Posted Sep 24, 2017 by Michael L. Brown

Have you heard this before? “We know that the last days will be wicked. Very wicked. Just like the days of Noah. That’s what Jesus said.”

One website states, “Jesus said that the end times would be like the days of Noah and Lot. Are we living in a day like that?”

Another site explains, “Regardless of how one interprets Matthew 24, there’s no doubt that Christ referred to the rebellion and judgment in Noah’s day, which He compared to mankind’s subsequent rebellion and impending judgment. It’s a sober warning for any generation to consider.”

A pastor on YouTube argues that, just as Noah’s day was marked by the great flood, so our day has been marked by massive hurricanes like Harvey, which dumped unprecedented amounts of water on our land.

Another Christian teacher goes even farther, suggesting a potential connection to aliens: “There continues to be a flow of articles, books, and entertainment programs dealing with UFO's, aliens, and the like. Many wonder if there is a connection or relationship to the prediction of our Lord in Luke 17:26: ‘And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of Man.’

“The emergence of the ‘Nephilim’ was what brought about the Flood of Noah. Who were they? Is the current interest in the possibility of ‘alien’ involvements some how of Biblical relevance?”

The truth is that Jesus did make a comparison between the last days and the days of Noah, but His primary point was not that there would be great wickedness in the last days, as there was in the days of Noah. Instead, His point was simple and clear, as we’ll see by reading His words firsthand.

But first, a few caveats.

I’m not denying that the last days will be marked by great wickedness.

I’m not saying that there are no comparisons between the days of Noah and the final generation. I’m simply questioning if that was the Lord’s main point.

I’m not denying that there will be great judgment at the end of the age, just as there was in Noah’s day. That, in fact, was a clear point Jesus was making.

As for those looking for parallels between Noah’s day and ours (if we are the last generation or nearly the last), how about this? Jewish tradition states that a straw that broke the camel’s back in Noah’s day, bringing on the flood, was that men were marrying men as well as animals. (See Genesis Rabbah 26:5.) What do you know!

The question, again, is this: Was Jesus telling us that the final generation would be marked by extreme rebellion and wickedness, just as Noah’s generation was? Let’s look at His words.

In Matthew’s Gospel He said, “For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. [The Son of Man was the way Jesus often referred to Himself. So, He’s talking about His return here at the end of the age.] For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man”  (Matt. 24:37-39).

What were the people of Noah’s day doing before the flood came? They were living their normal lives. They were going about their normal business and conducting their normal affairs. They were oblivious to the fact that the end was near.

Jesus says that’s how it will be for non-believers before He comes. They’ll be going on with their normal activities, not realizing the end is at hand.

In Luke’s Gospel He adds: “Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot-- they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all--so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed” (Lk. 17:28-30).

Here, too, the emphasis is not on the wickedness of the people of Sodom but rather on their lack of awareness of what was at the door. They were about to be destroyed but had no clue. So it will be with worldly people at the end of the age.

What do the major commentators say about Jesus’ words? Here’s a tiny sampling:

Ulrich Luz: “The comparison with the days of Noah serves to emphasize what is meant by ignorance about the time of the Parousia [Second Coming]. The people of that day, in the time before the flood, lived their daily lives. They ate and drank; the young men married, and the fathers gave their daughters in marriage. They suspected nothing. Then the flood came over them and destroyed them. The comparison implies that the parousia of the Son of Man is a catastrophe, something as destructive as the flood.”

Donald A. Hagner: “The people of Noah’s day were oblivious to all else than their own pleasurable living. And they had no inkling of the judgment that was to come upon them until it was too late.”

Leon Morris: “Jesus refers to life in the pre-Flood days. The Old Testament informs us that the people of that day were sinners, and indeed that it was their exceeding sinfulness that brought down the Flood on them. But Jesus refers to none of this. He reminds his hearers that life before the Flood was in many respects like life in their own day. People were engaged in eating and drinking, they were marrying and giving in marriage (the verbs normally used of the man and of the woman respectively). We should notice that there is nothing sinful in the activities Jesus mentions; these actions are the stuff of life. No community could exist without them. And these actions continued right up to the day Noah entered the ark.”

Craig Blomberg: “So also Christ’s return will interrupt people in the ordinary activities of life.”

Of course, it’s more exciting to make all kinds of comparisons between our day and the days of Noah, and I don’t doubt that such parallels exist.

I’m simply saying that was not the point Jesus was making. His emphasis was quite clear, as noted by R. T. France: “But the main point is the unpreparedness of Noah’s contemporaries.”

As for the argument that the Nephilim from Noah’s day are connected to aliens today, let’s file that one away with the prediction that Jesus would return on September 23, 2017.

