There are some who continue to insist—rather than provide exegetical evidence—that the wicked in Matt 24 are “taken,” not left behind.
My simple question to them is this: Since the parables and illustrations in Matthew 24–25 are intended to illustrate the separation event at the parousia in Matt 24:31, does “gather his elect” sound like the concept of being left behind or taken?
And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet blast, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
The answer is that it conveys the action of taking. And who is being taken? The elect. Who are the elect? They certainly are not the wicked—they are the righteous.
Jesus is the same person who said a few days later after delivering his Olivet Disourse, in the same context of the parousia, to the same audience: “And if I go and make ready a place for you, I will come again and take you to be with me, so that where I am you may be too. And you know the way where I am going.” (John 14:3–4)
Paul in the same context of the parousia—drawing his teaching from Jesus’s Olivet Discourse—explicitly states that the righteous are taken, not left behind: “Then we who are alive, who are left, will be suddenly caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will always be with the Lord.” (1 Thess 4:17)
In the same context between the cosmic disturbance event (sixth seal) and the day of the Lord’s wrath (seventh seal), the elect who have just been resurrected are depicted as being taken to heaven: “After these things I looked, and here was an enormous crowd that no one could count, made up of persons from every nation, tribe, people, and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb dressed in long white robes, and with palm branches in their hands. . . . Then one of the elders asked me, “These dressed in long white robes—who are they and where have they come from?” So I said to him, “My lord, you know the answer.” Then he said to me, “These are the ones who have come out of the great tribulation.”(Rev 7:9, 13–14)
This is in addition to all the other exegetical and Greek evidence that supports the notion that the righteous are taken and the wicked are left behind. I have never had any person respond adequately to this simple question. It is the 800-pound gorilla in the room that many want to pretend does not exist.