As it was in the days of Noah and Lot...

"22 And He said to the disciples, "The days will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. 23 "They will say to you, 'Look there! Look here!' Do not go away, and do not run after them. 24 "For just like the lightning, when it flashes out of one part of the sky, shines to the other part of the sky, so will the Son of Man be in His day. 25 "But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. 26 "And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: 27 they were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. 28 "It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building; 29 but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. 30 "It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed." (Luke 17:22-30

Jesus declared that the days leading up to His coming will be like it was in the days of Noah and Lot. It seems He was telling the disciples they would not see His coming but that when it does happen it will come unexpectedly. The apostle Paul echoes this statement in his letter to the Christians at Thessaloniki, "2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape." (I Thessalonians 5:2-3)

However, this does not seem to harmonize with what Jesus said in Matthew chapter 24:

"33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. 34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. 35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away. 36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but My Father only. 37 But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, 39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be."(Matthew 24:33-39)

"All these things" in verse 33 of this passage refers to the previous verses of chapter 24 where Jesus had just finished giving His disciples signs to look for leading up to His return. If Jesus told His followers there would be signs leading up to His second coming how then would it be unexpected? I believe the answer to this apparent discrepancy lies in the distinction the Bible makes between believers and unbelievers. In the same passage in Thessalonians mentioned above Paul delineates this difference:

"1 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. 2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. 5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. 6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. 7 For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. 8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. 9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. 11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do." (I Thessalonians 5:1-11)

It comes down to a matter of belief versus unbelief. Paul wrote, "3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness." (Romans 4:3) The disciple John also contrasts those who believe in Jesus with those who don't, "1 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth Him that begat loveth Him also that is begotten of Him...5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?...10 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made Him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of His Son. 11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. 13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God." (I John 5:1,5,10-13) Those who believe are "children of the light" and will look for the signs that Jesus' return is approaching. Those who don't believe will reject the truth of God's prophetic word and scoff at it, "3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 4 And saying, Where is the promise of His coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. 5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: 6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: 7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men." (II Peter 3:3-7) Peter says that some unbelievers are willingly ignorant of the truth of God's word. It seems that other unbelievers will be blinded to the prophetic signs of the end:

"1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him, 2 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. 3 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; 4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. 5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? 6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. 7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. 8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the Spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming: 9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness." (II Thessalonians 2:1-12)

Therefore, the coming of Jesus and the judgments of God will come unexpectedly to the world as it did in Noah and Lot's day because the world will be blinded since they rejected the truth of God's word. The apostle Peter alluded to this when he wrote, "5 And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; 6 And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an exsample unto those that after should live ungodly; 7 And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: 8 (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) 9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished." ( II Peter 2:5-9) It seems that Noah preached the coming judgment of God but the world didn't believe him.

Jesus' mention of Noah and Lot in conjunction with the End-Times begs the question "Why did God judge the world in Noah's case and the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah in Lot's case?" The Bible answers both of these questions. The flood judgment came because:

"5 And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And it repented the LORD that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart. 7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth Me that I have made them." (Genesis 6:5-7)

The judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah occurred because:

"20 And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; 21 I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto Me; and if not, I will know...1 And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground; 2 And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant's house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night. 3 And he pressed upon them greatly; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat. 4 But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: 5 And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them." (Genesis 18:20-21,19:1-5)

"49 Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. 50 And they were haughty, and committed abomination before Me: therefore I took them away as I saw good." (Ezekiel 16:49-50)

"7 Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire." (Jude vs.7)

In the case of the flood, God judged the world because it was filled with wickedness and was obsessed with committing evil continually. God judged Sodom and Gomorrah because of pride, gluttony, laziness, oppression of the poor, and the abominable sin of homosexuality.

The prophet Jeremiah declared, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9) Humans have always sinned against the Lord throughout history. Why didn't God judge every generation of humanity that has ever existed? The Bible makes it clear that God is longsuffering and merciful to His creation. However, when He determines that a situation's cup of sin is full then He brings down His wrath. Before the flood wickedness in the earth was "great". Sodom's sin was "very grievous" to God. He told Abraham that his descendants would not inhabit the land of Canaan/Israel right away because "the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full" (Genesis 15:16). Therefore His final judgment of the world will not occur until the world's cup of wickedness is full. The question is how close are we to reaching the breaking point?

The world's pride, like Sodom's, is evident by its rejection of the truth of God's word. Unrepentant sexual sin in general and homosexual sin in particular is rampant around the earth. Globalization is leading humanity away from reliance on God and more reliance on the world to govern itself. Killing of the unborn and oppression of the poor is widespread. And the world is beginning to curse the nation of Israel. In a prophetic reference concerning Israel (i.e. Abraham's descendants) God made a promise, "3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee." (Genesis 12:3) As I stated above, it would seem that God could have judged the world at any point in its history but its cup of wickedness never crossed God's judgment threshold. However, it may be that we are either approaching or living in the "Days of Noah and Lot." Only our Father in heaven knows.

Jesus gave another indication as to the timing of God, "14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." (Matthew 24:14) With modern technology and globalization the preaching of the Gospel has been widespread throughout the earth. How many more people need to hear the Gospel before this prophecy is fulfilled?Only our Father in heaven knows.

June 20, 2010

I posted this article on my blog. If you wish to comment on it please go to As it was in the days of Noah and Lot

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