Last week I shared about society in the days of Noah, starting with the intermingling of the Godly with the ungodly. When the Lord saw the Godly marrying the ungodly He saw the end from the beginning: "My spirit will not always act as an umpire (umpire, rule, judge) with man, for he is flesh; he shall have 120 years."
Things were changing
A countdown had begun, the days of God umpiring in the lives of men were coming to an end. What was He umpiring? The answer is crime and punishment, which He handled personally between Adam and Noah. When Noah got out of the ark God delegated crime and punishment and 2 other things to man to handle.
In Genesis 9 we see them cited one by one: "Be fruitful and multiply and refill the earth", showing it was now man's responsibility for birth control (or not). Before, God commanded all animals, plants, and man to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth - a blanket command to just get out there and fill the earth!
But in Genesis 9 he speaks just to man, leaving the original command to plants and animals to multiply still in place, but here He is giving man the responsibility for procreation, not just a blanket command to multiply.
Secondly, "The fear and dread of you will be on every animal and bird and fish, into your hand are they delivered for food." Before this time, Genesis 1:29-30 states man and animal were vegetarians, but now man could eat whatever he wanted - it was his responsibility- But God would make it fair by making animals afraid of man, therefore harder to catch.
Thirdly, "And the blood of your lives will I hold you responsible...at the hand of every man's brother will I require it...whosoever sheds man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed for in the image of God man was made."
Up until then God handled crimes Himself, such as in the case of Cain and Cain's great-great-great grandson
Lamech, but once out of the ark crime and punishment were man's responsibility. That is why He stated His days of umpiring in the lives of men were coming to an end, as man was quickly shutting God out of his life, family by family as the Godly married the ungodly.
Just like in our day
I bring this up because when Jesus stated 'As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of man', it is important to realize the days of Noah were the closing of an age, the closing of one way God dealt with man and the dawn of another. So too will we see such a change when Jesus returns to set up His world-wide kingdom on earth - massive changes about how God deals with man.
In the same way He set a day 120 years future for a flood in Noah's day, in our day Paul said in Acts 17:31-32 "...God...commands all men everywhere to repent because He has appointed a day, in which He will judge the world in righteousness..." Just as in the days of Noah, the countdown has begun.
Other social similarities
Genesis 6:4-6, 12 says: 'There were giants in the earth in those days and after the sons of God had children with the daughters of men, these were mighty men of renown. And God saw the wickedness of man was great, and the imaginations of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart. And God looked at the earth and it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted His way upon the earth."
These are the key verses that show us what society was like back then, and the conditions before Christ's return. Man had corrupted the way of God in the earth - up until that point the way of God was followed by Seth's family line - but they had corrupted His way in their families. We see similar corruption of God's way in society today, attacks on the moral building blocks God established for family, community, and nations.
A little about the word often translated 'giants'. It is the Hebrew word 'nephilim', which means 'fallen', referring to the Godly family line of Seth falling away from the Lord to marry the ungodly women of Cain's line 'when men began to multiply on the earth.'
It means 'bully' and 'tyrant', and by extension, giants in ungodly character (though many think there were giant in size as well), and were the children of these unequally yoked relationships. Literally, '...there were fallen bullies and tyrants in the land in that day, after the Godly sons had children with the daughters of ungodly men...'
The phrase that they were men of renown and mighty men is not complimentary, but an indictment on their ungodly ways. It is the same terminology used to describe the ungodly Nimrod of Genesis 10; 'He was the first to be a mighty one in the earth, a mighty hunter before the Lord', which doesn't translate well.
Wycliffe translates v9: "...and he was a strong hunter, oppressor of men, before the Lord". Nimrod organized Babel by force, he wasn't 'before the Lord' a hunter of animals, but in the face of God, out of spite before God's gaze he hunted men and oppressed them - that is what this verse is saying.
It is the same terminology used to describe the bullies and tyrants in Noah's day, the children of the Godly and ungodly, who filled the earth with violence and whose only thoughts were evil.
A brief 'rabbit trail' because many have emailed me
I'm inserting a word here about the belief these bullies and tyrants came about by another rebellion in heaven whereby angels mated with women to produce these bullies. There are several reasons this is not so, as the context is clear that Genesis 4-6 deals with the 2 families in the earth, but there are other reasons this belief is incorrect as well.
Besides the fact Jesus said the days before His return will be like the days of Noah with people marrying and giving in marriage, and if you think there was a 2nd rebellion and angels mated with women, then to understand Matthew 24 properly you've have to see that same angels/people mating again before Christ's return, to make it 'as in the days of Noah so shall it be...at my return...'
Further, Jesus said angels don't marry - they don't have the equipment, if you will. You see, spirit beings don't reproduce spirits, only God, who is called the Father of spirits in Hebrews 12:9, Zechariah 12:1 and about 3 or 4 other passages - only God produces spirits. Angels and even people can't reproduce spirits. God produces spirits. When a human baby is conceived it is God who provides that baby's spirit. For there to be a 2nd rebellion, God would have to have given angels the ability to reproduce and then He would have to be part of the conception of the life that followed - you'd have to make Him complicit (an accomplice, a partner) in a 2nd rebellion.
So you'd have to have God change His mind and ways and give angelic spirits the ability to reproduce, then you'd have to be able to breed a dog and an elephant together - why? Because there is no inter-species mating - you can't cross a pig and an eagle, a whale and a tiger, nor an angel with a human. So God would have to suspend that genetic law for this one occasion.
