But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. (Matthew 24:37-39)
Unless you have totally detached yourself from all society, isolated yourself in a cave, or numbed your brain with drugs, you know that the world is in moral decline. We have ejected God from the public square, spurned His law and called what is good evil and what is evil good (Isaiah 5:20). We accept that which is unnatural and hold it up as something to be praised and held in honor. We castigate those who hold firm to their passé morality, and stigmatize them as evil haters. We hail outlaws as heroes and call true heroes cowards. We slaughter our progeny and fearlessly defend the life and welfare of animals. We fight against polluting the planet and think nothing of the moral pollution of our minds. Boy! Are we screwed up!
We hear of wars and rumors of wars. Natural and man-made catastrophes are increasing all over the world, and for the most part, life, for the vast majority of people, goes on as usual. The words of Jesus recorded by Matthew above make me wonder. Just how bad were things at the time of Noah? Genesis records that “it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth … for it repenteth me that I have made them” (Genesis 6:6-7). Things must have been pretty bad for God to take such extreme measures. “The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth” (Genesis 6:11-12). Is that not what we see today? Mankind is corrupt and the earth is filled with violence. So, why does Christ delay His return? Surely, things are as bad today as they were in the days of Noah.
It seems that there have been periods in world history that were far worse than they are today, and Jesus did not return then either. When Jesus spoke these words, He was not referring to the moral condition of the world, but rather the suddenness of the destruction that fell upon them. Note that they were conducting life as usual, “eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage.” There is nothing particularly sinful in that, but as they carried on life as usual, destruction came on them suddenly, “And [they] knew not until the flood came, and took them all away” (Matthew 24:39). But there may be more to it than they were just carrying on life as usual. The world was violent then and evil was so rampant that God said, “Enough!”
For Christians (and I always feel that I need to qualify that with the adjective “true”) the world does not have to get as bad as in the days of Noah. Paul would remind us, as he did the Christians in Thessalonica, “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3, emphasis mine). That “falling away” is the Greek word apostasia, which means a “defection from the truth.” We see that happening today, but God still has a remnant. I heard today that the number of “true” Christians, according to Barna, is down to about 7%, but that remnant is still strong. Paul says that the “son of perdition,” a.k.a. “Antichrist,” will not be revealed until “he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way” (2 Thessalonians 2:7, emphasis mine). That word “lets” (“letteth”) is actually two Greek words: katechō meaning “to hold down,” and arti, meaning “suspension.” That “He” is the Holy Spirit who indwells every child of God. When the Bride of Christ is “taken out of the way,” there will be nothing left to restrain evil.
It’s bad now, but it’s not that bad. Christ will call for His Bride at any moment. As in the days of Noah, life will be going on as usual. Then suddenly, millions of people – Christians – will disappear from all over the earth, and the trouble begins. It’s not that bad now, but it’s going to get bad. I hope you are ready!