Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Things that Haven't Changed Before and After the Flood

Photo Credit: Answers in Genesis
In a game show, the participant chose bag #17. When she was asked by the host why, she replied it is the date of her son's birthday. A politician willingly paid a large amount just to acquire a license plate with the figure 777 on it because he believes it is his lucky number. This is numerology, the occultic belief that numbers have special meanings and that they have influence in our lives.

Even bible-believing Christians can fall into numerology. This happens when they ignore sound hermeneutics and exchange it for preoccupation with the alleged meanings of numbers in the Bible. One such case is when Bishop Dan Balais of Intercessors for the Philippines (IFP) added the product of 70 X 7 to 1521 (the year Ferdinand Magellan reached the Philippine Islands) to arrive at the interpretation that 2010 is the Philippines' Jubilee year.

Recently, we have witnessed another case of numerology applied to the bible. Heavy habagat rains brought damages to Luzon. People checked the date and it was August 7, 2012 or 08-7-2012. They turned their bibles to Genesis 8:7-12 and concluded that God has a message for us and it has something to do with the Noah's ark. But for us to hear God's message in the Bible, we must not resort to numerology. We must instead read it through the lens of proper biblical interpretation.

I have read the story. I did not start with 8:7 and end with verse 12. I read the whole narrative and here I offer three things that haven't changed before and after the flood.

1. The Sinfulness of Man hasn't changed
The people of Noah's day were all descended from Adam just like us. Eversince sin entered the world through our first parents, every member of the human race are all born with an inherent moral corruption. So it is recorded that before the cataclysm: "The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time." (Gen.6:5).

Though Noah's son's were flood survivors, they were not left untouched by the sin that originated in Adam. So after the flood, the Psalmist declares: "Even from birth the wicked go astray; from the womb they are wayward and speak lies." (Psalm 58:3)

You may think that because of the advances in civilization, man's heart has improved. No! The malady of man's soul that made him reject Noah's 120-year period of preaching righteousness hasn't changed.  Don't be surprised then if only a few are accepting the gospel message today.

2. The Wrath of God Against Sin and Sinners Hasn't Changed
In the flood account, we we see a God who was furious against sin. He decisively judged that world, and after it was done, there was no hint of regret in him.

Imagine how ugly the world was when the waters subsided. No one would sing All Things Bright and Beautiful then with the sight of mess all around. No surviving forest. No more beautiful gardens. The seas were a mixture of water, mud, sediments and perhaps dead bodies. Everything was ugly. To the survivors, it would have been a testimony of how God deals with sin.

If the sinfulness of man hasn't changed, what would a holy and righteous God feel about it? Was he wrathful against sin and sinners then yet somehow there is a change in his character that makes him indifferent towards wickedness now? Is he not the same yesterday, today and forever? Let post-flood Scriptures speak:

Deuteronomy 9:7-8
"Remember this and never forget how you provoked the LORD your God to anger in the desert. From the day you left Egypt until you arrived here, you have been rebellious against the LORD. At Horeb you aroused the LORD's wrath so that he was angry enough to destroy you."

Psalm 7:11
"God is a righteous judge, a God who expresses his wrath every day."

2 Peter 3:10
"But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare."

3. The saving grace of God hasn't changed
Genesis 6:9 testifies to the fact that Noah was a righteous man in that age of wickedness. Yet that must not be taken as to mean that Noah was sinless. I have a strong proof that Noah was a sinner just like the rest of us. My proof is 9:28 where we are told that Noah died at the age of 950. The wages of sin is death, right? (Romans 6:23). He too deserved God's wrath yet he was shown favor; he was given a way of escape, and righteous Noah obeyed by building the ark.

In our time, God still saves by grace. Just as all who were inside the ark were kept safe and sound, so all who are found in Christ are free from God's wrath.

Romans 5:9
"Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him!"

1 Thessalonians 1:9b-10
"They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead--Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath."

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