I greet you once again in the Name of Jesus!
I want to begin a new series of teachings that I am entitling, “The Days of Noah.” I think this is an important, “right now” word that the Lord has laid on my heart, and I pray you will follow every one of these posts, as they will build on one another.
I think we can all agree that we are living in troubling times. The signs pointing to the Return of Messiah Jesus are growing in frequency and intensity, as we hear of wars and rumors of wars, nations rising against other nations, clashes between radical Muslim groups, and growing persecution against Jews and Christians world-wide. I think there can be little doubt that we are indeed living in the period of time the Bible refers to as, “The Last Days.” Now, that term needs a bit of qualification.
I have had people point out to me in teaching Bible prophecy, and speaking of the, “Last Days”, that we have been living in the “Last Days”, for about 2,000 years now. And there certainly is truth in that statement. After all, the writer of Hebrews stated in Hebrews 1:1, 2,
“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds.” [Hebrews 1:1, 2 KJV emphasis added]
Now, I emphasized the phrase “last days” in the above verse to call your attention to it. If we understand what the writer of Hebrews is telling us, we can see that the “last days” actually began when God began to speak to the world through or in His Son. So, the period of time from the First Coming of Christ, to the Second Coming of Christ, can be understood to be the, “last days.” So yes, one can rightfully say we have been living in the period of time marked out as the, “last days” for some 2,000 years now. If however, one uses this fact to disregard or ignore the study of biblical prophecy, as so many do, that is where we run into a problem.
Finis Dake points out in his notes that there are fourteen end-time expressions throughout the Word of God. I believe we need to familiarize ourselves with these:
Latter times – last years ending this age before the Millennium (1 Timothy 4:1)
Latter years – Armageddon and the end of this age (Ezekiel 38:8, 16)
Latter Days – the future Tribulation period (Numbers 24:14; Deuteronomy 4:30; 31:29; Jeremiah 23:30; 30:24; 48:47; 49:39; Daniel 2:28; 10:14)
Latter Day – the Millennium (Kingdom Age or 1,000-year reign of Christ) (See Job 19:25)
Latter days – Millennium (Hosea 3:5)
Last days – end of this age preceding the Millennium (Daniel 8:19; 2 Timothy 3:1; James 5:3; 2 Peter 3:3; Jude 18)
Last day – the harpazo (rapture or catching away) (See John 6:39, 40, 44, 54; 11:24)
Last days – the tribulation period or last seven years of this age (Acts 2:16 – 21)
Last days – first coming of Christ (Hebrews 1:1, 2)
Last times – first coming of Christ (1 Peter 1:20)
Last time – apostolic times and the entire Church Age (1 John 2:18)
Last time – Second Coming (1 Peter 1:5)
Last days – Millennium (Genesis 49:1; Isaiah 2:1; Micah 4:1)
Last day – end of the Millennium (John 12:48; cp. Revelation 20:7 – 15)
I realize this was a fairly lengthy section, and you may not agree with all of these conclusions and definitions of these terms as given by Dake, and that is fine. Do your due diligence. Study through the refrences given. The point however is that terminology with regard to the, “last days”, may not be as cut and dried as many seem to think that it is. We need to study the scriptures, and we need to be deliberate and diligent in doing so.
Another passage I would like to examine by way of introduction is 2 Timothy 3:1. There Paul writes, “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come…”.
There are four salient words or phrases I would like to call your attention to in this verse: 1) “Know this” – This is equivalent to Paul saying, “I want you to know” in Philippians 1:12 or, “I want you to know” in 1 Corinthians 11:3. It is literally, “This be knowing…”. 2) “In the last days” – I submit to you this end-time expression refers to the time immediately preceding the harpazo, or rapture of the Church, and the Second Coming of Christ. 3) “Perilous” – This is the Greek, chalepos, and it speaks of that which is difficult, hard to deal with, or hard to bear. In fact the ESV translates this, “times of difficulty”, whereas the Lexham English Bible has it, “difficult times.” 4) “times” – is the Greek kairos. Kenneth S. Wuest in his, Word Studies in the Greek New Testament quotes Trench, who defines this word as, “a critical, epoch-making period foreordained of God when all that has been slowly, and often without observation, ripening through long ages, is mature and comes to the birth in grand decisive events, which constitute at once the close of one period and the commencement of another.” That is powerful, I don’t mind telling you.
