††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Dr. Meredith Kline, Prologue, Lecture 29
© 2012, Dr. Meredith Kline and Ted Hildebrandt††††††††
††††††††††† Student comment: Truth comes through Jesus Christ, which, if you read it in terms of truth versus error, youíre stuck with Moses bringing error, you know, but Christ bringing truth. And that just doesnít work. -
††††††††††† Klineís comment: Yes, thatís another goodÖ whereas then does he actually adopt the view that I do that the law that came through Moses would be works and grace which is the opposite of works?
††††††††††† Student response: he doesnít spell all that out, he simply says, the idea that, what he said, that fact that the book of Hebrews has certain categories shadowing reality. He said the Johannine writer had the same concepts, with different vocabulary. His vocabulary for heavenly truth as opposed to the earthly or the typological.
††††††††††† Professor response: Okay, no all these folks have read Biblical Theology and the other one that was mentioned, whatís the title of it? Redemptive somethingÖ There was a whole series of things that Vos published that were added to by Dick Gaff and were published under this title. †
††††††††††† That sounds like it. No thatís something else, and Vosís particular studies on the whole book of Hebrews. Who was it that told me that the fellow thatís publishing my stuff now at Wipf and Stock is also publishing that. Was one of you were telling me that? That should be of interest to you. Oh, yeah. This is the name of the publisher in Oregon who is reprinting my stuff. †I guess it was Pete Vostene, Do you know Pete Vostene?
††††††††††† Professor response: Pete Steen, yeah. Oh heís another character. †Well Wipf and Stock apparently are republishing Vosís studies on Hebrews which have been not available and also his little book on the Kingdom and the Church. Thatís not been available. †Ned Stonehouse used to say that everyone should read that little book of Vosís the Kingdom and the Church once a year. I donít know about that. But in any case, itís a valuable little treatise and thatís available now.
††††††††††††††††††††† People of God in the city of man: the alar community
††††††††††† Alright, to now back our analysis here, of the people of God in ďthe world that then wasĒ living in the shadow of the oppression thatís going on in the city of man. Their particular function then is they are identifying themselves as Godís own people in the midst of this world. †Their particular function is associated with the presence of the altar in their midst, which means that they are a worshipping community, that they are a priestly congregation. You know the family is the covenant community.
††††††††††† We were just making the point that itís no special group of priests or anything like that, but you have the family authority structure.† The natural family authority is the covenant authority. They are the altar community.
††††††††††† There are no special priests there. The father, I guess the patriarch would just assume natural leadership. †If we read through the narratives of someone like Job or Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, we find that the fathers of the family, of course, take the leadership at the altar, but they are not special priests, whereas the rest of the family isnít priests.† Itís just primis inter pares ďa first among equals.Ē Itís just a matter of natural leadership thatís going on in these particular communities.
††††††††††† So that the covenant community, the congregation, the holy congregation is just the family congregation with its own already existing authority structure. What their functions are then can be analyzed as I try to do here in terms of priestly functions.† Please read then that discussion on pages 123 and 124. We get into the area of how as a priestly people they are in their hearts consecrating everything to the Lord. Theyíre consecrating themselves to the Lord. Even their involvement in the area of culture, they are consecrating to the Lord. There then we have to make the distinction between what we do as Godís people, whatever we do, even in the area of common grace callings, we do as unto the Lord. We commit it to the Lord. We consecrate it to the Lord, and yet that doesnít make it holy. What we are doing in terms of our business, whatever activity that we are engaged in, apart from the distinctively ecclesiastical connection that we have in functions that whatever weíre doing out there is common grace, non-holy, non-sacred.
††††††††††† The fact that we as Godís people are doing it as unto the Lord, and consecrating it to him, doesnít make it holy. †Itís the sanctification of culture, which we engage in as priests. It is something that takes place within our hearts. †I donít know, I usually try to give an illustration of a Christian and a non-Christian engaging in making some cultural product--a pair of shoes. †So each one makes a pair of shoes. †As the Christian does it he, in his heart, dedicates what he is doing to the Lord.† He is serving the Lord in this activity as well as in worship. †The unbeliever makes a pair of shoes, he doesnít dedicate it in his heart to the Lord. The two pairs of shoes arrive on the shelf of the store, the fact that the Christian in his heart dedicated the one he made to the Lord doesnít make that a holy pair of shoes. The product itself remains common, even though it has undergone this act of priestly sanctification in our hearts. So thereís that kind of discussion there.
