Friday, August 12, 2011

Like the Days of Noah

Matthew 24:36-44 (ESV)
"But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. [37] As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. [38] For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, [39] and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. [40] Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. [41] Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. [42] Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. [43] But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. [44] Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

This is a rather famous passage, as it makes many moll hills into mountains concerning the divinity of Christ, and how Jesus can be God if he doesn’t know everything. But then again it is all part of the general kenosis of Jesus Christ, that he wills as God not to know some things so as to follow the will of his Father. Another Paradox.
But what is more often overlooked is the way Christ describes what life will be like right before his return. Everything is normal. Nothing is happening to cause any concern. People are making plans for the future, getting married and starting families. People are eating and drinking and having a good time. There is every reason to fall asleep and think that Christ is not returning today. This will be illustrated later by a few parables. Jesus describes today. Why just yesterday it seems I got married. And I have been feasting ever since! But then again Jesus describes Aug 3 1255 too! I imagine someone will get married tomorrow, and there will be a few people eating and some others drinking.
This is a much different picture than the one given by sensational interpretations of Revelation. It is amazing to me, how many evangelicals fear the end. They are consumed with a horror that they will be around for the great tribulation described in horrific if fantastical detail in so many books. Jesus doesn’t give a spirit of fear. We are not about a spirit of fear. If this is the result of your doctrine, then you don’t have the gospel. I’m judging by fruit here I suppose. But that is just it, the gospel is good news, not fear mongering. The gospel is good news, it inspires hope, and confidence, joy and resolve. We know we are saved, and we greet tomorrow with the joy and confidence that we are his and this world cannot destroy us. Our death is our salvation. To die is Gain, to live is Christ. We can’t lose! The victory is ours already! Live or die, we live! Because Christ has given us his life. We live in him, even as he lives to all eternity.
It isn’t that this passage and Revelation are at odds with each other, but the trick is to reconcile the two. A person can try this in many ways. But the rule is to take the clear and let that hold sway over the obscure. That is, you take the clear words of Christ here as they stand, and you know your interpretation of Revelation is wrong if it is at odds or ignores the words of Christ here. Christ will return, and we will rejoice. In the meantime we rejoice that he has stayed his judgment that others might hear the news and join in the joy we share. Might try something of that joy though,
I’m going to return to this whole fear mongering bit. Too often this passes for Christianity. It’s a disease! It’s the product of legalism. Christianity is marked with joy and compassion and love. Those three go together, and they are the product of the forgiveness of sins in Christ’s death and resurrection. We don’t have to be miserable pessimists always criticizing the culture we live in and judging “them.” Got enough to criticize about yourself, if you just need to criticize. Our morality is a product of love if it is true Christian morality. That means it doesn’t give you reason to stand in judgment of others for shacking up, and yet at the same time it gives you reason not to shack up, and to lovingly explain to others why it isn’t a good idea. There is a profoundness to the ten commandments that is ever being mined. They do actually show us how to love. But when you obey them for fear alone, a fear not balanced by trust and love for the lord who died for your sins, and the love he has for your neighbor etc. Then you aren’t following them at all. You don’t get them. And this results in the attitude you have toward them, and the attitude is not missed on your neighbor. When you are resentful of a death bed conversion, you have not love. When you think but they got to enjoy themselves and here I am trying to follow all the rules and be good, then you don’t get it! You ‘d be better off just joining in their orgy of nihilistic pain killing. But when you resist adultery, because you finally figured out what it means to love, well then you learn to eat and drink with sinners like you, and share the joy you have in Jesus Christ.


Scottydog said...

3 August 1255? A random date?

Bror Erickson said...

Totally Random

Anonymous said...

How is discipline to be applied to adults or adult wanna-be's when it comes to moral issues?

Bror Erickson said...

Not sure what your question has to do with this post.

Anonymous said...

When those we have raised and love are "shacking", there is pressure to quietly endure it, even in the LCMS. The "shackers" get plenty of support and are not in the least ashamed.

Frank Sonnek said...

anonymous! reread what bror posted and maybe even take the time to outline it on a separate piece of paper . just a suggestion in love to you. said...

what bror posted and maybe even take the time to outline it on a separate piece of paper . just a suggestion in love to you.

Anonymous said...

Time would be better spent outlining, on a separate sheet of paper, conerning Noah in Genesis Chapters 5 - 9. Then go back to Matthew 24:36-44. See what you come up with.

"just a suggestion in love to you, too"

Larry said...

“Everything is normal. Nothing is happening to cause any concern. People are making plans for the future, getting married and starting families. People are eating and drinking and having a good time. There is every reason to fall asleep and think that Christ is not returning today.”

That, in a nutshell, is golden. It’s so obvious it we miss it. Especially if one juxtapositions that with what Christ says earlier in Matthew about the end…there will be wars, rumors of wars, famines, earthquakes….BUT the end is not yet. Then Jesus continues with what appears to be the “non-answer” to the question asked, “when will these things be and the end come”. We gravitate to those doom signs. My background being baptistic and at one time “mill.” STILL gravitates there when I read a newspaper or watch the news. But then right there it is “as it was with Noah…”. When you LEAST expect it. Not during economic melt downs, or WW I or WW II or WW ?, or when this or that tsunami hits, or the weather for a stretch seems crazy or this or that earthquake devastates _______ country, city, etc…. Rather when we LEAST expect it. Kind of matches the “thief in the night” does it not!

