Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Noah and the Sons of God

In Genesis 4:26 God states that there was a time that His people began to call themselves by the name of the Lord. This was the Old Testament version of calling themselves Christians. Christian did not exist as a word in the Old Testament because the Christ had not yet come. Yet in the OT there was a phrase that was used and that was “Son(s) of God”. Apparently this started in Genesis 4:26. Adam was clearly the most direct human descendent of God and God refers to Adam as a son of God in Luke 3:38.

Another place where the term “son(s) of God” was used was in Genesis 6:2. “That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.” There are many thoughts about what this text means but in its simplest understanding this verse simply replays a concept that God has instructed His people about all through the Bible. That is do not become unequally yoked with a non-believer. II Corinthians 6:14. If one becomes unequally yoked with a non-believer the almost inevitable result will be that they non-believer will usually turn the Christian to sin and against God.

Now every body will immediately come up with the exception to the rule of believers getting turned away from God by non-believers. Notice that in the Bible, Jesus never says, that believers should go out and marry non-believers to help them become Christians. So the principle stated in a positive manner does not occur. God always speaks the principle in the negative form – do not marry unbelievers for they will turn away your heart from God. Deuteronomy 17:17.

But back to the Son of God portion of the story. God wants His people to perceive themselves as sons of God. To perceive oneself as a son, or a daughter of God, would indicate that you have become part of God’s family. That implies that He has interest in us and wants us to be a part of His family. God seems to like the idea of our being His sons and His daughters. He is not ashamed to call us His brethren nor is He ashamed to be called the God of humanity. Hebrews 2:11; 11:16 He wants to be known as the Father of mankind for that is the truth of the matter. We are His children, we are His sons and His daughters.

In John 1:12 God says “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.” This text clearly states that when we receive God, He gives those people who receive Him the power to become God’s sons and daughters. Those who believe on the name of God and believe on His character have chosen to enter into a special relationship with Him. They have been born again into His family and are no longer His enemies. They believe on Him and have faith in His character. These people believe that the infinite God has a personal interest in them. That very belief changes all of the dynamics and allows them to enter into His personal family and will be called sons and daughters of God.

I John 3:1-3 also describes this process. “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. 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. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” Again the issue is that because God has bestowed His love upon us He grants us power to change from carnal heathens into God loving children. He says that when this happens to us the world will no longer know us but God will. The world rejects anything of God and pretends that God does not exist. But God says that when we have this loving relationship God identifies us because we are like Him. Our characters, and His character, will get along, no matter how long we are together, it will be good. God also says that as a result of this relationship that purification will occur and sin will have to go. God and sin do not exist in the same place at the same time, one of them has to go. God wants sin to depart from us that we may stay united in God as one.

With the above in mind, Noah was a son of God. He believed in God, he surrendered to God, and he obeyed God. God recognized Noah as one of his special children. But we to can have these same experiences. If we believe, if we cooperate with God, and if we allow Him to be reproduced inside of ourselves, we too will become sons of God.

We know that Enoch depended upon God for everything. Enoch walked so well with God that one day God took him to heaven with Him. What a wonderful testimony that must have been for all of the Earth to know that God loved Enoch and took him to heaven with out seeing death. Praise God that He has left us with stories of translation so that we to can ask for this gift in our hearts. It is our opportunity to ask God to make us sons and daughters of God so that we may have happiness to the fullest. I pray that we might learn the lessons needed to prepare ourselves for the coming of Jesus. I pray that you will allow God to do wonderful things in your and for you, that you may become a son or a daughter of God, just like Noah did.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Noah and the Bible

In the Bible one of the major principles is the man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Matthew 4:4; Deuteronomy 8:3. In Noah’s case there was no written word of God. But it is clear from the Mosaic account that the Word of God had been given to Adam. All of which is recorded by Moses, in the book of Genesis, was clearly from God and much of that which makes up the book of Genesis was spoken by God and was recorded in the mind of God and which would have been available to Noah. It is my purpose to express a line of reasoning that would allow the Word of God to be available to Noah and to all of the people of the world before, and after, the flood.

Today we know that the average person in the United States of America is about 5 feet 9 inches tall. The average IQ of people in the United States is 98 with the highest average IQ of 107 in Hong Kong. This would indicate that sin has made massive inroads into the physical functionality of people. In the creation of man God made man “very good” Genesis 1:31. Now the great question is what was man like in the Creation?

