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.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Noah and Jesus.

In the Bible the most important figure is always God. God created the world, He created man, He created the Garden of Eden and He placed man in the garden. It was God who was hurt by the fall of Adam and Eve, and it was God who took the initiative to go and look for Adam and Eve after their sin. It was God who offered to die for the sinful pair, and it was God who came up with the sacrificial system to symbolize what He Himself would do for Adam and Eve, and all of their children.

God did all of these things for mankind. God is the active agent in all good things. God is also the active agent in all evil, in the sense that nothing can happen unless God allows it to happen. God has chosen to allow each and every one of His children to have freedom of choice and all of the blessings and curses of having that freedom to choose.

One of the tragic concepts that comes out of the God discussion is why did He allow something like the flood to occur. Was God cruel and heartless to allow all of those people to die? Was the God of the flood the same as the God of the New Testament, or was He just an Old Testament God who had it out for people?

The Bible claims that God does not change yesterday, today, or forever. Hebrews 13:8. The Bible claims that God is consistently loving, and yet can hold the line with people and even destroy people if necessary to preserve life. God does all things in harmony with His principles of love. Whatever God does, it is from love, for God is love. I John 4:8

With the above thoughts in mind lets us looks at the preparatory issues. God had concluded that He had to put an end to the people for their thoughts were evil continually. Because of this God set a probationary period to give people an opportunity to repent and change if they should so choose to do so. While this probationary period of 120 years was occurring God would give instructions to Noah as to how to build the ark and how to communicate these thoughts to the sinners of his time with great longsuffering. During this time all who chose to could get mercy and grace from God so that they could change. If they chose not to change then the flood would come and God would wash the world from sin and start again with the people who responded to the messages of God.

Many have thought that the God of Noah’s time was cruel and harsh in His handling of the sin problem. They have thought that the God of the New Testament – Jesus of Nazareth was kind, sympathetic, and full of mercy. Yet, as we know from Hebrews 13:8 God is the same, yesterday, today, and forever. That same Jesus, who we love and trust in the New Testament, is the same God we wonder about in the Old Testament.

We know that Jesus was the Creator of the Earth according to Colossians 1:12-19. We know that Jesus is our Mediator. Hebrews 7:25 We know that Jesus was slain from the foundation of the world according to Revelation 13:8. We know that Jesus promised to be the One who would die for our sins. Genesis 3:15. We know that Jesus is the Great Shepherd who would come to seek and save the lost sheep. John 10:1-19. We also know that Jesus is the I Am of Exodus 3:1-14; John 8:58. Jesus was the One who gave Israel food and drink in the wilderness. I Corinthians 10:1-4. Jesus was Jehovah, in His pre-incarnate form, all through the Old Testament. Jesus was the God, who changes not, who instructed Noah how to save any and all of humanity. It was Jesus who suffered the rejection of all of those many people in the time of Noah, who rejected Him, and rejected His prophet.

Yet, in spite of all that rejection Jesus still found a way to preserve humanity and to use this time of trial and suffering as a springboard to new life. The tragedy of the death of much of humanity, was the opportunity of new life in Christ Jesus after the flood. This same Jesus, who created humanity, stayed with fallen humanity throughout all of the crises of the history of mankind. He will never leave us nor forsake us. This is His promise to us from Eden to today. He will see us through and He will come and gather us into His kingdom. That God whom Noah trusted so implicitly is the God that we to can trust implicitly. He is our God and Savior – Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Noah and the Gospel

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth…” Romans 1:16

“By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.” Hebrews 11:7

It is clear that Noah was an individual who presented the gospel to the world. He heard God instruct him on two points; that God would hold the winds of His judgment for 120 years in order to extend mankind grace, and that God would provide a structure – an Ark or a Sanctuary, that all who would choose to serve God would find a place of safety from the destruction that would come in 120 years. Noah believed these things and then went to work to testify to his belief. Thus his works testified to his faith.

