Open your Bible to Genesis chapter 7 as we continue in our look at the book of Genesis. I’ve titled this seventh chapter “Waves of Judgment” - waves of judgment. Now, just some reminders. The Genesis account of the flood is given in simple language, careful detail, precision, and repeated several times. In fact, if you’re reading through the seventh chapter, you might ask yourself why you keep thinking you’re hearing an echo. Things were said in chapter 6 that will be said two or three more times in chapter 7. And this is typical in terms of Hebrew style for the sake of emphasis, as it might be, frankly, in any language.
This is the great judgment of all judgments in the history of the world, and the lessons which it teaches are potent and dramatic. And nobody need miss them - repetition is designed at each point to add further detail while rehearsing something that’s already been revealed. The passage before us, then, is simple, careful, precise, and repeated. It is the historical record of God’s destruction of the entire earth and all its inhabitants except those in the ark. And there are so many things that can be said about what this flood teaches and we’ll look at some of them tonight.
One thing that is very obvious is that God is not primarily concerned with environmentalism. We can’t even fathom the energy, the power, the wisdom, the might, the intelligence, and the design that it took that it took to create the original universe and the original earth. Sixteen hundred and fifty years or so after it was created, God destroyed the entire thing. And out of that flood came, essentially, a new earth and a new humanity, a new animal life and plant life. As magnificent as God’s creation is, as reflective of His glory as it is, He would not hesitate to completely destroy it because of sin and bring forth a new earth.
Righteousness is God’s concern. The physical world is not His concern; the spiritual world is. The Lord destroyed this planet once and remade it, that’s recorded in Genesis, and He will do it once more, and that’s recorded in the book of Revelation. So the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, the Bible begins with the destruction of the earth and it ends with the destruction of the earth. In fact, in the book of Revelation, the earth is first of all renovated and then totally destroyed along with the heavens as we know them and in their place, the new heaven and the new earth, which is the eternal state, is created.
All of that simply to rehearse simply what I said a moment ago: God is not primarily an environmentalist. His concern has to do with the spiritual, not the physical. He has concerns about righteousness and sin, not about environment. If necessary, He will destroy the entire planet and universe for the sake of His holiness.
Beyond that, we learn some things about God from the account of the flood. Everything in the Bible really discloses God - it is the testimony of God, it is His self-revelation, it is the disclosure of His character. In fact, you can’t read a chapter, you can’t read a passage in the Bible without being exposed in one way or another to the character of God. And here in the flood, we learn much about God. This is a great biblical account for us to build what theologians call theology proper. That is the study of God Himself.
What we learn in the account of the flood is that God has absolute, divine, supernatural power over creation, and He has complete freedom to act on it as He wills. Consequently, God also has complete control of history and everything in it. We also learn from the flood that God clearly can and does distinguish between the righteous and the unrighteous. That God is not at a loss to know who belongs to Him and who does not. That God is supremely capable of sorting out who should be delivered and who should be destroyed.
We also learn from the flood that God is patient, that God is gracious, and that God warns sinners of judgment before He brings that judgment. But when that judgment comes, we also learn that God judges sin in deadly fashion. Such judgment as seen in the flood is the most massive and comprehensive judgment of God that has occurred in history, and the greater one yet to come will occur when Jesus returns. But that’s not the only judgment, the flood in the past, and certainly the coming of Christ isn’t the only judgment in the future.
There are judgments going on all the time as God expresses His anger and His wrath on sinners. But when you look at the flood, you do learn that God can judge in deadly anger. Allen Ross writes, “Such a judgment protects every succeeding word of grace from any kind of innocuousness. God’s gracious redemption,” he writes, “is meaningful in the light of that judgment.”
If you get a grip on the flood, if you can really comprehend the fact that God destroyed the billions of people that populated the earth and saved only eight people, then you know He’s not kidding when He talks about judgment because there’s a record of Him having done it. And every tender warning and every word of mercy and every expression of compassion and every act of grace and every extended breath within the framework of God’s patience is not to be treated lightly or trivialized.
And again, as I said at the very outset, we also learn that God is most concerned about sin, that what concerns God is sin in His universe, sin in His world. And so no matter how you cut it, God has sentenced this planet to a short life. The first time around, before the flood, sixteen hundred and fifty-six years (about) and the second time, we’ve been at it for about forty-five hundred years, let’s say - some would say a little bit more. This is a disposable planet, as I’ve said. It’s sentenced to a very short life. It is a brief theater in the midst of eternity on which a drama of redemption is played out for the purpose that God might display His grace and His glory and gain a bride for His Son.
But God does not hesitate to destroy it in a flash when, in His mind, iniquity is full. And God will not always tolerate sinners. As we know, He said to the pre-flood society, “My spirit will not always strive with man.” God will not always be patient, not always tolerant, and when judgment comes, it is harsh, it is swift, it is total. And the verdict is incontestable. There is no court of appeals. He did it once and I tell you, He will do it again. But until He does it again, we live in a time of grace. A time of grace. But He has an end to His patience, and He will repeal His patience. He will replace His grace with His anger, and the destruction of this planet yet waits.
