Sermon title: The Pre-Flood World—Fit for Destruction

Genesis 6:1-18

Immanuel Baptist Church – Sunday, September 26, 2021

 

 

 

The dysfunctional family of Adam and Eve

grew from the sons and daughters they bore

to grandchildren, great-grandchildren and beyond.

 

The 5th Chapter of Genesis lists generation after generation

of the line of men leading up to Noah

and Noah’s 3 sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth.

 

Then God sent a world-wide flood

that totally destroyed the world of that time,

leaving alive only Noah and his sons and their wives.

 

Why did God do that?

 

And what does it mean for us today?

 

It is significant for us today,

because Jesus and his Apostles,

referenced what happened then as a pattern

for what is about to happen to this world.

 

In his 2nd Letter the Apostle Peter wrote that God

 

did not spare the ancient world

when He brought the flood

on its ungodly people,

but preserved Noah,

a preacher of righteousness.”

 

And then farther on in that same Letter, Peter wrote,

 

the world at that time was destroyed,

being flooded with water.

But by His word the present heavens

and earth are being reserved for fire,

kept for the day of judgment

and destruction of ungodly men.”

 

So, Peter confirmed the destruction of that ancient world

as historical fact,

and he compared it to the coming destruction

of this wicked world we live in today.

 

Our Lord Jesus also spoke of the Flood of Noah’s day

as historical fact,

and compared the suddenness of the destruction

to how suddenly destruction will hit

when Christ returns.

 

After speaking about the world events

leading up to his return,

Jesus said toward the end of Matthew’s Gospel,

 

“For as were the days of Noah,

so will be the coming

of the Son of Man.

 

For as in those days before the flood

they were eating and drinking,

marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark,

and they were unaware

until the flood came

and swept them all away,

so will be the coming

of the Son of Man.”

 

Yes, the world today is unaware that sudden destruction

is about to sweep it away

when Jesus comes back,

just as that pre-Flood world was unaware

until the Flood came and swept them all away.

---------------------------

 

But what was that world like?

 

Why did it deserve destruction?

 

We don’t know a whole lot about it,

but let’s take a look at what we do know.

 

First of all, we know that

about 1,656 years passed from when

God created the first man

until God unleashed the Flood.

We know the timing, because the Genesis account

list gives a complete reconning of the years.

 

That world before the flood lasted 1,656 years.

 

A lot can happen in that space of time.

 

For example, it was just over 400 years ago when

the Mayflower delivered 132 Europeans

to the shore of what is now Plymouth Massachusetts.

 

And the non-native population of the United States

is now around 330-million.

 

True, a lot of that growth was due to

more immigrants arriving from other lands,

but the overwhelming majority

was from children born here in this country.

 

So, a look at America 400 years ago,

gives us some idea of how that pre-Flood world

could have grown from Adam & Eve’s family

to a complex, advanced society

filling the earth.

 

God had told Adam & Eve to “be fruitful and multiply

and fill the earth,” and they did do that,

with their offspring filling the earth.

 

But what sort of world-wide society

did Adam & Eve’s dysfunctional family

produce before the flood of Noah’s day?

 

We don’t know a lot about it,

beyond a few brief descriptions in the Bible

and traditions that have been passed on

in the cultures of pagan nations.

 

How technologically advanced was that pre-Flood world?

 

Well, we know that they had cities.

 

The Genesis account about Cain does not end

with his punishment for murdering his brother.

It goes on to tell us that, in later years, Cain

 

built a city,

and called the name of the city,

after the name of his son, Enoch.”

 

And the fact that people were living in cities tells us

that the pre-Flood world was well populated.

 

There were enough people to fill various cities.

 

But some of the population also lived in the countryside.

 

Some even moved from place to place,

grazing herds of livestock, and living in tents.

 

We read further that Cain’s grandson

had a great-grandson

 

Jabal, who was the first of those

who raise livestock and live in tents.

 

We know that the pre-Flood world

 had music for entertainment,

because the account about Jabal adds that,

 

His brother’s name was Jubal,

the first of all who play

the harp and flute.

 

We might picture that pre-Flood world

as still being in the stone age,with men using

tools of wood and sharpened stones.

 

But, not so!

 

The list of Cain’s pre-Flood descendants included

one man by the name of “Tubal Cain,”

who the Scripture describes as

 

the forger of every cutting instrument

of brass and iron.”

