God, Man, and the Coming Judgment: Part I :: By Terry James

Every prophet of God is inerrant in his foretellings given through God’s Word. Each prophecy must be considered solemnly and soberly. God said the following through one of His prophets, the Apostle Peter:

“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:20-21).

Jesus’ Prophetic Words

How much more solemnly and soberly should we study the prophetic words of Jesus Christ, who is God Himself, with prayerful, reverential awe? It is with this realization, while pondering these strange times, that I was impressed to revisit the passages from one of the Lord’s prophecies I and others have used numerous times in thinking about things to come. I am usually hesitant to use such an extensive block of Scripture in this limited space. However, I believe it’s good to look at the prophecies involved here rather than send you off to look up the Lord’s words elsewhere.

Jesus spoke about two specific past generations in order to forewarn one particular future generation, the generation that will be alive when He returns to intervene into the affairs of mankind.

“And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all” (Luke 17:26-27).

God’s People Hated, But Work Continues

The primary point I want to address here is that Noah and his seven family members had been pushed to the limits of their unwelcome status upon earth by the beastly anti-God masses that inhabited the planet. Noah and the others had no choice but to trust God in His instructions to build the ark in preparation for leaving their hate-filled environs. Noah didn’t know exactly what was going to happen, but he did trust God to deliver him and the others. The others were perhaps less certain than Noah of things to come, but the proverbial handwriting was on the wall. Violence and corruption filled the whole earth. Hatred against them was pressing in from every quarter.

They believed God was going to move by supernatural cataclysm as Noah preached forewarnings of certain judgment. These eight souls didn’t dig bunkers and gather weapons of war against the world of violent, corrupt earth-dwellers. They simply took God’s plan to construct the ark and carried it out to the letter. They trusted God, not humans, as they believed the day of God’s judgment and wrath would surely come. They were true believers. They took God at His Word through His preacher, Noah.

While Noah and the others worked on constructing the vessel—which most likely no one could fully fathom (because it had never even rained, much less come a flood)—the mocking, demon-indwelt people threatened the believers, wanting these judgmental religious fanatics gone from their presence. Just as the hatred reached a crescendo, with the totally corrupted masses groping viciously to get their fingers around the throats of the believers, God told Noah to go inside the ark, now fully prepared, and the Lord himself sealed the door.

The “work” was complete. Noah and his family had carried out the Lord’s directive to build a vessel upon which anyone who would believe could enter for safety from His coming judgment. The God-haters got their way; the planet was rid of the religious nuts. God’s people were lifted above the floodwaters that destroyed all of incorrigibly wicked mankind.

The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were likewise as corrupt as the whole world of Noah’s pre-Flood days. Jesus told us about Lot’s time, in continuing His prophecy of earth’s final days:

“Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed” (Luke 17:28-30).

Day of the Lord, a Stunning Surprise

Jesus was forewarning here of a specific “day” when He said:

“Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.”

That is the day the entire book of the Revelation addresses. It is the day that begins, according to Jesus, like a “thief in the night” experience for the world.

Jesus prophesied about His stunning return to earth using metaphorical language that you and I would not use in describing our Lord. He said:

“And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through. Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not” (Luke 12:39-40).

The apostles Paul and Peter addressed this special “day” using similar metaphorical language. Paul described how Jesus’ return at the end of the age will begin:

“For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night” (1 Thessalonians 5:2).

Peter foretold how the Lord’s second coming will begin in describing that astounding “day”:

“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (2 Peter 3:10).

We should understand, then, that the “day of the Lord” starts Christ’s Second Coming from the moment He breaks in upon an unexpecting world of rebellious earth-dwellers. That “day of the Lord” lasts through to the complete remaking of the heavens and the earth, as reported by John, who recorded the vision he was given.

We can discern signals of the coming judgment of God in every direction we observe upon the prophetic landscape today. In the second part of this series, we will look further into how close our own time might be to the seven years of God’s judgment and wrath known as the Tribulation.

Meantime, if you are in God’s family through belief in the Lord Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross, always tell others about that saving power. Here is the message we are commissioned to take to the whole world of unbelievers.

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9-10).