Matthew 24:37-41 (The Ark of Salvation Pitched With Pitch)

What was Noah himself doing “in the days of Noah” that preceded the flood?  See Gen 6:14.  What is the significance that the word used for cover in Gen 6:14 (kaphar) is the same as that used for make atonement in order to find forgiveness (cf. Lev 4:20,26,31,35, 5:6,10,13,16,18, 16:16, Psa 65:3, 79:9, etc…), that pitch (kopher) is also the word used for a ransom or the price of atonement (cf. Exo 21:30, Psa 49:7, etc…), and that even “an ark of gopher wood” is literally “an ark of trees of gopher” where gopher is a transliteration of a Hebrew word of unknown meaning that is believed to be related to these words as well?  Cf. Exo 15:25, Gal 3:13.  Would just any boat that men built have prevailed against the flood of destruction that came upon the world in that day?  If Noah had not carefully “pitched” the ark “within and without with pitch” would it have sealed out the waters of the flood and kept them safe?  In what way is the blood ransom of our Lord Jesus that makes atonement for us like pitch that seals out the flood waters of sin that would otherwise sweep us away to destruction?  See Tit 2:14, Heb 9:13-14,22, 1Jo 1:7, Rev 1:5, 7:14.  As the ark that Noah built is a type of the Lord Jesus who delivers us from the flood of destruction that comes from sin, what is the counterpart for us of building that ark?  See Phil 2:12-13.  Like Noah who pitched the ark with pitch, if we are not careful to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts” (Rom 13:14) should we suppose that the flood waters of sin that surround us in this world will not seep in and sink our spiritual ship?  Cf. The Pitch of the Lord’s Ransom.

As “the days of Noah” culminated in a flood of destruction upon the wicked, what are we to understand that the parousia of the Lord will culminate in?  In what way was that true in regard to the coming of the Lord that culminated in the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.?  Should we expect it will be any different in any age of wickedness?  Although in the days of Noah the flood caught many by surprise, was it entirely without warning and completely unexpected?  Recall that Noah was preceded by Enoch who foretold judgment, and Methuselah whose name bespoke judgment, while Noah himself preached righteousness to his generation while the ark was being built.  Although the Lord’s parousia will also catch many by surprise, is it the case that His coming shall be without warning and completely unexpected?  See Mat 24:42,44, 25:13, Luk 21:34-36; cf. 1Th 5:4-5.  How surprising, but not entirely unexpected, might it be for one to realize—as did those in the first century who were gathered by their own mistaken notions into Jerusalem where they were eventually destroyed—that the Lord’s coming may not be to supernaturally provide the worldly deliverance they are expecting, but His parousia in the power of His word that like a winnowing fork sifts the hearts of men in order to gather the wheat into the barn of His kingdom, and to burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire?  In that day of judgment, whenever it comes, will any who are swept away by it be able to say they had no warning and it was entirely unexpected?  Even if there is only one righteous person among a great multitude who prepares an ark of salvation and pitches it with pitch, in what way is such faith a warning that demonstrates a presence of the Lord and that ultimately condemns the world?  Cf. Heb 11:7.

In what two senses can Jesus’ words in Mat 24:40-41 be understood in regard to people being taken and left?  Notice that left is also the same Greek word used for forgiven, and the context of the flood taking away the wicked would seem to indicate that those who are taken are also taken away in judgment while others are left unharmed having received forgiveness.  On the other hand, although the Greek word used for taken in Mat 24:40-41 is synonymous here with the word used in Mat 24:39, it is a different word that is regularly used in the sense of take along with or receive, so that Jesus’ words may also be understood in the sense of some being taken along with or received into the ark of salvation while others are left to be destroyed.  Notice though that even if understood in this latter sense, there is nothing in the context or the words themselves to indicate that some are taken away to heaven as supporters of the rapture doctrine claim, but rather taken along on the ark of salvation and so delivered through the flood of destruction, just like in the days of Noah.  Hence, regardless of how we understand Jesus’ words in this context, they actually mean the same thing; it is even possible that the ambiguity is deliberate as a literary device.

What was God’s command to Noah immediately after the flood?  See Gen 8:16-17, 9:1,7.  In what similar way did the righteous remnant whom the Lord delivered through the flood of destruction that carried away His enemies in 70 A.D. come to possess a spiritual land in which they could be fruitful and multiply, as evidenced by the spread of the gospel throughout the entire world?  Cf. Joh 16:20-22.  Should we expect that the purpose of the Lord’s parousia and its results will be any different in any age or generation?  Are those results necessarily instantaneous or immediate as they are popularly imagined?  What does this again remind us about the patience required of those who would see the kingdom of God established in the hearts of people and overcome the strongholds of His enemies?  See Jam 5:7-8.

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