God’s Last Days Relationship With Those of Noah-like Faith
A Biblical Essay On:
God’s Last Days Relationship
With Those of Noah-like Faith
by Eloise M. Gardenier
Included are the promises made in God’s Word about those who do as Noah did, exercising obedience to all God’s commands. We will see the beautiful and exciting connection between the use of the Ark and the “Rapture” or “Catching up” of the “Church of Jesus Christ”, both being used in the salvation of the righteous from the Great Tribulation. A passage in the book of Matthew reports the following; “For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” The prophecies concerning the latter days show that we are, in fact, living in those evil times, and with every hour the world is coming closer and closer to the moment of the “catching up” of Jesus’ bride, which is the “great escape” from the judgment to come.
Our Lively Responsibility
1. WORLD CONDITION TODAY!
By way of the Scriptures, I will review Noah’s life and relationship with God.
After God tells Noah of His plans to destroy the earth, He then gives him all the instructions for the Ark and preservation of his family and the animals, fowls, creeping things and the necessary provisions for all. Inserted right in the midst of these instructions we find this; “And behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and everything that is in the earth shall die. But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons’ wives with thee.” Gen. 6:17-18
Now in Gen. 6:22 we find one of the most important verses of the entire story of Noah. It simply says; “Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.”!… I will come back to this later and we will explore how this principle applies to us today.
Then in chapter 7 verse 1, God issues His invitation to Noah, just as we will see He also did to John in Revelation. In fact He used the same word to open that invitation; Come! as did Jesus many times. To tie it in with this special invitation, His last invitation of His written word, the Bible, He says in Revelation 22:17; “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” God’s call to Noah was; “And the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.”
After all had entered into the Ark we find in 7:16; “And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the Lord shut him in.” Let’s remember that Noah did not shut the door, nor his wife, nor one of his sons, nor their wives, but God Himself “Shut them in”, just as those raptured will be shut in during the tribulation.
During the time God had Noah and his family safely hidden away from destruction, all else was destroyed. “And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were “WITH HIM” in the ark.” Gen. 7:23 Throughout the Bible we see small samples of God’s judgment, but nothing compared with the flood, except when the time of the end is being spoken of, culminating in the book of Revelation. There are also many prophecies that confirm and couple with Revelation, prophecies spoken by the Old Testament Prophets. We will bring the prophecies together when we compare the days of Noah with the prophecies concerning the time just before the return
We are told that God thought of Noah, I think we could even say with fondness and favor, and because of this He stopped the destruction of the flood and began to restore the earth for His elect. They were Noah, his family and all the living things that had come into the Ark with him. Chapter eight verses one and two say; “And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark: and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters asswaged; The fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained.” Jesus left a promise of similar things near the end of the ‘great tribulation’; “And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” Matt. 24:22
We then have the account of Noah’s testing to see if the time was right to emerge from the Ark, first by sending out a raven then a dove. Next God spoke to Noah and told him to go forth from the Ark along with all who had shared this sanctuary during so great a watery catastrophe, yes, a watery grave, for all the earth!
The first thing Noah did was to offer a gift of thanksgiving to the Lord for what He had done for him and his family. This was very pleasing to the Lord and we see that He said; “And the Lord smelled a sweet savour; and the Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I
In the beginning of chapter 9 of Genesis, God blessed Noah and his sons, and gave them dominion over the animals, gave some instructions, and then starting with verse 8 we have such a beautiful promise not only to Noah and his sons but to their seed, which extends even unto us.
Now that I have reviewed the life of Noah and the events of his life through his relationship with God we will return to the title Scripture of this writing. “But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” Matt 24:37 This is the teaching of Jesus when His disciples came unto Him privately, saying; “Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” He spoke of many other things in what has become known as the Olivet Discourse, but we will be focusing on this part of His instructions, and how they apply to us today.
We will also deal with other Scriptures that describe the last days just before the coming of the Lord and leave it to the reader in some cases to draw his own conclusions about the current fulfillment of these Scriptures.
Scattered throughout the entire Bible we find many things that qualify one for “Brideship” or the “First fruits” resurrection, and the rewards that accompany that honor. We will explore some of these things, and draw some conclusions.