In the book of Samuel we find that there was a family of giants out of Gath. II Samuel 21:15-22. The most famous of this family was Goliath of Gath who is recorded as being six cubits and a span. I Samuel 17:4 At 18 inches a cubit Goliath was at least 9 feet tall and perhaps taller for he was six cubits and a span. We do not know how much taller Goliath’s father was but we can assume that the father may have been bigger.

In Deuteronomy we have the description of another giant Og of Bashan. He was one of the remnant peoples of the Rephaim. His bed is given a size in Deuteronomy 3:11 as being 9 cubits in length and 4 cubits in width. At 18 inches per cubit that would make the bed of Og at least 13 feet 6 inches. So Og was a much bigger man than Goliath. This would indicate that the testimony of Israel was somewhat true in that the giants of Canaan were so tall that the Israelites that the Israelites felt like grasshoppers next to them. Numbers 13:31-33.

The two examples above indicate that as time has proceeded the people of the earth have grown smaller. 13 ft to 5ft 9 inches is a steep decline. But if we go backward in time the evidence indicates that in the beginning mankind was significantly taller than today. The reasons for this are multitudinous. First of all when Jesus created man he was perfect. Man was created in a perfect world as well. It would appear that in the beginning that God had made the world with a significantly different atmosphere that was capable of sustaining all manner of life in a much larger form than is now possible. We all have seen skeletons of much larger animals and have been concerned about our safety if those animals had been present now. But if man was significantly larger than now the rate of size comparison would have been different. A 16 to 20 foot man would not have been intimidated by a Tyrannosaurus Rex as we would be intimidated. Mankind today is able to train and subdue even such large animals as an African Elephant, so it would not have been such a great difference of size for a larger man to be able to deal with larger animals.

But going back to the issue of why. When man was created by God, the earth was fresh, no curse from sin, and everything created in a manner to sustain life, with no hint of death at all. There is some suggestions that the earth was surrounded with a water mantel that would protect all life from radiation from the son and would create an environment where the atmosphere was twice the intensity that we experience today. There is also evidence from the Bible that there was no rain before the flood and that everything was watered by a mist in the morning. Genesis 2:6. This would indicate that the earth was like a hot house and the temperature, as well as the atmospheric pressure, as well as the oxygen content, was much higher than it is today and could sustain larger life forms.

Another question that we can not answer explicitly is does larger size equal larger intellect? That concept would be difficult to sustain by the overt Bible information alone but if one were to ask the question of whether Adam was smarter than the average human being today we would most likely say yes for there had been no sin to mar any facet of humanity as Adam came from the hand of God. For me personally I like to think of Adam as about 16 feet tall and having an IQ of about 2000 when created by God. In this assumption I believe that God granted Adam an intellect commensurate with what a child of God would have to understand and interact with God Himself in open communion. If this assumption was true then it would be reasonable to assume that Adam had the ability to have total recall, or have a photographic memory. We have seen people today who have great memories after 6000 years of sin. What must Adam’s memory been like?

All of the above brings us back to the issue of Noah and the Bible. If Adam, and his children, had not deteriorated in their longevity by the time of the flood, is it possible that the cognitive abilities of Adam’s family, including Noah, had no significant cognitive deficits by the time of the flood. If that were the case then every word that proceeded from the mouth of God would have been faithfully maintained by each successive generation all the way down to Noah. In addition, the Bible records the fact that Adam did not die until the time of Enoch. Enoch would have been able to pass on all of Adam and Seth’s sharing with Methuselah and Methuselah with Noah and Shem. This would have included all of the interactions with Adam plus all of the prophetic interactions that Enoch himself had had with Jesus through the Holy Spirit. After the flood this same information would have been passed on from Shem to all of his posterity even down to Abraham and Jacob. Thus every word that proceeded from the mouth of God would have been available and would have been clearly shared with all of the sons of God who were interested in the wondrous stories of the time of Adam and his walk with Jesus in person.

