The Lord Jesus Christ informs us that before He returns certain conditions will exist in society in general. These conditions are a sign to believers that His Second Coming is near. There has always been corruption in society, but the idea here is of such decadence and depravity reaching the point of no return.
The Lord makes use of two Old Testament characters to illustrate the characteristics and conditions that will exist at all levels of humanity prior to His Second Coming.
As it was in the days of Noah
“And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all” (:26-27).
Some have suggested that there is a certain normality in this description and that there is nothing sinful in the illustration. They claim that the text simply refers to the everyday carelessness of mankind as he ignores the coming judgement. Though there is some truth in this idea, we cannot fail to recognise the fact that the people of Noah’s day were not destroyed simply because they ate, drank and married. These people were destroyed in the Flood because of their sinfulness – “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” (Genesis 6:5). The apostle Peter writes that Noah was a preacher of righteousness in a godless society, “And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly” (2 Peter 2:5). Therefore, as well as rejecting God’s Word, there must have been increased immorality in the areas mentioned by Jesus.
Life will go on as normal until the Lord comes again, but such normality will become increasingly depraved to the point that people only think about pleasure – hedonism (eating, drinking, parties). They will plan ahead (marrying and giving in marriage) . Those who live for themselves with no thought for God will reject any idea that judgement is on its way. This was true in Noah’s day. Peter tells us that it will be true in the Last Days also, “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of His coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: but the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men” (2 Peter 3:3-7).
To the unsaved, lost in their unbelief, carelessness and depravity, life will look as though it will go on for ever, that nothing has really changed. Sad as it is to say, the same attitude exists within the Church today also. The Church has been invaded by preachers of unrighteousness who spread the idea that worldliness and compromise are acceptable to God. But those, like Noah, who preach God’s Word of salvation, they will see society and standards becoming worse each day.
As it was in the days of Lot
“Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; but the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed” (:28-30).
This illustration should not be seen as separate but intertwined with that of Noah’s day. Jesus is here revealing that the conditions that existed in Lot’s day will go hand in hand with that of Noah’s day in the Last Times.
Again, there appears to be a certain normality and legitimacy about the conditions in Sodom (and Gomorrah). For what can be sinful about eating, drinking, buying, selling, building and planting? The fact is, God did not destroy them for these things but because they had rejected His righteous ways and become totally immoral. They refused to listen to anything that even suggested that their lifestyle was wrong.
Peter describes the reasons why God poured out fire and brimstone upon them, “And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; and delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)” (2 Peter 2:6-8). Here we see that their ‘alternative lifestyle’ was considered filthy and ungodly. We only need to read through Genesis 29 to find that what both Jesus and Peter had in mind was Sodom’s homosexuality. It appears that this perversion was in all areas of society (from the Government down so that God could not find even ten righteous people amongst them), “Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire” (Jude :7).
There has to be a reason why whole nations give themselves over to depraved living. In our day we see militant homosexuality in religion, government, army, civil service etc. The explanation offered in God’s word is the real reason why their is so much immorality and corruption today. In Ezekiel 16:49-50 we read, “Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good”. The same conditions existing in Sodom are plain to see in our time and suggest that this world is ripe for judgement.
Today we have not only the fact that man is too proud to admit he is a sinner, but is proud of his sin. The same “Gay Pride” was obvious in Lot’s day also. They rejected the words of Lot therefore refusing to hear God’s word. Today we have in Canada the banning of the first chapter of Romans for public reading by law because it offends homosexuals. When a nation bypasses legitimate recreation for immoral pleasure, leisure, and treasure; when luxury takes the place of godliness, then idleness gives the devil a foothold. When a nation cannot provide for its poor and sick because so much money is tied up for homosexual, feminist, and abortion issues then that nation itself is diseased and ready for judgement.
The apostle Paul tells us that when nations reject God’s word they give themselves over unto perversion, idolatry and other ungodly practices (Romans 1). As in Lot’s day people today are “haughty” and commit all kinds of abominations, even to the point of saying that God made them that way. They believe that wickedness is their God-given right. Yet, just as in Lot’s day our society (and the world) will be judged.
The Lord Jesus indicates that the world which exists before His return will be given over to pleasure-seeking, immorality, perversion, idleness, and a rejection of the things of God. All godly standards that made many nations great will be forgotten in favour of licentiousness, “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God” (Psalm 9:17).