Saturday, January 12, 2013
The Flood: Triplets of Renovation
As we saw last week, Scripture describes three new beginnings for the earth and all it contains, even though God will preserve the earth eternally in one form or another (Psalm 78:69; Eccl. 1:4). First was God’s creation (Genesis 1), second was the flood (Genesis 6-7), and third will be renovation by fire (2 Peter 3:10,13). occurring after the Millennial Kingdom. Looking at the flood in greater depth, we see that key events and precepts are again grouped in three, reflecting God’s triune nature.
Because of man’s wickedness, God destroyed most of the earth’s inhabitants in the flood, sparing only a few representatives of every living creature: mankind, unclean animals, and clean animals (Genesis 6:5-7). God extended His grace to Noah because he “walked with God” (Genesis 6:8-9) and gave him detailed instructions for building the ark as his safety vessel. The length of the ark was three hundred cubits, the height thirty cubits, and it had three stories (Genesis 6:15-16).
Noah showed amazing faith in God by obeying His command to build the ark (Genesis 6:22) as shelter from the flood to come, even though the earth had never before experienced rain! That faith must have been sorely tested due to the intensive, prolonged labor involved in building it, not to mention the scorn and mocking of his neighbors!
But Noah persevered, and God rewarded him by allowing Noah, his wife, and the next generation of his family to board the ark, namely his three sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and their wives (Genesis 6:10,18). God commanded Noah to preserve three groups of animals: fowl, cattle, and every creeping thing, by bringing them onto the ark, along with food supplies for them as well as for the humans (Genesis 6:20-21).
God commanded Noah to bring two (male and female) of every unclean animal, so that they could propagate after the flood, seven of every fowl, and seven of every clean animal, not only for propagation but for sacrifices to God (Genesis 7:2-3). All other beings living on earth, human and animal, were destroyed, giving rise to the fossil remains still found today (Genesis 7:19-23).
On a single, specific day (Genesis 7:11-12), three cataclysmic events marked the beginning of the flood: the heavens opened, the rains came, and geysers erupted from the ocean depths. This was not a gradual buildup of flood waters such as we experience with heavy, prolonged rain, but a violently dramatic overtaking of the earth by water, such as we see at the coast line with a tsunami. There was no time for anyone on earth who mocked Noah and rebelled against God to change their mind – they were instantly swept away, along with all their wealth, possessions and homes.
The downpour lasted for 40 days and 40 nights (Genesis 7:4,12), but the ark’s inhabitants were safely protected from the catastrophe, floating above the raging flood waters (Genesis 7:4,17). Ultimately, God stopped the “fountains of the deep” and the torrential rains and sent a great wind to remove the flood waters completely after 150 days (Genesis 7:4:24; 8: 1-3).
To inform Noah of the state of the flood waters, God gave Noah three signs involving a dove he had on board the ark. The first time Noah released the dove from the ark, she found no resting place and returned to the ark. After seven days he released her the second time, and she returned with an olive leaf as a sign that the treetops were no longer under water. After another seven days he released her the third time, and she did not return, signifying that the earth was once again habitable (Genesis 8:8-12).
God then told Noah and his family to leave the ark, along with the three categories of animals on board: every beast, every creeping thing, and every fowl, so that they could do three things: “breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply upon the earth (Genesis 8:15-19).
Pleased with Noah’s building of an altar and offering animal sacrifice, God then made three promises to Noah: never again to curse the ground, never again to destroy the earth’s inhabitants by flood, and to perpetuate earthly cycles of seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, seasons, and day and night (Genesis 8: 20-22). He marked this new covenant with a new sign of the rainbow (Genesis 9:12-17).
Noah’s three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and their wives were the progenitors of all mankind after the flood and gave rise to all nations (Genesis 7:13; 9:18-19; 10:1,32).
The purging of the earth by the great flood foreshadows God saving mankind by sending His only Son as the perfect sacrifice for our sins, so that all who trust Him have eternal life (John 3:16). Jesus Christ, self-existent from the beginning of time (Genesis 1:1; John 1:1), came to earth to live in human flesh, to die for our sins, and to live forever in His glorified body (Revelation 1:18). Mankind in the days of Noah lived on the earth and died in the flood, but the faithful remnant of Noah and his family lived to repopulate the earth, that their descendants who trusted God would also have eternal life.
Jesus told His disciples that like the flood, His return will be equally sudden, dramatic in its consequences, and irrevocable. Life will be continuing on its usual course, as it was in the days of Noah, when the Rapture will occur without warning (Matthew 24: 37-42; Luke 17:26).. Those who placed their trust in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:3-4) as the only way to Heaven will instantly rise up in their glorified bodies to meet Christ in the air and to spend eternity with Him (1 Corinthians 15:52), but the rest will be left behind to face the great wrath of the Tribulation.
Sadly, those who are left behind and rejected the Gospel before the Rapture will not be saved during the Tribulation, because they will experience a strong delusion preventing them from believing the truth (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12). May we all be ready for that crucial turning point, turning from our sins, trusting Christ as our Lord and Savior, and serving Him with our time, talents and resources!
Matthew 24: 37 But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
© 2013 Laurie Collett