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† The Altar as witness
††††††††††† Then also, the setting up of the altar is obviously then along with being a place of worship, where that function is carried out, it also constitutes a witness. You set up a visible altar in the midst of this pagan world looking on and you are bearing witness to the world there.† Here is an altar pointing up to heaven representing Godís presence and claim. †What you are saying is that this visible altar on this visible earth belongs to the God on whose name we are calling. In fact, we maybe have named this altar after the name of our God. So the people of God are bearing a public testimony in the face of these unbelieving pagans, self-deifying pagans. They are asking for persecution and they get it, then. This world belongs to the God of this altar. Now later on in Israel where God has staked out a particular land then the altar that is set up within that holy land of Israel is saying that God, our God, Yahweh Elohim, claims this particular land as his. In fact, in expression of that he has already exercised judgment and thrown the unbelievers out of it through the holy war that we have conducted and so forth.
††††††††††† Now before you come to that phase of things, just in the world in general, there is still the altar.† It is not just claiming a particular land like the land of Canaan.† What it is in effect doing is claiming the whole world only prophetically. Now in Israel the altar was saying God already claims right here and now, this particular land and therefore you unbeliever, youíre unholy, stay out of here. Apart from that the altar was a prophetic witness.† It was saying ultimately this whole creation belongs to our God. The day is coming when he will claim it. Meanwhile get yourselves ready folks. So that the setting up of the altar is a prophetic witness to the world, warning them. Itís a call for them to repent. As I said, thereís a magnetic, centrifugal, missionary dynamic. You folks out there come to the God of this altar.
††††††††††† So there is a prophetic witness† not just as priests engaged at the altar. But then in the more distinctive sense, there is a prophetic function that is attested in this community of faith because you actually have prophet figures, like Enoch, who is raised up, and Noah, who is raised up, who are identified in the scriptures as prophets. They bore their witness of warning to their own particular generation. So hereís a distinctive community, people of God who are fully engaged in the whole world enterprise out there, but who have as their distinctive calling, this identification with the covenant Lord and with his redemptive purposes and his ultimate claims.
††††††††††† Well you can see then why there would be such a tension and such a clash between the counter-claims of these two communities. And so it went. There must have been a lot of apostasy unhappily †as part of that pattern of eschatology, the days of Noah, the days of Jesus. When we come down to the New Covenant we see the theme of apostasy. It is very prominent. You come to the book of Revelation, if I understand the figure of the harlot Babylon, it is a very significant development within the New Covenant. It is this drift away from the real Jerusalem, the true bride, to the Babylon and the harlot figure. It is this large scale apostasy that characterizes the history.† Certainly in part it is promoted and triggered by the kind of persecution that the true saints are undergoing precisely because they are martyrs, not just in the sense of the martyr witness, but martyrs in the sense of those who suffer death for their faithful confession to the Lord. So it was back in that period.
†††††††††† Section Three:† climax of the history of the world that then was--flood
††††††††††† So by virtue of apostasy, by virtue of persecution from these ďsons of the gods,Ē who claimed to be gods, who wouldnít tolerate their rival claims thereís only eight of them left.† By the time we come to this long history, and we come up to the section three. So letís then move on through this climax of the history of the world that then was.
††††††††††† This is the matter then of the story of the flood. Page 131, where we have then how to settle it. The contest is on and the conflict is on. Itís a legal contest, itís a matter of rival claims to the proprietorship, the ownership of the whole world. Whoís claims will be vindicated?† God will settle the matter. †So the flood becomes a trial by ordeal in which the rival claimants are alike subjected to undergo the ordeal element, which in this case is water and the flood. By the medium of the flood ordeal, God will render his verdict, and he will, of course, render a verdict on behalf of the Sethite people who are calling on his name. He will, by the same token, be condemning and executing all at once by the same waters of ordeal, those who claim the world for themselves in defiance of their creator. So thatís the meaning of this third section.† It unfolds as we see in the form of a covenant which we should look at a little bit further.
flood as a physical phenomenon: global or local?
