6. As in the Days of Noah & Lot
Luke 17:26-30 (NKJV) 26 “And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: 27 They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. 28 Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; 29 but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. 30 Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.
There is a lot of material in the Bible concerning how Jesus’ followers are to deal with the end-times. There are many examples in biblical history which show a clear pattern regarding how God deals with His people when bringing large-scale judgement. These two things – history and prophecy – provide the roadmap for those who are truly led by the Spirit/Breath of God.
Jesus’ statement above points us to two major events in history when God sent massive judgment that potentially put His own people in harm’s way. These show two classes of God’s people and provide us with a choice in how we face the end times, and the potential results of our choice. While many Christians’ take-away from this passage concerns only how the wicked will be surprised by judgment, Jesus’ teaching in this chapter concerns how His followers are to be prepared in order to escape. Immediately after the above verses, Jesus gave specific instructions to His followers. One statement in particular makes it abundantly clear that Jesus wanted His end-time followers to use Noah and Lot as patterns – “Remember Lot’s wife.”
Also notice the underlined clause in the above verses, “the days (plural) of the Son of Man.” This refers to an extended yet specific period of time consisting of “days” (plural). It is the period of time described in Revelation which is marked out by two periods of 3.5 years. The whole time-frame is a “week” of years described in Daniel 9:24-27. The “Days of the Son of Man” are the days during which the “Lamb” opens the sequence of seven seals on the scroll of God’s judgements on the world.
As in the Days of Noah
In verse 27 above Jesus stated, “until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.” While this statement appears to indicate that all were destroyed in a single day, the same day that Noah entered the ark, the Genesis account makes it clear that this was not the case.
Genesis 7:1-5 Then the LORD said to Noah, “Come into the ark, you and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation. 2 You shall take with you seven each of every clean animal, a male and his female; two each of animals that are unclean, a male and his female; 3 also seven each of birds of the air, male and female, to keep the species alive on the face of all the earth. 4 For after seven more days I will cause it to rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and I will destroy from the face of the earth all living things that I have made. 5 And Noah did according to all that the LORD commanded him.”
God gave Noah a seven-day heads-up to load up the ark and get his family situated inside. Then it took forty days for the water to slowly rise until all of the tops of the mountains were covered, and all who were outside the ark and had the breath of life died. Consequently, Jesus did not mean that everyone was destroyed on the very day Noah entered the ark, but rather that the judgement began immediately after Noah and his family were safely out of harm’s way. Noah had 120 years of advanced warning.
Heb. 11:7 (LGV) In faith Noah, being apprised about what was as yet unseen, being reverent, constructed an ark for the saving of his household. Through this he condemned the world and became an heir of the justice according to the Faith.
One of the reasons God promised to unseal the “time of the end” for His people is the same reason Noah was forewarned. The proper application of the pattern established by Noah is not that we should build an ark. Nor is it that we must become “preppers” and build a bunker. God has not given us instructions yet regarding the specific physical preparations we must take apart from the general principles stated in Proverbs regarding how a wise man provides for his family and reacts to approaching danger. However, there is one outstanding thing in the story of Noah that serves as a pattern for those who are being led by the Breath of Truth.
Gen. 6:22 (NKJ) Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did.
Gen. 7:5 (NKJ) And Noah did according to all that the LORD commanded him.
Gen. 7:15-16 (NKJ) And they went into the ark to Noah, two by two, of all flesh in which is the breath of life. 16 So those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him; and the LORD shut him in.
Peter made it clear that many so-called Christians will become “scoffers” in the last days regarding the nearness of Jesus’ return.
2 Peter 3:1-8 (LGV) 1 This second letter I am now writing to you, brothers, in which I am awakening your serious contemplation by recollection, 2 to be reminded of the declarations which have been spoken previously by the holy prophets and the instruction from us, the Emissaries of the Master and Savior, 3 knowing this first: that upon the endings of the days scoffers will come, walking according to their own desires 4 and saying, “Where is the promise of His arrival? For since the fathers fell asleep, everything continues like this from the original formation.” 5 For they are willingly oblivious to this: that the skies continued from antiquity, and the land out from water and by water having been upheld by the announcement of God, 6 through which [announcement] the existing order was destroyed. 7 And the present skies and land, having been set aside by the same announcement, are reserved for fire until the Day of Justice and the destruction of ungodly men. 8 Yet, do not miss this one thing: that one day with the Master is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
The “scoffers” include professing Christians who scoff at the nearness of Jesus’ return, and at those who take the warnings and patterns of Scripture seriously. Unlike Noah who was extremely careful to obey all that God commanded him in every detail, the “scoffers” are “walking according to their own desires” which blind them to what God is doing. This is what makes them “willingly oblivious” to the pattern that Noah provides, and to “this one thing” which Peter reminded them about – that God is counting down the time of Jesus’ return in Millennial Days based on Moses’ prayer in Psalm 90.
Noah was held up as an example for us by Jesus because of the two things stated above – his faith in acting regarding things not as yet seen and his unwavering obedience to every detail of what God had commanded him. Because of these two things Noah saved himself and his entire extended family. The “scoffers” in Noah’s day who were “walking according to their own desires” and thus would not listen to Noah, a “preacher of righteousness,” were his relatives, the descendants of Seth who had abandoned the commandments of God. They perished in the flood. The “scoffers” in the end times will have a similar fate when they are caught unprepared.
