Sermon: The Great Flood (Part Four)
Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Given 10-Jan-09; 67 minutes
As I have done in the previous sermons regarding the Great Flood, I would like to go back to those first critical verses in Genesis 6 and touch on another detail so that we can really emphasize that these few verses at the beginning of Genesis 6 are the ones that describe the roots of the wickedness that led to God’s very decisive and destructive judgment on the pre-Flood world.
As we nailed down last time, the root cause of man’s corruption and violence that took place before the Flood was the distortion and the perversion of those basic human societal structures of the marriage and family. Those were the things that the demons went after. If they could corrupt that, it would quickly lead to the corruption of the whole society. We know that is true. Once godly principles are compromised, the rot sets in, and it begins to spread like a cancer.
In just a few centuries from the creation of mankind, the sins of rotten marriages and rotten family lives touched and corrupted the whole of humanity—everyone—even Noah. But, Noah was better than the rest, by God’s own admission (verse 9), and he found grace, because he was a cut above the rest. Everybody else was touched severely by the corruption that came out of botched marriages and bad family lives.
Today, I want to give an additional meaning for the phrase found in verse 2, “The sons of God.”
Genesis 6:1-2 Now it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose.
Genesis 6:4 There were giants on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.
What I am going to share with you now are four possible different explanations of what “sons of God” can mean and I will give a few opinions whether I think that they are plausible or not. These are the big four that people have come up with through the centuries.
EXPLANATION NUMBER 1
The sons of God are fallen angels, who mated with human women, and produced half-breed giants in the earth. Remember in the sermon several weeks ago I talked about this subject. In actuality, this was the accepted explanation for most of Christian history of the Roman Catholic Church, and her Protestant daughters.
The Bible itself rejects this notion. This is because of the readily available principle of “kind begets kind.” If the angel kind were able in any way to reproduce, they would reproduce angels. They could not mate with human beings. It is impossible. There is not any seed. In Luke 20:35, the Bible says that the angels are sexless. They do not marry. Marriage implies reproduction. There is no reason for them to do so. They were created beings that God created individually to serve Him and His plan. There is no indication at all that they could reproduce themselves.
EXPLANATION NUMBER 2
The sons of God are descendants of the line of Seth—the so-called righteous line upon the earth, as opposed to the line of Cain, the so-called corrupted line upon the earth.
So enters the scenario that Adam’s seed divided into two rival lines of descent. The line of Seth, whose progeny faithfully followed God’s instructions, while Cain’s offspring did what was right in their own eyes. Those of Cain went off toward the east, and built their own cities, and became wicked and corrupt because they totally left God out of the picture.
At some point in this scenario, the males of Seth’s line began to notice how beautiful the women of Cain’s line were, and began to intermarry. And it never works that the good guys influence the bad guys, but rather the bad guys always corrupt the good. Soon, Seth’s line was corrupted by the influence of the godless way of Cain’s line. And of course, their children did not follow their righteous fathers, but rather followed their wicked mothers, and maternal parents. So eventually the whole world was corrupt.
There might be something to this. The reason why I think that is because if we look at Genesis 4, and 5, we find that God does show a difference between the line of Abel/Seth and Cain. Abel did not have any children, as far as we know, but he was the first righteous one (Hebrews 11). Seth was the one born soon thereafter to replace Abel, and it was Seth’s line—if we would look in Genesis 4,
Genesis 4:25 And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and named him Seth, "For God has appointed another seed for me instead of Abel, whom Cain killed."
And then if you look at the end of verse 26,
Genesis 4:26 And as for Seth, to him also a son was born; and he named him Enosh. Then men began to call on the name of the LORD.
There is an indication here, if we read this in a particular way, that Seth’s line through Enosh called upon God’s name. They were the ones who followed God.
There are a few other ways to look at this passage. It has been taught for a long time in the church of God that, “men began to call themselves by the names of the Lord,” putting the name of the deity into their own names, as they did in Israel, such as calling themselves after Baal, El, Yahweh, and Adoni, and so on.
Another version of this is that they began to name their idols by the names of the Lord. They would take their idol representing whatever, and they put God’s name on it; so they fooled themselves and others into thinking that they worshipped the true God through some idol.
This passage does not necessarily say that it was a good thing that men began to call upon the name of the Lord. There are several ways to interpret this from the Hebrew, and we have to use our best reasoning and the Spirit of God to figure out which one it actually means.
