A terrible prophecy of end times destruction leaps out at the reader from the lines of Matthew 24:37-39. It is there that we find a grim prophecy from Jesus. He tells us that at the end of the age people will be living just as they were in the days of Noah before the great flood. They will be eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, and so completely involved in the daily routines of their lives that they will be, until the very last minute, unaware of the deluge that overwhelms them into a death beneath the waves. What makes the prophecy so terrible isn’t so much the instantaneous judgment. Instead, it’s that just like the people in the days of Noah, the people of the future will have been given ample warning. But they won’t heed that warning. This won’t be simply because their minds are preoccupied with normal daily routines, but ultimately because every intention of the thoughts of their hearts will be only evil continually (Genesis 6:5-9).
When the end of the age descends upon man like the flood of Noah, his heart will be so disoccupied with God that it will be preoccupied with evil, or whatever is not God. The state of the world will be one of lawlessness (Matthew 24:12). It won’t be lawlessness in the sense that there will be no codes at all, but that so many will not heed any codes that do not immediately benefit them. This level of selfishness will leave many people cold and uncaring. Their love will disappear, and the world will be darkened.
Lying, selfish prophets will arise and lead people away from truth. People who never really committed to following Jesus in the first place, will fall away from their faith communities. In their falling away they will betray the people they once called spiritual brothers and sisters (Matthew 24:10-11). This will be an exceedingly difficult time. But in that prophecy, Jesus also tells us that once the gospel is preached to all of the world, that the end will come and that the person who endures to the end will be saved (Matthew 24:13-14).
While Jesus prepares his followers with a terrible prophecy of destruction, he also emboldens John with a victorious prophecy of triumph and creation (Revelation 21:3-7). The person who is saved will avoid a flood of death, but instead will be introduced to a spring of life. All tears will be wiped away, and all things made new. He will dwell with God, and God with him. Sin, evil, pain, disease and darkness will be conquered. All will be finished, and it will be good.