Tuesday, October 29, 2013

When God Remembers


Genesis 8:1 Then God remembered.

Did God forget?  No, not at all, but this is a common phrase the bible uses whenever, because of divine intervention, a turning point (either for blessing, deliverance or judgment) has been reached.  This turning point may involve single individuals or entire nations.

In Genesis 19:29 God’s remembering resulted in the deliverance of Lot.  For Abraham’s sake God sent His angels into Sodom to for all practical purposes literally drag Lot, his wife and two of his daughters out of that city before He destroyed it. “And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when He overthrew the cities in which Lot had dwelt.”

In Genesis 30:22 God’s remembering resulted in Rachel finally at last having a child. “Then God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her and opened her womb.”

In Exodus 2:24 God’s remembering resulted in the deliverance of God’s people from their Egyptian bondage. “So God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.”

And moving on to the New Testament, in Acts 10:31 God’s remembering resulted in the conversion of Cornelius and his entire family - the first gentile believers to be baptized into the Christian church. "And said, 'Cornelius, your prayer has been heard, and your alms are remembered in the sight of God.”

These are but a few of the many examples found in the Bible.  When God remembers, things happen.  Again, it is not that God ever forgot, but simply that now God’s intervention, His divine providence, has reached a level that we mere mortals can perceive.  And so it is written, “Then God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the animals that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters subsided. The fountains of the deep and the windows of heaven were also stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained. And the waters receded continually from the earth. At the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters decreased. “ (Genesis 8:1-3).

For the past five months the flood waters had risen continuously, and although the torrential rain that marked the beginning of the flood had abated somewhat after the first 40 days, the rain had, till now, never really stopped.  And so far as we know from Scripture, Noah still had no idea how long this ordeal was going to last.  It was truly a test of patience. What a relief it must have been to Noah and family when after five long months the rain stopped.  Finally at long last there was a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel, some sign that the flood was not going to last forever. 

There is a lesson of patience for us in this story.  God works on His own schedule, not ours.  We look for instant gratification.  We want what we want and we want it yesterday.  But God is working for bigger purposes.  He is working for eternity. “Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!” (Psalm 27:1).

We don’t like to wait.  We especially don’t like to wait through five full months of non-stop rain with never a break in the clouds, never a hint that the rain is ever going to end, never a hint that the sun will ever shine bright once again.  But it is necessary to wait for God‘s purpose to manifest itself.  And the waiting time is not wasted time.  It is during these times of waiting that some of the most profound spiritual growth takes place in our lives.  When the sun is shining bright in your life and all is going well little faith is needed.  It is easy to shout hallelujah on the mountain top.   It is when the clouds blot out the sun, and the rain falls in your life with no end in sight that faith is stretched to the limit.  And it is only as faith is stretched that it grows. 

If you have ever been tempted to think that God has forgotten you, think again.  God has not forgotten you.  Never for a moment has He ceased watching over you. 

Isaiah 49:13 Sing, O heavens! Be joyful, O earth! And break out in singing, O mountains! For the LORD has comforted His people, And will have mercy on His afflicted. 14 But [you] said, "The LORD has forsaken me, And my Lord has forgotten me." 15 "Can a woman forget her nursing child, And not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, Yet I will not forget you. 16 See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands.

He has “inscribed you on the palms of [His] hands.”  Literally.  The nail scars on Jesus’ hands bear your name.  Those scars testify of the depth of His love for you.  You are not forgotten!  And so, because we are inscribed on the hands of God, when the rains come in our lives we can know that in due time the sun also shine in our lives once again.  When we are overwhelmed by the floods of life, we can patiently wait, knowing that in due time the flood will recede.

THE OLIVE LEAF

Genesis 8:4 Then the ark rested in the seventh month, the seventeenth day of the month, on the mountains of Ararat. 5 And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month. In the tenth month, on the first day of the month, the tops of the mountains were seen.

After five months of clouds and rain the flood began to recede.  But the waters went down ever so slowly at first.  Another month and a half passed before the ark grounded somewhere among the Ararat mountains, and yet another two and a half months after that before the waters receded enough for the tops of those mountains to be seen. 

Here is yet another lesson in patience.  Even when our circumstances begin to turn it may still take quite some time for God’s design to fully manifest itself.  It may take some time before we can discern that a real change for the better is taking place.  In the mean time we must continue to live by faith. 

This lesson in patience is especially applicable to these end times.  Twice in Revelation when the prophecy depicts God’s faithful people being under intense attack by the enemy, they are called on to be patient, to endure - knowing that in due time their deliverance will come.

It had been a long voyage and you can bet that there was rejoicing in the ark when at long last they felt it come to ground on that mountain top.  This was truly a mountain-top experience for Noah and family.  And isn’t it true that often our greatest spiritual highs come just after our deepest spiritual lows.  It is when, after faith has been stretched to the limit, and after waiting so very long we see the first glimmers of the divine hand in action that we have our greatest rejoicing. 

People often think of Ararat as being a single mountain, and they picture Noah’s ark coming to rest on a mountain called Ararat.  But that is not the case.  The Scripture here speaks of the “mountains” of Ararat, and they speak rightly for Ararat is not so much a single mountain as it is a mountain range.  But the Bible does not tell us exactly which one of mountain peaks in that range that the ark finally came to rest on. 

Genesis 8:6 So it came to pass, at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made. 7 Then he sent out a raven, which kept going to and fro until the waters had dried up from the earth. 8 He also sent out from himself a dove, to see if the waters had receded from the face of the ground. 9 But the dove found no resting place for the sole of her foot, and she returned into the ark to him, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth. So he put out his hand and took her, and drew her into the ark to himself.

Have you ever had a case of cabin-fever?  Well if anything could give it to you it would be being cooped up in an ark for the better part of a year.  The ark had come to rest somewhere among the Ararat Mountains.  The higher ground was beginning to come clear of the flood waters.  And Noah was anxious to check on how things were progressing.  And so, using the resources he had at hand, Noah sent out a raven and a dove.  The raven kept flitting back and forth using the ark as a home base.  The dove took one look and headed back home to the ark.  There just wasn’t any place to go yet.

Genesis 8:10 And he waited yet another seven days, and again he sent the dove out from the ark. 11 Then the dove came to him in the evening, and behold, a freshly plucked olive leaf was in her mouth; and Noah knew that the waters had receded from the earth. 12 So he waited yet another seven days and sent out the dove, which did not return again to him anymore.

Seven days pass and Noah once again sends the dove out.  Like before, the dove returns to the ark, but this time it brings “a freshly plucked olive leaf” back with it.  That freshly plucked olive leaf speaks volumes about what God had been doing as the waters receded.  To me the text seems to imply that the “freshly plucked” leaf was plucked from a mature living tree.  If true, that would in turn imply that as the waters receded, God had been systematically covering the newly exposed land with vegetation. 