Paul next gives a long, descriptive list of the conditions, and prevaling attitudes that will be present on the earth just prior to the Return of the Lord. I won’t take the time to examine this list in this particular post, however I would encourage you to review this list in verses 2 – 5. There can be no doubt, in my estimation, that we are indeed living in the critical, epoch-making, pre-ordained period the Holy Spirit through Paul described in 2 Timothy 3:1 – 5.
There is another historical period the Bible tells us about, that also looked a lot like Paul’s description in 2 Timothy, and it occured over 4,300 years ago. I speak of what we are referring to as, “The Days of Noah.”
Jesus in one of His sermons from the Mount of Olives, referred to as, “The Olivet Discourse”, made a somewhat (at least to us) cryptic statement in this sermon. He said, “But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.” [Matt. 24:37 NKJV] Jesus also likened the time of His Return to the, “Days of Noah” in Luke 17:26. What is Jesus telling us here? He goes on to describe conditions in Noah’s day. He says,
“For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.” [Matt. 24:38, 39 NKJV]
Most Bible commentators you read after will say that Jesus was warning us about being caught up in the mundane, everyday activities, like eating and drinking, marrying and taking care of our families, while being oblivous to spiritual things and coming judgement; so much so that we are caught unaware and unprepared. Some would say that is all Jesus had in mind when giving this admonition. And, in all honesty, perhaps they are correct. However, I can’t help but think He meant much more. Why do I say that? I say that because Jesus was speaking to a Jewish audience that knew the Torah. That is, they knew what we would refer to as the first five books of our Bible, Genesis – Deuteronomy. Most Christians know nothing to very little of the first two-thirds of the Bible, that which is referred to as the Old Testament. That is really unfortunate. This was not the case with Jesus’ original audience that day, seated on a grassy knoll on the side of the Mount of Olives. They knew, as we mentioned a moment ago, the Torah. They certainly knew the book of bereshit, or Genesis. They knew what Moses wrote concerning the, “Days of Noah.” Perhaps we should look at that too.
To see what conditions were like in the days before the flood, we need to turn to Genesis 6. In verses 5 – 7 we read, “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the LORD said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.” [Genesis 6:5 – 7 NKJV]
I don’t mind telling you, this is a picture of gross corruption on the earth. Lets examine some key words in verse 5. 1) Wickedness – This is the Hebrew word, ra (or, ra ah’). It speaks of that which is bad, evil, disagreeable, unpleasant, worse than the worst, and hurtful. It pictures this evil spreading over the earth like a malignancy, a spreading cancer of evil. 2) Great – This translates the Hebrew word, rab, and it speaks of this evil being abundant over the earth. There was wickedness, and a lot of it. 3) and that every – This is the Hebrew, kole, which gives the idea of looking at things in the “big picture”, or taken as a whole. It is not so much that every single thought or imagination was evil, but as a whole, every thought or imagintion was on evil. It is from the root, kalal, to make complete. 4) Imagination – This is the Hebrew, yetser, from the root word, yatsar, which speaks of squeezing into shape. So, man was forming evil imaginations, evil was taking shape in his thoughts, and being formed. This pictures thinking, and plotting, and scheming, and even planning, with the intent of carrying out that which was imagined. 5) Only – This Hebew word, raq, in the noun form speaks of leaness, or a limitation, or you could say merely. 6) Evil – This is the Hebrew, rah, or, raw-aw’. It is, bad or evil, and as wickedness above, has the idea of malignancy in it. Again, the Hebrew tells us that this is what they did, taken as a whole, all the time, or continually.
This is quite a picture that we have here of the conditions on the earth in the days of Noah, the time before the flood. Jesus said that the earth, and humanity, would look like this in the days preceding the return of Jesus. What we need to take a closer look at is how exactly did the world get to be in the shape that it was in the days of Noah, the time before the flood?
To answer that question, we will need to take a detailed look at the first four verses of Genesis 6. We will let the scriptures speak, and say what they say, without being watered down or sanitized. If you have never seen this before, or if you have only heard interpretations of this section of scripture that fit in with the standard views of most theological seminaries, what the Bible actually teaches may surprise and shock you.
We will dig into that next time.
Until next time,
Pastor Kevin E. Johnson