Welcome back friends! Following the close of the 2020 Olympic Games (delayed by a year due to the pandemic), we launched a short series yesterday called 2020 Olympic Games: A Microcosm of the Days of Noah. Jesus warned in Matthew 24:37 that the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. That begs two important questions:
- What were the days of Noah like?
- To what does the “coming of the Son of Man” refer…the rapture or the Second Coming?
To tackle the first question, let’s go back approximately 4,500 years in history to the account of Noah, which begins in Genesis 6. For about 1,500 or so years between the creation of the world and Noah’s entrance, earth’s population had exploded, and evil exploded along with it. Verses 5-12 paint a grim picture of wickedness, evil thoughts and corruption, yet Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord!
Spoiler alert: If you tuned into this series thinking the discussion about the Olympics being the microcosm of the days of Noah means all is negative, take note! God found a righteous man amidst the evil! But, more on that later this week!
Jesus Himself invoked the account of Noah as a description of His second coming. That tells me something very important: Jesus confirmed the validity of Noah and the worldwide flood associated with him! (Contrary to some modern-day naysayers who refuse to acknowledge the flood as an actual worldwide event.) Jesus’ acknowledgement of an actual worldwide flood is in itself strong evidence that Scripture can be trusted from beginning to end.
But the depths of depravity and ungodliness during Noah’s day was an affront to the Lord and Genesis 6:6 tells us the He regretted having made man. Evil was rampant and had overtaken the world. God would remedy that by sending a worldwide flood to destroy all but the righteous hidden safely and securely within the ark, and He would start anew with mankind.
Stop to imagine what might have been going on during Noah’s day that would cause a merciful God to start all over. Genesis 6 specifically mentions sexual promiscuity, and with a greatly populated earth at the time, one can imagine it to be filled with evil, much as it is today. Though Noah proclaimed that which was about to happen (Hebrew 11:7), the people were content with their wickedness and idolatry. Their hearts were hard and their ears dull. No one repented and no one cared to seek God. Sound familiar?
There is application here. Though we may not know nitty-gritty details of all that evil entailed in Noah’s day, we can be assured that human nature apart from God led them into all kinds of selfishness and wickedness of all kinds. Governments were corrupt. People were obviously opposed to teachings of righteousness. Idol worship was almost assuredly rampant. Sexual promiscuity was a certainty.
Evil in our day is not confined only to the Olympics, but the Games were certainly a prism through which to see similar things. For example, we know governing bodies were corrupt because at least one nation (Russia) was banned for doping violations, yet Russian athletes were allowed to participate under the flag of the Russian Olympic Committee. It is also clear that many athletes and officials are opposed to righteousness, as sexual promiscuity was on full display in actions between athletes, in commercials and in what was heard in interviews.
The Olympics are not evil of themselves, and we will not overlook the positive things we saw, but the Games mirror societies worldwide becoming more and more evil every day.
BTW – theological debate exists regarding question #2. Daniel 7:13-14, introduces us to the Son of Man and describes Him having a kingdom and ruling over all people and nations. That seems to be Millennium talk. If so, some believe the coming of the Son of Man refers to Jesus’ Second Coming. Others argue that the proximity of verse 36 (which is surely a rapture passage) with verse 37 (referring to the coming of the Son of Man) in Matthew 24 confirm the coming of the Son of Man referring to the rapture. The people of Noah’s day were going about business as usual and suddenly a flood washed them away. Likewise, the argument goes, a sudden event whose time is unknown, will interrupt the common things of life. That seems to fit with the rapture rather than the Second Coming, and it doesn’t invalidate the fact that the Son of Man will still rule during the Millennium.
Personally, I lean toward the Son of Man reference being the rapture, but you may have a differing opinion. We won’t resolve the dilemma today, but the point is that days are coming soon that will look much like the days of Noah. Are those days upon us? Regardless of whether the coming of the Son of Man refers to the rapture or Jesus’ Second Coming, the signs are already visible, and we know from Scripture that both the rapture and the Second Coming will occur!
There is more to come, friends, so meet us back here tomorrow!