Only one of two in the field (Lk 17:36-17:36)

“Two will be

In the field.

One will be taken.

The other will be left.”

 

 δύο ἐν τῷ ἀγρῷ, εἷς παραληφθήσεται καὶ ὁ ἕτερος ἀφεθήσεται

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that two will be in the field (δύο ἐν τῷ ἀγρῷ).  One will be taken (εἷς παραληφθήσεται), while the other will be left (καὶ ὁ ἕτερος ἀφεθήσεται).  This is like Matthew, chapter 24:40, perhaps indicating a Q source.  Matthew indicated that Jesus said that there would be two men in the field (τότε ἔσονται δύο ἐν τῷ ἀγρῷ).  However, only one would be taken or admitted (εἷς παραλαμβάνεται), while the other would be left or dismissed (καὶ εἷς ἀφίεται), just like here in Luke.  Thus, you had a fifty-fifty chance at the end times, just like everyday.  Will you be left behind?

Only one of two women (Lk 17:35-17:35)

“There will be two women

Grinding meal together.

One will be taken

And the other left.”

 

ἔσονται δύο ἀλήθουσαι ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτό, ἡ μία παραλημφθήσεται ἡ δὲ ἑτέρα ἀφεθήσεται.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that there would be two women grinding meal together (ἔσονται δύο ἀλήθουσαι ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτό).  One will be taken (ἡ μία παραλημφθήσεται) and the other left (ἡ δὲ ἑτέρα ἀφεθήσεται).  This is similar to Matthew, chapter 24:41, perhaps indicating a Q source.  Jesus said that there would be two women grinding meal together (δύο ἀλήθουσαι ἐν τῷ μύλῳ).  Only one would be taken or admitted (μία παραλαμβάνεται), while the other would be left or dismissed (καὶ μία ἀφίεται).  Not everyone would like this Parousia or end times.  Someone would be left behind.  What happens to the people left behind?  Just ask Jerry B. Jenkins (1949-) and Tim LaHaye (1926-2016), since they wrote 16 novels from 1995-2007 based on the theological theme of the end times.  Jenkins also published 40 children’s books on the left behind idea from 1998-2004.  What do you believe about the end times?

Stay where you are (Lk 17:31-17:31)

“On that day,

Anyone on the housetop,

Who has belongings

In the house,

Must not come down

To take them away.

Likewise,

Anyone in the field

Must not turn back.”

 

ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ὃς ἔσται ἐπὶ τοῦ δώματος καὶ τὰ σκεύη αὐτοῦ ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ, μὴ καταβάτω ἆραι αὐτά, καὶ ὁ ἐν ἀγρῷ ὁμοίως μὴ ἐπιστρεψάτω εἰς τὰ ὀπίσω.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that on that day (ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ) of the coming of the Son of Man at the end times, anyone on the housetop (ὃς ἔσται ἐπὶ τοῦ δώματος), who has belongings in the house (καὶ τὰ σκεύη αὐτοῦ ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ), must not come down to take them away (μὴ καταβάτω ἆραι αὐτά).  Likewise, anyone in the field (καὶ ὁ ἐν ἀγρῷ ὁμοίως) must not turn back to the things left behind (μὴ ἐπιστρεψάτω εἰς τὰ ὀπίσω).  This is almost word for word in Matthew, chapter 24:17-18, and Mark, chapter 13:15-16.  Mark indicated that Jesus said that during these end times, the people on the housetop or roofs of their houses (ὁ ἐπὶ τοῦ δώματος) should not go down (μὴ καταβάτω) and enter their house (μηδὲ εἰσελθάτω τι) to take anything out of there (ἆραι τὰ ἐκ τῆς οἰκίας αὐτοῦ).  It would be useless to do so, as the world was coming to an end.  If they were in the field working (καὶ ὁ εἰς τὸν ἀγρὸν), they were not to turn back or return to their house (μὴ ἐπιστρεψάτω εἰς τὰ ὀπίσω) to get or take a coat or outer garment (ἆραι τὸ ἱμάτιον αὐτοῦ).  Jesus, via Matthew, said that during this end time, the people on the housetop or roofs of their houses (ὁ ἐπὶ τοῦ δώματος) should not go down (μὴ καταβάτω) to take things out of their houses (ἆραι τὰ ἐκ τῆς οἰκίας αὐτοῦ).  If they were in the field working (καὶ ὁ ἐν τῷ ἀγρῷ), they were not to turn back or return to their house (μὴ ἐπιστρεψάτω ὀπίσω) to get or take a coat or outer garment (ἆραι τὸ ἱμάτιον αὐτοῦ).  They had no need for clothes because the end was near.  What would you want to take from your house if the world was coming to an end?

How many will be saved? (Lk 13:23-13:23)

“Someone asked him.

‘Lord!

‘Will only a few

Be saved?’”

 

Εἶπεν δέ τις αὐτῷ Κύριε, εἰ ὀλίγοι οἱ σῳζόμενοι;

 

Luke uniquely indicated that someone along the way asked Jesus (Εἶπεν δέ τις αὐτῷ), as he traveled, addressing him as the “Lord (Κύριε).”  They wanted to know if only a few people would be saved (εἰ ὀλίγοι οἱ σῳζόμενοι)?  This was a main concern among apocalyptic people who were concerned about the end times.  Will they be left behind?  Was salvation for many or just a few?  This has been a continuing question among Christians since the very beginning, but emphasized with John Calvin (1509-1564) and around millennium moments.  Do you think that many or few people will be saved?

The conclusion about Yahweh (Ezek 39:28-39:29)

“‘Then they shall know

That I am Yahweh,

Their God.

I sent them

Into exile

Among the nations.

I then gathered them

Into their own land.

I will leave

None of them

Behind.