As in the Days of Lot
Lot also was rescued by God, but only after Abraham pleaded with God not to destroy the righteous along with the wicked in Sodom. Abraham was pleading for God to spare his nephew Lot and his extended family living in Sodom.
Lot was the one who chose to live in Sodom. When he first separated from Abraham, Lot only “pitched his tents near Sodom” in order to allow his herds to have much better grazing pastures in the Jordan valley. But Abraham took the more difficult path, pitching his tents and keeping his herds far from Sodom. As Hebrews 11 states, Abraham’s heart and mind were firmly fixed on the covenant that God made with him, so he chose to live in tents (temporary shelters) rather than to build himself an elaborate house, and allowed God to provide for his herds rather than moving them to greener pastures near Sodom.
Abraham raised Isaac in a tent, and Isaac raised Jacob in a tent, and Jacob raised his own sons in tents. But by the time the two angels came to rescue Lot out of Sodom due to Abraham’s pleading for him and his family, Lot had been living in a house within the walls of Sodom. Lot had no wife or children when he separated from Abraham. Yet when the two angels came to rescue him, he had a wife, two unmarried daughters, and at least two married daughters with their own families. Lot had married a Sodomite woman and raised his children in Sodom. He was living in a house inside the city walls.
Genesis 19:12-16 (NKJ) 12 Then the men said to Lot, “Have you anyone else here? Son-in-law, your sons, your daughters, and whomever you have in the city – take them out of this place! 13 For we will destroy this place, because the outcry against them has grown great before the face of the LORD, and the LORD has sent us to destroy it.” 14 So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who had married his daughters, and said, “Get up, get out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city!” But to his sons-in-law he seemed to be joking. 15 When the morning dawned, the angels urged Lot to hurry, saying, “Arise, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be consumed in the punishment of the city.” 16 And while he lingered, the men took hold of his hand, his wife’s hand, and the hands of his two daughters, the LORD being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city. 17 So it came to pass, when they had brought them outside, that he said, “Escape for your life! Do not look behind you nor stay anywhere in the plain. Escape to the mountains, lest you be destroyed.”
When instructing His followers regarding the end-times, Jesus said, “Remember Lot’s wife,” for a reason. It was not merely to avoid looking back when fleeing. It was also to show the contrast between Noah’s escape and Lot’s escape. Noah’s faith in God, his taking seriously the warnings, and his complete obedience to God in faith that saved himself and his entire family. Lot, on the other hand, took a different path. He compromised, taking a worldly view rather than a godly view. Lot’s wife looked back because much of their family remained in the city. Lot lost most of his family, even though he was spared and his two youngest daughters. The rest of the story in Genesis 19:30-38 also shows that Lot’s two daughters who survived had been seriously corrupted by their life in Sodom.
The judgement by fire that Peter warned was coming at the end of certain Millennial Days is drawing close. God will provide the way for the faithful to escape His wrath just as He has always done. But unless we take the lesson from Noah seriously, and “trust and obey” in every detail, the outcome may not be as we expect. For those like Lot with divided loyalties, with one foot in this fallen world and one foot in the Kingdom, they will be fortunate to escape at all. There will be no hope at all for the scoffers.
1 John 2:15-17 (LGV) Do not love the world, nor the things in the world! If anyone should love the world, the love of the Father is not in him, 16 because all that is in the world, the desire of the flesh, and the desire of the eyes, and the boasting of lifestyle, is not [proceeding] out from the Father but is out from the world. 17 And the world is passing by and its desires, but the one doing the will of God remains into the age.
Go to: 7. The Mass Apostasy which precedes Antichrist
 v. 32
 Revelation 5:1 – 8:1
 Dan. 12:8-10 (LXX); 1 Tim. 6:15 (LGV)
 For a full explanation of this concept, see the series of articles titled “Pristine Apostolic Eschatology” on the following page: Last Days Overcomers https://www.4windsfellowships.net/blog/pristine-apostolic-eschatology/
 2 Pet. 2:5
 Gen. 18:20-33
 Gen. 13:5-13 (NIV)
13 thoughts on “6. As in the Days of Noah & Lot”
While there may be those Christians who scoff at the nearness of Christ’s return, this does not seem to be Peter’s point. The scoffers in 2Pet3 will say,
“Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation (3.4).”
This does not seem a denial of its nearness, but rather they seem to be scoffing at the fact that, after all of these centuries, it has still not occurred. This seems more likely a denial of the coming of God’s judgment. Peter’s continued commentary on the matter seems to support this interpretation when he says,
“The Lord is not slack concerning [His] promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (3.9).”
Just my perspective.
I am not sure there is much of a distinction between what I wrote and what you are saying. IMO, the critical question about this passage is whether the “scoffers” Peter spoke about are professing Christians or non-believers who scoff at the whole concept of Christ’s second coming.
