“And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in he days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day came that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.” – Jesus (Luke 12:26-27)
One day soon Jesus is going to return, exactly as He has promised. Just as Jesus’ first appearance was well foretold, so His second appearance has been. Jesus spoke often of His return, warning that His coming would be like a thief in the night. He charged us to be watchful so that we would not be ashamed at His coming (Rev 16:15). His disciples also wrote of His return, admonishing us to be patient and ready (James 5:7-8), to be wary of naysayers (2 Peter 3:3-4), and to watch and be sober (1 Thessalonians 5:1-6).
In Luke chapter 17, Jesus gives us some idea of what it will be like in the days of His return. He tells us that ‘as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the Days of the Son of Man.’ In other words, the way the world was in the days right before the flood will be the same as when Jesus returns.
What were those days like?
The Bible says that the people ate and drank, were married and given in marriage: normal things that happen every day.
Then Jesus likens His coming to the days of Lot: they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built. In other words: normal everyday stuff.
Jesus wanted to reiterate to His listeners that His coming would not be announced. It would indeed be like a thief that comes in the night. There won’t be a bulletin three months ahead of time. There won’t be terribly unusual things happening. Sure, there are signs of the times, but not the specific time. The people of the world are just going to keep on living like they always have. They will be completely caught off guard, just as if a thief broke into their house while they slept.
I know exactly what this is like. I was at the church late one night. When I returned home at about 10 o’clock, I noticed that my van was not in the driveway. I thought to myself, “Did my wife load up our four kids and go somewhere this late?” I called my wife, “Did you go somewhere?” “No,” she said, “I’m in the house. Why?” “The van’s not in the driveway!”
A thief came, in the night, and stole our van.
It was just a regular night. It wasn’t even that late. I would have expected a thief to come in the dark hours of the early morning, but not at 10:00 PM. But happened just as Jesus described how His coming would be: at an hour we do not expect.
“Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” – Luke 12:40
The day of the Lord is going to come suddenly. People will be about their daily business. the Bible says that two will be laying in the bed, one will be taken and the other left; two will be grinding together, one will be taken and the other left. There won’t be any extraordinary events leading up to his coming to prepare the casual person. Only those that are watching will be ready.
Another comparison that can be gathered from the days of Noah and Lot is the great destruction that will take place at the Lord’s return. When Noah entered the ark, the flood came and destroyed them all. When Lot left Sodom, fire and brimstone rained down from heaven, destroying them all. These are pictures of the type of destruction that will take place at the Lord’s coming. the Bible says that there has never been a day like it, nor will there ever be.
“For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.” – Jesus (Matthew 24:21)
Think about that. That means it will be worse than the holocaust, worse than the sacking of Jerusalem, worse than the millions killed in the former Soviet Union, worse than the Cambodian killing fields, worse than Black Plague. 25% of the world’s population was killed in the Black Plague (which was estimated to be 100 million), the Book of Revelation shows that over 50% will perish in the Tribulation (3.5 BILLION if it happens soon), upstaging the Black Plague by a wide margin. That’s not to mention the myriads of those plagued and pained so much that they wish to die, but can’t seem to come by it. It will truly be an awful time of destruction; much worse than the flood or the fire, which killed everyone in a moment. Death will be a way of life for seven years. It will truly be hell on earth–so bad that all the world would perish if God had not promised to cut it short.
“And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elects sake those days will be shortened.” – Jesus (Matthew 24:22)
The last thing we can learn from this comparison is that there will be some spared from this destruction, but it will be only a few. Only Noah and his family, eight in all, were saved in the flood. Only Lot and his daughters were saved from the fire. His wife was close to escaping, but couldn’t help but turn back to the life that she loved. She perished with it.
In the same way, few will be saved from the tribulation that is to come. Only those that are watching, that are ready, that are keeping themselves clean from the things of this world; only they will be spared from the hour of testing that will come upon the earth.
“Because you have kept my command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.” – Jesus (Revelation 3:10)
In fact, it is a sad fact of scripture that a great falling away is coming (2 Thessalonians 2:3). the Bible predicts that many will depart from the faith in the last days (1 Timothy 4:1). Many churches have already forsaken the commands of God for the ideas of men. The members of these churches will enter into the Great Tribulation. They will not be spared. And many others will follow their lead. Only those who carefully watch themselves, examine the Word for themselves, and live close to God, will keep themselves. Many will be ashamed in that day.
“Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.” – Jesus (Revelation 16:15)
What about you? Will you be ashamed in that day? I hope not. I hope that you will be one who watches, stays alert, keeps himself clean. It’s going to be an awful time for those who miss His coming. Don’t be numbered among them.
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