As In The Days Of Noah

In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus gave his most famous and detailed teaching about events and conditions at the end of the age. (Notice that the Bible does not speak of the “end of the world” as unbelievers do, but rather about the end of this age.) Luke’s account of this end time message includes many of the same details and adds a few points not mentioned by Matthew. In this article I want to focus on one particular statement that Jesus made in both Gospels comparing the “Days of the Son of Man” with the days of Noah.  Luke includes a comparison with the judgment that took place at the time of Lot.

And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all. It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. But on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. (Luke 17: 26-29)

The “days of the Son of Man” is a direct reference to the famous Messianic prophecy in Daniel 7. In this amazing vision, Daniel saw “one like the son of man” coming near to God. This Man was given dominion over all nations and He was made King over all the Earth. Daniel was greatly troubled by this vision because he knew that no man could come near to God and live. Jesus referred to Himself as Son of Man more than any other title, and it is nothing less than a claim to be both human and God. Jesus used this title to identify Himself as the Messiah from the vision in Daniel 7, and He fully expands on this claim in Revelation Chapter 1.

The days of the Son of Man speaks of the time of Jesus’ return to receive His Kingdom and His inheritance of the Nations. Jesus told His followers that there will be clearly identifiable conditions that will be prevalent on the Earth at this time, conditions just like those in the days of Noah. Only a fool would take lightly this warning from Jesus. Perhaps we can excuse fallen society, which has no knowledge of the prophets or of so great a salvation; but there can be no excuse for Christians to be taken by surprise at His Coming. And yet, we are told in scripture that before that day comes, there will be a great falling away from the faith. It is worth noting that Jesus was talking to His disciples, not unbelievers, when He gave these warnings in Matthew and Luke.

I often wonder what American believers pictures in their mind when they hear the phrase, “as in the days of Noah.” I suspect that many do not think about it all that often, as evidenced by the lack of passion for Jesus in their lives. But when they do consider it, probably most think about the extremely sinful conditions that prevailed in Noah and Lot’s day. And while extreme sin did prevail in those days (see condition number one below) this is not what Jesus emphasized when He elaborated on His statement. Let us examine the conditions identified by Jesus in His references to Noah and Lot, and make sure that we are not deceived by seducing spirits into believing doctrines of devils. Remaining faithful to the Lord in our life and witness is one of the greatest challenges we face in this current atmosphere of lethargy and apostasy.

Condition Number One: Great Evil
Both Noah and Lot lived during times of a great proliferation of evil. I am not going to spend a lot of time expanding on this point, since no one with any knowledge of the Bible can intelligently argue against it. And no true believer can deny that once again, civilization is rapidly deteriorating into an abyss of moral filth. In Noah’s day the evil covered the entire populated area of the Earth; in Lot’s day the judgment fell upon two cities. Today, the decline of society into every manner of evil is virtually global. Most Christians would agree about this, and Jesus predicted that it would happen.

Condition Number Two: Humanism
In the days of Noah, everyone did what was right in his or her own eyes. People made their own rules about morality, life, justice, and worship. The knowledge of God was pushed aside and His commands were ignored. His worship was forgotten and was replaced with the worship of idols. Society spiraled steadily downward until moral corruption and violence were normal. This is the inevitable result when man replaces God with himself. Man is a broken species living on an occupied planet. Fallen man is a pawn of demonic powers that took dominion of the Earth when Adam decided to disobey his Creator Father. It is very clear to those with even a fundamental level of discernment that Humanism is the governing philosophy in the nations and world leaders at the present hour. God is out; man is his own god.

The main objective of this writing is to call the Church to awareness and repentance. Today we have churches full of members with humanistic tendencies. They wouldn’t call themselves humanists and in fact they would be offended at the suggestion. However, the main reason that society has fallen to humanism is because the church has failed to be the salt and light that Jesus called it to be! Every time we express an opinion about an important topic that is contrary to the plain teaching of scripture, we have given way to the spirit of this age, the spirit of humanism. Our churches are full of leaders and members who mostly think and act based on what seems right in their own eyes. Look at the Facebook postings of many believers, especially youth, and you will have all the evidence you need.