††††††††††† But it just may be a preliminary word about the flood. The flood as a geological, physical phenomenon. Again, I donít intend to belabor this thing a great deal. †The issue then is the extent of the flood. †Is it global or is it not global? †Thatís been debated very much back and forth and for the most part itís those who would hold to a younger earth view, to solar days of Genesis 1, who also then hold that the flood was a global episode. Whereas those who take other positions on the issues of the antiquity of man or the antiquity of the earth, would also then perhaps be inclined to come down on the side of a non-global flood. †As I said, I donít want to try to get into this because a lot of it I think would end up being a question of evaluating various kinds of scientific evidence and thatís not my field. So Iím particularly just concerned as to what we should feel that we have to say in the name of the Bible on this subject. †I want just to express a word of caution against being dogmatic as to the conclusion that if you believe the Bible you simply have to believe in a global flood. All I want to try and show is that exegetically you canít be that dogmatic. However, then the scientific evidence would make you come down one way or another, but just what the Bible compels us to say?
††††††††††† Now admittedly thereís language that sounds very universal. That God is saying what he intends to do, seems to be describing wherever there are those creatures that have the breath of life in them and so on. It seems to be a universal description. †When the results of the flood are described in similar terms, they have a certain very universal sound to them. The passage in 2 Peter that I referred to many a time here when we were describing that overall structure where the history of the ďworld that then wasĒ and the flood ending that and also introducing the history of the ďworld that now is,Ē that language of Peter that Iíve been citing, that too seems to have a cosmic ring to it. The world that then was, the world that now is, the heavens and the earth that now are.† So you can understand certainly why there are those who want to insist on a universally global interpretation of the extent of the flood.
††††††††††† Now the trouble is now that elsewhere in the Bible where you have similar language, sounding universal as all get out, we know that it was actually intended in a non-global sense.† Iíll just give a very brief discussion of this, I forget how much I have at the beginning of that chapter.† One illustration I always use to show how universal sounding language can have a very limited actual applicable meaning and intent is in the book of Daniel where the empire, the control of Nebuchadnezzar is being described. †Nebuchadnezzarís kingdom is described in terms of a tree, that reaches up even to heaven. But also, you get this language especially in the second chapter where, maybe someone can help me with the exact language here, but wherever the sons of men dwell and the beasts of the field and so on.† Itís the kind of basic broad categories, the man and the beasts of the field and everything, wherever these creatures of God dwell. †ďGod has given it to you O Nebuchadnezzar, you are the head of gold.Ē Alright, so thereís the creation-wide language used, as in the case of the flood. †But, of course, the question, how far did Nebuchadnezzar reign. We know within the Mesopotamian valley is one part of the Near East.
††††††††††† [Student reading] ĎIn your hands he has placed the beasts of the field theíÖ Dan. 2 †
††††††††††† [Kline] Yes, thatís the one, thank you. So thatís the same sort of ring. As I say, we know that, so what it does is make us sit back and be a little cautious and not overly dogmatic.
††††††††††† Now, one other thing then that I would like to point out is that within the story of the flood when it talks about the mountains being covered and so on the question is, from what perspective is this being told. Is it being told from the perspective of someone who occupies a position in outer space and is looking down on planet Earth? Itís saying down on that planet Earth all the mountains were covered? So is it that sort of birdís-eye or outer-space-eye view of whatís going on. Or is the whole thing being described from a more immediate local point of view of someone who went through this experience.† More specifically is it being told from the point of view of Noah and company within the ark? †I think that there is evidence that supports the latter position.
††††††††††††††††††††††††† Chiastic structure of the Flood narrative
††††††††††† In Kingdom Prologue, I give you an outline of the account of the flood. And itís an interesting chiastic structure itself, literary structures, and especially since the story of the floods the literary unity of the things been challenged and so on. So I think to show a beautiful chiastic arrangement of the thing is evidence of one mind at work structuring the whole thing as a unified whole.
quickly, I think, since itís in Kingdom Prologue, it begins at ends with
the themes of construction. †It begins with the theme of the construction of
the ark, chapter 6:13-22.† Then it ends with the theme of the construction of
the altar. In effect, since the ark represents the kingdom of God, itís the constructing
of the kingdom of God, and then itís the dedicating, or the consecrating of the
kingdom of God at the end of the story. The last A section being Gen. 8:20-22.