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chrisscole posted a comment · Sep 23, 2019
Dear Dr. Brown, though I don't like to admit it, reckon you are right that this is the principle interpretation of this passage. Think this is faithful exegesis of the passage. Think us charasmatics/pentecostals need to grow in our thought-through exegesis of the scriptures. On a side note, I heard once that the Jewish approach to interpretation talks about different levels of interpretation, the main interpretation, then other interpretations (pashat, remez, drash, sod from what I read). Would you agree that that is a bibilical approach to interpretation? If so, would these other more 'revelatory' (or not as the case may be) interpretations fit into that?
Royce posted a comment · Feb 12, 2018
Very disappointed in Dr. Brown completely misrepresenting Chuck Missler in the article that he thankfully referenced. I can only imagine what he must be saying about the recent movie "Alien Intrusion". Furthermore, knowing Dr. Brown to be a brilliant man and scholar I also have to imagine he didn't even bother to read the article he referenced but rather had someone else pull out and give him those quotes. They should be fired for their gross misconduct and setting him up for failure. I believe the last thing Dr. Brown, short of denying Christ, would wish to do is to bear false witness against another. But that is exactly what he did with: 1) "Suggesting a potential connection with aliens". Missler did no such thing. Read the article! Honestly, I didn't read the other 2 links because I'm not familiar with them and didn't wanna take the time to "get to know them" in order to determine what they were saying. But I am somewhat familiar with Missler having watched some of his videos years ago. My question for him would be his claim on Gen. 4:26 and how did he come about that? 2) "Is the current interest in the possibility of ‘alien’ involvements some how of Biblical relevance?” Had Dr. Brown been paying closer attention he would have noted that "alien" was in quotes which should have been a signal that it wasn't to be taken literally. It certainly made no suggestion to a potential connection as stated by Dr. Brown. 3) "As for the argument that the Nephilim from Noah’s day are connected to aliens today" is nothing more than a parting potshot that serves to unfairly discredit Missler from this article. As I stated above, I looked at all 3 links and didn't give the first 2 any time because I didn't know them but because I'm aware of Missler I did read the article that Dr. Brown referenced. I also noted that it was written in 1996!! Really? Dr. Brown wants to draw on a reference from 21yrs ago for a claim made today? So what if Missler had made an actual inference to "aliens" 21yrs ago? Suppose he recanted that and recently wrote differently? So, as I said, I'm very disappointed in this article by Dr. Brown. I really expect more. I know Dr. Brown has been under attack and, in my estimation, had others bear false witness and make "dangerous" false accusations about him. If I remember correctly I even heard him bring up Prov. 6:16-19 when talking with James White so I would think Dr. Brown would be all the more sensitive to not doing so with others. Personally, I think a formal confession and apology is in order.
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ccmarie posted a comment · Oct 06, 2017
Yes, I agree that unredeemed man will be totally unaware of His return. Yet, why will man be unprepared? Because they've rejected God. Also, our savior did say that near the end there would be wars and rumors of wars, nation's rising against nations, people would disrespect their parents and turn against them. He alludes, if I'm not mistaken, to weather changes. I agree with you, Dr Brown that in the days of Noah (current) men will be unaware. But then how do we reconcile the warnings of the evil of the end times to that of Noah's day. I believe Jesus is warning of both. .
Joelle posted a comment · Sep 27, 2017
Very interesting. My question is then- how are people going about regular life in the end just before He comes and right up to his coming with all of the biblical end times catastrophic evensts taking place simultaneously.... something to ponder.
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Delbra Pratt posted a comment · Sep 26, 2017
Dr. Brown - Surely, Genesis 6:5 - "Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." does tell us that the days of Noah were wicked. It is a very strong statement the Lord makes about EVERY intent of the thoughts of the heart of men was EVIL continually. I absolutely agree about the observation that people were living their every-day-life, but to ignore the degree of evil in the days of Noah is hard for me to do. Comment? And, thanks.
Author J. J. Hall posted a comment · Sep 26, 2017
I write science fiction in addition to Bible Study Guides. Many of the "teachings" on the Days of Noah are intended to imply extra ordinary sin and satanic activity is what calls down judgment. This belays the fact that quite "ordinary" and pedestrian sin is enough to warrant God's wrath. It feeds into the pre-tribulation Rapture rescue mentality that because the world is so evil, the Lord rescues the Church before He pours out Tribulation judgments. You put the whole point succinctly: people will be entranced by every day life and miss all of the evidence of His coming until too late. Some will even have Jeshua as a part of their life, but not as all of their life, the love of the world eclipsing their need to get ready. The wife is the one who has made herself ready for the marriage supper of the Lamb. It is in the making herself ready that she is not caught unawares.