Something that has been consistently snagging up my thoughts and wonderings, my conversations with certain friends, and my study of God’s word is the end times. It has always been something that fascinated me, but as of late, it’s moved from a fascination to almost a preoccupation.
Don’t worry, I’m not secretly working on my sandwich board and making plans to storm the street corners shouting, “The end is near!” But I am wondering more and more if, as believers, we need to be paying this a lot more attention than we currently are.
I don’t pretend to be convinced that my generation is going to see the second coming of Jesus before we die. Maybe we will, and maybe we won’t. However, we can’t ignore the fact that many of the events prophesied in scripture are happening and that we are experiencing a number of things Jesus himself said would happen. As I’ve been reading up on exactly what the Bible says about the ends times, I noticed something that I had never really caught before, probably because I just breezed by it as a casual statement.
In Matthew 24:36-39, Jesus says, “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.”
Luke 17:26-27 records almost the exact same thing – “Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be 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.
At first glance, one might read that and think that Jesus is just comparing the days leading up to his return as being “business as usual,” causing everyone to be caught off-guard, just like the people were when the flood took place. But if that were the case, couldn’t Jesus have used any number of other comparisons? I believe he intentionally chose to draw this specific comparison because of the things that marked the days of Noah, leading God to take the drastic actions He took.
So let’s look at those characteristics that marked the days of Noah and how they compare to our world now. If you look back at Genesis 6, God’s Word lays out in no uncertain terms the reasons why He decided to wipe the face the earth clean and start over with Noah and his family – corruption and violence. Not just any corruption and violence, but the complete and utter kind. We aren’t just talking about corruption in that a handful of people in power were making or taking bribes in order to get a leg up. Nor are we talking about violence as a small number of people willfully taking the lives of a few other people for personal gain. Outside of Noah and his family, these two words are all it took to describe the level of depravity that had taken over the hearts of the rest of the people in the whole world. They had so succumb to and embraced their flesh that the Lord threw up His holy hands and refused to contend anymore with them (Genesis 6:1-3). He even says in verse 5 that “every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.”
EVERY inclination, ALL the time! That sounds extreme, right? Surely so extreme that it’s in it’s own hemisphere. But is the world we live in now really that far off? I’m inclined to think it’s not. In fact I think we are a lot more like the days of Noah than we care to admit. The only thing separating us from them is Jesus. By God’s grace, salvation has spread much further than a single family. But the corrupt and violent nature of those who do not know Him, and even some who claim they do, is as depraved as ever, and we don’t have to go into the far corners of the remotest jungles to find it.
Just because we don’t run around in animal skins and carry clubs doesn’t mean our world is any less barbaric. We have just mastered the art of making barbarism look prettier and seem less threatening. We tie pretty little bows like “women’s rights” and “love wins” and “civil liberties” on top so that it tricks us all into believing that somehow sin is good and right.
The sexual exploits and experimentation, the complete depreciation of the value of life, the belief that laws and policies are just guidelines, the sense of entitlement that permeates those with means. It was all there then, and it’s all here now. The only differences now are power suits, glamour, technology, and media. Take all those things away and we’re staring straight into the eyes of the same people who drowned in those floodwaters.
The evolution of cultural depravity is slow but aggressive. Slow enough to fool the common man, but aggressive enough to pave the way for complete self-destruction.
There was a time that even those far from God would’ve scoffed at the idea of abortion, and now we actually have bills being considered that would allow partial birth abortions on babies past full-term.
Did you know there are 5 states, with Colorado possibly being the 6th, that have legalized physician-assisted suicide, and they have the nerve to call it “death with dignity”? All it takes is a prescription from any “willing licensed physician”.
And do you remember the days when we could go into public places, send our kids to school, and attend church without having to worry about whether we might find ourselves in the middle of another mass shooting?
This difficult recognition can do one of two things. It can either cripple us with fear, knowing that things will likely only get worse, if you think that’s possible. Or it can fill us with hope, knowing that it’s always darkest just before the dawn and that these times are only signaling that very moment believers stake their entire lives upon on a daily basis.
This doesn’t mean that we stop fighting for what is right or that we just stick our heads in the sand and wait for it all to pass. We can’t turn a blind eye and live in some kind of denial that things are as bad as they are. What we CAN do is pray, keep our eyes to the heavens, and rest in the knowledge that this is not our home.
When the day comes, if we are still here, each of us will either be found as one who was faithful or as one who gave in to the corruption and violence of the world. Where will you be found?