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"AND KNEW NOT UNTIL THE FLOOD CAME"
by Philip Owen

             During His earthly ministry, the Lord gave His people sober warning about His Second Coming.  Matthew records these words of Christ:  “But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.  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, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (24:37-39).  Christ’s message references His coming in glory to set up the Millennial Kingdom, not His return to rapture the church.  As such, it portends no direct prophetic significance for the church.  Nevertheless, it does reveal a principle that is universally applicable, namely, the blindness and indifference of the flesh to the spiritual danger it faces.

            Extensive apathy to spiritual truth.  The Lord referenced the days of Noah and asked Israel to regard the fact that for one hundred twenty years Noah preached and warned of impending disaster to no effect.  Only Noah’s immediate family, eight souls, escaped the destruction of the flood.  The same might have been said about Pharaoh and the Egyptian nation at the time of the Exodus.  The plagues were insufficient to arouse the hearts of a pagan people.  Similarly God’s own people failed to heed the warnings of Isaiah and other godly prophets that because of their sin doom was looming in the guise of Babylonian armies.  Likewise, Belshazzar and his Babylonian friends disregarded the consequences of their failure to hallow the vessels they had taken from God’s temple.  And so apparently will it be for the lost at the time both of the rapture and the return of Christ in glory:  they will be oblivious to impending destruction. 

            Intensive appetite for natural things.  Instead of seeking the Lord, the entire world of Noah’s day was consumed with “eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage.”  The careless are perpetually consumed with natural things.  While Moses was in the Mount receiving the Tables of the Law from the hand of God, the people engaged in bacchanals within the very shadow of the holy mountain:  “the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play” (Ex. 32:6).  In similar fashion, Belshazzar and his assembled royalty “brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of God” and “drank in them.  They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver . . . (Dan. 5:3, 4).  Indifference to God and to eternal truth lead to addiction to self and temporal pleasures.

            Pervasive inattention to destruction.  The Lord’s words are arresting.  God warned the world of Noah’s day of an impending flood.  God warned Judah of the coming destruction by Babylon.  God has warned our world of the gravity of its sin and of the certainty of judgment.  But look around our nation.  Are there cries from the government, from the realms of higher education, from business and industry, even from most church pulpits for people to repent?  No, for the most part, there is some occasional alarm over terrorist threats; otherwise, the almost universal focus is on our economic malaise.  Many are still sitting down to eat and drink and rising up to play, and most of the remainder are lamenting the fact that they cannot do the same.  They are spiritually ignorant that judgment is pending.  Eerily they replicate the attitudes and behavior of countless predecessors who “knew not until the flood came, and took them all away.”  Rejecting the Word and focusing on natural desires lead to ignorance of or indifference to impending judgment.

            May those of us who know the Lord be stirred up to live faithfully for Him and to warn both unbelievers and carnal saints of the need to turn to the Lord before it is too late.  A flood of judgment impends. 

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