(Mat 24:37-39 KJV) (37) But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. (38) For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, (39) And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
The above text is a short passage in the Church section of the Olivet discourse that describes the taking away of the Church in the Rapture. The Church section of the Olivet Discourse is Matthew 24:32-25:30, and the whole section must be read and studied to understand God’s dealings with the Church at the time of the Rapture.
In the above text addressing the Church, the days of Noah represent the time between the Firstfruits Rapture and the Main Harvest Rapture of the Church. Jesus is describing in a very brief passage the Rapture of the Church and the consummation of the wrath of God. These three verses provide the overview of the whole passage of Matthew 24:32-25:30, but the details are provided in Matthew 24:40-25:30. Please refer to my detailed commentary on the Olivet Discourse for an exegesis of the detailed portion. This article pertains to just the overview comparing the time of the Firstfruits Rapture and Main Harvest Rapture to the days of Noah.
Since we are in the Church section of the Olivet Discourse, verses 37-39 above pertain to the Church, the taking away of the Church in the Main Harvest Rapture and the release of God’s judgments upon the earth. Jesus compares the Main Harvest Rapture and the unleashing of God’s judgments upon the earth to the Noachian flood. The picture is that life will go on right up to the day that the Main Harvest Rapture occurs, and the judgments of God are suddenly released upon the earth.
(Mat 24:37 KJV) But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
Jesus tells us that the days before the flood will serve as a type or picture of the days of the first half of the tribulation period. If we study what it was like in the days before the flood, we can understand what the first half of the tribulation period will be like.
The days of Noah actually began with Enoch, and there are four prominent men who typify people in the Church Age. Enoch typifies the faithful in the Church who will be taken at the very beginning of the days of Noah. Enoch was the father of Methuselah, Grandfather of Lamech, and great-grandfather of Noah. Enoch’s son Methuselah typifies those in the Church who will remain on the earth right up to the day that the 144,000 Jews are sealed, and God’s judgments are rained down upon the earth.
Methuselah’s name means, “when he is gone, it will happen”, and refers to the fact that this segment of the Church will remain on the earth right up until the outpouring of God’s judgments. Methuselah died the same year as the flood, and it is commonly believed that he died the same day that the flood began.
Chapter 6 of Genesis describes the days of Noah upon the earth. It was not a time of peace and prosperity as some have described. The following verses describe what it was like during the days of Noah:
(Gen 6:5 KJV) And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
The days of Noah were a time of evil and great wickedness. This depicts the first half of the tribulation period when Antichrist will be given free reign upon the earth and evil will run rampant. The restraining influence of the Firstfruits Christians will have been removed, and the fleshly lust of mankind will be unchecked and unrestrained. This period of time will mirror the evil and depravity that existed in the days of Noah after the translation of Enoch, and before the Main Harvest Rapture of the Church. Enoch is a type of those Christians taken in the Firstfruits Rapture.
(Gen 6:11 KJV) The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.
During the days of Noah the earth was corrupt and filled with violence. Does this sound like peace and prosperity? Corruption and violence are not synonyms for peace and prosperity. During the first half of the tribulation period, Antichrist will persecute and murder thousands and maybe millions of Christians. It will be a time of great injustice and violence against the Church. The book of Habakkuk describes this violence against the Church, and Habakkuk describes this group of people as righteous Gentiles.
The flood itself is a type of God’s judgments that will be rained down upon the earth during the last half of the tribulation period. Contrary to common belief, the opening of the seven seals during the first half of the tribulation period are not the judgments of Almighty God, but they are the results of Antichrist wreaking havoc upon the earth during the 42 months when he will have free reign upon the earth. The following two Scriptures describe this time period:
(Dan 7:25 KJV) And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.
The saints are the Church upon the earth after the Firstfruits Rapture. The time, times and dividing of a time are the same 42-month period described in the following passage:
(Rev 13:4 KJV) And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?
(Rev 13:5 KJV) And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.
(Rev 13:6 KJV) And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.
(Rev 13:7 KJV) And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.
The saints in this passage are the same saints as described in Daniel 7:25 above. They are the Church upon the earth during the 42 months when Satan is allowed to exercise his will. Jesus was given 42 months to minister upon the earth, and Satan will also be given 42 months to minister as he desires. His ministry will be one of evil, violence and injustice, and these are the days of Noah.