There is still something else that might make this plausible and that is right after the killing of Abel, God does goes through the family of Cain (beginning in Genesis 4:16) and goes through Cain’s line down through the sons of the evil Lamech. And then, in Genesis 5, God takes the “godly” line Abel/Shem—Enosh, Cainan, Mahalelel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, the good Lamech, and Noah. Finally, you have Shem, Ham, and Japheth, the three sons of Noah.
It does seem to show in chapters 4 and 5 that there was some kind of split between the descendants of Cain and Seth. But, that is leaving out human nature! Just because Seth’s line seemed to be more righteous, does not make them righteous. And we have all of chapter 6 to tell us that everyone on earth became corrupt. That means that maybe Cain’s line was worse, but Seth’s line was bad. They were not righteous.
Certainly the preachers of righteousness that Peter mentions did come from Seth’s line of children. However, we do not have any indication of that, except for Abel (who was not really of that line, but we will include him in this), Enoch, and Noah who were faithful and the only ones mentioned in Hebrews 11.
Maybe the other men of that line were righteous too, to a point, in order to produce an Enoch or Noah because you have to have some sort of foundation for them. They do not just appear totally righteous. They surely had a good family life, at least. It is probably a matter of degrees, I think. We do not know how righteous this line really was.
I think that it is plausible. There may be something to it. There may have been something of that working in this pre-Flood world. I am sure that if we had been living at that time, we would want to live where Seth’s line was, rather than Cain’s line, because it was by degrees better than Cain’s line.
But whether the sons of God were exclusively from Seth’s line, I cannot say that with absolute confidence.
EXPLANATION NUMBER 3
The third explanation is that the men were either heavily influenced, or perhaps outright possessed, by demons—fallen angels. This is the one that I believe had the most plausibility. This is because Satan was taking great pains to corrupt mankind, and he found that he could do this by influencing the men in the family.
In this case, the angels are the sons of God by creation. And they figured out that if they could objectify the beauty of human women, they would soon corrupt the institutions of marriage and family. If they were able to make women become sex objects in the eyes of the men, then it would not be long before things like all manner of fornication, adultery, pornography, and all the other sexual perversions would begin to take place, and undermine the families of men. And once marriage and family became corrupt, then the whole society would crumble.
Through the men who they could influence, they made beauty and sex to be the goals of both men and women, because the men were after the women, and the women found that they could get to the men by appearing sexy and alluring, using their feminine wiles to their advantage. They could climb the ladder themselves, so to speak, and come into positions of power.
Instead of having the goals of a loving relationship, and companionship with a lifelong mate, to be united as one, to rear godly seed, to live wholesomely, and to grow spiritually, they devolved to the base and fleshly desires.
In just a few generations (and it did not take many with human carnality going full bore), the people had reached lows in morality and violence that were unprecedented until Sodom and Gomorrah, and various other times down through history since the Great Flood, including our own time now. We are getting to that point again very quickly.
Somebody might have a question about such a thing as demon influence, so I want you to see what the apostle Paul says in the passage where he tells Timothy what is going to happen in the latter times,
I Timothy 4:1-2 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, . . .
That is how far it is going to go at the end time. Listen to what they go for:
I Timothy 4:3 . . . forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.
They go after marriage and family, and then also food. It is very interesting. This is a prophecy that God inspired Paul to write down, that there was going to be a great apostasy at the end time, driven by deceiving spirits who would then give doctrines of their own, even putting them into the church (and of course in the world) where there would be lies, and hypocrisy, and going so far as to sear our consciences as if with a hot iron. That is bad! That is very bad! That is almost to the point where they will not want to repent anymore. Their means would be through marriage and family, and foods. That is how they are going to try to get to us, through our desires for companionship and family on the one hand, and through our stomachs on the other.
I wanted to show you this so that you would see that Paul was inspired to write that such a thing is going to happen at the end time, and this links to the words of Christ that the end time would be like the days of Noah.
We can now see that this is plausible. We may then be looking at a type of this there in Genesis 6, of what the demons are going to try to do once more at the End Time.
