Beth Elohim Messianic Synagogue
Parashah #2 Noach (Noah) B’resheit (Genesis) 6:9-11:32
Haftarah: Yesha’yahu (Isaiah) 54:1-10
B’rit Chadashah: Mattityahu (Matthew) 24:36-44
The story of Noach and the flood is another of the major Biblical subjects that antinomians including evolutionists try to argue as being impossible, limiting G-d and His sovereignty over the universe He created. The flood occurred as G-d had written in the Torah and just one of the many results was the death of everything on dry land, including the birds of the air (Gen. 7:21-23). There were 35,000 species of animals at the time of Noach. The ark had a capacity of 520 train cars of which the animals occupied 120. There is much more to understand about the flood and the results that will not be covered today. The focus of today’s teaching is Noach and his progeny.
Turning our attention to Noach, Rashi maintains that the name Noach should not be construed as a derivative of the Hebrew word “nacheim” – meaning to comfort – but rather it is derived from the other Hebrew word “noach” – meaning, rest, leisure, comfortable but not comfort as in consolation. Rashi attributes this understanding of Noach’s name to the fact that he was the father, so to speak, of modern agricultural technological advancement and progress. The iron plow, the first great essential tool for farming developed for humans, enabling settlers to abandon a nomadic existence, was an invention of Noach. This was his great contribution towards the advancement of human technology. How do we know the dietary laws were given to Noach as a “non-Jew” so early in our history? Gen. 7:8-9 clearly mentions clean and unclean animals. Consequently, the argument that dietary laws are only for the “Jews” is not valid according to G-d’s Torah.
Genesis chapter 10 identifies important characters in the genealogy of the sons of Noah important to our understanding of subsequent scriptures. We must start with the correct premise to reach correct conclusions in any study. Therefore, let us identify some of these individuals and groups of people.
“The sons of Ham were Kush [Ethiopians], Mitzrayim [Arabs], Put [Libyans], and Kena’an [Canaanite; Palestinians] (Gen 10:6). Compare these nations to those that will be gathered with Russia to attack Israel in the future! Kush fathered Nimrod, who was the first powerful ruler on earth. He was a mighty hunter before Adonai… his kingdom began with Bavel.” (Gen: 10:8-10). Chapter 11 is where we begin to see a problem that has gotten worse with time and will continue until Yahshua’s return. Current events provide a perfect illustration of the fact that man does not learn from his mistakes. Furthermore, there is a general apathy and unbelief that G-d will rule with justice and righteousness in dealing with human arrogance in the near future, just as He did with the Israelites. Let’s examine a few example from the parashah and parallel current events.
“The whole earth used the same language, the same words” (Gen. 11:1). English is a universal language in the global environment. “It came about that as they traveled from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shin’ar and lived there.” (Gen 11:2.) Shin’ar is a plain in Iraq at the junction of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The people deliberately moved farther away from the east as they strove to become independent of G-d. Our pioneers did the same thing as they left the east coast of the United States and went west in search of gold and independence from the settlements of the east. Then they said to one another, ‘Come, let’s make bricks and bake them in the fire.”(Gen. 11:3). They chose not to use the natural elements G-d provided for building. They had a “better way” to build. So they had bricks for building-stone and clay for mortar. Then they said, ‘come, let us build ourselves a city with a tower that has its top reaching up into heaven, so that we can make a name for ourselves and not be scattered all over the earth.” (Gen: 11:3-4). The Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints built a temple in Independence, Missouri with a perpetual pinnacle that extends to the heavens at an angle representing infinite reach toward heaven. This is a wonderful example of modern-day ideology representing Nimrod and the Tower of Bavel. The Latter Day Saints (LDS) maintains that Independence, Missouri will be the New Jerusalem and that this location is at the center of the world. Of course they are wrong, just as was Nimrod and his people, but HaSatan has them blinded to their future destruction.
The wide steps of the temple open onto a world plaza with global map of inlaid brick (Note bricks used in building the original Tower of Bavel!) Visitors and congregants marvel at this modern “tower of Bavel” just as did Nimrod and the people in Genesis with their tower of Bavel. There are 12 portraits of living men designated as the 12 Apostles. Flags from all nations are in the lobby except for that of Israel. They consider themselves the “new Israel”, holding to a doctrine of church replacement theology.
