HEROES OF THE FAITH
Part Three - Noah
Pastor Frank W. Dowsett (Australia)
'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.'
So we read in Hebrews chapter eleven and verse seven. Here is a complete example of the rule which we have advocated throughout this series. Faith must be based upon CONVICTION, not upon doctrine. Like those who went before him, and many who came after him, Noah had no parson with whom to consult, nor any requirement to adhere to some accepted denominational doctrine. The only authority whom he knew and accepted was God, and that's all he required.
We previously studied the ministry of Enoch, whose name means 'teacher'. How appropriate this is, when we realise that he represented those of whom Paul wrote in I Thessalonians 4:17;
'Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air. and so shall we ever be with the Lord.'
These are the overcomers who will be translated that they do not see death, and become the 'teachers' or rulers with our Lord Jesus Christ when He takes the Throne of his father David, ruling with His selected priests and kings over His Israel people.
These are those of whom Paul is speaking in I Corinthians 15:53 when he wrote; '...this mortal must put on immortality.'
With this in mind, it is more than interesting to note that the name 'Noah' means 'rest'. He thus represents those who are asleep, or 'at rest' in Christ, awaiting the resurrection, in order to join with those who are translated as described above. Paul describes this process as being; 'For this corruptible must put on incorruption.'
But as we proceed, we must keep in mind that this is a study of Noah's faith by which he gained entrance into the 'Gallery of Faith' as recorded in the Epistle to the Hebrews.
It is NOT a study of the flood!
So what do we know about this man Noah? The first reference to him is recorded in Genesis 5:29, thus;
'And he called his name Noah, saying, This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD hath cursed.'
The LXX translation uses the phrase 'this same shall give us rest'.
In what way is he to give us comfort, or rest? The above verse gives us the concise answer; 'concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD hath cursed.'
We read of this in Genesis 3:17-19;
'And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.'
Thus, by his very name, Noah prophesied of the manner in which God's people would be delivered from the curse. He was a living prophesy as to how deliverance would come through Judgment to Resurrection.
Secondly, he was the tenth in the line of the Sons of God, as recorded in Luke 3:36-38;
'Which was the son of Cainan, which was the son of Arphaxad, which was the son of Sem, which was the son of Noe, which was the son of Lamech,
Which was the son of Mathusala, which was the son of Enoch, which was the son of Jared, which was the son of Maleleel, which was the son of Cainan,
Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.'
Thd number '10' in Bible numerics, represents 'Perfection of Divine Order', amply demonstrating the complete cycle of judgment to final restoration.
He lived for 950 years.
He was the 8th preacher of righteousness. As we read in 2 Peter 3:5;
'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;'
The number '8' is always associated with our Lord Jesus Christ, Resurrection, Regeneration, and New Beginnings, these being the theme of his whole life.
He first appears on the scene at the age of 500 years, as recorded in Genesis 5:32;
'And Noah was five hundred years old, and Noah begat Shem, Ham, and Japheth.'
Absolutely nothing is known of him in his earlier years, other than a statement recorded in the Book of Jasher, 5:16, where he is said to have married Naamah, the daughter of Enoch, at the age of 498 years.
What were the specific attributes of Noah?
'But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.' Genesis 6:8-9.
He found grace in the eyes of the Lord. 'Grace' means 'kindness, favour, and mercy.' It Is interesting to compare this phrase with that used of both Lot and Moses.
In Genesis 19: 19 we read, concerning Lot;
'Behold now, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast showed unto me in saving my life;'
Whilst in Exodus 33:12-14 we read concerning Moses:
'And Moses said unto the LORD, See, thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people: and thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me. Yet thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight.
Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, show me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight, and consider that this nation is thy people.
And he (the Lord) said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.'
He was a just man. The word 'just' means 'lawful, righteous'. Noah was righteous and lawful in both his words and deeds. As we read in Genesis 7: 1;
'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.'