EXPLANATION NUMBER 4
This explanation is totally new in that this is one that I have not told you before. The “sons of god” are human rulers or leaders who claim divine status or ancestry. “Sons of God” would be more like, “sons of elohim,” from the original Hebrew. This would make it a lower case e elohim, not capital E elohim. This means that they are not actually sons of God, but rather, “sons of mighty ones,” or “sons of the judges,” very powerful men over the lives of others. Perhaps this should be translated as “sons of the gods,” or “sons of pagan gods.”
Historically, since the Great Flood, many cultures and their kings considered themselves, or were considered by their subjects, to be “sons of god.” For example, the Pharaoh of Egypt was thought to have been the “son of Ra.”
In Mesopotamia and the Sumerian cultures, the kings of the various city-states in that era claimed that they were the son of the city’s patron deity. Later in Assyria, they declared themselves to be the son of Asshur, a real person of a line of Shem, but who was elevated to the level of a god. And also of Ishtar, also a real person, but again who was elevated up to the level of a goddess.
The Greek, Alexander the Great, claimed to be the son of Zeus. He told everyone that his mother had told him that Zeus came down, and took his mother away, and did his deed, and she came back to live again with her husband. Alexander claimed to be a demi-god.
Also, the Roman Emperors were later deified as divine sons. Augustus had a title of “divine son of Caesar.”
However, these pre-Flood sons of god would have been those in authority—kings, rulers, governors, and even chieftains maybe. They probably had demons behind them. That is why they considered themselves to be sons of gods.
In the Bible, you do not have to be a literal son, to be a son of a something or other. We are called the children of God, and we are becoming to have the characteristics of the character of God and Jesus Christ. But we do not have direct descent as it were from Him. We follow Him, and we are adopted by Him as sons, and are made sons of God. And so, we are called sons of God.
And then sons of Belial had the characteristics of Belial, or Satan. It means that is who they were followers of.
Now there is another thing I want to show you about their influencing men upon this earth. There is a specific case of this in the book of Daniel. In this case, they are not called sons of something anymore; however it does show that earthly kings have demons ruling behind them.
Daniel 10:10-13 Suddenly, a hand touched me, which made me tremble on my knees and on the palms of my hands. And he said to me, "O Daniel, man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for I have now been sent to you." While he was speaking this word to me, I stood trembling. Then he said to me, "Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days . . .
This was no human prince. This was a demon behind the throne of Persia, who was sent by Satan, or went of its own initiative, or maybe it was Satan himself. But Persia was the leading nation at that time, so I assume it had to be a high-ranking demon of some kind, if not Satan himself. And it went and intercepted Gabriel and detained him for 21 days in some sort of standoff. Neither one could get the better of the other. They fought, and fought, and fought. They were equally matched.
Daniel 10:13 . . . and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia.
Michael came to his aid, and gave Gabriel a break so that he could get away and get the message from God through to Daniel, which is the longest prophecy of the Old Testament, and it has many important things. There is no wonder that Satan did not want Gabriel giving that message to Daniel. I mean it is a template for a great deal of what happened down through history, and on into the end time, in our future still.
Daniel 10:20 Then he said, "Do you know why I have come to you? And now I must return to fight with the prince of Persia; and when I have gone forth, indeed the prince of Greece will come.
Do any of you still believe that the angels only float or are sitting around up there plucking harps? There are many who are singing before the throne of God, I am sure, however there are many who are out there fighting for us daily, and constantly.
Daniel 10:21 "But I will tell you what is noted in the Scripture of Truth. (No one upholds me against these, except Michael your prince.)
What you see here is angelic evidence and testimony of what happens behind the scenes of the kingdoms of this world, especially the greater kingdoms, and it probably goes on all through the rest too. I am sure that there are demons assigned to every government on earth—a demon influence behind the throne. In those early days, who knows how aware the actual human rulers were of this presence behind them. It could very well be that they knew that there was a spirit there, and they pledged their sonship to them, and they became “sons” of these gods.
In this explanation, this would mean these rulers and elite leaders took wives of their fancy, and perhaps many of them, maybe harems of them, and they produced Nephilim—“mighty ones,” or “fallen ones.” These became powerful tyrants who ruled viciously and corruptly, eventually corrupting everyone in a trickle-down moral economy—as the leadership goes, so do the people.
I do not know. But, it is something that we must say is possible.
Now, this may also explain God’s statement in Genesis 6:3, “I will not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh.” What God is doing is showing the divine counterbalance to tell us the truth, that these sons of God said that they were gods, but indeed, they are flesh. They were corrupt, and they had to be destroyed.
