Living in the Days of Noah
August 7, 2012. Barely three years after typhoon Ondoy caused massive flooding in many areas, Metro Manila once again got submerged by flood waters due to torrential monsoon rains. Though still far from it, such scenario evokes the catastrophe of the deluge during Noah's time.
Interestingly, the Lord Jesus likened His coming to the days of Noah. He said, "For just as the days of Noah were, so will the coming of the Son of Man be." (Matt. 24:37). Did the Lord Jesus mean that God will cause another flood to destroy the world? God had promised that never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth (Gen. 9:11). He even set the rainbow to be the sign of His covenant (vv. 13-17). In what way, then, is the Lord Jesus' coming like the days of Noah? In the verses that follow, He explained, "For as they were in those days before the flood, eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day in which Noah entered into the ark, And they did not know that judgment was coming until the flood came and took all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be." (Matt. 24:38-39). It is thus evident that He was not talking about the time of the flood but to the days prior. In particular, He was speaking of how befuddled the people were, and thus unaware of the judgment that would befall them. The Lord gave such a word to Christians to tell them to watch and be ready for His coming (Matt. 24:42-44).
What were the people occupied with? The verse says eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage (v. 38). These things seem to be legitimate affairs of human life. They were not sinful things. Although the Bible did say the people in Noah's time were wicked, evil, and corrupt (Gen. 6:5, 12), the Lord Jesus did not mention this in this passage. Rather, He said that the people were so "busy" with life that they failed to realize that judgment was coming. It would be unjust to say that God did not warn them ahead of time. After all, a giant boat built on land, in good weather, should have been more than loud and clear a message. Moreover, given the size of the ark, the length of time to finish it and to round up the animals to fill it could not have been short. So here lies the crucial point: it is possible to be very unmindful of an impending disaster, even with all the best "warning devices" blaring the loudest "signals", until it is too late.
One of the signs of the Lord's coming is the great tribulation during the last three and a half years of this age. Yet even then, it will already be late for Christians. The Lord had promised to keep His faithful ones out of the hour of trial, which is the great tribulation (Rev. 3:10). He will do this by rapture, taking them away from the earth, thus sparing them from the trial (Matt. 24:40-41). So, for a Christian to still be on earth during the great tribulation means that he has been left behind. How will a Christian be qualified for rapture? The Lord's parable about the ten virgins shows the way- he must be filled and saturated with the Holy Spirit (Matt. 25:1-13).
Every Christian must therefore realize that we are living in the days of Noah, a period of incredible stupor. The Lord Jesus did liken the watchful and ready ones to prudent (wise) virgins who have oil not only in their lamps but also in their vessels, that is, they let the Holy Spirit not only fill their regenerated human spirit, but also saturate their formerly natural soul. We must do our best to buy oil, to pay the price to gain the Spirit. We need to be ready for the Lord's coming by being filled, saturated, even permeated, with the Spirit. Paul said it well when he wrote, "Therefore He says, Awake, sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. Look therefore carefully how you walk, not as unwise, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissoluteness, but be filled in spirit" (Eph. 5:14-18).
When the waters abate and "normal" life is restored, everyone will once more become busy with various affairs and be gradually befuddled by this age. We Christians, however, must not forget that we are living in the days of Noah. Instead of being stupefied by this world, may we take heed to the prophetic word, allowing the Lord's word to guide us in this dark age as a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in our hearts (2 Pet. 1:19). Let us be truly ready. The Lord's coming is near!