Have you ever been seized with the realization that you have been left behind? You've missed a ride, you were late for a plane or you missed a critical appointment? It can be a frightening and frustrating moment.
Now think about missing out on eternity. Think about missing God's invitation to His coming Kingdom - the Kingdom of God. Did you know the Bible tells us what to do and how to prepare in advance so we don't miss out?
You know the story of Noah and his family sealed into an ark and surviving the worldwide flood. Those people who didn't make it on that ark, did not survive the flood. Christ referred to this time in His most famous prophecy when He said, as the days of Noah, so also will be the coming of the Son of Man. What does this story and this prophecy mean to us today?
Join us to discover the answer on this edition of Beyond Today as we look at the times of Noah to help us answer the question, "Is This the End Time?"
[Announcer] Join our host, Darris McNeely and his guests, as they help you understand your future on Beyond Today !
[Darris] Everyone knows the story of Noah and the giant boat, the ark, built on God's instructions to save the lives of any who would hear and turn from their unrighteous lifestyle that covered the world. Think what it might have been like just before the rain came.
There came a specific moment on a certain day when Noah gave an order saying, "It's time, now close the door." His sons sprung to action, grabbed the ropes and began to pull the heavy door shut. The closing caused a slight shudder of conclusion throughout the boat. What would happen next? Would all the years of work and warning be shown to be false? Or would the greatest catastrophe in the world's short history come upon them?
The moments turned to hours and they waited. Outside they could hear the shouts and the taunts of those who did not believe their work nor the message of Noah, the preacher of righteousness.
It was now that all who were on board knew something would begin to happen. The time had come. They were in and the rest of their world was outside. A time of judgment was beginning.
This is the moment described in Genesis where it says, "the Lord shut him in." Noah and his family were in the ark. The long period of building was done and now would come the test of whether their work was for nothing or whether it was true.
It is hard imagining your life today being any different. Life for us and just about everyone else in the world today is a routine that is familiar, hopefully comfortable, but each day has a rhythm and routine that is the same. It's the rhythm of life with all that it offers - success, failure, happiness and tragedy, highs and lows.
We go about our business each day with the intent of surviving. Many of us do a good job and have a margin of comfort. However, most of the world live on thinner margins of the basics. Each day for them is a difficult struggle to maintain their level of existence.
And no matter what our life we can't see that it will change or be any different than what it is. And that's a danger. Because life can change very quickly. We are taught this lesson regularly but don't always learn. The recent Hurricane Sandy that hit New York and New Jersey, it's an illustration of how quickly the comfortable life of a large urban metropolis and its people can be turned upside down in just a few hours.
Our life today is full of warnings to act on knowledge that's right in front of us, staring us in the face. Warnings that life can change quickly, that this life isn't as stable and comfortable as it might seem. Things won't always be the same. The question is whether we will act on those warnings, if we'll change or prepare for a time of prophesied upheaval.
Jesus Christ spoke to just such a moment in His famous Olivet Prophecy in Matthew 24. In this detailed prophecy that speaks of today's world, the world as it would be before His second coming, Christ chose an event that every one of His hearers, then and now, would understand. It was an event that speaks to our world and all of us right now. It's the great flood that engulfed the world at the time of Noah.
Noah's flood still captures our imagination. That a man was told by God to build a great boat, an ark, and bring on board animals and humans to save life - it's one of the greatest stories in the Bible. Even today, people hunt for the remains of the ark on a mountain in Turkey, long believed by some to be the biblical Mount Ararat where the ark came to rest after the flood. There is even one effort to build a full size replica of the ark from the dimensions given in the book of Genesis. Children in Bible classes around the world are taught the story of how eight people were spared from death. Why did Christ use this story and what lessons can we learn today?
Let's notice what Christ spoke.
"No-one knows about that day or hour," He said, "not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left."
And they went on to say, "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what [timing] of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have [let] his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him" (Matthew 24:36, NIV).
Notice again verse 37, where it says, "As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man." Christ connects the ancient world with our world today. He is saying that in the fundamental areas of life, it's the same. Some things don't really change.
Now let's understand something, exactly what Noah was doing and who he was in that day. But let me first say something that's very critical. Noah was a very real person and he built a very real giant boat, and a very real great flood engulfed the world. It happened as Christ said it did in the gospel account. It happened or Christ is a liar. And if He lied you don't have a Savior. It's that simple. Noah and the flood really happened.
Now, if you don't believe it then go ahead, turn off the television or click onto another website. What I have to say here will not interest you. But just for the sake of curiosity, stay with me and consider that all this is real and relevant to our world today.
