In the gospel of Matthew chapters 24 and 25 - before Jesus went to the cross - He painted a clear picture of what the world would look like as during what some call "the last days." He specifically noted that things would be like they were "in the days of Noah."
What do we know about those days? A study of the Bible shows us that the days of Noah were known by several very recognizable characteristics.
First, they were days that were characterized by perversion. One need only look at cable television, the internet, billboards, and nightly news reports to realize that things are like that today. Our celebrities follow strange teachings and glorify self as the only one worthy of service and praise. Some see God as merely a "force."
Sadly, some of those ideas permeate the church today -- especially in America. It's a social-psychological gospel that seems to be all too acceptable to many who call themselves Christians.
Those days were also characterized by prosperity. In the days referred to in the gospel, man started to domesticate animals, which meant man no longer had to hunt and scrounge for their food -- they merely raised it. It was the beginning of that age of prosperity.
Today, in spite of the decline in industry in our nation, we are still enjoying unprecedented prosperity. The median income for a family of four is somewhere around $63,000 according to the latest census. And despite the need for a large array of social welfare programs, we live in a time when most people have more than enough.
In addition, those days were days of pleasure. I am not against entertainment, but obviously, even to the casual observer, we live in a pleasure mad world. Theaters set box office records with every new release; satellite and cable movie channels show any kind of movie and time night or day and when you're in your own home, the ratings do not matter. And that does not take into account the literally billions of dollars spent on sporting events, concerts, and other hobbies.
Seemingly gone are the days spent down at the creek with a fishing pole and a can of worms, or an evening with the kids catching lightening bugs.
The days of Noah were also characterized by progress. Some would say that, most certainly, there would be no way to characterize progress in a negative light. But in the days of Noah man first discovered how to extract metal from ore and the smelting process was born, allowing men to produce stronger tools and more usable and formidable weapons. It was also a time that featured the rise of cities and great scientific advancements.
When we look back on those days, we might be lead to believe that humanity was doing quite well. They were prosperous. They were developing a complex culture, complete with great cities, art and the ability to sustain life. They were advancing in the fields of agriculture, metallurgy, art, music and science. Yet, for all their achievements, much like today, depravity was rampant as well.
Much like today, the days of Noah were characterized by polygamy (as opposed to monogamy), pride (self-centeredness and self-worship), and pollution (social pollution, sexual pollution, and spiritual pollution).
So, have we seen a return of the days of Noah? If we were to get into a time machine and go back to the days of Noah, would the similarities be obvious?
I think that might well be the case.