Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Matthew 24-25, Luke 17, and the Nephilim
Please open up a Bible to Matt 24 and take a look at what Jesus said in this passage, and follow along studying the Bible itself. (You may also follow along here: http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Mat&c=24&v=1&t=KJV#top)
VERSE SYNOPSIS: MATTHEW
In Matt 24:1-2
Jesus speaks on the destruction of the temple
In Matt 24:3
The disciples ask Jesus “Tell us, when shall these things be? and what [shall be] the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?”
From Matt 24:4 to Matt 24:31
Jesus replies to the disciples, both on what would precede the destruction of the temple, and also on what events and signs in the last days would precede His return. This ends with a scene paralleling the book of Revelation, the sun and moon going dark, Jesus coming in the clouds, and His angels being sent out to gather His people.
In Matt 24:32
Jesus teaches the disciples the parable of the fig tree, and that just like they can watch its leaves and know summer is soon, that they can watch for these signs he has told them of, to know that the end is near.
In Matt 24:34-35
Jesus assures the disciples that these things will happen, which are the prior mentioned signs that will precede his coming and the end of the world.
In Matt 24:36
Jesus says, but no one knows the day and hour of His return, not men, not angels, but only His Father in heaven. (In parallel passage Mark 13, Jesus says He Himself does not know when either, but only the Father knows.)
So far, Jesus has said (paraphrasing), these signs will happen preceding the end of the age, this is a list of them, you can watch for them to know the end is near, they will happen, but only the Father knows the exact day and hour of my return.
In Matt 24:37-39
Jesus continues, by making a comparison between the surprise of the people at the Flood in Noah’s time, and the surprise people will have at His return. He also makes a comparison that as the Flood carried people away, so also people will be carried away when He returns. Jesus says,
“BUT AS THE DAYS OF NOAH WERE…”
“But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.”
What is the obvious point of this verse? Jesus is warning the disciples that things would be business as usual right up until His return, and that people would be surprised and find His return to come unexpectedly, just like those in Noah’s day were surprised when the flood came. They did not expect the flood, and were unexpectedly taken away.
In the same way, when Jesus returns, people will unexpectedly be taken away. So this is the comparison between “as the days of Noah” and the “coming of the Son of Man”: that Jesus’ return will be a surprise and unexpected by the world, as was the flood, and as those in the flood were taken away, so will people be taken away when Jesus returns, all with surprise from the world, who will not be expecting this event to suddenly come upon them, but will be carrying on as normal in their lives right up until the end comes.
This is why Jesus next admonishes the disciples to “Watch”. Jesus references back to the parable of the fig tree in verse 32, to watch for the signs, so that they will know when this surprising time is near.
THE DAYS OF NOAH AND JESUS’ RETURN: THEN AND NOW
The way in which the time of Jesus’ return and the time of Noah are alike is limited to only 2 ways: the unexpected surprise of the unaware people going about their normal lives, and them being carried away. It is not an all-inclusive comparison, but a limited comparison of only those two similarities.
Not one of the “listed” signs
The “days of Noah” part is not a listed sign to watch for. The signs to watch for are listed in Matt 24, verses 4-31. The “days of Noah” part is in verse 37. If anything about the “days of Noah” was a sign to watch for, then this would be in the list of signs to watch for found in verses 4-31. But instead “as the days of Noah” is not a sign to watch for, but rather is part of a comparison used to describe the surprise of people who were not ready for the end of the world.
One of two cataclysmic changes
The reason the days of Noah are mentioned is because the Flood is the most fitting comparable event in history. In Noah’s day the people were destroyed by water, and few survived this cataclysmic change, and when Jesus returns, the earth will go through a similar cataclysmic change. There is no other example in the Bible, or in history, with which to compare the enormous change in the world that will occur at Jesus’ return, except for the Flood. This is why Noah’s time period preceding the Flood was chosen to compare with the time preceding Jesus’ return. And in the same way, there will be those who are surprised and those who are watching in readiness.
In Matt 24:43-44
Jesus continues to reiterate this warning to be watchful, saying if the owner of a house had been watching, he would not have allowed a thief to enter, so be “ready”. Jesus tells the disciples he could easily return in an hour that they will not be expecting, unless they are ready and watching.
In Matt 24:45-51
Jesus reiterates that they should watch, and with a parable of a servant whose master is away, Jesus also warns against falling into irresponsible or sinful behavior by not having the attitude of a responsible or respectful servant, who is watching and anticipating his master’s soon arrival at any time.
This same theme continues here:
This is the parable of the 10 foolish virgins and the bridegroom. The point of which is, there will be repercussions for those who are not ready and watching, so “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.”
