Summary: The rapture of the church.
Judgment of Sodom
When God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, He sent His angels to gather His people out of the city before His judgment rained down. Lot and His family were forced out of the city when the time of judgment came. They sent word to their neighbors and the rest of their family but no one would listen. The angels of God took the arms of Lot and his family and took them out of the city by force (Genesis 19:16). Jesus taught that in the end, the angels will gather His people from the earth and then He will judge the world with fire – just as He did in Sodom. Jesus also said that when He returns it would be like the time of Sodom (Luke 17:28). We already see this happening in our world. The sins of Sodom are widely accepted and the message of the true gospel is ignored or mocked. When Lot warned his friends of the coming judgment, they made it into a big joke. How many examples can we see where the fear of the Lord is made into a mockery. People today also do not take the wrath of God seriously but it seems to them as a big joke as it did to those in Sodom. They do not want God; they don’t want godliness; and they don’t care what damage is done by sin. Our legal system fights for the ‘rights’ of children to view pornography in public libraries, but then fights to remove all public displays of Christianity or the commandments of God. Raising a generation of immoral young men is more acceptable than having godliness in our culture.
Judgment of the Flood
Jesus also pointed to the time of Noah as our example to recognize the eminent return of Christ. Look at Matthew 24:
36 " But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.
37 "But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
38 "For 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,
39 "and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
The clearest example of God calling out His people before judgment is revealed through the Ark. If we look at the time of Noah, the world had complete morally bankruptcy. Genesis 6 explains:
5 Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.
12 So God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth.
God will never allowed mankind to completely self-destruct. For four generations, Noah and his forefathers preached to the world and God was rejected. Mankind was only one generation away from having no godliness at all. Therefore, God intervened and used Noah to begin with a fresh start. When mankind descended to the point to where the only thoughts that passed through the minds of the men of his generation were wicked and every action was sinful and filled the earth with violence, God called Noah and his family out, and then judged the world.
The ark is a picture of Christ and the rapture. Noah entered into the door of the ark and he was taken out of the world. Once God’s people were taken out of the world, judgment fell. The ark rose above the judgment and returned to the new life God prepared for His people. This is exactly what the Bible teaches about the rapture. We who are in Christ abide in Him. He takes us out of the world and we are in heaven above and out of the judgment below. Once God has poured out His wrath, we return to the earth with Christ in the new kingdom. Scripture does not reveal what kind of persecution Noah endured while working toward God’s deliverance. We know that the world was wicked and violent and he had to endure the mockery of the world around him.
We can see that the principle of the rapture is not new. God deals with us just as He has always dealt with man. God ordains events in the Old Testament to teach us His plan and to testify of what He is doing in prophecy. Are the days today the same as they were in Noah’s day? Is the earth filled with violence? Can a man or woman walk down a city street at night without fear? Are the thoughts of man wicked continually? Can you walk by a magazine rack in a grocery store without being bombarded by sex? Can we watch TV without anti-morality being shoveled to us? Today, we laugh out loud as comedy reshapes our minds into godless ‘values’. Music and videos sear ungodliness into our minds as well. Professing Christians listen to and buy music that glorifies everything that is contrary to God’s own nature. We can’t know the day of Jesus’ return, but we can clearly see these signs the Bible said would come.