††††††††††† Then the second last themes match each other.† After the construction of the ark, then thereís the matter of the entrance into the ark or embarkation which lasts for a week. †Then matching that, by the way thatís in 7:1-5, over here in 8:15-19, is the oppositeóentrance/exit; embarkation/disembarking. Alright?
††††††††††† Then, weíve got the next two sections, working toward the middle, matching each other. 7:6-12 after they enter the ark, which takes a week, then you get the theme in the Hebrew itís the mabul, the ďincreasingĒ of the waters, which goes on for the forty days, the forty nights--the increasing of the waters. The counter theme in this one is the decreasing of the waters in 8:1-14-- the decreasing of the waters.
††††††††††† Now what that leaves as the center piece of the whole thing--the main point. What is the whole point of this whole episode? It is Godís judgment on the world. How God, in judgment, prevails over everything.† Particularly, how he prevails over the wicked. So hereís a judicial judgment, a discriminating water ordeal, which on the one hand is going to declare the righteous and vindicate his own people, and on the other hand condemn and declare guilty and destroy the others. He does that by prevailing over the whole world and thatís the theme of this middle section in 7: 13-24.
††††††††††† Now thatís the area where weíre going to take a focus on in a minute to try to get some evidence of the local perspective, from Noahís log book, and the good ark perspective on this episode is over against this outer space perspective. Weíll be looking back at that in a moment.
Flood narrative echoes the creation
††††††††††† Now thatís the structure of the thing and some other interesting things just to note quickly is the way in which the narrative of the flood echoes the narrative of the creation. Now Peter brings it up that this was a new creation, not only the end of the world that then was, but it was the creation of the world that now is. The very story of it, here in Genesis, is told in a way that, in terms of literary form, echoes a lot in the story of the original creation. †I try to spell out a lot of that in Kingdom Prologue too, so no need to go over it all. But already you see this seven-fold theme. What strikes me as interesting also, particularly when Iím defending the view that the days of creation are narrated in such a way that theyíre treated thematically and not just a straightforward chronological sequence. There is chronological recapitulation -- thatís the way Genesis 1 is told and thatís the way in which everyone has to admit the flood story is told. So you not only have the seven-fold section, but you have a kind of chronological recapitulation as well where the entry into the ark- theme B here.† The entrance into the ark lasts for seven days. Then the increase, section C, once theyíre in, the increase starts, the mabul, the opening up of the windows of heaven and the doors of the deep. As it were, the remerging of those waters that on the second day of creation had been separated and the waters below and the waters above. Now weíre sort of returned to the original more chaotic condition as it were before then God starts to recreate the thing.† You get back to the Genesis 1 and 2 situation. †Then we have those forty days of the upper waters and lower waters now increasing on the earth, the mabul.
††††††††††† Then you come to the theme of the prevailing of the waters. The prevailing, it turns out, begins back here, so that chronologically having come to the end of the forty days of the mabul, then you go back to the beginning of the forty days because right from the beginning the waters began to prevail. So the waters were prevailing for a hundred and fifty days and the dates that are given tell you when they were. They began back here, they continued the forty days of the mabul, then they continued another hundred and ten days afterwards. †Thatís when the flood prevailed over the ark, over the earth, over the mountains. In the process, of course, of prevailing over the mountains, it prevailed over all wicked mankind, because you can just see them scurrying to the highest point that they could to escape the rising waters. Once the mountains are covered the waters prevailed over mankind as well as over the mountains. †So thatís the theme of the prevailing and that goes on through the hundred and fifty days.
††††††††††† Meanwhile even before the end of the prevailing of the waters over all of these things including the ark, even before the end of that, as soon as the waters-- this was the increase for forty days, as soon as it came to the end of the forty days and before the next hundred and ten the waters began to decrease. So once again you have this recapitulation. †What Iím saying then, sensitize yourself to the literary form, donít assume that the story has to be told in a straightforward chronological fashion, itís told in terms of themes and the themes involve backtracking recapitulating in terms of chronology. So this section, and the decreasing of the waters, begins at that point and then continues on even before. So just in terms of an exegesis it is something one should be aware of.
