Noah’s Flood as a Picture of the Second Coming (Mt. 24:37-39)
Jesus then reveals that His return will be like Noah’s flood. No one knew the day or the hour the flood would come, but those who would perish in it were warned. Even though Noah, a preacher of righteousness (2 Pet. 2:5), drew a great deal of attention by building the Ark over several years, none of the population seemed to respond to his warnings. We are told that life went on as normal, with people living as they had always lived. Noah built and preached, and they ate, drank, and started families. When the time came for judgment to come upon the world, God saved eight souls by lifting them above the destruction below (Gen. 7:16-17; 1 Pet.3:20). The flood came and took away those who did not place their trust in God. Only those who believed in, and who trusted in God's provision (the Ark), were left on the earth. Noah received grace (unmerited favor) from God to believe, to build, to preach, and to walk with God. The Word tells us that all flesh was corrupted (Gen. 6:12). Noah didn’t deserve to be saved, and neither has any other, before or since. Salvation has always been by faith in God (Eph. 2:8-9).
Two Warnings About His Second Coming (24:40-51)
In the next passage, Jesus again explains that life will be going on as usual; workers will be working in the fields and grinding the harvest when He returns. One will be taken and the other will be left. Some have interpreted this as a picture of the Rapture, but Jesus is teaching chronologically. This passage begins, “then shall” which shows the event follows the Tribulation (see v. 29). Those taken will no longer be here, while the rest will remain. Since the next event is the Millennium, the ones left will be allowed to live under the authority of the King of kings in His kingdom (Rev. 19:16-20:6).
In the ultimate irony, Jesus then describes Himself as a “Thief,” and Satan as “the Goodman.” We know that Satan is "the god of this world" (2 Cor. 4:4). In his temptation of Jesus in the wilderness, Satan offered the world to Christ, if He would simply fall down and worship him (Mt. 4:8-9). Notice that Jesus didn’t tell Satan that it wasn’t his to give. We also know that Jesus will come as a thief in the night (2 Pet. 3:10; Rev. 16:15. What does the “Thief” take? He removes the “Goodman’s” prize possessions: the souls that still belong to Satan. Those left will be allowed to enter His Millennial Kingdom. Revelation 19:11-21 indicates that those taken were killed by the Word which is described as a sword from the mouth of Jesus (vv. 15, 21).
In all of these examples, those taken were removed so that those remaining could live on with God. The Word tells us that those removed had either received the mark of the beast or they had worshiped his image (Rev. 19:20). The Antichrist and the false prophet are then cast alive into the lake of fire. In each case, Noah's Ark and the Thief, the unfaithful are removed, and those remaining live on. The Second Coming of Christ signals the beginning of the fulfillment of the remaining messianic prophecies.