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Free Books » Bonar, Horatius » Light & Truth: The Gospels

Chapter 47 - Luke 17:26, 27 - Noah Days Light & Truth: The Gospels by Bonar, Horatius




Noah Days.


     "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."-Luke 17:26, 27.



     Our Lord's comparison between the days preceding his own coming and the days of Noah throws us back on the sixth chapter of Genesis, from which we learn-

     (1.) The state of the world in Noah's days. There was ungodliness, corruption, violence, lust, flesh-pleasing, vanity, pleasure, engrossment with business, so that there was no room for God either in man's thoughts or man's world. Verses 5 and 2.

     (2.) Gods inquiry. It is said that He saw and that He looked; as in the case of Sodom (Ch. 18:21), He "makes inquisition." He does not judge hastily or at random, but calmly and deliberately. Hence his condemnation is such a solemn thing, and his vengeance so awful.

     (3.) God's feelings as to all this. It "repented the Lord, and it grieved Him at his heart." Though He is speaking after the manner of man, yet these words are the utterance of profoundest feeling. He is not indifferent as to our treatment of Him; He speaks like a broken-hearted father, disappointed in his fondest hopes.

     (4.) Gods thoughts in consequence of this. He must withdraw his Spirit. That Spirit must strive no more. God cannot allow Him to be thus grieved and quenched. He must retire.

     (5.) God's sentence. (Verses 7 and 13), "I will destroy"; "the end of all flesh is come before me." He must now declare his judgment and indicate the course He means to pursue. In this sentence man is to read his guilt, and God's abhorrence of his crimes.

     (6.) God's long suffering. (Verse 3, and 1 Peter 3:20) He pronounces the sentence on the spot, but He delays its execution, for He has long patience, not willing that any should perish. He gives man one hundred and twenty years to turn and live. How long He bears! How much He loves and pities! How desirous to bless and love; how reluctant to curse and to destroy!

     (7.) God's sovereign grace. The world would not be saved, but God would have some one whom He might deliver. His free love fixes on one man. Him it selects; him it lays hold of; him it carries through; and for his sake the whole family. Such is grace. "By the grace of God we are what we are." It is grace that makes the exceptions in a world of evil, and shews itself in some saved ones, however few.

     Such is a sketch of Noah's days. Let us compare these with the days of the Son of man. Mark the resemblance which our Lord suggests.

     I. In the characteristics of evil. All that marked Noah's days is to mark the last days; only evil is to be yet more developed and pronounced in all its forms. God allows sin to ripen and unfold itself, that its true character may be seen, and that the human heart may be fully revealed in all its aspects of opposition to God. He has sought to check it; He has given his fiery law; He has raised up prophets; He has inflicted judgments; He has sent his Son. But all in vain. Man will not turn to God. He will not be restrained; and God gives him over to a reprobate mind. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and the flesh is ever shewing itself. The seed of the serpent is the same to the last. Satan is the same throughout. Iniquity is to swell, and deepen, and overflow, and toss its waves of darkness, till earth becomes a suburb of hell. 2 Timothy 3:1; 2 Peter 3:10; Jude 18. No law, no restraint, no Bible, no Christ, no God, no religion, no Sabbath, no heaven, no hell, no eternity! Death is a sleep! All evil, from Cain's downward, concentrated and expanded in the days of the Son of man! It is to this that we are hastening on! Nothing but self; self-will, self-pleasing, self-indulgence, flesh-pleasing, lust, pleasure-seeking. Let us eat and drink. Our lips are our own; who is Lord over us?  Universal apostacy; rejection of God and of his Christ, prophet, priest, and king. All this on an earth marked with frequent judgment. In Noah's days there had been no previous judgment; not so in the last. Every thing in the world's long history tells what sin is, what it has done, how God hates it, how He will avenge it, and how He will utterly sweep away the transgressor. The whole history of man, as well as the whole Bible, gives the lie to the fable that sin is just men's misfortune, and that God will not be very hard on the transgressor; as for eternal punishments, they are a libel on God's character! Such is modern progress,-modern development!

     II. In the long-suffering of God. (2 Peter 3) Truly it is long-suffering. Noah's days were nothing to the last days, as a revelation of long-suffering. Ages of long-suffering! So many mercies, so many warnings! This long-suffering cannot be measured. It passeth knowledge. It is infinite and divine. What a gospel do we preach to the world when we tell of ages of long-suffering! In Noah's days it was one hundred and twenty years; in ours it has been already thousands. Reckoning from the cross, we can point to eighteen centuries of long-suffering. What a message to rebellious man! The message of divine compassion and the good news of infinite grace and love.

     III. In the warnings given. Noah's message was, "I will destroy"; and "the end of all flesh is come before me"; He made the world ring with these warnings. So our warnings are yet more terrible and quite as definite, "The end of all things is at hand." "Behold the Lord cometh." "The Judge standeth before the door." Vengeance, sword, fire, the blackness of darkness forever. Read Matthew 24:21, 31; 2 Thessalonians. 1:6-9; 2 Peter 3:7-10; Revelation 4:12, 17; 8:13; 14:8-11; 14:15-21. Terrible warnings! And they shall all come to pass. Careless man of earth, can you hear them unmoved!  Is it nothing to you that such infinite wrath is preparing for the world?  Oh flee from the wrath to come!

     IV. In the handful of witnesses. Only Noah and his family. He is the one preacher of righteousness. He condemns the world! So shall it be in the last days. When the Son of man cometh shall He find faith on the earth?  Satan shall deceive, if it were possible, the very elect. God shall send strong delusion. Only a few shall be found faithful. Iniquity shall abound, and the love of many wax cold. A few out of millions! A few even among professing Christians and in Christian churches! "Few that be saved"; fewer at the close! Let us hold fast our testimony in an age of unbelief.

     V. In the deliverance of these witnesses. The deluge comes, but Noah is safe. The flood touches him not. God has provided an ark. So with the saints in the last days. They shall be delivered from the fiery deluge. Some tribulation they may have to pass through, but the last and terrible one they shall escape from. "Watch and pray always that ye may be counted worthy to escape these things, and to stand before the Son of man."

     VI. In the suddenness of the judgment. They knew not until the flood came!  So shall the coming be. He comes as a thief; as a snare; as the lightning. One taken and the other left. The world might have known, but they would not. They said, "peace and safety" to the last. Then in a moment the trumpet sounds; the fire comes; the Lord appears; oh be ready. In the last days perilous times shall come. They shall end in the coming of the Son of man. Enter the ark and be safe forever.