Our power went out for about 24 hours this past week. You don’t realize how dependent you are on power until you are without it, and then life seems to stop. Even the simple things like brushing your teeth become difficult. Without a nice hot shower to start your day, you end up feeling dirty and grimy. Without the noise and distraction of music, television or computer you just sit around feeling lost. Our lives have become very dependent on the power grid, but it wasn’t always like that. A couple hundred years ago there was no power grid, there were no power outages. These things are unique to our time and the generations that we live in.
There is something else that is unique to the time we are living in. The bible tells our generation that we are ignorant of something. That is that we are ignorant of something pretty major. Not only are we ignorant of this major thing but we are willingly ignorant of it. We choose to ignore it.
This generation, our generation is willingly ignoring the days of Noah. We choose to ignore the fact that the world that Noah lived in was completely destroyed. The flood came and took them all away.
The devastation was so complete that there is hardly any trace of the world today. Do not think for a minute that this was a small event that happened to a few thousand people. There were 1600 years that passed from the creation to the flood. The people of that age lived much longer than we live and had many more children then we have. For example, one of the sons of Cain is said to have had 70 kids between two different wives. Calculations have been made as to how many people were on the earth at the time of the flood and they range anywhere from a billion people to over 9 billion people.
Whatever the number was, it was a significant amount of men, women, children and babies.
This was the reason Noah needed an Ark. The world at that time was very populated and only the massive destructive force of a flood could erase everything that existed. But the flood was erasing more than just men and animals. It was erasing a whole culture including all the technology, all the engineering, buildings, vehicles, cities, statues, and theaters.
The technology of that day may have even surpassed what our generation has achieved. This is because men live longer and there was one common language. This would naturally lead to a rapid increase in knowledge. Think of how rapid knowledge has increased in just the past 100 years.
We see it in our own life, the longer we live the more we learn and the more we are able to do. So the people of that world were inventing, they were developing, they were building. They would have had vehicles. They would have had ships; they would have had flying machines. They would have had plumbing, power sources, communication devices, weapons of mass destruction.
But all those things they invented, all those things they built, all those things that were part of the day to day living of that age, all those things were washed away. And the people, the plants, the animals ended up buried under piles of mud, sand and rock. Destroyed, buried, compressed -- that entire world perished.
We call it fossil fuel. It is the crude oil that is used to heat homes and to make the gas that runs our cars. It is the natural gas used to cook our food; it is the black coal that is found deep in the earth. They are called fossil fuels because it is formed from the remains of once living organisms. But the part that we are willingly ignorant of that is unique to our generation, is that every time we go to the gas station and put gas in our car, every time we turn on the furnace to heat our homes with oil, every time the power plants that provide our electricity use coal - we are using the remains of the people, the plants and the animals that lived in the days of Noah.
So what happened? What did these people do that would have angered the LORD so much that he would turn them into nothing but a black slimy substance that by the way doesn’t mix well at all with water?
Let’s look for a moment at Genesis 6. Beginning in verse 5 we read:
“The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great upon the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the heart was altogether evil all the time, and the Lord regretted that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him in His heart. So the LORD said I will blot out man.”
So there you have it. This is the reason why the LORD just wanted to erase man from the earth. Man was wicked and thinking all the time about evil things. The problem we have in trying to understand what this really means is that are no specifics. We know later in this chapter it talks about the earth being filled with violence. But again, there really are no details to tell us what that violence was.
Was that generation any more wicked than this generation that we live in? Was the violence of that generation any different than the violence in ours? Were the hearts of the people more evil than they are today?
The world in the days of Noah was somewhat different than the world we live in today. We know that people lived longer. We know that there were giants in the earth at that time, and that obviously included the dinosaurs. I think the reason there were giants was because the climate was different. It is likely that a canopy of water surrounded the earth creating a greenhouse effect. This would mean that the entire earth remained at a constant temperature. It sounds sort of nice.
We know that after the flood God mentions for the first time the seasons, that is cold and heat, summer and winter. It is thought that after the flood, while the water still covered the earth that the earth was then tilted 23 ½ degrees creating the seasons. This change would also turn water into ice and create the glaciers that once covered parts of the earth.
Noah was called a righteous man in that generation. But that doesn’t mean that he was the only righteous man living at that time. There were others that called on the name of the LORD. In particular Noah’s father Lamech and Noah’s grandfather Methuselah and possibility their wives and some of the other children. Methuselah was raised for 300 years in the house of Enoch and there is no indication at all in any scripture that he was not a faithful man. Most likely he carried on the teaching of his father which spoke of a day of judgment that would come on that world.
Enoch gave Methuselah his name and it means “his death shall bring”. So the faithful of that generation would be holding onto that prophecy as a sign of the times. Methuselah and even Lamech probably worked hand in hand with Noah helping to build the ark. Lamech died 5 years before the flood and Methuselah died the year of the flood.
Many of the faithful of that generation escaped the flood by falling asleep. In like manner we see faithful men and women today who have fallen asleep in recent years to escape the things coming on this earth.
That world was no place for a faithful man to find peace. Things were getting terrible for the righteous. Many people were offended at the teaching. Society had come a long way, they were very happy with their progress. They were happy not to worry about worshipping a god. They didn’t want to hear about a coming judgment. They didn’t want to hear about how evil they had become. They had no toleration for those who called on God. And their anger was set on Enoch and they moved to kill him.
And just when their evil passions were about to cause death to that man of God, God took him up (just like he did with Elijah) and saved Enoch from death by bringing him to a place where they would not find him and he lived the remaindered of his days in peace.