My opinion is that it refers primarily to so-called Christians in the end times as opposed to unbelievers (the traditional interpretation). This opinion is based on the scoffers’ acknowledgement of the “original formation” (beginning of creation) and their acknowledgement of “the fathers” who have fallen asleep. This last acknowledgement implies, IMO, their doubting the near fulfillment of the covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (the fathers), something that comes with judgement on the Day of the Lord. They are essentially saying that everything is continuing as normal. They do not acknowledge the fulfillment of the sequence of events that Scripture indicates must occur prior to Jesus’ coming. When Peter then indicated that “God is not willing that any should perish” he was specifically referring to what Jesus said in Matt. 24:14, that “this Gospel of the Kingdom must be proclaimed in all nations and then the end will come.” This was the main hinderance to the end-time scenario that will bring judgement on both the ungodly and on disobedient Christians, many of whom will fall away according to the verses immediately preceding (Matt. 24:9-13). Others will not have God’s protection from judgment as the warnings to the seven churches in Rev. 2-3 indicate. They will not fall into the category of those who will be preserved by God during the “hour of trial” (Rev. 3:10).
The “scoffers” in Peter’s statement are Jesus’ wicked servants in His parable in Luke 12:45-46.
“But if that servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and be drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.”
These are the “scoffers” in Peter’s statement, IMO. They do not think that judgement is coming for them because they are drunk on their own deceptions (cf. Isa. 29:9). Also, compare the state of Christianity in the end-times described by Paul in 2 Tim. 3:1-9. The remedy for this situation is found in heeding Paul’s words to Timothy which immediately follow in 2 Tim. 3:10 – 4:5.
Tim, thanks for the quick response. I did not address the identity of the scoffers, as I do not disagree that they are (as you stated), “so-called Christians”. While they may claim themselves as such and may have even been in fellowship with a true Assembly, Paul tells us that “their folly will be manifest to all (2Tim3.9),” as they are “evil men and impostors (2Tim3.13),” who “turn their ears away from the truth (2Tim4.4).”
I also agree that there is not much of a distinction between our thoughts. This is why I tried to only focus on the area where I think our opinions differ. You stated:
TW>> “The ‘scoffers’ include professing Christians who scoff at the nearness of Jesus’ return, and at those who take the warnings and patterns of Scripture seriously.”
I agree with the second half of this sentence. The ‘warnings’ of Jesus and His emissaries, and the ‘patterns’ presented about both Noah and Lot from the Scriptures, may be targets of ridicule by scoffers. It is the first part where my opinion differs (as I wrote previously).
Peter’s words give no indication that these imposters are scoffing at the nearness of the Lord’s return. For, they are, as you rightly state, “Jesus’ wicked servants in His parable in Luke 12.45-46”, who says, “my master is delaying his coming”. These wicked servants are not scoffing at the nearness of the Lord’s return, but have become tired of waiting, more interested in their own desires, but do not know when their Master will come. These will be surprised on the day of their Master’s return, having not watched for the Thief’s arrival. Notice that the “faithful and wise servant (12.42)” is applauded when the Master returns, for he was found “watching (12.37)”. He was watching because he did not know when his Master would return, “for the Son of Man is coming in an hour you do not expect (12.40).”
So today, some may think, “it has been 2000 years, our Lord delays His return,” but the faithful servant is to “watch and be sober (1Th5.6)”, not abusing the Lord’s flock, but shepherding His “male and female servants”, for “Blessed is that servant who his Master will find so doing when He comes (12.43).”
I can find no point in the patterns of Noah or Lot, the words of Jesus in Luke 12, of Peter in 2 Peter 3 nor of Paul in 2 Tim 3-4, where it is stated or implied that the “imposters” have been told of the nearness of the Lord, and scoff. If I have missed some Scripture that teaches so, I surely desire to see it. Thanks again.
OK, I get your point. But here is why I disagree. Jesus’ statement to His disciples that they do not know the day or hour of His coming was only His assessment of their current situation. He used the parable of the man surprised by the thief to show that proper watching requires knowing the general timeframe in advance. Take a look at the following article which explains why the faithful WILL know when Jesus is coming in advance.
Let me know what you think after you read that.
The next article in that series is also pertinent to the question of whether faithful, wise, obedient Christians will know at least the approximate time when Jesus will come in advance.
I would like to know if you agree before we get back to 2 Peter 3 and the “scoffers.”
You posed the question of whether I believe that obedient Christians will know at least the approximate time when Jesus will come in advance. As the term ‘approximate time’ can be subjectively understood, I would say, yes I do believe that obedient Christians can know the approximate time of our Lord’s return. Scripture seems to clearly indicate an approximate time in advance. After the birth-pangs we will enter into the season leading to the rise of Antichrist. At this point we can know we are in the season of the Lord’s return.
Concerning the article, there are a couple of points I would like to put forward. I did not want to present every point of disagreement, as the original response was concerning the statement, “The ‘scoffers’ include professing Christians who scoff at the nearness of Jesus’ return, and at those who take the warnings and patterns of Scripture seriously.” So I will try to be brief.
Concerning the Gospel spread to the World
The interesting point here is that we do not know when this actually occurs. Paul seems sure he had completed his ministry in the eastern empire and was ready to head west to do the same when he wrote to the Romans. In Paul’s mind, would that have concluded his work of spreading the Gospel to the Nations once both east and west were evangelized? Or, could the Gospel have been spread to all peoples at some time in the past, say when there were only 50 nations that eventually separated into the current 195 that exist today? Also, it does not seem that the gospel must be preached in every nation, but all over the inhabited world as a witness to all the nations.
It is a difficult thing to calculate and may have simply been informational, in the sense that God was going to ensure the world received the message before the end would come, and was not meant as a sign to try and calculate its completion. But for sure we know that the gospel will have been witnessed prior to the return.