When we excuse or support divorce and remarriage (except for adultery), embrace gay clergy, live comfortably while giving little or nothing to mission work or the poor, relegate a life of fasting and prayer to ‘fanatics’, and design Sunday morning services around what unbelievers are comfortable with, we are in fact living more like humanists than biblical Christians. We are doing what is right in our own eyes, which is the very heart of humanism. It is an absolute truth that the Father loves us and delights in us as we seek to live in obedience to Him, even as we come up short. But we must know that when Jesus returns, He is going to emphasize three important facets of His being: He is coming as King, as Bridegroom, and as Judge. In His role as King, His sovereignty is an important emphasis. We need to remember: God loves us but He does not care what we think concerning His commandments and instructions! He is not submitting a list of His ideas to church leaders for approval. More importantly, He is not endorsing any of their programs, fads, doctrines, or templates that don’t line up with the Word of God as taught and practiced by the Apostles, which are the foundation for the Church.

Beloved! It is time to examine ourselves and return to biblical, apostolic Christianity! The days are at hand to repent deeply for our humanistic approach to life and to the worship and service of God. Humanism is a rejection of the sovereignty of God, pure and simple. And it was one of the primary conditions of society in the days of Noah. In the well-known and often quoted scripture below, notice who God is addressing about turning from their wicked ways:

If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. II Chron. 7: 14

Condition Number Three: Secularism
Secularism has permeated modern society. Secularism is the view that public education and other matters of civil policy (i.e. life) should be conducted without the introduction of a religious element. In other words, secularism removes God from having any real impact on life. The so-called “separation of church and state” is one very visible reality that is rooted in secularism. The people living at the time of Noah and Lot were committed secularists although the term had not yet been introduced. A secular world view lays the foundation for individuals (and the society they are a part of) to live life claiming to believe in God while placing very little importance on obeying God’s Word or giving His leadership priority in their life decisions.

We might expect unbelievers to be secularists by default, but the Father has called us to stand out in stark contrast with the world. Sadly, a large percentage of the Western church has been infected with secularism. Many Christians actually vote for secularists in local and national elections, they allow their precious children to be indoctrinated by state run educational systems that are completely secular in philosophy, and many believers have been sucked into the global warming hype and the hyper-environmentalist movements which are in complete denial about what God says in His Word concerning the Earth and our place in it. How many of us look, talk, and live just like the godless secularists we live among, including the music we listen to? The organized church has lost its salty savor and is, according to Jesus, good for nothing but to be trampled underfoot. And soon it shall be, according to scripture.

Recently my daughter, a very devout young woman of God, endured a very difficult senior year of public high school in our small rural town. She was accused by some of her peers of belonging to a cult. What radical behavior did she engage in that resulted in such a charge? She set aside Wednesday nights to attend a meeting of committed youth, worshiping God and listening to biblical teaching. How fanatical! She also invited some of her classmates to come to the youth group with her. Outrageous!

Last fall, I took three months away from my home, family, and business to attend an internship at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, MO. Those who complete an internship at IHOP are offered the opportunity to apply for a non-paid staff position, raising their own financial support in the same way that tens of thousands of Youth With A Mission (YWAM) and other missionary groups have done successfully for years. When I spoke of my internship and the possibility of moving to Kansas City, some people expressed the sort of incredulousness that implied I had perhaps lost my mind. People move nationally and even internationally for work all the time, but apparently relocating to do God’s work is too ‘extreme.’

These two little stories illustrate how secularism has invaded our lives. We have traded a biblical world view that sent missionaries all over the world and saw two Great Awakenings, for a new secular world view that limits God to a safe two-hour period on Sunday. Anyone who wants more of God, is fascinated with Jesus, and lives a lifestyle that reflects these passions, is labeled a fanatic. We graduate from high school and college steeped in Greek secularism and humanism, and often deeply in debt. Our primary consideration in life is earning a good living and pursuing “the American dream.” We bury ourselves in our work, buy houses, cars, boats, and club memberships. We live shallow lives, without a vibrant spirit or real intimacy with God. And then we raise our kids to follow the exact same pattern, because it is the only way “to have success in life.” Brothers and sisters, that IS secularism! And it is most definitely NOT New Testament Christianity.

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things (the secularists seek) will be added to you. Matt. 6:33

No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money. Luke 16: 13

You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind. Luke 10:27

The time is now at hand to seek the Lord and return to a biblical world view that puts the God of the bible first! This does not mean that we shouldn’t pursue education, marriage, home ownership, etc. in the will of God and the leadership of the Holy Spirit. But it does mean submitting our life to God, embracing a lifestyle of watching and praying, fasting, giving, and study. The older generation must realize that God is doing a new thing, and that new wine can’t be put into old wineskins. We must release our youth to live for God in whole-hearted abandonment! We must war against the secularist spirit that resists God having His way in every part of our life.

