Sunday, August 19, 2007

Did Noah Preach?

I have heard for all of my life how that Noah preached for 120 years and only his family was saved. Preachers have talked about how the door stayed open for a time giving other people a chance to come aboard. I had a blog all worked out based on this premise, and as I read the story of Noah again, I realized something. I'm not sure that Noah preached at all. He was never commanded to convert others. God told him I am making a convenant with you and your family. He doesn't mention anyone else. I am quite sure that people asked Noah what he was doing while building this monstrosity of a boat, and I'm also quite sure that Noah told them. I wonder if he said "Well, God is going to destroy everything but me, my family, and a few animals, so you better enjoy your life while you got it. I'm guessing he didn't say it quite like that, but I am in a quandry about whether or not Noah was ordered to preach and others were given the opportunity to be saved. I wish some of the biblical scholars who read my blog, if any there be, would comment and let me know your thoughts.

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure of the meaning of the word, but in 2 Peter 2:5 Noah is called a "preacher of rightousness"

old believer said...

I have just come from teachers meeting where we were preparing a lesson on Noah. The leader quoted the oft repeated story of Noah preaching for 120 years with no converts. I have heard preachers say this for many years, but as I began to study this week I can not verify it in the scripture and no one in our group was able to.

In Matthew 24:39 Christ said people knew nothing about what would happen til the flood took them away. If Noah had been preaching why didn't they know.

preacherzwife said...

Hi Tammie,
I believe it's in Hebrews where he is listed in the "Hall of Faith" :) and there the LORD says, he condemned the world....
(Heb. 11:7)
I think also, the time frame from when God calls him a just man and righteous he was 500 yrs. old. When the Ark is complete and God tells him to go in with his family he is 620 years old. It's all in there. I think we just have to do the math. :)

Anonymous said...

according to Hebrews 11:7, Noah built the ark for his family, not for the whole world. Yes, he condemned the world, and he did preach (2Pet 2:5). But his preaching was not to get into the ark. IF THEY HAD REPENTED, THEN GOD WOULD NOT HAVE HAD TO DESTROY THEM. Remember Nineveh was spared when repented?

Anonymous said...

Dear Tammie,
God's word says to study to show thyself approved unto'GOD', not men, as a worker who need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth.
I find, as you have, that many 'preachers', (and 'preacherzwife's or other followers), just accept what they have always heard without 'doing the math' or research themselves.

Genesis says that Noah was 500 when the Lord told him to build the Ark, and 600 (not 620) when the waters came. Nowhere can it be shown that he preached 120 years. It is discoverable though that the whole Godly line through Seth were quite accustomed to preaching or hearing the Word enough to have been considered 'warned' by GOD. Please also consider that Noah was not as distant from Adam as one might at first think; but we must also consider that those first 14 'generations' lived up to 980 years and could therefore know many more levels of grand-relatives than we do today.
The Book of Jude verse 14 quotes Enoch the 7th level of offspring from Adam. I suggest that if the Bible quotes from the Book then maybe you should disregard the Council of Laodicea ( the group of 'Authorities' who arbitrated what books from the original Bible collection were to be excluded and who decided what we should consider the legitimate Books based upon their whims).

There is enough here to give you direction in your homework without spoonfeeding or possibly misguiding you.

-SMc

Anonymous said...

-Noah was 500 years old when he had his first son( Gen 5: 32). He had three sons. He couldn't have had them all in one year!
- But the Bible does not say he was 500 old when God told him to build an ark. However, he was 600 years old when the flood began( Gen 7: 6)
- His sons had wives when they got into the Ark. So, his oldest( Sam- Gen 10: 1) could have been 100 years old.We do not know how old his brothers were.
- We are not told when Noah started to build the Ark. But we can assume that it was not when Sam- the oldest was born, because the Bible suggests that God told him to build after he had all his sons( Gen 6: 9, 14).
- Nowhere does the Bible say that Noah preached for 120 years. It "preaches" nice but it is not the fact. The most that he could have preached would be 100 years.
- I think we can assume he preached because he was called the preacher of righteousness( 2Pet 2: 5. It could have been preaching without the word( 1 Pet 3: 1)

truthfulwitness said...

