E-drash for Parashah Noach: Gen 6:9-11:32
The Days of Noah and the Last Days
“As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” (Mt 24:37)
Since the time of the coming of the Messiah will be like the days of Noah, it is important to study the time before the flood to gain understanding. Paul also wrote, “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” (Rom 15:4)
It says in the Book of Hebrews that Noah obeyed God “concerning events as yet unseen.” This required faith or trust. Through his trust he condemned the world, since they did not believe what God had said. According to Jewish tradition, Noah built on the ark for 120 years from the day that God said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.” (Gen 6:3) When God pronounced this judgment, He also began to prepare a way of escape. Noah was the only one that listened. He began to build the ark.
Peter wrote about this,
“…knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, ‘Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.’ For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.” (2 Pet 3:3-7)
The first world was deluged with water and perished. This truly was an event yet unseen. Anything like it had never happened before. In the same way, God’s promised judgment of the world through fire has never happened before in the history of mankind. Just like the people around Noah made fun of him when he built on the ark, people today also make fun of “fundamentalist” who talk about God’s judgment and the soon coming of Messiah.
Yeshua said, “For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” (Mt 24:38-39) In the days of Noah, the people had no idea what was about to happen to them, despite the fact that Noah had built on the ark for 120 years. It will be the same in the last days. The question is: do we today believe just as strongly in a day of judgment in fire that will soon come, as Noah believed in a day of judgment through a flood in his day? Do we prepare for this? Peter continued to write,
“Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.” (2 Pet 3:11-14)
Peter wrote that those who say that all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation overlook the flood. Nature confirms the flood of Noah through all the fossils. Dead animals normally do not produce any fossils. The only explanation for the fossils is the flood, which in an instant buried the animals under the colossal weight of the landmasses covering them. Nature proves the accuracy of Scripture and God’s righteous judgment, leaving mankind without any excuse.
A New Beginning
The flood of Noah not only brought judgment on the world, but also salvation for mankind. It brought about a new beginning in a world free from evil. The Torah explains that everything must be cleansed either through water or through fire. It is written, “everything that can stand the fire, you shall pass through the fire, and it shall be clean. Nevertheless, it shall also be purified with the water for impurity. And whatever cannot stand the fire, you shall pass through the water.” (Num 31:23) The first world was cleansed from sin trough the water of the flood. The final cleansing of the world from the consequences of the fall will take place through fire. Peter wrote, “But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” (2 Pet 3:13)
In the days of Noah, the time was set to 120 years. “Then the LORD said, ‘My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.’” (Gen 6:3) This is also a prophecy that the time that is set for the final judgment and cleansing of the world will be 120 jubilee years, or 6000 years. The traditional Jewish counting of years since creation, which says that we are now in the year 5773, is most likely incorrect. According to the pattern in Scripture we see that the Messiah was to come the first time as the Lamb of God on the fourth day, i. e. after 4000 years. The Passover lamb was selected on the tenth day in the first month and was slaughtered four days later. The Lamb of God was selected from the foundation of the world. Four thousand years later he appeared.
“…knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for your sake.” (1 Pet 1:18-20)
The Messiah will return again after two days to rule from Zion, when the Sabbath begins, which means 2000 years after his first coming. Both Jewish sages as well as the early Church Fathers all agree that the messianic kingdom will appear after 6000 years. This will be 120 jubilee years from Adam.[i]
This means that we are now living at the time in history when the final salvation will take place. Peter wrote, “who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Pet 1:5) We do not know the day or the hour, but we can know the season when it will take place, just as Noah knew approximately when the flood would come.
Peter likened the flood to baptism into the Messiah.
“…who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Yeshua the Messiah.” (1 Pet 3:20-21)
A ritual, purification bath is called a mikvéh in Hebrew. The water in a mikvéh has to be “living water” in order to purify from ritual uncleanness, i.e. it must come from a living source like a lake, a river, a spring or from collected rainwater. The flood that cleansed the world from evil is the pattern for a mikvéh with living water, as it says, “In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened. And rain fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights.” (Gen 7:11-12)
The early messianic believers were baptized in living water. It says for instance in the early document Didaché: “But concerning baptism, thus shall ye baptize. Having first recited all these things, baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit in living (running) water. But if thou hast not living water, then baptize in other water; and if thou art not able in cold, then in warm.” (Didaché 7:1-2)[ii] Just like the flood cleansed the world from evil and buried it, immersion (baptism) in water to Messiah cleanses us from the old life in sin with all of its contamination and spiritual defilement, giving us a pure conscience before God through the resurrection of the Messiah.
It is written that God himself closed the door of the ark behind Noah. “And those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him. And the LORD shut him in.” (Gen 7:16) The ark was God’s plan of salvation. From start to finish, He was the One that made sure Noah and his family survived. The ark is a picture of our new life in the Messiah. Being hid in him is God’s way of escape from the judgments that will come upon the earth. We must turn around and die to our old life and be found in the Messiah.
The same flood that drowned the sinners that had not repented, saved Noah and his family in the ark. Peter wrote, “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Yeshua the Messiah.” (1 Pet 1:13) We do not need to be afraid for the judgment that is coming if we have repented from sin. When the fire of God’s judgment come upon the world, we will be hid in the Messiah, just like Noah’s family was hid in the ark. Through God’s grace we will be caught up to Him and receive our glorified bodies. But we must have repented from all sin as Peter continues to explain,
“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’”(v. 14-16)
[i] Some believe that the jubilee year cycle is 49 years instead of 50 years. There are, however, strong reasons to believe that the 50-year cycle is correct. Isaiah 30:37 most likely describes God’s miraculous provision during a sequence of first a sabbatical year, then a jubilee year, then an ordinary year of sowing and reaping.
[ii] Translated by J.B. Lightfoot. Adapt. and mod. (c) 1990. ATHENA DATA PRODUCTS