So Noah would have had all of the words of God and would have been able to learn and profit from the discussions with his fathers. When God came to Noah, to pass on the commands that God gave to him, Noah would have had a firm basis of Scripture – the Words of God – to compare against and be ready to respond to the new instructions of God. This information would have been passed on to his children and especially to Shem through whom the lineage of Messiah would have come through.

In conclusion the Word of God was available to Noah and family. This information would be passed on to His children through Shem, and on to the time of Moses. We do not know what information came to Moses from word of mouth but we do know that God Himself communicated enough information to Moses for him to write the first six books of the Bible – Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, and Job. So we should not believe that the people in the time of Noah were deficit of instruction from God for that would be unlike God, to send people out into the world with no instruction. God wanted His instructions to be carried on all through history and would be repeated and amplified through subsequent revelations from Him. So let us remember that man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.

Noah and Enoch

In Genesis 4:16-17 we find that Cain, leaving the presence of God and of the land of his father Adam, went East to get away from the memories of his experience with Abel and to keep away from the influence of his family. He founded a city and named it after his first born son – Enoch. The name Enoch can mean dedicated, beginning, initiated, instructor or set apart. Cain apparently wanted to have a new beginning apart from God. Through this experience Cain did something that had never been done in history, up to his time, and that was he established a city – an environment of concentrated people at some distance from the country living that God had ordained by placing his family in a garden/farm.

In Genesis 5:21-24 we are introduced to the second Enoch the son of Jared, the 7th generation from Adam. It is this writer’s opinion that Enoch, as the representative of the 7th generation of mankind was to epitomize what God wanted to do with mankind. The tenth generational representative would be of Noah, the representative of the world of mankind.

It is interesting to note that both Adam and Seth were both alive at the time of the birth of Enoch and both may have had an opportunity to share their experiences and insights with Enoch. It would appear that Enoch, through decision making, genetics, and training was to be a set apart individual for special things from God.

Our first intimation of a special quality about Enoch was that when he had his first recorded son Enoch named that child Methuselah. The marginal reference indicates that the name Methuselah means – At his death the sending forth of waters. That Methuselah died in the same year of the flood would either be a coincidence or God, speaking through Enoch as a prophet, would have given a time prophecy. That from the time of Methuselah’s birth there would be a special event in 969 years. Jude 14 also confirms that Enoch was a prophet as well. Enoch was granted a picture of the second coming of Jesus and was granted the awareness of the judgment on the wicked, the violence of the final events, and the resurrection of the saints and all of the events that would transpire at the second coming of Jesus. These events would solidify the fact that Enoch was a special man with a special calling of God. These messages, along with the revelations of God granted to Adam, Abel, Seth, and all of the followers of God would make us the messages that Enoch would share with mankind.

Enoch has the blessing of being with the Sons of God – those who followed God by faith in Jesus. John 1:12; Genesis 4:26; Hebrews 11:5,6. Enoch must have had the opportunity to go to the gates of Eden and see the angels standing guard over the way to the Tree of Life and pray for the opportunity to one day be restored to the Garden that His grandfather Adam had once been able to participate in. What a wonderful heritage to be able to see this structure and to hear of the personal interactions that Adam had with Jesus, the Creator of the World. We can assume, by faith, that those special times with God, as he worshipped with his fathers, that the Holy Spirit was working wonders on his mind and heart and he must have decided to follow Jesus at a young age and to start his walk with God. Genesis 5:24. It is recorded in Hebrews 11:5 that he pleased God so we also know that he was a commandment keeping son as well. In addition he must have wanted to share his experience with others, both bad and good, for that is what Jesus did and what all of His children would do as well.

We know that after Enoch had Methuselah he lived another 300 years and he had more sons and daughters. So it would appear that Enoch was a good father and a consistent father as well as any God fearing father would be who walked with God. Enoch’s care for his children would also help him to have an appreciation for how much His Father in heaven wanted to care for him.

One of the tragedies of life that Enoch had to deal with was that the great patriarch Adam died during the life of Enoch. What a tragedy to see this great hero of God finally pass to his grave. But with the vision reported in Jude 14 what a comfort Enoch must have been to tell all of the people that God would take care of His own at the second coming of Christ.

