“But of that day and hour, no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.”
-Matthew 24:36-39, NKJV
Noah was a righteous, blameless man (Gen. 6:9) amid great wickedness that covered the entire world. Man’s wickedness was so great that God set a time of 120 years before He would wipe out the earth and everything on it. Man’s judgment was set, and the pre-flood world’s days were numbered. Yet Noah found favor with God because he was righteous. This was also a time when the Watchers, the 200 fallen angels noted in the Book of Enoch, intermingled with creation, producing the Nephilim, a race of exceedingly wicked hybrids. Violence filled the earth, corrupting humanity to the fullest extent. God had enough of His creation's sin.
For 120 years, Noah built the ark so that he, his family, and a pair of every animal would be saved. The ark contained fruits and vegetables, whose seeds would be used to regrow earth’s vegetation, just as the seeds of man and animal would repopulate the planet. Though Scripture is silent on the subject, we can almost assume that Noah’s work drew the attention of others, who undoubtedly ridiculed, laughed, and scorned Noah’s work. Surely Noah told them he was doing what the Lord had commanded in preparation for the world’s destruction. Noah prepared despite the ridicule, and the people carried on with their lives as if Noah was a raving lunatic. But that all changed when the springs of the earth burst open, and the rain began to fall. The sedimentary layers exposed in the Grand Canyon today bear witness to the destructive force of the flood. The fossil record in those layers shows a progression of death, from the smallest to the greatest creature, each deposited at separate layers that reveal the suddenness of the global flood. None survived, but those kept safe by God’s hand inside the ark.
Every time a rainbow paints the sky after a storm passes, it’s a reminder that God promised to destroy the earth again by fire, not by a flood. With this promise comes a divine appointment for all believers to preach the Gospel so that sinners could run to the “ark” of Christ, finding shelter in Him from the coming fire. Sadly, we know that many will continue to mock, ridicule, and harass Gospel-bearers. Despite this, we must keep building. Noah did not allow the jeering masses to abort his obedience to build the ark, nor should we allow social pressures to end our faithfulness. Even when the angel from the bottomless pit and those bound under the Euphrates River are released, we must remain faithful to preach the Gospel. We must preach when the earth is once again filled with unspeakable violence, death, and destruction. We know that the time is coming when the world will be judged by fire (2 Pet. 3:7, Malachi 4:1, Isaiah 66:15, 1 Cor. 3:13). If we know this time is coming, as God’s word has testified, then we must be workmen leading people to salvation found in Christ while we have time on earth.
At a set point in man’s wickedness and violence, God determined 120 years would remain before judgment fell. That time was a probable period of grace, where those who repented could have potentially boarded the ark. However, men’s hearts were hardened by their sin, and none heeded Noah’s visible warning, the ark. Matters of faith are a strange thing to those who are consumed by the physical world and the pleasures it offers. They are driven by what stimulates their five senses. But the unseen realm is more real than what we see. As such, we must consider whether God has started His time clock until the Day of the Lord occurs and Christ returns. We could speculate on that question, and many of us would concur that our time quickly fails, and we would probably be right.
Today, men mock those who are warning of Christ’s return and the Day of the Lord. Peter states, “They will say, Where is this coming he promised? Ever since the fathers died, everything goes on as it has been since the beginning of creation.” (2 Pet. 3:4, NIV). In such arrogance, men forget the Flood, its warning and promise. God will not terry with man forever, nor will He allow wickedness to go unpunished. He is a righteous God, and His judgments are true. His mercy and grace are unsearchable, yet He establishes a time when wickedness will be punished in His mercy and grace. The world will be absorbed in its daily life when that time comes. Then the Trumpet will sound, the dead will rise, the living in Christ will be caught up, Jesus will split the sky, and the Day of the LORD’s wrath will begin. At that moment, those who are outside of Christ will face a terror only experienced by those outside of Noah’s ark, when the fountains of the deep burst open and the rain poured from heaven. There will be no escape.
Whom do you need to share the Gospel with? Whether the Lord returns sooner than later, we are each appointed once to die. The ark of Christ is salvation from the Day of the LORD and the sting of Hell and Death. Are we being faithful to preach the Gospel, as Noah was to build the ark? Perhaps some have allowed the social pressures of ridicule, scorn, rejection, and persecution to silence their voice. Let me encourage you today, speak up! Be ready to preach the Gospel in season and out! Someone’s salvation is waiting to hear your voice, pointing them to Jesus as the ark for the coming fire.