God is saying that these sons of God are no gods at all, but carnal flesh and blood men, no matter what they claimed. But even so, they produced these Nephilim, who were powerful magnates, powerful rulers over men who had great influence on the people of the time. This is certainly a plausible explanation. But it does have a weakness. It fails to account for the wickedness of the whole of mankind.
It is possible, though, that some elements of the second, third, and fourth explanations were all at work at the same time. And when they combined together, they drove mankind to the depths of evil that we have a hard time imagining. Because of the depths of this evil, God was forced to act. “I'm not going to fight against them any longer. I regret that I have made them.”
I should be able to get through chapter 7 in the remaining time today, so we will continue the story of Noah, and the Great Flood, and God willing we will move fairly quickly through this chapter, which is the account of the deluge. Last time, we covered verses 1 through 5, which was basically God’s command to Noah. That command was to get himself, and his family, and all the animals God would bring to him, into the ark to save them from the Flood, which was coming in seven days. Verse 5 repeats the fact that Noah did everything down to the last detail that God had commanded him—that he was entirely faithful to God’s command.
What I want to do is to read the whole of chapter 7 starting with verse 6.
Genesis 7:6-24 Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters were on the earth. So Noah, with his sons, his wife, and his sons' wives, went into the ark because of the waters of the flood. Of clean animals, of animals that are unclean, of birds, and of everything that creeps on the earth, two by two they went into the ark to Noah, male and female, as God had commanded Noah. And it came to pass after seven days that the waters of the flood were on the earth.
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. And the rain was on the earth forty days and forty nights.
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—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. And they went into the ark to Noah, two by two, of all flesh in which is the breath of life. So those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him; and the LORD shut him in.
Now the flood was on the earth forty days. The waters increased and lifted up the ark, and it rose high above the earth. The waters prevailed and greatly increased on the earth, and the ark moved about on the surface of the waters. And the waters prevailed exceedingly on the earth, and all the high hills under the whole heaven were covered. The waters prevailed fifteen cubits upward, and the mountains were covered.
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. All in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, all that was on the dry land, died. 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. And the waters prevailed on the earth one hundred and fifty days.
I read all of that because I hoped you would notice something as it was being read.
This chapter has an interesting four-part construction. We did not read the first portion, because that was covered last time from verses 1 through 5. Maybe if I had read them too this afternoon, it would have made it even more obvious.
The first five verses are God’s command to Noah to get into the ark. The next six verses tell the reader in a repetitive fashion that Noah and his family did just as God had directed.
Then the next five verses emphasize what we already know by repeating it all a third time.
And then the fourth section, beginning in verse 17 tells us yet again what happened, but in somewhat different detail, and a different emphasis.
Now, all this repetition begs the question, “Why is it reiterated so many times?”
What we had were four different sections that said in so many words the same thing. There are some minor changes in detail, but basically it is saying what the first five verses told us. And even many of the details are repeated, such as Noah was 600 years old when this started, and that there was forty days and forty nights of rain; that they all got into the ark; that they went two by two; that they were this kind, and that kind, and so on. It also mentions three times in this chapter that Noah did everything that God commanded him to do. It mentions who they all were who went into the ark: Noah, his wife, and his three sons, and their wives; sometimes by name, sometimes not. But it is the same stuff over and over again—four times. Oh, another one is that everything died that was outside the ark.
This is all repeated three times after the first telling of it. And, if we wanted to count some of chapter six, it is actually repeated a fourth time. I have four reasons why I think Genesis 7 is constructed the way that it is.
My first observation is that God wants us to realize that this really did happen. He not only told us once, but again, and again, and again, so that we would get it drilled into our heads that He put Noah on the ark, with the animals by their kinds, and that it rained forty days and forty nights, and they stayed in that ark all the time of this destruction was going on, and everything else died outside the ark. He wants us to get it. This is not some myth or legend like you might find in a science or literature class, should they even choose to talk about it.
It was not some local catastrophe like some Christian groups claim today. It is not some pastel colored, children’s coloring book Bible tale, with a little cub, and a giraffe, and elephant. It is not some caricatured Sunday school lesson with the little felt things you stick on the board.
