Beth Elohim Messianic Synagogue
Parashah #2 Noach (Noah) B’resheet (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 provides fuel for those who choose to not believe that G-d is who He is; the Creator and Sustainer of all the universe ad everything in it. We read of the flood account this week in which everything on dry land died, including the birds of the air (Gen. 7:21-23). G-d changes the diet of man from that of a vegetarian to one that includes permitted animals. Rashi makes a point 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” does not hold water (no pun intended). Genesis chapter 10 identifies important characters in the genealogy of the sons of Noah important to our understanding of subsequent scriptures. Therefore, let us identify some of these individuals and groups of people.
As an additional note of interest, 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.
“The sons of Ham were Kush [Ethiopians], Mitzrayim [Arabs], Put [Libians], and Kena’an [Caananite; Palestinians].(Gen 10:6). 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 exactly as we are facing today. Our current events provide a perfect illustration of how man does not learn from mistakes that were made most assuredly in the history of man. 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. I am going to provide scripture in italics, then insert current events immediately where they apply for comparison.
“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 that has a perpetual pinnacle that extends to the heavens at an angle representing infinite reach. They maintain 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 temple was designed by Gyo Obata and evokes the spiral shell of the Nautilus with a stainless steel spire that rises 300 feet (91 m). The facility displays art which comprises a collection of modern and traditional religious art from around the world. The entry to the sanctuary is through a beautifully etched glass archway depicting the Sacred Grove where Joseph Smith, Jr. is said to have had his initial revelatory experience. This leads to the gently ascending worshiper’s path of textured stone which spirals around its periphery. Along the path are artworks and a fountain symbolizing the “living water” of John 4:10 for meditative focus. The temple’s main sanctuary has seating for approximately 1,600. It houses a Casavant pipe organ with 5685 pipes. At the exit foyer in the mouth of the spiral, “The Field is White, Already to Harvest” (see John: 4:35) is a large stained glass wall depicting rice and wheat, that earned an American Institute of Architects award for religious art. Adjacent are the massive bronze exit doors which carry the church seal depicting the peaceful lion, lamb, and child from Isaiah 11:6 and the word “PEACE”. The wide steps open up onto a world plaza with global map of inlaid brick (Note bricks used in building the original Tower of Bavel!) Note the description and how people marvel at this modern “tower of Bavel” just as did Nimrod and the people in Genesis. There are 12 portraits of living men designated as the 12 Apostles. Flags from all nations are located in the lobby except for that of Israel.
There are some interesting encoded words in Genesis 10:5 and 11:7 “Come, let us go down, and there confound their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech” two Bible verses that deal most directly with language crossed “ Bible code” where it was crossed by “dictionary” and encoded with “Lisan”, also meaning “language.” On the same table, “key” appeared, crossed by “computer program.” Also encoded are “code key” and “The dictionary, and it was opened.” All four of the most central expressions- “Bible code,” “code key,” “Encoder.” And “Decoder”- were crossed by “dictionary.” This could not have been by chance. Furthermore, the original language was Hebrew (Drosnin, 2002). Also note that G-d said “ let us go down…” He was not alone.
We should 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. Rebellion began soon after the Flood at which time this person “Nimrod” became prominent. He was able to sequester people to follow him and as such was probably charismatic. Josephus says of Nimrod a narrative that 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.”
According to two of the most esteemed commentators on Biblical Hebrew:
“Nimrod was a mighty hunter, and that in opposition to YHVH; not “before YHVH” in the sense of according to the will and purpose of YHVH, still less,… in a simply superlative sense… 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. For a detailed explanation, 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 similar to the Tower of Bavel as we continue to merge into a global village and a One World Order ruled for a time by the Anti-Messiah. Post-modern paradigm in our society and taught in our schools dictates belief 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 things 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 there is no fundamental truth, anything goes; unbridled license termed “grace” that requires no obedience to the very laws, rules, and mandates Yahshua taught as His Father’s will and His own.
We as Messianic Jews and our Orthodox brothers agree that G-d has opened up the age of information and technology to discover more about Him. 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 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 technological tools, we should take a moment to thank G-d for giving us these tools to better understand His Torah and all the treasures within its pages that are designed to help us ascend to Him. This is impossible if we take the path of Nimrod and his followers. We can only ascend to G-d through a direct 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.
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. As we mentioned last week in discussing the evening coming before the morning, Israel’s darkest hours must occur before the dawn and the appearance of the restoring and eternal Light of YHVH/Yahshua. YHVH/Yahshua will gather Israel from their exiles 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 Noach which means “rest.” 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. I will address this subject in future teachings.
Rabbi Tamah Davis