 

So, that world before the flood had already advanced

through what people today call “the bronze age”

and “the iron age”—

with men using tools “of brass and iron.”

 

So, it was a fairly advanced society that God destroyed

when he sent that global Flood.

 

But it was a morally debased society,

and that’s why it was destroyed.

 

We read a moment ago that the Apostle Peter described it

as a world of “ungodly people.”

 

In what way was that so?

 

The 6th Chapter of Genesis that introduces the Flood

says,

5 Then the LORD saw that

the wickedness of man was great

upon the earth,

and that every inclination

of the thoughts of his heart

was altogether evil all the time.

 

6 And the LORD regretted

that He had made man on the earth,

and He was grieved in His heart.

 

It says,

11 Now the earth was corrupt

in the sight of God,

and full of violence.

 

It says that everyone living “on the earth

had corrupted their ways.”

 

Besides violence, what other wickedness

prompted God to take such drastic action

by sending a world-wide Flood?

 

Many people debate the meaning of the adjacent verses, but they clearly point to

some form of perversion.

 

That Chapter begins by saying,

 

1 Now when men began to multiply

on the face of the earth and

daughters were born to them,

2 the sons of God saw that

the daughters of men were beautiful,

and they took as wives

whomever they chose.

 

Many commentators take that to mean

that angels took on human form

to marry the daughters of men.

 

In fact, the only other place in the Old Testament

where that expressionthe sons of God”—is found

is in the Book of Job,

and there it clearly refers to angels

who were there when God created the Earth

and who stood in God’s presence in heaven.

 

Our Lord Jesus said in the Gospels

that “angels in heaven” do not take wives.

 

So, the angelic ‘sons of God’ who materialized human bodies

in order to take human wives

were totally disobedient and perverted.

 

And what resulted from these perverted marriages

between angels and human women?

 

The Genesis account continues,

 

4 The Nephilim were on the earth

in those days—and afterward as well—

when the sons of God had relations

with the daughters of men.

And they bore them children

who became the mighty men of old,

men of renown.

 

The actual meaning of the word “Nephilim” is not clear,

but its root relates to “falling down” and may mean

violently causing people to fall down,

as “mighty men” would take others down in a fight.

 

It’s translated “Giants” in some Bibles.

 

So, many readers understand that these Nephilim were

the hybrid offspring of the marriages

between angels and human women—

offspring more powerful than other men.

 

But other commentators disagree

and offer other explanations.

 

In any case, it seems that a perversion of marriage

was widespread in that pre-Flood world.

 

Peter and Jude both refer to it

in ways that involve the angels in improper behavior.

 

Peter writes in his 2nd Letter that

 

God did not spare the angels

when they sinned,

but cast them deep into hell,

placing them in chains of darkness

to be held for judgment;

 

And in the next verse Peter continues,

 

He did not spare the ancient world

when He brought the flood

on its ungodly people,

but preserved Noah,

a preacher of righteousness

 

The Bible does not tell about any other situation

where angels sinned,

so this would appear to confirm

that angels did leave heaven before the Flood

to take human women as wives.

 

And the New Testament book of Jude

adds to that understanding of Genesis,

when it says,

6 Angels who didn’t keep

their first domain,

but deserted their own dwelling place,

he has kept in everlasting bonds

under darkness for the judgment

of the great day.

 

So Jude says that the angels that sinned

deserted their own dwelling place

which was heaven.

 

That must have meant that they went to live on earth,

which the “sons of God” in Genesis apparently did,

when they took human wives.

 

Jude indicates in his very next verse

that the angels who

deserted their own dwelling place

did so to commit sexual immorality.

 

He writes,

 

7 Even as Sodom and Gomorrah,

and the cities around them,

having, in the same way as these,

given themselves over to

sexual immorality

and gone after strange flesh,

are shown as an example,

suffering the punishment of eternal fire.

 

‘Going after strange flesh’ would describe

the immoral perversion of angels taking

human women to be their wives.

 

That was just as perverted

as the rape mob in Sodom—

the men who surrounded Lot’s house

intent on raping the 2 angels God had sent

to inspect the city and to rescue Lot.

 

When God sent the Flood to wipe out

the violent and corrupt pre-Flood world

he also incarcerated the rebellious angels,

confining them to a dark place

awaiting final judgment.