Now let's look a little bit further at what the Bible says about Noah.
When the apostle Peter wrote his letter, he tells us in his writing that Noah was a preacher of righteousness. That is another way of saying that Noah preached the gospel of the Kingdom of God in his day. Now it took Noah decades to build the ark. He spent his whole life as an upright man preaching the gospel of righteousness to a world that was under the judgment of God.
Think about this. Generations of people had direct contact with this work under Noah. A lot of people came into contact with his work.
The project he was on was so large that it may have drawn in people from many regions. Materials would have been gathered from far flung areas and transported to the site to build the ark.
Hundreds, thousands of people may have been employed on that project. Whole families and communities grew and developed in the shadow of that huge boat. Everyday men and women trudged off to work on the project. Children grew up, went to school, married and raised their own children in the shadow of that great boat.
A culture may have developed around the "ark." People worked for the " ark." The "project." The "work." Possibly, craftsmen from afar heard about a giant boat being built and traveled to the site to offer their trade.
Many came to the site wanting to be part of something bigger than their own lives. They very likely caught a vision of what it was that was behind that boat. They came into that boat believing in what Noah said. Many left their familiar villages and their tribal connections to journey to that site. All this was unheard of. No one, no one ever left their home, where they were born, and moved to another land - not in the ancient world.
Think about this, how did Noah finance the building of the ark? Did people contribute money to see it built? Was Noah a billionaire who had the resources to build it? The Bible doesn't say, but somehow this project was funded and completed. Regardless of the source, there was a lot of money involved in the project. A lot of material purchased, wages paid, and an economy created, which meant there was a community that came into existence around that boat. Bakers, meat cutters, retail, clothing - everything you would find in a small community came to existence, all in support of this work, this project and this ark. It was the great work of its day and it drew the attention of the world.
You could almost imagine the message of Noah traveling far. People told the story of a man warning about a coming catastrophe upon the earth. He said that if they did not repent of their ways all would have to go through a tribulation. Because of sin, God's judgment there existed the potential for all flesh to be destroyed. Noah, of all the men on the face of the earth, had been drawn by God to understand the times that they lived in and what lay ahead for mankind. He did what God told him to do and he began to build. People heard his preaching and they were drawn to the project.
What Noah did was unheard of in his time and it's unheard of today. Only eight people listened to Noah's message and were spared the ravages of the flood. The average man on the street did not believe a worldwide flood could come. Noah was called a crack-pot.
They probably said, "There will be no flood. Life and this world will go on just as it always has. The idea of the depths of the earth erupting and rain coming down for months, totally absurd. It has never happened, why should we think it will happen now?"
Today, people have the same reaction to this biblical message. The idea that a time of worldwide trouble unlike any the world has ever seen is inconceivable to a modern mind. You and I have a hard time even wrapping our mind around this biblical truth and so do our neighbors. It comes down to the plain fact that we are living in a time of the end. Could this be possible?
And what can you do? What should you do? I'm going to tell you more in a moment.
We have a booklet that we're offering on today's program called, Are We Living in the Time of the End? and it will help you answer this very question. It shows the key biblical signs indicating the days before the coming of Jesus Christ and most importantly, it shows what you can do to prepare yourself for the troubling times ahead. Remember the warning message that Noah gave is one of righteousness. The message shows us how to live a righteous life, a good life, in advance of and in preparation for those times. I'll give you more details in a moment.
Christ said just like the days of Noah people would be "eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man" (Matthew 24:38-39, NIV).
Drinking, marrying and giving in marriage - that's what life is all about. Christ was not condemning it. What He was saying was that people would be absorbed with the physical aspects of life and ignoring the spiritual dimension.
Christ is saying that people would be asleep, not understanding their world and where it is going. Religious messages would be a dime a dozen and discounted so heavily in people's perception that it would be ignored and ridiculed.
He is saying that the knowledge of God would not be held in high regard by a world caught up in materialism. The idols of money and status and self would crowd out any true discussion of God from society.
He is saying they would not believe a message of warning and encouragement to wake up, to change one's life and to begin living for God.
He is saying that society would be dominated by secular interests rather than godly interests.
He is saying true religion would be something you would have to search for and when, and if, you found it the cares of life, eating, drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, all of those would choke out spiritual truth.
Christ is describing our world today and He is saying we should listen to any message that tells it straight and warns us to turn from an empty life of materialism and embrace a life based on the truth of the soon coming Kingdom of God.
We live in a physical world but most people do not see that this world is more than what it seems. There are two parts, the physical and the spiritual. And our physical world is not what it really appears.