We don’t confront culture just by going out there and picketing Hollywood. We

confront culture by obeying God. Noah built the ark and condemned the world. You

don’t have to have a protest sign. Just walk in obedience and the world will hate you.

Paul Washer

from his sermon 10 indictments against the modern church in America
http://truthfulwitness.blogspot.com/2009/02/10-indictments-of-modern-church-in_27.html

Anonymous said...

Just one quick thought in response to the anonymous comment, who says Noah couldn't have had three sons in one year? That is what the Bible seems to indicate. Are we supposed to believe the birth of triplets is a recent phenomenon?

Yes, I think Noah preached because of the preacher or righteousness bit, but as for the length of time, it would seem preachers are mixing up fact with hearsay.

Anonymous said...

Noah was a preacher (2 Peter 2:5).
The covenant was not with Noah alone, but also with the earth and every creature in the earth (Genesis 9:12, 13).

God bless you.

Anonymous said...

I have searched throughout the bible trying to find out how many years Noah preached, not realizing that the Bible doesn't give direct indication as to how many years he preached...but lookin at the time that God called him and the time he walked onto the ark, it can be estimated at about one hundred years.

Alistair said...

I would like to suggest that Noah did not preach during the building of the ark but rather that he had already preached (whether by word or by his righteous life), prior to God commanding him to build. After all, he had already lived for over 500 years and we are told that he walked with God, so his life would be a witness to those around. I would also suggest that the only ones who responded to his preaching were his wife, his 3 sons and their wives. God does not save anyone based on another's man's righteousness, except the Lord Jesus, of course.

If you read Genesis chapter 6 carefully, you'll see that 3 times God says he is going to destroy man, plus the rest of creation (verses 7, 13 & 17). In other words, He had already passed judgement so it was now too late for any one else to repent. Then in v18, He tells Noah about the covenant He is going to establish but it's only for him and his immediate family. There's no provision made for others, including his brothers & sisters who may have still been alive (Ch 5, v 30).

Incidentally, there is no mention of anyone mocking Noah and his sons during the building of the ark, which is something I've heard so many times since Sunday School days.

I believe that we grieve the Holy Spirit when we do not adhere to what Scripture plainly tells us, even if it is done in good faith.

Anonymous said...

Sorry you guys missed it. Although there is some debate. The 120 years most preachers get is from Gen 6:3. Rule one of understaning the bible is look at the context, Read verses before and after the ones you are arguing about. We see that vs 3 says "Then the Lord said My Spirit will not contend with man forever for he is mortal his days will be a hundred and twenty years. Many scholers believe this is the time between when God gives warning to Noah and when the flood will come. I believe God shortend Humans life span to that because of the difference between the earth pre and post flood but anyway thats where the 120 years comes from. Next time just read a little more about the story! Thanks.

Bible artist said...

Thanks for all the comments above. I'm just starting to research this in order to illustrate the story. I came across this blog when I was asking a similar question.
Some very thought provoking and helpful answers here.

Anonymous said...

Gen 6:18 only Noah and his family were allowed on. Why then would he go out preaching? God didn't ask him to help save the people.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if anyone here believes in the writings of Ellen White, but she gives inspired outlook on different aspects of the Bible. About Noah and the preaching she said this:

"More than one hundred years before the flood the Lord sent an angel to faithful Noah to make known to him that he would no longer have mercy upon the corrupt race. But he would not have them ignorant of his design. He would instruct Noah and make him a faithful preacher to warn the world of its coming destruction, that the inhabitants of the earth might be left without excuse. Noah was to preach to the people, and also to prepare an ark as God should direct him for the saving of himself and family. He was not only to preach, but his example in building the ark was to convince all that he believed what he preached.
Noah and his family were not alone in fearing and obeying God. But Noah was the most pious and holy of any upon the earth, and was the one whose life God preserved to carry out his will in building the ark and warning the world of their coming doom. Methuselah, the grandfather of Noah, lived until the very year of the flood, and there were others who believed the preaching of Noah, and aided him in building the ark, who died before the flood of waters came upon the earth. Noah, by his preaching and example in building the ark, condemned the world. God gave all an opportunity who chose to repent and turn to him. But they believed not the preaching of Noah. They mocked at his warnings, and ridiculed the building of that immense boat on dry land. Noah's efforts to reform his fellow men did not succeed. But for more than one hundred years he persevered in his efforts to turn men to repentance and to God. Every blow struck upon the ark was preaching to the people. Noah directed, he preached, he worked, while the people looked on in amazement, and regarded him as a fanatic." (from her book, Spiritual Gifts, chapter uh 8)

This is probably where preachers have gotten that idea.

News Hound said...

I also agree that the 120 years pertains to lifespan of man. Noah's life of righteousness is his witness to other men. When we dwell in the Lords will we are a light in the darkness, that can be seen by those who thirst for the pure milk of God.

Dallas Amico said...

I recently wrote a dissertation about the reason behind the deluge (I attend Valley Forge Christian College) if you are interested here is the link... Forgive its lapse into other fields of study as well, for it was necessary due to the nature of the class. A large amount of professors here agree with my postulations, you may consider them if you wish :) http://whatreallyhappenedingenesis.blogspot.com/2010/01/why-deluge.html

Rick said...

I very much enjoyed reading all of the comments on this post (that is up until the Ellen White one) This is excellant bible study. I commend you all. This is how we help each other study by pointing out things that we noticed in our own study.
As for the ages of Noah's boys. As I understand it Genesis 5:32 just tells us that by the time Noah was 500 his sons were born. The could have all been adults by that time.

ball58 said...

First of all, I think this discussion is great! I just realized that Noah might not have preached and warned people about the flood. I've been in church for 28 years... But I wanted to add what I've found in 1 Peter 3:19-20. It leads me to believe that when Jesus was dead for 3 days he went and preached to the people from the days of Noah and prior... Almost as if they were getting a second chance. After all, before Noah it doesn't mention making sacrifices to cover their sin. The only sacrifice was Cain and Abel made a sacrifice as an offering unto God (genesis 4:4). If that's true, they had no chance of making it to heaven except by the arc of Noah.

LS said...

I enjoyed reading on this site, because I do not for one second believe that Noah preached while he was building the Ark trying to convert people. If he had done this he would have disobeyed God and I don't believe that for a second. In fact had he disobeyed I believe he would have been in deep trouble. If anyone can show me where it says in the bible that is what he did then I will believe it. But his being a preacher of righteousness, tells me just that, doesn't prove anything else. I don't understand why some want to assume something when the bible is silent.

ymcm2014 said...

I read in John 20:30 and 21:25 that all that Jesus did is not recorded in the scriptures. I bet we can apply the same concept in the old test. about Noah. Alot is silent on him. I dont think it would take 100 or 120 years to build a boat, especially when you are hundreds of years old, really smart, really healthy, really big, and had help from the same kind of people. Could Noah went out to tell people what was up ( preached teached, talked to, informed, said to however we want to name it). I think he did alot more than just built a boat for many decades. Would it been a sin to tell people/preach(what ever we want to name it), I dont think so. Because the Bible does not go out of its way to tell us alot of things, does not mean it did not happen. The Bible is not the only history book that is accurate, there are other books out there that are also correct, though the Bible is the only inspired word of Yahveh. Jude even qoutes out of a non inspired book. God gaves us all a brain, lets put it to use and think outside the box.

Phil C- Sydney said...

It's interesting that everyone assumes that Noah was a preacher after the age of 500. perhaps he was a preacher of righteousness before God told him to build an ark. this is of course a guess, and i am a strong believer that assumptions and guesses should not be preached as fact. We should not make a doctrine that Noah preached to people for 120yrs about the flood or make any more specific claims about his preaching ministry because Scripture doesn't eloborate on it, therefore, neither should we.

bible study said...

