Every member of the human race is related to Adam, the first man. Every member of the human race is likewise related to Noah. With Adam began the human race. With Noah there was the second beginning of the human race, for Noah and his sons alone were saved from the world’s destruction by the flood which God sent about 1656 years after Adam’s transgression. With Abraham there was the promise of Israel or the Jewish race, although Abraham himself was not a Jew.
So these three men mark most important beginnings.
“In Adam all die.” I Corinthians 15:22. “Death reigned from Adam to Moses.” Romans 5:14. “From Adam to Moses” is, therefore, an age recognized by God in His Word. But this period of time was subdivided into other ages or dispensations. God made a covenant with Adam, and God made a covenant with Israel, through Moses. But God also made a covenant with Noah about 840 years before He talked with Moses on Mt. Sinai. Read the eighth and ninth chapters of Genesis. The same God made with Abram, or Abraham, years before Moses was on that Mount. Galatians 3:17. So there was a period of time, an age, a dispensation from Adam to Noah; that is, from the fall of man to the flood. That dispensation has been called by many, the “Dispensation of Conscience.” As Noah lived 600 years before the flood, he lived for 600 years under the same covenant, and in the same dispensation, with fallen Adam. Adam died 216 years before Noah was born. Noah lived 350 years after the world was destroyed by the flood. At the time of that destruction God entered into a new covenant with the human race through Noah. That covenant introduced a new dispensation which has been well called by some “the Dispensation of Human Government” or “Authority.”
The covenant that God made with Adam is not that which is designated in the Word of God, “the Old Covenant”. Neither is the covenant that God made with Noah “the Old Covenant”. “The Old Covenant” was made with the House of Israel. Jeremiah 31:32. We have seen that the Abrahamic Covenant was made by God 430 years (before the Old Covenant was established. Therefore, “the Abrahamic (Covenant” is not “the Old Covenant.”
We have observed that Adam lived before and after the fall; therefore in two different dispensations. We might call the age before his fall, the “Dispensation of Innocence.” We have observed that Noah lived before and after the flood, and in two different dispensations. The dispensation that God afterward entered into through Moses was a covenant of works, or mutual doing, a contract in which God was to do His part if Israel would do their part.
“Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord”. And then, “according to all that God commanded, so did he.” Genesis 6:8 and 22 . . . Genesis 7:5.
“God said unto Noah.” Genesis 6:13, 7:1. “God remembered Noah.” Genesis 8:1. “And God blessed Noah” Genesis 9:1.
To Noah God said:
“WHILE THE EARTH REMAINETH, SEED TIME AND HARVEST, AND COLD AND HEAT, AND SUMMER AND WINTER, AND DAY AND NIGHT SHALL NOT CEASE.” Genesis 8:22.
“AND I WILL REMEMBER MY COVENANT, ‘WHICH IS BETWEEN ME AND YOU AND EVERY LIVING CREATURE OF ALL FLESH AND THE WATERS SHALL NO MORE BECOME A FLOOD TO DESTROY ALL FLESH.” Genesis 9:15.
The ark of Noah was judgment-proof. Within the ark was the only place of escape from God’s judgment of the world. When Christ went to the cross, He said, “Now is the judgment of this world.” John 12:31. “God hath appointed a day in which he will judge the world by that Man.” Acts 17:31. “There is therefore now no judgment to them that are in Christ Jesus.”
Romans 8:1. Christ is God’s judgment-proof ark for sinners today.
About 700 years before the flood there lived a prophet by the name of Enoch. He foretold the coming of Christ in judgment; and then this man, who walked with God, was translated and did not taste death. Genesis 5:24. Hebrews 11:5. Jude 14.
The new age beginning with God’s new covenant with Noah has been called the “Dispensation of Human Government,” because of these words of God contained in the covenant:
“AND SURELY YOUR BLOOD OF YOUR LIVES WILL I REQUIRE: AT THE HAND OF EVERY BEAST WILL I REQUIRE IT; AND AT THE HAND OF MAN: AT THE HAND OF EVERY BROTHER WILL I REQUIRE THE LIFE OF MAN. WHOSO SHEDDETH MAN’S BLOOD, BY MAN SHALL HIS BLOOD BE SHED: FOR IN THE IMAGE OF GOD MADE HE MAN.” Genesis 9:5 and 6.
“BY FAITH NOAH, BEING WARNED OF GOD OF THINGS NOT SEEN AS YET, MOVED WITH FEAR, PREPARED AN ARK TO THE SAVING OF HIS HOUSE, BY THE WHICH HE CONDEMNED THE WORLD, AND BECAME HEIR OF THE RIGHTEOUSNESS WHICH IS BY FAITH.” Hebrews 11:7.
