In the next section of Matthew 24 the Lord gives another analogy pertaining to His return. I believe that this prophecy falls in line with many of the Old Testament prophecies that do not follow a chronological flow.
Matthew 24:37–39 “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.”
In these verses Jesus compares His coming to the coming of the flood during the days of Noah. Most prophecy teachers use this section to compare the culture of days before the flood to the culture today—a time when…
Genesis 6:5 “…GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
I believe that comparison will prove to be true, but I do not believe that is what Jesus is talking about in context in this passage. The point He is making is that in the days before the flood life was going on as normal; people were eating, drinking and getting married. Finally, the day came that Noah entered the ark and the Lord shut him, his family and all the different kinds of animals in the ark. Then the rain began and the fountains of the deep were opened and the flood destroyed all that were not in the ark.
We know that once the tribulation starts it will be a time that Jesus declares will prove to be the worse time ever experienced by man on planet earth. A study of the book of Revelation reveals many of the judgments that man will experience during that time. It is definitely not a time that life is going on as normal. It will be a time of great danger and disaster. Taken in context with the following verses…
Matthew 24:40–42 “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.
Matthew 24:44 “Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.”
…I believe the reference in this analogy has to be the rapture, the time when Jesus takes true believers home to heaven according to His promise as recorded by John. It is a time when some people will be taken away—“received near for intimacy” from the Greek—and others will be left to continue life on planet earth.
John 14:1–3 “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”
Note that Jesus says in verse 44 that His coming will be at an unexpected time. However, the visible second coming of Jesus will occur on a specific countdown from the signing of the 7-year covenant between the Antichrist and Israel and secondarily from a 3.5-year countdown from the date of the abomination of desolation. It is a time when Jesus is coming to earth to establish His kingdom and rule as King of kings from the throne of David. The verses in John tell of a time when Jesus is coming to take believers home with Him to the Father’s house in heaven.
The rapture is also taught by Paul in his letters to the Corinthians and Thessalonians.
1 Corinthians 15:51–53 “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.”
1 Thessalonians 4:16–17 “a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
2 Thessalonians 2:1 “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him….”
From these verses we learn that not all believers will die, but our bodies will be changed from corruptible to incorruptible, from mortal to immortal in the twinkling of an eye. We also learn that the bodies of all the believers who have died until that point in time will be resurrected to immortality at the same time. In the verse from 2Thessalonians Paul talks about our “gathering together unto him” as referenced in John 14. The beautiful truth I discovered when journaling through Thessalonians was that the Greek for the phrase “gathering together” makes reference to a complete collection; in other words, it refutes the idea of a partial rapture.
(to be continued…)