Saturday, Oct 21st

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Genesis 6

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“…to destroy all flesh…”

God is a God of Love. He IS ‘Love’. So say those who believe only one portion of scripture. They hate the idea of a God of Wrath. They are right to say He is a God of Love, but they are wrong to omit His acts of judgement or His holy nature, which requires wrath. And he showed it through the righteous, holy nature of Noah.

These people will not believe God would judge humans to death like this. That is why they reject predestination, or any mechanism by God that shows Him choosing between people – some to salvation andmany more to damnation. They find this notion too hideous for words. (See A-403)

But, what men call divine barbarism, God calls justice. Howdare men cast aside an aspect of God and His plan? He predestines men and woman to heaven or hell as He pleases. God does not negotiate with us, His creatures, to determine who will be saved by our own whims and caprices! And, if He decides to destroy a whole nation – which He has done time and again – nothing we do or say will alter the fact. God does not act emotionally. He cannot, for His whole nature is pure and holy. He is unable to act emotionally, for emotion implies lability, and God is never labile. His word is law and cannot change! (See A-505)

Because He is not emotional, He is not swayed by tears or pleas. Once He has declared His purpose, nothing and no-one can alter it, not even God. Thus it is, that, a handful of centuries after creating everything, including Man, God destroys the entire world. Emotion is not involved, only a legal judgement applied to a world that was, even then, similar to the awful state of the later Sodom... so disgusting a stench in God’s nostrils that He had to destroy everything.

Christians should remember this aspect of God, for it is the same aspect that sends men and women to hell. They need not have committed great or grave sins; they need only to have been born and remain unsaved. This is God’s decree and He will never change it. Throughout the ages God has caused many to die at His hand, because they have disobeyed. In Noah’s time this happened on a grand scale. Today, the same occurs. Individuals can die at God’s hand as an earthly punishment (such as the homosexual AIDS pandemic), and whole nations can suffer if they turn from Him (hence the worldwide economic disasters). Or, conversely, whole nations can rise to prominence because they obey His word.

Learn to fear Almighty God, my friends! Fear is the start of wisdom. (Psalm 33:18; Proverbs 9:10). Once we lose our fear of God we lose our fear of His judgements upon us, and we sin readily. That is when holiness is lost or forgotten or becomes a terrible joke. In recent years we have seen this disregard for truth and holiness in our churches, because they have fallen to their own lies, teaching deception as if it were truth. Do not fall like this, but remain faithful to the Lord, for in this is your safety.

So many Christians today believe whatever they wish. They ignore proper terms of interpretation and say “I believe this – you believe that” and then they demand to be left alone. You would find none of this in the letters of Paul! Doctrine, in the main, is of fixed and clear interpretation, so we cannot just have our own personal beliefs! In the time of Noah men did whatever they wished, and the result was death worldwide. One day, the whole world and the universe will again be destroyed by God (2 Peter 3:12). Never think that God will not judge or bring death to those who do not obey.

Verses 1-4

  1. “And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them,

  2. That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.

  3. And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.

  4. There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.”

It came to pass… ‘it so happened that’… the population of the earth started to rise. The word ‘multiply’, rabab, means ‘become many’, or ‘become great’, so we know that the number of human beings at that time was very large. Specific mention is made of ‘daughters’, bath. The likely reason for this specific mention is that daughters were necessary to actually bear, and give birth to, children, as we see in the root word, banah – to build a house, e.g. to establish a family. Also, the word ‘men’, in this context, probably refers not just to males, but to mankind as a whole.

The ‘sons of God saw the daughters of men.’ Some make a mockery of ordinary language by suggesting that the ‘sons’ in this text are angels. Some even suggest they were evil angels, demons! The idea that these are angels of any kind is preposterous, especially as such a momentous activity is never again mentioned in scripture. Also, angels are spirits – how can spirit beings interact in marriage with human beings? It is all nonsense.

