Matthew 24:37-39 ESV

37 For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38 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, 39 and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.

Who constitutes the "all" in Matthew 24:37-39? Is it indicative of all people worldwide? Does this interpretation suggest that Jesus endorsed the notion of a literal and historical global flood, as opposed to a localized flood as proposed by the local flood theory?

  • 2
    I had never thought of this text in this context before. Up-voted +1.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Feb 10 at 14:17
  • 1
    @Mark. "All" in this verse refer to the unrighteous human society separated from God. See 2 Peter 2:5. Commented Feb 11 at 6:29

3 Answers 3


The comparison of Jesus' words is that of the world at the time when the Son of man shall return ; and that of 'all' who were 'taken away' in the days of Noah.

... came the flood and took away all ... Biblehub Interlinear Literal

If only a few of the world were 'taken away' in the Flood in the days of Noah then Jesus' words would have little significance in respect of the last days and his return.

The necessary comparison would be of a partial resurrection and an incomplete redemption.

But the words of Jesus of Nazareth clearly declare that those who were 'eating and drinking' and 'marrying and giving in marriage' were they who were 'taken away' : and the number who were taken away was 'all'.

All who ate and drank and who married and gave in marriage were . . . 'taken away'

It is indisputable, by the personal testimony of Jesus Christ the Son of God, that nothing less than a Global Flood is being documented.


The operative adjective in Matt 24:39 is ἅπας (hapas) = "all, the whole, completely". The meaning of this word can be drawn from three lines of evidence:

Source #1 - Matt 24:38, 39a

For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark. And they were oblivious, until the flood came and swept them all away.

Note that the "all" in V39 refers to the "they", that is, the people who were "eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage"; that all the people of the earth who were going about their daily loves oblivious to the coming calamity

Source #2 - Matt 24:39

... So will it be at the coming of the Son of Man.

The "all" refers to the same class of people who are oblivious at the end of time at the coming of the Son of Man (Jesus), ie, all those who will be swept away, viz, the wicked in both instances.

Source #3 - Gen 7

Jesus' prophecy in Matt 27 is clearly alluding to the record in Gen 7 which reads:

19 Finally, the waters completely inundated the earth, so that all the high mountains under all the heavens were covered.

20 The waters rose and covered the mountaintops to a depth of fifteen cubits. 21 And every living thing that moved upon the earth perished—birds, livestock, animals, every creature that swarms upon the earth, and all mankind. 22 Of all that was on dry land, everything that had the breath of life in its nostrils died. 23 And every living thing on the face of the earth was destroyed—man and livestock, crawling creatures and birds of the air; they were blotted out from the earth, and only Noah and those with him in the ark remained.

This is not describing a local flood, but a universal flood by the repeated emphasis of entire destruction of all living things.

Thus, Jesus confirms this by describing Noah's flood to be universal destruction of the wicked, just as it will be at the coming of the Son of Man, Jesus.


There is no inherent reason the word "all" there would necessarily refer to all of humanity, let alone necessitate a global flood. The plain text would only necessarily refer back to all who had previously been described--i.e. those who were "eating and drinking," unaware until the flood.

That doesn't mean Jesus did not believe in a global flood. But this particular scripture does not establish he did. The simile works regardless, as Jesus could use a smaller local event to describe a more global event. (See also the whole Bride of Christ metaphor, which uses the small event of a Wedding to describe a much larger event.)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.