Gen 6:3 "And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for tht he also is fles: yet his days shall be an HUNDRED an TWENTY YEARS."

Fresh Air said...

Appreciate reading all the comments.
I have personally known the Lord now for 40 years, and am excited to always learn new insights from His Word.
Just a couple more pieces of input here might be helpful.
My Bible says that AFTER Noah was 500 years old, he became the father of Shem, Ham, and Japheth. They weren't tripletts, as it says elsewhere that Ham was the youngest (Gen 9:24) It also says that TWO years AFTER the flood, Shem was 100 years old (Gen. 11:10).
I have heard it said that Noah preached for 120 years, but you will not find any Scripture that states that exactly. You will find, however, that God did set a time limit of 120 years until He would destroy mankind and all living creatures on the earth. I believe that God had made this decision before Noah was 500 years old, perhaps when he was 480 years old.
After Noah was 500 years old, he had three sons, as stated in the references earlier. In his 500th year, Noah began building the ark, perhaps with the help along the way of his grandfather, Methuselah and perhaps his father, Lamech. Play with the math, and you might find that Lamech died about 5 years before the flood, and Methuselah died the very year of the flood.
Again, I believe that when God said that His Spirit will not strive or contend with man forever...his days will be 120 years" (Gen 6:3)I believe He was setting the date certain for the flood. Many individuals lived well beyond 120 years after the flood, but eventually dwindled down...(Abraham=175,Isaac=180,Jacob=147?, and also Moses was exactly 120
years old.
Blessings,
GMS

Marlon said...

If you were to be outside in the open and building something big, people would walk by and start to wonder what the big deal is... some would ask you what you're doing and why. And ofcourse you would tell them just like Noah who told them the reason which was that God was going to flood the world, but in those days rain was not yet sent to earth until the flood, thats why after the flood their was the first rainbow. so ofcourse noah preached, he grabbed the peoples attention and told them of the horrible events that were going to occur, and is that not what a preacher does??? God has it all planned out, believe in him!

Tammie Diggs said...

So thankful for all the comments. This is a very interesting subject, and researching this has caused me to relook at all the sweet Sunday School stories I learned as a child. Sometimes we think we know those stories, but if we would read the Bible and not just our Sunday School leaflet, we might see a whole other prespective. I am studying Esther right now and it is proving to be most interesting!

deciple1980 said...

The mouth speaks what the heart is full of. Can you do something consistently for a year and not speak of it? try 120 years....

I. Johnson said...

I read many of the comments and agree that Noah was a preacher of righteousness and the number of years he preached is not written out.

I often tell those who love God to read the whole BIBLE and the Lord will speak. Over all the years I have served the Lord, I too find that many things that people say is not scriptually sound. "Let God be true and every man a liar".

We can trust the Word of God, because there is no lie in it.

Marcus Sanders said...

PM says...
I thoroughly appreciated a lot of the commentaries.

Francis of Assisi is remembered for the words, "preach the gospel and if necessary use words."

I believe Noah's construction in putting every board in place according to God's design of the Ark was his message to this generation that judgement was coming in 120 years. In reverent fear he constructed the ark. Sometimes our actions will speak louder than words. Are we preaching without words as we live by faith... you bet! Sometimes things are more caught than taught. Because God saw the wickedness on the earth was great (Gen. 6:5) God used the foolishness of building an Ark to confound the wise. For if they were truly seeking Him they would have repented. Like Sodom and Gomorrah I believe if there were 10 righteous, God would have changed His mind on the flood.

Shelia JG said...

