Matt 24:37-39 "But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 38 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, 39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be."
The first thing to notice is Jesus refers to the days of Noah, the days in which God said (Gen 6:3) "And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years." This tends to support the thesis (click here) that the one hundred twenty years are divided into separate time periods and the destruction of heaven and earth would occur at the end of the total time.
The statement that humans would be eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, tends to make one think that Jesus will return when everything is going as usual. But the prophecies indicate that things will not be normal and usual at the time second advent. Instead, the entire world will be facing total destruction. The reference to Noah indicates we should take a closer look at what was Ďnormalí during that time, right before the destruction of all life, except those on the ark, in the great flood.
Gen 6:1-7 "And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, 2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. 3 And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. 4 There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. 5 And 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. 6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. 7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them."
The big question is: who was marrying whom and why was this so very evil? Many believe these Ďsons of Godí were the Ďgodly line of Sethí (the third son of Adam and Eve), but there is no scriptural indication that any humans were prohibited from marrying any other humans. Further, the offspring of Seth were just as fallen as the offspring of Cain (and every other human). This marrying that so deeply offended God is something other than humans marrying humans.
The phrase Ďsons of Godí is used eleven times in the Bible: five of those usages are in the New Testament and speak of believers who are born again into the family of God, which only became possible after the death and resurrection of Jesus. Prior to the cross, the only human who was referenced as a son of God was Adam (Luke 3:38) in the genealogy of Jesus, and Adam was created, not born, as a son. He lost his position of sonship at the fall and Jesus restored it at the cross.
The phrase Ďsons of Godí is used three times in the book of Job (1:6; 2:1; 38:7). The first two usages are almost identical: Job 1:6 "Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them." Job 2:1 "Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD." The context of the third usage is the creation of the earth (Job 38:7) "When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy."
Job 38:7 rules out the sons of God being human because this incident occurred before the creation of Adam. Because "Satan came also among them" in the other two Job verses, it seems that in the Old Testament the sons of God were angels. As a side note, it should also be noted that we are not told where the sons of God presented themselves before the Lord - the actual location. Most people assume this occurred in heaven, but scripture does not state this. The Lord can appear anyplace in creation, but Satan does not have this option. In Luke 10:18 Jesus said, "I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven." Notice this statement is in the past tense: the event had already happened at some point before the statement was made.
Isa 14:12-15 gives more information. "12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. 15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit." According to this passage, Lucifer is (present tense) fallen because he did (past tense) weaken the nations in his rebellion against God.
Since the time of Satanís rebellion he has not had access to the third heaven (II Cor. 12:2), also called Paradise, the place where God dwells. He does have temporary access to the first heaven (the open firmament or atmosphere Gen. 1:20) and the second heaven (the firmament or outer space area Gen. 1:14), but he does not have physical access to the throne of God. He can appear before the throne with his lying accusations (Rev. 12:10), but he does not need to be physically in heaven to do so, any more than living humans must be physically in heaven to make our petitions before the throne.
Earlier we saw the dialogue between the Sadducees and Jesus in Matt. 22:23-30. They presented a hypothetical situation where a woman had been married consecutively to seven brothers, all of whom had died, and they wanted to know whose wife she would be in the resurrection. "29 Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven."
In his response, Jesus specified which group of angels he was referencing because there are two groups of angels: the angels of God in heaven and the angels (Jude 6; 2 Peter 2:4) which kept not their first estate (as holy angels of God), but left their own habitation (as spiritual beings who inhabited the spiritual realm), and are therefore reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. While scripture does not tell us how many angels fell with Satan, we do know that the sin committed by this group was worse than that of Satan himself as evidenced by the fact that Satan is still free while this group of angels has been jailed until the judgment.
According to the words of Jesus, at the time of the second advent, people would be eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage. Having looked at who was doing what at the time of the flood, we can see that this was anything BUT life as usual. Gen. 6:9 tells us that Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations. From this small statement, it would appear that the entire human race had been defiled by the marriages and reproduction of children between fallen angels and human women. Everyone except Noah and his family. Which is why the Ďhumaní race was destroyed at that time. In my opinion, this was Satanís first attempt at corrupting the prophecy of the coming Messiah given to him in Gen. 3:15.
