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Noah's Flood as the Story of Jesus Christ

Sometimes, you just have to throw the ball down the field to see what happens...

 

Covenant: Peace Through Sacrifice

 

"… this makes it more evident that all kinds of animals were preserved in the ark, not so much for the sake of renewing the stock, as of prefiguring the various nations which were to be saved in the Church…"

 

Augustine, City of God

 

 [New Addition 1-15-14]

"...the sovereign rule of the Messiah, inaugurated already, fulfilling the prophecies in which the world would at last be brought to book by the true human in charge of the ‘animals’, by the Messiah in charge of the nations."

N.T. Wright, Paul and the Faithfulness of God, p. 1066.

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Comment by Norm on January 23, 2012 at 10:15pm

Tim,

 

Very good!  I've been seeing that direction for some time now.

 

We can see the Gen 1 analogy even in the ages of Noah.

 

Gen 5:32  After Noah was 500 years old, Noah fathered Shem, Ham, and Japheth. (Day 5)

Gen 7:6  Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters came upon the earth. (Day 6)

 

As you may know I foster Gen 1:1-2:4 as an introductory prologue of Genesis and the entire creation  followed by the 10 other sections of Genesis that also present the messianic story line of Israel through different analogical adaptations .   All we have to do to verify these approaches is check out Paul’s usage of Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Esau and Jacob in his writings and notice how he applies them analogically to their times concerning Christ and the remnant as the younger son.  This is in a similar vein of reading Genesis as you have proposed for the flood account and Paul provides precedent for doing so. Not only Paul but second temple literature runs with this approach constantly.

 

The elephant in the room concerning the whole book of Genesis  for a right understanding is to recognize it’s prevalence to Israel’s story analogically and ultimately as Josephs story presents as messianic inclined.  I know this is going to put our literalist friends in a tizzy but sometimes you have to take the blinders off and simply recognize the literature for what it was really intended for.

 

Norm

Comment by Tim Martin on January 23, 2012 at 10:51pm

Yes, Norm. I've seen the ages significant that way, too. I can only "unload" so much at one time in a preaching setting. It's not a CC conference, after all!

I have seen the Joseph story that way for awhile, too. He is the consummation of Genesis where he provides food for the entire land/earth. So the book of Genesis not only provides prologue for the rest of the story, it is the entire Bible in miniature.

Your point about missing the context of the Adam/Israel story is spot on as well. Jeff and I were just noting how significant this little adjustment really is. This is really revolutionary.

As far as the flood account goes, this Covenant Creation approach makes some connections in the NT that are very powerful, though subtle. The storm/rain went on for 40 days/nights which I believe is prophetic of the entire 40 year generation at the end of the age. If that is accurate, then it gives us a pretty good conception of what's going on in the NT. Pentecost was when "Jews from every nation under heaven" gathered in Jerusalem. I see that as beginning of when the nations began to enter the ark; Jew first then Gentile. Or you could even say that these Jews went home as "Noahs" to bring the nations into the ark of God's salvation through the preaching of the Gospel. My point is the "under heaven" language in Acts two hints at the link between Pentecost and the Flood account.

Then we have the record of the Jerusalem council in Acts 15. Note what the Gentiles were told not to eat. This is during the last days of the Old Covenant when circumcision was still accepted for Jews under the law (e.g. Paul and Timothy). But  Jew and Gentiles are brought together in Jesus Christ by the Flood story. Essentially, James is saying that they are "all in the same boat." Obedient Gentiles marked out their faith by abstaining from blood. That put them under the (rain)bow of the peace covenant in Jesus Christ. Of course, after A.D. 70 the distinction became obsolete. But for that period it was helpful. The flood story is really about the gospel.

Then there is that example of Col. 1 and the gospel that "was preached" to every creature "under heaven." Like I mentioned in the sermon, that is in the clear context of a creation teaching by Paul. I don't think the "under heaven" language was random... Paul knew what he was doing. The ark had been fully boarded before the end.

No lifeblood means that the nations had to be dead to their old ways. Eating the life blood meant following after the manner of natural life the nations followed. The nations given to "gospel dominion" were only allowed to eat the blood of the Covenant. That (symbolically) gives the life of the true Man...