Now, all those profound realities about the character of God, the nature of God, and His redemptive purpose are demonstrated by the flood. I literally could take each of those and develop a sermon out of each one of those because there’s so much there, but I leave you to think about them.
As we approach the profound text before us in the seventh chapter of Genesis, the things that I’ve just said to you will unfold to you and they’ll become apparent. This is not a passage you need to outline, this is a narrative, a historical narrative, and we’re just going to flow through it. I don’t have any illusions about getting where I would like to get tonight, so I’m not even going to tell you where that is. I’d like to get to verse 1, and here we are.
Verse 1, “Then the Lord said to Noah, ‘Enter the ark. You and all your household; for you alone I have seen to be righteous before me in this time.’” Now, a hundred and twenty years have passed, a hundred and twenty years since God had said to Noah, verse 13 of chapter 6, “The end of all flesh has come before me. The earth is filled with violence because of them. Behold, I’m about to destroy them with the earth.” It had been a hundred and twenty years that had gone by. He then said in verse 14, “You get to make an ark” and He gave him, as you remember, all the features for making that rectangle that was going to float them above the judgment.
All of this came about because of the sin of the world, and you go back to the beginning of chapter 6 and we realize in the first few verses that men were involved with demons, we further find out that there was only wickedness in verse 5. “The wickedness of man was so great on the earth that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Back in verse 3, “My spirit shall not always strive with men forever because his is also flesh.” And then comes this respite, “Nevertheless, his days shall be a hundred and twenty years.”
From the time that God was fed up with man, from the time that God told Noah He was going to destroy the entire world, from the time He told him to build a boat, it would be a hundred and twenty years before the flood would actually come. That was the time of God’s grace, mercy, compassion, time of His patience, the time of the message of forgiveness and salvation. It was also the time for Noah to build the ark, and so for that hundred and twenty years or whatever part of it was necessary, he and his family were building the ark.
All that time, Noah was absolutely obedient. He was simply told by God that God was going to drown the entire world. He never quibbled about it, he never answered God with queries and questions and misgivings and doubts,; he just did, verse 22 says, the end of chapter 6, “according to all that God had commanded him, so he did.” Building. And as he went along, (according to 2 Peter 2:5) he was a preacher of righteousness.
So as he went along, everybody was saying, you know, “Why are you building this huge, gopher-wood ark in the middle of this place? Why are you doing this? There’s no ocean here.” He might have said to them, “It’s going to rain,” but most likely they’d never seen rain. They may have seen some form of evaporation and mist but not rain. And he was telling them that God was going to drown them all, going to drown the entire earth, the entire planet, and he and those who were with him in the ark were going to float above it all.
Well, nobody believed him. It was only his wife and his three sons and their three wives. After a hundred and twenty years, the ark was complete. Grandfather Methuselah had died. Remember, his name signified sending forth and is often connected with the flood so that in the year he dies, the flood comes. Methuselah is either on his death bed or dead. It is that year now and God says to Noah, “Enter the ark, you and all your household.”
Now remember, the ark was a box essentially. It wasn’t built like a ship, with sloped sides at all, it was a box, it was a chest, a rectangle, and it had no sail and it had no oars and it had no pilot and it had no navigator and it had no navigation equipment. It had no steering wheel. Because God was going to pilot that box. It was not like a ship with a pointed bow that is propelled through the water, it had no way to be propelled.
It had no sails, it had nothing. In fact, it was longer and by cubic feet bigger than any boat ever known to be built until the late nineteenth century when great ships were first able to be built that size because they were making them out of steel. And it was built on classic seaworthy lines. The length is six-to-one the width, which provided it with the maximum classic stability. And because it was a rectangle, it was more stable than if it had a narrow bow.
It also had, because it was a rectangle, a third more capacity than a ship of that size would have with the sloped sides, about a hundred thousand square feet, about a 1.5-million-cubic-feet capacity. It had thousands of compartments on the three floors that could carry the animals. And you remember, in looking at the size of it, taking, say, a medium-sized animal, maybe a little larger than the average animal would be, probably a lot larger, a sheep, it would carry at least a hundred and twenty-five thousand sheep, which would certainly be double or more than double what was needed for all of the existing species.
Now, this is a great act of faith on Noah’s part. For a hundred and twenty years to say that God’s going to destroy the entire planet, you have to have faith because you can’t see that. And there’s no indication that the Lord said anything to him for those hundred and twenty years. God said, “Do this,” in a hundred and twenty years, He came back and said, “Now get in.” There he was for a hundred and twenty years, building this thing along with his family, and when God said get in, he got in.