As Enoch continued to walk with God, God testified that Enoch pleased Him. Hebrews 11:5 This testimony would indicate that Enoch knew of the laws of God and that he was willing to surrender to them. He did not treat the laws of God as His great uncle Cain did. We do not know for sure but it is possible that Enoch talked with Cain and may have discussed Cain’s experience and learned from him directly and seen the mark of Cain that God had placed upon him. But we do know that Enoch was steady and followed God in all of His commandments.

After 365 years Enoch’s walk with God produced an unusual response. God translated Enoch to heaven to be with Him forever. This must have been a shocking and a confirming experience for those left behind. To have Enoch translated would confirm again that God was real and that He has special plans for all of His children. These special plans will be manifested now, or in the future, but all of those who walk with God will receive His special blessing. Enoch would be a blessing for his experience testified that by faith God will take all of His children home with Him.

Praise God for such wonderful stories as that of Enoch. May we each learn from him and by faith hold on to the promises of God.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Noah and the Open and Shut Door Doctrine

In Genesis 7:16 the Bible says: “And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the Lord shut them in.” Genesis 6:16 states that when God instructed Noah to build the ark there was to be only one door. When Noah, and his family, and all of the animals went it and were settled, then God shut them in. God commanded them to go into the ark, Noah obeyed God and did as He commanded, and when He was ready He shut them in. Noah was not in charge of the door to the ark, other than to build it. God was responsible for the door.

In Genesis 8:6-14 we have the description of Noah starting to investigate the post-flood world. Noah opened the window, and he took off the covering of the ark, to enhance his ability to assess the situation. Noah sent out birds to give him feedback as to how much of the water had dried up. When the dove came back with an olive leaf in its beak Noah knew that the trees were starting to bud. But the Scriptures do not state that Noah opened the door of the ark and left. Genesis 8:15-18 states that Noah waited until God commanded him to leave the ark, and then Noah, his family, and the animals left the ark.