He was 'Perfect in his generations.' His genealogy, as shown in Luke chapter three, shows that he was of pure, untainted, Adamic stock. Otherwise he would have been referred to as being unrighteous, and un-Godly. Let us not overlook the fact that the Adamic race was formed especially by God in the first place to he His 'Sons' through whom he would bring correction and blessing to the earlier races who had clearly abandoned Him as God. But Adam's descendants fell into the very same sins, and because of the miscegenation, or race mixing, that had become so prevalent among them, God was forced to act in a very positive manner to correct the situation. This was the major cause of God's decision to wipe them out, as can readily he seen by reading Genesis chapter six, and verses 1 to 7.
He walked with God. As we saw in our study of Enoch, this means that Noah 'was well pleasing to God; that he lived close to God; that he walked habitually with God, and was in habitual fellowship with Him'. We find that this expression,'walked with God' is used only three times, and of only two people - Enoch and Noah.
Genesis 5:22 and 24; and Genesis 6:9;
'And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters:...'
'And Enoch walked with God, and he was not; for God took him.'
'and Noah walked with God.'
We should also refer to the fact that Genesis 3:8 and its context infers that a similar situation existed with Adam, although the situation was somewhat different.
He was a preacher of righteousness. Noah not only lived righteously, but he also preached it. He was never afraid to warn people because of their sinful nature and actions. He was a perfect example of what Isaiah declared in Isaiah 58:1;
'Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.'
He was a true, - if not the first - Watchman as recorded in Ezekiel 33:7;
'So thou, 0 son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me.'
Today, we are in a similar situation. God's people need to be warned as never before. And our responsibilities to carry out this duty have never in our history been more necessary. It's high time we became 'watchmen', and not just 'watchers'.
From the above, it becomes very clear that the sons of Noah must have, themselves, been of pure Adamic stock. Which brings us to this comment regarding the flood. If it was world-wide, as believed by many, then it would require these sons to be racially different in order to propagate the various coloured races that exist. There would have been no other people with whom they could intermarry and commence all these other races. On top of this, in order for Noah to be the father of sons who were racially different, he could never have been referred to as being 'perfect in his generations.' The entire situation would have been entirely self-defeating.
Noah and his family letting out the animals after the flood
from a painting by Brock
Let us look at the meaning of the names of these three sons for a clue as to what they were like. 'Ham' does not mean 'swarthy or black'. It means 'hot, or dark'. It applied to his nature which was hot, or quick tempered, with dark, evil thoughts. This is made quite clear by a study of the account recorded in Genesis 9:18-25 in regard to Ham's perverted sexual actions which resulted in the formation of the Canaanite nation, which became one of Israel's most deadly enemies. 'Shem' means 'renown', a feature that became noticeably evident in his descendants, the children of Israel. 'Japheth' means 'he that persuades'. These lads were the fathers of various branches of the Adamic race. They had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the formation of the other different non-Adamic races.
But why the need for judgment In the first place? There is no need for us to go further than the Scriptures themselves for the answer to this question.
'And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.' Genesis 6:5.
'And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.' Genesis 6:13.
'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;
And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;.
And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked. (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)
The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished.' 2 Peter 2:5-8.
'But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;
And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you;
Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children:
Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;
But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man's voice forbad the madness of the prophet.
These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.
For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.
While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.' 2 Peter 2:12-19
The comparison with today's conditions is apparent when we read Luke 17:26-27;
'And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.'
The 'days of Noah' are well and truly with us. And just as Noah was faithful in warning the people of his day, so we today must be no less diligent in our duty to warn God's people of their parlous position before God.
So what was so special about Noah?
He was moved with reverential awe - dumbstruck - at the extent of evil which had developed; with the certainty of judgment; and with the certainty of deliverance for 'the small remnant'.
He 'walked with God'.
He subsequently knew something of the mind and purpose of God.
This led to an unshakeable belief in the certainty of things which to that time had never been seen.
Thus the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews could record the name of Noah arnong the 'Great Cloud of Witnesses' recorded in Hebrews chapter eleven.
Truly, Noah has set a wonderful example for those of us who also wish to be found worthy of the calling which a gracious Lord has placed upon those who love and serve Him.
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