Concerning 1 Timothy 6.15
TW>> “Notice that the time of Christ’s Kingdom had been “sealed” UNTIL another block of time, prior to the arrival of the Kingdom, during which time many will be instructed and knowledge will be multiplied concerning what had been previously concealed. The early Christians knew this, and it is exactly why Paul wrote the following:”
I take some issue with the interpretation of ‘δείξει’ which has been translated as ‘disclose’. It seems to have been worded to allow the thought that in a certain season prior to, God will disclose the timing of the Epiphany. But this word ‘δείξει’ is not speaking of the “seasons” to be revealed, but rather pointing back to ‘ἐπιφανείας’. God will “reveal” the “appearing” of Jesus in His own seasons.
This seems nothing more than Paul confirming Jesus’ words found in Matt 24.36 and Acts 1.7, the timing of Christ’s coming was only known by the Father.
If I have mistaken the intention of the translation, I welcome correction (this is why we are blogging, yes?).
Concerning Matthew 24.36
First, I always show skepticism whenever someone argues about what may be possible per what was NOT said. In this example, Jesus stated “no one knows”, to which some then claim, “notice Jesus didn’t say ‘no one can know or learn in the future.’” This is a mere supposition to claim that what Jesus really meant was that it would be possible in the future for some to know.
Second, concerning the novel translation of ‘οἶδεν’ as ‘has learned‘. Was this also the intent when we read of Moses’ grave that, “no one knows his grave unto this day (Deu.36.4)?” Is this meant to be an unspoken challenge that some future person/people will discover the location, even though it was God alone who had buried Moses? It seems that we are to conclude that since God alone possessed this knowledge, the intent was for this information not to be known by others.
And, while it is true that any knowledge we possess has come to us through learning, it seemed to be an odd translation choice of “has learned” in place of “knows“, when there are three nominatives for this single verb. To say that “no one has learned” is one thing. To say that “none of the angels have learned” another; yet to say that “God alone has learned” is something altogether impossible! For, who has become His counselor? The translation of this verb must make sense for the three different nominatives, yes?
As I have answered your question, I will continue to read the original document (https://www.4windsfellowships.net/blog/1-sealed-until-the-time-of-the-end/), in hope of continuing/concluding our discussion on the scoffers.
Thanks for the comprehensive reply. First, the numbers of days from the abomination of desolation until Christ’s coming are given in Daniel and Revelation. So not only can the approximate time be known once this event occurs, but the additional information regarding the 2 witnesses (assuming that you understand their testimony to be before the AoD) also allows for relatively precise calculation for Jesus’ return from the beginning of the 70th week. In any case, by the mid-point of the 70th week at the latest the precise time should be known by those who are eagerly watching for His return.
Concerning the Gospel spread to all nations:
The statement by Jesus does not indicate that the end may come at some prolonged period of time after the Gospel has been proclaimed among all nations, as your comments seem to me to imply. Rather, He indicated that it will come at the time this is completed. Jesus stated that the Gospel must first be preached in ALL the world as a witness to ALL nations, … τότε ἥξει τὸ τέλος, lit. “at that time the end will come.” The adverb τότε is not a sequential term and does not mean after that time has elapsed (allowing an indefinite period), but indicates precisely WHEN the end will come in relation to the completion of the Gospel’s proclamation. The “end” here could refer to His actual coming, or to the end of the undermined gap between the 69th and 70th week, that is the commencing of the series of specific time-specified prophesied events. In other words, the 70th week (or perhaps the last half of the week), will commence at the time that the Great Commission is completed.
Regarding Matt. 24:36, I think that verse needs to be understood in light of the same point made in verses 42-43. Verse 43 gives a parable to illustrate the point in the previous verse (and in v. 36). That parable indicates that not knowing in advance the limited timeframe in which to watch for Jesus’ coming leads to potential disaster. Jesus’ words “you do not know” (which I have translated as you have not perceived/discovered/observed) is the verb for “see” but in the perfect tense. My contention is that οἶδεν does not mean merely to “know” something as a static condition. While older lexicons used to make no distinction between this term in the perfect tense and the normal present tense verb rendered “know,” more recent scholarship has made exactly the distinction that I am making. Young’s renders it as “no one hath known” which implies a past component to the knowledge by the past tense English verb “hath.” Older lexicons like Strongs and Thayers identified this term as #1492 in their lexicons and defined it as “know” as though the perfect tense was actually present tense. Yet the Latest New American Standard lexicon agrees with my definition which does not ignore the normal implications of the perfect tense like older lexicons have done. The new NASB lexicon has assigned a new number for this term in the perfect tense only, # 3609a, and defines it as “to have seen or perceived, hence to know.” That is, the present knowledge implied is the result of a point of discovery, learning, or being shown. This corrects the previous misunderstanding of this term which has long been the basis for how these “no one knows” passages have traditionally been understood, particularly by pretribulationists.
My point here is that it is wrong to view these passages as saying or implying that no one knows as a timeless concept, as a present tense verb could imply. If that is what Jesus meant, He would have used the present tense γινώσκω. The usual sense of the perfect tense indicates two distinct but related aspects, both a past event and the continuous present state or condition that is the result of that action or event. It is wrong for the interpreter to remove the past component from Jesus’ statements. The perfect tense is more rare than the present, and whenever it occurs there is a definite reason why the speaker or writer chose the perfect tense verb instead of the present. Jesus said, and meant, that “no one has perceived or discovered” the time of His coming. The past component that is demanded by the perfect tense precludes this statement referring to a timeless condition. Besides, the mere fact that we all agree that we can and should know at least 3.5 years before He comes shows that this cannot be a timeless statement.