Here we see once again the goodness of God.  This also follows the pattern set in the original creation week.  At creation, on the third day of the Creation week, before God created the various animals that would populate the world, He first created the vegetation that would provide for their various needs: food, shelter etc.  In Psalms it says of God:

Psalm 145:15 The eyes of all look expectantly to You, And You give them their food in due season. 16 You open Your hand And satisfy the desire of every living thing.

God so ordered creation that not one of His creatures had to wait a day for the comforts of life.  All the they could need, all that they could desire was prepared ready and waiting for them beforehand - even for the very least of His creatures. 

And so it would be when Noah and family and their animal passengers finally were allowed to leave the ark.  They would, when they finally exited the ark, find a world already prepared to receive them.  But they still had a little time to wait yet before it would be time for them to exit the ark. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Seven Days- The Flood Begins


Genesis 7:10 And it came to pass after seven days that the waters of the flood were on the earth.

Once Noah and family entered the ark, seven days remained to the antediluvian world. (Genesis 7:4).  What were those 7 days to the world outside the ark?  We can imagine. 

Seven
The birds are singing, the flowers are blooming - you could not have asked for a more picture perfect day.  All around the ark people are beginning to gather to see the spectacle.  Yes they plan on having a grand time at Noah’s expense. 

Six The new day dawns bright and clear.  Yet another picture perfect day.  A gentle breeze made waves in the grassy meadows.  The bees busily gather the nectar from the flowers.  And the party outside the ark is just getting started. 

Five
Yet another picture perfect day, altogether glorious.  The crowds are really beginning to grow now as more people come to join the party.  Vendors are doing a brisk business selling “I survived Noah’s flood” t-shirts.  Bookies are busy taking bets on how long the deluded old fool will remain in the ark.  Yes, it was a good time for all. 

Four
Another day dawns, another perfect day, clear sky, bright sun, the birds singing their songs, the frogs chirping in the streams and ponds.  And the wicked oblivious to any danger continue their party.  Who ever thought a deluded old prophet could provide so much entertainment.

Being on a lunar calendar, either this or the next night would have been a full moon.  And boy oh boy, did they ever have a howling good time. “Hey Noah!  Come on out.  You are missing the party.”

Three
The next day as the sun once again rose on yet another picture perfect day, the partiers were all strung out and hung-over from the last night’s full moon bash. 

Two
The sixth day dawns, and the party begins to wind up again as the partier’s recover from the previous night’s wild party.

One
The seventh day, and it is another picture perfect day.  Yet little do the antediluvians realize that this is the last day.  The birds are still singing, the flowers are still blooming, the butterflies are still flitting, the bees are still buzzing ... "But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. (Matthew 24:37).

2 Peter 3:3 Knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, 4 and saying, "Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation." 5 For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, 6 by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water.

1 Thessalonians 5:2 For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. 3 For when they say, "Peace and safety!" then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.

The seventh day comes to a close.  All hell breaks loose, and the party’s over.

1 Corinthians 10:11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.

Romans 15:4 For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.

THE FLOOD BEGINS

Genesis 7:10 And it came to pass after seven days that the waters of the flood were on the earth. 11 In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. 12 And the rain was on the earth forty days and forty nights.

The unbelief of the world will not delay by a single moment the judgment of God.  Long disbelieved by the antediluvian world its very possibility denied, the flood came nonetheless.  And so it will also be in these last days.  The very idea of Christ’s return and of the judgment to come is most vehemently denied by many.  Yet like the antediluvians before them, they too will discover that that which they have so long denied, that which they have so long disbelieved, will come.

The storm came with unimaginable fury.  Nobody doubted anymore.  Nobody mocked anymore.  But it was forever too late.  Their eternal destiny was already decided. 

Imagine if you will dozens of super-hurricanes sweeping the globe.  Not piddley little category 5’s mind you, but categories 7’s, 8’s, and 9’s. Super-storms big enough to engulf entire continents, screaming across the landscape with unabated fury for a full forty days.  And then consider that that may well have been the very least of your problems. 

“On that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up.”  There is some debate among creationist as to just exactly what these fountains of the great deep were, but one idea that has been put forth (which the Hebrew allows) and which I agree with, is that this refers to the ocean basins themselves.  It is thought that on one hand the continents were depressed downward, and this depression of the continents was accompanied by a simultaneous rising of the antediluvian ocean floors on the other hand.  Surge after surge of super-tsunamis, tsunamis so big that the 2004 Christmas tsunami that hit southeast Asia would scarcely register as a ripple on its surface, would have scoured the land clean of everything, down to bedrock and beyond.

At the Cambrian/Pre-Cambrian boundary there is a global erosional unconformity so huge that it is estimated that the amount of material eroded at that level exceeds that calculated to have been eroded in all the rest of the geologic history combined.  It is so exceptional that it has even been given the name “the Great Unconformity.”  By conventional geologic time scales, nearly a billion years’ worth of sedimentation is missing, just gone, eroded away by an erosional event that dwarfs anything else that has ever happened in the history of the planet.  The Pre-Cambrian rock was scoured down to and deeply into the granitic basement rock that makes up the foundations of the continents, and few places on earth escaped this scouring.  All around the world, lying directly on top of this Great Unconformity are the basal conglomerates, breccia’s and sandstones, consisting of large chunks of broken rocks, and coarse sandstones.  In other words, rubble that represents the last phase of erosion before deposition began.  These are very high energy deposits, and they are global in extent, transcontinental in extent, and no known geologic process currently operating on earth can even begin to create their like. 

Genesis 7:17 Now the flood was on the earth forty days. The waters increased and lifted up the ark, and it rose high above the earth. 18 The waters prevailed and greatly increased on the earth, and the ark moved about on the surface of the waters. 19 And the waters prevailed exceedingly on the earth, and all the high hills under the whole heaven were covered. 20 The waters prevailed fifteen cubits upward, and the mountains were covered.

“The water increased … prevailed … greatly increased … prevailed exceedingly … and the mountain were covered.”  Many people think of the flood as a somewhat simple, placid process, something like filling up a bathtub and then draining it again.  But the flood was a very much more violent process.  The picture Genesis paints is one of surge after surge of flood waters covering the earth.  The waters would surge across the landscape in a super-tsunami, appear to retreat for a time, only to be followed by an even stronger surge, until in the course of time (it took about five months altogether) all the earth was flooded, the highest mountain then existing on the planet covered by at least 22 to 23 feet of water.  However it should be noted that the mountains we have today are not those of the antediluvian world.  Those antediluvian mountains simply don't exist anymore.  They were literally scoured from off the face of the earth. Few people realize just how violent an event the Flood was. Our current day mountains are the result of runaway tectonic process that creationist believe took place during and shortly after the flood.

