Dr. Nelson Glueck, noted archaeologist, once commented: “It may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a Biblical reference. Scores of archaeological findings have been made which confirm in clear outline or in exact detail historical statements in the Bible.”
If following the flood Noah and his family were the only inhabitants of the whole earth it is reasonable to assume that from their offspring there would flow some kind of information concerning a gigantic flood that swept the whole world. And this is true. Almost everywhere in the literature and legend of ancient peoples there is reference to a great flood.
From the Chinese we learn this description of a great flood. “The pillars of heaven were broken, the earth shook to its foundation, the sun and the stars disappeared, the earth broke up and its waters within engulfed the earth and overflowed. All these evils arose from man having rebelled against heaven, despising the supreme power of the Universe.”
The Egyptians have a legend which says that a long time ago the gods purified the earth by a great flood from which a few shepherds escaped by climbing a high mountain.
In Britain, an ancient legend declares that because of the wickedness of man, the Supreme Being sent a flood, when the waves of the sea lifted themselves up all around the island of Britain. But a patriarch with a select company found refuge in a strong ship, survived the flood, and repopulated the earth.
Among the American Indians the tradition of a flood is found in every tribe. Among the 120 tribes in North, Central and South America, not a tribe exists which does not have a legend of a great deluge in which from three to eight persons were saved and cast upon a high mountain.
In Cambodia, pictured on the temple of Angkor is water spilling over the land.
Perhaps the most similar description to the Bible account comes out of Babylonian tradition which tells of a great flood once covering the earth. In this particular instance, Ardatas the king was warned to build a ship 3000 feet long and 1200 feet wide in which he and some friends and a large number of animals, with all necessary food, passed through the flood. Tradition also relates the sending forth of birds which returned again, and the ship finally coming to rest on the mountains of Armenia.
Such are the various traditions which seem to stem from the one true account given in Genesis. Actually, everything that is known about the period of history Before the flood is recorded in the Bible. If there were any records kept by any nation up until that time they were totally destroyed. Thus, three chapters in the Bible, namely Genesis 4,5, and 6 are the only authentic written account and reliable record of conditions on this earth as they existed in the days before the flood.
The Apostle Peter compares the days of Noah with the day of Christ’s Return saying: “Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto FIRE against the day of judgment, and perdition of ungodly men.” (2 Pet. 3:6-7)
Peter enlarges upon this theme, noting: “The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night: in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God wherein the heavens being on FIRE shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat.”
Here referred to is a Baptism of Fire coming to this earth even as Baptism by a Flood immersed the earth in the days of Noah.
The Prophet Malachi speaks of this, saying: “Who may abide the day of his coming? And who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s FIRE…”
There is no question but that as we come to the end of this age it is one of careless indifference to the things of God and almost total disregard for His Word. Predicted has been both the apostasy – the falling away that we are now seeing, along with lukewarmness or spiritual apathy that characterizes our age. Because iniquity would abound the love of many would wax cold, we’re told. And that is exactly as we are seeing it today. So God has no alternative but to end this age with tribulation – a trial by fire to see what kind of faith is ours. Thus, Malachi likens the return of Christ to a refiner’s fire. And he goes on to declare: “he shall sit as arefiner and purifier of silver.” In Scripture ‘silver’ speaks of redemption. So Christ is here seen purifying those whom he has redeemed. His purpose is to cleanse from all iniquity that characterizes the lives of many who call themselves Christians today and to prepare us for heaven.
Malachi goes on to declare: “He shall purify the Sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.”
We know the tribulation will be a time of Jacob’s trouble. Israel is in for some difficult times. However, in the midst of her fires of judgment there will come a purifying such as was never seen among men. A whole nation will ultimately be converted when in the midst of serious times of calamity there will be a great turning to the Lord.
So we discover this baptism of fire will come both to the Laodicean Church and to Israel in the Endtime. Thus in the midst of persecution and affliction, in tribulation and amidst chastening we hear our Lord saying: “I counsel of thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire.” Rev 3:18
We don’t like tests and trials. Nevertheless, Peter reminds us – “the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” (1 Pet. 1:7)
Who knows what the Church will go through before Jesus comes. Already in many parts of the world Christians are suffering for their faith. But you can be assured the calibre of faith which is exhibited amidst suffering is much greater than the anemic, lukewarm, wishy-washy experience to which some of us testify today. Too often following an experience we call conversion or the new birth our lives are not changed, our deportment is not affected, our character remains the same…we steal, lie, cheat, hate, hurt, and harm others as before a so-called conversion. We would just as soon damn our fellowman as win him for Christ. Such animosity that exists, such coldness that prevails, is not characteristic of Christ Who commands us to ‘love our enemies and do good to them that hate us.’