I think we could assume that he was probably a fairly wealthy man that would be - only a wealthy man who could pay for all of the wood and the craftsmanship and whatever other things were necessary to build this massive rectangle. We can assume that he had great possessions, probably had great wealth. But he was getting ready to turn his back on it all, believing with all his heart that God was going to do exactly what He said He was going to do, He was going to absolutely destroy the entire planet.
There’s a beautiful picture here of sovereign election and volition, how they come together. God promised deliverance to Noah a hundred and twenty-four years before Noah chose to enter the ark. But he entered, and he entered willfully, and yet he entered under the promise of God and the purpose of God. Why did God save these people? End of verse one, “For you alone I have seen to be righteous before me in this time.” Takes you back to chapter 6, verse 9, “These are the records of the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time. Noah walked with God.”
Noah believed God, Noah served God, loved God. Noah had been justified, covered with the very righteousness of God. And he and his wife and his three sons and daughters-in-law, they were the only - the only ones in the world. You say, “Were there none righteous from Adam to Noah?” There were righteous people. There was Enoch and there were certainly others along the way, as we noted when we went through chapters 4 and 5. But they died. Of the living people, there were only eight who loved God. He was righteous because God had declared him righteous. He was righteous because he had seen himself as a sinner, and he had turned to God for forgiveness and mercy.
And the evidence of the work of God in his life was that he was blameless in his time and walked with God. He is a true believer, and so was his family, and his righteous character is remembered here. It’s already in 6:9, why repeat it? It’s remembered here because it provides the contrast to the condemnation of the rest of the world. And so He says, “It’s time to get in, the judgment is coming. It’s time to turn your back on the entire world. What I told you is going to happen is now going to happen.”
And He reiterates, does God, what He told him a hundred and twenty years before with some important additions, verse two, “You shall take with you of every clean animal by sevens, a male and his female, and of the animals that are not clean, two, a male and his female.” Back in chapter 6, as you know, when the Lord was talking to him about building the ark, in verse 19, He told him he was to take “two of every kind into the ark to keep them alive, male and female, birds, animals, crawling things of every kind shall come to you to keep them alive. And you take” - in verse 21 - “the food to provide for them as well.”
So here, God repeats that but He adds something here. This is not in chapter 6: “Take with you of every clean animal by sevens.” Here’s the first mention of clean animals in Scripture. If you study the Mosaic law, you get into the book of Exodus, you study the Mosaic law or study it on into Deuteronomy, particularly in Leviticus, you know in Leviticus, you have a whole section from - I think it’s chapter 11 to 15 of Leviticus, it deals with the clean and unclean animals. And so in the day of Moses, when God gave the ceremonial law to Moses, he detailed at that time this matter of clean and unclean animals. At the same time also, God detailed matters about offerings.
Mosaic law is full of such details, and He also gave details about the issue of sacrifices, blood sacrifices, and all kinds of details about how those sacrifices were to be cared for, how they were to be offered, when they were to be offered, labeling them, and assigning them to various points in the calendar, and various issues in the life of the nation of Israel. So what you have in the Mosaic law is sort of a codification of the sacrificial system and the crystallization of all of that and the clarification of the clean and the unclean.
But - mark this - I think all of those things existed before the Mosaic law. Before the Mosaic law, you had sacrifices. You had Cain killing his brother because he was jealous that his brother made the right sacrifice. You have sacrifices at the end of the flood when Noah comes out of the ark and makes a sacrifice. You have sacrifices throughout the pre-Mosaic period being made by the people of God. So it was pretty clear that God had revealed that there were sacrifices to be made, that they were to picture the final sacrifice, Jesus Christ.
God Himself even made the first sacrifice in the garden, right? He killed an animal, took the skins, and covered Adam and Eve. And God was, therefore, saying that by the death of an innocent substitute, your sin will be covered, your shame will be covered. So the sacrifices already existed. Offerings already existed. We find Abraham giving tithes to Melchizedek in the book of Genesis long before the Mosaic law is given. And it is also then true that the idea of clean and unclean animals existed prior to their specific instruction in the book of Leviticus.
So God had already begun to reveal to His people certain patterns of behavior that He desired for them. And the purpose of clean and unclean - people often ask this, “What is the purpose?” Is it because some animals are literally dirtier than others? Does it have to do with health? Does it mean (some people like to think) you can eat certain animals because they carry less disease than certain other animals? That is not the primary issue. It’s not about the physiology of an animal primarily. That’s really not the issue. There may be some secondary issues there, but that is not the reason that God gave instruction on the clean and the unclean.
Look at the sacrificial system and ask yourself: Did the sacrificial system take away sin? Did offering an animal take away sin? Did offering an animal bring somebody forgiveness? No. But it pictured a sacrifice to come that would do that. In all the offerings that they made to God, they didn’t buy salvation with those. Those were, in a sense, depictions of the fact that God wanted their heart and their soul and He wanted all that they were given to Him, and these were ways in which they could demonstrate their yieldedness and their submission to God.
