"A New Day Dawns" by Dr. J.W.Bernard
Matthew 24:37-39 "But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 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. And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." (Look at Gen. 6:9).
Jesus taught His disciples that His Parousia (arrival) would be like the deluge in Noah's day. The flood victims had been warned, little by little for one hundred and twenty years until it had become forgettable and common place. Suddenly it had arrived and caught the people unaware, without a quick warning.
The flood period was not brief nor sudden. It continued forty days and nights. Everyone was not convinced over the one hundred and twenty years of warnings. And too, they were not ravaged on the first few days of the downpour. I would think that many said to themselves, "This too shall pass." It became a very radical destruction and took some time to end its course. So, if the Parousia is to be like the days of Noah, then the disciples should not look for sudden events, nor the quickness surrounding this extraordinary advent.
In Noah's day, everyone was eating, drinking, marrying and giving in marriage until the day that Noah and his family entered the ark. Verse 39 says that the people did not know anything until the flood came and destroyed them all. This involved some time. It was not sudden. Noah had taken one hundred and twenty years to build the ark. Everyone had progressively grown more wicked each day that passed. God must do something. His plan of fashioning men into His likeness would have to take a radical turn. God must end one age and start over with man in another age.
God found a man. Noah was the savior of the world. However, he could not do the fashioning work of making men into the likeness of God. That would have to be up to God's Promised One. God accomplished His great purpose in the Second Adam, Jesus Christ.
Some might disagree and say that the Parousia will be sudden. They may use the following verse....
To some, this verse looks as if "the coming" is as quick as "the lightning." However, this verse is not about "lightning." This English word, "lightning" furnishes us a picture of an unexpected and brief flash of light. However, this Greek word, "astrapee" simply means "a bright shining," not a quick surge. "Lightning" is not the only thing that causes a bright shining. Luke (11:36) uses "astrapee" as the bright shining of a candle. So, therefore, any bright shining light fulfills the idea of the Greek word, "astrapee."
Moreover, the English word "lightning" does not belong in this context. For lightning seldom comes out of the East, shinning towards the West. And too, it only penetrates the darkness for a few seconds and then it is gone. The teaching of the Parousia is not like that.
So, my proposal is to translate here: astrapee as SUNLIGHT, because only sunlight shines out of the East unto the West bringing forth a new day, dispelling the darkness for a time (Romans 13:11). The Parousia was the dawning (daybreak) of a new day (2 Peter 1:19) in which old things became clear (1 Cor. 13:12) and opened the final dispensation of the spiritual life in Christ.
This presence of Christ and spiritual life in Him has flashed like a "bright shinning light" across the world, dispelling the darkness of the laws and regulations of the flesh. Nothing can compare to the DAYBREAK of the wonderful light of the Gospel of the Grace of God. It needs no extra light or aid to help it out. It is what ended the darkness of night and brought in the NEW DAY.
This new day of His spiritual reign from the time of the Parousia to now is the result of God's destruction of any and everything (sin and death) that was against the Body of Christ. That frightful destruction went on for another forty years, until everything that pertained to the law and the prophets was totally gone in A.D. 70. We can say that it was all nailed to the cross of Christ and the result will go on forever.
When the Son of Man came, a new day dawned and we are living in the Sonlight of a brand new day.
Matthew 24:27 "For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be."
The Northern side was protected by three lines of defense, comprising strong walls and towers because it had no deep valley. Josephus records that Titus advanced in the spring of 70, driving the Passover pilgrims toward Jerusalem in order to increase the mouths to feed inside the city. He was nearly defeated at the gates. He established his camps around the city and soon broke the outer North wall and the second wall and days later took the city. However, this "bright shining" that comes out of the East has nothing to do with the direction the army traveled in approaching the city.
The established fact, world wide, is that the dependable sun always sends it's bright light from the East and it shines unto the West causing a new day. We do not have to consider on which side of the storm we are positioned in order to get an East to West situation. The Greek word, "Astrapee" only means a bright light (coming from any direction). If it is described as coming from the East and shining unto the West, it could be translated "sunlight" just as well as "lightning." Any English word that describes what produces a light that dispels the darkness will do, if the context allows it. However, the words, "East to West" gives other information to put into the calculator for the translation of astrapee. The next verse seems to refer to the destruction and the army: "For wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together." (v. 28). The "bright shining" is compared with His Parousia... not the army.
Revelation 8:5 "And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake."
Revelation 11:19 "And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail."
Revelation 16:18 "And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great."