Jesus then went on to say to “become ready,” using an imperative that requires a new condition (becoming ready) something that the disciples and everyone else at the time did not as yet own. In the parallel passage in Luke 12, Peter asked for clarification about who Jesus was addressing this parable and the associated command to. Jesus indicated that it was for His servants in the future, those whom the Master will (future tense) make rulers in His household. This statement implies that it was not for the disciples themselves to discover the time, but for some others at some point in the future.
I am not arguing from silence regarding what Jesus did not say. I am arguing from what He actually said, and pointing out the nuances and limitations of what He said. My point is that His words are very precise, and they LIMIT the possibility that anyone had acquired knowledge of when He will come at the time when He made the statement. His words DO NOT limit anyone from gaining this knowledge at some time in the future, either during or even before the 70th week begins. Therefore, it is incorrect to use Jesus’ statements to this effect to claim that no one can know. One thing we can know for sure is that He is NOT coming back before what verse 14 indicates is completed.
IMO, your point that the same verb is used for God knowing the time in v. 36, does not overturn my point. If God is the one who has made the determination of when that will be, then the past aspect of the perfect tense is indeed applicable. It could be stated that the Father alone has “foreseen.” As long as the past component remains intact, referring to a past event with continuing results, the point is the same. It is in the active voice whether referring to all three nominatives, including God. In all cases it implies some sort of active participation on the part of the nominative pronouns or nouns acquiring the information. The concept of encountering the information initially can be by observing or discovering what has already been determined, but it can also refer to making a determination in the case of God who will then make it happen.
Now your point is well taken that knowing exactly when the Gospel has been proclaimed among all nations is something that can only be approximated at this time based on what we know of history and technology. However, I think it is fair to say that the end has not yet come, therefore based on v. 14 at least the 70th week has not begun. I also think it is a fair assessment to say, that with our knowledge of history, and our knowledge of modern technology which makes the gospel available to virtually every place on earth, and certainly among every ethnic group (the meaning of “nations”) that we are virtually certainly on the very edge of the complete fulfillment of this particular indicator. That is, Jesus’ coming, and the prophesied sequence of predetermined days in Daniel and Revelation, are very near indeed. It WILL COME “at that time” when the Great Commission is complete, not before and not significantly after.
Now, when I used the term “scoffers” in the manner I did I was referring to those who absolutely deny this kind of evidence. IMO, pastors and teachers should be NOW preparing those under their charge for the end times. Those who say “My master is delaying His coming” given what is relatively obvious from the above facts, acts as though Jesus’ coming is a long way off and neglecting his responsibility, not giving those under his charge “the necessary food at the proper time,” then he is going to be in a world of hurt. This, IMO, is indeed the kind of willful ignorance that Peter was speaking about in 2 Pet. 3.
Since this answer is getting quite long, I will address your point about 1 Tim. 6:15 in another reply. I’ll try to get back to this point later today, or tomorrow.
PS, thank you for being a “Berean” and challenging me.
CONCERNING THE APPROXIMATE TIME
I only answered the question that you posed concerning an approximate time, but I agree that if the understanding of the AoD is in the middle of a seven-year period, then we would, at the appearance of AoD, have a very accurate time of the end. I also agree that if the Two Witness come before AoD’s appearance, then there would be a precise count also to both the AoD and the time of the end.
CONCERNING THE ADVERB τότε
I will agree it does not necessitate an indefinite period of time, but it certainly allows for other, non-germane events to occur between the ‘τότε’-event and the antecedent event. I would disagree that ‘‘τότε’ is not a sequential event, though it is sequential only concerning germane facts, even if there are only two. EXAMPLE: Stephen’s telling of Abraham’s calling said,
“Brethren and fathers, listen: The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Haran, and said to him, ‘Get out of your country and from your relatives and come to a land that I will show you.’ Then (‘τότε’) he came out of the land of the Chaldeans and dwelt in Haran. And from there, when his father was dead, He moved him to this land in which you now dwell (Acts 7.2-4).’”
When did Abram come out? After the command of God. These are the sequential events germane to Stephens’s telling, but there were other events in between. Abram gathered his family, his servants, and his possessions (Gen. 12.5). This is not an insignificant point as you are claiming that ‘τότε’ “indicates precisely WHEN” the next event will occur. While it does indicate what germane event will come next, it does not demand immediacy, unless the context around it does. A second example can be seen in Acts 28.1-2.
“Now when they had escaped, they then (‘τότε’) found out that the island was called Malta. And the natives showed us unusual kindness; for they kindled a fire and made us all welcome, because of the rain that was falling and because of the cold.”
Did they discover the name of the island immediately upon their escape? Where the natives standing in the water waiting to hear the first words out of Paul’s mouth, “What is the name of this place?” (I use absurdity to make a point, not to be sarcastic). Maybe, but it seems more likely that upon landing on the beach, Paul’s party began a search for inhabitants (something not germane to Luke’s story), or the inhabitants saw them land and came out to meet them (also, not germane to the story). The point being ‘τότε’ does not demand immediacy, only that one significant event follows another.