Genesis 7:21 And all flesh died that moved on the earth: birds and cattle and beasts and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, and every man. 22 All in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, all that was on the dry land, died. 23 So He destroyed all living things which were on the face of the ground: both man and cattle, creeping thing and bird of the air. They were destroyed from the earth. Only Noah and those who were with him in the ark remained alive.

Once all the earth was covered, once the last of the earth mountain peaks were submerged, the last refuge for man and beast was gone, and in the course of time, even the strongest swimmers were overcome, and all that lived on dry land died.  This should stand as a warning to all those who deny that God would ever destroy the wicked.  Yes God is love.  But love without judgment and justice is little more than a weak sentimentality that quickly degenerates into the anything goes permissiveness that is so prevalent in our modern society - such is a false counterfeit love that is wholly alien to God.  Agape love (God’s love) however is a perfect blend, not only of grace and mercy, but also of justice and judgment. 

Genesis 7:24 And the waters prevailed on the earth one hundred and fifty days.

If the flood began as the Bible says on the 17th day of the first month, (early October by our calendar) this would place the final submergence of the highest mountain peaks on earth in early March by our calendar.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The End is Come


Genesis 7:1 Then the LORD said to Noah, "Come into the ark, you and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation. 2 You shall take with you seven each of every clean animal, a male and his female; two each of animals that are unclean, a male and his female; 3 also seven each of birds of the air, male and female, to keep their seed alive on the face of all the earth. 4 For after seven more days I will cause it to rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and I will destroy from the face of the earth all living things that I have made."

The day had finally come.  After 120 years of building, after 120 years of preparation, after 120 years of preaching, the command had come to board the ark.  The day of probation for the antediluvian world had ended.  As the wicked went heedlessly on their way little did they know that their last chance at salvation had slipped away, never again to return.  The last sermon had been preached, the last call to repentance given.  Now the voice of God to the wicked was silenced. 

“Seven more days” the Lord had said.  This, by Jewish tradition, would have been the day that Methuselah, Noah’s grandfather died.  For the entirety of his long life, Methuselah was a testimony to the world of their coming destruction.  Methuselah was the son of Enoch, the antediluvian Elijah.  Roughly translated his name meant, “When he dies it will come.”  Now Methuselah was dead.  And by the Lord’s own words, the flood was already on its way.  “Seven more days” the Lord had said. 

It is possible that Lamech, Noah’s father, also died at this same time at a mere 777 years of age.  Just as it was not for Moses to cross over the Jordan into the Promised Land, it was not for Methuselah or Lamech to pass over to the other side of the flood.  God laid them both to rest in the grave before the flood came, to await the glorious resurrection morning.  And so it will also be in these last days.  Before Jesus comes again, before the awful terrors of the great and terrible day of the Lord comes, many will be laid to rest, to await the resurrection.  Others however, will be called upon to endure the storm, to, like Noah, ride it out to the end and bear living witness to the coming of the Lord. "And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man” (Luke 17:26).

Joel 2:11 The LORD gives voice before His army, For His camp is very great; For strong is the One who executes His word. For the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; Who can endure it?

Zephaniah 1:14 The great day of the LORD is near; It is near and hastens quickly. The noise of the day of the LORD is bitter; There the mighty men shall cry out. 15 That day is a day of wrath, A day of trouble and distress, A day of devastation and desolation, A day of darkness and gloominess, A day of clouds and thick darkness …17 "I will bring distress upon men, And they shall walk like blind men, Because they have sinned against the LORD; Their blood shall be poured out like dust, And their flesh like refuse." 18 Neither their silver nor their gold Shall be able to deliver them In the day of the LORD'S wrath; But the whole land shall be devoured By the fire of His jealousy, For He will make speedy riddance Of all those who dwell in the land.

And when that day come, the wicked will cry out: "The harvest is past, The summer is ended, And we are not saved!" (Jeremiah 8:20). That is why the Bible says time and again, “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2).  If you wait, you may wake up one day and discover to your horror that you have waited too long.  God is patient, long suffering, not willing that any should be lost, but the day will come when even God’s patience is exhausted and His longsuffering at an end. 

For the antediluvians their day of grace had ended.  To them the decree had gone out, as it will soon do so for this world: "He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still. And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.”  (Revelation 22:11-12).  It is not possible to emphasize strongly enough the importance of being ready NOW!!!  TODAY!!!  Tomorrow may be forever too late.

Genesis 7:5 And Noah did according to all that the LORD commanded him. 6 Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters were on the earth. 7 So Noah, with his sons, his wife, and his sons' wives, went into the ark because of the waters of the flood. 8 Of clean animals, of animals that are unclean, of birds, and of everything that creeps on the earth, 9 two by two they went into the ark to Noah, male and female, as God had commanded Noah.

And so, all that day the animals God had gathered from all parts of the world began to make their way into the ark.  What a spectacle it must have been to those who witnessed it.  By two’s and by seven’s they entered the ark under the guidance of God, every animal going to its appointed place.  Sometime during the course of this busy day, Noah and family probably attended to the sad business of saying farewell to Methuselah.  Then last of all, they themselves boarded the ark. 

Genesis 7:10 And it came to pass after seven days that the waters of the flood were on the earth. 11 In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. 12 And the rain was on the earth forty days and forty nights. 13 On the very same day Noah and Noah's sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and Noah's wife and the three wives of his sons with them, entered the ark- 14 they and every beast after its kind, all cattle after their kind, every creeping thing that creeps on the earth after its kind, and every bird after its kind, every bird of every sort. 15 And they went into the ark to Noah, two by two, of all flesh in which is the breath of life. 16 So those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him; and the LORD shut him in.

Seven days.  These seven days allowed Noah and family time to settle in and adjust to life on the ark before the storm hit.  These seven days allowed them time to settle into the daily routine of caring for the many animals in their charge before the storm hit.

Using the Hebrew calendar, their first full day on the ark would have been on the 10th day of the month of Tisri, which corresponds with the latter half of September and the first half of October by our calendar.  It was not until the time of the Exodus that the beginning of the year was shifted by six months to begin in the spring of the year. (Exodus 12:2) Thus by our reckoning it would have been near the end of September when Noah and family boarded the ark, and very early October when the rains began. However it would be a mistake to assume that the seasons of the antediluvian world corresponded to the seasons we have today.  All indication is that they experienced a mild climate year around. 

Jesus tells us that the wicked of Noah’s day did not have a clue about what was happening until the flood actually came and swept them away.  Such is the blindness of the wicked. 

