Part 3 of “The Tree” – a study of Jesus’ family tree
The story of Noah and the flood is not for little children. The story of the flood is horrific, frightening, and tragic. The flood is the justifiable holocaust of an entire generation with the exception of one solitary family. Had any of the children that day survived the flood and asked to draw on paper what they had experienced, I do not believe you would have seen anything close to what we see in our churches today shown in the image to the right:
Instead, what you would have seen is something like the pictures some of the children who survived the tsunami of 2004, that killed over 200,000 people, drew to illustrate their experience:
After Cain murdered his younger brother and was driven away from his family to be a wanderer with his wife, we are told that the hearts of his descendants grew increasingly evil. Cain’s great, great, great grandson Lamech was the first to pervert God’s intended purpose of the institution of marriage by becoming the father of polygamy and the value; we are given a glimpse into this man’s heart through the poem he wrote for his wives:
“Adah and Zillah, hear my voice;
you wives of Lamech, listen to what I say:
I have killed a man for wounding me,
a young man for striking me.
If Cain’s revenge is sevenfold,
then Lamech’s is seventy-sevenfold.” (Gen. 4:24-24)
Essentially, Lamech was boasting that God could only avenge Cain seven-fold, but he had the ability to avenge himself seventy-sevenfold. This behavior was the growing culture of the day until Seth was born.
After Seth was born, we learn that people began to call upon the name of Yahweh: “At that time people began to call upon the name of the LORD.” With the birth of Seth, a second and godly bloodline began in order to counter the bloodline of Cain. Cain’s line represents evil, while Seth’s line represents godliness. Cain’s line grew to be both secular and violent, while Seth’s bloodline represented godliness in a world where calling upon the name of the Lord was rare and unpopular.
Through Seth, God would fulfill the promise made to Adam and Eve; through Seth’s line, the kingdom of God’s light and power was moving to make the promise a reality. The hope was that, through Seth, would come a deliverer.
Sin Vandalizes What is Good
Noah was the descendant of Seth and worshiped of the God of Adam and Eve. In Genesis 6, we learn that things went from bad to worse when it came to the spirit of Lamech. We are told in verse 5 that, “The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” And, in verse 11 that, “the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence.”
By the time Noah’s generation began, there were three types of people: The sons of God, the daughters of man, and the Nephilim. There are three legitimate theological explanations for who these three sets of people were, you can decide for yourself what you believe.
- The “sons of God” are fallen angels who mascaraed as men while the daughters of men were human women. The fallen angels impregnated the women and they in turn gave birth to the infamous Nephilim who may have been very large men who were also feared ferocious warriors.
- The “sons of God” represent the godly line of Seth (the seed of God) and the “daughters of men” represent the ungodly line of Cain (the seed of Satan) whose offspring were the Nephilim, who were not giants, but ruthless warrior champions, known for their combat skills.
- Finally, the third view understands that the “sons of God” were kings over certain regions, revered as gods by those they ruled over. Their attitude was that of Lamech who did as he pleased and took any woman as his wife as he wished. These kings practiced rampant polygamy by taking the “daughters of men” (common women) as their wives. The sons born to these common women were powerful princes who were regarded as the, “mighty men who were of old, the men of renown.”
I lean towards the third view, simply because it seems to fit with Lamech’s disregard of human life and propensity towards violence. I believe the Nephilim, not to be giants, but ferocious warrior champions who sought to extend their fathers’ power by tyrannical injustice. The spirit of Cain’s bloodline only became more evil and violent with time, and by the time Noah was born, the godly line of Seth was so systematically adulterated by the ungodly bloodline of Cain that all that was left of Seth’s godly, Yahweh worshiping line was Noah.
We are told that God, “saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” God’s response is haunting: “And the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the LORD said, ‘I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them” (v. 7). The violence and wickedness of man was so bad, that the only recourse for God was to judge mankind through a catastrophic flood.
Sin Grieves the Heart of God
In verse 6, we read, “And the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.” Literally the word for “regret” in the Hebrew can mean, “Grieve.” Sin grieves the heart of God, and the rampant sin that filled the earth of Noah’s day grieved God. I believe the grief God felt was over the judgment that His perfect justice over sin demanded.