Like Abraham, Noah’s great great grandson, Noah believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness. Hebrews 11:7 Noah believed that Christ was able and willing to follow through with what He had told Noah. Noah did not understand all of the things involved in the testimony of Jesus, but he knew that when God spoke that He meant everything He said. He knew this from the testimony of Adam, Seth, Enoch, Methuselah, and Lamech his father. All of these saints testified to their experiences with God and Noah believed God. Noah also had the testimony of Enoch’s experience of being translated to heaven without seeing death, as a testimony of the trustworthiness of Jesus.

With all of his families history Noah had sufficient information to make a decision that when God spoke to him, he would listen, and he would obey. As a result of the special communications with God, Noah was equipped with information and he began to share this information with all whom he came in contact with. Noah was fulfilling the gospel commission to go to all in the world and share the messages that God had given to him.

Peter claims that Noah fulfilled the following:
“And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly…” II Peter 2:5
This text clearly states that Noah was a preacher of righteousness. Therefore Noah must have taught both grace and righteousness because Abraham did this also. Galatians 3:6

Noah, filled with grace and truth, went out and taught the people before the flood and shared with them what God had granted him thus he condemned the world and yet provided the world and avenue of salvation if they would believe in the message and obey the message. Hebrews 11:7

Noah had been instructed by God to build an ark so that all that wanted to could be saved. Noah, who found grace in the eyes of the Lord, shared the truths and built the ark. Thus he testified that God’s message was true and that unless the people repented the flood would come. If and when the flood would come God would be prepared to offer them deliverance, and Noah would be prepared to offer all the deliverance of God. Thus Noah presented the gospel to all because of the love of God within him. Thus we can see that in all of the activities of God the gospel is an ever-present concept. Wherever God goes the gospel goes as well.

Noah was blessed because by being willing to follow the instructions of God he was rewarded with his household because Hebrews 11:7 says that he “prepared and ark to the saving of his house.” Thus Noah was blessed and inherent in this Scripture is the promise that all who will work with God will receive a blessing of souls. This promise, along with deliverance from sin, in inherent in the gospel of Jesus. Let us be faithful and as Noah preached let us preach the message of these final days as well. “But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” Matthew 24:37. This is our task and our promise as it had been for Noah.

Noah and the Spirit of Prophecy

Hebrews 11:7 “By faith Noah being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.”

In the Bible the gift of prophecy is one of the signs of the Remnant Church – that which is left. Revelation 12:17 and Revelation 19:10 - the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy. In the time of Noah God sent out a warning to all the people on Earth because their every thought was evil continually. Genesis 6:5 If they did not change they would be destroyed in 120 years. Noah was the Elijah of his time. God called Noah for He saw that Noah would obey all that God told him to do, he would cooperate with God and he would share what God had revealed to him. Thus, like Elijah, Noah became a prophet to the Remnant of his time.

Jesus, through His Spirit (I Peter 1:10-12 and II Peter 1:19-21) warned Noah of things not seen as yet. God only knows the end from the beginning. Isaiah 46:9-10 When He chooses to bless someone with this information He expects the information to be shared for God has said that He would do nothing unless He reveal His secrets unto His servants the prophets. Amos 3:7 Once He shares with the prophets he directs the prophets to warn the people for God wants all to have the opportunity to be saved. II Peter 3:9; I Timothy 2:4

God warned Noah that He had given the people of Earth 120 years to repent of their evil ways and return to God’s ways of righteousness. Noah was to alert the people and while that that Noah was to build an Ark. This Ark was to be a lesson for all mankind that God would provide a way of escape. Noah believed God’s promises enough to build the Ark. God gave Noah specific instructions to build the Ark just as God gave David instructions to build the Sanctuary in Solomon’s time as in Moses’ time. I Chronicles 28:11-12, 19; Exodus 25:9,40; Hebrews 8:2,5. As Noah built the Ark his works testified to the faith he had in the message given to him by God.

Noah built the ark according to all the instruction given to him just as Moses and David had been given instruction on how to build the Sanctuaries of their time. All three of these places of refuge were presented in such a manner that the gospel – good news- was communicated to sinful man. This gospel presented through the types and symbols of the Sanctuary and an opportunity for Salvation was made available to all that would take it.