Noah begot three sons, Shem, Ham and Japhet, Genesis 6:10. “AND THE LORD SAID UNTO NOAH, “COME THOU AND ALL THY HOUSE INTO THE ARK; FOR THEE HAVE I SEEN RIGHTEOUS BEFORE ME IN THIS GENERATION.” Genesis 7:1.
“AND GOD BLESSED NOAH AND HIS SONS, AND SAID UNTO THEM, BE FRUITFUL, AND MULTIPLY, AND REPLENISH THE EARTH.” Genesis 9:1.
“AND THE SONS OF NOAH THAT WENT FORTH OF THE ARK, WERE SHEM AND HAM AND JAPHET: AND HAM IS THE FATHER OF CANAAN. AND OF THEM WAS THE WHOLE EARTH OVERSPREAD.” Genesis 9:18 and 19.
In the closing verses of the ninth chapter of Genesis is recorded the sin of Noah and that of Ham and the curse that followed.
“CURSED BE CANAAN; A SERVANT OF SERVANTS SHALL HE BE UNTO HIS BRETHREN.” Genesis 9:25.
“BLESSED BE THE LORD GOD OF SHEM: AND CANAAN SHALL BE HIS SERVANT. GOD SHALL ENLARGE JAPHETH, AND HE SHALL DWELL IN THE TENTS OF SHEM, AND CANAAN SHALL BE HIS SERVANT.” Genesis 9:26 and 27.
Abraham, David and Jesus Christ came from the line of Shem. The generations of Shem, as recorded in the eleventh chapter of Genesis, are as follows: “Shem, Arphaxad (born two years after the flood). Salah, Eber, Peleg, Reu, Serug, Nahor, Terah, Abram.” Abram was born about 2008 A. H. Shem died about 2158 A.H. Genesis 11:10 and 11. Shem was about 525 years of age when God made His covenant with Abram, at the age of 75. Abram had two brothers, Nahor and Haran. Haran begat Lot, the nephew of Abram. Haran died in Ur of the Chaldees. Nahor, the brother of Abram married Milcah. Abram married Sarai. Genesis 11:26 to 30. Lot went with Abraham until they separated.
In the days of Peleg (Division) the earth was divided. I Chronicles 1:19. It was undoubtedly at that time that “the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.” Genesis 11:8.
“THEREFORE IS THE NAME OF IT CALLED BABEL; BECAUSE THE LORD DID THERE CONFOUND THE LANGUAGE OF ALL THE EARTH: AND FROM THENCE DID THE LORD SCATTER THEM ABROAD UPON THE FACE OF ALL THE EARTH,” Genesis 11:9.
There is but a brief history of the human race between God’s judgment at Babel and the call of Abram. But the drift was to universal idolatry and sin, according to the first chapter of the Epistle to the Romans. “When they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful, but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.” Romans 1:21 to 23. “Wherefore God gave them up.” Romans 1:24. “God gave them up.” Romans 1:26. “God gave them over.” Romans 1:28.
For His purpose and plan God needed a nation. So with the call of Abram there was another beginning.
“NOW THE LORD HAD SAID TO ABRAM, GET THEE OUT OF THY COUNTRY, AND FROM THY KINDRED, AND FROM THY FATHER’S HOUSE, UNTO A LAND THAT I WILL SHOW THEE, AND I WILL MAKE OF THEE A GREAT NATION.” Genesis 12:1 and 2.
Herein is the promise of a land and a great nation.
In eleven short chapters of Genesis the Lord covered about 2100 years from Adam to Abram. And from then on thirty-nine chapters of Genesis and thirty-eight other books were written to record the history of the Great Nation (Israel) which is to come out of Abram, and that Nation after 1900 years is to give to the world the Seed of the Woman promised in the Garden of Eden, and that Seed is to be the Seed of Abram, and the Seed of David. Even 65 per cent of the New Testament Scriptures deal with Israel.
We also find Abraham included with Abel, Enoch and Noah in the heroes of faith listed in Hebrews 11:8 and 9, 17, 18 and 19.
“BY FAITH ABRAHAM, WHEN HE WAS CALLED TO GO OUT INTO A PLACE WHICH HE SHOULD AFTER RECEIVE FOR AN INHERITANCE, OBEYED; AND HE WENT OUT, NOT KNOWING WHITHER HE WENT. BY FAITH HE SOJOURNED IN THE LAND OF PROMISE, AS IN A STRANGE COUNTRY, DWELLING IN TABERNACLES WITH ISAAC AND JACOB, THE HEIRS WITH HIM OF THE SAME PROMISE.”