This was a real life drama with life and death consequences. The whole world was flooded! And it was the whole world! Even the tallest mountain peaks were covered to at least a depth of 15 cubits. The earth shook violently due to the earthquakes and such in the dispensing of the founts of the great deep. The rain fell in torrential sheets for forty straight days and nights. And when the forty-day super storm subsided, the waters continued to prevail, which means to be strong or to dominate, for another 110 days, 150 total. Every air-breathing creation of God died, and the only ones to survive were those few on the ark—the eight people, and the several thousand representatives of their kinds.
God is trying to tell us that, “I'm not telling you a fable. I did do this. This really happened.”
This next passage is David’s prayer to God, after God makes His covenant with him, that He would preserve David’s line. Part of the thanksgiving is,
II Samuel 7:28 "And now, O Lord GOD, You are God, and Your words are true.
Psalm 12:6-7 The words of the LORD are pure words, like silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. You shall keep them, O LORD, You shall preserve them from this generation forever.
Not only do we have God’s Word as truth, as it says in John 17:17, “Your word is truth,” but they are pure, and have been purified seven times, which means that anything that is not right that God did not want to put in there was indeed left out, and all that remains is the truth. And, on top of all that, they are preserved just as God wanted them to be preserved through all generations.
What I am saying is that when God says, four times in one chapter, that such a thing happened—you can believe it.
My second observation is that God impresses upon us the horrendous destruction and death that took place as a result of sin.
Ezekiel 18:4 The soul who sins shall die.
Ezekiel 18:20 The soul who sins shall die.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
What we have here in the Great Flood is a worldwide catastrophe, and the Bible shows how and why it happened. Man sins, and man is punished.
Genesis 6 shows man’s wickedness as the cause of the Great Flood, and Genesis 7 shows the effect of those sins. God means business. Sin is a terrible thing that must be punished. Someone must pay for sin. God responds to universal corruption and evil with universal punishment.
It is a stunning and very sobering lesson for us. It really is, because as we have seen a couple of times already in II Peter 3, the Great Flood is a type of the coming tribulation and Day of the Lord. There is going to be a time when the piper must be paid. It is coming.
Turn to Isaiah in God’s proclamation against Babylon. It takes on a heightened understanding for us if we understand Babylon as modern Israel today.
Isaiah 13:6-13 Wail, for the day of the LORD is at hand! It will come as destruction from the Almighty. Therefore all hands will be limp, every man's heart will melt, and they will be afraid. Pangs and sorrows will take hold of them; they will be in pain as a woman in childbirth; they will be amazed at one another; their faces will be like flames. Behold, the day of the LORD comes, cruel [do you think that Flood seemed to be cruel, death by drowning?], with both wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate; and He will destroy its sinners from it. [That is all God is doing, executing the penalty.] For the stars of heaven and their constellations will not give their light; the sun will be darkened in its going forth, and the moon will not cause its light to shine. “I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; I will halt the arrogance of the proud, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. I will make a mortal more rare than fine gold [just like the Flood], a man more than the golden wedge of Ophir. Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth will move out of her place, in the wrath of the LORD of hosts and in the day of His fierce anger.
Mark 13:19 For in those days there will be tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the creation which God created until this time, nor ever shall be.
Do you understand what Jesus is saying here? That time of great destruction of the Great Flood does not compare to the Great Tribulation that is coming.
Mark 13:20 "And unless the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake, whom He chose, He shortened the days.
The Great Flood is not only a type of what is going to happen at the end, it is a lesser type than the reality to come. It is going to be worse in the coming future judgment.
Revelation 14:17-20 Then another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, who had power over fire, and he cried with a loud cry to him who had the sharp sickle, saying, "Thrust in your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for her grapes are fully ripe [this is sin]." So the angel thrust his sickle into the earth and gathered the vine of the earth, and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trampled outside the city, and blood came out of the winepress, up to the horses' bridles, for one thousand six hundred furlongs.
That is a long way. Now, if you look at your margin, some of your Bibles will say 184 miles—the blood was up to the horse’s bridles for 184 miles! This is incredible destruction and death, and bloodletting.
Talk about a sacrifice! It really is not a sacrifice, but it is punishment. It is execution. The Great Flood is a mere type of that. If you think that the Great Flood was bad, what is coming next? It is horrible to think about. You will want to be on the right side of God.
The third observation I have is that God is illustrating the depth of His mercy, and the extent of His providence and deliverance for those who fear Him.
