Recently I was given the opportunity to raft through a part of the Grand Canyon. For several days those of us on the rafting trip were amazed and astonished as every bend of the river provided us with fresh vistas of the canyon walls, its layers, and the powerful Colorado River. One of my favorite parts of the trip was seeing the different rock layers of the canyon walls, which give evidence of a global flood (see Genesis 7–8). Indeed, the canyon walls are comprised of thousands of feet of sedimentary rock, such as limestone, sandstone, and shale. The presence of various rock folds and marine fossils throughout the sedimentary layers testify to a catastrophic deluge. What’s more, there is evidence that this catastrophic event was widespread. For instance, one of the limestone layers in the canyon is the same limestone layer that appears in Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave, and one of the sandstone layers even appears as far away as Israel. Such evidence points to a catastrophic and widespread deluge such as we read about in Genesis.
While Genesis gives us the account of Noah’s flood, the New Testament uses the Noahic flood as an analogy for Jesus’ return. In his discourse on the Mount of Olives, Jesus used Noah’s flood to teach about the catastrophic and widespread results of his return. “For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man” (Matthew 24:37–39, ESV). As with Noah’s flood, Jesus’ second coming will bring about global judgment, and he will return when people do not expect him (2 Peter 3:5–7). Because of this, we need to be ready for Jesus’ return by being faithful in his absence (Matthew 24:44–25:30).
The evidence for a global flood from the Grand Canyon reminded me that God “has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness” (Acts 17:31, ESV), and that Jesus is the one “who delivers us from the wrath to come” (1 Thessalonians 1:10, ESV). To be found faithful when he returns, we must endure in faith, hope, and love because of the gospel (1 Thessalonians 5:8–10). Indeed, we continue to trust that because Jesus died, we are forgiven of our sins and accounted as righteous in his sight. We continue to hope and eagerly anticipate the day of Jesus’ return. And we continue to love one another in specific and tangible ways. Put differently, we continue to live the ordinary Christian life, as our Lord taught us. And as we do so, we will be ready for his return, which will be for us not a day of condemnation but of salvation and eternal life (2 Timothy 4:8; Hebrews 9:28). With this in mind, join me in being ready for his return and praying for it fervently (1 Corinthians 16:22; Revelation 22:20).
Joshua M. Greever
Director of Seminary Programs & Associate Professor of New Testament
- Pray for Jesus’ speedy return and that Bethlehem would equip our students to be ready for that day
- Pray that the incoming college and seminary students would find appropriate and fruitful rhythms as new students, and that they would quickly find local churches for the purpose of worship and fellowship.
- Pray that our college and seminary students would grow in godliness through their studies and their participation in the life of the school community and their local churches.
- Pray for the support of The Alex Steddom International Student Fund to support it’s grantees for the next year.