his statement consistent with an end of the world scenario.

Why would one person be taken and the other not taken if it were the end of the world? Some have tried to fictionalize, for example, that the followers of a certain sect will "inherit the earth" while others will be tossed away.

They imagine that 'inheriting the earth' is some kind of reward? What kind of reward would this be? The physical body is subject to pain, disease, and death. Danger pervades the physical world. Then there are polluted rivers and skies. Bacteria and viruses run rampant - infecting whatever they come into contact with. There are hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, freezing cold in some places and time of year, and sweltering heat in other places and time of year. Who would want to "inherit" such a world?

What could we 'inherit' here?

Would we be inheriting a bunch of rotting carcasses of those who died in the cataclysm? Or are they saying that the dead bodies are somehow "taken" away, leaving the earth nice and clean? 

Practically the entire planet is made up of decomposed carcasses.

How could a temporary physical body - which will get sick and die at some point - possibly inherit anything permanently? The earth is a temporary place of residence. It is not our home. Here, we reside in temporary bodies that will die and decompose.

Some of these sectarian institutions like to pitch this "inherit the earth" doctrine with their promotional literature. They draw pictures of people sitting around on lawn chairs sipping lemonade. This is their picture of inheriting the earth?

And where is God in their "inherit the earth" scenario? God is nowhere to be found in their drawings. They don't picture God because they don't want to see God. They want to rule the earth without God.

This is precisely our disease: We are here in this physical world, inhabiting these temporary physical bodies because we wanted to ignore God. We wanted to be in charge. We couldn't accept God being in charge. We wanted to get away from God, and play God.

This is what many institutions have accomplished within their doctrines. They pitch their followers can gain a place where they can be in charge without God getting in the way.

But this is not what Jesus taught. Jesus didn't teach that we should "inherit the earth." Jesus wanted us to return to the spiritual world and return to our natural position as God's loving servants:
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 7:21)

"For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother."
(Matthew 12:50)
So if these sectarians want to inherit the earth then they can have it. They can have the suffering of the body. They can have the pain, disease, old age and death found here. And those who want to really follow Jesus' teachings can return to God in the kingdom of heaven and inherit eternal life.

With this misinterpretation debunked, we can now interpret clearly what Jesus was discussing above.

Why does this compare to the flood?

Jesus is comparing the mass slaughter of millions of Jews in the first century to the days of the flood of Noah because, in both instances, people died unprepared. In both cases, many died without having progressed in spiritual life. Jesus tells of the days before the flood when people were "eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage."

And what is so wrong with "eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage"? There is nothing wrong with these activities. However, Jesus is talking about not being prepared for death. He is talking about the people being oblivious to the fact that their bodies will be killed at any minute.

This is, in fact, our situation in general. Any of us can die today. Or tomorrow.

But what does Jesus mean by "one will be taken and the other left", then? By Jesus' description of the massacre and the historical events, we know both men in the field and both women at the hand mill will be killed by the Romans in the coming years: Very few survived the slaughter. So it is not as if one will vanish and the other will still be working away as if nothing happened.

The "one will be taken" is the person who has utilized their lives to re-develop their love for God. They will be taken back to the spiritual realm at the time of death.

The "other" who will be "left" is the person who will remain in the physical realm after the death of their current physical body. They will not have prepared for the time of death. They will return to the physical world by taking on another physical body.

It is comical that the sectarian teachers prefer being "left" rather than "taken". They want to remain in the physical realm, away from God. How could they describe themselves as Christians?

What about 'the coming of the Son of Man'?

The phrase "the coming of the Son of Man" has also been misinterpreted. Some interpretations imagine that Jesus will come galloping through the sky, whisking away all the baddies, and leaving the rest of the good folk to 'inherit the earth.'

Rather, Jesus is describing that he, the Servant of Humanity (υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου), will be present at the time of death to escort each person who followed his teachings back to the spiritual realm. "Coming" is being translated from the Greek παρουσία (parousia), which means to to be present or appear according to the lexicon.

"The coming" interpretation was developed by the politically motivated Nicene council organized by Eusebius of Caesarea and the Roman emperor Constantine. The objective was to organize the Christian world into a single unified political force.

What is Jesus saying then?

Jesus is speaking to his disciples as God's representative. He is telling them he will be there for them spiritually at the time of death - to escort them back to the spiritual realm. God's representative is our guide in life and our escort when we leave these bodies at the time of death. When he is present on the earth, he teaches us the tools to prepare for returning to our natural relationship with the Supreme Being.

This is what Jesus was trying to tell them. Jesus didn't make up his own teachings. He passed on the teachings of the Prophets and John the Baptist. These ultimately come from the Supreme Person. This is why Jesus constantly quoted the teachings of the Prophets of the Old Testament such as Isaiah, David, Moses, and Abraham.

Jesus quoted every book of the Torah during his teachings. He constantly quoted the Prophets.

And for this reason, God's representatives from the Old Testament were also described as servants of humanity - including Ezekiel, Job and David. Ezekiel was called the "son of man" [servant of humanity] at least 60 times by God. This is because like Jesus, Job and David were sent by God to retrieve those who are ready to return to Him, just as Jesus admitted about himself:
" “My teaching is not my own. It comes from the One who sent me." (John 9:4)
"For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken." (John 12:49)
The second phase of the task of retrieval is escorting our return. By following Jesus' teachings, we find that we are not only introduced to God: But should we become ready to return by following those teachings, we are then escorted back to the spiritual realm by Jesus. Jesus describes this as παρουσία - he will be there for us.

As such, Jesus also uses soliloquy in describing the time of death as "what day your Lord will come." This sort of soliloquy is actually still in use today, as many describe dying as "meeting your Maker".

And it is true: At the time of death, we all, in one way or another, "meet our Maker," as we are faced with one of God's angels or representatives who show us the results of our lives and the spiritual progress we've made - if any - in this lifetime. This is also referred to as "Judgement Day."

This clarifies Jesus' statement: "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come." Jesus is telling them to stay diligent because they do not know what day their bodies will die.

But by also describing his appearance to them on their moment of death, Jesus is explaining that should we follow his teachings, he will be there to guide us through the process and escort us back to the spiritual realm.

And this has been confirmed in many clinical death histories, as some people - those who tried to follow Jesus' teachings - describe leaving their body and being in the presence of Jesus. They describe him telling them they aren't ready yet, whereupon they return to their revived physical bodies.

The spiritual world is all about relationships. There are so many relationships going on there. The central of which is our natural relationship of loving and caring for the Supreme Person. All other relationships in the spiritual world revolve around our relationship with God.

This is why Jesus said (above) that by doing God's will, we will return to the spiritual world. 'Doing God's will' means serving Him. It means doing what pleases Him. This comes from love, and why love for God was Jesus' primary teaching:
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment.” (Matt. 22:37-40)