It is true that ‘sons of God’ can refer to angels, but one of the rules of proper interpretation is that the straightforward answer is usually the one that is applicable in any text (unless there are obvious other possibilities)… ben, child, son, male child, children, young men. It can also simply mean the people of a nation. The root goes back to exactly the same root as for ‘daughters’, banah… to establish a family. Thus, the most obvious meaning is, men and women got together and had families! (In this case, men who by birth came from godly families took unbelievers as wives). The women were lovely, as ‘fair’, towb, tells us – good, agreeable, pleasant, excellent, delightful. Possibly, they were beautiful, being so close to the date of creation and not yet with the physical flaws we see today in society. (But, this is only conjecture). The men ‘took them wives’ – they married the women they liked and chose, bachar.

This specific text does not tell us specifically why God is angry with mankind, only that He had enough of the people’s wickedness. It is true that the word for ‘took’ (wives) can, at times, mean taking by force, but there is no hint of this in the text. It might indeed have happened, but a single cause for God’s wrath is not given. Therefore, it is possible that sin in general had progressed to such a level that God (in this text, Jehovah) had to act in judgement, just as He had to act against Sodom.

My spirit will no longer battle with mankind, God said… after all, man is only flesh. This could mean that as man is a created being (basar – frail flesh) he is not capable of winning a battle against God. Or, it could mean that being flesh, he has no right to oppose God. Perhaps both meanings apply (or neither!). Whatever it meant, God had judged mankind. It was at this time that God warned the world that it had just 120 years left.

(In a 2014 film called ‘Noah’, Hollywood depicts Noah as being mean and nasty, because he did not try to save more than his own family. This is a gross travesty against his good name. His neighbours, and his extended family, all knew for 120 years that the world would end, and that all would die. Yet, they ignored it and carried on as usual. Noah was fully obedient to God, Who Himself decreed that only Noah, his wife, and immediate family would be saved. The whole matter was out of Noah’s hands. It is also fact that the ark was very tall, and the doors had to be closed and sealed with pitch just before the waters came; therefore saving anyone outside the ark was impossible. What mattered was God’s command. Human emotional reactions were irrelevant. At the end of time the world will know the wrath of God universally, and the majority of people will enter hell, with no sympathy given by Almighty God. Those who criticise Noah and God need to understand God’s nature and His commands. Or, they should learn to be silent before His divine authority).

The next verse (4) then speaks in a very matter-of-fact way of ‘giants in the earth’. These were the n@phiyl or Nephilim, a race of giants. We cannot tell if this race was designed to be giants or if there were already genetic faults in mankind, producing unusually large people. Some equate the Nephilim with the offspring of the sons of men (angels), but not even Hebrew scholars are agreed on that and they admit that such an interpretation is traditional rather than actual. In reality, though, it would not matter if the tradition was true, and angels (who would have to be demons) did (if it were possible) cohabit with mortal women, for the result was the same… deadly judgement. (For an article on these giants, see A-497: ‘Giants and Myth’)

The Hebrew writings contain a number of alternative meanings for these texts, but as none are useful in our present study, we shall not look at them. One meaning they offer, that could be useful, is that the Nephilim were so called because they ‘fell far short’ of the godliness of their fathers, and so had to be judged.

Is there a connection with Goliath? He was a ‘rapha’, from the Rephaim, a race of giants. One Hebrew source says that Goliath was actually related to David, being descended from Orpah, sister-in-law to Ruth. He was built ‘like a building’ (binyan), making him a formidable fighting champion (ish ha-beinayim). His name is allegorically interpreted as typical of effrontery (gillui panim) toward God. Possibly, then, the only link with the giants of Noah’s time was their effrontery and blatant disregard of God, though there were signs not long previously that many men observed the presence of God.

But, was there a physical connection between the Nephilim and Goliath? I very much doubt it, for the family of Noah was not referred to as Nephilim, but were of ‘normal’ build and background. Only they lived through the Flood, and all mankind began again through their stock. Therefore, we may conclude that Goliath was the result of genetic differences found after the Flood.

It seems that these giants married their chosen women, and the offspring became ‘mighty men’. Note that they were called ‘men’, and not half-breeds (e.g. half mortal and half angel). They became gibbowr: strong and brave, mighty warriors. From gabar, meaning to prevail, to be strong and powerful… but, it also means to act proudly against God. Men of such physical prowess can often display a pride in their own strength, thinking they need no other defence.