Then you have to twist scripture to produce a 2nd rebellion in heaven - which can be done if you pull a couple verses from Jude and Peter if you want, but clearly they are talking about Satan's rebellion. If there were a 2nd rebellion then you've have to change Revelation 12 where it says Michael and his angels fought against the dragon (Satan) and his angels and Satan's gang got kicked out of heaven - you've have to mention a 2nd leader of a 2nd rebellion who was kicked out as well.
That passage in Revelation 12 says of Satan, that we humans have overcome him by the word of our testimony and the blood of the Lamb - so to not insert a 2nd rebellion would infer our testimony and sacrifice of Jesus didn't cover that rebellion? I mean, if the blood of Jesus covers it all, then why not mention that 2nd rebellion?
And when Jesus said in Luke 10: 17-20 when the disciples return saying 'Lord, even the demons are subject to us through your name', the Lord responds by saying essentially, "I was there when Satan fell like lightning from heaven so don't be excited demons are subject to you, but that you are on my side in heaven!' - and you'd have to make Jesus say something like 'I was there to see Satan fall from heaven, and that 2nd guy and his rebellion too..."
The summary is that you have to deny the basic premise and grammar of Genesis 4-6 that lays out the 2 families in the earth, that all flesh had corrupted God's ways, that God's wrath was against the people, and no mention of any angels, have God give angels the ability to reproduce, suspend the law of no unrelated species being able to conceive, say that when Jesus said angels don't marry nor reproduce He was talking about NOW and that at one time He gave them the ability to cross-species-have the equipment to conceive, pull 2 verses out of context to infer a 2nd rebellion, but leave unspoken all the rest of the Bible that says there was a single rebellion led by the former cherub, Lucifer.
And even if a person still wants to believe all that, they all died in the flood anyway, and God started over with Noah and his family. But all that is irrelevant to my point - as in the days of Noah so shall it be....
Notice what else Jesus said about the last days in Matthew 24:10-12: "And many will stumble and betray one another, and many false prophets will arise and deceive many, and because sin has increased the love of many will (gradually) turn cold. But he who endures to the end will be saved."
So we've seen these elements: The Godly being seduced away from God by mingling with the world, a generation of people who know about God but are part of the world. A generation that is preoccupied with violence and evil, love in many turning cold...and a remnant who know God and walk with Him.
If that doesn't paint a picture of life today I don't know what does! But Jesus goes on to make His main point from Matthew 24: "...until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they did not know until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of man." Life will be going on as normal just before His return with the larger part of the population not having a clue what is about to happen.
Peter called Noah a 'preacher of righteousness' in II Peter 2:5, yet Jesus indicates life was going on normally just before the flood came. There is preaching going on now all over the world, yet life goes on. Many of us have unsaved relatives and friends, our lives are a witness to them, and/or we've told them, yet life goes on. For them these things are a mystery.
In another context, that of the catching away of those who are looking for Christ, Paul says 'You know that the day of the Lord is coming like a thief in the night...but you brethren are not in darkness that that day should overtake you like a thief.' I Thessalonians 5:2-4
That day will not come as a surprise to those walking in the light - Hebrews 9:28 says 'To those who are looking for Him, He will appear to bring salvation...'
Looking for Him?
I wonder how many who call themselves Christians are actually looking for the return of Christ?
Though I'll start a new subject next week, I share these 'heavy' thoughts now at the turn of the year that we might think soberly about our faith.
Gone are the arrogant days of people focusing their 'faith' to 'believe God' for their new Lexus or Mercedes, gone are the days of acting like children in a candy store experimenting with different flavors like personal prophecy or pulling down strongholds over cities or going to conferences merely to see the people shake, rattle and roll. Gone are the days where we have the luxury of floating from this church to that church seeking someone to scratch our itching ears.
These are the days (that have in truth always been) of growing up in Christ in all seriousness with focus, of doing the hard work of loving the difficult to love, of overlooking offense for the higher purpose of fellowship, of valuing those who have identified their core values in Christ as we ourselves have, of seeking those who want to grow in Christ and let the rest go their way, and making every effort to keep the bond of unity in the Spirit of peace.
Society will continue to disintegrate around us. There will be the Godly compromising with the ungodly. Violence and evil will continue to rise, and good will be called evil and evil, good. The love of many will turn cold and betrayals will happen.
Shouldn't these warnings motivate us to lay aside all distractions of the world, all petty arguments and offenses, to zero in on what really matters? I can tell you 2013 will be a year of determining what really matters, what really counts, of re-prioritizing for many. Others have already re-prioritized so 2013 will be undergirded with a rock-solid peace that remains unmoved - stay in that peace!
I told Barb the other night something the Father told me: "2013 will be a year of many people rearranging priorities in life, whittling away that which no longer matters to perceive and keep that which is important. A year of strengthening what remains, strengthening their 'Jerusalem' as you like to say."
(I use Jesus' priorities stated in Acts 1:8 about witnessing first in Jerusalem, then outward to nearby Judea, then further to Samaria, then finally to 'the uttermost parts of the earth' after all else has been covered. This is a year of strengthening your 'Jerusalem', your core - a year of protection and moving forward with strength gathered under you, rather than being scattered here, there, and everywhere in life. Don't try to reach the 'uttermost parts', nor even Samaria or Judea, until and unless your Jerusalem is secure.
Find your core values, identify others who have those core values, fellowship with them and let the rest go, and grow up in Christ by meeting every challenge and every offense with 'How can I use this to mature in Christ?' Know the seasons in which we live, and be part of someone's solution, not their problem.
New subject next week, blessings,
"As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they did not know until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of man...
Watch therefore for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming." Matthew 24:37-41