And this is followed by:
Here we have a parable of another irresponsible servant, who had to deal with repercussions when his master returned.
Lastly we find in:
This theme is a continuation with the parable of the sheep and the goats, warning of the judgment that will occur when Jesus returns, and the good and bad are separated.
WHEN TAKEN IN CONTEXT:
So as a whole, Matt 24:37-39 is just a small part of a larger point that Jesus is making in Matt 24:37 through Matt 25:46. At verse 24:37 Jesus starts a series of 3 parables or comparisons, of which the point is to be watchful, and ready, and if this is not done then there may be poor behavior and negative consequences of that poor behavior.
3 Parables for comparison to Jesus’ Return
And then this section on being watchful is followed by a section of 2 stories that illustrate the potentially dire consequences of being irresponsible or sinful while waiting for His return. The points are that His return will easily be unexpected and a surprise, and He is warning us to be ready and watching for these signs so we can know when His return is near, and warning us to be responsible and ready, and not fall into poor behavior while awaiting His return, because there will be consequences for our behavior while we await Him.
1. The Flood
The first comparison is that Jesus’ return will be as unexpected as the flood in Noah’s day, and that the world will not be expecting it, but will be going about their lives ignorant that the end is upon them, and as the flood took them away unexpectedly, that Jesus’ angels will also take people away unexpectedly, and the world will be caught by surprise.
We can see that the section in which Jesus is giving us the signs and events that will herald the end of the age is Matt 24:4-31. This is where the events that will occur in the last days which precede His return are listed, and end with a description of the angels gathering His people, and His return. This section of prophetic signs ends at verse 31. The verses on “the days of Noah” and on “marrying and giving in marriage”, verses 37-38, are not included in this section of prophetic signs.
The verses 37-38 are in the section on being watchful, warning to be watchful, and no sign of prophetic importance is given in verses 37-38. The comparison of the days of Noah with the end times is only a limited comparison of the unexpected nature of the flood compared to the unexpected nature of Jesus’ return, and people being carried away.
1.1 only future prophetic possibility
The only prophecy to be found here, which will be fulfilled, is not that of a sign that can be watched for, but simply a true statement that when Jesus does return, people will have been carrying on in their daily lives, will not expect Him, will not be prepared, will be surprised, and people will be carried away. This is the only prophecy to be found in this section of Matt 24:37-39, and it cannot be watched for as a sign, but simply will happen.
When it comes to Genesis 6:1-4, the only relation that verse 38 might have, is that Jesus is implying affirmation that the “taking of wives” of Genesis 6 indeed took place before the flood, as Genesis records. In no way does Jesus say these “marrying” events will repeat in the end times. Jesus could, only be affirming these events in the historical context of the time before the flood, at most. At most, Jesus could be confirming history, but definitely is not telling of a prophetic sign to precede His return. But of course, in general people were marrying and being given in marriage before the flood, so whether verse 38 refers to Gen 6:1-4 or not, it is true people were marrying and being given in marriage before the Flood.
The only things of Noah’s day that Jesus says correlates to the day of His return, is the unexpected arrival of the Flood, just like His unexpected return, where the world will be caught unawares and be surprised, and people will be carried away unexpectedly.
If Jesus had wanted to make a prophetic statement about a repeat of events of Genesis 6, then the “marrying and giving in marriage” of verse 38 or “as the days of Noah” verse 37 should have rightly been somewhere in the section listing end times signs and events that would precede His return, which is the section of Matt 24:4-31. But verses 37-38 are clearly not in this section.
1.2 an intentional omission
God therefore intentionally passed up on a perfect opportunity to give this “as the days of Noah”/“marrying and giving in marriage” topic a clear prophetic significance as a sign. God did not choose to put this terminology in the section 4-31 which describes the signs preceding His return in the end times. Instead, God only mentioned this terminology in a section of verses whose points are the unexpected nature of Jesus’ return, like the flood was unexpected to the world of Noah’s day, and people being carried away. In fairness, no further prophetic significance can be given to verses 37-38 because of their context, placement, and the point of this section of verses.
2. The 10 Foolish Virgins
The next section is on the 10 foolish virgins, who were not ready and watching, Matt 25:1-13.
3. The Unprepared Servant
This is followed by the parable of the servant who was also not prepared for his master’s unexpected return, Matt 25:14-30.
Having covered Matt 24, this might seem a good place to close, but this passage is somewhat paralleled in Luke 17, so let’s look at it also, as a 2nd witness in scripture. (Being a bit more brief I will include the verses, but please feel free to follow along in your Bible as well, or online http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Luk&c=17&v=22&t=KJV#22.)