Brilliant! This goes under my category of “if had been a snake it would have bit me”!

Larry said...

Having been ex-evangelical (Baptist/then Reformed), the fear really comes from the lack of certainty of being forgiven. Of course you realize the whole non-pro me in those houses. One always has that nagging legal question of "am I really saved".

But once you have that via faith via the Word and sacrament, all these once fearful passages become hopeful ones and one finds one's self actualy LOOKING FORWARD TO the coming of Christ, not dreading it looking for a rock to hide under.

If I look to myself in any way, I've got to tuck my tail and run. But if Christ is given me, I can forget about it and look forward too His return, not dread it.

Very good Bror, very good indeed!

Larry said...

So when the world is in upheaval (wars, rumors of, economic woes, etc…) you see the rough homeless looking pagan or pre mill bearded guy carrying the sign “The End Is Near” in the streets. And folks think, “could be!” But when the stock market is soaring, the weather is absolutely beautiful, world peace is at an all time high, everybody’s 401K is brimming with money, everybody’s got a roll of 100 dollar bills in their pockets, we have the most loved president/leaders, etc… Then out comes this rough homeless looking bearded guy carrying the sign “The End Is Near” in the streets and everyone asks, “Whose that nut”. Someone says, “Oh, he’s a Lutheran”.

Bror Erickson said...

"He's a Lutheran"
Love it, classic.

Bror Erickson said...

So you ask about discipline and these people shacked up. I guess I used that term there and this triggered the question, though the discipline part really wasn't what I was getting at in this post.
If it bugs you that much to know what happens, I normally, if it comes to my attention ask them to get married, and refrain from communing until they have the situation rectified one way or another. Though I've often wondered if I was doing the right thing there. I've had a few occasions where it became apparent that the woman had very few options, and the man was more or less coward about it, I have thought to use other words. It brings up the question am I treating her with the same grace Jesus offered the Samaritan woman at Jacob's well?

Anonymous said...

The beginning of Genesis 6 (The Flood) addresses a cultural issue, much like today's commonplace practice of shacking up. Girls are more interested in living with a guy while hoping for marriage, rather than dating and waiting for a proposal. It's the contemporary way of getting their man. I am talking about girls raised in the church by two parents who are dedicated to the scriptures. I can certainly see how the end of the world can creep up on us when so much time and energy is spent on the swirling action and the sucking sound of a drain that pulls at those who have been involved in such immorality. A wedding can legitimize the situation, but families still suffer from the fallout. We look for repentence and change of heart -- but there is none. The more you shout your warnings, the more they become like Ham, who rather than shows honor for a father, gets on facebook and publicly declares war on his father's values. We just hope, when it is all over, they will get on the ark. If not, how many will have been considered by God to have been complicite in their demise.

Anonymous said...

In addition to what I just shared above, I would also like to add that there were plenty of people outside of Noah's family, who were watching the ark as it was being built. Perhaps all their FUN was a testament to their mockery of what was being readied for a huge flood. We won't know the hour, but we do know that it is coming. What if it comes sooner than later? Don't ignore the example in scripture of birth pains. They come closer and closer together until they are right on top of one another. The end of this will bring great relief and joy. But in the meantime, there are those who are perishing, which should carry with it a sense of urgency. Why belong to a church when it does not join in warning its members, as clearly and distinctly as it can in light of scripture. where it stands on contemporary moral issues. There are many parents who have little or no support in the cultural battles they face. An explanation of "why it isn't a good idea", if only voiced by one or two people, just doesn't get any results. I guess we will see more fractured families, because the church is already perceived as being divided and fractured, if it does not speak up.

Bror Erickson said...

Wouldn't mind having your name, or some sort of moniker in one of your postings. But I have to disagree with you on many levels.
Shouting warnings concerning Moral behavior done in unison of many voices is what doesn't work. it just incite more of the same.
One, or two people lovingly explaining to another person the reason for moral behavior and approaching it from the context of the Gospel, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ who saw your life as one worth dying for, that gets the job done a lot more effectively.
And have a little compassion on the girls here, they are the weaker sex, and more often then not the victims, even if it looks like complicity. I think most of them would rather date and wait for a proposal as a matter of fact. There are always exceptions to the rule, but seriously, if the guys manned up to be a bit more noble in all this, the girls would follow suit. Most kids today just don't know any better.

Anonymous said...

Who needs the Gospel when people are feeling "comfortable" in their sin? At least they may not be "uncomfortable" with their sin. There is an epidemic out there. I did not call for many voices shouting in unison; but for me, the silence is deafening.
As for the weaker sex waiting for the guys to man up--girls can learn to be morally strong while they are waiting -- till Jesus comes.

Larry said...