The Great Flood was a monumental cataclysm. It not only inundated the whole world with water from above and below, it also totally transformed the entire planet. Yet, while all that water, and mud, and whatever else was in there, sloshed back and forth over the earth, God kept the ark floating, and its precious cargo safe. The ark was a kind of huge terrarium for God that He protected and maintained against the extreme forces of nature that He Himself had unleashed.
Psalm 139:7-12 Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me. If I say, "Surely the darkness shall fall on me," even the night shall be light about me; indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, but the night shines as the day; the darkness and the light are both alike to You.
It does not matter where we are, or what our circumstances are, if we are one of those who fear Him, then He will be there, and He will give us help in time of need.
Psalm 29:1-4 Give unto the LORD, O you mighty ones, give unto the LORD glory and strength. Give unto the LORD the glory due to His name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders; the LORD is over many waters. The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.
Psalm 29:10 The LORD sat enthroned at the Flood . . .
This is the only place outside of the book of Genesis where that word, “marbul,” which means the Great Deluge, is used.
As bad as it may get, we have evidence from the Great Flood, and what God did for Noah and his family, and for those animals, that He will do the same for us—if we worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness—if we fear Him. So, we do not need to fear that great bloodletting that is coming. We just have to remain faithful.
The apostle Paul tells us,
Philippians 4:19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
We do not need to fear. We have the example of what God did for Noah. He sat enthroned at the Great Flood, and He sits enthroned in majesty right now, just as He did then.
The fourth observation that I have is that God is relating a fine example to us of the obedience and faith of Noah, and his family. What did Noah do? He believed God! He did everything according to His command. He endured the work, the trauma, the discomfort, and even the boredom of building the ark, and experiencing the Flood.
What could he do on a boat for a year, with the rain coming down in torrents that he had never seen before, because it did not rain before the Flood, and with the seas raging and the terror of it all? And then, after they got used to it a bit, it was the boredom of it all—the incessant pounding, rocking, and pitching. He endured all of that with no Dramamine or similar medication as far as we know. But, he was faithful through it all, and those seven others with him.
You know we blithely read over this account, and we can do it in only a few minutes too. But when we do so, we seem to rarely realize the expanses of time that it covers. It probably covered most, if not all, of those 120 years. Noah stayed faithful through it all—the planning, preparation, the doing, and the experience—and the waiting!
And when the Great Flood occurred, it was not over in a few days—not even 150 days. If you go through and add up all the days, it appears to be 370 days or so from going into the ark, and stepping out on dry ground once again. It was slightly more than one solar year.
Let us return to the Psalms once again and see one of my favorites, and read just a few verses of it, and think about Noah while we go through this.
Psalm 37:1-11 Do not fret because of evildoers, nor be envious of the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; do not fret—it only causes harm. For evildoers shall be cut off; but those who wait on the LORD, they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more; indeed, you will look carefully for his place, but it shall be no more. But the meek shall inherit the earth, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.
You can read more of this psalm on your own, especially the parts regarding waiting on God, but I want to read the ending verses:
Psalm 37:39-40 But the salvation of the righteous is from the LORD; He is their strength in the time of trouble. And the LORD shall help them and deliver them; He shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in Him.
And that is exactly what Noah did.
In the time remaining, I want to go over a few details that we should consider briefly.
Genesis 7:11-12 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. And the rain was on the earth forty days and forty nights.
If we think about this, we have to ask, “Where did all that water come from?”
I do not know if you are aware of this, I thought it was kind of amazing to think of it in comparison to the time of Noah, but if we could today in the earth’s current configuration, somehow squeeze all the water out of the earth’s atmosphere, and cause it to rain on the earth, it would cover the earth to the depth of two inches. That is amazing. Two inches as opposed to many thousands of feet that was needed to cover the highest mountains.
Some have theorized that before the Flood, the earth possessed a canopy of waters over it. And the Bible seems to support such a notion, at the very least the atmosphere was far more humid than it is now. Turn back to Genesis 1, and the second day,
Genesis 1:6-7 Then God said, "Let there be a firmament [an atmosphere] in the midst of [between] the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters." Thus God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so.
It seems like there was this canopy—an envelope—of water vapor that was above what we consider to be our atmosphere.
