"And Knew Not" -- What did they not know?

JeffLogan's picture

The scripture reads --

Matthew 24 (cf. Genesis 6:1-7; Mark 13:32-37; Luke 12:35-48)

36 But of that day and hour knoweth no [man], no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
37 But as the days of Noe [were], so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

I am most interested in verse 39 which read, "And knew not until the flood came..." What was it that the antediluvians knew not?

I think with a few Biblical parallels this can be answered fairly. But I'd like to hear your thoughts before I influence them with my thoughts. You may have a better answer.

Jerome280's picture

And Knew Hell, Not Heaven

What a great question.

As I understand this gospel passage, the people "knew not" when the end of time would be. They didn't concern themselves with anything like karma, final judgement, hell, damnation, etc. The gospel writer seems to be saying that they will deserve the shock of finding out the truth in an instant.

What bothers me about this gospel passage is that it's negative. The message is that even though the people weren't necessarily doing anything wrong - eating, drinking, and getting married - their lack of Godly mindfulness was enough to send them to hell. Even though they weren't necessarily sinning, they were destined to be damned because they were self-sufficient, they lived their day to day lives without any need of God.

The mundane Godless lives of those people are not so uncommon. Even now in 2013 with the benefit of mass communication, bibles in every language, all kinds of different churches, and a compelling sacred history, people live mundane lives with little or no faith. Surely God understands the problem; God designed the way people experience emotions and how they form beliefs. God knows that with the right influences and guidance, lives can literally be turned around.

Would this gospel passage do better to instead focus on positive eschatological aspects? For example, if the people said a blessing before eating and drinking, and if their marriages were consecrated to God, if the totality of their lives were dedicated to God, then when the Son of man comes just imagine their reward. Then, their lives would be lived in thankful loving anticipation. They would constantly be motivated and inspired to please God with every passing minute. Who knows which minute will be the last?

Personally speaking, I've never found the gospel writer's approach here motivating. Love is inspiring and uplifting. Love knows how tedious human life can be, how easy it is to lose faith. Love tries to build up, to light a fire in the depths of the heart. Love knows that the way to expand the heart is with encouragement. Uplift the fallen soul. Tell it about the vast possibilities that God can deliver. Talk to the soul about heaven and how faith, hope, and love for and with God will most definitely cause incredible changes in the simple life of any soul.