|Topical Bible Study||February 1962|
The People in God’s Plan—Lesson III
Noah and His Family
NOAH was the ninth in line of descent from Adam. He was the son of Lamech, and grandson of Methuselah. The Bible tells us nothing of Noah until he was five hundred years old, and then informs us that he begat three sons—Shem, Ham, and Japheth.—Gen. 5:21:32
Noah lived at the close of the antediluvian world, and at that time the wickedness of man was great upon the earth, and the Lord determined to destroy the human race by a flood of waters. (Gen. 6:5-7) But Noah, we are informed, “found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” He was “a just man,” “perfect [margin, upright] in his generations,” and he “walked with God.” (Gen. 6:8,9) The Apostle Peter informs us that Noah was “a preacher of righteousness.”—II Pet. 2:5
God commissioned Noah to build an ark in which he and his family, as well as a number of each of the animal creation in whose nostrils was the breath of life, could be saved when the waters of the Deluge covered the earth. (Gen. 6:11-22; 7:1-9) The account of this is well known to all students of the Bible. Our principal interest in it at the moment is the manner in which God used Noah and his experiences to reveal certain aspects of his plan of salvation.
Jesus, in answering his disciples’ questions concerning the signs of his second presence, compared the “days of Noe” with the end of the present age, which he described as “the days of the Son of Man.” (Luke 17:27,27) The particular point of comparison emphasized by Jesus was the unawareness of the people in Noah’s day of the impending catastrophe which was coming upon them, explaining that it would also be thus in the time of his second presence.
The Apostle Peter built upon this lesson which Jesus drew from the conditions which prevailed in the earth prior to the Flood, explaining further that a world came to an end at that time, and that a world also comes to an end in the time of Christ’s second presence, which he refers to as “the day of the Lord.”—II Peter 3:3-11
This is valuable information, for it reveals that the prophetic “end of the world” is not the destruction of the earth, but of a social order which the Bible Speaks of symbolically as “heavens” and an “earth.” Just as the human race continued to live after the Flood, but under different conditions, even so after the destruction of the present social order there will again be another world, a “new heavens and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness.”—II Pet. 3:13
The Bible speaks of the present world being” destroyed by “fire.” Winds, storms, and earthquakes are also used symbolically to depict the time of “great tribulation” which destroys “this present evil world.” The Bible describes the symbolic fire as a time of trouble” more severe than anything ever before experienced by man.—Dan. 12:1; Gal 1:4; Matt. 24:21,22
While this “time of trouble” will be frightfully destructive of both life and property, it will not destroy the entire human race. We know this because God assured Noah that never again would he destroy the race. (Gen. 8:20-22; Isa. 45:18) Since it was a flood that destroyed the world of Noah’s day, the rainbow became a fitting symbol of God’s assurance that no such universal destruction would ever again be visited upon the earth.—Gen. 9:11-17
As we have seen, the Bible says that Noah was “perfect in his generations.” Evidently this refers to the fact that he was of pure adamic stock. The Scriptures indicate that prior to the Flood certain angels, referred to as “the sons of God,” materialized as humans and begat children of “the daughters of men.” The children of these unholy unions became giants and “filled the earth with violence.”—Gen. 6:1-4,11
The angels who thus left their own estate to function as humans are mentioned in the New Testament. (Jude 6; II Pet. 2:4) The offspring of these fallen angels were destroyed in the Flood, but the wicked angels themselves were not, since they could dematerialize and escape. Jude explains that they were reserved in “chains,” implying that they have since been held under restraint, but nevertheless permitted to live.
This restraint is until “the judgment of the great day,” the day of the Lord. The implication is that they are given an opportunity to repent. Certainly those who do not repent will, like all willful sinners, pay the penalty of death. (Matt. 25:41; Rom.6:23) There is reason to believe that throughout the ages since the Flood these fallen angels have been active in association with Satan, deceiving the people with respect to death, and endeavoring, through spiritism and otherwise, to establish the falsehood that “there is no death,”
The Apostle Peter also used the experience of Noah and his family being rescued from the waters of the Flood as an illustration of Christian baptism. (I Pet. 3:18-22; Rom 6:4) Water immersion symbolizes the burial of the will into the will of the Lord, under the headship of Christ. Noah’s family apparently gave themselves wholly into the hands of the Lord, under the headship of Noah, and were brought through the waters of the Flood into a new world, symbolic of the. Christian’s walking in newness of life.
Who was Noah, and how much do we know about him as a person?
What great commission did God give to Noah?
What important lesson did Jesus draw from “the days of Noah”?
What comparison did the Apostle Peter make between the days of Noah and the time of Christ’s second presence?
In what way does Peter’s comparison of what happened at the time of the Flood with what is taking place now, prove that the end of the world is not the destruction of the earth?
How do we know that the human race will not again be destroyed as it was at the time of the Flood?
What is meant by the expression that Noah was “perfect in his generations”?
What punishment came upon the fallen angels at the time of the Flood, and how will those among them who willfully continue to sin be finally punished?
Explain Peter’s reference to Noah and his family in connection with Christian baptism.
“The Divine Plan of the Ages,” pages 66-70.
SUMMARY OF IMPORTANT THOUGHTS
While little is said in the Bible concerning the life of Noah, both Jesus and Peter compare the ignorance of the people of his day, with respect to the coming Flood, with the unawareness of the unbelieving world of our day of the real significance of the time in which we are living—that it is the day of the Lord.