When the disciples asked Jesus to describe the signs of His coming and the end of the age, He pointed to many signs. But one of the most often overlooked is the idea that when He returns, the world will be “like it was in the days of Noah” (Matthew 24:37-41).
So what were those days like? And does life today look anything like it did in the days of Noah? If so, we have yet another reason to expect the soon return of Jesus.
Fortunately, there’s no need to guess. We know exactly what those days were like. Both the book of Genesis and Jesus Himself tell us.
The World in the Days of Noah
Here are four key points the Bible reveals about the world in which Noah lived:
1) The World Was Wicked, Corrupt, and Violent – The Bible tells us that God looked upon the world in Noah’s day and saw corruption, violence, and wickedness (Genesis 6:11). In fact, humans were so wicked, they continuously thought of nothing but evil (Genesis 6:5).
2) The World Was Ignorant of What Was About to Happen – Also in those days, the people of the world lived unaware of the judgment about to take place. In fact, according to Jesus, people lived normal lives right up until the moment of their own destruction. They ate. They drank, and they hosted parties. And the entire time, they remained ignorant of what was just around the corner – oblivious to the coming flood.
3) Noah and His Family Knew What Would Happen – But unlike the rest of the world, Noah and his family knew all about the flood and prepared themselves for it. How did they know? Because God told them. He flat out told Noah He would destroy every living creature and wipe out everyone but Noah and his family (Genesis 6:13).
4) Noah and His Family Were Saved – It wasn’t luck that saved Noah and his family. God saved them on purpose. Why? The Bible tells us because “Noah found favor with God” (Genesis 6:8). And the reason he found favor is because Noah was the only blameless person on earth – a man who walked in close fellowship with God (Genesis 6:9).
But how was Noah “blameless?” After all, the Bible tells us no one is righteous, not one (Romans 3:10), and Noah was no exception. While Noah was not perfect in the eyes of the law, He had great faith in God. This is evidenced by his work on the ark for over 100 years, and the Bible tells us Old Testament saints like Noah were justified by their faith.
For example, Abraham was counted as righteous because he believed in God (Galatians 3:6). So even though they lived and died before the crucifixion, the blood of Jesus still saved Abraham, Noah, and many others because of their faith.
The World Today
Why is all of this important? Because Jesus said these same conditions will be present before the Rapture. So do we see any similarities between today’s world and pre-flood mankind? I believe we do. Let’s see how the same four points relate to today:
1) Wicked, Corrupt and Violent – As in Noah’s day, the world today is filled with wickedness, corruption, and violence. And while we may not yet be to the point where every thought of mankind is continuous evil (we can’t know what’s in everyone’s mind), a look at our world shows we’re very close.
For example, think of some of the degenerate and evil TV programs that invade people’s minds on a daily basis. Programs that portray murder, rape, torture, and sexual immorality of every kind. In fact, sometimes the commercials are worse than the shows. And that’s just television. When you think of all the other messages society assaults us with every minute of every day, how could we not think of continual evil?
2) The World Is Ignorant – The world of today is ignorant of the coming Rapture, the Tribulation, and God’s impending judgment. Just as the pre-flood world ridiculed Noah, people today ridicule those who await the Rapture and the glorious appearing of Jesus Christ.
Almost 2,000 years ago, Peter warned of this. He said, in the last days, people will mock the idea of Christ’s return. He claimed they would say exactly what we hear today – things like, “I thought Jesus was coming back? What happened to His promise? Yet, since the beginning of the world, everything has remained the same!” (2 Peter 3:3-4).
Most people today don’t know what’s in the Bible. They mock what they think is silly, just as they mocked Noah for building a boat on dry land.
3) We Know What’s Going to Happen – Unlike the mockers, if you’ve studied the Bible (and the Second Coming prophecies in particular), you know what’s coming – just as Noah knew the flood was coming. Why? Because God told you, just as He told Noah. He may not have verbally spoken to you, but His Word reveals everything you need to know.
While the Bible says Jesus will come “like a thief in the night” (2 Peter 3:10) and “when least expected” (Matthew 24:44), it also says Christians will not be surprised. Here’s the full context of the passage (emphasis mine):
“But you aren’t in the dark about these things, dear brothers and sisters, andyou won’t be surprised when the day of the Lord comes like a thief. For you are all children of the light and of the day; we don’t belong to darkness and night. So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be clearheaded” 1 Thessalonians 5:4-6 (NLT).
Those who are alert and watchful recognize the signs. While the Rapture can happen at any time, and we can never know the day or the hour of His return (Matthew 24:36), we do have the ability to recognize the general timeframe.
After all, Jesus Himself said, “When you see these things occur, look up. For your salvation is near!” (Luke 21:28).
Like Noah, we’ve been warned. We can see the signs, and we know His coming is near.
4) We Will Be Saved – Just like Noah, if you put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ, you will be saved. Why? Because the Tribulation will be a time of worldwide judgment (Revelation 6:15-17), and there is no judgment for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).
Also, Jesus makes a promise to protect the faithful from “the great time of testing that will come upon the whole world” (Revelation 3:10). This is “the Rapture” that so many Christians hope for, and it isn’t something new. God’s done it before. He spared Noah and his family from the flood (Genesis 6). He also brought Lot, his wife, and his two daughters out of Sodom and Gomorrah before He destroyed those cities (Genesis 19). Likewise, God will use the Rapture to save Christians from the Tribulation just as He used the ark to save Noah from the flood.
All the signs of Christ’s coming to set up His Millennial Kingdom are present in this generation – the re-establishment of Israel, the Jewish people in Jerusalem, the emergence of specific geopolitical alliances, and numerous other signs. Despite what the skeptics say, no previous generation of Christians can make this claim. This means the Rapture is closer than it’s ever been.
Yet even with all these signs, the world continues on as if nothing is out of the ordinary. This is just what the people in Noah’s day did before the flood came and swept them all away. And Jesus says this is exactly what we should expect to see before the Rapture. The fact that we do is yet another sign that He’s coming soon.