10/03/19 Genesis 7:1-24 “The world-wide flood of God’s judgement on all flesh”
Most of today’s passage adds details to last week’s judgment of the flood.
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.
While all of Noah’s family is to be protected in the ark, it appears that Noah is the only one who is actually declared righteous. It is Noah’s righteousness that permits his whole family to be saved, it seems, out of all mankind at that time (“this generation”). While Genesis 6:18 states that Noah had but one wife, it doesn’t say whether this was true for his sons. However, if only 8 people went on the ark, this must assume that each son had only one wife.
1 Peter 3:19-20 – 19By which also he (Christ) went and preached unto the spirits in prison; 20Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.
Genesis 7:2 – Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that [are] not clean by two, the male and his female.
There were to be 7 of every ceremonially clean animal, and only 2 of each unclean animal, with at least one each of male and female. It doesn’t clarify what animals were considered clean, so we could assume that they are the same as those that the Levitical law identified (for God never changes) according to Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14:3-20. Clearly the basic requirement had to be a male and a female from each species, plus extras for worship including sacrifice (which probably suggests unblemished males?) and of course, it’s possible they may have used some for food, perhaps even for carnivores if they weren’t eating vegetation.
Genesis 7:3 – Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth.
They were to take 7 of each bird species as well, yet this may not have been for ceremonial purposes, but rather (as noted in this verse) to keep each species alive and ongoing. Some populations, especially of birds, cannot survive if the population number drops below a certain level (known as minimum viable population).
However, the LXX says that there were only 2 of each of the unclean birds.
3 And of clean flying creatures of the sky sevens, male and female, and of all unclean flying creatures pairs, male and female, to maintain seed on all the earth.
Genesis 7:4 – For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth.
The “seven days” is also noted in Genesis 8:10 & 8:12. It may be because the act of creation was what originally defined a week; even today we still divide the calendar into weeks, with the 1st day continuing to be noted as Sunday except on politically-correct calendars that desire the week to commence on Mondays.
There would be 7 more days to prepare the ark, load animals on and arrange food supplies etc before God caused it to rain so extensively that all life on earth (“every living substance”) would be destroyed. Some say that this was to give mankind a chance to repent, yet the passage says nothing about any requirement for repentance. It comes down to why God destroyed life on earth. Was it because man was extremely sinful and just would not repent even given every chance to do so, or was it because man’s DNA had become corrupted with demonic genes such that the race of man had effectively been just about bred out of existence (except for Noah and his family)? If the latter, then no amount of repentance would have been acceptable if it meant the continuation of the corruption of man’s DNA. Cancer cannot be reasoned with; in many cases radical surgery is the only option.
Forty is also a significant number, often in trials, testings, and judgments, such as Christ’s 40 days of fasting in the desert (Matthew 4:2), the 40 years of the Hebrews wandering in the wilderness, Moses on Mt Sinai for 40 days and 40 nights (Exodus 24:18), spying out the land of Canaan for 40 days (Numbers 13:25), maximum number of whip stripes (Deuteronomy 25:3), 40 years of rest in Judges, plus 40 years of oppression (Judges 13:1), Elijah travelled in the strength of a meal from God 40 days and 40 nights (1 Kings 19:8), and Nineveh was given 40 days to repent (Jonah 3:4). And so on.
Genesis 7:5 – And Noah did according unto all that the Lord commanded him.
This repeats more or less what Genesis 6:22 said.
Genesis 6:22 – Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.
Noah was obedient in carrying out all God’s commands. Was Noah perfect, then? It is likely that Noah was still subject to fleshly weaknesses, such as noted in Genesis 9:21 where he drank too much wine and made himself drunk.
Genesis 7:6 – And Noah [was] six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth.
Genesis 9:28-29 says that Noah lived 350 years after the flood, making him 950 years old when he died. No-one since the flood is recorded as living anywhere near this long. Shem lived for 600 years (Genesis 11:10-11), Abraham lived for 175 years (Genesis 25:7) and Moses lived for 120 years. Many have said that it was because the sun’s destructive rays were blocked by the canopy of water that existed in the heavens until the flood. Perhaps DNA breakdown? But, whatever the reason, people just do not live as long as they did before the flood.
Genesis 7:7 – And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood.
The ark is their means of safety. Inside the ark they are safe from the destruction of the flood; outside the ark they will perish. In a way it is a picture of Jesus on the cross, for Jesus is the only way, truth and life (John 14:6). There is only one way to be saved today. No matter how many gospels are preached, from good works to being one of the elect, unless it is by the cross of Jesus then it can only lead to destruction.
Genesis 7:8 – Of clean beasts, and of beasts that [are] not clean, and of fowls, and of every thing that creepeth upon the earth,
The same applied to all other life on the ark: those on the ark survived while those not on the ark perished. The ark did represent the clarity of the gospel; either you are saved through the Biblical gospel, or you are lost.
Genesis 7:9 – There went in two and two unto Noah into the ark, the male and the female, as God had commanded Noah.
As God had told Noah, so it happened. The animals came to the ark and were given safety for the duration of the flood.
Genesis 7:10 – And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth.
Once those 7 days of Genesis 7:4 were over, the flood began. When God promises judgment, then it will happen.
2 Peter 3:9 – The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
Genesis 7:11 – In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.
the great deep – the deep; depths; deep places; abyss; the deep (sea); the grave.
broken up – to be cleft; be rent open; be split open; be broken into.
Genesis 8:14 says that the earth was sufficiently dry for habitation by the 2nd month and 27 days (1 year and 10 days after it began raining). This means a total of 370 days from the beginning of the flood to the official end of the flood.
On this very day all the fountains (springs; wells) in the depths of the earth (the abyss) were split open, and the windows (chimneys; sluices) of heaven were thrown open (this has the idea of the sluice gates of a reservoir being opened wide in times of flood).
Psalm 33:7 – He gathereth the waters of the sea together as an heap: he layeth up the depth in storehouses.
Job 26:8 – He bindeth up the waters in his thick clouds; and the cloud is not rent under them.
Genesis 7:12 – And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.
It rained for 40 days and 40 nights, that is, continuously for that period. It is clear that merely raining for that time is unlikely to have produced so much water to cause such a flood, so we must assume that great quantities of water, previously stored within the earth, were now set loose above ground level. It is also probable that the earth’s landform was altered, with ancient sea-beds now being found on high hills and even mountains.
Genesis 7:13 – In the selfsame day entered Noah, and Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah’s wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the ark;
In the day that the rains began Noah and his family went into the ark for their year-long stay on board. There would be no coming out to enjoy the scenery from now until the floods had receded. This was the moment of no return!
Genesis 7:14 – They, and every beast after his kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind, and every fowl after his kind, every bird of every sort.
Not only did Noah and his family get on the ark for the long haul, but also did animals and birds of all different kinds. They wouldn’t have just got on right now; rather they would have been getting on no doubt for these past few days or even a week, and now the task was completed, all life is on board, the ship’s manifest is completed, and the checklist that says “All on board!” has now been ticked. This is a picture of the Rapture (the snatching away) where once all are on board, the ship sails.
Compare this with Romans 11:25b – that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. “fulness” is the Greek word pleroma, the primary meaning of which describes a ship which has all on board and ready to sail; that is, its full manifest of passengers, crew and cargo has all been ticked as present and on board, and the ship is therefore ready to sail. In Romans 11:25, “fulness” means that Israel has been part-blinded until the full complement of Gentiles has been received on board and therefore ready to sail (that is, be snatched away or raptured), before that final 7 years tribulation time of the judgment of God. This describes the Rapture, and Noah’s ark is a picture of taking out of the world all God’s people at that time before the judgment can begin.
Genesis 7:15 – And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein [is] the breath of life.
This process certainly didn’t happen on the very last day when the rains commenced. With that many animals and birds, it would have been a long and involved process, putting everything in its right place for the year-long cruise of a lifetime. Two by two signified the male and female required to continue the species after they’d left the ark again.
Genesis 7:16 – And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the Lord shut him in.
As noted, male and female of each species to ensure the continuation of each species, just as God had required. And God then shut him (or them) in. Some may wonder how the door remained so watertight for so long, but if God shut them in, then that would have been more than sufficient reason to believe that it wasn’t going to leak.
Genesis 7:17 – And the flood was forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bare up the ark, and it was lift up above the earth.
The rain poured for 40 days and the water level increased until, after 40 days, the flood reached its maximum level. As the waters rose, so did the ark until it was lifted up far above the ground level.
Genesis 7:18-19 – 18And the waters prevailed, and were increased greatly upon the earth; and the ark went upon the face of the waters. 19And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that [were] under the whole heaven, were covered.
The waters prevailed (were strong, mighty) and increased so much that they covered all the high hills and mountains. Everything under all heaven was covered. Some say that this was only local as far as the eye could see, to the horizon, that is. But that would assume that all life was still only gathered in the one area (which is possible) and that all other areas had mountains far bigger than Ararat, for water seeks its own level. Water in a tube may be used as a measure to determine slope in a house, for instance. So if the water is over the tops of the mountains around Ararat, then it’ll be that level everywhere else. Localised floods can only be localised if everywhere else is either higher or shut off by barriers. A localised flood is therefore illogical.
Genesis 7:20 – Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered.
The ark was 30 cubits high, so probably 15 cubits was necessary to float it. It doesn’t say that the water was just 15 cubits deep; rather it says that after reaching 15 cubits, the point where the ark must have floated, it just kept on going upward. All mountains must have been covered, according to the Bible (Genesis 8:4-5), so we’re talking about a lot of water. It is likely that the earth has expanded since then (judging from tectonic plates) and continues to expand (thus the earthquakes) so it is possible that less water would have been needed to cover all land than now.
Genesis 7:21-22 – 21And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man: 22All in whose nostrils [was] the breath of life, of all that [was] in the dry [land], died.
All animals that had been given the breath of life now had that breath of life taken away again. Job 1:21b – the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away
Also 1 Samuel 2:6 – The Lord killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.
God has given life, and God now justly and righteously takes it away again.
Genesis 2:7 – And the Lord God formed man [of] the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
Note the Law of Retaliation as discussed last week. All flesh had corrupted the earth, and God consequently corrupted (destroyed – the same word is used for both) all flesh.
Genesis 7:23 – And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained [alive], and they that [were] with him in the ark.
All flesh that was not on the ark was destroyed in the flood.
destroyed – machah (be wiped out; be blotted out; be exterminated)
Note that this word “destroyed” is different from the word used (shachath) for corrupted (Genesis 6:12) and destroy (Genesis 6:13).
machah has the idea of total destruction or extermination, rather than shachath which means corrupted; ruined; spoiled. Used in Genesis 6:7; 7:4, 23.
shachath has the idea of God corrupting; ruining; spoiling; destroying that which has corrupted; ruined; spoiled; destroyed the earth, that is, the Law of Retaliation, such as an eye for an eye etc.
Genesis 7:24 – And the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days.
That is, even though the rains had stopped 110 days previously, the flood continued to be above more or less everything (prevailed) until now, for it was after 150 days (5 months) that the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat (Genesis 8:4). So, after raining for 40 days, it then takes 110 more days before the waters recede enough for the ark to be grounded on the top of what was probably Mt Ararat. This alone demonstrates just how high the flood waters were, for we have to assume that the water level was the same all around the earth, and that higher mountains must have been covered.
However, they wouldn’t have been able to get off yet; they’re on top of a high mountain without any dry land to live on. The ark will remain their home until it is possible to continue living on the earth as they had before the flood. It would be another 74 days (224 days since the flood started) before they could see the tops of other mountains around them (Genesis 8:5). It would be 314 days after the flood started by the time the earth’s surface was free of flood (Genesis 8:13) and 370 days (1 year and 10 days) after the flood commenced that the earth was considered properly dry again (Genesis 8:14), at which time God then said to Noah to get all people and animals off the ark. This is based on 360 days per year with 30 days per month, as per the Jewish calendar.