Ellen White, in the book Patriarchs and Prophets pages 105-106 states the following:
“Noah and his family anxiously waited for the decrease of the waters, for they longed to go forth again upon the earth. Forty days after the tops of the mountains became visible, they sent out a raven, a bird of quick scent, to discover whether the earth had become dry. This bird, finding nothing but water, continued to fly to and from the ark. Seven days later a dove was sent forth, which, finding no footing, returned to the ark. Noah waited seven days longer, and again sent forth the dove. When she returned at evening with an olive leaf in her mouth, there was great rejoicing. Later "Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and, behold, the face of the ground was dry." Still he waited patiently within the ark. As he had entered at God's command, he waited for special directions to depart.
At last an angel descended from heaven, opened the massive door, and bade the patriarch and his household go forth upon the earth and take with them every living thing…”
Noah knew that he should wait upon God. God had instructed him to go into the ark, and Noah would wait for God’s instructions before leaving the ark. He waited for the Divine testimony before leaving the ark, and thus he remained in harmony with the mind of God.
Noah’s experience with the open and shut door is one of several interesting experiences that God has placed in the Bible. Each of these experiences is related within the context of a judgment scene. God, as always, is clearly trying to communicate ideas of how He handles problems and how He wants us to relate to Him. The following examples will be given and a brief summary of each event:
1. In the Garden of Eden Adam and Eve were to remain there forever as long as they obeyed God’s command to not eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, God came to investigate the situation and when it was confirmed God escorted Adam and Eve out of the one door in the Garden. But instead of shutting the door behind them, God had angels watch the door and with the flaming sword of the Word of God “keep” the way of the Tree of Life. Genesis 3:23-24
2. In Genesis 19:1-11 God tells of another investigative judgment regarding the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. God discusses the situation with Abraham and then sends His two angels into Sodom. When they arrive Lot invites them into his home to protect them and keep them safe from the citizens of Sodom and their criminal behaviors. That evening the men of Sodom seek to rape the men/angels, and Lot seeks to intercede in behalf of the men. When the men of Sodom attack Lot, the angels reveal their power and blind the men, and drag Lot through the door of the house and shut the door. This shut door symbolizes that the judgment is complete and Sodom is found wanting. The angels warn Lot to gather his family and to leave Sodom for judgment would fall on the cities as soon as the last righteous people leave the city.
3. In Exodus 12:1-23 God tells the story of the Passover. In this story the time sequence is at the end of the series of signs and wonders. All the Egyptians have had the experience of 3 days and nights of meditation with no light. Israel has had light and is preparing for deliverance from God. Moses, the prophet of God, is instructed to warn all that the next plague will be the destruction of all of the first born children. To protect your child one would have to put the blood of a lamb on the doorposts. If one did not put blood on the doorposts then the first born child would die. This issue is a judgment scene that separates all who trust and believe in God from those who choose to rebel. All of the Israelites put blood on the door post, and all of the Egyptians who chose to believe in God and His prophet, put blood on their doorposts and were saved. All who rebelled against God were judged worthy of losing their first born child. This judgment scene opened the door to leave Egypt and walk with God.
4. In Matthew 25:1-13 God tells another shut door story. In this one there are ten virgins waiting for a wedding party so that they may all go in and celebrate the wedding with the bride and groom. There is a tarrying period of time to separate the wise from the foolish virgins. At midnight the wedding party arrives and a loud cry goes out to the people and the wise virgins have sufficient experiences with the Holy Spirit to keep the lamp of the Word going in their hearts, minds, and experiences, and they are ready to go into the Wedding Feast. The foolish virgins do not have this kind of experience with the Holy Spirit and are left outside to try to find oil for their lamps. When they finally come to the door the Groom comes out to tell them that He does not know them and that they can not come through the door and are lost.
5. In John 10:1-18 Jesus tells the story of the sheepfold. He states clearly that He is the Good Shepherd and He is the door to the sheepfold – the place of safety for His sheep. He declares that anyone who tries to get into the sheepfold any other way than through him is declared to be a robber. He invites all His sheep, even those in other folds, to come unto Him and He will give them rest. All who will not come with Him are robbers and will be destroyed.
6. In Revelation 3:7 God writes about the church of Philadelphia and speaks of the fact that He is the one who opens the door and no man can shut it and closes the door and no man can open it. The time of the church of Philadelphia is that of 1840-1844 at the time of the shutting of the door to the Holy Place which had been open since 31AD all the way down to 1844. At the end of the 2300 days of Daniel 8:14, 457 BC to 1844 AD, God opened the door to the Most Holy Place and started the official Day of Judgment – The Antitypical Day of Atonement.
7. In Revelation 3:20 we have another door that God speaks of. In this door God is speaking to the church of Laodicea. He is calling for His people of judgment, to open the door of their hearts so that He may come in and accomplish His wonderful work in their lives. If this door stays shut to Jesus these people will be lost. If they open the door then Jesus will enter it and shut it to the entire world. Each person will make this final decision as the judgment comes to its final conclusion as spoken of in Revelation 16:17; 22:11.
God has given us these door stories to get a glimpse of how He conducts His judgment. In each story we are told of the circumstances, that God Himself would come and judge the situation, and that in each case a door is a symbol of the judgment scene. Today, let us study these things out and make a decision to keep the door of our hearts open to Him.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Noah and Homosexuality

In Genesis 6:5 God says “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” This text indicates that all man thought of was how to do evil, at least in the sight of God. This text does not go into detail of what it was that mankind was doing that God saw as so offensive. But as in all cases other Scripture sheds light on what was happening and how God perceived these issues.

In Genesis 18-19 we have the story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. In this story Abraham intercedes with the Judge of All of the Earth – The Son of God – who came down to check out Sodom and Gomorrah and see if what He had heard was accurate. We know from other Scriptures that God did not come down to get information for Himself, for He knows everything about the Earth. But God came down to check things out so that He could give His people some awareness of how He thinks and how He sees things.

God shared His intent with Abraham and Abraham begins to intercede for the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. He eventually pleads (that is a legal term to indicate that someone is talking to the Judge in your behalf) that if 10 righteous people were in Sodom and
Gomorrah, that God would save the cities. God readily agrees to this because of Abraham’s lack of understanding of how wicked these cities were. They were in fact as wicked as those in the time of Noah, and they would be destroyed as the people of Noah’s were.

In the story of Sodom and Gomorrah we find out a little of what the people of Sodom were doing that was evil. While negotiating with Abraham, God sent two of His angels into Sodom to check on the people and to communicate His intent to Lot. Lot does not know that these two men are angels but he invites them to his home. While there the people of Sodom come to sexually assault the two men. Lot does his best to defend the two visitors, and the people turn on Lot and are willing to assault him. So it appears that homosexuality was a common practice in Sodom.