We should also know something of Nimrod before moving forward. The fact that Nimrod is described as the first powerful ruler on earth is by no means a compliment. Neither is the statement that he was a mighty hunter before Adonai (Gen. 10:9). The name “Nimrod” comes from the Hebrew verb marad meaning “rebel.” Adding an “n” before the “m” it becomes an infinitive construct “Nimrod.” The meaning then is “The Rebel.” Therefore, the name “Nimrod” most likely represents a derisive term of a type or representative of a system epitomized by rebellion against G-d. Indeed, rebellion began soon after the flood at which time “Nimrod” became a prominent figure. He was able to sequester people to follow him and as such was probably charismatic. Josephus provides a narrative that describes Nimrod and will fit the anti-Messiah perfectly: “Now it was Nimrod who excited them to such an affront and contempt of G-d. He was the grandson of Ham, the son of Noah- a bold man, and of great strength of hand. He persuaded them not to ascribe it to G-d, as if it were through his means they were happy, but to believe it was their own courage which procured that happiness. He also gradually changed the government into tyranny- seeing no other way of turning men from the fear of G-d, to bring them into constant dependence upon his own power. He also said he would be revenged on G-d, if he should have a mind to drown the world again; for that he would build a tower.”
The name of “Nimrod” itself points to a violent resistance of G-d… Nimrod as a mighty hunter founded a powerful kingdom; and the founding of this kingdom is shown by the verb with vav consecutive, to have been the consequence or result of his strength in hunting, so that hunting was intimately connected with the establishing of the kingdom. Hence, if the expression “a mighty hunter” relates primarily to hunting in the literal sense, we must add to the literal meaning the figurative signification of a “hunter of men” (a trapper of men by stratagem and force); Nimrod the hunter became a tyrant, a powerful hunter of men” (Keil & Delitzsch, 1975, p. 165). This brings us to why G-d became angry, scattered the people, and confounded their language. Let’s turn to Psalms 2 and use scripture to explain and verify scripture:
“Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the L-rd and against His Anointed One. ‘Let us break their chains,’ they say, ‘and throw off their fetters.’ The One enthroned in heaven laughs, the L-rd scoffs at them. Then He rebukes them in His anger and terrifies them in His wrath, saying, ‘I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill.’ I will proclaim the decree of the L-rd: He said to me, ‘you are my Son, today I have become your Father, Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. You will rule them with an iron scepter; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.’ Therefore, you kings, be wise; He warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the L-rd with fear and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for His wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in Him.” See Genesis 11:7-9 for comparison of concept.
Today we are experiencing an environment like the Tower of Bavel as we continue to merge into a global village and a One World Order that will be ruled for a time by the Anti-Messiah. The post-modern paradigm taught tour children and embraced in our society teaches that there is no longer a fundamental truth and that no one can be condemned for their opinion or actions based on this precept. Over the past 200 years, since the advent of modern technology, man has become increasingly secular. The more we think we can figure out the how and why of the world, the less we think we need G-d. Man has become too confident, too secure with his control over so many to the extent that he now thinks G-d’s Torah is no longer valid and requires no action on our part. Since there is no clear definition of wrong and truth is whatever a person says it is, anything goes; unbridled license termed “grace” that requires no obedience to the very laws, rules, and mandates taught in the Old and “New” Testaments by YHVH/Yahshua.
Messianic Jews and our Orthodox brothers agree that G-d has provided the age of information and technology to discover more about Him and His Torah. A perfect example is the Bible Code that was not possible to decipher until the computer age. We thank G-d for the technology, but we must seek His guidance through the Ruach HaKodesh in using it for His glory and not our own human edification. When we use our I-Pads, I-Pods, Kindles, and other technology, we should consciously thank G-d for giving us these tools to better understand His Torah and all the treasures within its pages designed to help us ascend in our relationship with Him. This is impossible if we take the path of Nimrod and his followers. We can only ascend to G-d through an inverse relationship of “descending” accomplished through self-nullification/surrender of our wills, selfish desires, and sincere desire to emulate Yahshua manifest by faith AND works. To learn, we must continually ask, seek, and knock, and the door will be opened to and for us. As the Talmud stares “Do not say ‘I will study when I have the time’, for perhaps you will never have time” (2:5).
