The Story of the Flood

Noahs Ark

In light of the upcoming movie “Noah” I felt it would be helpful to write an article concerning different historical and theological aspects of the flood so as to dissipate any confusion that may exist or be caused by Hollywoods attempt. I also want to stimulate your mind concerning this time in history as the Flood carries a lot of scientific questions and statements as well as theological truths that can resonate with today. Along with the direct information that God’s Word gives us, many educated Bible scholars and scientists have proposed different theories. These theories attempt to connect the dots about what we do know and in this blog I will include speculation so please remember that.

Article outline:

  1. What does the Bible tell us?
  2. Common misconceptions
  3. The Flood in other cultures
  4. The times of Noah
  5. Why did God do it?
  6. The Promise

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The Story of Exodus pt.2

Leaving Slavery

According to Exodus 12 & 13 the Israelites left Egypt on the morning of the 15th day of the first month. They were instructed to eat the Passover lamb and be ready to leave Egypt with packed bags and sandals on.

It was apparent the Jews could not save themselves from slavery, God had to do the work for them as we will see later. God’s plan for Israel required that they be free so He did the work that they could not. Similarly God’s will for mankind requires that we be redeemed from sin (John 3:16), so He did the work and only requires that we believe and receive the work done for us. Just as the Jews left a pagan country where they were enslaved and entered the desert, we have left the world and its many gods and have entered a difficult lifestyle where we must trust God for our needs. It may be uncomfortable at times but at least we are free from bondage! We have to trust God for everything, He is with us .

 

Ornaments

Just before the Jews left Egypt they asked from the Egyptians articles of gold, silver, and of clothing and they received it. These riches had a holy purpose down the road for the construction of the Tabernacle of God but were misused as the Israelites “played dress up” and acted or at least looked like the pagan country they came from.
In Exodus 33:3-6 God tells them to put off their ornaments and they whore them no longer. After we are saved, the worldly habits and self centered mindsets often still exist and we may find our selves still playing with the things of the world from which we were saved out of. We must be careful to not look like the world or operate on the same principles that the world does. If a person could look at your life but couldn’t tell the difference between you and an unbeliever there is something wrong. As we grow in Christ we learn to let go of those material things as we conform ourselves more and more to Christ’s image instead of the world’s image (Eph 2:3-6, 5:1). Hebrews 12:1 speaks of weights and sins that entangle us, these are things we willingly hold on to from our past. They can also be new things we pick up after we get saved. Let go of the worldly things from your past, put on the garments of praise and set your mind on heavenly things (Rom 8:6-8).

 

The Story of Exodus pt.1

Slavery in Egypt

The People of Israel were slaves in Egypt for 430 years until they were rescued by God. They were the offspring of Jacob who’s son Joseph was at one time 2nd in command of all of Egypt (Genesis 41:39-45). After Joseph died and all the descendents of his fther lived in Egypt a new king eventually came to power who did not respect God’s people, the Israelites (Exodus 1:8-11). The Jews were not ruled fairly, we find one account in Exodus where their quota for bricks increased but their resources to do so were removed (Exodus 5:6-9). The Israelite enslavement in Egypt is similar to our enslavement to sin and the weight that rests on every person’s shoulders until he is redeemed by God (Rom 6:23, Jhn 8:34).

The culture of Egypt was that of carnality, materialism, idolatry, and polytheism. This is the exact opposite of the culture that God desires us to live in (Rom 12:2). The culture of Egypt had worn off on the Egyptians; they adopted the ways of the world and trusted in man instead of God. Like the Israelites of Exodus we were born in to slavery (of sin) we have no say in it and it plays no favorites (Rom 3:23, 5:18-19). Because of Adam and Eve’s choice we suffer. Some people see this as unfair on God’s part, but on the contrary it shows His unswerving character which holds to His agreements. God clearly informed Adam and Eve what not to do yet they did it anyway (Genesis 2:16,17). When He says something, He means it. It also serves as an example of how our decisions affect others mainly our own children. Your life is not an isolated set of events, the choices you make effect who you are which then effect friends, family, and later generations.

Passover

Passover is a Jewish holiday that is still observed to this day. The first Passover was the night before the Israelites left Egypt (Exodus 12). God gave the instructions to Moses who then delivered them to the people. Each household was to acquire a spotless lamb, cook it, and eat it. The blood from the lamb was to be smeared on the outside of their house’s doorpost. Interestingly enough the Passover is the only Jewish holiday that Jesus is recorded to of observing. This is significant because the Passover Lamb and blood is symbolic of Jesus as the Lamb of God that was killed to take away the sin of the world (John 1:29) and who’s blood is applied to each believer (1Peter 1:18-19). On the night of the Passover all 1st borns of every household died if there was no blood on the doorpost, this is symbolic of the spiritual death one encounters if they are not covered by the blood of Christ (John 3:16). Without it, their sins are not atoned for and they are not washed clean.

