This is a very fitting question for the times that we are currently living in as we are at a nuclear standoff with North Korea. Let’s start today by quoting one of the world’s most famous theoretical physicists, Stephen Hawking. For he recently was quoted in the news as making the bold prediction that we have about 100 years left before we destroy ourselves and we ought to be making plans to find another planet to live on. He sighted, threats of climate change, nuclear war, overpopulation, asteroid strikes, and a robot takeover that make the odds of our survival quite grim.
As we look at the earth and the people living in it, it is truly a miracle of God’s preservation that we haven’t all killed each other yet. In Hebrews 1:3, the Bible states, “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.” If God were to withdraw his miraculous power that sustains all of us, there is no doubt that we would not survive. So, if God would allow us to kill ourselves, I’m certain that we probably would have done it already many, many eons ago.
But to think that man can destroy it, I believe, comes out of the same arrogance of man trying to tell God how the world began. The theory of evolution taught across this country in most of our public schools all the way through the university level, tries to teach that it was through some great bang that the world began some billions and billions of years ago. In spite of the fact that they have no eye-witnesses, they present their case as though it were factual! Now, in the same thread of arrogance, folks like Stephen Hawking want to predict how we’re going to bring it all to an end as well.
Let’s go to the words of Jesus in the gospel of Matthew, chapter 24:37-39. Jesus says, “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and the knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. This is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.”
So, Jesus says that when he returns there’s going to be parallels to the time period of God’s judgment upon the people of Noah’s day, and the final Judgment Day when he comes back for us.
Theological historians believe that during the time-period of the flood there was as many as 7-10 billion people living on the earth. Compare that to about the 7.5 billion currently living here. So, if Jesus says, “As it was in the days of Noah, so it shall be at his coming,” then we know that people will still be around at Judgment Day. And when Jesus says, “People were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage,” Jesus is simply saying that business as usual will be taking place in this world before the end comes, even as it was in Noah’s Day. The people who had rejected God saw nothing different 2 weeks or 2 months before the rain started falling to the ground in judgment for 40 days and 40 nights and so it would appear to me that this same sort of ignorance will be prevalent at his return.
Are we in that time-period right now? It’s hard to say. We could be, or it could be 100 or 1,000 or more years off. Even though God doesn’t tell us the exact time of his return, he does tell us to be vigilant of his return and to pay attention to the signs around us. And one of the greatest signs of the end would be a gross falling away from the truth of the gospel. The church, by and large, would become watered down by all sorts of teachings that merely tickle one’s ear, that is, telling them what they want to hear rather than what they need to hear. Are we in that time-period now? We very well could be.
But the way the church stays vigilant is by holding to God’s Word using it as its most valuable possession. And we do so by reading and teaching it to others and so growing in our faith.
In answer to your question, there is a time called the End. And there will be people on the earth. And it will be reminiscent of the time-period in which Noah lived. And we know what God’s declaration to the world was at the time of Noah. The Bible states, “The LORD saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time” (Genesis 6:5).
Lest we become the spiritually sleeping people of Noah’s day, we must be vigilant to the Bible’s warnings. And to be vigilant means to continually look in faith at what God promises you and me through his Son Jesus Christ. He promises us forgiveness and reconciliation through his blood, which atones for all of our sins. And he promises us the Kingdom of heaven, which he is preparing for us as we speak. That’s the world we are to continue to look forward to.
Pastor Matthew P. DeNoyer