A SECOND WITNESS: LUKE
“And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it. And they shall say to you, See here; or, see there: go not after them, nor follow them. For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day. But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation.”
In: Luke 17:22-25
Jesus is speaking to His disciples about His day, the day of His return, and how everyone will know very clearly when it has arrived, as clearly, widespread and obvious as people can see lightning in the sky.
Luke 17:26-30 26
“And as it was in the days of Noah, 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 Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.
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.”
In these verses, Jesus continues the thought that everyone will know when He returns, and how obvious it will be to everyone, for everyone will be destroyed. Moreover Jesus makes the point that people will be continuing going about their usual business right up until the end, and like those in Sodom, and those before the flood, the people were surprised by the sudden destruction that came upon them. Here the case of the people before the flood is clearly paralleled with the people in Sodom, and the emphasis and point is that in both cases their destruction came suddenly and unexpectedly. The only clear reason that the buying and selling, planting and building, eating and drinking of the people of Sodom is mentioned, is to make the point that they were not expecting disaster, but were carrying on in the activities of their normal lives, right up till their unexpected end. In exactly the same way, the only clear contextual reason that the eating and drinking, giving in marriage, and marrying activities of the people of the pre-flood world are mentioned, is to also make the point that they were not expecting disaster, but were carrying on in the activities of their normal lives right up until the unexpected disaster of the flood came upon them. And only point here is that in the future, people will be carrying on in their usual activities and normal lives up until the surprising day when Jesus returns. This is the only prophecy to be fulfilled that is to be found in these verses.
“In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back. Remember Lot’s wife. Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it. I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.”
Jesus continues to explain more on how the Flood and Sodom’s destruction are like how the day of His return will be. The emphasis is on Sodom, but also the point He makes works for the Flood as well. The point is that when the disaster is at hand, that those who try to cling to the normal routines and priorities of their lives, going back for their stuff, will be in trouble. As was paralleled in Matt 24, some people will be taken away, and the warning here, is not to resist being taken and not to cling to ones life, because like Lot, or like Noah, when it is time to go, it is time to go, and the disaster is at hand which will destroy those who are left behind. When it is time to leave the city, or get on the Ark, then there should be no clinging to one’s life and normalcy.
This topic is enchanced with the following sayings and parables:
Luke 17:37 and Luke 18:1-8
Where Eagles gather and the unjust Judge
“And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.
And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:
And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?”
The disciples first ask where this destruction will occur, and Jesus tells them where the body is, there the vultures will be gathered, or I would think, in other words, that those being rescued from this destruction, and those left behind to be destroyed, that this will happen everywhere that people are, as the angels will go wherever people are, either to rescue them, or shortly thereafter, to destroy those who are left.
Then Jesus goes into a parable, of the unjust judge, to which the point is that people should always pray and not faint. That if even an unjust judge will avenge the wronged woman if she bothers him enough about it, then God who is just will surely avenge His people. This sheds more light on Jesus’ previous statements, about the coming destruction, in that Jesus seems to be emphasizing that this destruction on those left behind is God carrying out justice, and is good. Jesus further makes another point, referencing back to those who He warns must not turn back and cling to their lives, but leave when the time to comes upon them. Jesus asks if he will find faith on the earth when He returns, as in wondering if people will have faith, to leave their life and not cling to it, to not fight leaving, when the time comes to go and the destruction is at hand.
While Luke 17 explores a different aspect of His return than Matt 24, in both cases Jesus does not mention “the days of Noah” or “marrying” and “giving in marriage” in any prophetic context. These terms are only used with the point that people will be continuing in their lives up until the end, specifically to say His return will come suddenly and unexpectedly. The same analogy is made of the activities of those in Sodom. There is no prophetic significance assigned to either the activities of those in Sodom, or the activities of the people before the Flood, but they are just examples used towards the specific point that people will be living their lives thinking things are normal, right up until their unexpected end.
If Jesus wanted to warn on a return of the “Nephilim” in the future, He could have and would have stated so clearly while listing events in the last days that would be signs of His return. Jesus could have plainly spelled out the return of the “Nephilim” at any point in the gospels, and listed it as a prophetic sign of the end times and His imminent return; however it is clear that Jesus chose to not do this. There are no verses in the gospels which state or warn about a return of the “Nephilim”, and Matt 24 or Luke 17 are the only verses I know of in the New Testament which are purported to even possibly do so.
I do hope the case has been made at this point that these verses in fact say nothing about the last days being like the days of Noah, except in the specific respect of the unexpected and destructive coming of the Flood on the world, and people being carried away, which is like how the return of Jesus Christ will be.