“37But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 38For 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, 39and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.”
LIKE THE DAYS OF NOAH – Jesus said that the coming of the Son of Man in judgment upon Old Covenant Israel will be like the days of Noah. In the days before the flood, the people were acting as they normally do. They were eating and drinking. They were marrying and giving in marriage. When Noah entered the ark, the people were hardening in sin and disbelief and did not understand that destruction was at hand until the floods came and took them all away, even though they heard Noah’s warnings to repent and turn to God for decades; saw this massive ark being built and then finished; saw all the animals coming and boarding the ark; then finally Noah and his family go into the ark and God close the door!
Jesus is not describing how “bad” things are going to get before He comes in judgment upon Jerusalem and the Old Covenant system. Instead, He is saying that “normal conditions” will exist just like in the days of Noah. The people will be eating, drinking, marrying, and giving in marriage. These are not evil things, they are just normal things. The same language is used in Luke 17 and 21. Just like in the days of Lot: they were eating, drinking, buying, selling, planting and building. (Luke 17:28-29). These are not bad things, just normal activity. In other words God’s judgment comes upon them when they do not expect it. It was not because there were not any warnings, as Jesus said there would be many warnings to those who would be watching, even for them to know when it was, “…near – at the doors!” (Matt. 24:33b) and they were commanded to, “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that are ‘about to’ (Greek word Mello is used here) come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:36)
If things were to be “just as in the days of Noah,” then consider also that God did not shout out an audible warning to the people of Noah’s day just before the flood was coming and that they should crowd into the ark, nor was there any audible shout or trumpet from heaven in Lot’s day that Sodom and Gomorrah were about to be destroyed with fire and brimstone and that the people needed to flee. God’s plan was set and only Noah and his family were to be saved from His wrath in that flood, and only Lot and some of his family from those doomed cities. He had given ample warnings and waited patiently for the people to believe in Him, and they did not.
Likewise, as the time of the destruction of Jerusalem was nearing, and for God’s wrath to be poured out against their Old Covenant world, He did not shout an audible voice of warning from heaven for all of the world to hear. Instead He had his disciples preach the gospel and He was longsuffering for forty more years for the Old Covenant Jews to believe. Only the faithful Jewish Remnant believed (Rom. 11:5 Notice how Paul said that at, “this present time there is a remnant…” that was in his present time when the letter to the Romans was written, approx. AD 58, written before all the warnings were completed and the AD 70 destruction of the Old Covenant people and the Jerusalem temple.)
[For a more in-depth study see eschatology “Study Series 7 Lesson 5 Matt. 24:32-44]