Sunday, October 25, 2009

Noah and the Rapture

"But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, [fn] 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

These verses from the Olivet Discourse are probably familiar with many, if not most believers today. Jesus is talking about His return for His church, which we know as the rapture, and He describes that time as being like the times of Noah. As with most of you, I always seem to find there is more than meets the eye when studying scripture. Just when I think I have figured a passage out, something else, another question or idea pops out of nowhere and forces me to look even deeper. This passage is no exception.

The subject of the flood of Noah has always been a favorite of mine. Years ago I spent a great deal of time and money actually searching for the resting place of the Ark using clues from the Bible, ancient accounts and maps, and satellite imagery of the geographical area I felt it had landed. ( yes, I think I found it, and I have an interesting satellite pic to prove it but no one believes me ) At this time of the year, when the rest of the world is preparing to celebrate Halloween, I am always especially reminded of the flood because the Bible tells us it occurred on the seventeenth day of the second month on the Jewish calendar. That puts it around the same time of the year as Halloween, All Hallows Eve, The Day of the Dead, and all the other names it has gone by throughout history. ( yes, celebrated at the same time of the year the flood occurred is just another coincidence, right? )

So to be sure, this week I was studying this passage yet again when something came to mind that I had not considered before, and that is what I want to share with you today. If you look closely at the passage, notice something Jesus said. He said that people in Noah's day went about their lives doing what they did "until the day that Noah entered the ark". So? Well, let's look closely at the passage in Genesis that talks about that day.

Then the LORD said to Noah, "Come into the ark, you and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation. You shall take with you seven each of every clean animal, a male and his female; two each of animals that are unclean, a male and his female; also seven each of birds of the air, male and female, to keep the species alive on the face of all the earth.For after seven more days I will cause it to rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and I will destroy from the face of the earth all living things that I have made." Genesis 7:1-4 NKJV

What these verses tell us is that God told Noah to go into the Ark because in seven days the flood was going to begin. Do you see where I am going? Matthew tells us that the normal, everyday life of the unbelievers of Noah's day continued until "the day" Noah entered the Ark. If the flood did not begin until seven days after Noah entered the Ark, what happened on that day that got their attention to the extent they changed what they had been doing? Since Noah had been going in and out of the Ark for 150 years while he built it means something different had to have happened this particular day. Considering this, the only answer I could come up with is found in the following verse.

So those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him; and the LORD shut him in. Genesis 7:16 NKJV

To put it another way, after everybody went in, God shut the door! Now I got to thinking about the door, and the first thought I had was "just how big was that door"? I mean, it had to be big enough for the largest animals on the earth to walk through. That door must have been huge! With a background in construction, my next thought was how was it engineered? Hinges? Sliding? Let's not forget weight either. Made of wood thick enough to withstand the pressures it would face from the sea, and treated with pitch which would make it even heavier. It would have taken a massive effort on the part of Noah and his sons to put that door in place. But the Bible tells us God shut the door. What exactly did the people outside see and hear when God shut it? Did they see it closing seemingly all by itself? Did it close slowly or slam shut with a loud noise? Maybe a little thunder and lightning thrown in for good measure? Whatever happened, if people changed their behavior when that door shut there must have been a message there that they heard loud and clear.

What might that message have been? I wonder if it was a sense that no matter if they changed their minds or not, they had lost their chance to get in? Thinking about this led me to a couple of other passages where God talks about closing a door.

And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. "Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open to us!' But he answered and said, 'Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.' Matthew 25:10-12 NKJV

Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open for us,' and He will answer and say to you, 'I do not know you, where you are from,' Luke 13:24-25 NKJV

I think the message God intends for the world is clear. In order to escape the judgment that is coming, you must enter before the door is shut. In Noah's day, I believe the people of the earth had a good idea what was coming when they saw the door shut, and realized they had lost their chance to escape. When the world sees the church disappear in the rapture, they will know just as the people of Noah's day knew, that the door was shut. My prayer is that you have made the choice to enter in before that door shuts. The day that Noah entered the Ark, the tenth day of the second month, occurs this week. Have you made your choice? Jesus said this;

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. Revelation 3:20 NKJV

I pray you have asked Jesus to come into your heart, and have given your life to Him. If you have, we will walk through that door together. Hopefully soon.

Keep watching.