What on Earth have we done with the Teachings of Jesus?
Now onto section 6 of our review into the Matthew Henry commentary regarding Matthew 24. 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 in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark. They did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 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.
Henry says – Though notice has been given of it from Enoch, yet, when it comes, it will be overlooked by the majority of men. The nearer we are to the latter days will produce scoffers, that say, Where is the promise of His coming? [2 Pet. 3:3-4 knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation]. [Luke 18:8 I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?]
They were head and ears over in the world
Thus it will be when the world that now is shall be destroyed by fire, so it was when the old world, being overflowed by water, perished, [2 Pet. 3:6-7 by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men].
Christ here shows what were the temperament and posture were of the old world when the deluge came. They were sensual and worldly; they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage. It is not said, They were killing and stealing, and whoring and swearing (these were indeed the horrid crimes of some of the worst of them. The earth was full of violence).
They were all of them, except Noah, head and ears over in the world, and regardless of the Word of God. This ruined them. Universal neglect of God is a more dangerous symptom to any people than particular instances here and there of daring irreligion. Eating and drinking are necessary to the preservation of man’s life; marrying and giving in marriage are necessary to the preservation of mankind. But, Licitus perimus omnes—These lawful things undo us if unlawfully managed.
They should have been repenting and praying
First, they were unreasonable in it entire in the pursuit of the delights of sense, and the gains of the world. They were wholly taken up with these things, esan trogontes—they were eating. They were in their element, as if they had no other end than to eat and drink, [Isa. 56:12 Come,” one says, “I will bring wine, And we will fill ourselves with intoxicating drink; Tomorrow will be as today, And much more abundant].
Secondly, they were unreasonable in it. They were entire and intent upon the world and the flesh, when destruction was at the door. Something they had had such fair warning of. They were eating and drinking, when they should have been repenting and praying.
This was to them, as it was to Israel afterwards, the unpardonable sin [Isa. 22:12, 14 And in that day the Lord God of hosts Called for weeping and for mourning, For baldness and for girding with sackcloth. But instead, joy and gladness, Slaying oxen and killing sheep, Eating meat and drinking wine: “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!” Then it was revealed in my hearing by the Lord of hosts, “Surely for this iniquity there will be no atonement for you, Even to your death,” says the Lord God of hosts].
They were secure and careless
It was in defiance of those warnings by which they should have been awakened. “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die. If it must be a short life, let it be a merry one.” The apostle James speaks of this as the general practice of the wealthy Jews before the destruction of Jerusalem. When they should have been weeping for the miseries that were coming upon them, they were living in pleasure, and nourishing their hearts as in a day of slaughter, [James 5:1 Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you! … You have heaped up treasure in the last days… You have lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury; you have fattened your hearts as in a day of slaughter].
They were secure and careless; they knew not, until the flood came, Matt. 24:39. Did not God, by Noah, give them fair warning of it? Did He not call them to repentance, while His long-suffering waited? 1 Pet. 3:19, 20. But they believed not. We need to mix the things that belong to everlasting peace with faith. We need to improve upon it. Otherwise it is as if we did not know it at all. They joined this with eating, and drinking, and marrying; for they were sensual, because they were secure.
Sensuality rocks to sleep
People are so eager in the pursuit, and so entangled in the pleasures of this world. They do not believe and consider, the eternity which they are upon the brink of. If we knew that all these things must shortly be dissolved, we would not set our eyes and hearts so much upon this world as we do. They were secure, because they were sensual therefore they did not believe that the flood was coming. They were eating and drinking. So taken up with things seen and present were they that they did not mind the things not yet seen. Yet they were warned.
As security bolsters men up in their brutal sensuality, so sensuality rocks them asleep in their carnal security. The flood did come, though they would not foresee it. Those that will not know by faith, shall be made to know by feeling. The wrath of God revealed from heaven against their ungodliness and unrighteousness. They did not know it till it was too late to prevent it. This made it so much the more grievous. Judgments are most terrible and amazing to the secure, and those that have made a jest of them.
Security and sensuality are likely to be the epidemics of the latter days
The application of this, concerning the old world, we have in these words: So shall the coming of the Son of man be. In such a posture shall He find people, eating and drinking, and not expecting Him. Security and sensuality are likely to be the epidemics of the latter days. All slumber and sleep, and at midnight the bridegroom comes. All are off their watch, and at their ease. With such a power, and for such a purpose, He will come upon them.
The flood took away the sinners of the old world, irresistibly and irrecoverably. So shall be secure sinners, that mocked at Christ and His coming. They shall be taken away by the wrath of the Lamb, when the great day of His wrath comes. It will be like the coming of the deluge, a destruction which there is no fleeing from.
Adapted from the Matthew Henry Commentary
- 1. Regard for the Word of God needs to be paramount above all else
- 2. The fair warnings that are upon us now in the world should serve to awaken us
- 3. We must set out eyes upon eternity, knowing that the world will shortly be dissolved
- 4. Let’s be on our watch and not slumber and be at ease
Could you not keep watch for one hour? Mark 14:37 Jesus returned to find His disciples fast asleep. How often must we His followers Cause His heart to weep. How He showed His love for them Sharing with them His power! Yet they could not stay awake For just one single hour. Jesus desired so much their companionship “Stay here and keep watch with Me”, He said. Yet so easily it seems we succumb And lay down our weary head. One hour is all that may be asked of us; A modest demand indeed. Let us place ourselves fully at His disposal And respond to His every need. By the late Andrew Feakin [passed away 16th March 2019]
Prayer: Father we ask that You put that hunger within us. A hunger for Your Word above all else. We are mindful of the days we are living in. Help us keep our eyes fixed on You and not be distracted by the world. Forgive us for placing anything or anyone above You. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.