2. WALKING WITH GOD
God shared His thoughts and feelings with His friend Noah, perhaps His only friend on the earth at that time.
Nestled in God’s statement to Noah we find that God remembered Noah and thought better of His first idea to destroy everything. Noah found grace (favor) in the eyes of the Lord. Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah “walked with God“, as was the case with Enoch. Truth is: it is one thing to be touched by the Lord, but something else to “WALK WITH HIM”. A minister we have known put it this way; “First comes the heat and then the light.” It is pretty easy to follow the Lord in the excitement of first knowing Him, as is the thrill of a new romance between boy and girl, or man and woman, but when the honeymoon relationship is over and the reality of daily living or walking together is at hand, some go seeking new thrills. The alternative is maturing or WALKING with one’s mate, whether it be God or a partner of the opposite sex. For some, walking with God is harder than walking with a mate of flesh, because in our relationship with God, we must walk by faith not by sight, but we see our companion of the flesh. As was the case with most of the saints that found grace or favor with the Lord, those today who are willing to truly WALK with Him, not just play at religion, and talk a good game for the most part, lead a lonely life by the standards of the world.
As previously mentioned, it was said of Enoch that he walked with God, and he was the first fruit or type of the “Rapture” or “catching up” of the church. He was the first to be taken up while still alive. One man! The passage actually says; “And Enoch WALKED WITH GOD: and he was not; for God took him.” Genesis 5:24 I looked up the words; “was not”, “walked” and “took” in the Hebrew used here, and what I found confirmed that the word “walked” implies much more than the simple meaning of that word in English. Some of those things are; “along, apace, behave (self), come (on) continually. To be conversant, depart, plus be eased, enter, exercise (self) plus follow, forth forward, get, go (about, abroad, along, away, forward, on, out, up and down), plus grow, march, walk, walk (abroad, on, to and fro, up and down, to places), wander, wax, way (faring man), plus be weak, or to whirl. are other expressions.” Source: Strong’s concordance
I thought the word “took” was also very interesting; “to take (in the widest variety of applications): to accept, bring, buy, carry away, drawn, fetch, get, infold, plus many, mingle, place, receive or receiving, reserve, seize, send for, take (away, ing, up), use, win.” So let us summarize what the words WALKED, and TOOK, tell us about Enoch and his relationship with God. These words tell us he walked continually wherever necessary or wherever he was being led-to follow! He followed beside, went forth, went forward, went on, went up or down, went to and fro, even went places, wandered and was weak ( I think in his own will, enough to follow.) The word also implies that one will be eased into entering this walk, but will exercise (self) to follow. This walk requires being conversant, talking to God continually as one marches on, growing. In “took”, we see that, first, Enoch was accepted and drawn, he was bought or redeemed, he was fetched, carried away, and enfolded. Then the implication reaches forward that many will also be received to the same place, kept in reserve, sent for, seized, taken away, even taken “up”, and that they will be used and will win. Relatively speaking there is so little said about Enoch but the Lord has had those things expressed in such a way that if we are willing to look into those few things, even search them out and then be willing to receive what we find, they can truly increase our faith concerning the mystery of the “Rapture”. In Hebrews 11:5 we are told this; “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” Down in the 16th verse of that same, “faith chapter” we read; “But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.”
