We are trying to learn the lessons we can extract from Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 24:37-39 which must also include the surrounding verses to examine the context. This week we will deal with two more questions we asked in Part 1: (5) Were those judged in the flood expecting it, and (6) Were those rescued expecting it? After that we will wrap up the rest of the questions we posed in the beginning.
We have skipped over the 4th question: “Who were the 2 kinds of people involved?”, but have really covered some of that in the previous posts. To summarize, we have observed that in the Scriptures it is made very clear that there are always two types: those in God’s kingdom and those outside; those who have truly believed and been saved and those who have rejected Christ; the righteous people and the wicked; those in the kingdom of Satan and those in the kingdom of His dear Son; those that came under judgment in the flood and righteous Noah and his family who were rescued.
In the future there will be two and only two types of people at the time of the wrath of God and the rescue/rapture, not male vs female, not Jew vs Gentile, not black vs white, not rich vs poor, but only saved believers in the Lord Jesus Christ vs unsaved who reject God’s gracious gift. Through man’s history it has always been thus, and prophetic Scriptures make it clear that it will be the same in the end. In Paul’s words in 1 Thess. 5:4-5, there will be those in darkness and those who are “sons of light”. Now we will begin to see how important this concept is as we go on in this study.
Were those judged in the flood expecting it?
The answer to this is very clear and it is one of the primary things Jesus is teaching in this Noah analogy. Right after He states the analogy, “For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah”, He tells us that the wicked “were eating and drinking and marrying and giving in marriage”. This is not the picture of the sinful condition we might expect, which is clearly covered in the Genesis account, but this is a picture of people going along with their lives as if nothing were going to happen. Peter makes a similar statement about the mocking unbelievers at the end of the age: “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation”. Interestingly Peter then goes back to the flood to show that things can change suddenly and dramatically.
What lesson do we learn from this? It is the clear teaching of Scripture that those to be judged do not expect it. Paul says that those in darkness are saying “peace and safety” when the day of the Lord comes on them suddenly. We can be sure that that is one lesson we can take away from the Noah analogy. It must be an important lesson because it is central to the Lord’s teaching. It means that as Noah discharged his duty as a preacher of righteousness, we need to do the same thing in our day. Now lets look at another lesson.
Were those rescued expecting it?
This lesson is more implied than the the previous one. The lord doesn’t say “Noah and his family were expecting to be rescued”. However it doesn’t take much analysis to figure out that Noah expected the flood. After all he spent the last 100 years building the ark to God’s specifications. He certainly knew when he was finished, though he did not know the exact date God would shut the door of the ark and begin the flood. This is trusting God and His word in a spectacular way. If you go see the full sized Ark Encounter in Kentucky, you will get a picture how big Noah’s faith was. The point is clear, he was ready and he was expecting the judgment to come.
Let’s deal with the 8th question we posed at the beginning of this study.
Did Noah know when the rescue would not take place?
He certainly did know that as long as the ark was not finished the flood would not come. In addition he knew that when the ark was complete and the animals were brought in the time was very near.
We have a clear parallel to this teaching in Matthew 24 where we are told that the Lord will cut off the great tribulation followed immediately with the signs in the heavens announcing the day of the Lord wrath. In Luke He says that when you see all these things begin to take place straighten up and lift up your heads because your redemption (rescue by rapture) is drawing near (Luke 21:28). Christians who are “in the light” will know when they are in the great tribulation after the “Sign of the End of the Age”, and that they can expect in less than 3 1/2 years to be rescued by rapture. This certainly fits the Noah analogy and not some secret rapture that will happen at any time with no signs coming before it. That would be analogous to Noah being taken into an ark that is not ready to float and kept there for seven years before the flood came and destroyed the whole world.
To answer questions 7, 8, and 9:
(7) Judgment and rescue were at the same time on the day God shut the door to the ark, and brought the beginning of the flood (Genesis 7:13-17). At the end of the age we are told certain things must take place before the coming of the Lord and the rapture/rescue. Some of those events are the abomination of desolation in the temple (the sign of the end of the age); the great tribulation; the cutting short of the great tribulation; and the dramatic heavenly signs. The rapture can not come before those things take place if we believe the plain reading of these passages.
(8) Noah knew the flood would not come until he had finished the ark. He did know when the rescue would not take place. It would not be while he was building the ark. It would be after the ark was finished and the Lord had brought in the animals, and not before. At the end of the age we know the Lord taught certain things would precede His coming and the rapture. Those are the things we mentioned above. None of this leaves room for a secret rapture before all this happens. Jesus gave us a clear sequence that must happen before His coming and the rapture.
(9) Yes, Noah knew when the rescue was imminent. It was after all these things had taken place. In the words of Paul speaking about the beginning of the day of the Lord, “But you brethren are not in darkness that the day should overtake you like a thief”. Noah knew when it was about time and at the end of the age we will know by the sequence of events that the time is very near, and when we see the final events in the heavens it is time to lift up our eyes because His redemption is right there.
This is part of the Prewrath teaching. This is what the days of Noah analogy teach us.