In days of old, `owlam – ‘in antiquity’ (pre-Noah days), these powerfully-built warriors were ‘men of renown’, shem, made conspicuous by their reputation, fame, glory. At that time there is no mention of armies, but only of these singular mighty giants with immense strength and power, no doubt using their power to overcome others of lesser frame. Logically, then, they were men of social power, too, with wealth, accruing it without heed to how they got it.

Verses 5-7

  1. “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

  2. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.

  3. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.”

We cannot be sure that the wickedness of man spoken of in verse 5 refers only to these Nephilim. It is more probable that they were included in the description of ‘men’, for God destroyed not just the Nephilim but also all others on the earth. Mankind was wicked, ra`, bad, evil, malignant, and causing pain and misery to all concerned, including themselves.

The population of earth was, then, thoroughly bad (rab – abounding in evil), an offence against a Holy God. These people did whatever entered their heads, ’every imagination’, kol: the totality, the whole, of their every purpose in life. This was intellectual as well as moral, yester. There is an indication in this word, of possibly worshipping graven images, too. Their every thought and desire was nothing but evil.

Obviously, Satan and his demons were active from the very start of the Fall, and were now active amongst the whole population, despite the fact that there had been widespread godly observance before that time. Only a few generations are needed to completely overthrow even a strong sense of godliness in a nation! We are seeing the world coming very close to the very same position today. (2013 note: This has now come to pass).

Verse 6 is very much misused and misinterpreted by many in our churches. There is the suggestion that God had made a mistake and He was sorry for that reason. But, this is not a proper interpretation of the word ‘repented’. The idea that God had made a mistake is the same as saying that He was not God, for God cannot, by definition, make a mistake. To say that God was ‘sorry’ in our usual sense is to say that He did not know what was to happen, and so this, too, makes Him less than God. In other words, such meanings given by men are sinful, without true faith or fact.

What, then, does it mean when we are told that “it repented the LORD that he had made man”? The word, ‘repented’, nacham, can mean to be sorry. It can mean to regret something. But, it can also mean to suffer grief. It is this meaning that applies, for it is given to us in the very same verse! Even if I know someone is going to work against me, or come to some bad end, this pre-knowledge does not prevent me from experiencing grief when it happens. These were the children of Adam, and so the children of God. And the Father was grieved to see the way they were acting. He knew what they would do before they did it, but it did not stop the grief. It was not grief as we know grief; it was a pure, holy sadness at the wickedness of men in the face of holy commands (which are given for our good), but a sadness that had to bring about judgement.

Thus it was that God said He would destroy the whole of mankind, by wiping them all off the face of the earth; machah, to blot out, exterminate. This offends so many of today’s so-called ‘Christians’, but they must get used to it, for God will one day do the same thing again, only next time with fire. God said that He was utterly grieved because mankind had become so evil, He would get rid of everything He had made on earth, including beasts and insects.

Verses 8-10

  1. “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.

  2. These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.

  3. And Noah begat three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.”

After a section of texts telling us of the complete wickedness of men, we are told that only one man (and his family) was found to be holy. Just one man in the whole world! Noah (Noach). And only the immediate family. Just as, later, most of Lot’s family rejected his call to run to safety from the coming destruction of Sodom, so the extended family of Noah refused to accept God’s words and judgment, and died.

Noah ‘found grace in the eyes of the LORD.’ That is, he attained-to, matsa’, grace, by his conduct and belief. In God’s eyes, he was to be given due favour (chen) because he was acceptable. This is the same as us being found righteous before God, Who then showed him chanan – mercy and consideration. (From this we know that the 2014 Hollywood depiction of Noah is absolutely untrue and slanderous).

This is confirmed in verse 9, which tells us that Noah was a just man, perfect amongst all who then lived, for he walked with God. To be able to do this Noah had to be a holy and righteous man (just = tsaddiyq, righteous in conduct and character and justified by God). He was ‘perfect’, tamiym, sound, complete, wholesome, innocent with integrity, and living according to God’s truth. He walked with God, just as Adam did before the Fall, and as Enoch did, later.

