SECTION 1: TYPES OF THE
The closer we look at Scripture,
the more evident it is that its words are constantly inter-linked,
both by means of direct quotation and allusion. The
final " day of the Lord" will contain elements of all
the previous 'days' of God's manifestation in the affairs of men.
It will be the time when " the words of God are fulfilled"
(Rev. 17:17), when " all is fulfilled" (Lk. 21:22,32)
- presumably referring to the prophetic word. It is
therefore fitting that there are many Old Testament historical backgrounds
to the prophecies which relate to the Lord's return.
Firstly we need to familiarize ourselves with them, which this Section
does by picking out some of the more obvious ones.
CHAPTER 1: THE FLOOD AS A TYPE OF THE LAST DAYS
It is a commonly stressed theme throughout
Scripture that the days of Noah are a type of the last days of AD70. The
clearest is in Mt. 24:37: " As the days of Noe were, so shall also
the coming of the son of man be" . It is generally understood among
us that the events of AD70 and the " coming" of the Lord then,
point forward to that in the last days. Thus it is not surprising that
a number of passages describe the AD70 judgments of Israel
in terms of the flood; which suggests that they also have reference to
the last days:
- 2 Peter 3 is a clear example, describing
the destruction of the Jewish system in AD70 as being by fire as opposed
to water used in Noah's time. Yet the chapter also has reference, e.g.
through it's links with the new Heavens and earth of Is. 65, with the
destruction of the present age at the Lord's return.
- Nahum 1 describes the coming judgements
on Israel in terms of mountains
and hills splitting, and there being a great flood; all Genesis flood
- Dan. 9:26 describes the Romans in AD70
destroying " the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall
be with a flood" , the LXX implying with a sudden flood, as in Noah's
- Is. 54:9 describes the judgments on Israel
being " as the waters of Noah" . The end of the flood, the end
of Israel's judgments, therefore
typifies the second coming.
- In the light of this the Lord's parable
about the man building on sand whose house was destroyed when the heavy
rain came (Mt. 7:25,27) must have primary reference (as so many of the
parables do) to the judgement on the Jewish house in AD70. Those who built
on sand as a result of not hearing Christ's words were the Jews- also
described as shoddy builders in Mt. 21:42; Acts 4:11; 1 Pet. 2:7; Mic.
3:10; Jer. 22:13.
- The flood waters were upon the earth for
5 months. The siege of Jerusalem in AD70 lasted for the same period, coming
after 3 years of the Roman campaign against Israel
which started in AD67. The three and a half year suffering of Israel
which culminated in AD70 may well point forward to a similar period in
the last days; in which case the flood would typify the final months of
that period, during which the judgments will be poured out most intensely.
Other hints of this are discussed in Section 2. The five month tribulation
of Rev. 9:10 may also have some relevance here.
Thus the state of Israel
in AD70 was typified by the world of Noah's time, which therefore looks
forward also to the last days, in the light of the evident connections
between that period and our last days which are made in 2 Pet. 3 and the
All things relevant
We can therefore look at the Genesis record
of the lead up to the flood and be confident that every detail has some
relevance to our time; and therefore grasp the reality of the fact that
we should feel the same tenseness and intensity as Noah did as he waited
for the rain. Note how Jesus' return is described as the rain in 2 Sam.
23:4; Hos. 6:3; Joel 2:23.
- Our present population explosion has only
been parallelled in Noah's time. The longer life-spans could have resulted
in each woman bearing up to 200 children; bearing in mind the lack of
present constraining factors such as adverse climate, space, physical
degeneration of the human stock over 6,000 years etc. which we now face,
it is likely that in the 10 generations from Adam to Noah up to 2,000
million people were produced.
- These longer life-spans would have resulted
in a great accumulation of knowledge and skills in the arts and sciences.