We also know that when Lot was instructed by the angels to leave that he attempted to talk to his daughters and their husbands, and they all ignored his warnings. Thus the hearts of the people of Sodom were not impressed by any spiritual movings and they thus testified that along with homosexuality, they had hearts that were not sensitive to the movings of God. Thus any thing that God would attempt to communicate with the people He would have been ignored by them while they were doing whatever they wanted to do. Thus any thing that God would warn against would be likely to be done by the people as a testimony of their ignoring of God, and His counsel, while they did whatever was in their hearts to do.

In Leviticus 18 we have a list of a variety of activities that the nations, which God dispossessed to clear a place for Israel to live, did on a regular basis. In the list are various incestuous activities, then bestiality, and homosexuality. God perceives these activities as defiling and abomination. He warns His people to stay away from these activities, lest they turn out to be like the dispossessed nations of Canaan.

In Romans 1:21-32 God states that the same general principles of evil that Sodom, Gomorrah, and Canaan were guilty of, that the Romans, in the time of Paul, were practicing on a regular basis. So this shows that time does not usually stop anyone from doing evil and that nations practice abominable behaviors because they do not seek help from God and will not abide by His principles or commandments.

In our final example, Jesus says that in the last days the people will again behave like the people in the time of Noah. Matthew 24:37-39. The same behaviors of the time of Noah will be repeated in the end times about the time of the Second Coming of Jesus. All we have to ask ourselves today is whether homosexuality is increasing and becoming a norm of our society. If the answer is yes, then it would be reasonable to believe that homosexuality was prevalent in the times of Noah because when a people think evil continually then God’s perceptions of normal human relationships will be challenged and the thinking of sinful man will replace the commandments of God.

We have spoken to the subject of polygamy as a rebellious act against the standards of God in an earlier study. Homosexuality is another manifestation of the evil of man’s rebellious nature. Noah would have spoken out against this rebellion against the revealed will of God and would have been pleading for his people to give up this sinful act and return to the principles of God so that they could be forgiven, healed, and be in right relationship with God. But the people of Noah’s time ignored this preacher of righteousness, and the people in the end will do the same thing.

It is the purpose of these studies about the time of Noah to give the people in the end the opportunity of learning what the Bible and history has told us. What happened in the time of Noah will be repeated. We have the opportunity to learn what God wants us to do and then to do it. I do not share these thoughts with the idea that society will change and come into harmony with the Word of God. I share these thoughts to find at least one other person that will leave the ranks of the non-believers and come and join the people of God who will go into God’s last day ark – His church. I pray that as we review these issues that we will make the decision to join God and His people and be saved when the final destruction arrives.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Noah's Tabernacle - the Ark

In the Bible we have a variety of Tabernacles that are presented to man. God reveals His Tabernacle to Moses in the wilderness, then to David and Solomon who built the permanent structure in Jerusalem, then to Joshua and Zerubbabel after the Babylonian exile, then to the church in the New Testament times, and then the Tabernacle in heaven. All of these Tabernacles have a similar outline – they are rectangle in form, they have one door going into the Tabernacle, and there are three major parts – Courtyard, Holy Place, and Most Holy Place. In each of the three parts of the Tabernacle there are various pieces of furniture, which communicate various qualities and concepts in the Tabernacle. And, most importantly, the Tabernacle is a place where God displays Himself to His people and communicates His will, regarding salvation, to His people through the Tabernacle process.

With the above thoughts in mind let us looks at the Tabernacle that Noah built. God revealed His plans to Noah regarding the wickedness of mankind and His plan to cleanse the Earth of sinful man. God gave specific instructions to Noah just as He had to Moses and David. Exodus 25:9,40; I Chronicles 28:11-12, 19. Noah was to build the Ark and make it 300 cubits long. A cubit is approximately 18 inches long. So the Ark would be about 450 feet long. The width of the Ark was to be 50 cubits and so it would be about 75 feet wide. God declared that the Ark would be 30 cubits high and thus would be about 53 feet high. Then the ark was to have various rooms and to be pitched on the outside and the inside. So that water would not come into the Ark. With these dimensions it is clear that the Ark was in a rectangular form. There was to be one door built into the side of the Ark, and one window that allowed light to come into the Ark. We are not told of any particular furniture in the Ark, but there were three floors – a lower, second and third flood. So the Ark that Noah built had most of the major components of the Tabernacles that Moses, Solomon, and Zerubbabel built – rectangular in form, one door in the side, three areas in the structure, and a place where God could display Himself to His people and communicate His will to them. The specified furniture, as in the Tabernacles that Moses, and Solomon built were not identified to Noah and may have been in the Ark but we have no Scripture to substantiate that idea. The three floors of the ark would be similar to the Courtyard, the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place.