Noah’s whole manner of life was dedicated to God. This is the fullest meaning of ‘walking with God’, though it can also mean literally walking with God. Do not be confused by this fact. Many today think that this means Noah was without sin, but this would be to misread the text. In our day, we can be ‘perfect’, in Christ. We are not perfect in ourselves, or without sin, but the holiness of Christ ‘covers’ our own sinfulness if we repent and follow Him.

Noah similarly followed God as closely as he could. He was a sinner like us, but he was justified by his faith, as was Abraham, Moses, et al. It is the core of His being that God looked at: was Noah holy and aiming to please God as God demanded? If he was, then he was counted to be a ‘man of faith’, which he was. And it was this inward desire that invited God’s mercy. It is a desire given to him by God in the first place, for it had to be the product of election.

The names of Noah’s three sons are then given. Were these his only sons? We are not told. We only know that these three sons were with him on the Ark.

Verses 11-13

  1. “The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.

  2. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.

  3. And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.”

The earth, too, was corrupt. This is a strange fact to note, for how can men cause the earth to be sinful? It can only refer to mankind, and not the earth itself. This is not my own notion/prejudice, but is found in one of the meanings of ‘earth’, ‘erets, which is ‘the inhabitants (of earth)’ or, ‘people of the land’. They were completely corrupt, shachath – ruined, decayed, marred, spoiled. It also means to be perverted (from what God had originally planned).

This perversion of God’s plan for mankind led to utter social breakdown, including widespread violence, chamac – wrong, cruelty, injustice, violence, both physically and ethically. This state of evil ‘filled’ the earth, male’ – abundance of, consecrated to violence, armed and massed against (others and God). Much like today.

God saw that the whole world, apart from Noah and his family, was corrupt, from the least to the greatest. For this reason, God said He would finish the earth! “The end of all flesh is come before me”. The ‘end’ means the extremity or last part, or ‘to be cut off, qatsats. It has, said God, come to pass (‘before me’, or ‘before my face’, paniym).

He gave the blunt reason: mankind was completely overflowing with violence, so they had to be exterminated. And not only would He destroy all of mankind (apart from Noah and his family), he would also destroy the earth itself (‘with the earth’). In the final days, God will burn everything in the universe to a crisp, to nothing. But, in those days, God did not completely get rid of the earth (the universe was left intact), but destroyed what was on it.

Verses 14-16

  1. “Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.

  2. And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits.

  3. A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it.”

God would save Noah and his family, We do not know if Noah was told by what means the earth was to be destroyed, but only that he was instructed to build an ark, or boat. Did the people at that time know what boats were? Possibly, but we are not told; they certainly had never seen such a large craft. Even so, would Noah understand the concept of rain and water coming in a deluge from the sky, and gushing upwards out of the ground, seeing as none had fallen since creation? Maybe not. In other words, Noah acted in complete faith, obeying God’s instructions to the letter, even if he did not know what he was doing it for. He knew he would be saved by the Ark, but possibly did not know how, until the last moment. Do we obey God regardless of knowing the outcome? Or, do we rationalise every decision, making it seem less than a divine intervention? Probably, yes!

God commanded Noah to build an “ark of gopher wood.” To Noah the ‘ark’, tebah, was a vessel - a very big one indeed. People probably lived in wooden or stone buildings, even then, so this must have seemed to be an extended version of a building. Without knowledge of rain and a deluge, it could not have been anything else but a strange and huge construction. Certainly the people he lived amongst would not know what it was for, even if he had told them. Note that God did not seem to have overly warned the people. So, they probably saw the ark as just an eccentric construction giving no clues. The wicked cannot see the truth and never accept it, because they are ‘too far gone’ in their sins!

Even if the people knew that they were to die, would they have stopped their evils? No, because that is what wickedness does to men and women! God will not always warn people of their impending doom. After all, why should He? They were living in times directly related to Adam, when knowledge of God was acute. They knew they had to obey the creator, but they did not.