I will never again

Hide my face

From them.

I will pour out

My Spirit

On the house of Israel.’

Says Yahweh God.”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel summarized his main idea that the house of Israel would now know that Yahweh was their God. He had sent them into exile and now he would gather them back into their own land, with none left behind. Yahweh said that he would never again hide his face from his people. He was going to pour out his Spirit on the house of Israel.

The people in Jerusalem (Jer 29:16-29:16)

“Thus says Yahweh

Concerning the king

Who sits

On the throne of David.

This concerns

All the people

Who live in this city.

This concerns

Your kinsmen

Who did not go out

With you into exile.”

This and the following verses are lacking in the Greek Septuagint translation, since they are like a comment on Jeremiah’s letter. Yahweh seems to be talking about the king in Jerusalem as well as the people who were not sent into captivity. These are the people who were left behind in Jerusalem, their relatives. They were the people favored by the Babylonians, since they were not sent to Babylon in the first purge and captivity of 598 BCE.

Remembering the first captivity (Jer 27:19-27:20)

“Thus says Yahweh of hosts

Concerning the pillars,

The sea,

The stands,

With the rest of the vessels

That are left in this city,

That King Nebuchadnezzar

Of Babylon

Did not take away,

When he took into exile

From Jerusalem

To Babylon

King Jeconiah,

The son of King Jehoiakim,

Of Judah,

With all the nobles

Of Judah

As well as Jerusalem.”

Yahweh talked about the other holy vessels still in Jerusalem, including the Temple pillars, the sea structure outside the Temple, the various lamp stands in the Temple, as well as the other sacred vessels in the Temple. These were all left behind when the first captivity took place in 598 BCE, when King Zedekiah or King Mattaniah (598-587 BCE) was put on the throne by King Nebuchadnezzar. King Jeconiah or King Coniah or King Jehoiachin (598 BCE) was only on the throne for a few months before he was taken into exile. His father, King Jehoiakim or King Eliakim (609-598 BCE) had been favored by the Egyptians. King Zedekiah was the brother of King Jehoiakim and the uncle of King Jeconiah. In other words, there was a dispute between Egypt and Babylon and the kings of Judah changed on who was in charge, Egypt or Babylon. Clearly Jeremiah and Yahweh favored Babylon.

King Hezekiah sends people to Isaiah (Isa 37:2-37:4)

“The king sent Eliakim,

Who was in charge of the palace,

Shebna the secretary,

With the senior priests,

Covered with sackcloth,

To the prophet Isaiah,

Son of Amoz.

They said to him.

‘Thus says King Hezekiah.

This day is a day of distress.

This day is a day of rebuke.

This day is a day of disgrace.

Children have come to birth.

But there is no strength to bring them forth.

It may be that Yahweh your God

Heard the words of Rabshakeh,

Whom his master,

The king of Assyria,

Has sent to mock the living God.

Will you rebuke the words

That Yahweh your God has heard?

Therefore,

Lift up your prayer

For the remnant that is left.’”

Once again, this is almost word for word from 2 Kings, chapter 19. King Hezekiah decided to send his consultants, Eliakim, Shebnah, and the senior priests to the prophet Isaiah, the son of Amoz. Notice that Joah the recorder did not go, but instead senior priests went. They would all be wearing sackcloth because things were in distress and disgrace. In an interesting metaphor, they say that women are coming to the moment of childbirth, but have no strength to bring their children into the world. They mentioned that perhaps Yahweh had heard the mocking words of Rabshakeh, as the king of Assyria’s representative mocked the living God. How would you rebuke him? They wanted prayers for the “remnant.” This theme of the faithful few left behind occurs quite often in Isaiah.

 

The curse on the earth (Isa 24:4-24:6)

“The earth dries up.

It withers.

The world languishes.

It withers.

The heavens languish

Together with the earth.

The earth lies polluted

Under its inhabitants.

They have transgressed laws.

They have violated the statutes.

They have broken the everlasting covenant.

Therefore a curse devours the earth.

Its inhabitants suffer

For their guilt.

Therefore the inhabitants of the earth dwindled.

Few people are left.”

This oracle of Isaiah says that the earth and the heavens were drying up and withering away. The earth was polluted by its inhabitants. Does that sound familiar? They had transgressed the laws, violated the statutes, and broken the eternal covenant. The Mosaic laws and statutes only pertained to the Israelites. However, the eternal covenant came after the flood for all people. Thus everyone was guilty. Yahweh was going to curse all the earth and its inhabitants because of their guilty ways. A lot of people would be wiped out, but a few would be left, like the “Left Behind” series of books, movies, and video games by Tim LaHaye (1926-2016).

The devastation of the land of Ephraim (Isa 17:4-17:6)

“‘On that day,

The glory of Jacob

Will be brought low.

The fat of his flesh

Will grow lean.

It shall be

As when reapers

Gather standing grain.

Their arms harvest the ears.

It shall be

As when one gleans

The ears of grain

In the Valley of Rephaim.

Gleanings will be left in it,

As when an olive tree is beaten.

Two or three berries

On the top of the highest bough

Will be left.

Four or five on the branches

Of a fruit tree

Will be left.’

Says Yahweh

God of Israel.”

Here is another oracle of Yahweh, via Isaiah, but about Ephraim of northern Israel. This rebuke is against Jacob, not Damascus. There is a reference to the Valley of Rephaim, which is northwest of Jerusalem in the Ephraim territory. Thus this land of Ephraim will be devastated. The fat animals will grow lean. All that will be left are the gleanings of left over grain that the pickers left behind. The olive trees will only have a few berries that were too difficult to pick, since all the others would have been shaken out of the trees. There will only be a few branches on any trees. There will not be much left after this day of destruction in northern Israel.