Just as it was in the days of Noah, so too it will be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage – right up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot, people were eating, drinking, buying, selling, planting, building; but on the day Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. It will be the same on the day the Son of Man is revealed. Luke 17:26-30
There have been many arguments compiled as to the exact meaning of Jesus’ reference to the Days of Noah and the Days of Lot in relation to His day, or the day when the Son of Man is revealed. No doubt you’re familiar with many of these: unsuspecting masses living their daily lives devoid of God; open hostility toward God; unrestrained sin, corruption, and rebellion; rampant homosexuality. And if there are any others, I have forgotten them.
The problem with those arguments is that these conditions have been a part of humanity since the fall in Eden; even at times to a greater degree than they are today. And if by this statement Jesus is meant to imply His return is dependent upon certain moral or other world conditions, what would make our time –or any other time in history– more or less ripe for His coming?
Please don’t misunderstand, I am in no way insinuating that these conditions won’t exist at the time of Jesus’ coming, or that Jesus isn’t pointing them out as an indication of what our world will look like just before His return. The Bible is clear, these conditions will exist in abundance and our world will mirror the times of these two men. That said, I am not convinced Jesus’ reference to these events is meant only to compare their level of wickedness to the wickedness present in the world at the time of His return–nor as a prerequisite or catalyst for His return.
What then, was Jesus’ intent?
To discover the deeper, more thorough meaning of Jesus’ words, I believe we need to look afresh at the above and other related scriptures. But first, I think it would be helpful to identify what Jesus meant when He said “the day of the Son of Man.” Also referred to elsewhere as, The Day of Christ.
A word of caution first. Some confuse this day with the Day of the Lord, but we should be careful to recognize the difference. As the Day of the Lord is significant to the unbelieving population–a day of judgment and recompense consequent to the removal of the Church at the End of the Age–even more so is the Day of Christ significant to the Church–a day of redemption, transformation, and reward for those removed. This passage is also not referring to the Second Coming of Christ, which sees Jesus as a warrior returning on a white horse and accompanied by the armies of heaven.
Let’s look a little closer–what did Jesus say about this Day?
Matthew 24:37-39, 44 – “For just like the days of Noah were, so the coming of the Son of Man will be. For in those days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark. And they knew nothing until the flood came and took them all away. It will be the same at the coming of the Son of Man. Therefore you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him.”
Luke 17:22-30 – Then he said to the disciples, “The days are coming when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. Then people will say to you, ‘Look, there he is!’ or ‘Look, here he is!’ Do not go out or chase after them. For just like the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in His day. But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. Just as it was in the days of Noah, so too it will be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage – right up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot, people were eating, drinking, buying, selling, planting, building; but on the day Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. It will be the same on the day the Son of Man is revealed.”
What did the New Testament writers say about this Day?
Matthew 16:27 – For the Son of Man will come with His angels in the glory of His Father, and then He will reward each person according to what he has done.
1 Corinthians 1:5-7 – For you were made rich in every way in him, in all your speech and in every kind of knowledge— just as the testimony about Christ has been confirmed among you—so that you do not lack any spiritual gift as you wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Colossians 3:4 – When Christ (who is your life) appears, then you too will be revealed in glory with Him.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 – For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven with a shout of command, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be suddenly caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will always be with the Lord.
2 Thessalonians 1:6-7 – For it is right for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to you who are being afflicted to give rest together with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels.
1 Peter 1:7 – Such trials show the proven character of your faith, which is much more valuable than gold–gold that is tested by fire, even though it is passing away–and will bring praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
Revelation 1:7 – Look! He is returning with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him, and all the tribes on the earth will mourn because of Him. This will certainly come to pass! Amen.
So we see that on the Day of Christ:
- He will come at an hour we do not expect Him (Matthew 24:44)
- He will come with the clouds and with His angels (Matthew 16:27, 1 Thessalonians :16-17, Revelation 1:7)
- His coming will be sudden and visible to all (Luke 17:24, Revelation 1:7)
- The dead in Christ will rise first, then we who are alive and belong to Him will be changed (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)
- His glory will be revealed for all to see and we will also be revealed in glory with Him (1 Corinthians 1:7, 1 Peter 4:13, Colossians 3:4)
- He will reward each person according to what they’ve done (Matthew 16:27)
- He will give the afflicted rest (2 Thessalonians 1:7)
- His return is the culmination of our faith (1 Peter 1:7)
- His return will initiate the judgment of God upon the unbelieving world (Matthew 27:38-39. Luke 17:27-30)
The Day of Christ is the day when He returns in the clouds with His mighty angels to gather His church, displaying the fullness of His glory for all to behold. And if you are willing to accept it, this day is the End of the Age.
“Remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20
“For I am sure of this very thing, that the One who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ.” Philippians 1:6
Hence, the Day of Christ–or the End of the Age—is not the end of the world. Rather, it begins the Day of the Lord.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of, As in the Days of Noah, as we begin to unpack Jesus’ comparison to the lives and times of Noah and Lot in relation to the coming Day of Christ.
Scripture quoted by permission. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the NET Bible® copyright ©1996, 2020 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. All rights reserved.