Recall from our previous study that Jesus’ coming is much more than just His arrival at some future time when God’s enemies will be destroyed and His people suddenly desire to serve Him in ways they never did before. Rather, it is His parousia or the manifestation of His presence as the creative power of His word establishes the kingdom of God in the hearts of those who embrace the light of the truth, even as it also brings into judgment all the unrighteousness of His enemies as they are driven into the darkness and destroyed by the accumulation of their choices that refused to love the truth by which they might be saved; see Joh 3:19-21. Consider how in this way “the kingdom of heaven is like leaven which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened” (Mat 13:33). For as sin is knowing the right thing to do and not doing it (Jam 4:17), when men are confronted by the light of God’s kingdom but in their hearts make subtle choices that refuse to embrace its truth and walk in the light, in this way they are nudged by the truth further and further into the darkness of sin so that sin is spread imperceptibly and culminates in a flood of destruction as the whole lump becomes leavened.
To what does Jesus liken His parousia in Mat 24:37? Did He say that His coming / presence would be just like the day when God miraculously carried Noah and his family to peace and safety as if on a heavenly cruise even as the deluge carried away all the wicked in judgment and completely destroyed the antediluvian world—as we would be forced to understand it if we accept the popular understanding of Christ’s coming? Or did Jesus say his coming / presence would be just like the days, plural, of Noah? In particular, what days of Noah does Jesus have in mind to which He likens His coming that He also expounds upon in the next verses? See Mat 24:38-39.
What does Jesus’ description in Mat 24:38-39 indicate about the spirit in the hearts of people in those days before the flood? Cf. Luk 17:28-30, 2Pe 3:3-4. What does this description indicate about the spirit in the hearts of people in the days before judgment carries them away to destruction? Cf. 1Th 5:1-3. Do we see that same spirit in the hearts of people today? In what way does such a spirit also indicate a presence of the Lord that people have rejected by their choices to go about their daily affairs rather than give heed to the truth that could save them? See Mat 22:3-5; cf. Rom 1:18-20, Gen 18:20-21, 19:14. How will the parousia of the Son of Man be just like this? See 2Th 2:1-12.
In the days of Noah, what was the light and presence of the Lord that was driving the wicked into the darkness of a false security that all would continue as it had from the beginning (cf. 2Pe 3:4) by the choices they were making that refused to love the light of the truth by which they might have been saved? Consider that Noah is called a “preacher of righteousness” (2Pe 2:5), and that 1000 years before the flood Noah’s great grandfather Enoch prophesied of coming judgment; cf. Jude 1:14-15. Enoch also named his son Methuselah, who was Noah’s grandfather and who died in the year of the flood; his name means, “he dies and it (i.e. the judgment) is sent” (Gen 5:21-24).
Considering that Methuselah is the oldest person recorded in Scripture and “the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah during the construction of the ark” (1Pe 3:20) that may have taken up to 100 years or longer to build (see Gen 5:32, 6:3, 7:6), what are we reminded about the Lord’s desire that none should perish, and how His presence tarries among sinful men in hopes that they might repent and turn their hearts to Him? Cf. Rom 10:21, 2Pe 3:9. But as His presence patiently tarries in hopes that they may repent, what is the effect upon the hearts of those who ignore His patience and will not repent? See 2Pe 3:3-7; cf. Rom 2:4-5, Heb 4:7. Will His Spirit strive with sinful men forever, or is there a point past which they may harden their own hearts as to become irredeemable so that judgment becomes certain? See Gen 6:3. What does this again help us to understand about the way that God manifests His presence among men in order that they might be saved, and how that light of His presence also drives those who refuse to love the truth into darkness where, by the accumulation of their own choices, they become a vessel prepared for destruction? Cf. Mat 23:34,37-38, Rom 9:22.