Heidelcast 153: As It Was In The Days Of Noah (1)

What is God doing in the history of redemption and how to does that inform us about what he will do in the future? What were the Old Testament believers expecting? Has God promised to establish a literal 1,000 year kingdom on the earth? With this episode we begin a new Heidelcast series, “As It Was In The Days Of Noah.” These episodes will be a study in what the Bible says about eschatology, last things but more fundamentally, about the relations between heaven and earth. What is Chiliasm or Premillennialism? Postmillennialsm? Amillennialism? Are Amillennialists “liberals,” as some fundamentalists say? How do people arrive at their different eschatological positions? Is there a biblical way to get to a biblical position? After a couple of introductory episodes we are going to dive into Scripture itself by working through 1 and 2 Peter because I am convinced, to put it anachronistically, Peter was an Amillennialist, because it was through translating and studying 1 and 2 Peter in the summer of 1985 that I became convinced of Amillennialism. I was led to it by Scripture itself, by scripture, by interpreting Scripture with Scripture and by paying attention to the way that Scripture interprets itself. I was driven to it by Scripture.

And he said to the disciples, “The days are coming when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. And they will say to you, ‘Look, there!’ or ‘Look, here!’ Do not go out or follow them. For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day. But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot—they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all—so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed. On that day, let the one who is on the housetop, with his goods in the house, not come down to take them away, and likewise let the one who is in the field not turn back (Luke 17:22-31; ESV).

The Apostle Peter, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, interprets Luke 17 for us. He tells us what it means to say, “as it was in the days of Noah…”. That analogy is not just a way of talking about the return of Jesus. It is a way of characterizing the whole of the Christian life between the ascension of Christ and his return. We are now in the same sort of place as Noah was in his day. He was not looking for an earthly kingdom, a temple (much less a re-built temple), a Levitical sacrifice sacrifice, or a glorious millennium on the earth. He was waiting for a judgment and a Savior. That is what we’re doing. Waiting for a judgment and a Savior—that is just what the Apostle Peter says.

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One comment

  1. Listening to this, Proverbs 18:17 came to mind: The first one to plead his cause seems right, Until his neighbor comes and examines him.
    I always seem to agree with the person who speaks last when it comes to eschatology. I have held all three positions and still am not sure which is right: amil or postmil.

    I think that many of the ‘negative’ passages in the NT and even most of Revelation are about the destruction of Jerusalem, but I find it hard to believe all of them are. On the other hand I find it hard to believe that all these positive passages throughout the Bible, like the promise to Abraham that all nations will be blessed in him, psalms 2 & 110, the end of Isaiah and the Lord’s Prayer (Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done earth as it is in heaven) will be reserved mainly for after the second coming of Christ.

    Since Christ is already reigning now it seems to me to make sense that He is also winning/conquering in the Gospel through history. So I certainly would expect an upward trajectory of history. (Maybe with at the end some downturn?)

    Is this postmillenialism or (optimistic) amillenialism? Could you maybe explain in future episodes why you wouldn’t expect Christ and the Gospel to have significant victory in the course of history? (If that is what amillenialism is)

    Also, I am not being facetious, but it just seems to me like the great commission would be less succesful than expected, if my view of what amillenialism is, is correct.

    Jesus says: “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

    And then, the nations are all discipled just to a small extent. I want to be very careful what I say about this, because if that is what the Lord wants, who am I to complain. It is just a question I have a hard time with.

    I am looking forward to the rest of this series because I certainly need it!

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