So, just how many warnings are needed? No, God is the mighty Potter, and He judges without reference to mankind. He has no moral need to consult with men, and once He judges He will not retract His decision. Note, too, that this talk of a ‘decision’ is only an human meaning, for God’s plans are in eternity: thus, the destruction of earth was already known to God, before He made it plain.

The ark or tevah (related to the Egyptian, meaning a box or coffin) was box-like in construction and rectangular, and this is how it is described in the various authorities. It was made of gopher-wood and the Hebrew writers say that this ‘conjectured a resinous type’ (i.e. to help keep it water-proof). Note that the idea of the ark having a rudder was added by Mesopotamian tradition; a rudder would have no true function because there was nowhere observable to guide the great ship to. The whole point of the ark was that God saved the family and every kind/species by His grace and mercy alone, and would land the craft where He wished to, so a rudder was not needed.

We are not sure, but gopher may have been cypress wood, and it possibly has a meaning of ‘to house in’, though the word ’wood’ can also refer to cedar. Really, it does not matter to us. Noah was told that he had to build ‘rooms’ in the ark – qen, or cells. And when the whole was completed, he was to paint-on pitch, both inside and outside, to make it waterproof. Again, we are not told if God simply commanded this to be done, or if He told Noah why. The pitch, kopher, was asphalt, from kaphar, meaning to cover over, a plentiful product in the area.

God gave the exact sizes for Noah to follow: a total length of 300 cubits and a total width of 50 cubits. The height was to be 30 cubits. Yes, it was a box, but engineers today admit that its shape was perfect for riding out an immense storm and flood! Each cubit was, roughly, 18 inches. The total length was just over the length of a soccer pitch and had three stories. A small window was to be set into the top of the ark, and the door was to be set into the side. (For a more detailed examination of this, see article A-018).

Verses 17-22

  1. “And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die.

  2. But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives with thee.

  3. And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female.

  4. Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive.

  5. And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them.
    Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.”

After the instructions came a sombre and terrifying statement, “I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh…” Noah walked with God and knew His precepts. He also knew that whatever God said, would be true and was to be carried out, in all its chilling detail. He was told that God would send a flood of waters, or mabbuwl – deluge, which would completely destroy all living things, including mankind. He had never witnessed rain, let alone a ‘deluge’ that was capable of total destruction! Yet, he accepted what God said and proceeded to build the ark.

God then reassured Noah, saying that “But with thee will I establish (or quwm, confirm, ratify, fix) my covenant.” God’s covenant, b@riyth, was an alliance or pledge – an Holy promise. It was an ordinance between a king and His subject, an alliance of friendship accompanied by signs. As a promise made by God it could never be broken.

This friendship ensured that Noah and his wife would enter the ark and be saved from destruction, along with his sons (and children?). Then came an even more remarkable command – that Noah was to also take into the ark two of every kind, to “keep them alive with thee”, and they “shall be male and female.” Critics say that this would have been impossible, but God was talking about the male and female of every kind or species, not every possible variation within those kinds/species.

Today we have many sub-species/kinds, but it is likely that there were fewer then. Even if there were sub-species, Noah was instructed only to bring on board one male-female sample of each distinct species, not sub-species, including insects and birds. We are not told if these pairs were adult or young… if they were young, they would have taken up less room and eaten less food. Whatever they were, it was Noah’s task to keep them alive, as the future parents of all creatures after the Flood.

Impossible? Not if God instructed the species to travel to Noah! Incredible? Yes, definitely! Beyond belief? Depends on whether or not you believe God exists and that He can do anything He says He will do!

Noah was, then, to also gather food sufficient for the animals and birds and insects, and for himself and family. Probably Noah was given an idea as to how much to gather. Noah did everything commanded of him by God, by faith. And it was this obedience that saved him and his family, and the whole stock of the future new world.

Obedience – the key to our well-being on earth! I have gone through a number of very stressful times in my life but it was obedience that finally led me out of each period. I faltered at times and made mistakes of judgement, but eventually I was led by God when I gave over my problems to Him.

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Published on www.christiandoctrine.com

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