Condition Number Four: Skepticism Regarding God’s Judgments
Nobody except a few family members believed Noah. Frankly, they thought he was a nut. But Noah knew that judgment was coming, and he was moved with fear:

By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. Heb. 11: 7

What does it mean to be moved with fear? It means having enough reverence for what God says that action is taken. Wow! How amazing would it be if the church had enough reverence for what God says that it took action? God has said more about the coming judgment and events at the end of this age than perhaps any other topic in the bible; there are over 150 chapters in the bible that have the end times or the Day of the Lord as the predominant theme of the chapter. And yet, the Western church is frightfully ignorant and generally confused about the end times. Many Christians, in fact, cringe at the mention of this subject. This is exactly what Satan wants.

First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation. II Peter 3: 3-4

It is one thing for the lost inhabitants of the Earth to scoff; it is quite another for the King’s own people to have this attitude. Most of the church does believe that Jesus will return some day but very few have changed the way they live because of it. The scoffing attitude does not say, “He’ll never come.” Rather, it says His coming is so far off that for all practical purposes it doesn’t impact my life or decisions now. There seems to be two prevailing attitudes within the church about the end times: There are those who are so obsessed with it that they ignore most of the rest of scripture; and then the majority who seldom think about it and who are generally ignorant about what scripture teaches. The first group includes date setting and other forms of error, and the latter group is mostly confused and uncomfortable with the subject. (Mention that the message on a given Sunday will come from the Book of Revelation and you can immediately discern a level of discomfort in the room!)

The coming judgments of God are one of the most important topics that can be taught and understood by the church in this hour. The shaking of the nations that God foretold through the prophet Haggai has begun, and we are only in the very early days of this global shaking. The Apostles warned us and exhorted us to watch and pray; Jesus rebuked those who did not know the signs of the times in which they lived. As incredulous as it seems, many Christians seem to be oblivious to what is just around the corner. They have an aloof attitude regarding the days of His return, which scripture teaches will be accompanied by the most severe judgments in the history of man. Many will fall away, many will be offended, and only those who are watching and praying will not be caught off guard.

For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; therefore let us not sleep*, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. I Thes. 5: 2-6

*Jesus taught that nearly all of the church would be sleeping at the time of His return; see my article on the parable of the ten virgins.

Condition Number Five: The Same Old Same Old
The dulling effects of sin, humanism, secularism, aloofness, and the long-suffering of God all combine to produce apathy in the human heart. This apathy manifests in the attitude that, “Tomorrow will be the same as today.” It is this condition that Jesus was targeting when he elaborated on His original statement about Noah and Lot.

…they were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building; but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Luke 17: 27-29

Jesus’ indictment was that at the time of His global judgment, people would be engaged in normal life as if all was well. Jesus has given us an entire book in the New Testament that outlines in detail what the end time judgments are going to be like; he is raising up many prophetic voices that are, like Noah, warning of things about to come that are not yet seen; and yet society and much of the church is going about “doing life” as though all things will continue as they are.

…saying, where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. II Peter 3:4

Peter goes on to rebuke these folks for their willful ignorance regarding the flood, a reference to the days of Noah. While they are living as though history has never recorded a precedent for what is to come, Peter says, “Hey! Once before, God has judged the whole Earth and you are all choosing to ignore it!” People are so quick to forget the lessons of history. I remember the climate in this country in the days and weeks following the attack on the Towers on 911. Churches were packed as Americans came together in shock and grief, and there was a brief turn toward the Lord. Within a few short months everything returned to normal, spiritually speaking.

Things are changing in the spirit realm, war is brewing on a new level, and the days of great shaking are beginning even now. God is setting up a great crisis that humans can’t solve. A time of false solutions and false peace is coming and those who are living as though all things will continue will be deceived. A great falling away is imminent and has already begun in small measure. The humanist, secular spirit of this age is intent on slowly strangling the life of God out of us until there is no discernible difference between the church and the world. For those in tune with the Spirit, a realization is dawning… that life as we have known it is ending. For His Bride, this is a time of preparation. Beloved, the greatest and most challenging time the church and the world have ever experienced is on the horizon. This is the time to awake and go after the Kingdom with violence in the Spirit. Let us press hard after the knowledge of God, and as in the days of Noah and of Lot, let us stand for the Lord in the midst of a corrupt society and escaped the judgment.

…and if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter, and if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment… II Peter 2:6-8