Noach, 5774

Par'sha Noach - "comphort, rest"

This week the focus of our studies has been the one hundred fifty-three verses of Par’sha Noach. This par’sha relates the facts surrounding Yah’s decision to destroy all flesh from the face of the earth, the construction of the Ark, the Flood, the generations of Noach and the birth of Avram ben Terach. The actual story of Noach, however, began in last week’s par’sha when we were told that Lemek lived one hundred and eighty-two years, and brought forth a son and called his name Noach, saying, ‘This one does comfort us concerning our work and the toil of our hands, because of the ground Y-H-V-H has cursed. Breshith 5.28-29

Noach’s name is from the shoresh which means comfort or rest - נוח. This same shoresh is used in Breshith 8:4 when Mosheh wrote the ark rested on the mountains of Ararat. The context in which this shoresh is used suggests the kind of rest that follows a disaster. Noach, his family and the rest of Creation would enjoy a rest after the Flood, but it would come some six hundred years after Lemek announced why he was naming his son Noach. In naming his son it is quite possible Lemek was sending a message to the generations that would come after him. Noach means comfort or rest, but not from the storms of life, but through them. Noach didn’t escape the flood; he spent one hundred and twenty years building an ark and preparing himself and his family for the judgment that was coming so that they could go through the Flood and re-populate the world afterwards. In case you haven’t notice, Yah seldom removes us from life’s trials and tribulations, He brings us through them.

In the closing verses of last week’s par’sha we are given a glimpse of what the pre-Mabul world had become.

   The wickedness of man was great in the earth

   Every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil

   The Nephilim, the offspring of mortal women and the sons of Elohim - His messengers - were on the face of the earth. Breshith 6:1-8

The Messiah taught that in the days before the Flood the people were:

   Eating and drinking

   Marrying and giving in marriage Matt.24:38-39; Luke 17:26-27

There are other writings that are not canonized in Scripture that reveal that homosexuality was rampant during the pre-flood days, with men openly flaunting their sin. Mothers would simply bash the heads of any unwanted children against rocks when they were born and then discard the bodies.

It was such an environment as this that led Yah to declare, I am going to wipe off man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping creature and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.Breshith 6.7 The Messiah also told us to pay attention to the world around us because and as the days of Noach, so also shall the coming of the Son of Adam be.Matt.24:37,39 But Noach found favor in the eyes of Y-H-V-H.6.8 Favor is from chen חן, the Hebrew that can mean blessing or being worthy.[1] Noach was found to be worthy in Yah’s eyes and in this week’s par’sha we learn why he was found worthy and what he was worthy of.

 

Parsha Noach

Breshith chapter six, verse nine, states, This is the genealogy of Noach. Genealogy is translated from toldot תּוֹלְדֹת which is usually translated as generations, but not always. The shoresh of toldot, ילד, can mean boy, child or giving birth to something. With this in mind we understand that the context of this passage is referring to what Noach gave birth to in the corrupt world. Noach gave birth to something new in this generation; something this generation had lost. Noach was:

   A righteous man

   Perfect in his generation and

   He walked with Elohim

   Righteous is from tzadiq צַדִיק. From previous studies we know that a tzadiq is a person who is in right-standing, thus righteous, before Elohim. As we studied other places in Scripture where this word is used we get a better understanding of its meaning. For instance, in Shmot twenty-three, verse seven Mosheh wrote, Keep yourself far from a false matter, and do not kill the innocent and the righteous, for I do not declare the wrong right. Tzadiq is used twice in this passage. The first, for the righteous, is obvious. The second time tzadiq is used to translate the phrase to declare the wrong right - or, as some translations read, He will not acquit the wrong, teaching that a tzadiq is a righteous man who has performed tshuvah and been acquitted of all accusations of sin against him.