My point then is not to disagree that “the end” will follow the evangelization of the inhabited world, but that there may be some undisclosed intercalation of time.
A final point on Matthew 24.14; When Jesus speaks of “the end” He may not be speaking about the start of the seven years, but the end – His appearance. If this is true, then verse 14 may not be germane at all as a sign prior to the tribulation period. The previous verse says “But he who endures to the end shall be saved”, where “the end” cannot be the beginning of the tribulation. Just a thought. The Greek has a word for one event falling hard after another, the adverb εὐθέως, meaning ‘immediately, straightway, or forthwith.‘
CONCERNING THE VERB “οἶδεν, ᾔδει”
I understand the usages of the perfect and pluperfect actives of this indicative, and I agree to simply translate this as “knows” CAN present a loss of the time aspect. But it seems that the simple present tense is sometimes used because the time aspect lends nothing to the point of the text. But this should be evaluated case-by-case to ensure this is true before opting for “knows” over “has/had known”.
An example of the perfect active indicative where the time aspect lends nothing to the text can be seen in Matthew 6.8, “Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.” Just because “knows” is translated as present tense, no one is forced to wonder “Is God just learning this?” It lends very little to the point of having it read “For you Father has known…” because if He has known, we understand that He still “knows”.
Concerning the single verb οἶδεν describing the action of the 3 nominatives, you proffered a translation of “Father alone has ‘foreseen’“. This may be permitted IF Matthew was being poetic, but he is not. The verb’s translated meaning should apply equally to all the nominatives. Would you have the verse read as follows: “But of the day and hour no man has learned, not even the angels of heaven, buy My Father alone [has foreseen]”? This would work well IF this is what the Greek actually states, but it is not.
And you have to admit that there is a conceptual difference between “has learned” and “has known” as you are opting for the prior in order to better make your point; it is not a benign translational choice. If we go with “has learned” in v36, then we have a significant problem of God having at some point “learned” of the day and time (you see the dilemma as you have offered an alternative understanding). To this, we must ask “from who/where did He acquire this knowledge”. If we go with “has known”, the point you are trying to make becomes much less salient.
After closer study, it seems more likely that the perfect active indicative of v36 is simply implying some point of knowledge that has not been known in the past (except by God), but being in a perfect tense, that same point of knowledge is still not known unto the present-day (as the perfect explains past events with effect into the present). This does not mean that by the usage of the perfect tense, we are to conclude that it could be knowable in the future. It simply seems to be saying that this fact (knowledge of the day or hour) has been and is still unknown to all but God.
Concerning your statement, “Regarding Matt. 24:36, I think that verse needs to be understood in light of the same point made in verses 42-43. Verse 43 gives a parable to illustrate the point in the previous verse (and in v. 36).” You seem to be going to 42-43 to create a context for 36, but this is backward. 36 sets the context for 42-43 in that no one has known the day or hour unto today (except for God). This is the plainly spoken, non-parabolic fact. Once this fact has been established, 42-43 become explanatory (by parable) in that “if the master of the house had known…”, but he doesn’t (per v.36); the master did not know (v.43) because no one has known (v.36). Hence the command to “watch!”
It would be odd to think that upon every instance of the Perfect Active Indicative, we are meant to assume the possibility of knowing such at some point in the future. It seems to be asking a question that the Scripture is not asking.
As for the pluperfect found in 24.43, it is speaking about an event that occurred and was completed in the past. So, if the goodman of the house HAD known (back then), he would have watched (back then), and not allowed (back then) his house to be broken up (back then); None of the particulars of the pluperfect aspect seep into the present/future.
If we move forward, I will endeavor to post or counter-post only one topic at a time to try and shorten these messages.
I appreciate the conversation as well.
I am going to try to condense this expanding conversation down to the critical points that are relevant to the above article, and can be understood and evaluated by those reading who do not have knowledge of Greek grammar. In the future, perhaps if our discussion is likely to be as extensive as this, we can do so in the appropriate discussion forum instead. That format is much more conducive to threaded and extensive discussions and will make it much easier to follow by those reading, and we can deal with one topic per thread. Also, the system automatically closes comments under the blog posts after a relatively short period of time. I do not want anyone to be cut off if the conversation goes on for some time.
You seem to be arguing that the New American Standard Lexicon and the New Strongs’ Lexicon are incorrect when they identify the word οἶδεν in Matt. 24:36,42,43 as #3609a “to have seen or perceived, hence to know” (including the pluperfect in v. 43). See: https://biblehub.com/greek/3609a.htm. The point of the perfect is that it indicates a point in past time when the knowledge was acquired. That would apply to God as well if He made the plan and determination. It is NOT a verb that is timeless or it would be present tense.
We have agreed that watching and faithful Christians will know exactly (to the day) when Jesus is coming at least 3.5 years and possibly 7 years before He returns based on the day-specific prophecies in Daniel and in Revelation. Consequently, the statements in the Olivet Discourse that “you do not know” or rather “you have not perceived” cannot apply to Christians during that last 7 or 3.5 years when faithful Christians actually will be “watching” for Jesus to appear. This must be true because they most definitely WILL “have perceived” and thus “know” the very day on the calendar that Jesus will arrive once the signs that begin these time periods have been observed (perfect tense).
Consequently, Jesus’ command to “watch” because “you do not know” or “you have not perceived” the time of His coming does NOT mean that watching for His actual arrival is to be done while not knowing when that will be. There really are only two possibilities that Jesus’ statements can indicate, IMO.