We know that the Ark, that Noah built, was to be a place of refuge for God’s people. God used the building of the Ark to be a witness to the world that God was serious and that decisions needed to be made about the offer of God’s grace and deliverance to all who would choose to serve Him. The building of the Ark was also an act of faith by Noah to show the people of his time that he, the prophet, was serious about the need to comply with the will of God and to obey Him in all that He asked. The Holy Spirit would move upon all who observed the construction of the Ark so that when this Ark was completed that God would command all who would be saved to get on board the Ark so that when the flood came they would be saved. So all during the construction of the Ark, the gospel was being preached to all the world.

Noah was instructed by God to build various rooms and to fill the various rooms with food and supplies – very much like the Tabernacle that Solomon built for God. I Kings 6:5-6. These chambers were to house the animals, and the supplies necessary to keep them during the flood. The rooms were located in such a manner that light could reach all of the rooms. Patriarchs and Prophets page 95. Thus all that man could do to prepare the Ark was completed and God would watch over it and preserve it during the flood.

When it was time for probation to end, God commanded the animals to enter the Ark. The clean and unclean animals came by sevens and by twos. They entered into the Ark over a period of time, and were placed in the areas assigned to them. Then God commanded Noah, and his family, to enter into the Ark through the one door. God then shut the door on the Ark and shut His people away from the old life. When the flood came it was a display of the power of God to cleanse the world from sin. This revelation of God was so powerful that the Earth was forever changed.

The experience of going through the waters sent from God was referred to as a baptism. I Peter 3:20-21. Thus the old life was left behind and the cleansing of the waters prepared the way to enter into a new life. When the Ark settled into the mountains and the waters were dried up, God opened the door into a new life in a new setting. When it was time God called the animals out of the Ark, as well as Noah and his family. Thus Noah and his family entered into a new life in God. This experience in the Ark symbolizes the plan of salvation that God had established. It summarized all of what God’s tabernacle would do for mankind. It would testify to a message of safety, it would take time to build the Ark and display that all who participated in the development of the Ark took God seriously and obeyed His Word. Each person who went on the Ark would have an opportunity of being tested regarding his or her obedience, and when all were on board, God would use the Ark as a vehicle of deliverance into the New World. God used this Ark to testify of His desire, His plans, and His power to save. Let us see the Ark in a new way and trust God to develop and implement a plan to save us in the end.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Noah and Polygamy

In Genesis 2:19-25 God gave His ideal for marriage – one man and one woman in submission to God to who would leave their parents and join each other and become as one. This guidance from God was intact, and apparently obeyed by fallen man until the time of Lamech – one of the descendents of Cain. Lamech took two wives Genesis 4:19-24. The name of the first wife was Adah – whose name means “adornment” and Zillah – whose name means, “shadow” or “tinkling”. These two women apparently came from the lineage of Cain as well. The names give the foundational point of make up and jewelry. These “enhanced” women apparently were found to be attractive to Lamech.

One of the unique qualities of polygamy is that all through the Bible God warns against it for it creates family stress, and it has the unique quality of turning ones mind away from God. In addition it appears that polygamy, and the thoughts that go into polygamy – for polygamy is a rebellion against the standards of God, leads to violence. In the Lamech story, once Lamech has two wives he also gets into a situation where he kills someone. We do not know if Lamech’s murder of this young man was a fight over another woman, or if he was so inflamed by his two wives that he was more vengeful and irritable and chose to kill someone. Whatever the process history has shown that polygamy tends to stir up the worst in ones nature and leads to violent acts, and or acts that are not approved of by God, including murder.

