Ecc. 1:9-11 says, “What has been is what will be, and what has been done will be done again. There is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything about which is said, “Look! This is new!”? It was already here long ago, in the ages long before us. There is no remembrance for former things, and things yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow. [i]”[Read Gen. 6:9-22, 8:1-5, 8:18 – 9:17]
We see in Vs 9 that Noah was a righteous man, blameless among his generations, and that he walked continually with God. Now the Rabbis point out that the “among his generations” could show that “judged by the low standard of his age, Noah was righteous[ii]” And that in comparison to Abraham, he would not have been considered righteous. As I understand, this is primarily because Noah was not able to convince even one person to come with him on the Ark, except for his family. I think that Yeshua has a different perspective which we will go into later on.
Vs. 11-12 show us the state of the world. Why is the earth in the shape it is in? It is because of man’s sin. So from a certain point of view Global Warming/Climate Change is man’s fault, but not for the reasons given. [Rom. 8:18-23] The state of the earth is the direct result of man’s sin against God.
As we move on to God’s conversation with Noah, and the instructions to build the Ark, we see that God is more than able to protect the Righteous while at the same time bringing judgement on the world. This is seen in several other passages that refer to Noah. [Eze. 14:12-23] When God brings judgement, those that “walk continually with God” and are “abiding in the shadow of Shaddai” (Ps. 91) will find protection and shelter from all the judgement around them.
So just how big was the Ark? Well if a cubit is 18” (457mm) then it would have been 137m x 23m x 14m. With 3 levels it would have held the equivalent capacity of 540 railroad cars. Notice the covenant in vs 18? We will get back to this after the flood subsides.
In vs. 20 we see that God brought the animals to Noah, this is reiterated in 7:8-9. Although Noah had the build the Ark, and gather the food, God took the animal selection personally. And then in vs 22, we see that Noah did “exactly” what God had commanded him.
Jumping over to 8:1; we cannot truly say that God forgot. However, God kept His word, His covenant with Noah, and kept Noah and his family in his memory, while bringing judgement upon the earth. Some people find the concept of a world-wide flood too supernatural. The reality, however, is that the means God has at His disposal for terraforming the planet are not as far away as we would like to think. When Mount St. Helens erupted in 18 May 1980, we learned just how quickly the earth can change. For instance, the explosion was equivalent to 20 million tons of TNT (20,000 times the size of the Hiroshima-size atomic bombs). Since that time over 400 feet thick strata have formed, brining into dispute the millions of years required for the “geological column.” In fact in 1 day alone (12 June 1980), over 25 feet of strata was laid.[iii]
By the time we get to vs. 4 we see that although the catastrophic events of the Flood only took 40 days and nights, Noah and his family were afloat for 5 months (150 days). Then they rested on Mt. Ararat for the remainder of the year until all the water had subsided. That is a long time to be on a boat, with your family, and thousands of animals. . . .
When God finally tells Noah and his family to exit the boat, we see Noah doing something that to this point in Scripture has not been recorded. He built an altar, and thereby became the pioneer of all altar builders.
God’s promise in vs 21-22 has several interesting parts:
- God vows to never again punish the ground on account of man. This obviously refers to both the curse of Adam as well as the Flood.
- God acknowledges that man’s (Adam’s) inclination of heart is evil from our youth. This is known as the “doctrine of original sin” or the “yetzer hara” (evil inclination), which begins “from the dawn of [a child’s] knowledge of good and evil.[iv]”
- God also is stating that from this point on, individual sinners, and not the human family as a body, will be punished. Interestingly enough, Peter writes in (1 Pet. 3:19-20, 2 Pet. 2:5) that Yeshua preached to all those who died in the Flood. This demonstrates the absolute justice of God and shows that all have the opportunity to accept Him or reject him. [Rom. 1:18-23]
- Finally, God gives a promise to both mankind and to the earth, that the seasons will not again be suspended.
In chapter 9 we see the covenant that God started in 6:18, being ratified and codified. From this section we see the basic requirements that God has placed upon the whole earth. Romans 2:12 states, “For all who have sinned outside of Torah will also perish outside of Torah, and all who have sinned according to Torah will be judged by Torah.”
In vs 6 we see that all humankind has inherent value. Why? Because we are all made in the image of God, regardless of race or creed. “Because man is created in the image of God, he can never be reduced to the level of a thing or chattel; he remains a personality, with inalienable human rights. To rom a man of these inalienable rights constitutes an outrage against God. It is upon this thought that the Jewish conception of Justice, as respect for human personality, rests (Deut. 16:20).”[v]
One final side note about the rainbow; just because God states that the bow is the sign of the covenant, does not mean that the bow did not exist before, but rather from this time on it has a new meaning. Isn’t it interesting that the sign that God will not again destroy the earth for man’s wickedness is being flaunted in His face to promote wickedness?
But why are Noah and the flood so important? Well . . . because Yeshua said so. [Matt. 24:37-38] (Lk. 17:26-27) Just as those in Noah’s day did not realize that the time of judgement was at hand, so also the world will not be expecting Yeshua to return. People will be so completely consumed by entertainment, indulging the flesh, and marrying whoever they want that they will not see the signs Yeshua said would preface His return (see Matt. 24:3-31).
But our hope is in Adonai! [Isa. 54]
[i] Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are taken from the Tree Of Life Version (TLV), 2014.
[ii] J. H. Hertz, The Pentateuch and Haftorahs. (Soncino, London, 1960), 30.
[iv] J. H. Hertz, Pentateuch. 31.
[v] J. H. Hertz, Pentateuch. 32.
Image courtesy of Answers in Genesis