And even the clean-and-unclean was also symbolic. The sacrificial system was symbolic, the offering system was symbolic, all the matters of the ceremonial law were symbolic. And the clean and the unclean animals were also symbolic of the fact that - and here’s something to keep in mind - God wanted His people to learn to make distinctions. It was as if the Lord was saying to them, “I want you to learn to separate my ways from all other ways.” I wrote a section about this in the book on discernment, and I think that this is so very important.
From the very start, God taught His people there was His way and there was another way. And it had to do with your sacrifices and it had to do with your offerings and it had to with even your diet, the common matters of daily life you needed to learn - in the commonest things of life - God’s way. To obey God with no more reason than that He said to do it. Sometimes we do with our children the very same thing. I can remember many times saying to my kids, “You don’t need to know why, just do it.” “Well, nobody else does it.” “All the more reason for you to do it. You’re not like anybody else. You’re not like everybody else.”
I can remember saying, “Our family’s not like everybody else’s family. We’re different. We don’t do what everybody else does. We don’t live the way everybody else lives.” And sometimes you teach your children that, not by profound, sort of esoteric theological lectures but by just teaching them to make distinctions in behavior.
The dietary laws, those laws that came down to the clean and unclean, were really to teach separation. From the garden of Eden with its two trees, one allowed, one forbidden, to the eternal destiny of the human being in heaven or in hell, the Bible sets forth two and only two ways: God’s way and every other way. And this distinction is made all the way through Scripture. People are either saved or lost, they belong to God or they belong to the devil. There is Gerizim, the mount of blessing; Ebal, the mount of cursing.
The narrow way, the wide way, eternal life, destruction. Those who are against, those who are with us; those within, those without; life, death; truth, falsehood; good, bad; light, darkness; kingdom of God, kingdom of Satan; love and hate; spiritual wisdom, the wisdom of the world. We have to make distinctions and in the ABC’s in the early days of God’s dealings with men, He wanted them to learn to be those discriminating kinds of people who made those kinds of distinctions. And to teach them that there was His way and they needed to learn to make that distinction.
And so they were given these laws, and they were really only temporary. How do you know that? Because when you come to the tenth chapter of Acts in the New Testament, there’s a great passage from verse 9 to 15 in which God cancels all the clean and unclean laws. Remember that? Peter goes to sleep and he has a vision and he sees a sheet, and on this sheet are all these animals, clean and unclean, from the Jewish distinctions. And you remember the Lord said to him, “Rise Peter, kill and eat.”
And Peter was paralyzed. I mean his whole life he’d been told things he couldn’t eat because they were unclean. And you remember the Lord said to him, “Don’t you dare call unclean what God hath cleansed.” End of those laws. And then you come to 1 Timothy 4:4 where the apostle Paul says, “Everything is to be received with thanksgiving.”
So these were never sort of mandatory hygienic laws. They were never in themselves some level of morality, nor are the animals to be distinguished as if unclean animals are in some way inferior to the clean animals because you will have to be reminded here that on the ark, you had the clean and the unclean animals, and God saved both kinds. Both kinds manifest the wonder and glory of His mind in creation.
So he says, “Take with you of every clean animal by sevens, a male and his female.” And the best understanding of that is that the reason he wants pairs of the clean animals - and Noah must have known what they were, we aren’t told what they were, we don’t get a real code about that until we get to Moses, as I said. But just as the Lord must have revealed the sacrificial standard to Cain and Abel, He must have revealed at some point to Noah what the clean animals were and the unclean. And He says you have to take seven pairs of the clean animals. And the best understanding of the reason for this comes from chapter 8, verse 20.
Chapter 8, verse 20, after Noah comes out of the ark, he built an altar to the Lord. Took of every clean animal and of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar. Now we know what the clean animals were for. In that economy, the clean animals were the ones that God designated to be used for what? For sacrifice. And since, when they came out of the ark, they were going to be making sacrifices to God as a regular expression, if they hadn’t had those extra animals, they would have wiped out a whole species. You understand. If you’ve only got two and you burn up papa, there won’t be any more - or mama.
So there had to be some animals who were expendable. They were the ones designated as clean, set apart for sacrifice. Had Noah not taken those extra pairs, he would have been literally exterminating species as he offered sacrifices. And remember, when they came off the ark, it would take a while for animals to reproduce, and they wanted to making sacrifices regularly.
By the way, none of these animals was for eating since all were vegetarian until after the flood. It’s not until chapter 9, verses 3 and 4, that the Lord gives the command for eating meat. So he didn’t take seven pairs, somebody might think, and some have even suggested that they took the seven pairs so they could have some meat along the way. Well, they were vegetarian. It really is - and most commentators would agree, the classical Jewish commentators and even old and new commentators in the Western world would agree that this is the purpose for these animals.
