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In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the same day,all the fountains of the great deep burst open and the floodgates of the heavens were opened.a 12 The rain fell upon the earth for forty days and forty nights. On the very same day Noah and the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and Noah’s wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, entered the ark. — Genesis 7:11–13

Tribulation and Wrath

Jesus described His second coming by comparing it to the Great Flood in Noah’s day: “As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man” (Matthew 24:37–39).

Now, we need to distinguish here between two concepts that are sometimes confused: tribulation and wrath. Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation” (John 16:33). But the Bible also says God “has not appointed us to wrath” (1 Thessalonians 5:9). And so, in this comparison to the days of Noah, we’re not dealing with tribulation but with the wrath of God that destroyed the people of the earth entirely. This was a great outpouring of the wrath of God upon the world and a reminder of the fact that God has destroyed the world once in the past, and He will destroy it again in the future.