With the story of Lamech in mind let us look as a few Scriptures and then we will return to the story of Noah and Polygamy. In Deuteronomy 7:1-8 we find the following instruction from the unchangeable God:

1 When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou;
2 And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them:
3 Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son.
4 For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly.
5 But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire.
6 For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.
7 The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people:

8 But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.

Notice in this section of Scripture God warns Israel to slay the Canaanites, don’t make covenants with them, don’t marry their wives, and destroys their idols and groves. All of this because they were to be a holy people – the sons and daughters of God. In addition God gives this same instruction to the future kings of Israel, especially David and Solomon, and adds the qualifier that they would turn the minds of the people away from God. Deuteronomy 17:17. All of this counsel came from the all wise and all compassionate God of heaven. It is our duty and opportunity to learn these things and to obey God for our self-preservation and for the exaltation of God’s name and character.

God tells this story over and over throughout Scripture. The people of Israel followed these behaviors and it lead to the state of rebellion which God addressed in the Babylonian captivity. Israel kept leaving God and joining the heathen in all of their practices. This same issue was addressed by Ezra and Nehemiah after Israel returned from their captivity. Ezra 10:1-5 and Nehemiah 13:23-31.

This mindset of polygamy has been present all through history and has played itself out in many different settings. Paul warns us about polygamy and getting married to people who have no relationship with God. In II Corinthians 6:11-18 Paul warns us to not get unequally yoked with non-believers and compares it with an attempted union between Christ and Belial. God also addresses the spirit of these kinds of activities in warning against fornication in I Corinthians 6:9-20.

God also warns against the principles of polygamy in Ephesians 4:1-16. God wants us to respond to one Lord, one faith, one baptism. God does not want us to get involved with other churches and other religions, He wants us to stay with one church. As we are taught in the Bible, God “sees” a church as a woman (II Corinthians 11:2; Jeremiah 6:2; Isaiah 54:5-6; Revelation 12:1). God wants us to have one woman in our lives – as a church as well as one wife, or one husband in the physical sense of the word.

God reemphasizes this in Revelation 14:4 where He tells us that His holy people are not defiled with women. Since marriage is not defiling then it is clear that God is not talking about marriage and the sexual privileges that go with marriage. God is talking about negative relationships with apostate, or false churches – sort of the Adah, Zillah, or Babylon of our time. This “ecumenical” spirit is also one of the things that God wants us to avoid for it will lead to false worship and the kinds of problems that Solomon experienced in his time with his 700 wives and 300 concubines. I Kings 11:1-11

With all of this data in mind let us return to the story of Noah. In Genesis 6:1-13 God declares that His people – the sons of God (Luke 3:38; I John 3:1-2; John 1:12), saw that the daughters of men (the wicked descendents of Cain – Adah and Zillah) were fair. There was apparently something about the beauty of the daughters of men, their makeup, their jewelry, their forwardness and brashness, that attracted the eyes of the sons of God and lead them to desire women who did not have a relationship with Jesus. As a result of this lusting after forbidden fruit, the sons of God, took them wives (plural) of all which they chose. We are not told that they understood the warnings of God about plural marriages but we do know that God had given much instruction and they certainly knew the will of God to have one wife. Yet as a result of this sin of multiple marriages, it had its invariable conclusion – people grew violent, their hearts were turned away from God, and they introduced false worship, idolatry, and then evil continually. This set of events led to the conclusion by God that He would need to preserve humanity with the only way left – destruction of man by a flood of water.

When God decided that the time had come, He found a man that remained true to His principles. He found a man who obeyed Him and even had one wife. This man had trained his sons and they also had one wife only. This shows that the household of Noah was commandment keepers and that since they were commandment keepers, they had a right relationship with God. Noah was not a polygamist. As a result of being true to God Noah received the spiritual gifts he was longing for and he became the prophet of God, the spokesperson for God.

Now, in our time, God has warned us of the same issues as in the time of Noah. Matthew 24:36-39 tells us that the same issues will be occurring as in the time of Noah. That would mean that polygamy, in all of its various forms – relational and spiritual- would be present. It is our opportunity today to turn away from all forms of polygamy and to be granted the gifts of the Spirit to teach people to get ready for the next cleansing of the earth. May God help us to learn from Noah and to be in right relationship with God.