Throughout the Bible God tells us this vital truth: That we struggle in this world against the kingdom of spiritual darkness.
Notice the way the apostle Paul put it in the book of Ephesians. "Finally," he said, "be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" (Ephesians 6:10-12).
The world we see is not all there is to reality. There is a supreme power of evil, called the devil and Satan, and he is at work in his kingdom opposing the will and the work of God. This powerful being opposes any message of God's coming Kingdom. He confuses an already deceived world with false religious messaging that hides the deep spiritual truths God wants you to understand.
And why is this allowed? Because God in His mercy and love is working out a plan to end this and to restore His Kingdom to this earth.
While the world hurtles on toward the age-ending climax Satan mounts an all out attack on any effort made to preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God.
And why is this? Because that gospel of the Kingdom heralds the end of Satan's time of rule at the hand of Jesus Christ. The true gospel trumpets with clarity that the kingdoms of this world will be replaced with the Kingdom of our Lord.
And just as God had a man build an ark to save any who would listen in the days of Noah, so He has a work today - a modern version of an ark if you will - a work that makes plain the hope of the coming Kingdom of God. Could you be hearing that message here? Could it be that God is calling you to hear a message that can transform your life?
Could it be that it is time for you to awaken to the times and make a decision to accept God's invitation to the Kingdom of God?
"Therefore He says: 'Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.' See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil" (Ephesians 5:14-16 ).
The writer of the book of Hebrews put it this way, "By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith" (Hebrews 11:7).
There came a time when Noah pulled up the door of the ark. It was then too late. Likely, people stood around scoffing, laughing and ridiculing Noah and his family and the idea that anything would happen. Noah and his family probably heard that jeering and perhaps they too went through a period of doubt.
But then, in a day or two, the skies darkened as they had never darkened before. Drops of rain began to fall, and the drops became a torrent. The winds began to blow without ceasing. The earth began to shake and large cracks opened with walls of water pouring out. The waters rose and lifted the ark with it.
And those who had been scoffing scrambled to the nearest high ground screaming at Noah to open the door and let them in. But it was too late.
Will there be a time today when the door will be closed?
So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him.
The question of our day is, are we living in the time of the biblically prophesied time of the end? Can you know for sure? And if we are, what does it mean for you? It is not a question to dismiss lightly.
Our booklet, Are We Living in the Time of the End? will show you the connection between what Christ called "the days of Noah" and our world today. With unmistakable clarity this booklet takes you through the Bible to show the signs pointing to our present time as the close of the age of man's rule on earth.
You see, the "end time" is not really the end of time, it is only the end of human rule and the beginning of the Kingdom of God on this earth. You can prepare for the time now, in advance of its coming. That's what this life is all about - preparing as a disciple to reign with Christ on the earth. The good news of the Kingdom of God is being preached now and it's time you get a mind that fits that world and that age to come.
Start by using our free study guide, Are We Living in the Time of the End? You can begin reading it today online at BeyondToday.tv . Or should you like your own hard copy you can also request it by calling now at: 1-888-886-8632. Again, that's 1-888-886-8632.
Now let me also show you our free magazine, The Good News . If you are not a subscriber then it's time for you to order this magazine and begin using it as a guide to prepare for the coming Kingdom of God. This magazine is an invaluable aid to use in gaining insight into the Bible. It will help you use Scripture as a guide to everyday life and the challenging issues you are facing.
In addition, The Good News will help you view today's world through the Bible. The magazine becomes a lens by which this world comes into greater clarity. It is a magazine of understanding and you can get a free subscription. It is also available free as an iPad app for those who prefer to read it on their tablet.
Again, call this number: 1-888-886-8632 or go online at BeyondToday.tv for the booklet, Are We Living in the Time of the End? and our magazine, The Good News .
And in addition, I really encourage you to visit our website. We are continuing to produce daily video commentaries on breaking news and important topics. Join us throughout the week for BT Daily and get additional material to help you better understand life and hear commentary and analysis on world news.
I'm joined now with my fellow Beyond Today hosts, Gary Petty and Steve Myers. When we're talking about this phrase from Christ's Olivet Prophecy , "eating, drinking and giving in marriage," it's an interesting turn of words that Christ uses to bridge and to compare the days of Noah with our modern world. What exactly did He mean when He said that phrase? What did He mean?
[Gary] You know Darris, we tend to think of ourselves as very civilized and different from people in the ancient world. The truth is, the point being made by Jesus Christ is that people are people. And that we all get tied up into our little worlds and our little lives, and our needs and our wants and our desires, and when we do, we forget about what is important. We forget about the spiritual. We forget about God. We forget about eternity. And so, what He is simply talking about there is the proclivity of human beings to get locked up into our own little personal worlds and miss what's actually happening and what God is doing.