At the beginning of Exodus 12 God told Moses that he and his people were to have their own calendar separate from that of the Egyptians and that their calendar was to start with the month in which they left Egypt. When we first confessed our sins to God and accepted Him as Lord and Savior of our life our new life began at that moment. It’s important to draw the distinction between your old life and what is now your new life as a Christian. Your testimony is how God brought you to the place of decision and gave you your new life. In Deuteronomy 5:14-15 God says that the Sabbath is a day of rest so that you will remember that God has delivered you from slavery and labor. It’s important to remember where you came from so that you will always be grateful for God’s saving grace and working hand in your life. When we forget what God has saved us from and where He has taken us we become complacent and apathetic towards God. Make sure to take time and look back and acknowledge what God has done.

Lame Sacrifices

In the Old Testament sacrifices were given regularly for sins, these sacrifices mostly consisted of animals. But not just any animal, there were rules as to what kind and what condition the animal was to be in. If the animal did not meet the God’s requirements He would not accept it as a valid sacrifice, it was actually quite insulting to do so as you’ll read.

Leviticus 22:22 – ‘Those that are blind or broken or maimed, or have an ulcer or eczema or scabs, you shall not offer to the LORD, nor make an offering by fire of them on the altar to the LORD.

Deuteronomy 15:21 – “But if there is a defect in it, if it is lame or blind or has any serious defect, you shall not sacrifice it to the LORD your God.

However, we find during Malachi’s ministry some Israelites were offering just that – blind, sick, and lame. This is a terrible thing first of all they are disobeying the Law they claim to live by, second they are not sacrificing anything worth anything to the Lord, but being lazy and selfish, third they are unaware that they have offended the Lord.

Malachi 1
6 – “A son honors his father, And a servant his master. If then I am the Father, Where is My honor? And if I am a Master, Where is My reverence? Says the LORD of hosts To you priests who despise My name. Yet you say, ‘In what way have we despised Your name?’

7 – “You offer defiled food on My altar, But say, ‘In what way have we defiled You?’ By saying, ‘The table of the LORD is contemptible.’
8 – And when you offer the blind as a sacrifice, Is it not evil? And when you offer the lame and sick, Is it not evil? Offer it then to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you favorably?” Says the LORD of hosts.

“In what way have we despised Your name?” they ask as if completely unaware that they have done something that contradicts their covenant with God at the very core. Under the Old Covenant sacrifices were given as a sign of devotion to God and to pay for sins (Lev 4:35,5:10, Heb 9:22). Now that we live under grace, or the New Covenant, we don’t offer stuff or do things to be forgiven (Eph 1:7, Col1:14). If we did this (as some do) that would mean salvation is by works which clearly is not the case (Tts 3:5, Eph 2:9, Rom 10:10). However we do things and offer ourselves as a response to God’s great mercy displayed to us by the atoning death of Christ on the cross.

Rom 12:1 – I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.

You, the Sacrifice

So what are you giving? Romans 12:1 uses the imagery of the sacrifices made in the Old Testament but makes the clarification that now we are on the altar offered to God, not for forgiveness but in thanks. How much of yourself have you offered willingly to God?

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New Wine in Old Wine Skin

If you read my last blog on out of context scriptures the title of this blog may have rung a bell. Ironically I’m not writing on the traditional meaning of the story about the wine and the cloth from Matthew 9, I want to use it to present a more applicable lesson to us gentiles.

Jewish Background

So in order for you to grasp what I’m about to say you need to understand the origin and meaning of Jesus’s parables. First of all the Pharisees were always trying to catch Jesus red handed disobeying the Torah or the Law of Moses. They challenged him about his disciples not fasting, about them not washing their hands (Mat 15:2), about activities on the Sabbath (Mat12:2), about authority over demons, they bugged Jesus about sitting with sinners (Mat 9:11), about the lawfulness of divorce (Mat19:3), even Johns disciples wondered about his obedience (Mat 9:14). basically they wanted Jesus to abide by the rules of the Old Covenant.

So what’s the big deal expecting the Son of God to obey God’s law?

Jesus was the fulfillment of that very Law that God gave Moses on the mountain. It all pointed to Him and showed that mankind alone was unable to achieve perfection and atonement before God. So if we think we still have to obey the Law of the Old Covenant, we have missed the whole point of Jesus coming to us. He came to make us perfect so we could know the Father directly.