Genesis 2:5-6 Before any plant of the field was in the earth and before any herb of the field had grown. For the LORD God had not caused it to rain on the earth, and there was no man to till the ground; but a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground.
This gives an indication that there was no rain, but rather a mist and dew was the main source of watering the earth at that time.
Genesis 8:2 The fountains of the deep and the windows of heaven were also stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained.
This gives us the idea that there were two great reservoirs of water that God used—one under the earth, and one over the earth.
Peter confirms this by saying,
II Peter 3:5-6 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.
This seems to imply that there was water standing on the earth, and that there was water over the earth as well.
Psalm 104:5-9 [Talking of God] You who laid the foundations of the earth, so that it should not be moved forever, you covered it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains [referring to the Flood]. At Your rebuke they fled; at the voice of Your thunder they hastened away. They went up over the mountains; they went down into the valleys, to the place which You founded for them. You have set a boundary that they may not pass over, that they may not return to cover the earth.
Now what this suggests is that during the Flood, God opened up the great ocean basins to a great depth.
And the water that was over the earth that rained down for forty days, and the waters under the earth which came up through the earth in great fountains, was enough water to cover the earth up to fifteen cubits over the highest mountains. Then God opened up the ocean basins, and the waters ran down into them. What this means then, is that the water that flooded the earth is still with us to this day. It did not go completely away. He has simply stored it in the oceans, and subterranean caverns.
But it did rob the earth of a great shield of water vapor that God had put over the earth to protect it from all the harmful rays of the sun. Now some of it gets through, and some people believe that is why our lifespan decreased to the three score and ten we have today.
I have mentioned the fountains of the great deep, that they are great subterranean reservoirs of water, and what this did when God opened them up is that they formed geysers all over the earth. They just shot the water up. My guess that what God did was He caused these earthquakes to cause some of the land to fall down into these underground caverns, pushing the water up through the cracks spraying up into the air, adding to the rain that was flooding the earth.
It is also thought that there was so much water that the earth was thoroughly soaked, and wrenched by earthquakes, and eroded terribly in places. Some believe that at this time, the poles shifted causing the earth to wobble maybe into its present tilt, that it might have been straight up at the time, but the rotation began to wobble, and what that wobbling did was to instigate an unimaginable sloshing motion on the earth while the waters prevailed—which means that there were huge tidal waves going back and forth over the earth during the Flood, for most of those 150 days.
This sloshing motion would have been responsible for the layers of sedimentary rock formed during that time, showing up in the layers that present day geologists keep finding (but claiming they are millions of years old). It would also be responsible, then, for them finding sea shells and other evidence of ocean life on tops of the mountains, having been pushed up there by the Great Flood.
Generally we are now through with chapter 7. But before we stop, I do want to add just one more thing today—I want you to notice all the universal words. I tried to emphasize them while I was reading. These would be the words such as “all,” and “every.” I marked them in my Bible with a special pen so that I could pick them up as I go through this saga.
An example would be Genesis 7:19,
Genesis 7:19 And all the high hills under the whole heaven were covered.
Genesis 7:21 All flesh died.
Genesis 7:22 All in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, all that was on the dry land, died.
Genesis 7:23 He destroyed all living things. . . . Only Noah and those who were with him in the ark remained alive.
All these universal words in this portion of the narrative emphasize God’s point that this was a worldwide phenomenon in its extent and its destruction. There are too many of these words to ignore what they mean.
This could not have been a local flood of limited depth and duration. Physically, it is impossible to have been a local flood that covered all the hills and mountains. Water does not mound up. Try that in your bathtub. You cannot do it. Water seeks its own level. It would have to be the same depth all over the earth. And if it covered all of the highest hills and mountains, then it had to have been worldwide. It could not have been local or regional.
If it had been regional, why did not God just tell Noah to go someplace else while He took care of the situation? But, that is not what God did. They would have chased after Noah, and would not have received their judgment.
What God said happened in chapter 7 happened. This had to have been a global flood. And that means that the destruction was also global. All breathing creatures died, except Noah’s family and the animals brought to him that were on the ark with him.
This is hard for us to imagine. We are just men. Our minds are finite.
Let us conclude in Romans 11 where Paul says,
Romans 11:33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! "For who has known the mind of the LORD? Or who has become His counselor?" Or, “who has first given to Him and it shall be repaid to him?" For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.