Now, it’s interesting to me - and it may not be to you but it is to me - that this distinction between the clean and the unclean animals was clear to the people of God, and one of the things that fascinates me is that when you study literature outside the Old Testament, you get into Babylonian literature or Assyrian literature, it’s quite fascinating to find out that they even had ides about this. The Babylonians and the Assyrians, as a rule, brought sacrifices to their deities only of herds and flocks, cattle and sheep, and in very rare instances of mountain goats.
If they ever sacrificed a pig, Babylonians and Assyrians, pagans, if they ever sacrificed a pig or a dog - dogs were always considered to be unclean, so were pigs - if they ever did it, according to their own literature, they were not offering to their gods but they were giving gifts to the demons. Or they would sacrifice a dog or a pig to serve as a substitute for a sick person so that the sick person’s sickness would go into the dog or the pig. So they were always used in very negative ways. So even the Babylonians and the Assyrians got a little of the spillover of that concept of distinctions.
I know it’s hard to think of your little dog as unclean. And there isn’t anything about the animal itself that puts it in that category. These were distinctions that God made with His people to teach them to be discriminating and discerning. And among the Babylonians and Assyrians, I read that if by chance a dog entered one of the temples of the gods, the entire temple had to be cleansed because a dog had gone in there. So there were those distinctions, and the Lord said take those animals for the purposes of sacrifice.
Then at the end of verse 2, He says, “And of the animals that are not clean,” just the rest of the animals that’ll not be used for sacrifice, that was the distinction, “take a male and a female.” The male and the female for obvious reasons. Go over to chapter 8, verse 17, when they get out of the ark, says bring out with you every living thing of all flesh that is with you, birds and animals and every creeping thing or crawling thing that crawls on the earth that they may breed abundantly on the earth, be fruitful and multiply on the earth. That was the reason they needed to be male and female, so they could come out and reproduce.
Verse 3 then adds, “And also of the birds of the sky by sevens, male and female.” Again, those birds that were designated as clean here. And perhaps at this time, all the birds were designated as clean. Although later in the Mosaic law, there were some flying animals that were designated as unclean. At this point, the birds are included with the clean animals.
Now, all of them, as I said, preserved for the obvious reason, to keep (end of verse 3) offspring alive on the face of all the earth. God is just going to destroy the surface of the earth, He’s going to destroy the planet, He’s going to destroy everything that lives on the planet, but there’s going to a new earth, there’s going to be a new humanity, and there’s going to be a new animal kingdom and a new plant world as well.
And may I add something here that I think is very, very important? To keep offspring alive on the face of all the earth. What does that tell you? That tells you that if Noah got on a boat and didn’t take anybody, there wouldn’t be anything left on the earth. And what does that tell you? That tells you that this is without question a global flood. I literally am amazed - I probably read five or six evangelical commentators who tried to convince the readers of their books that this was a local flood, that this flood just kind of happened around Noah’s area and he just scooped up a few animals and sort of chased them in the ark and this is all just sort of a legendary description of what really was just a little local flood.
And that is not what the language indicates. It is very, very obvious what you have here - how could you have a local flood, by the way, where the water was higher than a 17,000-foot-high mountain? That would have to have walls on the water. To say nothing of many other issues. But the point that is made at the end of verse 3 is that if you don’t do this, then the offspring are not going to be alive on the face of all the earth. There isn’t going to be any animal population.
I know somebody may be thinking, “Was there any reproduction going on on the ark for the year that they were on the ark?” Well, we could assume there may have been some, but there was some room for expansion, as I’ll point out in a minute. But the real replenishing occurred, of course, afterward. Some have even suggested that all the animals hibernated for a year. Bible doesn’t say that, that there were none reproductive during that year.
It has been suggested that the food that was taken on was all fed to them at the front end, not distributed through the year, but just - they all ate a lot and then all were knocked out by a divine anesthetic and stayed in a hibernation form until the ark finally rested and they left. Well, the Bible doesn’t say anything about that, so we don’t need to speculate, either. But we do know that the Lord said if you don’t take them on there, there isn’t going to be any future for the animal kingdom.
Now I need to digress for a moment here because you need to understand something. Those of you who are thinking ahead or thinking scientifically about this ask the question, “Well, there’s so many animals in the world, right? How did he get them all on the ark?” That’s one of the arguments you hear from people who want to say that this was a localized flood because there’s so many animals all over the world that they couldn’t have gotten them all on the ark. Well, that’s not true.
It’s not true. I’ll try to point out that as well. I did that already once in the series and also to show you how all the animals that are all over the planet today could come from this group that went on the ark. God didn’t place all the animals in the world today, all of the animals that are either extinct or still alive, He didn’t put them all on there. He didn’t put 52 varieties of dogs - two dogs would do it. But in the species pair, God preserved all the genetic material to produce all the animals that have ever lived, whether they’re extinct or still alive, since the flood.
