“A flood is coming!” cried Noah to the people who came in inquire as to why he was building an ark. Perhaps the sincerity of Noah’s voice, along with the strivings of the Spirit of God convinced many of an awareness of coming catastrophe. After all, was it reasonable that a Holy God should tolerate gross wickedness seen engulfing the world? Unprecedented violence stalked the earth, along with sexual immorality and every kind of perversion. Men seemed to know a Holy God had no alternative but to judge the ungodly for their sins.At first, there must have been many who were convinced that Noah was right. They listened attentively and believed intently in a God who would punish iniquity as His Word declared. So some sought to live for Him.
But interest in Noah’s message was gradually forgotten. After all, 120 years had passed since Noah mentioned a coming flood and surely he must have been mistaken. Although the ark was finished the people were too busy marrying and divorcing as well as eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building that they did not notice the darkening cloud formations. Amidst plenty, prosperity, and pleasure madness the populace of Noah’s day had all but forgotten the warning of a coming flood.
But then it happened. Suddenly, and unexpectedly, the lightning began to flash and the thunder rolled. The canopy of moisture high in the heavens became rain and began pouring upon the earth. From the fountains of the deep there similarly poured forth mountainous tides as the earth accommodated the God who had foretold a coming flood.
See the doomed as they rush to yonder hills or climb trees to escape the rushing waters. Hear their screams as they pound on the door of the ark with the swirling torrents engulfing them and their loved ones. Mothers with babies in their arms, and fathers holding little children, became frightfully aware that the flood was a reality.
Doom and destruction came to all except Noah and his family who believed God, lived for Him, and escaped death from drowning because they heeded His Word.
“A King is coming[” Everywhere you could hear it echoed. It was sung by little children at play, whistled by men on the job. It was chorused by the temple choir.
Days, and months, and years rushed by and soon the echo of Messiah’s coming became a faint whisper. So long the people had waited until hopes and dreams of a king were shattered by the sounds of soldiers in the streets. An invading army had overtaken them and few regarded the messianic promises.
Religious ritual went on as before – somehow it added dignity and respect to the edicts of the emperor. Religious leaders saved their necks by becoming pawns and puppets of the presiding Power. The philosophy of these religionists who advocated Peace at any price, even to the loss of personal freedom, became – “if you can’t lick ’em join ’em.”
Repaying his respects to those who literally worshipped him, the emperor built a temple that was more costly than Solomon’s edifice. Its value was in excess of 10 billions of dollars.
Poverty reigned amidst such religious splendor. The people eked out a bare existence, their income taxed beyond their means.
Among the Jews there were many, nearly all, in fact, who somehow believed in their hearts, or at least were taught about a coming Messiah – a king who might rescue them from these invading tyrants, and who would again restore the kingdom to Israel.
The amazing part of this true story is that He came… Yes, the king came, and lived unrecognized by those who were expecting him. He had not come like they had supposed, with flying banners, and armies. The masses largely passed him by – only a few, some shepherds and some fishermen, a few old men and helpless widows, they, alone, recognized him as the Christ, the earth-born prince who was in reality the King of Heaven.
Again a world now waits. Again wafted on the breeze of seven seas the sounds of lovely music heralds the message – JESUS IS COMING! Surely this time he will not be mistaken.
But alas, the people are busier than ever, building exalted edifices dedicated in His name, others carrying on ‘business as usual’ in the marketplace, prosperous, careless, and contented.
And suddenly He appears – His coming unannounced. And not until destruction predicted for a future day actually dawns, and Antichrist takes his throne, did many realize they missed His coming and were left behind.
Ah yes, Christ had come, the glorious rapture past, and the vast majority had missed the pre-Coronation feast – the marriage supper of the Lamb.
A few were ready for His appearing, their whereabouts now a mystery. The logical explanation was that those now missing were ‘fanatics’, perhaps emotionally-disturbed who may have wandered off somewhere, “holy-rollers” who may have met with foul play from those who wanted riddance of these extremists.
The truth is this – those who were ready not only talked and sang ‘Jesus is coming’ but walked it and lived it. Momentarily their hearts were filled with expectancy at the thought of rapture, sobered at being left behind. Empowered by God’s Holy Spirit they lived praising the Lamb that was slain, whose shed blood taught them to live pure and holy, so that at the precise moment of the trumpet’s sound, like a rocket seeks its target these were ushered into the presence of their Lord.
The King had come, but the vast majority of those who professed to be His followers were absent from this glorious event. But were these not Christians – those left behind? Did they not profess faith in Him, and testify of saving grace?
Ah, sorry to say the claims of Christ were their plea. In their hearts was the hope of eternal life. But shallow- believing must needs be tested, and sins of the flesh must of necessity be purged. For our Lord has ordained a sanctified, holy church without spot or blemish, like unto Himself, and characterized by righteous deeds and good works. Could it be these are they of whom it is said, they “came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb?”
The point of this parable is not to look at this possibility of being left behind at the rapture with doubt and disbelief because this doctrine does not fit our theological blueprint. Rather, may we see that many missed the safety of Noah’s Ark who may have anticipated escape from a coming flood. Many missed the ‘Messiah’ for He came as a lowly babe in a manger rather than to have been born as a king on a throne. And many, unless they heed the warnings of God’s Word and make preparation for Christ’s coming may be found missing at the Rapture.
Indeed, Be ye therefore ready also, for the son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.