[Steve] Yeah, it's interesting. Maybe the other side of the coin that Christ draws our attention to is the story of Noah and He points out this is a real thing. And so often times, as we read our Bibles, we read these fantastic stories, and sometimes we separate those events from being actual real people that experienced the same kind of emotions that we do. So Christ brings it home to say, hey we can be like Noah and the people of his time if we're not careful. We can get so consumed with the everyday kinds of things that we miss the importance of living a spiritual life.
[Darris] Well that's why I've always been drawn to this and it's important to realize that Noah was a real person. I wanted to make that point very clear in the presentation today that Noah and the flood are not just cute, quaint stories from the Bible that you learned in Sunday school but...
[Steve] I think all too often it happens that way. We think of children's stories when really these are very important, just earth shattering events that took place that had deep spiritual meaning behind them as well.
[Darris] That's why Jesus Christ talked about them and brought them into His prophecy there. Was what Christ describing a form of modern idolatry?
[Gary] Well you know it can be. It's not that human beings shouldn't be concerned with our everyday lives. Jesus said that the Father knows we need these things. So, we need food. We need, we need love. We need relationships. We need shelter. But He is saying first we must set our priorities which is the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. When we don't do that we put our needs, our desires above God. Anything you put between you and God is idolatry. So yeah, it is.
[Steve] I think in a sense that here he was working on the ark. He was working on God's business. Doing the work that needed to be done at that time that God had given to him. And if we relate that to ourselves, are we doing what God wants us to do? Are we doing the work that God's called us to? Are we really putting God first in our life? As Noah put that ark in importance in making sure that he got the will of God accomplished. I think it's a good example for us. We got to make sure we're doing that in a spiritual sense today.
[Gary] Well it's a warning to all of us that every one of us needs to make sure that we're just not playing church or pretending to be Christians. We need to make sure that we have turned to God and we stay on that path. That when we talk about Jesus Christ as our Savior, that is a reality that we live every day. When we look at how we, the decisions we make, how we treat other people, that's based in the teachings and life of Jesus Christ. It's based in the teachings of this Book as we've talked about and that drives and motivates us because we love our God and our Father. And anything else is just playacting.
And you know we can take, you talk about idolatry, we can take upon ourselves the name of Christian and not be a Christian at all. And really bring shame upon the name of Christ.
[Darris] I think this story that Christ points to and His teaching on it, really, it's challenged to every one of us to not be caught up in our own form of religion - whatever we call ourselves, whatever we think we are in terms of a label for Christianity or religion or spirituality - and take a good hard look at righteousness, true godly righteousness. That's the critical thing.
[Steve] I think there's a sense of urgency behind it as well.
[Steve] Here Noah was right before the flood. He needed to build this ark and get that accomplished in order to do what God wanted him to do. Christ used that same analogy, saying here we are, we are that much closer to the end as the time of Christ. So we better be doing what's right. We better be working on our own spiritual ark so that we're prepared for the time when Christ returns.
[Darris] Okay so that brings us back to what Christ said when He said there was a day when Noah got on the boat. And that boat was a vehicle of salvation physically for those eight people that got on there. And if we bring that forward to today, how do we get on the boat today?
[Gary] Well first of all, I talk about turning to God. It's about your personal relationship with God and then it's not about just being spiritual. There's so many people today, "Well I'm religious or I'm spiritual." It is about being righteous. And you need to understand what that means because that has to do with everything about you at the core of who you are, and why you do what you do, and your actions and your thoughts. So it's about being righteous and we need to find out what that means and live that way.
[Darris] That's what it comes down to, personal righteousness.
Remember our free offers today. You'll want to order your copy of the booklet, Are We Living in the Time of the End? and your free subscription to The Good News magazine. Call toll free: 1-888-886-8632. Or, send us your request by mail to the address on your screen.
You don't want to be locked out of the boat. You don't want to be missing out on the coming Kingdom of God. Christ's warning to us is to be vigilant, and to understand our times and to be ready for His appearance as King of Kings.
Don't be fooled by the empty religious and political messages that clutter our minds. This present world is not what it seems. We are locked in an epic spiritual battle destined to one day spill over into the physical world and lead us to the prophesied time of the end.
You can be ready in advance. When the door closes on this age, God will have sealed you into a place prepared in advance.
For Beyond Today , I'm Darris McNeely. Thanks for watching.
[Announcer] For the free literature offered on today's program, go online to BeyondToday.tv. Please join us again next week on Beyond Today!