In the Parables of the Wheat and the Tares, the Mustard Seed, and the Leaven, Jesus was speaking to the physical nation, which the parables clearly reflect.
Ups and downs, blessings and trials, have characterized every era of the church. God's people are always battling something negative between the brief highs.
We tend to think of the early Church as a 'golden age' of unity and momentum. But early church members experienced problems similar to what we face today.
Before the flood, Satan had attempted to corrupt mankind, probably through massive demonic possession. The same demonic threat will occur at the end-time.
The epilogue to Job's story reveals a lesson for us. Job's 'golden age' was before him, not behind, and the key to his optimism was his relationship with God.