 

   Perfect is a word we have discussed many times. It is translated from tamim תָּמִים, which means blameless and is from the shoresh that means to cease or to require nothing more. In Breshith forty-seven, verse fifteen, it is translated as spent, meaning has come to an end. In Thillim seven, verse 8(9) it is translated as integrity. Other places it is translated as innocence.Breshith 20.5

To be perfect before Yah does not require that a person, even Noach, has never sinned, but that he has acknowledged his sin, turned away from his sin and back to Yahs laws and has purposed in his heart to go and sin no more.Yochanan 8.11 This is what made Noach perfect in his generation - tshuvah.

 

   Walked with Elohim. Understanding both the words and the wording of this passage is important. Walked is from halach הָלַךְ - to progress step-by-step toward a goal. In Breshith seventeen, verse one, forty-eight verse fifteen and in Shmot two, verse nine, it refers to progressing toward a goal because one is willing to be led.

There have been three men who were called to walk with Elohim: AdamBre. 3.9, ִHanockBre. 5.22, and AvrahamBre. 17.1 and notice whom they walked with. They walked with Elohim[2], Yah in His attribute of Judgment. It is only when men become righteous and perfect that they can truly walk with Elohim as these men did.

 

B’reshith six, verse eleven, states that the earth was corrupt before Elohim and...filled with violence. Corrupt, from shachat שָׁחַת, means irreversibly degenerate. It is the same word used to describe those who sinned before the golden calf and were later killed by the Levites.Shmot 32.7 It could also be used to describe the seven nations Isra’el was to totally destroy from the face of the earth when they settled the Land. The nations of this world should take note and learn from Scripture what lies in store them when they turn from Yah and His Word.

Not only was the world corrupt, it was filled with violence. Violence is translated from the Hebrew word that means wrong, to commit evil incrementally and law-evading evil. Every time I read this passage I struck by the irony. One of the main groups, if not the main group, that consistently attacks and attempts to slander Isra’el is Chamas חמס, which is the Hebrew word translated as violence in this passage. Whenever a believer, such as ex-president Carter, supports the terror group chamas he is supporting a group whose very existence is built on committing evil and law-evading evil.

The world during Noach’s day was filled with such people and this led to its destruction. Yah told Noach that the end of all flesh had come before Him and that he was to build an ark and prepare for the judgment that was coming.6.13 In hindsight we know Noach spent over one hundred years building and preparing, but I wonder if Noach knew Yah was going to delay His judgment that long. How long did Noach have to wait after he finished the Ark before Yah commanded him to take the animals and his family into the Ark - days, weeks, months - years?

But finally the command did come, but even as Yah commanded the rain to begin we find He mixed His judgment with mercy. We know it is not our Father’s will that even one should die and be lost.Matt.18:14 In Breshith six, verse twelve, Yah declared that He Himself was bringing the flood-waters on the earth to destroy all flesh - just as He Himself would later go through the land of Mitsrayim, killing the first-born of all those not marked with the blood of the Passover lamb.

In Hebrew the term for flood-waters is hamabul mayim הַמַּבּוּל מַיִם. Mayim is the Hebrew term for water and flood is translated from the word mabul. Mabul is from the shoresh יבל and means to bring home or to return something to its proper place. It is the same root word used for the word Yovel, or the Jubilee year in which slaves are freed and the land goes back to its original owner. The Flood, the Mabul, was intended to put the world back into its proper place by destroying sin, sinners and the effects of sin.

In chapter seven Mosheh uses three different words to describe the Mabul, the Flood, and these words reveal how His judgment of even such a corrupt world as Noach’s was tempered by His mercy.

   In verse four Yah declared that in seven more days He was sending rain on the earth. Rain in this instance is from mamtir מַמְטִיר and refers to a normal, gentile rain that lasted for seven days. Tradition teaches that Methushelah, whose name can also mean deluge, died on the first day the rains began. Out of respect to the family, Yah sent this gentile rain on the earth so Noach and his family could sit sheva as they mourned Methushelah’s passing from this world.

   In verses seven and ten we find that after seven days the hamabul mayim - the flood waters - began. This was a much heavier rain, but there was more to come.