1. Jesus meant to “watch” for the whole sequence of prophesied 70th-week signs (not just His actual arrival) hence His pointing to Daniel in v. 15. In harmony with this view, “the end” in v. 14 refers to this 7-year (or 3.5 year) period.
2. Jesus meant to “watch” for His actual arrival at the very end of the 70th week which they had not as yet perceived when that 7-year period will occur. If this is so, the idea of “watching” cannot be in ignorance and without foreknowledge of the very day of His arrival. Saying that Christians are to be scanning the skies daily for Jesus to appear is not what the Bible teaches. That is what pre-tribulationists teach.
In the hypothetical parable of the man surprised by the thief, the reason he was surprised and his house plundered was because he had not perceived which “watch” (a narrow timeframe) in which the thief would come. He did not watch BECAUSE he had not perceived which “watch” of the night he needed to be on alert. Thus the following command to “become ready” (not “be ready” as in most translations) indicates that there is essential knowledge that was or is lacking for the intended audience, and that they were commanded to obtain this knowledge (become ready) in time so that they can be alert within the narrow timeframe. Luke’s parallel account indicates that the point of the parable is so that the Master’s servants whom He places over His other servants can “give them their portion of food at the proper time.” This indicates that there is a necessary time of preparation for teaching and exhortation which Christians leaders must use to prepare their flock for what is coming.
Now your point that the adverb “then” (τότε, defined in the lexicons as “at that time”) allows for undetermined time, is far too loose to be used properly regarding this topic, IMO. It is only valid for very insignificant and short periods of time. I did not mean to indicate that the “end” must occur at the very second that the last syllable of the last Gospel sermon left the mouth of the last preacher, even before those listening had time to be baptized. Of course the examples you provided allow for seconds, minutes, hours, perhaps a few days or even weeks to intervene. Sure, Abraham had days, maybe even weeks, to load his camels and cross the border of Ur. Of course, Paul and his companions had minutes, maybe even a few hours to swim to shore and meet the natives who no doubt informed him of the name of the island. But I find it quite unacceptable to use these examples to then imply that an open-ended and perhaps significant period of time (say decades or generations) can elapse between the completion of the Great Commission and “the end.” And what about other examples of τότε in the same discourse? What about the following:
Matt. 24:29-30 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 “Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. (NKJV)
Should we say that Jesus’ statement allows for weeks, months, decades, maybe generations to elapse between Daniel’s 70th week and the sign of the Son of Man and His arrival? What about vss. 15-18 which immediately follow His statement in v. 14.
15 “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place ” (whoever reads, let him understand), 16 “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. 18 And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. … 21 “For then there will be great tribulation, …”
Can we postulate that when you see the AoD, you can put your house in Judea on the market and wait for the best offer based on Abraham’s example of leaving UR? Shouldn’t we define terms by usage when possible in the immediate context and from the same speaker?
If you can provide examples where this adverb allows for several years, decades, or generations, then such a supposition might be valid. But I do not think you can do that (if that is your intent). If it is not your intent, then we ought to be able to agree that whenever the Great Commission is complete, “at that time” the “end” will come (whether the “end” means the entire 70th week or Jesus’ actual arrival), and that the normal usage of such terminology does not allow for a significant gap.
My intention was to show from Matt. 24:14 that the 70th week, and thus Jesus’ coming at its conclusion, is very, very near. Jesus’ intent in Matt. 24:14 was to show that the completion of the Great Commission is the exact reason for the unknown (to the Apostles) delay in the arrival of “the end.” Peter’s comment that “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance,” (2 Pet. 3:9 NKJ) was intended to make precisely the same point based on Jesus’ statement in Matt. 24:14.
Both Jesus’ statement and Peter’s commentary absolutely require that “the end” must come within a very short time (maybe at most comparable to Abraham loading up his belongings and Paul’s swim to shore to meet the locals) of the completion of the Great Commission. Yes, “very short” is not specific, but it is not decades or generations. I am not at all trying to be that precise, only to prove that the 70th week is very, very close. Precisely when the Great Commission is complete is not yet knowable by us. But the “season” most definitely IS knowable based on both our modern knowledge of how far the Gospel has already saturated cultures, and that technology is now available for every nation on earth to access it.
Consequently, I cannot agree with your earlier point that the Gospel might have been already preached to all nations that existed long ago when there were fewer nations. If so, the 70th week would have occurred very shortly after that occurred. That would be Preterism.
Since we have been told the reason for the delay by both Jesus and Peter, and we also know that the reason is at least on the verge of being fulfilled, there is no reason for delay. The wise virgins should have already procured their oil, and begun their vigil. The servants whom the Master has made “ruler over His household” in Luke 12:42 ought to be doing exactly what Jesus stated, “to give them their portion of food at the proper time“ (ESV). That proper time is now. The proper “food” IS NOT to build a bunker, to stash guns and ammo and do target practice, to join protests in order to “Make America Great Again,” or to defy government officials because they are encroaching on your perceived “liberties.” The “proper food” for this “due season” is to first cleanse and purify ourselves of all unrighteousness, including pride, to humbly and publicly obey God’s commandments and set an example for those we lead. That is my heart-felt opinion, based on the above reasons as well as others regarding the “Millennial Week” concept found in ancient Chiliasm, and in the Bible as well.
