"And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of Man, they did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the days that Noe entered into the Ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all." — Luke 17:26, 27.
If these words were but the mere opinions of men, we might disregard them, but since they are the words of the Son of God, they must, and will he fulfilled to the very letter. Let us then carefully enquire, how it was in the days of Noe.
"God saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every imagination of the thought of his heart, was only evil continually." (Gen. 6:5.) Yes, God saw. It does not tell us what man thought, but what God saw. There is no deceiving God. God sees all that takes place under the sun. Just think of God seeing the imagination of the thought of the heart. Could my reader bear to be in the presence of a fellow man, if he knew every thought you ever had in your heart? and what was the wickedness of man then, compared to the wickedness of man now? Has not man murdered the Son of God, and for 1800 years rejected him? and Jesus foretells that this wicked rejection of himself, will go on up to the very day that Christ is revealed.
I dare say man thought the days of Noah were days of wonderful progress. But "the earth was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence," what is it now? let it even speak for itself. The world's newspapers say, we have no sooner recorded one deed of violence, but we are called to report another. But what is it before God? and what will it be very shortly, when the true church of God, shall be taken up to meet Christ, and Satan deceives the whole world? Peace shall then be taken from the earth. (Revelations 6.) And men shall kill one another, in that day of tribulation, tribulation such as never was, and never will be again. It will be as literally true, as it was in the days of Noah, when the earth was filled with violence; yes, far more literally true than men expect.
I look upon the translation of Enoch, as a type of the translation of the whole Church of God. (1 Thess. 4.) And then all the world becomes infidel, filled with blasphemous wickedness, except a small remnant of godly Jews, who will be saved as Noah and his family. So that it may be asked, when the Son of Man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?
And God revealed His purpose to Noah that He would destroy man from the face of the earth. "By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saying of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness, which is by faith." (Heb. 11.)
And still the world went on; its buildings, its commerce, its pleasures, and its sins, — men would not believe God. The ark grew larger every day, a witness of the coming judgment; certainly there was no appearance of the coming flood. Indeed, human reason would have said it was impossible, — what? God destroy this beautiful world, only just in its infancy? Many of the wise men of this age would have said, Oh, no, Noah; you are quite mistaken; it is only your opinion; besides, a great many prophecies have to be fulfilled yet, — all the world has to be blessed, and filled with righteousness, so that you must be mistaken; Noah; you had better give over working at that great ship, and give up preaching such peculiar views, as you hold; come and enjoy yourself, man, and don't be such a narrow-minded bigot; do you think everybody is wrong but you? But the flood came, and destroyed them all. "And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh;" "and the Lord shut him in." Every soul that was not shut in with Noah, was shut out. There was then no hope; it was too late. Yes, and it shall be so in the day of the Son of Man. We read in the parable of the Ten Virgins, "They that were ready went in with him to the marriage, and the door was shut; afterwards came also the other virgins, saying, Lord! Lord! open to us?" But it was too late.
A Jew, as he listened to the discourse of Jesus, in Luke 21, foretelling the certain destruction of Jerusalem, and the scattering of the Jews, amongst all nations, might have said, "Ah, that must be a mistake; why this city is to be the centre of the whole earth, and blessing shall flow out through it, to all nations: we scattered among all nations! nay, all nations shall come up, and worship in Jerusalem." But the day of fierce destruction came; and the city is trampled under foot; and they are scattered amongst all nations.
In like manner, men, may say now, "Be as it was in the days of Noah, the earth filled with violence, and wickedness, when the Son of Man cometh, up to the very day? Oh, that is only your opinion; — why, man, the world is to be converted! 'Apostate christendom destroyed?' why christendom has to extend, until all the world are Christians; aye, every man, woman, and child!"
Thus man rejects the word of God, just as blindly and as fatally as in the days of Noah; or when Jesus foretold Judah's awful doom. Yes, in like manner shall they say, Peace and safety, up to the very day of Christ. It is quite true the world shall be filled with blessing; but this did not hinder the flood, did it? It is quite certain that Jerusalem shall be the metropolis of the whole earth. (Isaiah 2.) But did this hinder its awful destruction? It is quite certain, that the knowledge of the Lord, shall cover the face of the earth. But will this hinder the words of Jesus being fulfilled? "As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be when the Son of Man cometh." How can the future reign of Christ, in blessing over this earth, which shall take place after he comes, hinder the fearful judgments, which will surely take place, at His coming? No, the world will go on increasing in wickedness, until He comes.
His words will surely come to pass. It will be exactly as it was, the world will be taken with as great surprise, as it was in the days of Noah.
Oh, my reader, are you ready to meet the coming Lord? do you, like Noah, believe God? or with the world, are you rejecting Him? are you shut in with Christ, as Noah was shut in the ark? or are you shut out? God saw, and God sees your every thought, the gospel still sounds; God, grant that you may hear, believe, and live. If my reader is a Christian, let me beg of you to search the Scriptures, and see if these things be so. Jesus says, "Behold I come quickly." (Rev. 22.)