Support for a local flood position
††††††††††† But now letís come to our particular question here in the middle section of the prevailing.† As I recall itís going to be around verses 19, 20 and so on. It will in part depend on what Bible translation we have. The NIV doesnít help us too much at this point. †Weíre in chapter 7. †I guess we can start with verse 17. This is all part of the central main theme of how the waters of the flood were prevailing over everything eventually. ďFor forty days,Ē alright, thatís the forty days of the mabul, †here. ďFor forty days the flood kept coming on the earth, and as the waters increased they lifted the ark high above the earth.Ē †Okay, verse 17. The waters have prevailed over the ark. Here was the ark, remember Noah had built the thing on its moorings. Now the waters come and they prevail over the ark by lifting it up from the earth. As the waters increase they lift the ark high above the earth.
††††††††††† Then verse 18: ďThe waters rose and increased greatly on the earth and the ark floated on the surface of the waters.Ē So that just intensifies this theme of the rising waters.† So itís lifted up from its moorings and its cast adrift at the mercy of the wave and the wind but, of course, under the control of the Lord, as the floods continue to rise. Then in verse 19, this NIV says, ďYes they rose greatly on the earth.Ē †Now in addition to saying that the waters prevailed on the ark by lifting it up and setting it loose, now it says that the mountains are also covered. †The waters prevail over the mountains presumably by covering them.
††††††††††† Then verse 20, and hereís the key verse, ďThe waters rose.Ē †Now hereís where the NIV leads us astray, anyone have something else? Does anyone have a nice King James Version maybe, or something like that around? Okay thatís fine. Now that reflects the Hebrew faithfully. †ďFifteen cubits upwards did the waters prevail and the mountains were covered.Ē †Now you see, what is being done, which is reflected in the King James Version is that these two themes that have already been treated, the A theme, is that the waters prevailed over the ark, and the B theme, is that the waters prevailed over the mountains. Verse 20 summarizes the two.† It summarizes the fact that the waters prevailed over the ark by saying waters hit a level of fifteen cubits. †Then it repeats the idea that it covered the mountains.
††††††††††† So B refers to verse 19, A refers to this. †Now, what does that mean? How are the waters prevailing over the ark? The equivalent of the waters prevailed by 15 cubits. †Here is where the local perspective comes in very distinctly. The ark was thirty cubits high. Noah built the thing, he would know enough about it to know what the draft of the ark was. How much water would it take to float a boat 30 cubits high? Well about a half of it, 15 cubits. †So here is Noah and company within the ark, and the rains coming down, the waters are increasing, suddenly they feel that they are no longer secure in their moorings. The waters have prevailed over it and lifted the ark up. In other words, the draft of the ark, fifteen cubits has been achieved, and now the ark has been wrenched loose.
††††††††††† But itís a very local, distinctive perspective that Noah is describing. He didnít go out and measure to see how deep the water was.† He had built the ark, he knew what the draft of the ark was, namely fifteen cubits. So when heís caught afloat, he knows that the water must have prevailed by fifteen cubits.
††††††††††† So the thought is not that look here is someone in a space ship looking down there or God himself is looking down and he knows that way off on Mount Everest, the highest point on the earth, that the waters are fifteen cubits deep.† Now in his special revelation he comes and he tells us. †Of course, you didnít know anything about it but way over there on Mount Everest, the mountain was covered by fifteen cubits. Who cares?† What a completely irrelevant thing that would be. This is not the kind of information that God is giving a special revelation about here to Noah. This clearly is something that reflects the experience of those that were in the ark.
††††††††††† Now thereís one other possible exegesis over the thing that might tie these things in verse 20 together a little more closely, but it would still reflect the local perspective. †As the ark is caught up and he looks out and he sees that the mountains, within range at least, are covered, and yet the ark isnít scraping them. He would know that by the fact the ark isnít scraping that these mountains must be covered by at least fifteen cubits, which was the draft of the ark. If it were anything less they would be scraping the mountain tops over there. So that might be an alternative explanation. †But once again, it would reflect the experience of someone who was within the ark who knew the dimensions of the ark.
††††††††††† So alright, what Iím suggesting then is that the biblical evidence is that this is not an outer space, birdís-eye view of the thing, this is more a wormís-eye, or an arkís-eye view. The story then is being told from a local perspective. †When it speaks about the mountains being covered.† Itís not talking about Mount Everest, over there.† Itís talking about the mountains which were in view.