(Mat 24:38 KJV) For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
This verse states nothing about peace and prosperity, but it simply states that life will go on with people performing the everyday things of life such as eating, drinking, and marrying. The actual Greek phrase translated “marrying and giving in marriage” actually means multiple marriages or bigamy, and it refers to a time when people will be married multiple times. It refers to a time when divorce will be common, and people will have multiple spouses. The present time is described by this scenario, but the first half of the tribulation will see a drastic increase in divorce and remarriage. It very likely also refers to the present situation where couples live together as if they were married, and then separate and live with someone else. This situation will also increase dramatically after the Firstfruits Rapture, since evil will increase drastically during this time period. It is difficult to believe that sexual promiscuity will get worse, but it most definitely will get worse during the first half of the tribulation period. The lusts of the flesh will be indulged unchecked and unrestrained during this period.
The picture is that people will continue in their daily lives eating, drinking and engaging in sexual promiscuity with no thought of God’s judgments. This will continue right up until the day that the 144,000 Jewish Firstfruits are sealed, the main body of the Church is taken out in the Rapture, and God’s judgments fall upon the earth. Please remember that Methuselah was taken out of the earth in death the same day that Noah was sealed in the ark. Methuselah typifies the Main Harvest Rapture of the Church, and Noah typifies the sealing of the 144,000 Jewish Firstfruits. Shem, Ham and Japheth typify the Jews and Gentiles upon the earth that are also saved, but they must go through the Judgments of God during the last half of the tribulation period. All of the people destroyed in the flood typify the unsaved people who will die physically during the last three and one-half years of the tribulation period.
(Mat 24:39 KJV) And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
The flood is a type of God’s judgment, and theologians have argued over whether this verse refers to Christians who will be raptured in the Main Harvest Rapture, or to those who will be destroyed in God’s judgments upon the earth. As in true in many cases where theologians argue over the meaning of a verse, they are probably both partially correct. This is true because the Main Harvest Rapture is the time of the Judgment Seat of Christ. Every Christian raptured at this time will be judged by Jesus Christ for his works while in the body. Remember that the flood is a type of God’s judgment, and all Main Harvest Christians will be judged at this time. Also, the unsaved upon the earth will receive the trumpet judgments and vial or bowl judgments during the last half of the tribulation period.
(Mat 24:40-42 KJV) (40) Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. (41) Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. (42) Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
The above three verses can be easily misunderstood, if the very first Greek word in the passage is misunderstood. The very first Greek word translated “Then” in verse 40 above is as follows:
5119 tote (tot'-eh);
from (the neuter of) 3588 and 3753; then when, i.e. at the time that (of the past or future, also in consecution): KJV-- that time, then.
Consecution means the relation of consequent to antecedent. The consequent is the days of evil and the judgment that follows. The antecedent is the Firstfruits Rapture and the removal of the restraining influence of these Christians who have served as salt and light. In plain language, this means that the description in verses 40-42 above is the antecedent, or the beginning event of the time period just described as the days of Noah, which is the culmination of evil and the inception of God’s judgments upon the earth. In even simpler terms, the days of Noah will begin with the event described in verses 40-42, which is a description by Jesus of the Firstfruits Rapture. Jesus is stating that the time period described as the days of Noah for the Church will commence with the Firstfruits Rapture of the Church. This is analogous to Enoch being taken out at the same time that the literal days of Noah began, with corruption and evil becoming rampant upon the earth, resulting in God’s judgment of the flood.
The first half of the tribulation period will follow the exact same pattern. The Firstfruits Rapture of the faithful in the Church will coincide with the removal of the restraining influence of the these Christians. Evil will be allowed to run rampant and unchecked, which will culminate in the sealing of the 144,000 Jewish Firstfruits, the Main Harvest Rapture of the Church, and the release of the trumpet judgments of God upon the earth.
As evil as the current time is upon the earth, it is mild compared to the time when the Firstfruits of the Church will be removed from the earth. This will initiate the “days of Noah” when evil and corruption will multiply greatly. It will be a time of great persecution and martyrdom for the Christians who will go through these days. It must be remembered that these days are not the time for God’s judgments, but Antichrist will have full authority to do as he wishes, without the restraining influence of the Holy Spirit.
The three verses above describe the beginning event (i.e., the antecedent) of the days of Noah (i.e., the consequent), and Jesus describes the Firstfruits Rapture, or the Separation of the faithful Christians from those who are unfaithful. The two in the field are both Christians. The two grinding at the mill are both Christians. There is a separation between Christians, and one will be taken, and one will be left to go through the days of evil and corruption. Verse 42 above confirms that all involved in these three verses are Christians, as the exhortation is to be watching so one will be prepared for the Separation.
Please refer to my article on the Separation, and my exegesis of the rest of the Church section of the Olivet Discourse. The rest of the Church section describes the time leading up to the Firstfruits Rapture, and the “days of Noah” for the Church in detail.
In summary, Jesus stated that the first half of the tribulation period is analogous to the days of Noah before the flood. The following chart provides an overview of the sequence of events: