As it was in the days of Noah, so will it be at the coming of the Son of Man. Matthew 24:37
Our second candle is orange. It represents the covenant God made with Noah, which is found in Genesis 9 & begins in verse 9: "I hereby confirm my covenant with you and your descendants… And verse 13 explains I have placed my rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of my covenant with you and with all the earth.
This covenant is prophetic in nature for the rainbow is always a symbol of God’s covenant until that moment foretold in Revelation 10:1 : Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven, surrounded by a cloud, with a rainbow over his head. His face shone like the sun, and his feet were like pillars of fire.
Angel is a misleading term. In the Greek it simply means messenger & it is clear from passages like Exodus 3:2 that the Angel of the Lord is Jesus who identifies himself in v.6 as I am the God of your father~the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." When Moses heard this, he covered his face because he was afraid to look at God.
This covenant particularly looks back to the past & the Promise of God & forward to the future yet to be fulfilled & so as we remember & are thankful for past blessings we also consider the times in which we live as we wait in expectation for the coming of our Lord, for we are told that His coming will be As in the days of Noah.
So what were the days of Noah like?
Luke puts it this way: In those days, the people enjoyed banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat and the flood came and destroyed them all. "And the world will be as it was in the days of Lot. People went about their daily business~eating and drinking, buying and selling, farming and building~ until the morning Lot left Sodom. Then fire and burning Sulphur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. [17:27~29]
There is a reason we are warned to be alert & watchful. There is going to be nothing out of the ordinary to warn people of impending doom. It will be business as usual. Yes, there will be wars, rumours of wars, earthquakes & disasters in various places but in a sense these are *normal* ~ natural events that are part of this world. Consider the natural disasters we have witnessed: tsunamis, volcanoes, wild fires, flooding, hail, snow storms etc & life continued on despite the devastation. These things will not be the defining sign of the last days.
That dubious honour goes to violence.
Genesis 6:11 Now God saw that the earth had become corrupt and was filled with violence.
God observed all this corruption in the world, for everyone on earth was corrupt.
So God said to Noah, "I have decided to destroy all living creatures, for they have filled the earth with violence. Yes, I will wipe them all out along with the earth!
The Hebrew word for violence is hamas. We tend to think violence only means physical violence & of course physical violence is included but remember God is not looking at the end result. He is looking at all the things that have led up to the end result therefore violence is more than merely acts of physical violence.
The Expositors Bible Commentary vol.7 p.383 says it “means a defiance of the law by one too strong to be brought into account.”
We are not talking about man~made law here, but about the dictates of a Holy God.
Proverbs 6 gives us a list of 7 things that are an abomination to God ~ 7 things that He hates when He finds them in a man:
· A haughty look [pride]
· A lying tongue
· Hands that shed innocent blood
· A heart that devises wicked plans
· Feet swift in running to do evil
· A false witness who speaks lies
· One who sows discord amongst brethren
The root of violence is pride. This becomes clearer when you understand that when Psalm 51:3 says The fool says in his heart, “There is no God”… Fool [nabal], means an impious person who has no concept of ethical or religious truth, not a stupid person. Rather it is a person who desires to live without moral restraints, particularly any that are imposed by God.
Thus we understand that in Noah’s day people were living without moral restraint. If it felt good, they did it. It is a form of self~delusion.
People may be right in their own eyes, but the LORD examines their heart. Proverbs 21:2
Proverbs 30:12 There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness.
Isaiah 5:20~21 warns: What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter. What sorrow for those who are wise in their own eyes and think themselves so clever.
There is a composite picture throughout scripture of what happens when a person, a people, or a nation throw of the moral restraints of God, causing violence to themselves, to others & to a nation.
We know this passage from 2nd Timothy well:
You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God.
That is what the days of Noah looked like. That was the violence that filled the whole earth. It brought a terrible judgement.
There is a wonderful statement @ the end of Genesis 7. Noah has been declared righteous by God & he obeys God, building the ark & filling it with the various kinds of animals. When the rain began to fall He takes his family & enters the ark & in v 16 we read…Then the Lord closed the door behind them.
I Thessalonians 5:5 says: For you are all children of the light and of the day; we don't belong to darkness and night. We remember that as children of the Light we belong to the one who is Light, the one in whom no darkness is to be found & as such can declare:
The LORD is my light and my salvation ~ so why should I be afraid? The LORD is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble? Psalm 27:1
As in the days of Noah there is a great divide appearing.
The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, which shines ever brighter until the full light of day. But the way of the wicked is like total darkness. They have no idea what they are stumbling over. Proverbs 4:18~19
We are seeing bit by bit the erosion of the sanctity of life, of godly principles, of righteous nations but there is a limit
We learn from Genesis 15:16 But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.
And again in Thessalonians
…they try to keep us from preaching the Good News of salvation to the Gentiles. By doing this, they continue to pile up their sins. But the anger of God has caught up with them at last. 1 Thessalonians 2:16.
The world’s cup of iniquity is not yet full. We are still in the Age of Grace. There is still time for an unrepentant world to turn back to God but the time grows short. Thus We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work. John 9:4
We are the light. We are the salt. We have a little time yet to be salt & light in a world that sorely needs both.