Matthew 24:37 "But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 38 For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be”.

They had heard Noah’s preaching.  They saw the animals coming from all over the earth entering the ark.  They saw the angel close the door of the ark.  The signs of the times were all around them, yet though they saw it all, they were blind to it all. 

God will blind the eyes, darken the understanding, of those who reject Him, all the while allowing them to believe that they are the very essence of wisdom. To those who by their lives have long been crying out to God to cease from before them - God gives them what they want - He steps out of their lives and lets them live in their carnal blindness, all the while believing themselves to be wise. To those who love spiritual blindness - God says, "Very well, let it be as you wish. Be blind."

Isaiah 6:9 And He said, "Go, and tell this people: 'Keep on hearing, but do not understand; Keep on seeing, but do not perceive.' 10 Make the heart of this people dull, And their ears heavy, And shut their eyes; Lest they see with their eyes, And hear with their ears, And understand with their heart, And return and be healed."

But know this, all who are so blinded will be held fully responsible for all that they could have known and understood had they sought God with all their heart. God will not allow them to use this blindness as an excuse in the judgment because this is a blindness that they willfully chose for themselves.

And this strange blindness of the wicked is something that is seen in all ages.  It was especially manifested in the days of Christ.  As Jesus hung on the cross, the religious leaders mocked him - but in their blindness they did not realize that every move they made, even the very words coming out of their mouth had been scripted in prophecy centuries beforehand.  These religious leaders could quote the Scriptures to you forward and backwards.  But for all their professed knowledge of the Scriptures they were blind to what it said.  They were following the script to the letter, and yet for all their vast knowledge of the Scriptures, they were utterly blind to it all.

And so it is in these last days.  The wicked are literally following to the letter the script written out for them in Prophecy.  The signs of the times are manifesting themselves in plain sight all around them, and yet just as the antediluvians were, just as the religious leaders in Christ’s day were - they are utterly blind to it all. But that blindness is a blindness of their own making.  It is a blindness of their own choice.  God had merely given them what they have always wanted.  And just as it was in Noah’s day, so it is today.  The wicked will not know anything is amiss, won’t have a clue, until they are swept away by the coming storm of God’s wrath.

Matthew 24:37 "But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 38 For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.”

Romans 1:22 Professing to be wise, they became fools … 24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness … 26 [and] God gave them up to vile passions. … 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, ("and [they] did not know until the [storm] came and took them all away” (Matthew 24:39).

Galatians 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

Yes a storm is coming the likes of which this world has yet to see, a day of deliverance to the righteous, but a day of absolute terror and destruction to the wicked.  Read and be warned!!!

Ezekiel 7:2 Thus says the Lord GOD … 'An end! The end has come upon the four corners of the land. 3 Now the end has come upon you, And I will send My anger against you; I will judge you according to your ways, And I will repay you for all your abominations. 4 My eye will not spare you, Nor will I have pity; But I will repay your ways, And your abominations will be in your midst; Then you shall know that I am the LORD!'
 
5 Thus says the Lord GOD: 'A disaster, a singular disaster; Behold, it has come! 6 An end has come, The end has come; It has dawned for you; Behold, it has come! 7 Doom has come to you, you who dwell in the land; The time has come, A day of trouble is near, And not of rejoicing in the mountains. 8 Now upon you I will soon pour out My fury, And spend My anger upon you; I will judge you according to your ways, And I will repay you for all your abominations. 9 'My eye will not spare, Nor will I have pity; I will repay you according to your ways, And your abominations will be in your midst. Then you shall know that I am the LORD who strikes. 10 'Behold, the day! Behold, it has come! Doom has gone out; The rod has blossomed, Pride has budded. 11 Violence has risen up into a rod of wickedness; None of them shall remain, None of their multitude, None of them; Nor shall there be wailing for them.  
 
17 Every hand will be feeble, And every knee will be as weak as water. 18 They will also be girded with sackcloth; Horror will cover them; Shame will be on every face, Baldness on all their heads. 19 'They will throw their silver into the streets, And their gold will be like refuse; Their silver and their gold will not be able to deliver them In the day of the wrath of the LORD; They will not satisfy their souls, Nor fill their stomachs, Because it became their stumbling block of iniquity … 25 Destruction comes; They will seek peace, but there shall be none. 26 Disaster will come upon disaster, And rumor will be upon rumor. Then they will seek a vision from a prophet; But the law will perish from the priest, And counsel from the elders.

Friday, October 25, 2013

According to All that God Commanded


Genesis 6:19 And of every living thing of all flesh you shall bring two of every sort into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female. 20 Of the birds after their kind, of animals after their kind, and of every creeping thing of the earth after its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive. 21 And you shall take for yourself of all food that is eaten, and you shall gather it to yourself; and it shall be food for you and for them. 22 Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did.

Two by two the animals were to come into the ark. While chapter 7 notes a few exceptions to that rule, most animals would be represented on the ark by a single male and female pair. A question that is often asked is how could all the different types of animals fit on the ark? The general assumption behind that question is that Noah was to take every variety of every animal that existed. But that is not what the text says. Noah was to take on the ark, birds, animals, and creeping things according to their ‘kind’.

Take for example sea gulls. There are many varieties, many species of sea gulls all over the earth, and yet they are each and every one of them sea gulls. Noah would not have had to take a pair of every species of sea gull on the ark, but a single pair of sea gulls representative of the sea gull kind. And that pair, after the flood, would then diversify into all the different varieties of sea gulls we have today. And however many species they may diversify into, a sea gull is a sea gull is a sea gull.

There is no evidence that one kind of animal can evolve into another kind of animal. They can only change within their own kinds. Hence, however varied they may be, dogs will always be dogs, and cats will always be cats. You may have big dogs and little dogs, tall dogs and long skinny dogs, etc., but the bottom line is that they will always be dogs. And so it is with all the original genesis types. Darwin saw many varieties of finches on the Galapagos Islands and thought he saw evidence of evolution, and yet they were still every one of them still finches. They had diversified within their finch kind, but not one of them evolved into a non-finch type of bird. They all still remain firmly within their finch kind.

And so there would have been room enough on the ark, and room to spare for a pair of all the basic genesis kinds to be on the ark. There was no need to bring a pair of every type of horse on the ark, only a single pair of the genesis original. No need for every type of cat in the world, only a single pair of the genesis original. No need for every type of squirrel in the world, only a single pair of the genesis original, and so with all the creatures.

Another question that is often asked is, “How could Noah have collected all the different types of animals from all over the world?” The short answer is that the task of collecting all the different animals and getting them to the ark wasn’t any of Noah’s business. If you look at the last part of verse 20 it says: “two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive.” In other words, God was going to get the animals to Noah. Noah’s job was to have the ark ready for them when they arrived. This has a direct tie in with the last verse of chapter 6.