And it only took two dogs, let’s say, to provide all that genetic material for all the dogs that have ever lived. If you’re struggling with that, just think about this: All the human beings that have ever lived came from one couple, Adam and Eve. In fact, they came from one other couple, Noah and Mrs. Noah. Everybody. All the genetic material is there. The whole study of genetics is so amazing and staggering and fascinating. Those genes can be put into varying combinations and various mutations occur and adaptations occur so that all the animals of all the world that have ever been since the flood can come from two of a species.
Now, if you want a better understanding of that, just think this: Mr. and Mrs. Noah produced everybody from pygmies and dwarfs to seven-foot NBA players and Zulus and everybody in between. From Mr. and Mrs. Noah came all skin colors, all physical characteristics, all body types, all eye shapes, all noses, all eye colors, all hair colors - natural. Do you understand that all the genetic coding - this is an amazing thing - all the genetic coding for all of that was in those two people. And the combinations multiplied by each new union without limit.
To show you how limitless it is - this is pretty staggering to me, and it’s kind of fun for me to poke around in the scientific journals because I’m not used to doing it, but this is something I found that I thought was interesting. Scientists have estimated that, in theory, if just two human parents could produce more children than there are atoms in the universe, no two would be alike. Isn’t that amazing? That is amazing. Now, we all know about fingerprints, don’t we? Identical twins aren’t identical. The variability is absolutely staggering.
So as animals and people, two animals of a species, mated and reproduced, the variations began to appear. And then there’s some mutations. Everything tends down, nothing goes up, we don’t have better dogs today than the two on the ark. We have worse dogs today. Inferior horses, inferior a sheep, inferior birds, inferior everything to what was existing then because when there is an anomaly, when there is a variation, it is a mutation, it is down, it is not up. You can’t get added information, you can only have the information somehow harmed or hindered.
So you have the varying kinds of animals mating and mating and people mating and mating and then there’s certain climates they find themselves in, and what happens if you have a short-haired dog and a long-haired dog and they wander up to Siberia? Guess what. In a few hundred years, you’re going to find in Siberia only long-haired dogs. Why? Did they adapt to their climate and become long-haired dogs? No. There were long-haired dogs when they got there, but the dogs with no hair died. That’s adaptation. Dead dogs don’t reproduce really well. They died.
It is even true - this is fascinating to study - that you go into the warm parts of the world and for the most part, as a general rule, people have darker skin in the hotter parts of the world. That isn’t because their body evolved into that, it’s because darker-skinned people flourished there while pale-skinned people were contracting skin cancers, melanomas, and things like that and tended to diminish.
But it is pretty amazing to think of the genetics and how this whole world of humanity - you must do what I do, sit at the airport and just look at people and say, “How did God ever do this?” And then say, “God must have a sense of humor.” Nobody - nobody could make people look like this and not have sense of humor. This is amazing. And God has an absolutely infinite need for variety, doesn’t He? God hates clones. It’s the individuality that appeals to Him.
All this variety operates out of this one gene pool created in Adam and then created again in Noah, plus defective genes causing mutations. So let me tell you something, just keep this in your mind. You hear all about race relations and all. You want to know something? I can settle that, real easy. There is one race on the earth. One race. Period. Mankind. And we’re all in it. There is not more than one race, there’s one race.
Let me prove my point. The difference in genetics between any two people in the world - just pick two, you and the person next to you - the difference in genetics, even if you’re from the same family, the same group, is 0.2, okay? That’s the difference.
Let me take it a little further. What we call racial characteristics (skin color, features, eye shape) is six percent of that 0.2 variation or 0.012. Trivial. We are all one race. You say, “But I have dark skin.” Oh. A lot of people have dark skin. A lot of people have light skin. Some people have more melanin than others. But they’re still people. There’s just one race. I think it’s really bad to keep talking about these races - “We need racial reconciliation” - what is that? You just need to love people.
I don’t have to accept your race, you’re me, you’re my race. The difference is culture, and I understand that. I can’t make you fit easily into my culture if you’ve been raised your whole life in a different culture. But race, that’s not the issue. We were all one race on the ark, huh? We were one family. And we got real big but we’re still the same family.
In fact, you might think I’m stretching the point, I know I need a Bible verse because you’ll hold me to it. Acts 17. I like this. Acts 17:26, “And He made” - you reading Acts 17:26? “He made from one” - most manuscripts, probably the New King James says what? One blood, one DNA, one set of genetic material. “He made from one every” - what? - “nation of mankind to live on the face of the earth.” You say, “How did we get so split up?” Oh, we’ll get to that. It’s called the Tower of Babel. But let’s not talk about race. Let’s try to be loving and understanding about culture.
So it was enough to have two of anything on the ark. That would supply all the necessary genetic material to populate the earth with everything that’s ever lived here in the animal kingdom as well as the human world. And forty-five hundred years have gone by and the curse that has been operating as well, and through that curse, there have been mutations and there have as well been adaptations. Certain amount of genetic information has been lost so that disease has developed, deformity in the genes causing much of it. No process can add new information. There’s no real recovery possible.
