What does the Bible really mean when referencing, "as in the days of Noah?" Even if you have read these verses many times before; please slow down and read them fresh again today. What is the essence of what is being said? First let's consider Matthew and then Luke.
Matthew 24:36-39 "But of that day and hour no one knows, not 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 in 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."
Is this about "the way they were living" or "the timing"?
Matthew 24:40-44 "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. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect."
This is a harvest. The righteous ones are taken, the unrighteous are left.
Matthew 24:45-51 "Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods. But if that evil servant says in his heart, 'My master is delaying his coming,' and begins to beat his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
The ones who had been of the Master's house, who then chose the way of the world, will have their portion with the hypocrites and with a weeping and gnashing of teeth.
It is about timing, that no one knew the day or hour but the Father. It is about being ready, living worthy and in expectation.
Were these verses simply about how evil people were? Or are they about being right with God, because a person does not know when He is coming, and He wants us to make it?
Now the account as it is in Luke:
Luke 17:20-24 Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, "The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, 'See here!' or 'See there!' For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you." Then He said to the disciples, "The days will come 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 here!' or 'Look there!' Do not go after them or follow them. For as the lightning that flashes out of one part under heaven shines to the other part under heaven, so also the Son of Man will be in His day."
Jesus said that His disciples will be longing for the day but will have to wait and in the meantime, not to be fooled. And when His day does come, the whole sky will light up as lightning illuminates the sky when it happens.
Luke 17:25-28 "But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: 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. Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built..."
In neither case here did He elaborate on how evil they were, but that life was going on: eating, drinking, planting, marrying, building etc.
Luke 17:29-32 "... 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. In that day, he who is on the housetop, and his goods are in the house, let him not come down to take them away. And likewise the one who is in the field, let him not turn back. Remember Lot's wife."
Something back in Sodom had her heart. And the Lord had said not to look back. We must be faithful to the Lord. Nothing in this world is worth losing our future over.
Luke 17:33-36 "Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. I tell you, in that night there will be two men in one bed: the one will be taken and the other will be left. Two women will be grinding together: the one will be taken and the other left. Two men will be in the field: the one will be taken and the other left."
Once again, this is a harvest. The righteous are removed and spared. And the ones left have to face the judgment and wrath of God.
Questions & Considerations Is it merely, that life will be going on as usual when “the Day” comes?
Is it, that it will “only” be “evil times” as in those days before deliverance of the righteous and judgment on the wicked?
Might it be that, no one knew the day or hour as in those days before deliverance of the righteous and judgment on the wicked?
Is it that a harvest happens- as with Noah and Lot and their families, where righteous people were saved from the judgment that came on the unrighteous and this will happen again?
We also know that Noah (and family) and Lot (and family) were remnants to say the least. They were righteous people surrounded by evil.
Also, in 2 Peter 2:5, Peter said Noah was “a preacher of righteousness.”
Peter, in the next 2 verses, said that Lot “was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)."
There is no doubt that the lost people on earth will be very wicked before the rapture of the church, but Jesus did not elaborate upon it in these verses at all. He did talk about the removal of some and judgment coming upon those left. He warned to stay faithful and that those not taken would be totally taken by surprise.
But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. 1 Thessalonians 5:4-6
While we do believe in a mid tribulation rapture, we are not saying we know the day or the hour. The Lord makes it very clear that no one but the Father knows that. While we do believe it is at or near the middle of the last 7 years of this age, the Lord says that He has to cut the time short for the elect's sake in Matthew 24:22 and who knows the amount of time that will be?