“BY FAITH ABRAHAM, WHEN HE WAS TRIED, OFFERED UP ISAAC; AND HE THAT HAD RECEIVED THE PROMISES OFFERED UP HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON.”
“OF WHOM IT WAS SAID, THAT IN ISAAC SHALL THY SEED BE CALLED;” “ACCOUNTING THAT GOD WAS ABLE TO RAISE HIM UP, EVEN FROM THE DEAD; FROM WHENCE ALSO HE RECEIVED HIM IN A FIGURE.”
A careful study of the fourth chapter of Romans, the third chapter of Galatians and the sixth chapter of Hebrews will give us a better understanding of God’s dealings with Abraham, and Abraham’s place in the purpose of God with the human race. In the fourth chapter of Romans we learn that Abraham was justified by faith without works. That he was declared righteous in uncircumcision. Romans 4:3 to 11. We quote the thirteenth verse:
“FOR THE PROMISE, THAT HE SHOULD BE THE HEIR OF THE WORLD, WAS NOT TO ABRAHAM, OR TO HIS SEED, THROUGH THE LAW, BUT THROUGH THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF FAITH.”
We turn to Galatians 3:17 and learn that God’s covenant with Abraham was made 430 years before He entered into His covenant with Israel, through Moses. The Law Covenant made at Sinai did not annul or make ineffective the promises of God in the Abrahamic Covenant and Oath. In verse six of that chapter we are told again that Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness. And then we quote three most important verses:
“AND THE SCRIPTURE, FORESEEING THAT GOD WOULD JUSTIFY THE HEATHEN THROUGH FAITH, PREACHED BEFORE THE GOSPEL UNTO ABRAHAM, SAYING, IN THEE SHALL ALL NATIONS BE BLESSED” . . . Galatians 3:8.
“WHEREFORE THEN SERVETH THE LAW’? IT WAS ADDED BECAUSE OF TRANSGRESSIONS, TILL THE SEED SHOULD COME TO WHOM THE PROMISE WAS MADE; AND IT WAS ORDAINED BY ANGELS IN THE HAND OF A MEDIATOR.” Galatians 3:19.
“THAT THE BLESSING OF ABRAHAM MIGHT COME ON THE GENTILES THROUGH JESUS CHRIST; THAT WE MIGHT RECEIVE THE PROMISE OF THE SPIRIT THROUGH FAITH.” Galatians 3:14.
Thus we see that when the Lord preached the Gospel to Abram, or Abraham, righteousness by faith, 430 years before the Law was given, He foresaw the ministry and message of Paul for Gentiles, who would be justified just as Abram was. This is also declared in the five closing verses of the fourth chapter of Romans.
In Galatians 3:19 we learn that the Law was added to the Promise and Gospel till Christ, the Seed of Abraham, came and died on the cross. When Christ died the handwriting of ordinances was taken out of the way, nailed to His cross. Colossians 2:11 to 14. He became the end of the Law for righteousness to everyone that believeth, when on the cross He was made sin that believers might be made the righteousness of God in Him … Romans 10:4 and 5. II Corinthians 5:21. The Book of Acts covered God’s transitional period from law to pure grace, from kingdom truth to Body truth.
And we learn in Galatians 3:14 that because of the redemptive work of Christ on the cross believing Gentiles receive the blessing of Abraham, that is, God’s righteousness, and by faith the assurance of that righteousness which is the Holy Spirit.
In the closing verses of the sixth chapter of Hebrews we learn of the believer’s strong consolation by the two immutable things in which it was impossible for God to lie; namely, His Covenant and Oath to Abraham.
In comparing the statement of Paul, in the fourth chapter of Romans, and that of James in the second chapter of his Epistle, in which there seems to be a contradiction, let us bear in mind that James declares that Abraham was justified by works when he had offered up Isaac. By careful study of the twelfth, thirteenth, seventeenth and twenty-second chapters of Genesis we shall learn that Abraham offered up Isaac forty years after he was declared righteous by God. We shall also learn that Abraham was circumcised twenty-four years after he was declared righteous by God. The circumcision was the seal of the righteousness which he had, yet being uncircumcised. . . Romans 4:9 to 12. Also James had the gospel of the circumcision and Paul the gospel of the uncircumcision. Galatians 2:7 to 9.
For more articles by Pastor J. C. O'Hair, visit the J. C. O'Hair Online Library.