Mat 5:17 – “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.
Mat 5:18 – “For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.

Eph 2:15 – having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace,
Eph 2:16 – and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.

Rom 7:4 – Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.

Jesus + The Law does not mix

To teach the Pharisees why him and his disciples don’t obey the Law of Moses Jesus uses two parables to describe the problem of mixing of the Old Covenant with the New Covenant (Himself). First it’s like putting fresh wine in to a wineskin that has already been used to ferment a previous batch of wine. This is not a good idea. Because the wineskin (dried goatskin used as a container) has already stretched because of it’s previous fermentation of wine the elasticity of the skin is lost due to the alcohol of the previous batch. So if you put new wine (freshly pressed grape juice) in a used wineskin for fermentation the fumes will be released, the skin will expand and then break open and destroy the entire skin. This would mean 2 to 4 months of time wasted.

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How to Read Your Bible

The Bible is many things to the Christian: it’s their spiritual contract from God, a history of man’s mistakes and God’s success’s, God’s love letter to us, and our personal instruction manual for life. But what good is it if we don’t read it? Even worse – what good are we if we read it and don’t understand it or act on it?

James 1:22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
John 14:15 – If ye love me, keep my commandments.

I wrote this post with two intentions:

1.) To enforce the importance of purposefully reading God’s Word in a Christian’s life.

2.) To offer some of my own personal advice on reading and understanding the Word much more efficiently.

Speak Louder God!

Many Christians frustrate themselves or wreck their own walk with the Lord because they demand God to talk to them, and when they hear silence they wonder what they are doing wrong or if God even loves them or exists at all. What a rabbit trail from the obvious – God has already spoke to you in 66 books through about 40 different authors on so many subjects it would blow your mind! So before you get filled with doubt or become mad at God for not talking to you, read His letter to you first. I am not at all saying that God’s Spirit does not speak any any more as some teach but that you should not neglect to read and do the Word in search of God’s voice.

Complaints and Misconceptions about the Word of God

It’s so huge I can’t possibly read it all!

It’s not a novel that you must read front to back, just read pick a section and read it. For example you can start reading the Gospels of the New Testament and then just backward to read the Psalms and Proverbs after that.

It’s so huge I don’t know where to start.

Pick a book to read and go from there. My best advice is to slowly move through the New Testament and then read the Old Testament after that. If you are still out of ideas my favorite books are: Matthew, Acts, Ephesians, Colossians, James, 1 John, Romans, Psalms, Proverbs, and Genesis.

It’s so old why should I read it?

Truth is without age, meaning that no matter how old the instructions of God get they still apply to today and have not aged. The timeless Truth in the Bible still leads you to God, changes your life, and it still offers powerful answers even though it may be 3,500 years old as a whole.

It’s so boring with all the lists of people names I can’t even pronounce!

There are only about 25 chapters in the Bible out of 1,189 total chapters that contain genealogies or lists of names so stop making excuses! Besides, they give historical and cultural evidence to the Bible and show how Jesus is related to King David, Judah, Abraham, Noah, and Adam! How is that not cool!?

I never understand what it’s talking about!

To help yourself understand a verse or story simply read the context (what happens before) slowly and think about it, then read what happens after so you get the bigger picture in mind. Also try to place yourself in the shoes of the characters and research the things of that culture that you may not yet understand.

If it’s written by so many authors how is it from God?

God is not limited to who He uses for His work. Despite the various authors and times it was written in God remains the same. These men had real relationships with God and heard His voice. As you read more and more of the Bible you will find the undeniable unity that is present amongst all the scriptures and subjects despite it’s variety and time range.

It’s been passed down through so many translations how is it still original or unchanged?

The Dead Sea Scrolls were one historical find that validated the authenticity of the message in our scriptures. It showed that the scripture we have today have not changed noticeably over 2000 years.  The real question is do you think God is not able to preserve a some simple writings inorder that mankind may know the Truth without being deceived by years of compounded errors? He is able to preserve His Word and He has done so thus the Word is our trustworthy map out of sin through Christ and to God.

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Typology of The Exodus

This is a chart I made a while back as I studied the story of Israel with a different lens, that of typology. It brings to life the many stories and records in the Old Testament that may have seemed dull or strange (not that The Exodus was either).

The Law and the Old Testament records are like a teacher that was hired by God to teach the Jews to anticipate a King to come and to teach depravity and necessity of a savior. The Typology of Exodus by Daniel Grove