Genesis 6:22 Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did.

What’s the point you ask? Noah did what God commanded him to do. God command Noah to build an ark, and gave him 120 years to do it, and Noah did it. God did not command Noah to search the far corners of the earth for all the various animals that would be on the ark. That was God’s job and by faith Noah left that job to God. Noah did not try to do what God had not commanded him to do.

This is where many people get in trouble in their spiritual life. Instead of doing what God had commanded them to do; they try to do someone else’s job. Or worse yet, try to do what God had said that He Himself would do. And that is a recipe for failure. It’s like a hand trying to do the job of the eye, or a foot trying to do the job of the ear.

1 Corinthians 12:17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? 18 But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased.

As Christians we all have our place in the body. We each have our appointed tasks to do. But when we try to do the tasks that have been appointed to others, or the works that God Himself has promised to do for us, the results are failure. We, like Noah, must learn to do as the Lord have commanded us. Not as the Lord has commanded someone else. And most especially not as the Lord has said HE would do.

And these verses also bring up yet another question that is often asked. How could Noah store enough food in the ark for all the animals? Again, if you read the text closely you will discover that that also was not Noah’s job. What exactly did God ask Noah to do?

Genesis 6:22 And you shall take for yourself of all food that is eaten, and you shall gather it to yourself; and it shall be food for you and for them.

Note that God did not tell Noah to gather a year’s supply of all the food that all the animals would need on their voyage. God told Noah to gather to himself “of all food that is eaten” but God did not specify how much Noah was to gather. In fact, there is no indication at this point that Noah had a clue as to how long the flood was going to last.

Not knowing how long the flood would last or how much food would be needed, most likely what Noah did was to gather up what would be considered a daily ration of all the various food stuff that would be needed on the voyage. Then Noah trusted God to make that to be enough. Like the little bit of oil and one hand full of flour of the widow of Zarephath (1 Kings 17:12-16). Like the one jar of oil in the home of the prophet’s widow (2 Kings 4:1-7). Like the offering of first fruits brought to Elisha (2 Kings 4:42-44). Like the five loaves and two fishes by which Jesus fed thousands (Matthew 14:16-21), the food Noah gathered would prove to be sufficient, even much more than sufficient. And with every serving coming fresh from the Creator’s hands, that food would be as fresh at the end of the voyage as it was at its beginning.

And so, once again:

Genesis 6:22 Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Covenant


Genesis 6:18 But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall go into the ark-you, your sons, your wife, and your sons' wives with you.

When God said to Noah “I will establish MY covenant with you,” He was not speaking of “a” covenant but of “THE” covenant. THE covenant first spoken to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:15) and secured so to speak with a promissory note at the garden’s gate when the blood of sacrifice was shed (representative of Christ, the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world) so that Adam and Eve could be clothed in robes of skin (symbolic of Christ’s robe of righteousness). THE covenant that God Himself in the person of Jesus Christ fully ratified in His own blood on the cross.

The word is “berith” which is derived from “bar” which means to purify or cleanse. And in all covenants, a sacrifice was offered for the removal of offences and the reconciliation of God to the sinner. Hence “berith” carries not only the meaning of a contractual agreement or covenant, but that of a cleansing sacrifice as well.

This covenant promise was passed down from generation to generation -- Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, etc.  “Then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and My covenant with Isaac and My covenant with Abraham I will remember; I will remember the land.” (Leviticus 26:42).

The apostle Paul speaking of this covenant writes: “Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, "And to seeds," as of many, but as of one, "And to your Seed," who is Christ.” (Galatians 3:16). This reference to the “Seed” goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden, to Genesis 3:15 where God said, “And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel."


And Jesus Himself is that promised “Seed.” He is that covenant, that cleansing and reconciling sacrifice, that “Seed” that would bruise Satan‘s head. And indeed, that very word, “berith,” is used in prophetic reference to Jesus.

Isaiah 42:6 "I, the LORD, have called You in righteousness, And will hold Your hand; I will keep You and give You as a covenant [berith] to the people, As a light to the Gentiles, 7 To open blind eyes, To bring out prisoners from the prison, Those who sit in darkness from the prison house.

Isaiah 49:7 Thus says the LORD, The Redeemer of Israel, their Holy One, To Him whom man despises, To Him whom the nation abhors, To the Servant of rulers: "Kings shall see and arise, Princes also shall worship, Because of the LORD who is faithful, The Holy One of Israel; And He has chosen You." 8 Thus says the LORD: "In an acceptable time I have heard You, And in the day of salvation I have helped You; I will preserve You and give You As a covenant [berith] to the people, To restore the earth, To cause them to inherit the desolate heritages; 9 That You may say to the prisoners, 'Go forth,' To those who are in darkness, 'Show yourselves.' "They shall feed along the roads, And their pastures shall be on all desolate heights.

Jesus is given to us as both a covenant and a cleansing sacrifice. It is as we come to Jesus and receive His sacrifice as our own that we, entering into a covenant relationship with him, find renewal and eternal life. Peter refers to this cleansing, related the flood with baptism, the one being the antitype of the other. “Who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. There is also an antitype which now saves us--baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 3:20-21).

By baptism we in effect enter into a covenant relationship with God, publicly dedicating our lives to His service. By baptism we profess that the old man has died and we are symbolically buried with Jesus and raised up to a new life in Christ.

Romans 6:3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.

Hence in baptism we partake in this same covenant. We become heirs of salvation through Christ. As it was in Noah’s day so it will also be in our own day. Only those who have entered into a covenant relationship with God will be saved. Only they will be delivered from the destruction that is coming on the world. And also, as it was in Noah’s day, the saved will be relatively few compared to the billions who inhabit the earth.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Doomsday Clock


Genesis 6:14 Make yourself an ark of gopherwood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch. 15 And this is how you shall make it: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. 16 You shall make a window for the ark, and you shall finish it to a cubit from above; and set the door of the ark in its side. You shall make it with lower, second, and third decks.
 
There comes a time when God says ‘enough is enough.’ In verse 3 God had given man a hundred and twenty years to get their act together. “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. (Genesis 6:3).
 
After repeated rejections of His calls to grace, and the unchecked downward spiral into sin, God begins the process of withdrawing His Holy Spirit from the world. The rejecters of His grace will be left to their own devices, to reap what they had sown. Yet, for those whose heart were not so hardened as to be incapable of responding to the Holy Spirit, the offer of mercy and grace and pardon would still for a time be held out. But the door of probation was fast closing. (This is a process that is once again in taking place in the world, as it was in Noah’s day, so it is today).
 