Humanity has been declining in its function and its form. We probably aren’t close at all to what Mr. and Mrs. Noah and their family were. And we certainly wouldn’t be close to what Adam and Eve were. But there was everything necessary in that representation of life on the ark to populate the entire planet again.
So in verse 4, Noah is told why he needs to get on board. Enter the ark, verse 1, take all the animals. “For after seven more days, I’ll send rain on the earth forty days and forty nights; and I will blot out from the face of the land every living thing that I have made.” One week.
One week. Isn’t that kind of interesting to you? Do you remember - even at the end of the age when the Lord Jesus comes, there’s a seven-year period called the tribulation, the final preliminary to the great judgment of the return of Jesus Christ when He destroys all the ungodly at the end of that seven-year period. Well, the Lord gave seven days here. Some commentators suggest that those seven days were for the mourning of the death of Methuselah. Well, we don’t know when Methuselah died, and there’s nothing here about that.
Others have suggested that it was for God to mourn for seven days because seven days of mourning was maybe traditional. God needed to mourn the death of the world for seven days - nothing in the Bible about that. No doubt it was just seven days. It was seven days, summing up the last opportunity. Seven days to make the final preparation to get on board. Seven days to preach grace. One more week, one more day, one more time.
I think whatever kind of preacher Noah might have been, he probably got cranked up in his enthusiasm in this last week. “I’m telling you, people, not only is it coming, but it’s coming at the end of the week.” And, of course, nobody listened. And we’ll just look at verse 4. He says, “I’ll send rain on the earth” and somebody might say at that time, “What’s that? What’s rain?” A hundred and twenty years before, back in verse 17, “I am bringing the flood of water.” There’s going to be a flood. Here, it’s called rain. We understand rain.
We know exactly what rain is. But it’s very likely that they didn’t because if you go back to chapter 2 of Genesis, in and verses 5 and 6, this is right when God created, before the fall, of course, in the wonder of the pristine, new earth. “No shrub of the field was yet in the earth, no plant of the field had yet sprouted for the Lord had not sent rain on the earth.” There was no man to cultivate the ground. But a mist used to rise from the earth and water the surface of the ground. In the original creation, there was no rain. No rain.
There was plenty of water but it rose from the earth. It says a mist. Really, a better way to translate that is a spring or a flow. It’s the ed in Hebrew. It means water gushing up from the ground. Rain didn’t come from the top, it just came up from the ground, which is a much more efficient way to water. If you’ve been in a very sophisticated, beautiful park or if you’ve been on a very sophisticated golf course, you know that they have underground watering systems that water the roots instead of dropping water on the top of the ground, which softens the surface of the ground and sometimes isn’t as efficient.
That’s exactly the way the original world was watered. There was a spring, there was a gushing spring coming up from under the ground. And there was no rain, it says. There were no weeds, that’s what those words mean, shrub and plant. There were no weeds and there were no crops. You didn’t need crops, you didn’t need to plow, plant, and cause things to grow by your hard labor because everything grew. You didn’t have weeds, so nothing choked out the life of what grew. No reason to work, you didn’t have to pull out the weeds, you didn’t have to make the crop grow. And plenty of water gushing out of the ground, evenly across the surface of the planet, so that not only was there the garden of Eden but a whole planet much like Eden.
Now let’s go back to chapter 7. Something is going to change here because God says, “I’m going to send rain on the earth.” This is new. There’s never been rain before. Water doesn’t come down in the ancient world, it comes up from the ground and it flourishes in the ground. I think it probably even - it was coming up from the ground when the weeds came after the curse and when the crops were being planted, the water was still available in the soil. And the reason is - and we’ll get into this next time - because if you go down into verse - let’s see. Well, we got to find the right verse here.
Verse 10 talks about the water, a flood coming upon the earth, and verse 11 describes where it comes from. “The fountains of the great deep burst open and the flood gates of the sky were opened.” So what happened here, I think, constituted the shattering of the earth, the crust of the earth letting loose on the surface of the earth all the reservoir of water that up to this point had watered the earth. And the cataclysmic convulsion of that ______ the water in the air and creates the deluge that essentially drowns the earth in forty days and forty nights of horrendous rain.
So the original hydrology, the original hydrological patterns in the earth were very different than what we know. We understand the movement of water. It’s in the ocean and it’s evaporated into the clouds and the clouds carry it across the land and it’s dropped on the land. And it runs into the streams, into the rivers, and back into the ocean. And that is the cycle. And that hydrological cycle, by the way, is explained in intimate, careful detail in Isaiah 55, verses 10 and 11,; in Job 28, verses 24 to 26; chapter 36:26 to 29; and a couple of other places. Ecclesiastes and Psalms talk about that hydrological cycle.
