What Does Luke 17:26 Mean?

"And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man:

Luke 17:26(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

As His ministry progressed, Jesus was questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God would come. They liked the idea of a time of peace and prosperity when the wolf would lie down the lamb and each of them would sit under their own fig tree in the kingdom of God. But the carpenter from Nazareth, Who had become a controversial, itinerant teacher, did not present Himself as the conquering King Who would sit on David's throne.

Jesus had already claimed to be Israel's King and had identified Himself as their Messiah through prophetic signs, miracles, teachings, and preaching. The prophet John had identified Him as the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world, but legalism and false perceptions of their coming Saviour blinded the religious leaders to the truth of the gospel of God, and in chapter 17, Jesus starts to address their questions on the Kingdom in order to correct their false perceptions.

He explained that the kingdom of God would not come by keeping the Law and observing signs. It would come by faith in Him. He warned that they would not be able to discover God's kingdom through their own knowledge, wisdom, clever calculation or mysticism. Neither would they enter the kingdom of God by means of their sight or senses. They would only discover the kingdom of God by coming to a knowledge of Jesus Christ as Lord, Who was sent to save the world from sin and Satan, death and hell - and Who stood in their very midst.

Scripture teaches that the earthly kingdom of God will be set up on earth after apostate Israel had been punished in the Day of the Lord - 'the time of Jacob's Trouble'. Christ's kingdom of peace and prosperity can only take place when Israel repents of their sin, nationally. The millennial kingdom of God, about which these Jews were asking, could only happen when the nation of Israel repented of their sin, returned to the God of their fathers, and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as their Kinsman-Redeemer - and Jesus addressed this issue in this dialogue.

However, these Pharisees needed to know that the spiritual part of the Kingdom does not come with observable signs - but through faith in Christ, in Whom are the words of eternal life. No one can enter the Millennial kingdom of Christ on earth unless they are born of the Spirit. For those who believe, the earthly part of the kingdom will take place at the end of the Great Tribulation. No one can long for the Kingdom without longing for the King. Believers in this Church dispensation, have already entered the spiritual kingdom through faith in Christ. We who believe will be raptured before the Great Tribulation and will return with Christ at the end - to set up His Kingdom. However, those who do not believe during the Church Age will be left to face the outpouring of God's wrath during seven years of Tribulation... and any who come to faith during this period and endure to the end will enter the kingdom.

However, Jesus taught His disciples many things that would happen during the dreadful day of the Lord which would precede His coming, earthly kingdom, and in verse 26 He describes the wicked state into which the world will sink as the time for His return draws closer. "Just as it was in the days of Noah," we read "so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man". The return of Christ to set up His kingdom will be preceded by a time of unsurpassed wickedness and evil.

The days of Noah were written about in Genesis 6 where we read, "Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." One sign of Christ's appearing at the end of the Tribulation will be an unprecedented rise in evil. As the Great Tribulation advances through its pre-determined course the evil in the world will progressively wax worse and worse and every imagination of man will become increasingly and continuously corrupt and wicked. 

Those who go through the Great Tribulation will witness this progression of evil, but what of those in the Church Age who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ? What about those of us who are saved by grace through faith in Christ? What about those of us who are already part of the spiritual kingdom? Well, we are not appointed to go through the Tribulation because of our faith in Christ. We are promised a part in the millennial kingdom of God. We who have believed will be removed before the Great Tribulation begins - HOWEVER, the progression of evil about which Christ is speaking in this verse has been ongoing throughout the entire Christian dispensation.

Paul told us in 1 Thessalonians that the mystery of Lawlessness was already at work in his day, and that perilous time would come at the end of the Church Age, while the apostle John told us that the spirit of antichrist was already at work in his day - and since those early days of the Church, wickedness has waxed worse and worse.

Today we are witnessing an unprecedented increase of evil and wickedness in the world, and just as evil increased during the days of Noah, and we are seeing clear evidence of increased perversions, degeneracy, ungodliness, and corruption... how much more will the prophesied wickedness during the tribulation wax worse and worse until Jesus is ready to return in power and great glory, to set up the glorious kingdom of God.

As we wait for the any-day return of Christ and the rapture of church-age believers, we are witnessing a cascade of evil flooding the earth, which is reminiscent of the days of Noah - when the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great upon the earth. However, when the Restrainer of evil is taken out of the world at the time of the rapture... how terrible will it become on earth when the wickedness of man reaches its fullness and every intent of the thoughts of men's heart will only be evil continually.

Christ's return is imminent for believers. How we need to be ready for the any-day return of Christ. Who will take us into heavenly places during the Great Tribulation, when evil reaches its fullness. May we who waiting for our heavenly Saviour occupy wisely until He comes, and let us keep the eyes of our heart on our God and Saviour - in Whom are the words of eternal life.

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for the more sure Word of prophecy and for telling us the end from the beginning. Thank You for the picture of Noah and the Great Flood, and that just as people were eating, drinking, marrying, and being given in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the Ark, so it will be when the Son of Man is revealed in the Tribulation period. Thank You for the Blessed Hope of the Rapture of the Church, when Jesus will come in the clouds to meet His Bride, before the Tribulation period begins. May I tell out Your gospel to a lost and dying world, and may they believe and be saved before it is too late. In Jesus' name, AMEN.

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