I was so edified by these findings I was urged to look up the Greek for the words “caught” and “up” from 1 Thessalonians 4:17. After looking this up I realized the Spirit had tied together for me, Enoch, the first of a type, (those caught up alive) with those who will be a part of the finale of this type. I also found that particular word for “caught” was used only four times: Acts 8:39 when Philip was translated after ministering salvation to the Ethiopian eunuch. In II Corinthians 12:2 when Paul speaks of having been caught up to the 3rd heaven, and 1 Thessalonians 4:17, concerning the “catching up” of the church to meet the Lord in the air. The last one is Revelation 12:5 where the woman brings forth her man child and he is caught up unto God, and to His throne. Each of these four events are slightly different. Phillip was transferred bodily from one place on the earth to another. Then Paul says “whether in the body or out of the body (he could not tell), only God knoweth”, when he was caught up to the 3rd heaven. He was returned to the earth alone. In 1 Thessalonians 4 those “caught up” to meet the Lord in the air will “forever be with the Lord” and return with Him to claim the earth and set up His Kingdom. In Revelation 12:5 again we see the bride being “caught up” to escape the wrath that is to come upon the earth. Perhaps Paul was just another type like Enoch, but unlike the saints that return “with Christ”, he had returned alone. For the time wasn’t right for the Lord to return, but Paul acted out the bride’s “catching up” and return. The word “caught”; #726 in Strong’s Concordance says; —to seize, catch (away, up) pluck, pull, take (by force). It is said to be a derivative of #138 which says; to take for one’s self, i.e. to prefer; to choose. Some of the forms are borrowed from a cognate (from the same origin), which is otherwise obsolete. We are also told that this #138 is probably akin to #142. #142 says; a prime verb to lift, to take up or away; figuratively to raise also the voice, to keep in suspense, to keep (the mind) in suspense, specifically to sail away (i.e. weigh anchor); in Hebrew (comp. to #5375) to expiate sin:, away with, bear up, carry, lift up, loose, put away, remove, take (away or up).
I will attempt to summarize. That first number, # 726 gives this understanding or aspect of that kind of “catching up”; Those who are a part of this “catching up” have little or in fact, nothing, to do with what is happening to themselves in a physical sense, where they are seized, caught away, caught up, plucked, pulled, even taken by force. Unfolding all the implications of this word “caught” is like peeling off the layers of an onion or a telescope unfolding. That first number tells us how those who are blessed to be in that group are taken; without their own power. The next # 138 shows us from God’s point of view why that select group includes those believers that it does. God will have taken them for himself, preferred them, chosen them. (Many are called but few are chosen). Some of the forms of this term are borrowed from a word of the same origin that is otherwise obsolete. This speaks to me of how exclusive the term and experience is: it is used only three times in the New Testament and then God arranged for some forms of it to become obsolete, except for its use here. We are referred to # 142 from the concordance, and this verb shows us through God’s action the things that are made possible for those whom he has preferred or if you will, has chosen!
Satan has used every trick he could to bring into doubt the “catching up” of the church, physically, to those who do believe. To protect the faithful, God will keep their minds in suspense about the timing of the “catching up”. The Father will do this so Satan will not be able to attack them with thoughts of doubt. Perhaps the Lord will cause them to raise their voices in praise to Him or to pray in their heavenly language, tongues, or in the Spirit, to keep their eyes and hearts on Him and nothing else. He will lift them up, lift them away, take them. It will be so easy once it takes place; it will be like sailing away and weighing anchor. One of the reasons for this will be as we leave the Earth, we will begin to share the complete liberty of the expiation of sin by Jesus. We will be loosed from the sin and cares of this world that could so easily beset us. God will remove us, take us away, bear us up, carry us, lift us up, take us up and away, and put us away for safekeeping! The “up” surely needs no explanation from the referenced passages like 1 Thessalonians, but to say upward or on the top or above, or high up. However, it is noteworthy to consider that “the high up” could mean the 3rd heaven here.
Going back to Genesis and the quote about Enoch briefly; “was” and “not”, also confirmed that there is no doubt that God took Enoch up unto himself while there was still breath in him. He took him up alive as he remained on the Earth. Genesis 5: 24 reads; “And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.” In looking up “took” from that passage I found; prime root; to take (in the widest variety of applications); accept, bring, buy, carry away, drawn, fetch, get in fold, across many, mingle, place, receive, receiving, reserve, seize, send for, take away, taking, or take up, use, win. I have no doubt in my mind that Enoch had been taken by God, not having seen death of the body. I was led to check out what the concordance had to say about the name Enoch, and that only strengthened my conviction that Enoch was the first type of the “catching up” of the Bride of Christ. Enoch from #2596 initiate; an antediluvian patriarch. #2596 – prime root; probably to narrow (comp. #2614); fig. to initiate or to discipline; dedicate; train up. The next thing I found didn’t seem to fit at first, but the more I read it the more sense it made. I now believe it does fit with other things the Spirit has taught our fellowship about one of the major requirements for being a part of the Bride of Christ. That requirement is dying to oneself.