††††††††††† Now take it from there scientists, you can have all your big arguments from that point on. You can argue on the one hand that if even the local mountains were covered water seeks its own level and therefore must have covered the whole earth.† The others from the other side would say no, to cover the waters on the whole earth you would need more water than existed, and on and on and on the scientific debate goes. You can settle that, but thatís not my field. All Iím saying is from the point of biblical exegesis donít be dogmatic. †Youíre going to have to settle it in terms of some other evidence from someplace, but donít be dogmatic in the name of God on this particular subject. Have the caution thatís forced upon us by the biblical evidence.
††††††††††† Now a related question is the anthropological. If the flood is, letís say for argumentís sake, not global geographically, then was it universal in terms of mankind? †Thereís just too much that we donít know. †We donít know the date of this event. Was it 12,000 BC? Was it 35,000 BC? At whatever point it was, how widespread was mankind? So there are the unknowns, and therefore it becomes difficult.† I think that once you have acknowledged the flood was less than global, then also it might turn out to be true that there were human beings that were outside the range of the flood and whose descendants therefore might be among us today as well as the descendants of Noah and company who were there.
††††††††††† So these are some of the unknowns and Iíd just like to leave it at that and not be too dogmatic. But what we are more interested in is what the Bible itself says how to understand this whole thing. Hereís then where Iíve tried to develop the biblical theological picture.†
†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Flood as redemptive judgment
††††††††††† So you can work through these. The main headings then that I used to analyze this episode, from a biblical theological point of view, †is redemptive judgment. This whole episode by the way is a great illustration of things weíve been talking about. We were talking about common grace. Then we were saying how there is this other principle at work in history beside Godís common grace where he is tolerating a situation of coexistence with believers and unbelievers. Along with that are these intrusions of God into history, into the midst of the non-holy. †God redemptively is projecting and intruding by redemptive supernaturalism, the Holy Spirit and on and on and on. †The incarnation of Christ, symbolically intruding the kingdom to come into the world and in to Israel. the final judgment symbolically intrudes and influences the way in which the holy war is conducted.
††††††††††† Now the flood episode is another huge scale intrusion into the realm of common grace. Here is this history of common grace and it comes to an end with an intrusion of judgment.† It has the effect of terminating within the sphere of the judgment this whole common grace thing. †Now God doesnít tolerate coexistence. Now he judges precisely between his people and those who are not his people. Thatís what we mean then by redemptive judgment. Redemptive judgment is one that, of course, condemns and executes the wicked, but at the same time it has the effect of delivering Godís people. †How so? Because the wicked have been persecuting Godís people as we saw. The sons of the gods have been persecuting the Sethite community out of existence until there are only eight of them left. So for God destroys those sons of the gods and all of their proud mighty princes in the world is to save the eight souls who are left. Therefore his judgment is redemptive with respect to his own remnant community.
††††††††††† So in our discussion of that in Kingdom Prologue, the way we develop the theme of redemptive judgment is: †a.) we go through that business of Genesis 6, the antichrist crisis. What is it that leads up to this judgment? Itís that history has come to that final intolerable stage represented by the lawless one or the antichrist crisis. Thatís on page 95 I think.
††††††††††† Then another aspect of this flood still as a part of redemptive judgment is that it is a judicial ordeal. A trial by ordeal, and we already were discussing this and on other occasions, I guess we reflected on the practice in ancient Near Eastern legal procedure of settling issues by various kinds of ordeal and whether theyíre subjecting someone to an ordeal element by water or fire, or by having them engage in individual combat with two rival claimants to settle things that way. So this episode then, is a trial by ordeal.† It results in dual verdicts as we said, the condemnation of the wicked, and simultaneously, the corollary of that is the vindication of the righteous.
