A wise man once said, “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.” That wise man was Solomon; and the words which he spoke were not merely words of wisdom but the Word of God (Ecclesiastes 1:9). It is true therefore; there is no new thing under the sun. What we see happening today in the world and church has happened many times over. It is for that reason that the apostle Paul, for example, could write to the Corinthian church in I Corinthians 10 concerning what the nation of Israel encountered while journeying through the wilderness and then add (vs. 11), “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.”
The same can be said concerning the events surrounding the great judgment of the wicked world in the Flood. The events of the days just prior to the Flood are recorded in Scripture for our example. God by His grace made sure that these events were recorded in Holy Writ for our admonition upon whom the ends of the world are come. In fact, the days prior to the Flood are not only an example of events which recur in history but they are exactly a type of the days in which we now live, the days just prior to the final judgment of this world. In other words, the days of Noah are but an Old Testament shadow which points us to the days in which we now live. That is why Jesus, when teaching His apostles the signs of His second coming, stated inMatthew 24:37-39, “But as the days of Noe were, so shall the coming of the Son of man be. 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.” Because this is true we receive from Scripture a profound and illuminating insight into what is occurring in our day simply by studying those events which occurred prior to the Flood. That is our intention in this installment and in those to come, the Lord willing.
The first point of similarity between the days of Noah and the day in which we live is the breakdown of the separation between the church and the world. There is a large-scale amalgamation between those within the church and the wicked world. The true church of Jesus Christ becomes smaller and smaller. We are able to say that this is true not only because we who have been given spiritual eyes can see it happening today but also because this is exactly what happened in the days of Noah. In Genesis 6:1-4, we are given an account of that mixing of the church and the world. “And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.” Such is the account given us of the unholy alliance between the church and the wicked world in the days of Noah.
We cannot help but be struck by the fact that the basic way this amalgamation of church and world took place was by means of mixed marriages. And what we mean by mixed marriages is marriage between two people of different and opposing spiritual races: the sons of God and the daughters of man. We reject, of course, the contention that the sons of God referred to here inGenesis 6 were in fact angels instead of human beings. Those who claim this explain this passage to mean that these angels saw earthly women that they were fair, and as a result became involved in a strange sort of intercourse with them. The result of this relationship was that these women produced offspring which were mutations of human kind: giants and mighty men of renown. Such an interpretation of the term “sons of God,” however, destroys the entire point of the passage. Although it is true that there were men of large stature and undoubtedly of great physical strength in those days, nowhere does this passage speak of them as the fruit of some kind of intercourse between women and angels. Besides this, nowhere does Scripture support the fact that angels came to earth, married women, and lived with them. No, the plain teaching of this Scripture cannot be avoided: there was a synthesis between the church and the world.
The sons of God were those who belonged to God’s church and who claimed to be God’s people. They were those who confessed to be Spirit-led children of God who could address God as their Father in heaven. The daughters of men, on the other hand, were the ungodly, unbelieving children of darkness. These despised God and His commandments and were characterized by the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life. From a spiritual point of view, then, there should have been a day and night difference between these sons of God and the daughters of men. Whereas the wicked use all the good things of creation as well as the knowledge and skill God has given them in the service of sin and darkness, the people of God use all this in the service of God. The daughters of men, i.e., the reprobate, live for the day; they eat, drink, and make merry. They strive after the fulfillment of their own sinful desires and their own self-gratification. They look for an earthly kingdom where man is supreme and can do anything he wants to do. The adornment of the ungodly women is the outward adorning of plaiting of the hair and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel. They seek to look “fair” by appealing to the passions and lust of men. Their conversation is unholy and unchaste. And ungodly men are no different. This too is what they look for in a woman. They look for it exactly because these same things are the very desires of their own life.
The sons of God, on the other hand, are those who live out of a hope and longing for a heavenly kingdom. In them Christ has so worked by His Spirit that as a result they yield their members as instruments of righteousness to do the will of God. They no longer dwell in the darkness and bondage of sin. They receive God’s command, “Be ye holy as I am holy!” They know their calling to be separate from the world and never to be unequally yoked together with unbelievers! And because of that work of the Spirit within their hearts they strive with all their being to be a distinctive and a peculiar people who show forth the praises of Him Who has called them out of darkness into His marvelous light! These truly are the sons of God. Certainly, we understand as well as did God’s people of Noah’s day that there remains this great spiritual gulf between these two spiritual races.
Yet, in the days prior to the great Flood we find that a great synthesis transpired between these two spiritual camps; and that it did so by means of intermarriage between those of God’s people and those of the wicked world. Young men who called themselves believers, who claimed to be sons of God, looked upon the outward beauty, the sex-appeal, of the wicked women of this world and lusted after it. Instead of walking the life of the antithesis and heeding God’s command to come out from among them and be separate and touch not the unclean thing, they took them wives of all which they chose. Young women too who outwardly confessed that they were children of God gave themselves in marriage to ungodly men because they desired the strength and the ways of these men.
No doubt, these intermarriages were the result of a deeper spiritual problem. The sons of God, though going through the outward motions of faith and walk, no longer lived out of the longing for the forgiveness of sins and life everlasting. They no longer hoped in the coming of a heavenly kingdom. Their desires had become earthy, sensual, devilish. The ways of this wicked world and all it had to offer were more desirable to them than fellowship with the ever-blessed God. The daughters of men could offer them the pleasures and the “fun” of this world. The riches and power, the artistry and industry attracted them. The fashion and entertainment of the wicked appealed to their earthly, sensual pleasure. This became the spiritual basis for the many intermarriages that took place between the sons of God and the daughters of men. Thus the great fusion of the church and the world took place.
The result was devastating!
The children of these marriages became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. And certainly the Scripture does not mean that these became men of great spiritual strength and stamina. God’s children never become in this world men of renown. Of course not! Simply because their affections are set on the heavenly they remain weak and despised according to the standards of the world. Paul writes in I Corinthians 1:26-29, “For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: no flesh should glory in His presence. ” No, the children of these “mixed marriages” did not become great spiritual leaders of the church! They became the mighty and the noble of this world, men who developed this creation of God in the service of sin! We will write more on this later.
As these men increased in the world the people of God decreased, until there were only eight souls in all the world that remained as sons of God at the time of the Flood. Wickedness had increased and the church had almost completely disappeared. All this was true in the days of Noah because of that unholy coalition between the church and the world.
Not only was this true of the days of Noah. Remember Solomon’s wise words: “There is no new thing under the sun.” Repeatedly this also happened in the history of Israel as a nation. What do we find concerning the nation of Israel in Judges 3:5-7, as soon as they had been given their possession in the promised land? This: “And the children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites, Hittites, and Amorites, and Perizzites, and Hivites, and Jebusites: and they took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons, and served their gods. And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and forgot the Lord their God, and served Baalim and the groves.” Such sin never departed from this nation either. Ahab married the wicked Jezebel who led Israel into the worship of Baal. It was also Solomon himself who married many heathen wives and led Israel into sin by worshipping the gods of the heathen. So this sin continued until there was but a small remnant left in Isaiah’s day; and that remnant was “left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, and a besieged city.” In fact, so much had Israel become a part of the world that for the sake of those few “sons of God” left in Israel God led the nation into the judgment of the captivity.
But what is striking in all this is this: “the thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done.” The days of Noah are a type of the days in which we live now. What is happening today? We consider this next time.