In view of that I share the rest of what I found concerning the meaning of Enoch’s name; #2614 prime root to be narrow; by implication, to throttle, or the reflex to choke oneself to death (by a rope) hang self, strangle. What all this tells me is that Enoch was an antediluvian patriarch who lived a disciplined dedicated, narrow life (just as we are told the path is narrow). I think it also implies that God trained him up. That he choked himself or died to his own will in favor of God’s will. Because of this he was the first one who initiated the mystery of being “caught up” alive, as a source of hope and faith for those who came after as an example for us to lead a simple life of dying to ourselves and walking with the Lord.
Noah is our next example of God saving His elect from the Earth. God’s protection of Noah and his family is a sample of the righteous being saved from His judgment. In Elijah, we have another example of the Lord taking one of His own, one of His servants that was called to a lonely walk, of battling the enemies of God. Then God in His mercy and love took Elijah to himself. In 1 Kings we read; “…It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life…” 1 Kings 19:4 Then in verse 14 “And he said, I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.” In verse 18… The Lord answers Elijah in this way; “Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him…” Often when we feel we are as alone in our walk as Elijah did, it is good to remember the Lord’s answer to him: That He had 7000 more that were also walking with him. They may not be visible to us in a given body, but they are almost surely there, throughout the entire world, as surely as they were in Elijah’s day. (The Lord arranged for my husband and I to meet and fellowship with two of those “7,000”.) Due to some Christian literature we order, we began to correspond with this couple a few years earlier. We learned a little about one another through these letters. In fact, I quoted the Scripture about the “7,000” to them once. My husband and I decided to take two of our vacation days and visit the couple in Lancaster, New Hampshire, and meet them face to face. What a blessing it was! We still marvel at the many similarities in how God had led us. He has called us to a walk that seems to be lonely and powerless to the world. In that, we agreed that was true for all of us, and now we wouldn’t have it any other way.
It is a great privilege to be in the company of such people as Enoch, Noah, Elijah and Paul. In II Kings chapter 2 we see God’s reward to Elijah for his faithfulness to Him in his very lonely and often most frightening walk. He was one of God’s, not only called, but also chosen. Verses 9, 10 and 11 say this; “And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee.” (Elijah knew that God was going to take him.) And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me. And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so. And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.” So God has left testimonies all during His various dispensations of how he saves the righteous from his wrath or judgment and rewards the faithful for their faithfulness. Enoch and Elijah left us a testimony to hold on to for the promise of the “catching up” of Christ’s bride.
Concerning Genesis 6:11 & 13. I will just say I believe God arranged through the Holy Ghost to have it repeated here to emphasize how grieved He was with the condition of man and the world, so there would be no doubt about His feelings in the matter. He has done the same throughout both the Old and New Testaments on every subject of importance to health and life eternal. He has had His servants act things out over and over again so man could even see the rewards and consequences of being obedient, and many times God used those that were not His servants, and some who were. Many of these servants did not understand that they had been used by Him in one of His pageants for the benefit of others.
3. SO, DID HE!
WE MUST BUILD
In Gen.6:22 we are told; “Thus did Noah; according to all God commanded him, so did he.”
John lovingly exhorts us in this manner ;
In Philippians 3:7-14 Paul tells us how we can do as Noah…. “According to all God commanded him, so did he!” “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Here I would like to share that E. W. Bullinger says of the phrase “high calling” from this passage in his book, Great Cloud of Witnesses, on Hebrews 11, page 30; he says the rendering that would be truer to the Greek here is “calling on high”. Something else I noticed is that the calling is done by God in or for Christ Jesus. If one sees this prize as the “catching up” of the bride, as my household does, this tends to confirm that this is what it is about, for we are told by Jesus several times that of that time only the father knows, not even Jesus Himself knows. I also looked up the Greek word used in this citation for high, and it is the same as was used in 1 Thessalonians in “caught up” to meet the Lord in the air, upward or on the top, above, brim, or high, up.)
As God did for Noah, He will also do for us; He will see that we have all the knowledge, wisdom and understanding to know what He requires of us. The Bible reassures us in such Scriptures as these about this matter.