In order to understand what Jesus really meant it is necessary to consider what he said in the 17th chapter of Luke. Jesus actually spoke about his presence being like the days of Noah on more than one occasion, using slightly different phrasing, which allows us to compare and get a better understanding.
At Luke 17:26-30 Jesus compared his presence, not only to the days of Noah, but also to the day that Lot fled Sodom. Here is what the Lord stated: “Moreover, just as it occurred in the days of Noah, so it will be in the days of the Son of man: they were eating, they were drinking, men were marrying, women were being given in marriage until that day when Noah entered into the ark, and the Flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise, just as it occurred in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building. But on the day that Lot went out of Sodom, it rained fire and sulfur from heaven and destroyed them all. It will be the same on that day when the Son of man is revealed.”
Please take note of the very last phrase in the span of verses above and that Jesus refers to the revelation of the Son of man. Whereas, the more frequently cited text in Matthew uses the Greek word “parousia,” translated as “presence,” the passage in Luke does not. Instead Jesus referred to “the days of the Son of man” and the “day when the Son of man is revealed.”
The question is, was the Son of man revealed in 1914? How about in 1931? Or has the Son of man been revealed at any time since 1914? The only truthful answer is no.
The problem lies in the fact that Jehovah’s Witnesses have been deluded with the notion of an invisible presence, which allows for quite a bit of interpretive mischief. And it is also completely detached from the revealing and manifestation of Christ. In reality, the various terms, presence, manifestation and revealing are used virtually interchangeably, as demonstrated in the chapter of Jehovah Himself Has Become King entitled: Parousia.
Recognizing the simple truth that Jesus has not been unveiled may help us to rethink what the passage actually means. Instead of likening the days of the Son of man, or the presence of the Son of man, to the years Noah worked on the ark and preached, Jesus was more probably likening his unexpected return to the day that Noah entered into the ark and the day Lot left Sodom.
Sure, people were preoccupied before, doing all the things people do, but when Noah entered the ark the hand of God closed the vessel’s massive door – that was it.
Although, it is noteworthy that the downpour did not commence for a week after the door was closed, the point is, there was no salvation possible for anyone outside the ark when the door was closed.
What I have been trying to get across – with little success – is that, the coming of Christ simultaneously begins the time of the end and concludes the gospel era. And if a person has not come into an approved relationship with Christ at that time then there is no further opportunity to do so.
That the presence of the Son of man closes the door of salvation is plain by what Jesus said next: “On that day let the person who is on the housetop but whose belongings are in the house not come down to pick these up, and likewise, the person out in the field must not return to the things behind. Remember the wife of Lot. Whoever seeks to keep his life safe will lose it, but whoever loses it will preserve it alive. I tell you, in that night two people will be in one bed; the one will be taken along, but the other will be abandoned. There will be two women grinding at the same mill; the one will be taken along, but the other will be abandoned.”
Being “abandoned” does not denote immediate destruction, simply that a person has been abandoned by God as unworthy of any future blessing.