Moral debates tend to entirely cover up the real issues under the guise of “bible”, “gospel” and “christs”, “here the Christ is, there the Christ is” warned Christ they (false teachers/prophets) will say.

While these secondary sins are sins, if we are going to discuss sin and “comfort in sin”, then let’s discuss REAL sin and not this moralistic secondary sins. What about all the comfortable in their sin false teachers out there and their denying the grace of God to their infants in believers baptism. That’s a far GREATER sin and spiritual abuse than these others. What about the profanation of the name of God in the same doctrine. What about the entire set of doctrines that go with it that deny the grace of God and assurance of God’s salvation to the same and by extension the adults. What about the blasphemous worship service that goes on in the average baptist church every Sunday that’s far worse an antichristic sin than any moral filth going on at any given moment. The mouth of the baptist pastor or elder who refuses to baptize their infants and children is more foul and filthy than Eddie Murphy ever was during his comedy routines.

Point being? If we are going to discuss sin and “comfort in sin”, let’s get our qualities of sin organized correctly first. Because antichrist ALWAYS likes to point out the prostitute, while simultaneously cover up with white wash the white devil.
Indeed “who needs the Gospel” when people are comfortable not baptizing their children, never concerned that they are not once taking the sacrament.

The picture PERFECT antichristic state, in this life, would indeed be a society of utter morality.

Just makes this statement more apropos: “Everything is normal. Nothing is happening to cause any concern. People are making plans for the future, getting married and starting families. People are eating and drinking and having a good time. There is every reason to fall asleep and think that Christ is not returning today.”

Anonymous said...

If utter morality could ever be seen as a negative, will the new heaven and new earth be a problem with all that absence of sin? Is this one of those paradoxes? This is too much high-brow philosophizing for me.

As for overcoming the Baptist experience, get very familiar with scripture by reading it from cover to cover (more than once). Jane Fryer has published a great systematic approach, which can be purchased through CPH. Read everything you can get your hands on that has been written by Luther, beginning with ON CHRISTIAN LIBERTY and 365 devotional readings titled, THROUGH FAITH ALONE. Other good daily reads are PORTALS OF PRAYER and SPURGEON'S MORNING AND EVENING DEVOTIONS. Books by Augustine are also must reads.

Actually, all the above would be great on a Lutheran's reading list as well. There isn't a church around that hasn't the capability of inflicting pain (or ignoring it), or spinning scripture to support an agenda.

My prayer is that we have a hunger and thirst for righteousness, which is the Christ, who is the WORD MADE FLESH; and that when one falls, there will always be a brother or sister there to pick him/her up in a manner which brings about real restoration.


Larry said...

The new heaven and earth will not be “utter morality”, for “utter morality”, as fallen man uses it, IS in fact the greatest of deadly sins. The problem is not in the Law but in fallen man, even and especially pious man. Luther’s HD Thesis #1: “The law of God, the most salutary doctrine of life, cannot advance man on his way to righteousness, but rather hinders him.”

It’s not overcoming a “baptist experience”, that is to ignore the real. It’s not “baptist experience”, that’s asinine. It’s baptist antichristic soul murdering Christ denying doctrine. The issue is speaking true about sin and not just the “negative sin list” that false antichristic teachers and teachings gravitate toward. In short they utterly ignore Paul in the first part of Romans 1:18 and rush headlong down into the manifesting effects of the idolatry as the primary sin(s), invert the whole matter and thing they’ve done us a favor. They rush to marriage issues, theft, etc…the second table of the Law and ignore the more weighty first part of the table thinking they’ve spoken something and are somehow “above the frey” because they view themselves as having more or less conquered by will power the seduction of the sins in the second table, all the while ignoring they are utterly idolatrous. In short they walk on the “clean side of the broad road that leads to hell”. Because in their false moral bravado they point to the those walking on the dirty side as “sin” and “sinners”; its easy to pick on the thief, a coward can do it.

But they dare not pick on the pious (e.g. baptist/baptist doctrine, reformed/reformed doctrine) who deny the grace of God to their children and by extension adults, who toy with the Word of God and call him a liar with their doctrines. Why? Because like the Pharisees of old they LOVE the applause and having the backs of their necks rubbed by the “pious” Baptist and heterodox theologians and to be amidst them.

A shorter and more poignant and (on purpose) offending way of looking at it:
“Adulterers and murderers for what they do that earns them this title as adulterers and murderers are in danger of eternal damnation” roles off the tongue quite easily and is very savory to the taste buds. It tickles and gives the ear a giggle quite nicely.
Those who speak this way are applauded and even get an “amen” by pagans.
“Well meaning Baptist Theologians and pastors for what they do that earns them this title as adulterers and murderers are in GREATER danger of eternal damnation” rather sours in the belly and offends the pious ear.
Those who speak this way have teeth gnashed at them.

Larry said...


Last part should read:

“Well meaning Baptist Theologians, teachers and pastors for what they do that earns them this title AS BAPTIST THEOLOGIANS, TEACHERS AND PASTORS are in GREATER danger of eternal damnation” rather sours in the belly and offends the pious ear.
Those who speak this way have teeth gnashed at them.