It was then at this time that God commissioned Noah to build the ark. But Noah was first and foremost a preacher of righteousness. As it says in 2 Peter 2:5 “And did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly.”
 
It was God’s intention that the building of the ark would come as a wake-up call to the antediluvian world. With the building of the ark it was God’s intention that there should be a renewed sense of imminence and of urgency to the warnings that had first begun to be preached by Enoch and which were now being preached by Noah.
 
For a hundred and twenty years Noah alternated his time between preaching the last message of warning and entreaty to a sinful world and working on the ark. That ark was the antediluvian equivalent of a doomsday clock. Every plank laid, every blow of a hammer in its making was a tick on that doomsday clock. Noah could have built the ark in far less time than the hundred and twenty years he was given. That it took that long testifies to the amount of time he spent preaching in a final effort to save a lost world. But the day finally came when the last sermon was preach, the last plank was lain, the last blow of the hammer struck, and the ark was finished. The antediluvian doomsday clock had stuck midnight.
 
Genesis 6:17 And behold, I Myself am bringing floodwaters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the earth shall die.
 
"And behold, I Myself am bringing floodwaters on the earth.” Here God is declaring in no uncertain terms that what is about to happen is no act of nature, no natural phenomenon. He is saying to future generations that while they may study to understand ‘what’ happened, when it comes to the ‘cause’, He Himself is the cause. But more than that, God is taking upon Himself personal responsibility for the flood that He is bringing on the earth. The Bible tells us of God that “He does not afflict willingly, Nor grieve the children of men.” (Lamentations 3:33). “Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die. (Ezekiel 33:11).
 
Isaiah 58: 1 "Cry aloud, spare not; Lift up your voice like a trumpet; Tell My people their transgression, And the house of Jacob their sins.”
 
Prophet after prophet appealed to Israel - but they preached to the wind. Likewise in the antediluvian world, ever since the days of Enoch God had been sounding warning after warning to a rebellious world. Enoch, Methuselah, Noah - They all cried aloud, they spared not, they lifted up their voices like trumpets - but the world would not hear.
 
2 Chronicles 36:15 And the LORD God of their fathers sent warnings to them by His messengers, rising up early and sending them, because He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place. 16 But they mocked the messengers of God, despised His words, and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against His people, till there was no remedy.
 
When God “gives up” a person or nation (or a world) it is not so much that God has separated Himself from them, it is they who have separated themselves from Him. “Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear. 2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.” (Isaiah 59:1).
 
For nearly a thousand years, beginning with Enoch God preached to the antediluvian world, and I believe we can safely assume that the message for that day, (just as the gospel message will for our day), reached the entire world.
 
Why does God seem to wait so long at times to bring judgment? Why God don’t God just get it over with and destroy the wicked, redeem the righteous and end the suffering, heartache, misery and sorrow of this sin sick world? The Bible gives us the answer: “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9).

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Earth is Filled with Violence

 

Genesis 6:10 And Noah begot three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.


About the time Noah was commissioned by God to build the ark, he had three sons. They were born into a world far different from what God had originally created. They were born into a world where violence was fast becoming the norm, and (as already chronicled in earlier verses) a world where human life was cheap.

At the end of the creation week, God could look at all that He had created and declare it “very good.” But that was no longer the case. We have already seen in verse 5 how “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.” Here we see the fallen nature of man fully unveiled, and now we find what the fruit of this fallen nature is -- an earth filled with violence.

Genesis 6:11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 So God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. 13 And God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth.”


Once again it should be remembered that Jesus made Noah’s day a type or symbol of these last days in which we live. And the words of prophecy stand all too true. “For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people.” (Isaiah 60:2). We are living in an age of deep spiritual and moral darkness, of corruption on an unimaginable scale - unmatched in human history since the days of Noah.

“And the earth was filled with violence.” It is of interest that the one thing to receive specific mention in these verses is violence. Twice it is mentioned that the earth was filled with violence.


Do you remember what I had said in a previous post in reference to Genesis 6:4? “There were giants in the earth in those days … the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.”

The word translated “giants” here is “nephilim” which means a bully or tyrant. It is derived from the root “naphal” meaning to fall, fugitive, overthrow, overwhelm, slay, smite out, throw down. In other words, these “giants” were the “terrorists” of their age - And so the verse could rightly read, “There were terrorists in the earth in those days … the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown”

Jesus was speaking truth when He said that as it was in the day of Noah so shall it be in this world when He comes the second time.

Now take a quick look at this passage in Job chapter 22.

Job 22:15 Will you keep to the old way Which wicked men have trod, 16 Who were cut down before their time, Whose foundations were swept away by a flood? 17 They said to God, 'Depart from us! What can the Almighty do to them?'

Note especially verse 17 where it says of the antediluvians that “They said to God, ‘Depart from us!'” It then asks the question, “What can the Almighty do to them?” What He did was He granted them their request. He withdrew from them and left them to their own devices. And as God withdrew His Spirit from the antediluvian world, the Spirit that had to a large degree restrained the wicked and put a bound on their activity, the earth became, Genesis tells us, “filled with violence.”


Here in these words, “Depart from us!” we find the root cause of the violence that swept over the antediluvian world. This has always been the cry of the wicked, and especially so in these last days as the wicked seek to put God out of their lives. "Get Him out of our schools, out of our government, out of our lives. God - "Depart from us'" they cry. “Cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us” (Isaiah 30:11). “Away with Him, away with Him” (John 19:15) they cry. And guess what? God will hear their prayer and grant them their desires. He will take Himself out of their lives and like the antediluvians before them they too will discover to their horror what a world without God is really like - a world filled end to end with violence.

Psalm 2:2-3
The kings of the earth set themselves,
And the rulers take counsel together,
Against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying,
"Let us break Their bonds in pieces
And cast away Their cords from us."

John 19:15
“Away with him, away with him,”

Isaiah 30:1
"Cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us."

Psalm 2:4-5
He who sits in the heavens shall laugh:
The Lord shall hold them in derision,
Then He shall speak to them in His wrath,
And distress them in His deep displeasure:

Revelation 6:15-17
And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?"

And so once again we find truth in these words of Jesus: "But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.” (Matthew 24:37).

And here too we find a striking parallel with our modern world.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Saved by Grace through Faith


Genesis 6:8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. 9 This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God.

Jesus said that Noah’s time was representative of the last days. "But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.” (Matthew 24:37). And so Noah himself can be thought of as being representative of the people who will be saved in the last days. Thus it is no surprise that the first words we have here concerning Noah is that “Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” What is the significance?

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.