††††††††††† Also worked into the discussion in Kingdom Prologue at that point is the way in which the Bible elsewhere, and here again Peter, makes use of this episode as an indication of what baptism is. So in our discussion in a little while, hopefully, of the theme of circumcision and baptism, weíll hark back to this idea. This flood experience was expressive of whatís expressed by the waters of baptism and what is expressed by the flood waters, of course, is the judgment of God. It wasnít a bath, it was a destructive flood. †Thatís what baptism also then symbolizes, primarily. †
††††††††††† In connection with this redemptive judgment and the duel verdicts, the favorable verdict of course is passed on the eight souls who are still in the ark. So we get the important biblical theme now of the remnant. Up to this point the remnant, which suggests simply--Godís people are only a little fraction. Weíre a fraction of the whole thing, only eight souls as a matter of fact. So a remnant means a little minority group. Now by virtue of their passing through the flood experience and coming out as those who are vindicated the biblical concept of the remnant means that we, the people of God, the remnant, are the survivors. Weíre the ones who survived judgment. †In surviving judgment we are also the victors. We are the overcomers. Because there had been a warfare and our enemies are the people of Satan and we are Godís people and we have not only survived Godís judgment but in surviving we win the battle. †Christ wins it, and God wins it for us. But we stand with him and are the overcomers, we are the victors over our enemies. So the biblical idea of the remnant is being enriched. We are not just the minority group, we are the saved, we are the people of God, we are the overcomers and so on.
††††††††††† So the flood brings out all of those important themes under redemptive judgment. Plus, of course, the fact that, as in the days of Noah, as in the days of Christ, the day of Christ, the day of the Lord is, of course, the day of his appearing. So what this whole episode, according to Jesusís own comparison indicates is that this flood episode was comparable to his own appearing, to his own appearance. So you look in the story of the flood, for the presence of God, or in the appearing of the God of glory. †I suppose you might find it in a general way in the phenomenon of the storm itself because Godís presence is often in terms of† storm theophany. †This kind of thing attests to his special presence.
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Other aspects of the flood
††††††††††† But then thereís a little touch here and there that goes beyond that, and ďGod sealed them in.Ē So there is that note where they have entered into the ark. Now you have a window on the top and you have a door on the bottom. Now the door seems to be part of the structure that would be in the draft of the ark where the waters would be coming, but God closes that door, which will shut out the waters. †He seals it in for them but there is that special nice touch. That seems to conjure up in our minds as we read it, some sort of visible presence, of God coming in and acting and sealing them in.†
††††††††††† Thereís a beautiful use of this in Isaiah 26 that I think I discusses this, and if not here--did we pass out those articles on the martyrs from Isaiah?† Thatís the one you just gave them wasnít it? Yes. So for more of a discussion on the point Iím trying to make here, you have that article. †Itís just a wonderful thought there in Isaiah 26 where he compares death, the dying of Godís people, to the experience of those who entered into the ark. So that the pictures that the flood waters are going to be the waters of death. Whatís going to happen is thereís going to be a passage through the waters of death, thereís going to be a death experience for Godís people. In that connection the ark is something of a coffin in which God seals them in. What is beautiful then is that in Isaiah 26 is talking about Christian death, he describes it as an experience where the Christian, the believer-- and he uses this language, the vocabulary, thatís striking of God sealing them in from the waters round about. It is very clearly that it is that language heís very clearly using.† Our dying is described in the same way as the Lord then is taking us into a sort of refuge place, the coffin, the intermediate state. The intermediate state is one where we are delivered from the ongoing wrath of God and all the troubles this world.† We are sort of welcomed into this place of refuge where the Lord enfolds us and shuts us in.† So itís a wonderful pastoral thing to have in our hearts. Weíve been brought into the ark and itís in the safety of Christ, the ark and the presence of God that we pass through the trials of life and emerge.
††††††††††† So it becomes a veritable resurrection, they enter into the ark, they pass through death, and theyíre coming out of the ark on the other end is a resurrection from death. The whole thing is a picture of the experience of Christian death and resurrection. †Then finally in terms of redemptive judgment, a major theme, the days of Noah, the days of the Son of Man, when the Bible talks about our Lord Jesus returning itís his returning in glory. Then over and over again associated with it is he comes with the angels who he sends forth and he gathers his people together those of us who are alive and remain. We are gathered together and the departed dead are raised up and together we are the great gathering. †Of course, the antichrist has his counterfeit gathering and so the antichrist theme as is developed in terms letís say Gog and Magog in Ezekiel 38-39.
by Abby Swanson
††††††††††††††† Rough edited by Ted Hildebrandt