Lots there...

Blessings,

Tim

Comment by Norm on January 23, 2012 at 11:24pm

It’s pretty clear the Peter and Gentile connection from Genesis 9.   Genesis being written by Hebrews and stating that everything shall be food, would be an extremely radical presentation for those under the clean and unclean Jewish customs.  Gen 9 cannot be anything other than projecting toward messianic times in its intent; otherwise it goes against the story line itself where Noah understood the designation of clean and unclean animals.

 

Gen 9:3  Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.

 

Act 11:6-9  Looking at it closely, I observed animals and beasts of prey and reptiles and birds of the air.  (7)  And I heard a voice saying to me, 'Rise, Peter; kill and eat.'  (8)  But I said, 'By no means, Lord; for nothing common or unclean has ever entered my mouth.'  (9)  But the voice answered a second time from heaven, 'What God has made clean, do not call common.'

 

Of course those familiar with Enoch’s dream vision see the animals coming off the Ark and becoming the various peoples of the Nations.

Comment by Tim Martin on January 23, 2012 at 11:43pm

Ted,

 

I don't think biblical types work quite like that. Just think of the whole David and Bathsheba problem. 

 

They work, but it's much more flexible. Plus they overlap and repeat constantly. It's not like a computer program...

 

That's my take on it, at least.

 

Comment by Tim Martin on January 24, 2012 at 2:01pm

Ted,

 

To add to what I said above, I think the account of Noah's drunkenness is another "fall" story following the story line of Adam. Pretty much everyone in the Adamic/Israel line has a "fall" that is followed closely by God's promise of redemption. The flood story actually begins with the "fall" of the sons of God. God's promise of final redemption/peace follows the pleasing sacrifice of righteous Noah.

 

Adam's fall gets all of the attention because it is foundational, but you can see the same thing with the story of Cain and Abel. Then Noah has his fall after the covenant was confirmed with him. Abraham was tempted by his wife not to believe God's promise of an heir. Abram fell by taking Hagar according to Sarah's suggestion. Joseph's life is kind of considered as perfection, but that matches Joseph's place as a consummation story of Genesis. He provides salvation for the entire land/earth, not merely for his own Abrahamic family. Joseph worked his salvation while sitting at the right hand of Pharaoh, king of the entire land/earth.

 

Later, Moses had his fall and was not allowed to enter the promised land. David has his fall, and even his own death and resurrection as he fled the throne during Absalom's rebellion and then returned in victory. Solomon had his fall, also related to women. Israel had their fall as a nation, committing adultery with the nations. But, like the original garden story, was given promise of redemption (e.g. Hosea, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, etc.) during a time of covenant judgment.

 

Does that help with how these stories work as repeating and related types? It's almost like the stories are each an individual, artistic painting of the whole story. This happens over and over till we get to Jesus.

 

Here is where it gets interesting. Full preterism says that Jesus fulfilled all of this in finality in the 1st century with the harvest of the land and sea (Rev. 20, etc). The end came with a flood (kataklusmos - Daniel 9:26). Jesus fulfills the Noahic peace covenant. There is covenant peace between God and his people... that's what the new covenant is all about.

 

Partial preterism, on the other hand, says that what happened in the first century was a type or shadow of a "fuller" fulfillment with a global consummation at the end of planet Earth's history. In other words, the Noah story was not fulfilled in the first century because the nations are still being brought into the ark. The Great Commission is ongoing... Hence, a future, final global judgment to come. The ark is still not full yet. The "final" flood is yet to come.

 

If it can be demonstrated that the story of Noah is the story of Jesus Christ and what happened in the first century with the salvation of Israel and the Gentiles, then all forms of futurism have been refuted.

 

Partial preterism is forced to conclude that Jesus did not completely fulfill the story of Noah in the first century. That ultimate fulfillment only comes at the end of the world. Thus, once again, we see that a global flood view in Genesis mandates a global consummation as defined by futurism. (The same argument could be made from a global, physical-universe creation in Gen. 1.) Full preterism's covenant context for eschatology can only work with a covenant context for Noah's flood. That's also how a local flood vindicates full preterism.

