by Terry James
The most profound foretelling in Bible prophecy is done by the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Great I Am, and no prophet of the Old or New testaments speaks with greater authority. Other prophets speak with authority equal to His, the argument can be made, but only because Jesus gave them the prophetic truth to pass along to the rest of us. It is His prophecy in the first place.
Despite the tremendous importance of and power manifested in Jesus’ Olivet Discourse, the earliest part of that reporting of end-times matters takes second place to another area of prophecy, as far as we are concerned today, in my view. I find Christ’s words in the following passages to be the most relevant to this very hour in which this generation finds itself:
“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. 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: 26-30)
As many who read these commentaries are aware, I consider this to be the most relevant prophecy to our time because of specific factors. Jesus was prophesying here about exactly how things will be in culture and society upon the earth at the time He intervenes catastrophically into the affairs of mankind. He said in these and other similar passages that things would be pretty much normal for the times, so far as human activity is concerned, at the time of His thief in the night interjection into earth’s history. People will be eating, drinking, buying, selling, building, marrying, planting, and doing other things that seem to be normal activities at the time He breaks in and reveals himself.
As I’ve written numerous times, this cannot be referring to the Second Advent (Second Coming at Armageddon–see Revelation 19:11). The twenty-one specific judgments of the scrolls, trumpets, and vials will have decimated this planet at the time of that glorious return with ten thousand of Christ’s saints. God’s wrath, Satan’s rage, and man’s gross sin and folly will have denuded the earth of, perhaps, three-fourths of human life. The radical environmentalists will see their dream come true–that of getting the planet’s population to its bare minimum.
Rather than the utopian existence they anticipate, however, it will be hell on earth at the time Christ’s foot touches down on the Mount of Olives upon His return. Remember –Jesus said that if He didn’t come back at that time, there would be no flesh left alive on this devastated sphere (Matthew 24:21). The violence that has plagued mankind will reach its crescendo as Armageddon explodes in all of its fury in the Middle East. And, the Bible indicates, no part of the globe will escape the effects of the seven-seals scroll found in Revelation chapters 6-19.
So, we look at Jesus’ Luke 17 prophecy to discover why, exactly, I say I believe it is the most relevant foretelling for our time. We first must think on the characteristics of the time of Noah and Lot’s days on earth. Again, that intervention has to be at a time when things culturally and societally are going along in a relatively normal fashion. Prophecy tells us elsewhere in the Scriptures that there will be a cry that peace and safety has arrived, when sudden destruction comes. Jesus’ break-in on the world will be like the break-in of a thief in the night, according to His own words. It will be totally unexpected by the children of the night, we are told by the apostle Paul in 1 Thessalonians.
Point is, our present time frame seems to match up with another prophecy by the Lord Jesus that speaks to this business-as-usual profile. Again, we find the amazing words of Jesus himself laying out specifically how things will be. He tells these future events within the framework of the Olivet Discourse. Read carefully what He says about what those attuned to the promise of His coming can expect. Particularly, look at the last verses of this prophecy.
“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.” (Matthew 24:36-44)
Jesus was talking about the “think-not” generation that would be living at the time of the Rapture of His church. I know the seminary position has most often been that Christ was talking here about the time of His Second Advent. But, we just looked at why this isn’t possible. Societal and cultural circumstances will not be business as usual at the time of Christ’s return at Armageddon. these Scriptures can refer to none other than the calling of believers into the air to be with Him forever. (Read John 14:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15:51-55; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
So, we consider further the days of Noah and of Lot. What is the most common characteristic–and there is one in particular— that marked those times as unmistakably similar to our current time? Next week’s article will, I hope, provide an enlightening dissection of that characteristic.