I truly believe that we should speak where the Bible speaks and be silent where the Bible is silent. Everything in the word of God is not direct(somethings are indirect), however, His word is true regardless to what we believe. There is scripture in the New Testament that specifies the fact that Noah preached 120 years. Not sure if it is the book or Hebrews or where but it is there. However, again, this is how the Bible confirms itself; Genesis 6:3 tells how long God gave man before He was going to destroy them.(Some confuse this with Psalm 90:10). Matthew 24:39 is a simply warning that when you hear, harden not your heart. They knew why Noah was building the ark (rain) but they did not believe what was to come so they went on with their lives and all were lost. Hebrews 11:7 shows where Noah condemned the world (he had to have been preaching to them about their wicked ways and the punishment to come). And 2 Peter 2:5 calls Noah a righteous preacher. 2 Timothy 2:15 not only instructs us to study but he also instructs us to learn to rightly divide the word of truth. When we say a sincere prayer for God's understanding of His word and not our own our study is much more profitable for us and others as well; for we must share! Hope this has somehow helped. Be blessed in your studies!

Owen said...

There are those who say that the 120 yrs is for all of humanity, in other words - 120 Jubilees = 120x50 = 6000 yrs for mankind. There are extra canonical works, such as the book of Jubilees and the book of Jasher, one of these mentions Noah and the 120 years. Jubilees I believe adds the anecdote about them crossbreeding animals, abortions, etc. Actually pretty interesting. Also in the Epistle of Barnabas it uses a 6000 yr analogy for the allotted time for humanity. It is interesting how these particular books seem to share this same idea of 6000 yrs based on the 6 days of creation with a 1000 yr rest for the 7th day. 2 Peter who is building a lot of his arguments around the book of Jude (considering he is quoting Jude) and Jude is quoting directly from the Book of Enoch - which this book also has a lot to say about the end of days. Just thought that I would throw that out there, considering these "so called" non-canonical books have a lot to say about this subject. Cheers!

Dana said...

Gen. 6:1 - And when men began to multiply on the surface of the ground, and daughters were born to them,
Gen. 6:2 - The sons of God saw that the daughters of men were fair; and they took wives for themselves from all whom they chose.
Gen. 6:3 - And Jehovah said, My  Spirit will not strive with man forever, for he indeed is flesh; so his days will be one hundred twenty years.
Gen. 6:4 - The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them; these were the mighty men who were of old the men of renown.

The sons of God here denote the fallen angels , and the children born were called nephilims who were giants(like Goliath who was also a nephilim), and they were full of evil and flesh(satan like), and did not even have a human spirit. whenever this happened, God always judged the world severely and did not spare anyone. The same nephilim happened in the land of Cannan when Joshua and army were entering and God ordered to kill everyone(even the women and Children) and the same was the case of Saul when God ordered not to take any of the spoils of war (and God also ordered to kill women and children and all the cattle, but Saul spared the cattle) and i am pretty sure it happened in Sodom and Gomorrah. when such a situation happens God has no way to recover the mankind.
And in luke Jesus says that "just as in the time of Noah", Meaning that it will happen in the near future, but i think that it is already happening now and that will be the base for God to Judge this earth and Blot out all of the creation with fire and bring in the new heavens. In order for us to be saved from that brothers and sisters, we all must be in the church and be watchful, The Church is todays Ark.

Treva Nomates said...

Glad to see some honest, thoughtful bible study happening here. I'd justblike to throw one more verse into the can of worms:. 1 peter 3:18-19 'for Christ died for sins once and for all, the righteousness for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, through whom *or which* also he went and preached to the spirits in prison who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built.'

Lonnie Young said...

Lonnie

I as a minister myself, have preached this very same thing. But in my studies, I have discovered that I'm as guilty as those I've accused over the years. And that is, preaching what I've heard and not what I've studies for myself. Many of us would like to use the Bible to prove what we believe instead of just believing GOD's word. Take preacherzwife fir instance, she is determined to get a 120 years, where the scriptures says that Noah was 500 when he had 3 sons and when the rains came, he was 600. Now this doesn't say that Noah preached anything, it just gives a timeline. But she added 20 years just to make it fit. Don't you know, that the Bible doesn't need our help? Read the words, let it speak for itself, add nothing or take nothing, let it stand on it's own. And I will be more diligent in the future about what I say to GOD's people.

Dorothy C said...

But as for me and my house we shall serve the Lord!

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