It is by grace that we are saved. And so it was with Noah as well. Noah and family were not saved because they deserved to be saved, but because God was gracious to them. Grace is favor given that is undeserved. Of this Jacob once said: "I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth which You have shown Your servant.” (Genesis 32:10). That is what it means to find grace in the sight of the Lord. It is to be showered with mercies of which you are totally unworthy. Indeed, that is true of all who will at last be saved. We are not worthy, But, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain.” (Revelation 5:12). Jesus is our salvation, and Jesus was Noah’s salvation as well.

Psalm 103:10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor punished us according to our iniquities. 11 For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; 12 As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.

Ezra 9:13 "You our God have punished us less than our iniquities deserve, and have given us such deliverance as this,

Going on this passage says that “Noah was a just man.” How is a man made just? Is it by what they do? Or Who they know? I would answer that the only way a person can truly be called just is by virtue of a living relationship with God. Being just, is a fruit of God grace. It is His free gift to you.

Romans 3:24 Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

This passage goes on to say that Noah was “perfect in his generations.” What does that mean? What does it mean to be perfect? Well, for an answer to that consider the words of Jesus: "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:43-48).

So again, what does it mean to be perfect? The context of Jesus statement declares this perfection to be not so much an external perfection of behavior however good that may be, (hear no evil, see no evil, do no evil), but rather an attitude of real love and forgiveness toward others. Consider Jesus’ parable about the publican and the Pharisee. There we see the human idea of perfection placed in stark contrast to God’s idea of perfection. And here in this parable we again see God’s grace in action, justifying the man who was truly perfect in His sight.

Luke 18:9 Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10 "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, 'God, I thank You that I am not like other men--extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. 12 'I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.' 13 And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me a sinner!' 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

So when the Bible says that “Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations,” it is not speaking of the external perfection of behavior that man looks at and by which man judges, (for no man is without sin) but it is speaking of the condition of the heart. In the parable, the publican (the tax collector) who was condemned so severely by the Pharisee was the just man, the perfect man, in God’s sight. The Pharisee who was so proud of his good deeds was rejected by the Lord, just as Cain was rejected. His offering by the way was exactly the same offering that Cain brought to the Lord, the fruit of his labor, the works of his hands. Such offerings will always be rejected by the Lord.

1 Samuel 16:7 I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."

The last phrase of the text tells Noah’s secret to finding grace in the sight of God. It simply says, “Noah walked with God.” That we must also do. We must walk with God. We must walk in His light, not going our own way or doing our own things. We must allow Jesus to lead the way.

1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

Psalm 23:1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. 3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Antediluvian End-Times – The Nephilim


Genesis 6:4 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.

First of all, it would be well to identify who these “giants” and “sons of God” are, and who they are not.

Now there are many who identify the “sons of God” in this text as angels, and teach that these angels took human wives and bore children by them, and that those half-angel/half-human hybrid children became the “giants” spoken of in verse four. But the Bible forbids that interpretation. First of all, Jesus made it clear that Angels do not marry. “For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven.’ (Mark 12:25).

That statement in itself should have been enough to squash any idea that the “sons of God” in Genesis 6 are referring to angels. Jesus made it clear, angels do not marry, and if not among their own kind, then especially not with fallen humans. This is a case where people are following along with what some supposed authority said once upon a long time ago without ever really thinking the matter through.

Aside from the statement from Jesus in Mark 12:25, think of what would be required for angels to have children of human mothers. First of all angels are spiritual beings. Humans on the other hand are creatures of flesh, made of the dust of the earth. True angles can at times take on the form of humans, but they are still spiritual, not physical beings. To mate with humans they would have to have a cellular biology, with chromosomes and genes. And not just any set of chromosomes and genes, but “human” compatible chromosomes with “human” compatible genes. But cells, and chromosomes and genes are material substances, made of the dust of the earth, and thus presumably not part of the make-up of spiritual beings.

Also, we have this statement from the book of Hebrews, which clearly says that God has never called any of His angels sons. “For to which of the angels did He ever say: ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You’?And again: ‘I will be to Him a Father, And He shall be to Me a Son’"?” (Hebrews 1:5).

And so, I believe it would be safe to say (in spite of the popularity of such an interpretation in Christian circles) that in Genesis 6 the phrase “sons of God” is not speaking of angels.

This brings us to the second of the common interpretations of the phrase “sons of God.”

In the context of Genesis 6, I believe the sons of God are better understood as being those people, descendants of Adam and Eve, who have remained faithful worshipers of God, as opposed to those who have followed after Cain in rebellion against God. There are a number of texts (shown below) that back up that identification:

Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

1 John 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

Philippians 2:15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;

So then, Who are the “sons of God”? We, the worshipers of God, are the sons and daughters of God. Scripture seems to establish that point very strongly. This one is pretty much a no-brainer.

Genesis 6:4 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.

The word translated “giants” here is “nephilim” which means a bully or tyrant. It is derived from the root “naphal” meaning to fall, fugitive, overthrow, overwhelm, slay, smite out, throw down.

Think about it -- Bullies, fugitives, tyrants, people who overthrow, overwhelm, smite and slay, etc. They sound a whole lot like terrorist, petty oppressive dictators, and other really bad elements that we have so many of in our world today. To put it in one word, you might say they were the terrorist and gangsters of their age - which meaning far better fit’s the context of these verses (the ever increasing wickedness of man) than the word “giants” does.  And we find that Jesus was telling the truth when He said; "And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man.” (Luke 17:26).


Genesis 6:5 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.

This is the true description of the basic nature of fallen man and it destroys any idea that man can possibly by his own effort make himself better. Of this the apostle Paul wrote, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwell.” (Romans 7:18) If there is to be anything good in us it must come from outside of us. We need a power from above working from within. And so that is why Paul also wrote, "I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." (Galatians 2:20).

Christ in us. That is the only way, our only hope. But when Christ is rejected, His Spirit is withdrawn and he gives them up to their own unholy passions. Man is left to go his own way and that way is always down to ever greater depths of depravity. And God warns us that what happened to the antediluvians will happen to the world again. As Solomon said, there is nothing new under the sun, what has been will be again.

Ecclesiastes 1:9 That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun.

And do we indeed have modern day nephilim? Yes we do. They are all around us. And the word giant is not an altogether inappropriate description of them. You have heard phrases such as “giants of industry, etc., applied to certain people of renown. Well, our modern day nephilim are men and women who are as it were giants in leading the world in violence on one hand and in every imaginable perversion on the other. Men and women of renown, applauded and adored by the world, just as the antediluvian nephilim were. Paul describes them to us in these words: “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful.” (Romans 1:28 - 31).

We are no different from the antediluvians. In fact our societies are so similar that Jesus said that the one could be used as a model of the other. "But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.” (Matthew 24:37).