Gen. 4:22 describes Tubal-Cain (contemporary with Noah) as " an instructor
of every artificer in brass and iron" , hinting at technical education
and industrialization. Similarly Jubal was " father of all such as
handle the harp and organ" (Gen. 4:21); a growth in so-called culture
(i.e. sophisticated pleasure- educated Christians please note). Note the
emphasis on education- " an instructor..father..father" .
- God saw that " the imagination of
man's heart" was evil from his youth (Gen. 8:21); not from his birth,
showing that God is referring to the specific attitude of those times
rather than to man's innate sinfulness. The implication is that God was
especially saddened at the evil thinking of a reprobate, corrupted youth.
And how much more today?
- Cain's first big city (Gen. 4:17) no doubt
spawned others. Complex, selfish city life would have been apparent at
Noah's time- as it is supremely throughout our modern world.
- " Lamech shall be avenged seventy
and seven fold" (Gen. 4:24) he boasted. Does this hint at the war
preparations and a spirit of personal vengeance and pressing for one's
'rights' which fills the earth today?
- There is an emphasis on there being a
" father" of all the cattle keepers, all the musicians, and
an instructor of every metal worker (Gen. 4:20-22); implying the kind
of commercial cartels and unionism which we have today?
- The earth being filled with violence (Gen.
6:11) needs little comment. Note how this verse is quoted in Ez. 8:17
about the land (same word as " earth" ) of Israel
being filled with violence. Similarly Gen. 6:13 is alluded to in Ez. 7:2,3,6.
This opens up an understanding of Ezekiel along the lines that it is describing
the events of AD70 as well as other periods. The flood being such a clear
type of AD70, passages which allude to it must also have an AD70 context.
- The " giants" of Gen.6:4 comes
from a Hebrew root meaning 'hackers or assailants'- implying arrogant
gangs strutting round assailing people at will. Job. 22:15-17 R.V. gives
the same impression. Compare this with the gang warfare and intimidation
of the Americas
and many countries.
- The world was characterized by hamas- "unrighteousness" (Gen. 6:11). 'Hamas' can mean "lawlessness perpetrated by force" (1). Perhaps we have here a suggestion that the 'land' promised to Abraham- the arena of the Biblical flood- is to be dominated by 'Hamas' or a like terrorist organization.
- Job 22:15-18 comments on the people living
just before the flood that they cast off all commitment to God and yet
God " filled their houses with good things" ; i.e. material
wealth despite a viciously God-forsaking attitude. Exactly the scene today.
- One of the few women mentioned as being
contemporary with Noah was Adah- meaning 'to decorate, ornament'. And
of such women the sons of God took wives of all that they chose (Gen.
6:2). Dolled up women picked up at will by sex-mad men could not be a
more telling parallel with our age. Note too how the three periods picked
out in Scripture as having major similarities with the last days- Sodom,
Noah's time, Israel in AD70- all have the common feature of sexual misbehaviour.
There can be no doubt that this is a major indication that we are in the
- Signs within the ecclesia seem to herald
the Lord's coming even clearer than those without. As a prelude to the
flood, the Sons of God married the daughters of men (Gen. 6:2)- the true
believers married unbelievers. However, the " sons of God" often refers to
(Is. 43:6,7; 63:8; Jer. 31:20; Ez. 16:20; Mal. 1:16; 3:7), hinting that
there will be a big Jewish inter-marriage problem in the last days too.
There is ample evidence of this.
- Given this apostacy of the sons of God
and the unwillingness of the world to listen to Noah's preaching (2 Pet.
2:5) the size of the ecclesia must have declined, until it was only 9
strong. 'Methuselah' means 'When he dies, it shall come'- suggesting that
he died a few days or weeks before the flood came. We can imagine the
ecclesia falling away one by one until it was just that old brother, the
middle aged Noah, and his three faithful sons (no doubt he had other sons
and daughters who he failed to influence). The small, declining size of
our ecclesias and the total apathy to our preaching should not discourage
us- as with all negative things, a positive message can be read into them
in the light of Scripture. And the message here is that such things clearly
indicate that we are in the last days. The only people to survive the
temptations of these 'last days' before the flood were one family unit.