After Enoch was taken away, the faithful continued to call on God and to preach righteousness to those around them. But as time progressed fewer and fewer people paid attention. Just like it is today.
The cities of men became very populated and became the centers of corruption, particularly because men degraded themselves into becoming just creatures of lust. There were no limits to that lust. If you could imagine it, you could do it. Most people became lost in drugs and alcohol and constantly sought out pleasure as an escape.
But it wasn’t all about lust. People became absorbed in their work. It was all about a career and money, building homes, gathering property, and obtaining social status. That world had its men of renowned, the superstars that everyone flocked to see.
Man also became very arrogant because of all the modern technology. They would always try to outdo the other person. The buildings became more impressive, the towers became taller. The inventions kept coming and everyone wanted the latest and greatest thing. People were busy, traveling all over the place, enjoying the beaches and resorts.
They had sports, and everyone had a favorite team that they would root for. They could not get enough of it. People also enjoyed hunting for sport. With the larger animals that roamed the earth at that time, men would hunt down the mighty dinosaurs and then hang the horns or teeth on their walls.
It was not unusual for men to marry and then divorce and then marry and then divorce. Right before the flood they even stopped marrying all together and just carried out their lusts.
But all was not well in that world because there were those who had and those who didn’t. There were those who lived in peace and those that lived in war torn areas. There was sickness, there was hunger. There was violence, there was pain, there was suffering there was death.
They put their trust in their own laws; they developed their own justice system. But their courts became corrupt and justice could be manipulated.
Enoch’s gospel was preached to that whole world. Many heard the words. There were even reports that an ark was being built, an occasional news story would run on it, but the story became one of comedy that people just scoffed at. They didn’t care. Let the crazy religious zealots do what they want, just don’t bother us with your preaching. We don’t want to hear it. Leave us alone, we have come too far to believe that there is a God.
In 2008 a group of seven people set out to make a replica of the ark that Noah built. They built it the same size and width. It took them 4 years to complete and they would like one day to sail it to the land of Israel. If seven people can make the ark in 4 years, why did it take Noah 120 years to build the ark?
There is a lot that we don’t know about the building of the ark in the days of Noah. It was made of gopher wood and no one today knows for sure what that really is talking about. The best explanation that I have heard so far is that gopher wood is thick tangled grass roots that becomes hard water proof wood. This material would be lighter and float better. The roots would be found in higher elevations and perhaps the building of the ark took place in a remote location high in the hills.
Noah had to fashion all the raw materials himself. This means instead of buying wood already cut, he would mill it himself. Noah was a farmer by trade, a tiller of the soil. We know that the ground was cursed at that time, but while Noah was building the ark he still had to spend long hours growing crops that would provide food and pay for clothing, tools, materials and taxes.
And then one day the building came to an end. The Ark was completed and Noah and his family, with all the animals boarded the ark. The door was closed and they sat inside for 7 long days. None of us can even imagine what goes through the mind at that point. Inside the ark were the sounds of animals, but outside the ark it was very quiet. In the world beyond the closed door of the ark there were brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews, new born babies. They knew their faces, they knew their names. They had just seen some of them at the burial for Methuselah.
They would have loved to take any of them on the ark. But none of them believed that the flood was coming and they all just scoffed at Noah. They didn’t say it directly to him, but inside they felt that Noah was just wasting his time building an ark for a God that did not exist.
Life continued as normal for those outside the ark. No one even noticed that Noah and his family were missing. No one really cared when it started raining 7 days later. It had rained before. But when the rain became heavy and water began to get higher they began to stop what they were doing and looked out the window. They would look up to the sky and curse the weather. Then the thunder would roar, babies would cry, and the world became very dark.
That whole world began to slowly disappear. Mud slides came rushing down the hills, buildings collapse, and the ocean came into the streets of the cities. Flying machines were grounded; boats were swamped. And the rain continued.
At some point the people began to panic, people were dying and there was nothing anyone could do. All their technology could not save them. The massive buildings were no shelter from the powerful waves. The technology stopped working, and many of them were left alone in the cold, dark rain.
Life was ending, but they still would not repent.
It’s easy to read about the flood and to think that God didn’t know what He was doing. He created something that got out of control and he had to wipe it all clean and try again. And on the surface we could question whether God is really in control. When we see the senseless violence around us, when we see the wickedness and the evil in the heart of man we can wonder if God knows what He is doing.
But there is proof that God was at work during the days before the flood and we can see that proof right before our eyes.
These are the generations that lived before the flood and the meaning of their names.
Adam – Man
Seth – Appointed
Enosh – Mortal
Kenan – Sorrow
Mahalael – The glory of God
Jared – Shall come down
Enoch – Teaching
Methuselah – His death shall bring
Lamech – Despairing
Noah – Comfort
The basic teaching of the whole bible is found in these 10 names. The man appointed mortal (and be a man of) sorrow. The glory of god shall descend (on him) teaching that his death shall bring (the) despairing comfort.
And this same gospel is preached by us every time we partake of the emblems before us. They tell us that Christ died for us. They tell us that by his death we the despairing will find comfort and rest.
So here we are at the end of another world. There is so much happening all over the world around us. Everything is on the edge now and one little thing could spark a horrible war that would not be like any other war that has ever been. Like Noah we have been building our Ark. That Ark is faith. The stronger our belief the more we will be able to weather through any storm that comes.
Look up to the sky and you will see that the storm is gathering. Quick, finish building the ark for the Lord is coming.