Biblical interpretation is so varied, depending upon what people already believe and what of that they are prepared to test. Most people will use their established belief system (whether it be Baptist, calvinist, charismatic, etc) to provide a foundation, a point of reference which will then assist them to determine what they understand of everything else. When teaching in a different culture (such as aboriginal), it is often necessary to establish a link between their understanding and any new knowledge being taught. For example, aboriginal students may not understand what you mean by something being important. To them it’s just another word which may have no real connection to any other word already in their vocabulary. How do you teach “important” to students who have no apparent corresponding concept in their culture? Before they can understand “important”, they need to connect it to a reference point already existing in their thinking. Otherwise they may not be able to assimilate it into their understanding. They need to work out where it fits into their already existing filing system, or start a new file that somehow relates to another file already there.
The same applies to biblical interpretation. Most Christians (they may be genuine or otherwise) have some sort of doctrinal belief system that then assists in determining how they should live their lives according to the Bible. Without some sort of belief system, it is often difficult to clearly assess what some passages might mean. This process is normal; people use established concepts to understand new concepts. However, the danger is in requiring the established concepts to always be right in any case of conflict. Being sure of what we believe often makes us more confident in our ability to handle new situations. Lack of trust in our personal beliefs can make us tend to follow any and every whim and fancy that comes along. Poor self-esteem is often tied up with a lack of trust in our own ability to deal with new situations. We tend to listen to anyone who sounds like they know what they are talking about and even blindly follow their advice. Confidence in what we believe is something that should build as we gain experience in the world around us.
Christians who lack trust in their beliefs can be easily swayed by the rhetoric of other more aggressive Christians. But the other side of the coin is the Christian who is so sure of his beliefs that he loses the ability or the flexibility to be able to assess his beliefs against what may be the truth. Many Christians are like this. They “know” the “truth”, and so everything is assessed according to the “truth” which they are already “certain” of. Even if someone quotes the Bible to them, proving perhaps a fault in their doctrines, they will find a way to interpret the Bible so that it remains in agreement with their established beliefs. They are not able to test all things if it means putting their “truth” under the spotlight. Often this is due to a lack of self-esteem, where any questioning of their belief system is seen as a challenge to their self-esteem, in turn challenging their ability to make sense and order of the world around them. In order to keep their self-esteem afloat, they need to defend their “truth” as far as possible, for those with low self-esteem will see the eroding of their beliefs as a lessening of their ability to deal effectively with the world around them.
And so that brings us to the point of all this discussion. Biblical interpretation is often less of a study of the truth, and more of a defence of one’s mental well-being. It is less conflicting for many to bend the Bible gently (or otherwise) toward their own belief system, than to bend their own beliefs to match the Bible. That is, within reason, the Bible must be made to fit in with their beliefs. There is therefore no absolute truth, for all truth becomes relative to your point of view. You may agree to differ, claiming that your interpretation is merely another acceptable way of looking at things. Absolute truth then becomes a compromise. That is, all may be accepted as Christian as long as they agree to differ on certain doctrinal truths, for no-one these days may dare accuse another of not being a Christian just because they see things in a different way! But where do you draw the line? When does an acceptable compromise become unacceptable? And is there any such thing as an acceptable compromise?
And so we have extreme groups claiming to be Christian, demanding to be accepted as such. What about those who claim that because they speak in tongues they must be declared Christian? What about those who kiss snakes to prove their standing with God? What about those who say that we have no freedom of will to choose to receive or reject the salvation that God offers? How far can biblical truth be stretched in order to merely keep the peace between Christian” brethren? Certainly not as far as heresy!
And when it comes to a world-wide flood, was it world-wide, or merely a localised flood? It does depend a lot on whether you actually believe that God can do exactly what is recorded there without question. For on what grounds may we reason that the flood was only localised? That science proves it? How? That it’s not possible? But with God are not all things possible? Science disproves the crossing of the Red Sea on dry land, yet it still happened! How can any justify any less than all truth? Therefore, why not a world-wide flood? Why not a literal 6-day creation? Why not a literal Adam and Eve? And so on.