Thanks for the response. I am very aware at the time and energy such long posts can require, and the conversation is most appreciated. Therefore, I will be brief.
Concerning whether or not I am arguing with the NAS Lexicon (or the Strong’s), I have known what the lexicon states, and I see how the NASB 95 and 20 (on which the NAS Lexicon is based) use this word. Here is how the NASB translates Matthew 24.36:
NASB95 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. ”
NASB20 “But about that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. ”
Here is the semantic range of translations of the Perfect Active Indicative οἶδεν:
** knows 14; know 9; become learned 1; understand 1**
It is interesting that even in light of the NAS lexical definitions, the NASB translation team made these translational choices.
Concerning ‘τότε’, in an unfortunate attempt to reduce the size of my previous post, I inadvertently removed my concession that the example of “50 countries” at some point in the past was a bad example because that could have meant decades (or longer), something I do not believe. My only point is the one you have agreed with, that ‘τότε’ does not indicate precisely WHEN the end will come but can allow for some period of time in between. My omission in my final draft was unfortunate as it has caused you to expend many words which were not necessary. If you go back and re-read my previous post, you can probably understand that I was writing from this understanding.
Finally, concerning the “scoffers”, I think we agree. As that day draws closer, and the birth pangs become evident, we will know the time is near. It is incumbent for shepherds to tend to God’s heritage in the local assembly that they serve, warning them as that time approaches. Those who say “my master is delaying his coming” will be, as you say, in a world of hurt. Those who knew, but did not prepare will be beaten with many stripes. Those who did not know, yet committed things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few (Luke 12.45-48).
Thanks again for the sharpening, I am sure we will chat again in the future.
Regarding the NASB reading: The best and latest scholarship revisions tend to first appear in editions of the Greek text (such as Nestles’ 28th edition / UBS 5th edition). When comparing the series of revisions that have taken place over the years you will observe even changes in the punctuation added to the critical editions of the Greek text. A case in point is the latest critical Greek editions regarding John 1:3-4. The older Greek editions ended the sentence after ὃ γέγονεν “what has originated” (or as the NASB has “has come into being”). For example, the NASB has: “3 All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.”
A literal translation of John 1:3-4 following the latest edition of Nestles’ and UBS critical Greek texts is literally translated as I have it in the LGV: “3 Everything originated through Him, and without Him nothing originated. 4 What has originated in Him was life, and the life was the light of men,” The NJB reads the same as the LGV. “3 Through him all things came into being, not one thing came into being except through him. 4 What has come into being in him was life, life that was the light of men.”
Yet the latest edition of the NASB continues to translate this as in previous editions of the critical Greek text as follows: All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.”
Note where the sentence ends and the next sentence begins. This is a theologically significant change. But the latest edition of the NASB has not followed exactly their own underlying Greek text.
So the question is this, Why do the translation committees lag so far behind current scholarship? The answer is that the translation committees are well aware of the implications of such radical changes regarding theology that already have a long history based on earlier translations. Changes of this magnitude must be introduced slowly for their purposes. They are sensitive to the difficulties that such radical changes in their translations will have on those who have used the earlier (incorrect or incomplete) readings to prove their own theological positions. They are also aware that any radical changes will bring a lot of controversy and criticism of their translation and that can seriously affect sales which depend on the endorsements of the Christian leaders who use the translations in their public speaking. Consequently, any needed changes will first appear in the latest Greek editions and in the latest revised lexicons. They will very gradually filter down into the translations over time as the Christian community at large is able to digest the changes without too much upheaval. As you are no doubt aware, change to long held theological positions do not come easily and without a fight. This is why the latest edition of the NASB has not yet adopted this change regarding the implications of the perfect tense verb οἶδεν into their translations. Given enough time, they will do so. This is why it is really important for those dealing with the nuts and bolts of theology to stay current with the latest scholarly revisions to the Greek text and the lexicons. One can easily make a strong case for a point from the translations and older lexicons which turns out to be completely wrong.
IMO, this is exactly what has occurred with the perfect tense verb οἶδεν in Matt. 24:36 etc. Most of the older lexicons treat it as though it was present tense because they really did not see any distinction or reason for why it is perfect tense due to their own theological biases. The perfect DOES INDEED have a present component. But that is only part of the story. The historical point in time when the present condition began is also embedded in this term but ignored by most translators. And that past component is indeed relevant everywhere this verb appears. Rendering it as “knows” is indeed a major PART of the meaning. But it is not the whole meaning. When the past aspect of the perfect tense verb is INCLUDED in the translation (“to have perceived and hence to know”), the Scripture becomes clearer and more nuanced when we relay this rendering. We should look for WHY the perfect tense verb is used in any context and try to discern the intent of what past component the writer intended to imply.
IMO, this nuance, which is left out of almost all translations (except Young’s Literal), is important to how I am interpreting and applying the passages in question. I have also tried to relay this meaning in other passages where this term appears in the LGV.
Thanks for the lively interaction. Maybe we can discuss the remaining issue concerning 1 Tim. 6:15 at some point in the future. Right now I really need to focus on preparation for the upcoming Passover.
God Bless, Tim
You might find this interaction from 2012 quite interesting, when I posted on the Biblical Greek Forum regarding οιδα (and whether it implies a past action).
Thanks for your input. The understanding presented by Stephen Carlson’s posts have been my understanding for many years.
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