“…so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.”
The days of Noah were filled with evil and so are the times we live in!
How many times I have heard this quoted as “proof” that we are living at the very end! Does it prove anything at all?
Yes and no.
This statement by Jesus falls within the overall context of the Olivet Discourse that is recorded in Matthew 24 and 25, a text that is frequently cited as “proving” this or that. (Maybe I’ll post my Class Notes on it some day) I will tell you this much, the Olivet Discourse does not prove that Jesus is coming back this week! It does demonstrate that (among other things) we don’t know when He will return.
Noah lived in times that were so evil in God’s sight that He came to regret creating Mankind. He resolved to destroy all life on earth, but decided to save a remnant through the flood waters that consisted of Noah, his family and two of each of the animals. This was a demonstration of God’s righteous judgment on the one hand, and of His love and mercy on the other. The return of Jesus to the earth will have a similar aspect, for He will judge the unrighteous on the one hand, and have mercy on His covenant people on the other, and thus we can say that Noah is a “type” of Christ. As interesting as all of this might be, it isn’t the point that Jesus was making. To see His point, we need a little more context:
But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 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.
The point Jesus was making was that He will return when nobody is expecting it. If we are alive at the time, we will be surprised. Even He was not aware of the date.
He was not making a comparison between the wickedness of Noah’s time and any other, for the world of men is always wicked, since it is in rebellion against God. He was pointing out that on the day that Noah entered the ark, it was a day like any other; business as usual. Last Monday, the people in the Navy Yard in Washington had no clue that it would be a day of infamy. They got up in the morning, showered, dressed, grabbed a cup of coffee and headed off to work on Monday morning. Then, without warning, a nut case came in and started shooting.
When Jesus returns, we will be going about our daily routine without any notion that it will be a day that changes everything. Suddenly, without warning, He will appear. Will this happen in your lifetime? I have no clue, and neither do you. If it should happen today, are you ready?
That was Jesus’ point!
Once again, I must point out that we are not called to speculate about these things, nor are we called to sit around and worry about them. We are called to make disciples (Matt. 28:18-20) Of course we should be in prayer for this world. We should be in prayer that the Gospel of Jesus Christ would move forward, that it would make inroads into the darkness around us, that many millions would come to salvation in Christ and that God’s will would be done on earth as it is in Heaven.