No matter how intensively I try to look in other directions these days for issues and events of possible prophetic portent, inner prompting brings me back to Matthew 24: 32-42.
Jesus’ words resound more powerfully in spiritually attuned ears than any other to be found in God’s Holy Scripture. Thus, things to be considered in the Lord’s Olivet declaration must have more relevance for these days in which we live than many seminaries will acknowledge.
Most of these bastions of higher learning put forth that the prophecies in Matthew 24 were given almost exclusively for the Jews of Christ’s physical time on earth. I completely dismiss that notion. I believe issues and events that unfold minute by minute around this generation continue to bring to light stage-setting for fulfillment given by the Lord in this profoundly important section of His prophetic teaching.
In my estimation–as those who read these commentaries know–we have come to the specific point on God’s prophetic timeline that Jesus foretold. We are, I believe, in the time He described: “As it was in the days of Noah…and of Lot.”
My own contemplation of things going on today and prophetic Scripture likely relevant to the very end of the Church Age (Age of Grace) has me carefully reconsidering Jesus words in that Olivet Discourse prophecy–His words about the “days of Noah” in particular. Let us look at them together yet again. We will look at the entire prophecy as Jesus gave it to us, recorded in Matthew 24:
24:32Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: 24:33So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near,even at the doors. 24:34Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. 24:35Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
Seminary thinking on this, for the most part, has it that Jesus was speaking exclusively of the sons of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in referring to “this generation.” They dismiss that He was prophesying about the generation of people of the earth in general. The seminaries have it that the Lord was saying the Jewish race would not pass away. “Israel will not be eliminated by any foe” is one of the most common seminary takes on this prophecy.
I believe Jesus was prophesying that when Israel begins to become a nation that observably affects the rest of the world at the end of the age, the consummation of human history will be profoundly underway. The Tribulation, Armageddon, and His Second Advent (Revelation 19:11) would then rapidly be fulfilled.
The Lord then stamped His omnipotent signature on the guarantee of its coming to pass:
Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
What follows these words by the Lord of all creation sends chill bumps–I should say “thrill bumps”—through yours truly.
Jesus next gives us a precise look at what precedes this total consummation of human history that includes Antichrist, the worst time in history (the Tribulation), His Second Advent at Armageddon, and the entire Millennial era! He next says the following:
24:36But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
The Lord is, I believe, here referring back to His Words:
24:33″So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.”
He then goes in-depth in explaining what is meant by His Words “it is near, even at the doors. 24:37But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”
Jesus is talking about His coming back to planet earth. He has already said it will be at a time that only the Father knows. This precludes His Second Advent, which will be a time that can be precisely calculated, according to Scripture.
Again, Jesus indicated that no one can know the precise time of His coming. But He then tells us exactly what the time of this arrival will look like from a cultural/societal and particularly an economic standpoint–this right up until judgment falls:
24:38For 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, 24:39And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
To look more deeply into the circumstances prevalent at this prophesied time, we go to the Words of Jesus as recorded in the Gospel of Luke:
17:26And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. 17:27They 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. 17:28Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; 17:29But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. 17:30Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.
Next we go back again to Jesus’ words recorded in Matthew chapter 24 to see exactly what will happen when He again “reveals” Himself in a catastrophic manner:
24:40Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 24:41Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
And we look again at the Gospel of Luke to get further enlightenment from the Lord:
17:34I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. 17:35Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 17:36Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
Those who dispute that this is referring to the Rapture say that those taken here are taken for judgment and wrath, not to a place of safety. But Greek words here indicate the opposite. Those taken are taken to safety and those left behind are left for judgment. I haven’t the space here to do a Greek word study to prove my contention. I will simply give the word used here by Jesus in defining the matter of those taken.
Paralambanó, if I have spelled it correctly, is the same word Jesus uses in John 14:2-3–“I will come and receive you.”
“Receive” and “taken” use the same word–paralambanó: “I will receive you unto myself, for where I am, there ye may be also.”
This is the Rapture!
We are in a “think-not” time, that is for certain. The Body of Christ–the Church–for the most part, has its collective attention turned away from God’ will. Worldly pursuits are the order of the day, both within the church edifices and within the lives of too many believers. All other issues and events scream through our hourly news feeds that stage setting for fulfillment of Bible prophecy is in every direction one looks.
Israel is front and center–the fig tree that has been putting forth it leaves since May 14, 1948.
Financial experts say, and the facts show, that America is entering a time of economic boom, not bust. (Even though the fiscal laws of gravity are being defied by all rational ways of analyzing the matters involved.) The world follows the almighty dollar, so, many believe, a world economic boom may soon follow. Jesus predicted just such a time in His “days of Noah and of Lot” prophecy.
The Lord made the analogy of His next intervention into man’s history as being like the break-in of a thief in the night. He wrapped up this account of this first phase of His Second Coming with this sobering exhortation for Christians who will be living when the Rapture occurs:
Matthew 24:42Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. 24:43But 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. 24:44Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.