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APOSTASY IN THE DAYS OF NOAH – PART II

(SERMON #80 ON THE BOOK OF GENESIS)

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Evening, May 25, 2014

“As the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matthew 24:37).


Last Sunday night I spoke on “Apostasy in the Days of Noah – Part I” (click here to read it). It is such an important subject that I think we need to spend more time thinking about it tonight.

In our text Jesus said that the time of His Second Coming would be similar to the “days of Noe.” One preacher told me that this refers only to the fact that the people in Noah’s time were unprepared – that it doesn’t have any other meaning. It only means that people will be unprepared. But I am convinced that is too superficial. That view does not explain why they were unprepared. Remember that this prophecy is an important one. It appears in Matthew 24:37-39, and in Luke 17:26-27, and also in the prophetic passage in II Peter 2:1-9, where Noah “a preacher of righteousness” (v. 5) is contrasted with the “false teachers” of the last days (v. 1).

Therefore I believe that the time in which Noah lived is an important picture of the last days of this present age. In the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew the Disciples asked Jesus for a sign that would show He was about to return, and this age would end. He did not rebuke them. Instead, He gave them many signs of the last days. Christ told them that no one knows the “day and the hour” of His Second Coming. But He gave them several signs of the general time, and then He gave one great sign. Though they would not know the “day or the hour,” they could know the approximate time. Jesus said,

“But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matthew 24:37).

Dr. M. R. DeHaan said,

      Study the record of the days before the flood, says Jesus, if you want an answer to your question, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of My coming? When the conditions before the Flood are repeated, then you may know that it is near, yea, at your very doors (M. R. DeHaan, M.D., The Days of Noah, Zondervan Publishing House, 1963, p.28).

Dr. John MacArthur has portrayed Dr. DeHaan in a bad light, largely because of Dr. DeHaan’s strong emphasis on the preservation of Christ’s Blood. But Dr. DeHaan was actually a very careful Bible scholar. When he died in 1965, Billy Graham wrote this note to Dr. DeHaan's son,

I just heard that your beloved father has been called home. I have listened to him [on the radio] almost every Sunday for many years. A great deal of my Bible knowledge came from his teaching... (Letter from Billy Graham to Richard DeHaan, jacket cover of Dr. DeHaan’s book, Portraits of Christ in Genesis, Zondervan Publishing House, 1966).

After reading that note I realized that Billy Graham’s sermons on the Second Coming of Christ often sounded in places like they came directly from Dr. DeHaan’s great books on this subject. And Dr. DeHaan said, “When the conditions before the Flood are repeated, then you may know that [the Second Coming of Christ and the end of this age] is near, yea, at your very doors.”

“As the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matthew 24:37).

I cannot give you all the parallels between our time and the time of Noah, that Dr. DeHaan gave, but I can give you three of them tonight. The first point is a shortened version of my sermon, “Apostasy in the Days of Noah,” from last Sunday night.

I. First, it was a time of growing apostasy.

Please turn with me to Genesis 4:26. Stand and read it aloud,

“And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the Lord” (Genesis 4:26).

You may be seated.

Seth was the third son of Adam. Enos was Adam’s grandson. But does Genesis 4:26 really tell us that men only started to call on the name of the Lord in the time of Seth? I have always thought there was something wrong about that. The center margin of the King James Bible shows that the KJV translators knew that there was some confusion regarding the translation of the Hebrew words, for in the margin, they gave the alternate reading, “call themselves by the name of Jehovah.”

The old rabbis translated the verse as, “then men began to call their gods by the name of the Lord.” The ancient Christian scholar Jerome said this was the opinion of the rabbis before the fifth century A.D. and earlier. “The majority of the ancient Jewish commentators supply the words ‘their gods,’ suggesting that they called the stars and idols their gods, and worshipped them...The Targum of Jonathan says, ‘That was the generation in whose days they began to err, and to make themselves idols, and surnamed their idols by the Name of the Word of the Lord’...Rashi says, ‘Then there was a [profaning] in calling on the name of the Lord’” (Appendix 21, The Companion Bible). Luther said of those ancient rabbis, “They think that about this time the name of Jehovah began to be given to creatures, to the sun, the moon, etc.”

However, the Reformers took this to mean that the family of Seth was godly, and called on the name of the Lord. Dr. John Gill noted that this was “a very different sense” of the words from that of the ancient rabbis. I believe that the Reformers got confused, thinking that the patriarchs in Genesis five were the so-called “godly line” of Seth. I have wondered for years where this term “the godly line of Seth” came from. I now believe it came from the Reformation doctrine of “covenant theology,” which “sees the administration of the biblical covenants as including a principle of familial, corporate inclusion or ‘generational succession’” (Theopedia article on Covenant Theology).

I consider myself to be Reformed on the subject of salvation, but certainly not on “generational succession!” There is no such thing as a “godly line” generationally in Genesis, chapter five. Yes, there was a generation that came from Seth, but they are not described as a “godly line” in Genesis, chapter five. Those words are never used to describe them in the Bible. 

What you have in the fifth chapter of Genesis was described by the ancient rabbis as a downward spiral into the quicksand of idolatry, and the growing apostasy of the entire race, including all the descendants of Seth – until the Bible says, 

“God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5).

“And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created”
       (Genesis 6:7).

And Jesus said,

“As the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matthew 24:37).

It is rather simple to show that the New Testament teaches that this age will end with most professing Christians in deep apostasy.

