One cannot escape the obvious meaning of the words of Jesus about what happens when he returns. It is a time when human beings will have given themselves over to godlessness. Luke 17 indicates that before our Master’s return there will be those who mislead, claiming to know when he will return, “they will say to you, ‘Look, there!’ or ‘Look here’ …” but he “is not coming with signs to be observed” (verses 23,20). What does that mean? Jesus makes it clear that when he comes it will be sudden and absolutely clear that God is intervening in life on earth, “for as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky! From one side to the other; so will the Son of Man be in his day” (verse 24).

Our Master draws parallels with the saving of Noah (verses 26,27) and with Lot – destruction came suddenly and so will his return be sudden. Jesus says, “just as it was in the days of Lot – they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, but on the day when Lot went from Sodom … so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed” (verses 28-30). Lot’s day was obviously a literal day!

When we were youngsters, the nation of Israel declared itself in existence without the physical support of any other nation; the nations around were sure they could destroy it, their armies surged in, and failed dismally – it was miraculous. For the next 25 years (1948-73) Israel’s enemies tried time and again – and failed time and again. Throughout this period we thought Christ’s return could be imminent. Then the Soviet Union collapsed in 1990 – and expectations faded. Now in 2021 the enemies around Israel are in turmoil and as passionate as ever in their dislike of Israel. And the conditions all over the world are more like the days of Noah and Lot than ever! So remember Luke 20; “You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (verse 40).