A little Greek
In regard to Daniel Scarone’s article “Taken or Left?” (December 2018), I have always taken the meaning of Mathew 24:40–41 from the immediate context. The interlinear Greek-English table below from Matthew 24:39 states that those being “taken” are the wicked of the antediluvian world. Therefore, it follows that those who are “left” in verses 40, 41 are those who are left alive, as were Noah and his family.
This simple, contextual explanation makes nonsense out of the Left Behind thinking. Only the righteous are left alive— again, according to the immediate context of Jesus’ words in the Matthew passage.
Dr. Scarone quotes Ellen White’s comment on Luke’s account of this passage writing, “The one shall be taken. His name shall stand in the book of life.” However, the immediate context of the Luke passage doesn’t demand the same conclusion we draw from the Matthew passage.
—Dave Moench, email
Response from Daniel Scarone:
Matthew 24 is an answer of Jesus to the disciples, and from verse 36 on, there is a rapid sequence of connected scene situations to emphasize upon the manifestation of the coming of the Lord with a repertoire of emphasis on the sudden manifestation (vv. 38–39) and on the separation or distinction of the subjects (vv. 40–41). And this is the core of the article. The verbs in verses 40 and 41 are παραλαμβανω (taken) and αφíημι (left), so the original marks the obvious meaning as I tried to emphasize in the article because παραλαμβανω never is used as being taken to destruction, as the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament concurs, and several other commentators agree, among them the Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary and E. G. White. And later Matthew 24 continues on to another element in the chain of connections with an emphasis on Christian ethics (living right) because we do not know the time of the coming (vv. 42–44). Note: there are editorial touches that were not part of the original the author submitted. Blessings.
Take it to heart
I really thought the guest editorial from John Bradshaw titled “A Pulling Horse Doesn’t Kick” in February 2019 was spot on!
So many times our churches get caught up in silly little things that escalate to big things, and I really feel it is the devil, as stated in the editorial. Satan is trying to keep us away from our task of telling the world about salvation and Jesus’ second coming.
We shouldn’t be coming to church to just get a blessing but to be working together on how to reach others. Let's keep our eyes on mission! I got permission to reprint this article in our church news-letter and hope all will take this to heart!
—Jodi Giem, church secretary, Eagle SDA Church, Eagle, Idaho, United States
The article “Our Miraculous Planet Earth” (December 2018) is very interesting, encouraging, and promising and brings hope to sinners. Through His love, we have hope for paradise.—Pr. Ssekitto Noah, Uganda
A different kind of review
I really appreciated February’s Practical Pointers column, “Pastoral Burnout: As I See It” by Joe A. Webb. I am not a pastor but have served as a career missionary since 2013 and have faced some of the same workaholic issues that pastors face, with the addition of culture shock and compassion burnout.
I think Pastor Webb hit on an important point when he talked about overcommitting due to a sense of isolation or lack of communication with leadership. This lack of communication can happen even if a person works on a mission compound with leadership being only two steps away. Perhaps part of what can fuel our drive to overcommit is the ambiguity of never really knowing whether we are fulfilling expectations or not.
As a millennial employed by the church, I just wonder if it might be helpful to have a regular 360-degree review, which is common in the secular business world. It differs from a typical top-down employee review, in which only one supervisor gives feedback and is a periodic opportunity for leadership, colleagues, and subordinates to give their opinion on the individual’s performance. In relation to the temptation to overcommit out of a sense of performance uncertainty, having periodic 360-degree reviews might be helpful.
—Jaimie Eckert, email