“But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction” (II Peter 2:1).

“[God] spared not the old world, but saved Noah... a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly” (II Peter 2:5).

“But these [false teachers], as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption” (II Peter 2:12).

“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts” (II Peter 3:3).

“And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (II Timothy 4:4).

“In the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves...blasphemers... Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away” (II Timothy 3:1, 2, 5).

These are Bible verses that speak of the apostasy of the “last days.” And the famed Harvard sociologist Pitirim Sorokin (1889-1968) in his book, The Crisis of Our Age, said, "Peace, security and safety have vanished...Freedom is a mere myth. Western culture is covered by a blackout. A great tornado sweeps over the whole of mankind." Patrick J. Buchanan was personal assistant to three Presidents. Mr. Buchanan has written a book titled, The Death of The West and another book titled, Suicide of a Superpower. As early as the 1950s Sir Winston Churchill said, "Our problems are beyond us." Churchill often made predictions that later came to pass.

I have spent a lot of time on this because I know that you young people may wonder, as I did, how so many churches could be as bad as they are today. Before I joined the Chinese Baptist church, I was a member of a Baptist church that was so evil that it actually made me think, “This can’t be the true religion! How could it be true?” Today you see priests and preachers having adulterous sex, stealing money, and preaching false doctrine. You see schools like Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University inviting a Mormon like Glenn Beck to speak at their convocation. You hear of an Episcopal bishop getting married and then divorced from another man. And you may feel, as I did, “What is wrong?”

Don’t be alarmed. We have moved into the apostasy of the last days! Don’t be worried. Just stay right here in your local church until the storm of apostasy passes by!

“As the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matthew 24:37).

II. Second, it was a time of general unbelief.

The Apostle Peter said,

“There shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming?” (II Peter 3:3, 4).

The Bible teaches that Christ is coming again through the clouds, to set up His kingdom on earth. But the Apostle Peter said that people in the last days would scoff and ridicule the idea, that they would walk after their own lusts and deny the coming of Christ, and the judgment of the world.

Isn’t that exactly the way it was in the days of Noah? Christ said,

“As the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matthew 24:37-39).

Christ said they “knew not until the flood came.” It wasn’t lack of information that made them ignorant of the coming judgment. Noah was “a preacher of righteousness” (II Peter 2:5). They knew what he was preaching. They also knew what Enoch had preached,

“Behold, the Lord cometh... To execute judgment upon all”
       (Jude 14, 15).

They knew judgment was coming, but they didn’t believe it!

There are young people here tonight who know that judgment is coming. You have heard me speak about the fire of Hell. You have heard me speak about the end of the world in its present state. But you don’t believe it will affect you! You are like those people in the days of Noah, who “knew not until the flood came, and took them all away” (Matthew 24:39). May God open your eyes and convict you of sin before it is too late, and you drop into the everlasting flames of judgment. Come to Christ! Be washed clean from your sin by His Blood! Come to Jesus now before it is everlastingly too late! As Mr. Griffith sang before this sermon,

In times like these you need a Saviour,
   In times like these you need an anchor;
Be very sure, be very sure,
   Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!
This rock is Jesus, Yes, He’s the One;
   This rock is Jesus, the only One!
Be very sure, be very sure,
   Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!
(“In Times Like These” by Ruth Caye Jones, 1902-1972).

“As the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matthew 24:37).

III. Third, it was a time when very few people were saved.

The Bible speaks of “the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water” (I Peter 3:20). Few – that is eight souls – were saved – out of the whole world! Only eight people were saved in the ark!

Everyone assumes that they will be saved. What a mistake! It would be far better to assume that you will be lost! Jesus made that clear when He said,

“...narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:14).

“FEW THERE BE THAT FIND IT!” That’s what the Lord Jesus Christ said! Are you going to risk your soul by not believing Him? “FEW THERE BE THAT FIND IT!”

I pray that you will wake up! Wake up! Wake up! “FEW THERE BE THAT FIND IT!”

Oh, how I pray that you will wake up to your need for Jesus! I know that many evangelicals you meet are a big mess. I know that your college professors mock the Bible. You know that nearly everyone around you – even the President of the United States – is a rank unbeliever, a scoffing Christ rejector! Oh, don’t go to Hell with them! Oh, come to Jesus and be washed clean from your sin! The ark was a type of Jesus, a picture of Him. Oh, come into the ark and be saved! Oh, come to Jesus and be saved from the wrath of God, and judgment for your sin! Come! Come! Come in! Come in to Jesus and be saved! Amen.

(END OF SERMON)
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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Mr. Abel Prudhomme: II Peter 2:1-9.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“In Times Like These” (by Ruth Caye Jones, 1902-1972).


THE OUTLINE OF

APOSTASY IN THE DAYS OF NOAH – PART II

(SERMON #80 ON THE BOOK OF GENESIS)

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“As the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matthew 24:37).

(II Peter 2:5, 1)

I.   First, it was a time of growing apostasy, Genesis 4:26; 6:5, 7;
II Peter 2:1, 5, 12; 3:3; II Timothy 4:4; 3:1, 2, 5.

II.  Second, it was a time of general unbelief, II Peter 3:3, 4;
Matthew 24:37-39; II Peter 2:5; Jude 14, 15.

III. Third, it was a time when very few people were saved,
I Peter 3:20; Matthew 7:14.