Haftarah: Isaiah 54:1-10
Forsaken Jerusalem is likened to a barren woman. G-d enjoins her to rejoice, for the time will soon come when the Jewish nation will return, proliferate, repopulating the once desolate cities of Israel. Isaiah assures the people that G-d has not forsaken them. Just as evening precedes morning as written in our last parashah, Israel’s darkest hours must occur before the dawn with the appearance of the restoring and Infinite Light; Yahshua. Yahshua will gather Israel from their exile with great mercy. This haftarah compares the final Redemption to the pact G-d made with Noach in this week’s parashah. Just as G-d promised to never bring a flood over the entire earth, so too will He never again be angry at Israel. “For the mountains may move and the hills might collapse, but My kindness shall not depart from you, neither shall the covenant of My peace collapse.”
B’rit Chadashah: Mathew 24:36-44
This passage can only be understood by reading the verses immediately preceding. Yahshua is talking to his disciples about His reappearance and the end of the present world (Matt: 24:3). He describes the sprouting of the fig tree symbolizing the establishment of Israel as a separate state (Matt. 24:32). Then He tells them that “the time is near, right at the door. Yes! I tell you that this people will certainly not pass away before all these things happen. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” Now we are ready to address the specific passage:
“But when that day and hour will come, no one knows- not the angels in heaven, not the Son, only the Father. For the Son of Man’s coming will be just as it was in the days of Noach. Back then, before the Flood, people went on eating and drinking, taking wives and becoming wives, right up till the day Noach entered the ark; and they didn’t know what was happening until the Flood came and swept them all away. It will be just like that when the Son of Man comes. Then there will be two men in the field-one will be taken and the other left behind. There will be two women grinding flower at the mill- one will be taken and the other left behind. So stay alert, because you don’t know on what day your L-rd will come. But you do know this; had the owner of the house known when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you too must always be ready, for the Son of Man will come when you are not expecting Him.”
There is a great deal of debate concerning the subject of this passage. Is it the Rapture? Is it the Second Coming? I’ve heard arguments for each but I am convinced of the following interpretation for two reasons. First, this passage relates to our parashah. Genesis 7:17 alludes to the Rapture: “the water grew higher and floated the ark, so that it was lifted up off the earth.” The story of Noah symbolizes the Rapture in G-d separating His people just before destroying all life on land.
When Yahshua said that no one knows the day and hour except the Father alone, Matthew records the introduction of the statement with peri de (“now concerning). It is well established that when peri de stands absolutely at the beginning of a sentence (and followed by the genitive), it marks a new section of thought that reaches back to previous material, often to resume an unanswered or unspoken question such as that asked by the disciples. There is also a peri de construction in 1 Thess. 5:1. This precise construction is recognized as introducing a slightly new yet complimentary subject with the 1 Thess. 4:13-18 presentation of a pre-tribulation rapture. In the latter passage, Paul said that no one at Thessalonica needed to be informed about the times and seasons “because they knew perfectly well that the time of the L-rd’s coming was unknown (See similar comment by Yahshua Mt. 24:36). Matthew 24 and 1 Thessalonians 4-5, Paul transitions with peri de from what Thessalonians do not know to what they do know about the rapture/day of the L-rd. The reverse is true of Matthew 24. Yahshua transitions from what the disciples can know (24:4-35) to what they cannot know (24:36-44). A similar eschatological significance can be attributed to the word hora (“hour”). In Revelation 3:10, where the true believers (Israel) is promised to be kept from the “hour of testing,” hora has reference to the future tribulation period and to the day of the L-rd. In Matt. 24:37-39 Yahshua refers to the coming of “that day and hour” as being like the “days of Noah.” That is, there was a sense of normalcy on the part of the people apart from Noach and his family (See vv.37-39; 41-42). We know that the days prior to Yahshua’s second coming and the day of the L-rd will be anything but “normal.” At the sixth seal judgment, people know fully that the wrath of G-d has come (Rev. 6:16). The calamities that precede the second coming of Yahshua will be so severe that the human race will be close to extinction apart from the L-rd’s intervention (Matt. 24:22).
Further support for Matthew 24:36-44 as describing the Rapture is available but not included in this teaching for the sake of brevity. There are other teachings addressing this subject on the website at http://www.rabdavis.org.
Rabbi Tamah Davis