Noah cooperated with God and condemned the world through his faith in Jesus, his obedience to the commandments of God, and the patience he displayed while building the Ark. Revelation 14:12 On the other hand the world responded to Noah’s message as the history of fallen man predicted. The people of Noah’s time threatened, disregarded, and taught against the words of Noah, and against the message of the God who sent Noah. See II Chronicles 36:14-16; Matthew 21:34-38. Yet Noah stood steady and preached the Word of God while waiting on the longsuffering of God. I Peter 3:20

When the prophetic time had elapsed and the Ark was completed, God called Noah and Is family, and all that believed in the message that Noah presented, to go into the Ark. Noah, and the Remnant obeyed God. All went into the Ark with all the beasts that God had sent in. thus, as in Elijah’s time a Remnant would be saved. I Kings 19:13-18; Romans 11:1-4.

Noah was used by Jesus to testify that as it was in the time of Noah, so as it was in the time of the First Advent of Christ and so it will be in the time of the Second Advent of Christ. The message given to Noah will be a type of the last days as Jesus says above. This message is to warn us upon whom the ends of the world are come. This message is to warn us upon whom the ends of the world have come. I Corinthians 10:11 The message in our day will give us the opportunity to recognize the prophetic utterances of God, to patiently build and work, and to display the faith of Jesus. Let us prepare to enter into the Ark of our time, the Remnant church of God.

As Noah was the prophetic voice of His time; God is preparing the voice of His people at the day of the second-coming to give a clear testimony for Jesus. When this gospel goes into all of the world then shall the end come just as it did for Elijah. We to will have to stand up against the errors being taught and give the special messages for our time. Noah was granted the Spirit of Prophecy to guide God’s people. This same issue will be presented in the final days. Soon the prophetic time of our probation will be ended and we to will have to testify with our words and our actions for the saving grace of Jesus.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Noah and Clean and Unclean Animals

In Deuteronomy 14 and Leviticus 11 God has provided us with a detailed list of clean and unclean animals according to the mind of God. God instructed Israel to follow through with this list and to not eat any animals considered by God to be unclean.

One of the perceptions of the spiritual walk is that many consider he clean and unclean laws to have been presented only to Israel as part of the Old Covenant. Therefore these people believe that there were no laws from God regarding as to whether we should eat certain animals before Mt. Sinai. Many people, since there are no specific mention of the precise structure of the laws Abraham had obeyed in Genesis 26:5, believe that there was no such thing as clean and unclean animals before Mt. Sinai.

In Genesis 7:1-3 God says the following:

“And the Lord said unto Noah, “Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before Me in this generation. Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of the beasts that are not clean by two, the male and is female. Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth.”

This Scripture clearly states that the principles of clean and unclean animals was in effect long before Mt. Sinai and the writing of Deuteronomy and of Leviticus. This also lends credence to the concept that the laws that God gave Abraham must have had this concept included in the laws, precepts, and commandments that God gave Abraham.

In Genesis 8:20 God says the following:

“And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.”

The concept of clean and unclean animals and birds is restated and the 7th bird, or animal, is brought to the altar to be sacrificed. Thus again the concept of clean and unclean appears to be have been a common thought in the days of Noah. Thus by extension this same principle will be in effect in the time of the end, “But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be?” Matthew 24:

God wants us to be firmly grounded on the truths that He has chosen to reveal through His agencies and when as well. God knows how many of His truths were already known to His people. We know that the sacrificial system was in place before Mt. Sinai. We know that Cain and Abel were participants in a communal form of worship thus requiring certain rules and regulations that people need in order to conduct public worship systems. We also know that the ten-commandment law was already in place including the Sabbath commandment.

So it appears that with the clean and unclean animal system at the very least, the general outline of the Jewish worship system was intact and active before Mt. Sinai. This shows that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and that the principles of His worship system are also the same. Let us grow in grace and truth and trust in His Word and in His principles – as Noah did.