Matthew 24:39
And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(39) So shall also the coming of the Son of man be.—The words justify the interpretation given above of Matthew 24:29-30. If the “signs” of the Advent were to be phenomena visible to the eye of sense, there could not be this reckless apathy of nescience. If they are to be tokens, “signs of the times,” which can be discerned only by the illumined insight of the faithful, the hardened unbelief on the one side, and the expectant watchfulness on the other, are the natural result of the power or the want of power to discern them.

24:29-41 Christ foretells his second coming. It is usual for prophets to speak of things as near and just at hand, to express the greatness and certainty of them. Concerning Christ's second coming, it is foretold that there shall be a great change, in order to the making all things new. Then they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds. At his first coming, he was set for a sign that should be spoken against, but at his second coming, a sign that should be admired. Sooner or later, all sinners will be mourners; but repenting sinners look to Christ, and mourn after a godly sort; and those who sow in those tears shall shortly reap in joy. Impenitent sinners shall see Him whom they have pierced, and, though they laugh now, shall mourn and weep in endless horror and despair. The elect of God are scattered abroad; there are some in all places, and all nations; but when that great gathering day comes, there shall not one of them be missing. Distance of place shall keep none out of heaven. Our Lord declares that the Jews should never cease to be a distinct people, until all things he had been predicting were fulfilled. His prophecy reaches to the day of final judgment; therefore he here, ver. 34, foretells that Judah shall never cease to exist as a distinct people, so long as this world shall endure. Men of the world scheme and plan for generation upon generation here, but they plan not with reference to the overwhelming, approaching, and most certain event of Christ's second coming, which shall do away every human scheme, and set aside for ever all that God forbids. That will be as surprising a day, as the deluge to the old world. Apply this, first, to temporal judgments, particularly that which was then hastening upon the nation and people of the Jews. Secondly, to the eternal judgment. Christ here shows the state of the old world when the deluge came. They were secure and careless; they knew not, until the flood came; and they believed not. Did we know aright that all earthly things must shortly pass away, we should not set our eyes and hearts so much upon them as we do. The evil day is not the further off for men's putting it far from them. What words can more strongly describe the suddenness of our Saviour's coming! Men will be at their respective businesses, and suddenly the Lord of glory will appear. Women will be in their house employments, but in that moment every other work will be laid aside, and every heart will turn inward and say, It is the Lord! Am I prepared to meet him? Can I stand before him? And what, in fact, is the day of judgment to the whole world, but the day of death to every one?They knew not - That is, they knew not the exact time until it came upon them. So, says he, it shall be when the Son of man shall come. They shall not know "the precise time" until he comes, and then they will be found engaged in the ordinary business of life unconcerned. CHAPTER 24

Mt 24:1-51. Christ's Prophecy of the Destruction of Jerusalem, and Warnings Suggested by It to Prepare for His Second Coming. ( = Mr 13:1-37; Lu 21:5-36).

For the exposition, see on [1355]Mr 13:1-37.

Ver. 37-39. Luke hath much the same, Luke 17:26,27, where he also saith, it shall be as in the days of Lot; but I shall consider what he saith, which seemeth spoken at another time, and upon another occasion, when I come to his seventeenth chapter. Two things our Saviour seemeth here to teach us:

1. That Christ’s coming to the last judgment will be sudden, and not looked for; upon which account his coming is compared in Scripture to the coming of a thief, Matthew 24:43,44 2 Peter 3:10 Revelation 16:15.

2. That it will be in a time of great security and debauchery: such was the time of Noah, Genesis 6:3-5. And knew not until the flood came,.... That is, they did not advert or give heed to what Noah said to them about it: they slighted and despised his warnings; they did not believe, that what he said of the flood was true; they had notice of it, but they would not know it, and therefore God gave them up to judicial blindness and hardness of heart; and so they remained, until it came upon them at once:

and took them all away; the whole world of the ungodly, every man, woman, and child, except eight persons only; Noah and his wife, and his three sons and their wives; for the deluge was universal, and reached to all the inhabitants of the world, who all perished in it, excepting the above persons,

So shall also the coming of the son of man be: such shall be, as it was, the case of the Jews, before the destruction of Jerusalem: they gave themselves up to all manner of wickedness and uncleanness; they disregarded the warnings of Christ and his apostles; they were careless and secure of danger; they would not believe their ruin was at hand, when it was just upon them; they buoyed themselves up to the very last, that a deliverer would arise, and save them; they cried peace, peace, when sudden destruction was nigh; even of them all, their nation, city, and temple, a few only excepted, as in the days of Noah: and though they were so much like the men of that generation, yet they themselves say of them, that "the generation of the flood have no part in the world to come, nor shall they stand in judgment, according to Genesis 6:3 (o).

(o) Misn. Sanhedrin, c. 11. sect. 3.

And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Matthew 24:39. οὐκ ἔγνωσαν, they did not know, scil., that the flood was coming till it was on them.Matthew 24:39. οὐκ ἔγνωσαν, knew not) Their ignorance was voluntary.Verse 39. - Knew not. They would not comprehend the signs of the coming judgment, or, at any rate, refused to profit by them, preferring their own carnal pleasures to the care of their souls and the amendment of their lives. The Lord assures us that similar recklessness and unbelief will be found at his coming. Doubtless anguish and fear will fill many hearts, but the general feeling will be incredulity, and a false security which refuses to take warning. Sadler compares it to Belshazzar's feast at the very moment of danger, and the Athenians' insensibility at the time of the great plague, when the people seemed to be exemplifying the maxim, "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die" (Isaiah 22:18). "For like as when the ark was making, they believed not; but while it was set in the midst of them, proclaiming beforehand the evils that are to come, they, when they saw it, lived in pleasure... so also now, antichrist, indeed, shall appear, after whom is the end, and the punishments at the end, and vengeance intolerable; but they that are held by the intoxication of wickedness [comp. Wisd. 4:12] shall not so much as perceive the dreadful nature of the things that are on the point of being done. Wherefore also Paul saith, 'as travail upon a woman with child' [1 Thessalonians 5:8], even so shall those fearful and incurable evils come upon them" (Chrysostom, 'Hom.,' in loc.). Morisen considers that Christ is not blaming the antediluvians, but simply referring to the fact that up to the last moment they were ignorant of the impending catastrophe. But this seems inadequate.
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