If going through a deep trial now just remember this may be God’s way of perfecting, purifying and preparing us for the rapture. Though we believe in divine healing we also believe the Lord permits tests to come our way to correct faults and failings in our lives and to help prepare us for Christ’s Return. As we read in Hebrews “Now no chastening for the present seemeth joyous but grievous; nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” Heb. 12:11 Did you hear it?
There is often a purpose in our affliction. If suffering becomes our lot and we become aggravated over our affliction we will fail to gain the benefits of suffering if we don’t accept it as a divine favor in perfecting our faith. To keep sweet amidst discouraging circumstances is what God is seeking to do in our lives… “for tribulation worketh patience, and patience, experience, and experience, hope that maketh not ashamed.”
Thus, Paul would say, “We glory in tribulation.” And James would remind us, “Count it all joy when ye fall into divers testings.”
Finally, we would like to point out that the Apostle Paul reminds those who are going through tribulation now for their faith that there is a time coming when Christ will appear and put an end to their persecution and distress. He writes: “Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; and to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Notice, Christ’s coming will have a two-fold effect. In flaming FIRE he will reign judgment upon the wicked. As Jesus himself declared, “As it was in the days of Lot…it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all, even thus shall it be in the day when the son of man is revealed.” (Luke 18:28-30) The world once destroyed by water is to be destroyed by fire.
Then, also we’re told God’s judgment will also be upon those who obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
As in previous broadcasts we have emphasized that the sin of Noah’s Day was not primarily unbelief but rather disobedience, so will it be at the coming of the Lord.
Our churches are largely filled in America. We are a religious people. Over 95% would attest to belief in God. But this does not make us Christians. We become Christians when by faith we trust Christ as Saviour and Lord, having repented of sin. Here’s where many fail to recognize their responsibility before God. They fail to turn from sin to trust the Saviour. And Jesus makes it clear saying: “Except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish.”
Then, following our conversion it is expected of us to keep God’s Holy Word…to OBEY THE GOSPEL.
When our Lord gave the great commission He said “Go ye therefore and teach all nations …teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you…”(Matt. 28: 19-20)
Somewhere we have gotten the idea that when we are saved there is nothing we need to do. Indeed, how wrong. We are to obey the Gospel. God has given us His Word to let us know how to live, how to treat our fellow man, how to be victorious over sin.
To believe the Gospel is to believe that Jesus died for our sin. To obey the Gospel is to die to sin, the flesh and the world and live in newness of life by the Holy Spirit.
Remember, obedience is important if we are to be filled with the Spirit and ready for the coming of the Lord. For we read: “the Holy Ghost is given unto them that obey Him.” My friend, just begin obeying the Lord in whatever He tells you to do in His Word and see what happens. It will transform your life.
The reason many are not happy in their Christian experience is because they are trying to live for the world and still live for Christ, trying to serve the devil and still serve the Lord. And you can’t do it. The result of such two-timing God, such disobedience, is to incur the judgment of Almighty God and face the wrath of God at the coming of the Lord. For while it is true that having trusted Christ as Saviour we are no longer ‘appointed unto wrath’, it is also true if we engage in the sins of the flesh – fornication, uncleanness and covetousness – that we will incur the wrath of God. Hear Paul as he warns: “Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be ye not therefore partakers with them.” Eph. 5:1-7
Peter says the sin of Noah’s day was ‘disobedience.’ And when Jesus died he went and preached to those spirits in prison; which sometime were disobedient, when once the long suffering of God waited in the days of Noah while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.
So will it be at the coming of Christ. While faith in the Lord Jesus saves us, on account of disobedience we condemn ourselves to coming awful great tribulation in the which we will have our faith tested, our hearts purified, and our obedience perfected. We will either come clean for Christ and possibly die for our faith, or we will succumb to the antichrist and take his identification mark.
We’re living in a day when our Lord could return at any moment. Let us walk in obedience to His will, following His bidding, living close to Him in prayer and meditations upon His Word.
Indeed, be ye therefore ready also, for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of man cometh.