What if you turned on the Weather Channel this morning and the forecast called for a 100% chance of heavy rain….how would you prepare? You would probably wear your rain coat, hat, and maybe boots or shoe covers. Away from the crowds, the disciples asked Jesus the one million dollar question in Matthew 24:3: “Tell us when will these things will be, and what will be the sign of your coming and the close of the age?” Jesus described in great detail what signs we should be on the lookout for. There is one sentence in which he gave us a bright neon warning sign of his soon return:
Matthew 24:37: “For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left.
Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”
Jesus’ very own words tell us in vivid detail that the days just prior to His coming will be just like Noah’s day. Most people who have even a passing knowledge of Scripture have heard the account of the great flood. Noah was a righteous godly man living in a very godless society. In fact, this godlessness was so rampant that it filled the earth. Every intent of the human heart was evil, and violence was everywhere. God’s heart was grieved and sorrowful because of the people He created had turned to great wickedness.
The ark took a long time to build and every decade that passed during its construction was a warning to the people around the huge boat being built in the desert. The forecast was rain and God’s judgment. The preparation would have been repentance, walking with God as Noah did, and getting into the ark while the door was open. I’ll touch more on the open door later, but let’s look closer at the conditions of Noah’s day. Violence filled the earth; men were corrupt, the human heart was filled with evil, and even the thoughts and intentions were evil. The Bible mentions violence as a defining trait of Noah’s time. It was truly a dark time to be living on the earth.
Let’s look across the span of human history. If we are looking for a day that looks like Noah’s, then we must scan history to see if we have a positive match. It’s fair to say that every generation has had its share of corruption, violence, and evil. No era of human history has been left untouched from the scourge of darkness. There was the Roman Empire, the crusades, the Dark Ages, World War I, World War II, the evil holocaust, Mao, Pol Pot, Rwanda, the Balkans, and terrorism.
There have been pockets of evil; large areas where great evil was committed and evil leaders have come and gone. Murder, theft, injustice…even these traits have been an unfortunate part of every generation. So where is the distinction? The Bible uses certain words to describe Noah’s day, and these words will describe the days just prior to the Lord’s coming. These words are: great, every, and filled.
- The Lord saw that the wickedness of Man was great in the earth.
- Every intention of the thoughts of his heart was evil.
- The earth was corrupt in God’s sight and filled with violence.
These words describe the level of depravity in Noah’s day and the days we are identifying.
Friends, even with all of the evil wrong doings and violence throughout human history, a fair amount of people have always had some sort of moral grounding. The Bible is clearly speaking of a time when evil will be the defining characteristic of people on the earth. Despite the coming time of darkness God will still have people who are faithfully living for Him as Noah did, while most others are living for themselves.
We are living in a unique time now. The lines between good and evil are blurred. Behaviors that were once considered unacceptable, abnormal, and just plain deviant are encouraged and even celebrated by a majority of the population now. Kid’s games like baseball and tag are being substituted with Vice City and other violent video games. If reality TV is an indicator of what people find entertaining and the life they long for: the real…reality is that this generation is in trouble. Evil is now being called good and good is being called evil.
In centuries past, violent people were run out of town. The perverted person would slink around in darkness from one seedy place to the next. If there was trouble in the school yard, boys would throw a punch, roll around, then usually play a pick-up game later. Now, violence is celebrated. Shows on TV depict the destructive lives of gangsters, the mob, drug lords, and other violent types as glamorous. This is now regular nightly household entertainment. Perversion is everywhere— on billboards, on Super Bowl commercials, and computer screens.
What was once considered perversion yesteryear, is today called…men just being men. Violence among young people is rampant. The schoolyard argument has been replaced by stabbings, brutal beatings, and murder. Parents have been observed and filmed “cheering” their child on…very disturbing. There are mobs of angry youth stalking passers-by on the streets to play the “knockout game” which starts and ends with one punch…or death. This so called “game” even targets moms with children, the disabled, and elderly people. What’s worse, much of this vile behavior can be found on videos posted on the Internet for “entertainment.”
Every true Christian, any student of history, and anyone who has been alive long enough can see times are much different now and no prior generation has been this depraved on such a wide scale. God’s very existence, the claims of Jesus, and the gospel message are increasingly under fire from the media, Hollywood, and even some so-called…Christians. These same people would never be so bold as to attack the Islamic faith. Christians and the God of the Bible seem to be fair game and the only viable target.
Friends, if we aren’t now living in the days Jesus described…we are very close. It is crucial that every believer discerns the times in which we live, and the reason why is obvious if we look at the days of Noah Scripture in context. Jesus is talking to his disciples and believers of today. A few verses later, Jesus says to stay awake, because you do not know on what day (your) Lord is coming. He goes on to talk about the wise and faithful servant found doing his master’s will when he returned.
If we look at the time in which we live now, it is looking more and more like Noah’s violent, wicked, and corrupt generation. Since we know the Lord is coming soon, we also know we need to be doing his will. Jesus will judge every believer and test the motive and intent of our work for Him. Christians all over are realizing our time is short. No one knows the day or the hour of the Lord’s appearing, but we are getting closer every day. I heard an excellent pastor say this recently:
I’m going through life and living in this world as a Christian and I’m feeling more and more like a stranger in exile. (That is the prevailing thought of the believer living for Christ in this generation.)
One final thought on the open door: The door of the ark must have remained open for a long time. The people who Noah preached to saw the mammoth construction site day in and day out for years and decades. The ark was wide open for anyone who believed the words of warning the godly man proclaimed. One day without fanfare or notice…the doors shut and the rains came. What followed was a watery hell no one could have imagined just days before.
Here we are today and the gospel of Jesus has been preached almost to the point of saturation in the West. Most people have heard the warnings over and over. In Noah’s day they probably said, “Where is the rain…it’s always been this way!” Our time is no different because people say with their lifestyle, attitude, and lack of humility, “Where is the promise of his coming?” (2 Peter 3:4).
Jesus is our Rescuer, our Rock, and our Salvation. If you are a Christian…discern the times. Wake-up and get busy, because we will be held accountable for our short time here. If you don’t know Jesus, please know this: The forecast is: one-hundred-percent that Jesus is coming back. Judgment is coming and God will pour out his anger on everyone who has rejected his free gift of salvation through his Son Jesus who died for our sins.
How do you prepare? He is your ark…if you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. So I’m pleading with you not to rest on your good works, good standing, or good feelings. Only trusting in Jesus will get you into heaven, so repent and put your trust in Him. Time is so short and no one knows the day or hour of Christ’s return…but a realistic look at our world confirms it will be soon. Noah would readily identify with our day.
All for Him,
Concerning the Times