And Rain Fell on the Earth

Forty Days and Forty Nights

7: 10-16

DIG: What two sources of water were there? Where did they come from? Why are only Noah and his sons mentioned by name?

REFLECT: Where do you find comfort from the storms of life? Does the LORD shut you in? Do you feel threatened or protected by Him? Why?

Anyone who has experienced even a minor flood understands the force of water breaking free from that which held it back. We can only imagine what happened when all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. God had been patient for hundreds of years, but His patience had run out.

The rabbis teach that the seven days were days of mourning for Methuselah, whose death the LORD hastened so that the old man might be spared from the Flood. Then the floodwaters came upon the earth (7:10). The Flood is both a picture of Elohim’s wrath and His mercy. Just as the wrath of the Flood started a new beginning for those He spared, so the final judgment of God at His return (Revelation 19:16) will do the same thing because the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment (Second Peter 2:9). When He returns and our world is destroyed, a new heaven and a new earth will be the home of the righteous (Second Peter 3:10-13). Therefore, our response should not be one of fear, but of godliness. ADONAI does not desire to scare us by threats of judgment but to woo us with acts of love, mercy and grace. His grace is most strikingly evident when set in contrast to the darkness and gloom of a sinful world racing toward its terrifying destiny.122

In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month – on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up (NKJ 7:11). In other words, subterranean fountains of waters were released. Literally, it reads: the springs of the great abyss (tehom rabah). So there was movement of the ground upward causing the waters to rise. The Hebrew word for broken up is the word baka, which means to divide and is used frequently in the Bible in connection with the use of water (Exodus 14:16 and 21; Judges 15:19; Nehemiah 9:11; Job 28:10; Psalm 74:15, 78:13-15; Proverbs 3:20: Isaiah 35:6; 48:21, 63:12; Habakkuk 3:9).

And the floodgates of the heavens were opened (7:11). Not only were the waters coming up from below, but the waters also came down from above. The two waters were separated on the second day of creation (1:6-7). The water above the expanse (1:7) made up the vast canopy, which maintained the earth as a beautiful greenhouse, preventing cold temperatures and preventing wind and rainstorms. Being in the vapor state, it was invisible and fully transparent, but nevertheless contained vast quantities of water extending far out into space. When it was time for the destruction of the earth in Noah’s day, all that was required was to reverse the process and bring the two waters back together again. Therefore, the Flood destroys what was originally created.123

And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights (7:12). This is not how long the Flood lasted, rather, how long it kept on raining. The amazing power and speed of the huge amounts of water pouring out of the sky and surging up from the subterranean springs caught everyone by surprise. Everyone, that is, except Noah and his sons Shem, Ham and Japheth, together with his wife and the wives of his three sons (7:13). This is the third of five times Mrs. Noah is mentioned in the Bible (6:18; 7:7 and 13, 8:16 and 18). When you think about it, Mrs. Noah was the one person on the ark who didn’t seem to have an obvious role. It seems that her childbearing days were behind her even though there was an empty earth to repopulate. That mission would fall to her daughters-in-law. Had her usefulness run out? Did she feel like she was dead weight on the ark? Was she a disinterested spectator? Did others try to think of things for her to do so she wouldn’t feel left out? Was she energized, helping everyone out? We simply don’t know.

On the very day that the rains started to fall Noah and his family entered the ark and were saved (7:13). Noah’s sons are always listed before his wife (6:18, 7:7 and 13, 8:16 and 18). Mrs. Noah and the three daughters-in-law are never named probably because God is revealing the path through which the Seed of the woman (3:15a) will come. Now it is limited to those three; eventually it will get more specific. It will be Shem, then more specific, it will be through the nation of Israel; then more specific, it will be through the tribe of Judah; then it will be even more specific, it will be through the Messiah. The rabbis teach that the men and the women are listed separately because they were forbidden intimacy when the whole world was in distress. The three sons lived for a hundred years before the Flood, and yet no mention is made of any family they started. Noah fathers children only before the Flood. His sons father children only after the Flood is over.124

They had with them every wild animal according to its kind, all livestock, or domesticated animals, according to their kinds, every creature that moves along the ground according to its kind and every bird according to its kind, everything with wings, and would include insects (7:14).

Pairs of all creatures that have the breath of life in them came to Noah and entered the ark (7:15). Noah and his three sons were not running around with butterfly nets trying to catch all these animals. The LORD commanded that they come into the ark.

The animals going in were male and female of every living thing, as Elohim, the God of creation and destruction, had commanded Noah (7:16a). Then ADONAI shut them in (7:16b). This was the point of no return, both for those inside the ark and for those left behind. All those inside the ark would be saved and all those outside the ark would be lost. The use of these two most common names for God in the TANAKH shows that He is both the Elohimof divine judgment and the ADONAIof divine redemption. The ark was salvation for Noah and his family. Much later, Jonah would state a very simple truth after being delivered from a watery grave himself: Salvation comes from ADONAI (Jonah 2:9).125 The Hebrew translation of Yeshua means salvation.

If you are a follower of Jesus Christ you are also sealed or shut in. Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance (Ephesians 1:13b-14a; Second Corinthians 1:21). Because we are not transported into the Lord’s presence immediately at the moment of faith, some doubt their salvation. One way of guaranteeing His promises to us is to seal us in Him with the promised Holy Spirit at the moment we believe (see my commentary on The Life of Christ Bw – What God Does for Us at the Moment of Faith). This is a down payment, guaranteeing full payment at a later time. Life in the Savior is different because the Ruach HaKodesh is now within us. He is there to empower us, equip us for ministry, and function through the gifts He has given us. The Holy Spirit is our Helper and Advocate. He protects and encourages us. He guarantees our inheritance in Jesus Christ. When the Holy Spirit seals believers, He marks them as God’s divine possessions, who from that moment on entirely and eternally belong to Him. The Spirit’s seal declares the transaction of salvation as divinely official and final.126 It should not be surprising then that, of all that were shut in the ark, none were lost. Yeshua said: All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and whoever comes to Me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do My will but to do the will of Him who sent Me, that I shall lose none of all that He has given Me, but raise them up at the last day (Yochanan 6:37-39).

 

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