As Jesus said, (Matt 24:38-39) "38 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, 39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." In Gen. 7 God told Noah to take his family and the representative animals into the ark because in seven days (vs. 4) he was going to cause the rain to fall. In verse 13 we are told that in the day the rain began they went into the ark. I believe that Noah had a week to load the animals. I find it very interesting that God gave seven days notice of the coming judgment. In the same way, the entire world will be put on notice at the rapture (when the people of God are called out of the world) that in seven years (remember, Danielís prophecy was given in terms of weeks, each day equaling one year) the judgment of God is going to fall again. Only this time it wonít be rain that falls on the earth destroying the wicked, it will be the return of the Son of God himself.
Matt 24:40-44 tells us what will happen at that time. "40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. 43 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. 44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh."
These are the verses which most people think describe the rapture, but as we have already seen, these verses describe the carrying away of the wicked at the second advent as described by Jesus in the parable of the wheat and the tares (weeds) in Matt. 13:24-30 and which he interpreted in Matt. 13:37-43.
Letís look at the passages, starting with the parable. Matt 13:24-30 says, "24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: 25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. 26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. 27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? 28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? 29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn."
Now the interpretation. Matt 13:37-43 "He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; 38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; 39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. 40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. 41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; 42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear."
Clearly, according to this passage, the children of the wicked one are removed when Jesus comes to establish his kingdom, and during that time the righteous will shine as the sun (possible reference to summer!). Just as in the story of Noah, it is the wicked who are carried away at the second advent of Jesus. During the seven years of the tribulation there will be a great revival on the earth. Rev. 7:9-17 describes a great multitude of people from all nations who are waiting to welcome the king. They are the people who become born again during the worst time period this earth will ever see, and they will inherit the kingdom.
In Matt. 24:42 Jesus told the people at that time to watch because they donít what hour the Lord would come. He didnít say anything about a year, month or week. He specified they would not know the hour (and later he expands this to include the day). He went on and said if the master of the house knew what hour the thief would come he would watch and not allow his house to be broken up, and stated again that those believers on earth at that time should "be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh."
The book of Revelation gives the time period of the last half of the tribulation as forty-two months (Rev. 11:2); time, times and half a time (Rev. 12:14) which means one year plus two years plus one-half year, or three and one-half years; and as twelve hundred sixty days (Rev. 12:6). It seems clear that it is the hour of the return that will be unknown, and further, that it will be Ďsuch an hour as ye think not,í but not because everything will seem to be normal. According to Jesus, there would be abnormal marriage occurring on a wide scale, thus the family, the basic unit of society would be under severe strain. Further, he said those days will be so terrible, unlike any before or any to come after, that if the days arenít shortened no flesh would survive. Revelation 16 contains the prophecies of the final seven judgments that occur just prior to the second advent. They are: awful sores upon those who have the mark of the beast and worship his image; the oceans are turned to blood Ďas of a dead maní and all sea life dies; the rivers and fountains of water are turned to blood; men are Ďscorchedí by the sun; the kingdom of the beast is filled with painful darkness.
Rev. 16:12-16, the sixth vial or bowl of the wrath of God, describes the final preparation for Armageddon. The Euphrates river is dried up preparing the way of the kings of the east, then three unclean spirits like frogs come from the mouths of Satan, antichrist and the false prophet and go out to gather the whole world to the battle of that great day of God Almighty, which is a place called Armageddon. I believe it will appear that the end of the world has come. We are talking about the mobilization of all the armies in the world for what will appear to be the final war. (There will be yet one more war at the end of the millennium.) I think the people on earth at that time will seriously think they have been forsaken by God. It will be an hour that they think he is not coming, but it is the very hour that he will come.
The verses describing the gathering of the nations to Armageddon include a statement that should be printed in red: 15 "Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame." Jesus is reassuring the reader, even at that darkest hour of all time, that he is coming, and they should not give up. This is necessary because, even though the prophecies give a period of twelve hundred sixty days for the last half of the tribulation, it is going to come early. It is going to come at an unexpected hour. Remember, in Matt. 24:22 Jesus said the conditions on earth would be so terrible that if those days arenít shortened no flesh would survive. Armageddon will have the potential to be the nuclear destruction of the entire earth and itís coming early. But Jesus said those days would be shortened. In other words, he is coming on the day of Armageddon, no matter what day that event occurs, and he has the legal right to do so because he gave the prophecy himself in Matt. 24:22 and confirmed it in Rev. 16:15.