We arrive at the last of John Hagee’s alleged 10 Road Signs to the End, the signs he believes and writes are the Countdown to imminent Armageddon. The last of these signs is based upon Jesus’ Old Testament reference to Noah and his generation’s experience of the flood. As in the Days of Noah – 10 Countdown Road Signs to Armageddon Past or Present?, suggests that we must answer the question of when the sayings of Noah applies.
As we noted before, Hagee once again appeals to Matthew 24 to make his case. The source of reference is the author’s “Beginning of the End,” a successfully marketed book which sold over a million copies.
The CUFI leader’s approach is a little bible text mixed in with newspaper headlines. This is always a bad sign of modern day would be prophets. When they mix the Bible with current events from the newspapers, it is a sure sign that what they speak or write as prophecy is nothing but very poor journalism.
The writer attempts to draw a correlative link between the wickedness of the people in the days of Noah to the murders, rapes, kidnapping, assault, and abuse of all types today to say that men are thinking evil all the time. We do not deny that evil thinking is often reported in the news.
However, to assign it a meaning of end time prophecy extends beyond the scope of the Bible.
That Day and Hour
Many assume that the reference to “that day and hour” in Matthew 24:36 refers to a time yet future to us. One of the reasons for this is because the Bible says it was a day unknown to any except the Father. We agree that the day was unknown. However, this day like all other end time events, was spoken of in Old Testament prophecy. The source text is Zechariah 14:7.
“It shall be one day which is known to the Lord—Neither day nor night. But at evening time it shall happen that it will be light. And in that day it shall be that living waters shall flow from Jerusalem, half of them toward the eastern sea and half of them toward the western sea; n both summer and winter it shall occur. And the Lord shall be King over all the earth. In that day it shall be—The Lord is one,” and His name one.” (Zechariah 14:6-9).
Therefore, the context for the unknown day of Matthew 24:36, is Old Testament prophecy and specifically of the coming day of the Lord, Zechariah 14:1f. It is almost unanimously agreed that Matthew 24:1-34, discusses the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. Our question is does Matthew 24:36 belong to a future day, or to that same event in 70 A.D.?
In response to that question, note that Jesus said,
(1) all prophecy would be fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, Luke 21:20-22). Since Zechariah 14:7 is Old Testament prophecy of the end times, then it is fulfilled in A.D. 70. In addition, the “unknown day” of Zechariah 14:7 equals the day unknown of Matthew 24:36. Therefore, latter is fulfilled in 70 A.D.
(2). Jesus taught that his generation would not pass away until all those things were fulfilled. Herein is the divinely inspired time statement of when those events occurred. Hagee’s view stands directly opposed to the words of Christ.
The Day Versus The Days Argument
Another attempt by interpreters to divide Matthew 24 into two comings is the argument made on “the days” [plural] associated with the fall of Jerusalem section and “the day” [singular] of the Son of Man. In other words, the days only refers to the A.D. 70 destruction whereas the day means a current future imminent return.
“But of that day and hour no one knows, net even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be, For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving n marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.” (Matthew 24:36-39).
The problem with this interpretation is the failure to compare Luke’s gospel with Matthew’s. Luke saw no distinction in the days versus the day. In fact, he uses the days [plural] to speak both of the fall of Jerusalem and the coming of the Son of Man.
“And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man:” (Luke 17:26) In other words, Luke shows that the “days” before the flood were a contiguous sequence which led up to “the day” when the flood came, (Luke 17:27). There were not two events, but one.
The Days of Lot
The same occurred with the days of Lot. “Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed. (Luke 17:28-29).
Therefore, Jesus says that the coming of the Son of Man follows the same pattern as the judgment upon Noah and Lot’s generation. Both had days leading up to “the day.” Therefore, exegetically, one can make no distinction between “the days” and “the day and hour” leading up to the coming of the Son of Man.
The “But” (Peri De) Division Argument
This also demonstrates that contrary to the opinions of many, the word “but” (peri de) does not change the subject. “Peri de” is used to between the verses of 1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18, and chapter 5:1-10. Both texts speak of the coming of the Son of Man. Chapter 5:1, alludes to the very day and hour of Matthew 24:36.
If “peri de” changes the subject in Matthew 24, then why would it not do so in 1 Thessalonians 4 and 5? It doesn’t and that is catastrophic for Hagee’s Dispensationalism and for Amillennialists. It proves that peri de can be used in an eschatological context without changing the subject, but simply to expand with greater detail on the subject at hand.
In this manner, Jesus’ moves from discussing the general time to the more precise or specific “day and hour” which was unknown at the time he uttered the statement.
No Time To Flee
The third reason some believe and teach that the chapter is divided into two comings is the reasoning that the suddenness of the coming of the Son of Man does not allow any time to escape by flight.
“Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. “Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left, Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.” (Matthew 24:40-42).
This again is believed to separate the chapter into two comings. Note that in Matthew the verses follow verse 36, the alleged chapter division verse. Yet in Luke, the verses are connected to verses clearly in the “destruction of Jerusalem” section.
On these same verses in Luke 17:34-36, the physician connects them to the same text found in the destruction of Jerusalem section of Matthew 24. Compare verse 37, “And they answered and said to Him, “Where, Lord?” So He said to them, “Wherever the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together”, with the text in Mathew 24:28. There can be no doubt that the events and time are one and belong to A.D. 70.
As in the Days of Noah – 10 Road Signs to Armageddon Past or Present?
Finally, Hagee’s appeal to the days of Noah prove the following. The flood came within the same generation as that to which it was originally promised. The judgment upon that generation did not span 19 centuries before it became imminent.
The judgment in the days of Noah involved a “day” that was unknown and unknowable until God revealed it. Prior to the flood and while constructing the ark, Noah knew by faith, a flood would come in his generation, Heb. 11:7. What he did not know was the precise day and hour.
However, just before the flood came, God spoke to Noah telling him to begin loading the ark for within 7 days, the flood would come. This proves what was unknown and unknowable became know at a later time. It demonstrates that the day Noah entered the ark was simply the “last day” of the days leading up to the event.
Thirdly, it was not the “end of the time.” Yet it was the time of the end for Noah’s generation and the eschatological day of the flood. Therefore, for the coming of the Son of Man to occur as it was in the days of Noah, it cannot be and “end of time” event, but a time of the end event, where life and the world continues.