But what makes the hydrological cycle work is wind. Evaporation occurs, captured in the clouds, the wind blows it across the land, it’s dropped on the land, the cycle goes like that, as you well know. In the ancient world, you don’t have any pattern of wind. You have this kind of water above, this water canopy described in Genesis chapter 1, you have the water below, and you have a completely different atmospheric situation. No rainfall in the original earth, and it’s very likely there was no rainfall until the flood, when the Lord broke up the pattern of that original creation. And we’ll look at that in detail next Sunday night.
But go back with me for just a moment to verse 4, and I want - I just want to draw your attention to the personal pronoun. “For after seven more days, I will send rain on the earth, forty days and forty nights, and I will blot out from the face of the land every living thing that I have made.” I think it’s important at this particular point to say God never, ever, ever resists taking full responsibility for judgment. “I,” God says. He does not expect us to get Him off the hook.
There seems to always be that effort being made to sort of get God off the hook for judgment, for holocausts, for devastation. The critics of the world say, “Well, what kind of a God would do that? What kind of a God would destroy the children of Israel? What kind of a God would destroy the Egyptian army? What kind of a God would drown the whole world? What kind of a God would do that?” And we scramble and - “Well - well, you know” - we sort of like - we need to defend God. God doesn’t want to be defended about that.
God does not resist taking responsibility for judgment, He doesn’t expect us to get Him off the hook, He doesn’t expect us to develop some kind of heresy like the openness theology, which says God essentially isn’t responsible for anything - in fact, doesn’t even know what’s going on until He sees it, just like you do, and tries to sort it out. And all that theology develops because people are trying to get God off the hook from the judgments that occur in the world when God accepts and acknowledges that He is, in fact, responsible for them. God is the executioner.
It was the Lord, back in chapter 6, verse 6, who was sorry that He made man. It was the Lord - in verse 7 - who said, “I will blot out man whom I have created.” He doesn’t hesitate to accept that kind of responsibility. And in chapter 7, verse 23, “Thus He blotted out every living thing that was upon the face of the land.” In fact, just the opposite - God wants it crystal clear that He is the judge and executioner.
So, back to verse 4 - we’ll try to get through this verse. “I will send rain,” matar, it’s a word referring to normal rain. Not a particularly torrential downpour, just normal rain. But it came for forty days and forty nights, and by the time you get down to verse 12, the word “rain” there? Different word. Now it’s the Hebrew word geshem and it means a torrent because after forty days and forty nights, what starts out as rain becomes a deluge, a torrential downpour.
In fact, that word “rain” there is used in a number of places. First Kings 18 and Ezekiel 13, to speak of a rushing torrent. And that’s what happens after forty days and forty nights. Now, it would be impossible for that to happen under current climatological conditions. Such a rain covering the entire earth is completely impossible today and since the flood. In fact, there’s not enough water up there surrounding the entire planet to rain for that long all over the earth. It can’t happen.
And then to imagine that it did then cover the whole earth, higher than mountains that were nearly twenty thousand feet high, you have an incredibly different scenario. We can’t even imagine it. One scientist figured out that if all the water in heaven, all the water around the earth, were dropped on the earth, it would be less than an inch deep when it covered the earth. We’re talking about something totally different. We’re talking about a completely different set of conditions that drowned the planet. But that’s precisely what the Lord said He was going to do.
In fact, by the time that forty days and forty nights were done, He said, “I’ll blot out from the face of the land every living thing that I have made. It’ll destroy everyone.” It took a year for the water to subside before there was land that they could get out on. And I’ll show you where all that water came from next time. All right, let’s pray.
Father, we understand that it is true, you are the judge and you don’t need us to get you off the hook. You are the Creator, you are the redeemer, and you are the judge. We don’t need to tamper with who you are, misrepresent who you are, redefine you in human terms that make us feel more comfortable. We understand that you are the judge and that someday you will execute the world again and you’ll save only those who, like Noah and his family, believe and belong to you, and the rest will be destroyed.
This is who you are. This is what you said you would do. We also know that before it ever came and before it ever comes again, there will be ample warning, ample preaching of grace, preaching of mercy, offering of deliverance, and in the full view of the world, there will be presented an ark of safety into which they can come if they will. And that ark is no other than Jesus Christ in whom we ride above the storm of judgment. We thank you that those of us who know you and love Christ are in the ark of safety. And we shall sail above the terrible judgment to come, riding into the glories of your presence forever.
Father, we pray that in the meantime, as the day of grace lingers and as your spirit continues to strive with man, we might be faithful to call sinners to repentance and call them to come to the ark of safety, be delivered from the storm, to come back into a new world, your kingdom, and be a part of a new and redeemed humanity. Give us opportunity, Father, to take what we’ve learned and apply it as we endeavor to open people’s understanding to the judgment to come and teach us how to use the flood as dramatic proof, illustration of what awaits the ungodly in this world. And thank you again for delivering us. In our Savior’s name. Amen.
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