 

A young-earth reading of Genesis 1 with a global flood cannot be reconciled with full preterism. Sam Frost and co. finally figured this out. Actually, a lot of preterists now "get it."

 

Tim Martin

BeyondCreationScience.com

Comment by Michael Bennett on January 25, 2012 at 4:03pm

Nice find Tim - cool quote.  But at the same time, I don't think anyone doubts that there is typolgy going on.  The question is, do you believe that the animals on the ark were actually people.  It seems impossible to use that hermeneutic when examining the text internally (within the same context of Genesis). Noah sacrifice / burnt offerings / eats etc.

Comment by Tim Martin on January 25, 2012 at 4:32pm

Mike, did you listen to the sermon?

 

I take Noah's flood as prophetic of the end of the age. I think the physical event unfolded in such a way that everything points forward to the story of Jesus Christ.

 

The flood is a type/symbolic of the the end of the age and what happens in the first century with the gospel of Jesus. Israel (Noah) and the nations (animals) are gathered into the ark (salvation) before the "storm" of judgment (c.f. Matt.7:25). After the flood (Dan. 9:26) the gathered church enters the New Covenant prefigured with the Noahic Peace Covenant ratified after pleasing aroma of Noah's acceptable sacrifice.

 

None of that is controversial, but look at what it really means. Note how Acts 2 records Jews from "every nation under heaven" gathering to hear the gospel. These Jews believe, are baptized, and receive the Spirit. Then they go back to "every nation under heaven" to preach the gospel. Do you think that use of "every nation under heaven" language is mere coincidence in Acts 2? In BCS, we drew the parallel that language has back to the flood account. Why does the text bring in flood language in Acts 2? Because these Jews are little Noahs who go home to preach the gospel to the nations from which they came.

 

Pentecost is when Jesus started rounding up the animals in preparation for the great flood promised at the end of the age.

 

Put Acts 2 in context with what Paul does in Col. 1. Paul follows creation and flood motifs in Col. 1:15ff. Then Paul says the gospel was preached [past tense - Col. 1:23] to "every creature under heaven." Do you think Paul used that "every creature under heaven" language randomly? I don't. I think Paul is basically saying that all the animals (the remnant of the nations, just like Noah's flood only took some of each of the land-based animals) had been loaded on the ark. The informed readers could think "here comes the flood, now."

 

This flood background is the basis behind Peter's vision of the unclean animals in Acts 10, going back through Isaiah's prophecy to the flood account. Peter is told to get up, kill and eat and in comes Cornelius, the Roman centurion who believes and receives the Spirit. The new covenant reality is that God authorizes his people to "eat all flesh" (Gen. 9:3).

 

Note also what happens at the end of the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15. The dispute regarding circumcision was resolved by James' conclusion. The Gentiles turning to Christ should not be forced to undergo circumcision. Jews followed circumcision during the last days (e.g. Paul and Timothy), but Gentile believers were merely told to abstain from blood. Where did that come from? The flood account (Gen. 9:4) is in the back of James' mind.

 

Israel (Noah) and the Gentiles (animals) gather in the church (ark). Jews continued to mark their faith in God through circumcision. Gentiles marked their faith in God by abstaining from blood. In other words, James puts them all on the boat together under the promiseof the Peace Covenant. This situation endured for the rest of the last days before the full manifestation of the new covenant. Then those external markers became obsolete once and for all.

 

Mike, it's time to acknowledge that the Noah's flood is nota story about the history of planet Earth. It's prophetic of covenant history.

 

Global flood doctrine is the natural result of futurism's global/worldwide context for biblical prophecy. That's why preterists who dogmatically hold on to the doctrine end up returning to the global/worldwide eschatology of futurism.

 

How many more examples do you need to demonstrate this reality?

 

Tim Martin

www.BeyondCreationScience.com

Comment by Tim Martin on January 28, 2012 at 6:24pm

A more comprehensive presentation is available here:

http://deathisdefeated.ning.com/profiles/blogs/tim-martin-interview...

 

Comment by Tami on January 29, 2012 at 7:21am

Some of the best commentary I've read on the flood account yet, Tim, thanks! Thanks also for the Colossians 1 connection! :) That these connections exist never surprises me anymore, but discovering them certainly delights me.

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