Genesis 6:6 And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. 7 So the LORD said, "I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them." 8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.

One thing that stands out in this passage is that God is not some cold, distant, unemotional being who is wholly indifferent to the actions of man. Man was created in the image of God, and man was made an emotional being. Now sin has grossly distorted these emotions in man, often turning them into something dark and ugly. When we read of these emotions in God we must understand them in their highest and purest sense. But God uses imperfect human language to express Himself to man. What we discover is that God is pictured in Scripture as someone who is touched by human tragedy, as someone who is capable of grief as well as joy, as One who is passionate enough to love us as we need to be loved.

Ezekiel 33:11 Say to them: 'As I live,' says the Lord GOD, 'I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die.’

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.

The Lord works long and patiently but there comes a time when human hearts become so hardened in sin that they can no longer be impressed by the Holy Spirit, and when that time comes there is no longer any point in striving to turn them to righteousness. That happened in the days of Noah and it is happening again today.

Now concerning our modern day nephilim as described in Romans 1:19-32.

God has given the world an abundance of evidence of His existence, if only they are willing to see it. (Romans 1:19-20).

But when a people make a choice to ignore this evidence and turn from God because they love the world more than they love God they become "futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.  Professing to be wise, they became fools." (Romans 1:21-22).


Jesus said that as it was in the day of Noah so shall it be in this world when He comes the second time. Do we then have such in the world today? The Apostle Paul tells us:
 
2 Timothy 3:1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

Here are the Nephilim in these last days. They are people, not some half-angel/half-human hybreds. Thugs, terrorist, gangsters, despotic dictators and the like.
 
Peter also has something to say about this. 

2 Peter 3: 3-7 knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, "Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation." For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

Note the phrase “For all things continue as they were from the beginning.”  This is the naturalistic doctrine of uniformitarianism, the foundational principle upon which all of evolutionary theory is built. But in order to worship nature through evolution they must first “forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old.”  In other words, God must be forgotten, Creation must be forgotten.  But as Peter tells us, this is not mere ignorance of these things, but a willful forgetting by the ungodly.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Antediluvian End Times - Marrying and Giving in Marriage


Genesis 6:1 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.
In the course of time as population levels increased those who remained loyal to God and those who followed Cain in his rebellion against God began to intermingle with each other, and of course - human nature being what it is - the results was a degrading of the spirituality of the children of God until at last the whole world was so corrupt that God was forced to bring on the flood. This probably did not happen all at once - but as the children of God mingled with the children of men they became ever more desensitized to evil - just one little step at a time - until they were totally corrupted in every way, a tactic that the devil still uses today.

Now there are some who would interpret the “sons of God” in this text as referring to angels. But the Bible forbids that interpretation. First of all, Jesus made it clear that Angels do not marry.

Mark 12:25 For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven.

Angels do not marry. They also apparently do not procreate. The sons of God are better understood as being the faithful worshipers of God.

Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

1 John 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

While God’s people must of necessity be in the world they are not to be of the world. There is to be a separation, a distinction between the worshiper of God and unbelievers that is sharp and clear. Unfortunately that has rarely been the case. The distinction is blurred and even nearly erased in many cases - and that blurring is not the result of the world reaching up to the high standards of Christianity, but of God’s people stooping down to the level of the world.

2 Corinthians 6:14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people." 17 Therefore "Come out from among them And be separate," says the Lord. "Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you. 18 I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters," Says the LORD Almighty.

Now as for marriage, God has consistently forbidden marriages between His people and unbelievers for the very reason that such marriages would lead His people astray.

Deuteronomy 7:3 Nor shall you make marriages with them. You shall not give your daughter to their son, nor take their daughter for your son. 4 For they will turn your sons away from following Me, to serve other gods; so the anger of the LORD will be aroused against you and destroy you suddenly.

And the history of God’s people has consistently shown the truthfulness of those words. It is interesting that Jesus makes specific reference to the marriage practices of the antediluvians as one of the sins that caused God to destroy the world with a flood.

Matthew 24:37 But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 38 For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.

It is not that there is anything wrong in marriage itself; it was God Himself who instituted marriage. But here we see a people described who made sensual indulgence their primary objective. Marriages were conducted without any concern for spiritual welfare, but according to the ungodly lusts of their flesh. 
The words of Samson sum the attitude up very nicely. “Then his father and mother said to him, "Is there no woman among the daughters of your brethren, or among all my people, that you must go and get a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?" And Samson said to his father, "Get her for me, for she pleases me well." (Judges 14:3).
 
Satan works long and hard to pervert the marriage relationship, because he knows that if he can pervert the marriage relationship he has everything else. Jesus identifies this, the perversion of marriage, as one of the primary sins that led to the destruction of the antediluvian world by the flood. And Jesus says, this history will repeat itself just before He comes again.

POINT OF NO RETURN

Genesis 6:3 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.
God is love. But love is not all grace and mercy. Judgment and justice are vital components of love. Grace and mercy alone is little more than a weak sentimentality that quickly degenerates into an anything goes permissiveness. Agape love is a perfect blend of grace and mercy with justice and judgment. Such a perfect blending we see in God.

Psalm 85:10 Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.

Psalm 89:14 Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face.

Psalm 101:1 I will sing of mercy and judgment: unto thee, O LORD, will I sing.

There comes a point beyond which God cannot allow sin to continue. A point where grace ends and judgment begins. There is a limit to God’s forbearance. Even God’s longsuffering eventually comes to an end, and the antediluvians had almost reached that point of no return.

One hundred and twenty more years would be given them to get their act together. For a hundred and twenty years more the Holy Spirit would work on the hearts of the antediluvians. For a hundred and twenty years more the call to repentance would be given. Already in Enoch the antediluvians had their Elijah. Already the last messages of warning and entreaty were being preached. First through Enoch and Methuselah and now in Noah the message was preached. Peter speaks of this work of the Holy Spirit, preaching through these holy men of old the gospel of salvation, speaking to these prisoners of Satan their last message of hope.

1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, 19 by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison, 20 who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.

And indeed, It was Jesus Himself speaking through these men - His Spirit working on the hearts and minds of men to bring salvation to them - if only they would listen. (For the God of Enoch and of Methuselah and of Noah was none other than Jesus.) But sadly, the message went unheeded, and the antediluvian world continued its downward plunge into oblivion.

And what was this message that Jesus preached through His prophets in the antediluvian world?  It is the same message that Jesus has always presented, and is still presenting to this day.  It is a call to repentance, a turning away from sin to righteousness.  His cry to all through the ages has been, "Say to them: 'As I live,' says the Lord GOD, 'I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die?'” (Ezekiel 33:11).