Torah: B’resheit (Genesis) 6:9-11:32
Haftarah: Yesha’yahu (Isaiah) 54:1-10 (Sephardic), 54:1-55:5 (Ashkenazi)
B’rit Chadasha: Mattityahu (Matthew) 24:29-44
All too often, we want to simplify God into a catch-phrase, such as “God is love” (1Jn. 4:8). But while God is certainly love, He is also infinitely just, and there comes a point where His justice must be meted out, as it was in the days of Noah, and as it will be in the coming Day of the Lord.
In the days of Noah, the world was filled with violence, in part because of the evil inclination that all men since Adam are born with (Gen. 8:21), and in part because of supernatural incursions by the Adversary (6:1-4). The evil was so great that God wiped the earth clean with a flood and started over with the handful of righteous men and women left. It was brutally necessary, lest everything good perish from the earth, but it so grieved God that He swore he would never destroy all life by a flood again.
In the same way, Jerusalem’s sins were so great that God could not simply ignore them. He sent prophet after prophet, and each was ignored or killed. He sent the Babylonians to destroy Jerusalem, but restored it two generations later. Again, Jerusalem fell into great sin. This time, the Holy One sent His own Son, who gave up His life to save the city that rejected Him. Once again, God poured out His indignation on Jerusalem, this time destroying it so thoroughly that it would not rise from the ashes for nearly two millennia. And once again, as we see in the haftarah reading, the Eternal One is so grieved by the necessary judgment that He has sworn not to do so again.
There is another judgment coming, one that our Master compared to the days of Noah. In the days leading up to that judgment, there will be great persecution for God’s people, both Jew and Christian. Even so, though she will be defiled, Jerusalem will not be destroyed, and though God’s wrath shall be poured out on the earth, this time it will come in the form of fire rather than water (1Pt. 3:5-13). While the destruction of God’s wrath shall indeed be terrible, He will keep His promise: It shall not be as complete as during the Great Flood, and there will be survivors who will enter the Millennium of rest that will follow (see Isa. 66:16-24, Zec. 14:16-19).
For those of us who love the Lord and follow His Annointed One who redeemed us, however, He has provided an ark to escape the coming wrath. Let us then labor to escape the wrath in that ark, and to bring as many as will come into it.
- Old Testament Reveals (Part 1): From Noah’s Ark to God’s Ark From Wrath (relijournal.com)