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“Behold, I have told you before…For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah 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…Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come” (Matthew 24:25,38–39 and 42).
We do well to pay careful attention to these words of Jesus: “Behold, I have told you before!” He wants to make quite sure that when the sudden fulfillment takes place, you will not be able to say, “I didn’t know.” Be careful, because as surely as this Jesus once came and ascended into heaven, He will come again. For this reason, the Bible gives us unmistakable signs that directly precede His coming.
The mighty sign that the light of grace is gradually receding from the nations is once again being concentrated on Israel. Israel will move more and more into the limelight, because – and this is of greatest importance – God is engaged in building the throne of His Son. This, my dear friend, is why the focus of history will increasingly be on Israel. However, the brighter the light becomes over Israel, the darker it will become over the nations (Isaiah 60:1–2). Do you know the reason for this darkness? Jesus told us that the time of His return would be like the days of Noah.
What was Noah’s day like? The Son of God listed several things about it: “They were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage.” In other words, materialism in those “whose God is their belly” and eroticism were rampant at that time. Is this not true of our day of divorce and remarriage?
Do you know why Noah’s time was the darkest of all times? Because occultism was so widespread. But it is written of Noah, “Noah walked with God” (Genesis 6:9). Noah probably gave up his trade or profession in order to build the ark. Do you know that in the dark times in which we are living we also have an ark? It has only one door. Jesus Christ said, “I am the door; by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved” (John 10:9). How did He become the saving, open door for us? By dying on Calvary’s cross where the door into the saving ark was opened for you and for me.The door to God was closed because of our sins, Jesus was judged in our place, so the gate of mercy is now open. If you do not pass through this door and accept Jesus as your personal Savior, you will remain outside, inevitably abandoned to God’s judgment.
There must have been many types of people even then. For instance, there would have been rich people. They listened to Noah’s preaching and perhaps were impressed. But the words of Jesus come to my mind: “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:25). Why? Are we not allowed to be rich? Yes, but that money may not possess us because that is fatal. O, my friend, free yourself from it now, for it is later than you think!
If there were rich people in Noah’s day, there must have been poor people, too, just as in our day. Perhaps you are one of those who have worked your fingers to the bone, and have had to work and worry to bring your family through. Were such people saved at the time of the flood? Jesus said in Luke 17:27: “The flood came, and destroyed them all.” This means the poor today. Why? Had they not worked hard enough? Of course they had. Or had they not looked after their families properly? Of course they had done this too. But one thing they failed to do was to go into the ark themselves.
There were also old people during Noah’s time. Today a person is considered old when he reachese 100, but at that time, life began at 100! People of Noah’s time lived anywhere from 300 to 800 years old. But the shocking fact remains that at the time of Noah, not one single old person was saved except for Noah and his family.
The aged are very close to my heart because I know that they are close to the end of their journey. Do you belong to this category? I have asked so many elderly people if they were saved. So often I received the terrible stereotypical answer: “I’ve been through so much in my lifetime!” When a person says that to me, I know that he or she is lost. The fact that you have been through so much, and I do not doubt that your life has been a hard one. But you have only been through so much trouble in order that you should come to Jesus. But this is what you have not done.
Another group of people who lived during Noah’s time were young people. I have much hope for young people because the younger a person is, the more open he or she is to the truth. The older a person without Jesus, the more distorted his thinking becomes. Jesus said, “Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice” (John 18:37). The younger a person is, the more he is gripped by the mighty truth that he needs Jesus! But the shocking fact of Noah’s time remains: All of the young people were destroyed. Jesus said, “The flood came and destroyed them all.”
But why? Why wasn’t any young person converted? For exactly the same reason that you have not yet been converted because you think this ark is so boring and uninteresting! My young friend, I understand where you are coming from because there was a time when I also thought that way. I was afraid of conversion. I grew up in Christian circles, and when I regarded the faces of those Christians, I used to think: that must be awfully boring! That is, until I found Jesus and broke out of that “Christianity” and turned to the Living Christ. Come to Jesus because only He can help you. He said: “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). This is a glorious reality!
Shall I tell you another group of people who lived in Noah’s day? There were religious people. You must not imagine that just because a person is religious, that he is also saved. It is a satanic fallacy (and one that is nationwide) that when a person says, “I believe in God” he is alright. Dear friend, the Bible says: “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe and tremble” (James 2:19). Is it not right then to go to church? Is it not right to be baptized? Both are good, but neither can save your soul!
All the religious people of Noah’s time were carried away by the flood. Why? Were they not genuinely religious? Of course they were, but they failed to do that which could have saved them. What was that? Enter into the saving ark. I can imagine that people worshipped and prayed to God not far from the ark. O, how I would like to give this word of warning to those thousands of religious people who are letting themselves be lulled to sleep. They think that everything will be alright, yet they have no personal experience of salvation nor have they received Jesus into their hearts. Friend, whoever you are, you who belong to a church, are you also saved?
There was surely another group of people in Noah’s time who probably said,” Noah, I think this is a good thing that you are doing, something worthy of support!” and they helped with the hammering and the painting, etc. Were they saved? No! Jesus said, “The flood came and destroyed them all.” Why? They had helped and were in the right place, but despite all their help and cooperation, they neglected to do the essential thing. What was that? To enter the ark! At this point, I think of the tens of thousands of co-workers in the kingdom of God who sing in choirs and help with the youth work, those who are in God’s service and yet are lost.
Still another category of people must have been lost: Convicted sinners who could no longer sleep as a result of Noah’s preaching. They were inwardly troubled and wanted so much to be saved, but as they went towards the ark, they heard the mocking laughter of their friends and colleagues. With one foot they were already inside, but then they backed out again. I know there are a great number of people whose hearts beat faster when they hear the invitation to come and receive Christ. But you have not taken the step. My friend, be saved! How soon that door may close that today is open for you!
When everything was ready and Noah had finished building the ark, something very moving happened that never fails to touch my heart: God delayed!
Can God delay? God only does this for one reason. He does not desire the death of a sinner. Have you noticed what God said to the waiting Noah? “For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth” (Genesis 7:4). In other words, “Noah, tell the people they’ve got seven days to think it over! Perhaps one will repent and be converted! I can imagine that Noah preached his message with tears in those last seven days, and that he threatened, pleaded and shouted: “People, come in, come in!” But later Jesus said of them: “And knew not until the flood came.” Their time of grace was over.
Noah and his family disappeared, “…and the Lord shut him in!” The people saw it and probably nudged one another and commented, “How strange; there is no one near the door and yet it is closing.” Therewith they callously let their last chance slip away.
This is the stage we have reached today. We cannot say how long it will last, but when we consider the current events, the nations and Israel, we can see God’s hand on the door handle, ready to close it! And when the door was closed, it was closed. Then suddenly it happened! “The same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened” (Genesis 7:11). The flood came. In the New Testament Jesus said, “They knew not until the flood came.” But when they knew it, it was too late! Surely they must have thought, “Old Noah was right after all. Let’s be converted.” They probably ran to the door of the ark, but it was closed; too late! Rich, poor, young, old, religious and pagan alike were left standing outside.
Friend, Jesus is here! Jesus, the Son of God, who suffered and bled is very near to you. He says to you, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved” (John 10:9). Receive Jesus now as your own personal Savior: “For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry” (Hebrews 10:37).