   In verses eleven and twelve we read that in the six hundredth year of Noachs life, in the second month, the seventeenth day, all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of the heavens were opened and the rain was on the earth forty days and forty nights. Rain in this verse is from geshem גֶשֶׁם and refers to a torrential, downpour - a much heavier rainfall than either the mamtir or the hamabul mayim rains. This was the devastating flood that lasted for forty days and forty nights.

Keep in mind that up until this time the world and its inhabitants had never experienced rain - at least not that we are told. That being the case, Yah started with a gentle rain that became increasingly more intense and in this we see a pattern that is repeated throughout history. In Mitsrayim, the plagues became increasingly more severe. When we sin and disobey Yah, His chastisement becomes increasingly more severe. In V’yikra chapter twenty-six Yah warns that if we don’t heed His warnings to t’shuvah, He will punish us seven times more for our sins. If we still don’t t’shuvah, He will punish us seven times more again and so on. The same is true with the judgments that are described in Sefer Revelation leading up to His Wrath finally being unleashed against the world.

This gradually increasing rainfall could have and should have been a warning to the people of Noach’s day that something was terribly wrong, but the couldn’t, or wouldn’t, see it. As a result, the day came that Elohim commanded Noach, his family and the animals to go into the Ark and Y-H-V-H shut him in. The rest of the world missed the opportunity to t’shuvah, enter the Ark and escape death.

 

We find another parallel to this increasingly harsher warnings in the teachings of the Messiah regarding the end of this age. When He was asked what the sign of His coming would be and of the end of this age in Mattityahu chapter twenty-four, He answered saying:

   Take heed that no one leads you astray because many would come in His name and try to lead people astray

   Then we will hear of fightings and rumors of fighting, but we aren’t to be troubled because the end isn’t yet.

   Nation will rise against nation and there will be scarcities of food, deadly diseases and earthquakes - and these are just the beginning of the birth pains

   Next we, those who believe in Messiah and guard the commandments, will be delivered up to affliction, some will be killed and we will be hated by all nations for His Name’s sake - and His Name is Y’hoshua. This could well mean that people will not appreciate the fact that we are using His Name and teaching what He taught rather than what they believe His Name to be and what He taught

   Then many will stumble, will deliver each other up (believers!) and shall hate one another.

   False prophets are going to rise up and will lead many astray and because of an increase of lawlessness - turning from Torah - the love of many will wax cold until only those who endure to the end will be saved. Enduring means not turning to lawlessness and having the testimony that He is Messiah.

As you can see from the Messiah’s teachings, things get progressively worse in the world and for those who don’t confess Him as Messiah and guard the commandments of Yah. Don’t be deceived. We are called simply to be redeemed; we are called to be righteous men and women, perfect before our Father and to walk with Elohim, something only the righteous and blameless can do. For the righteous, the more the world falls away from Yah, the more they change the Messiah’s teachings and the more they deny the Torah, the closer we must draw to Him, the more we must proclaim the truth about the Messiah and the more we must guard His commandments and teach others to do so. Righteousness and perfection are not gifts He gives us, they are goals we must work to achieve. Noach brought rest to a world struggling with the curse Yah placed on the earth. The Messiah brought rest to His people struggling to walk righteous and blameless before our Father. Don’t be deceived - we can do what Y-H-V-H Elohim and our Messiah called us to do. We can learn to go and sin no more. We can become righteous men and women. No one can stop us but ourselves.

There will never be another Mabul like in Noach’s day, but there is a time of distress and a judgment coming like the world has never seen or will ever see again. We don’t know how much time we have left before it begins, but we know what we must do to prepare ourselves and our families. We can be like Noach and obey our Father or be likethe world and ignore the signs. The choice is ours, but the end results are His.

Shabbat Shalom,

Yosef

1 Cheshvan 5774

5 Oct. 2013

 

[1] Etymological Dictionary of Biblical Hebrew, page 84

[2] Torah states Adam walked with Y-H-V-H Elohim