Last installment we considered that in the days of Noah the mighty and noble men of this wicked world had developed God’s good creation in the service of sin and Satan. The world, had developed greatly in her technology and industry; in fact, civilization had reached the very height of its development. Jabal, Jubal, and Tubalcain, the wicked sons of evil Lamech, had made it their aim and goal to make this world useful for themselves, and useful in such a way that they might fulfill their own lusts and passions. Their purpose in life was not to subdue the earth in the service of God but rather to set up an earthly kingdom without God where man reigned supreme. So it was that their wicked descendants became the geniuses of entertainment, industry, and technology.
Does this advancement in entertainment and technology of Noah’s day sound familiar? It should. Remember Jesus’ words in Matthew 24:37, “But as the days of Noe were, so shall the coming of the Son of man be.” The events of Noah’s day are even now unfolding before our eyes, including that development in worldly arts and industry.
If you recall, Jabal was the “father of all such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle.” He was the beginning of those that accumulate unto themselves the treasures of this world. He and his spiritual descendants were those characterized by the love of money, and who were, ‘therefore, highminded, trusting in their uncertain riches and laying up in store for themselves wealth and prestige upon earth. They cared not for God’s kingdom but instead they fell into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition (see I Timothy 6:9-19).
Is it not true that this is exactly what we find transpiring about us today too? You and I live in the midst of a materialistic world. There is a mad dash in our day after money and all the luxuries and pleasures it can buy. So much is it the order of the day that even God’s children, without sometimes even realizing it, fall into the same pattern. How often we find those, even within the church of Christ, constantly discussing new and better ways of increasing their wealth. Sometimes it even becomes so bad that they begin to judge one’s Christianity on the basis of how many dollars and cents one, is worth. In fact, such a craving in the church after the accumulation of earthly wealth often sees the causes of the kingdom of Christ suffer. Surely, the world about us has gone crazy over the almighty dollar and all of the conveniences and extras in life that dollar can bring.
Along with this craze of the modern day world, and hand in hand with it, is the extreme longing to indulge in all the earthly sensual pleasures that this world affords. Remember, Jubal was the “father of all such as handle the harp and organ.” He and his descendants had taken God’s wonderful creation of music and utilized that also in the service of sin and Satan. They composed the notes and added the words which resulted in the lustful strains of sin and immorality. That was true in the days of Noah, and such also will be true of the days prior to Christ’s coming! And it is too! The Apostle Paul tells Timothy inII Timothy 3:1-4, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come, for men shall be. . . lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.” It can hardly go without saying that we live in a “pleasure-mad” and a “fun-crazy” world. That reveals itself, first of all, in the very music we hear as it flows forth from the modern day “harp and organ.” Just quickly turn the tuner of our car radios or stereos and we find that the vast majority of stations that the tuning needle touches blast out the distorted and corrupted “music” of this world. We hear music that delights in rebel lion, drugs, sex, and blasphemy against God and His Word. We hear of murder, adultery, and Satan worship; and that, not only in the acid rock and punk music of the day, but also in the more accepted country music of the day. Even the distorted and twisted notes of music support such lustful and immoral thoughts.
But neither does the entertainment craze begun by Jubal stop with music. There are those places that thrive in the night hours, the theaters and bars and discos. The world sets up its movie stars and celebrities as gods and worships them. Gossip papers have become a thriving enterprise. And all this has its effect upon the church too. The love of God and His Word has grown cold, to be replaced by a love of pleasure. Many in the church of Christ, if not indulging in the blatant corruption which we have just mentioned, nevertheless live to see how much fun they can get out of life. They become lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. No doubt in our day there is a repeat of the same cravings and desires that characterized the world of Noah’s day! The last days are upon us!
Finally, we must not forget Tubalcain and his spiritual descendants. Tubalcain was an “instructor of every artificer in brass and iron.” He and his descendants were the giants of industry and technology. They labored to develop the natural products of God’s creation to suit their own needs and comforts. They did not attempt to serve God by means of the great knowledge and skill God had given them, but they rather attempted to create a world of technology where they could become their own gods.
Is it possible for the godly man of today to be blinded to the similarity of Noah’s day with ours? Surely not! Just look at the great advances in technology today. Man has conquered the sea and air and space. By the touch of a few buttons we can talk to someone on the opposite side of the earth. Or, if we wish, in a matter of hours we can sit next to them and visit them. Think of the nuclear threat to the world; so far advanced has man become in his knowledge that he can destroy himself with only the push of several buttons. Observe the great strides man has made in medicine and surgery. Who ever heard, thirty years ago, of organ transplants or mechanical hearts! Who ever thought of staying alive by means of a steady diet of pills! Take note of the many little conveniences we now have: from potbelly stoves to microwaves, from horse and buggy to computerized automobiles with reclining seats, from a quiet night spent around the Monopoly board to the excitement of Pat-Man and Space Invaders. And all of this in a matter of a few years time! Surely the beast out of the earth which “doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast” (Rev. 13:13-14); surely, this beast is already making his appearance in the world today!
The point is, of course, that all of this is an indication to God’s children who are waiting’ and watching for Christ’s return that Christ is coming quickly and will soon appear on the clouds of heaven. As witnesses of all that is transpiring about us in this world we are called to be sober and watch. That means we must beware lest we fall into the same snare and temptation of the wicked and lose sight of our goal, the kingdom of God and its righteousness.
So it was that, because of the amalgamation of the church and the world, mighty men of old were born, men of renown. And these mighty men developed the world in civilization. They monopolized God’s creation and subdued it in the service of Satan. Furthermore, we learn in Genesis 6:11-13 the outcome of all this: “The earth was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon earth. And God said unto Noah, the end of all flesh is come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth.” Because ungodly men developed their riches, entertainment, and technology with the purpose of serving themselves and not God the world became utterly corrupt and filled with violence. Noah’s day was a time of abounding lawlessness! And the underlying reason for this was the total depravity of mankind. In Genesis 6:5 we read, “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
To understand this development of the world in Noah’s day it is necessary that we consider for a moment the fall of man into sin. Prior to the fall Adam was formed after the image of God. “The Canons of Dordtrecht” in the Third and Fourth Heads of Doctrine, Article 1 describe for us what was true of Adam in the state of perfection: “His understanding was adorned with a true and saving knowledge of his Creator, and of spiritual things; his heart and will were upright; all his affections pure; and the whole man was holy.” Surely, the description given us here of Adam before the fall is the exact opposite of the description of man given in Genesis 6:5. This sudden change of man’s heart can be ascribed to the fall of Adam into sin. In the fall Adam “forfeited these excellent gifts” described for us in the “Canons” and instead became corrupt in all the imaginations of his heart. And since Adam was the father of the whole human race, all men in him were born dead in trespasses and sin. The description of man given us in Genesis 6:5 “that every imagination of the thought of his heart was only evil continually,” was true of every fallen man born out of the loins of Adam. Now, we also learn from. Scripture that out of this entire mass of fallen depraved men God, by His grace, has saved unto Himself a people in Christ. In these people, whom He has chosen from eternity, God works, delivering them from this spiritual bondage of sin. To them has been restored the image of God with all the excellent gifts Adam possessed in Paradise before the fall. But in Noah’s day these elect became fewer and fewer; there remained only a small remnant of those in whom God had worked salvation from the depravity of sin. As for the rest of mankind, God had given them over unto a depraved mind. Now the prediluvian world had become densely populated with them. It was upon this reprobate world that God looked and, “behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.”
Next time, the Lord willing, we will consider how this corruption of the’ world resulted in a society filled with violence and lawlessness.