When you think of the flood, or even hell, don’t think of God as some bloodthirsty monster who is eager to snuff out the lives of men, women, and children. It was only because the wickedness of Noah’s generation was so great, pervasive, and unrelenting that He chose to flood the earth. Yet, even in the midst of great evil and wickedness, God chose to spare a man and his family to start over, and he did it through Noah’s family (v. 8). So, God instructed Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Make yourself an ark of gopher wood. Make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch” (Gen. 6:13-14).
The only creatures that would be spared would be Noah and his family, and two of every animal according to their kind with which God would use to start over (note that God did not say two of ever species, but of its kind). To Noah, God promised: “I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two over every sort into the ark to keep them alive with you. They shall be male and female” (v. 18-19). And so the floods came, and thousands of people met their doom through an aquatic holocaust.
Sin is Triumphed by the Goodness of God
After more than 300 days on the ark, “God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the livestock that were with him in the ark.” The ark found dry ground on Mt. Ararat, and so “Noah went out, and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives with him. Every beast, every creeping thing, and every bird, everything that moves on the earth, went out by families from the ark.” When God could have killed every single living thing, including Noah and his family, He spared Noah, his family, and a selection of animals through an ark made of wood. God promised Noah, and all who read this story, “Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your offspring after you, and with every living creature that is with you… I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth” (vv. 8-9, 11).
As a sign of God’s covenant with Noah, and us, He established the rainbow. The rainbow is not just a pretty phenomenon that comes with rain and sun, the rainbow serves to remind us and God that He will never destroy mankind by a flood. The rainbow is God promise that his warrior bow is hung up in the sky. The blood of the earth from the hands of wicked men was cleansed with the food. God’s promise to Adam and Eve of a deliverer, the hope Adam and Eve had for Seth, that through his bloodline that seed would come, was realized through Noah, who stood righteous in the midst of wickedness. God triumphed over the wickedness of mankind through the flood, but in His goodness, He provided a way for the Christ to come.
Not long after Noah and his family were saved from the judgment of God, we are reminded that no flood can remedy the problem of the human heart. In Genesis 9:20-29, Noah gets drunk and passes out naked. His son, Ham, looked upon his father’s nakedness in a way that was shameful and disrespectful. Ham was cursed to become a servant of the descendants of his older brothers, while Shem would carry on the blood-line that would eventually lead to the birth of Jesus Christ.
The problem of Adam, Cain, Lamech, Noah, and Ham is our problem too. We have a heart problem that only the Christ can remedy. Trees provided the gopher wood that would spare Noah and his family from floods of God’s wrath, and yet it was a tree that Jesus, the descendant of Adam, Seth, Noah and Shem, would be nailed too for the purpose of become the curse we deserved. Noah was righteous in God’s sight, but he still had the same sin problem that every generation before him. Jesus was perfectly righteous just as the Bible declares: “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God…” (1 Pet. 3:18). It is only through the cross of Christ that we can be saved from the floods of God’s wrath with Jesus as the only one qualified and able to pay the judgment our sins deserve.
If the flood tells us anything, it tells us that God takes sin very seriously, and cannot ignore it; according to His nature, God must judge sin. Because every person on earth is born with sin, from the moment of birth, we are in need of salvation. The salvation we need was made available to all through another life-saving instrument, which was not an ark, but a cross of wood.
The ark was an amazing instrument of salvation that took 110 years to build to save one family and some other creatures, but the cross is the only instrument used to kill our savior for the purpose of saving the world. In closing, I leave you with the following passage from John 3:16-21,
For God so loved the world, that
he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have
eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him
is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he
has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment:
the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than
the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things
hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be
exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be
clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.
 In Numbers 13:33, after some Hebrew spies snuck into the land of Canaan the came back with came back with the following report: “And there we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak, who come from the Nephilim), and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them.” Another verse that is used to support this view is found in Jude 1:6-7, “And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day— just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.” (Jude 6–7)
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