As these events are so pregnant with latter day relevance, it may be that
we are to perceive here a faint hint that strongly led family units are
the way to survive the last days. Noah is described as " the eighth"
(2 Pet. 2:5), perhaps alluding to the fact that of the eight people saved
in the ark, he was " the eighth" ; he put the others first.
The three who escaped the judgments on Sodom, another type of the last
days, were all members of the same family; possibly implying the same
thing. It must surely be significant that our strongest members are often
from families with other strong members.
However, the general spiritual apathy grieved
God at His heart, we are told. This reminds us of the often overlooked
fact that God is an emotional being- the world today grieves Him, and
it is to be expected therefore that He is all the more intently watching
us, to see whether we are going to keep ourselves separate from the spirit
of this desperate age.
Waiting for the rain
It is worth pausing to make a powerful devotional
point. A careful reading of Gen. 7:7,10,13,16 reveals that Noah entered
the ark twice- once before the seven days, and then finally at the end,
perhaps when he had finished loading the animals. At the second entry
he was shut in. Peter reasons in 1 Pet. 3 that the ark represents two
things- being in Christ by baptism, and being saved from the tribulations
to come on the world of the last days. These are typified respectively
by the first and second entries of Noah into the ark. If our baptism is
like that first entering in, then Noah's tense, earnest waiting for the
rain in the next 7 days should typify our feelings towards the second
coming (cp. the rain). We should live our whole lives after baptism as
if we know for certain that the second coming is but a week away.
For Noah and his family the reality of these
things would have ebbed and flowed during that week- some days and hours
more than others. But it would have remained with them in the back of
their minds as an ever-present reality. Methuselah's death by the time
they entered the ark would have heightened their awareness of the shortness
of the time ('Methuselah' = 'when he dies, it shall come'). By being in
the ark with them, that same intensity of feeling ought to be ours. Never
before would they have felt so estranged from the world around them which
they knew had such limited time left to satisfy its pleasures. And what
scant interest they would have paid to their own possessions, homes, farms
and all the other material things around them which they knew would so
shortly be ended. In all this lies a powerful lesson to us. Instead their
minds would have been obsessed with the ark, the symbol of their faith
down through the past years. 'We need this for the ark...we must do that
for it' would have been their way of thinking down through those years,
as Noah in faith prepared the ark for the saving of himself (Heb. 11).
And this lays the pattern for our dedication and consumption with the
things of the truth, the ark, Christ our Lord and His ecclesia.
A refuge from the storm
The animals were gathered from all over
the world. They cannot represent the saints- Noah's family represents
them. They must therefore look forward to the people from all over the
world who will survive the judgements on the world due to their association
with us. Thus many of those to whom we witness but they do not respond
may well survive the holocaust to come upon the world to live in the new
age of peace, like that which followed the flood. This concept should
give the ultimate fillip to our enthusiasm for preaching- no longer obsessed
with numbers of baptisms but with the number of people being witnessed
to. Far more clean animals than unclean were taken into the ark. Peter
in Acts 10 saw a vision in which clean animals represented Jews and unclean
were Gentiles. Does this indicate that more Jews will survive the judgements
to come on the world than Gentiles? Given the many Jews that we know will
die in the last day judgements, it follows that if this line of interpretation
is correct very few Gentiles will survive at all.
This throws interesting light on the likely
population in the Millennium. If each saint rules over some mortals, as
Rev. 5:10 and the parable of ten and five cities indicates, then the population
of the cities cannot be that great. For all the world to come and worship
at Jerusalem to keep the feast of tabernacles (Zech. 14) could suggest
small numbers relative to the present world population. Everything apart
from what was in the ark was destroyed by the flood; the carnage was beyond
description. Thus in the last days, which will be an even fuller cataclysm
than anything yet seen on the earth, such wholesale destruction is to
be expected, in which only a handful survive. " Every living substance
was destroyed...man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl
of the heaven (by the heavy downpour of rain?)" (Gen. 7:23). As only
a remnant of the human and natural creation survived, so only a remnant
of the world around us will come through the future judgments on the earth.