=========================

 

The Bible preserves a record of that evil pre-Flood world

and the perverted things that went on there.

But pagan nations also preserved

some oral traditions about it.

 

When descendants of Noah

spread out over the earth after the Flood,

only the Hebrews kept the written records

that form part of the Bible today.

 

But the other national groups that sprang from Noah’s family

also carried with them oral traditions

of the Flood.

 

According to Greek mythology their chief ‘god’ Zeus

sent the Flood,

and a character named Deucalion built the Ark

that preserved a few people alive.

 

In India the Hindu tradition tells of a man named Manu

who took 2 of each kind of animal with him

into a boat to survive the Flood,

and that he then re-populated the Earth.

 

Similar traditions were passed down

through the generations

by the Chinese, the Druids in England,

and the native Americans in Mexico & Peru.

----------------------

 

Some of those traditions also tell of ‘gods’

coming down to earth and marrying women.

 

The Greeks and Romans told of ‘gods’

living on Mt. Olympus,

taking human women, and fathering mighty men

like Hercules and Achilles—

evidently memories of the Nephilim

who resulted from such marriages

according to Genesis.

---------------------------

 

The Flood put an end to all of that perversion.

 

The angels that sinned were chained up,

incarcerated in deep darkness.

And their half-human offspring died in the Flood,

along with that wicked world of mankind.

 

Those rebellious angels, or spirits, were still in prison

during the interval between Christ’s crucifixion

and his bodily resurrection,

so that Jesus went and visited them there

to announce his victory

over the forces of evil.

 

Peter wrote about that visit to the incarcerated angels

in his First Letter, where Peter wrote that Christ was

 

put to death in the flesh,

but made alive in the spirit;

in which He also went

and made proclamation

to the spirits in prison,

who once were disobedient

when the patience of God kept waiting

in the days of Noah,

during the construction of the ark.

 

Through his death on the cross, Jesus won the victory

over Satan and all his demonic angels,

including those in that dark prison.

-----------------------

 

The story of that corrupt world before the Flood

is not recorded in the Bible

just as an interesting episode of history.

 

No, it is recorded as an example

of what will happen to this wicked world today.

 

Just as that pre-Flood world was full of

violence, corruption and perversion,

so is our modern world today.

 

Even so-called ‘Christian’ churches

are flying the rainbow flag of the ‘gay pride’ movement.

 

The entertainment media display graphic sex

on the video screen in nearly every home.

 

Not only are men marrying men,

and women marrying women,

but our modern society celebrates and applauds

when surgery and hormones are used

in an effort to transform

men into women, and women into men—

celebrating even more enthusiastically

when children are seduced

into trying to change their gender.

 

The perversion that prevailed before the Flood,

was enough—along with violence and corruption

for God to wipe that world off the face of the earth.

 

And today’s violent, corrupt and perverted world

is due for similar destruction.

 

Peter wrote,

the world at that time was destroyed,

being flooded with water.

But by His word the present heavens

and earth are being reserved for fire,

kept for the day of judgment

and destruction of ungodly men.”

 

Jesus said,

 

“For as were the days of Noah,

so will be the coming

of the Son of Man.

For as in those days before the flood

they were eating and drinking,

marrying and giving in marriage,

until the day when Noah entered the ark,

and they were unaware

until the flood came

and swept them all away,

so will be the coming

of the Son of Man.”

 

To escape the coming destruction,

today’s place of safety is not an Ark

like the one Noah built.

 

The place of safety now is to be in Christ.

 

Toward the end of his 2nd Letter, Peter wrote,

 

9 The Lord is not slow

concerning his promise,

as some count slowness;

but is patient with us,

not wishing that any should perish,

but that all should come to repentance.

 

The seeming delay in Christ’s return gives opportunity

for sinners to repent of their sins

and turn to Christ for salvation.

 

If you have never done so,

now is the time to turn to Jesus in prayer,

asking him to save you,

and promising to follow him.

 

But Peter’s final words are directed

to those who are already believers.

He says,

11 Therefore since all these things

will be destroyed like this,

what kind of people ought you to be

in holy living and godliness,

 

And he concludes,

 

17 You therefore, beloved,

knowing these things beforehand, beware

lest being carried away

with the error of the wicked,

you fall from your own steadfastness.

 

18 But grow in the grace and knowledge

of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

To him be the glory

both now and forever. Amen.