The fact an olive tree survived indicates that there was not total destruction.
This kind of mass destruction is typical of that which will come upon
Israel in the last days: " I will utterly consume all things from
off the face of the land...I will consume man and beast; I will consume
the fowls of the heaven...and I will cut off man from off the land...that
day is a day...of clouds and thick darkness...and I will bring distress
upon men, that they shall walk like blind men" (Zeph. 1). This is
clearly flood language; the description of blind men may connect with
Zech. 14:12 prophesying the loss of eyesight for the latter day invaders
of the land (cp. how the men of Sodom were smitten with blindness in another
type of the last days). Is. 54:9,10 promises that although God will judge
Israel with the 'flood' of the second coming judgments, yet He will never
totally reject them on account of the remnant: " As I have sworn
that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn
that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke (reject) thee. For the
mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness
shall not depart from thee" . This is surely saying that the same
order of physical catastrophe as came upon the earth at the flood will
again come upon Israel in the
last days; but we must not see this as God breaking His covenant
of faithfulness to His true people. Heb. 11:1,7 stresses how much Noah
really believed God's prophecy about the nature of the flood; he
was " moved with fear" by these predictions. The physical world
around us is going to be changed beyond recognition; this ought to make
it easier for us to come to terms with the fact that all aspects
of our surrounding world will likewise pass away.
Noah's response was to prepare " an
ark to the saving of his house...and became heir of the righteousness
which is by faith" (Heb. 11:7). We know that the ark represents Christ.
Noah's response was not to smugly reflect how that soon he would be vindicated
for his separation from the world, i.e. for his own personal righteousness.
Instead he took seriously God's warning that sinners were to soon be destroyed.
Noah was, of course, a sinner as we all are. He therefore must have cried
out to God in faith, asking for God to count him as if he were righteous,
so that he would be saved from the coming judgments against sin. This
is how he had righteousness imputed to him. He showed his faith that God
really had justified him by doing something physical- his faith led to
the 'works' of building the ark; as our faith likewise leads us to baptism
into Christ. Through Christ, God " scattered the proud in the imagination
of their hearts" (Lk. 1:51). This is quoting from Gen. 6:5 LXX concerning
the wicked imagination of man's heart at the flood. This is even more
evidence that we can read the events of the flood as typical of two things;
our salvation from the judgment upon sin, and also of the events of the
last days, when that salvation will be physically manifested. We are in
Noah's position; we can see clearly the judgments which must come upon
sin. By our nature, we are part and parcel of that sin which has to be
judged. Our response cannot be to trust in our own righteousness,
which we may feel we have as a result of our physical separation from
the world. We must instead be motivated by imagining the reality of Christ's
coming, to make sure that we are covered in the righteousness of Christ,
so that the impending destruction of sin will not take us away with it.
Perhaps at no time before has the body of Christ so needed to learn the
lesson of Noah; to cease from our own works, " and become heir of
the righteousness which is by faith" .
God “remembered Noah” (Gen. 8:1) whilst
he was in the ark. Moses uses the same figure in Gen. 30:22 to describe
how God ‘remembered’ Rachel in responding to her prayer. Likewise God
‘remembered’ the righteous in Sodom in response to Abraham’s prayer (Gen.
19:29). Could this not imply that whilst Noah was spared from the world’s
judgment, he was earnestly praying for the days to be shortened, and to
be allowed to emerge from the ark into the new world? This would point
forward to the urgent prayer of the faithful in the last days- a theme
which we will often have cause to underline in these studies.
(1) Umberto Cassuto, A Commentary On The Book Of Genesis (Jerusalem: Magness Press, 1998) Vol. 2 p. 52.