Prophecy on Mount Olivet
By Arlen L. Chitwood
The Days of Noah
But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark,
and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. (Matthew 24:37-39)
(The parable of the fig tree and a brief summation of the days of Noah conclude the Jewish section of the Olivet Discourse, capsulating, in a concluding manner all that precedes in the discourse.
The budding of the fig tree shows not only the status of Israel during the Tribulation but portends fruit about to appear on the tree, the nation about to bear fruit; and that which the days of Noah foreshadow will be brought to pass at the same time as the budding of the fig tree, with events that occur at the end of and following the Flood foreshadowing that which the budding of the fig tree portends — Israel ultimately occupying the nation’s God-ordained place and bearing fruit. And all of this is detailed in a somewhat succinct manner in the preceding verses of the discourse.
This chapter, dealing with “The Days of Noah,” will approach the overall subject as presented by Scripture from two standpoints:
1) The Biblical account of events preceding, during, and following the Flood during Noah’s day, from a typical standpoint.
2) The mechanics of the Flood itself [particularly the meteorology and hydrology involved].
And it will become evident that things about the mechanics of the Flood are not only vitally necessary to help explain the typical teachings surrounding the Flood but will also shed light upon two other parts of Scripture:
1) Events that occurred during the restoration of the material creation in Genesis chapter one.
2) Events that will occur during “the times of restoration of all things” yet future, seen in Acts 3:21.
The whole of Scripture is tied together in this manner, beginning in the book of Genesis and concluding in the book of Revelation.)
Evident from that which is stated in Matthew 24:38, 39, the people during Noah’s day were going about their everyday activities, completely oblivious to the destruction which was about to occur. And, with conditions existing at the time of the beginning of the Flood during the days of Noah foreshadowing conditions which will exist at the beginning of the Tribulation during the days of the Son of Man, it is evident that these same conditions will prevail on earth immediately preceding Christ’s return for the Church, for the Tribulation will begin shortly thereafter.
And one only needs to have some knowledge of conditions during the days of Noah to look around at the world in which we live today and know that the world of that past day aptly describes the world as it exists during the present time. People in the world today (the unsaved, and most Christians as well) are going about their everyday activities, completely oblivious to that which is about to occur — Christians being removed to appear before the judgment seat of Christ, and the world, shortly thereafter, finding itself in the Tribulation.
And conditions in this respect will continue unchanged, with both Christians and the world at large busily engaged in normal pursuits of life, until…
The world cannot be expected to follow any other course. “the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one” (1 John 5:19). Satan is “the god of this age” and “all the gods of the peoples are idols [lit., ‘nothing,’ as compared to the one true and living God; the translators of the Septuagint used the Greek word daimonia, referring to ‘demons’]” (2 Corinthians 4:4; Psalm 96:5).
The world, enmeshed in humanism — with its goals, aims, ambitions, and aspirations — is following this type of approach to all things in life. Thus, it is only natural for the world to pursue a pattern of life as given in the text.
But matters for Christians should be completely different. Too often though there is seemingly little to no difference between Christians and those in the world, with Christians today increasingly finding themselves being caught up in the humanistic ways and practices of the world.
This is nothing new in today’s world though. This type of thing has been occurring throughout the present dispensation, for the past two millennia. Though there is one difference in today’s world. This type of thing is presently occurring on a scale not heretofore seen in Christendom.
Note the admonition of Scripture in 1 John 2:15-17 regarding Christians and their relationship to the world:
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
For all that is in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--is not of the Father but is of the world.
And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever [lit., ‘abideth with respect to the age,’ an allusion to the Messianic Era].”
With reference to the days of Noah, along with the previous parable of the budding of the fig tree, a number of things are certain. And, in view of the times in which we live — very near the end of the dispensation, any way one looks upon the matter — the time for the occurrence of things seen throughout the Jewish section of the Olivet Discourse are very near at hand:
1) God is about to conclude His dealings with the Church during the present dispensation.
2) God is about to once again deal with Israel, concluding the last seven years of the previous dispensation, fulfilling Daniel’s Seventieth Week.
3) Things are about to rapidly change upon the earth, in a very negative respect — changes wrought by Antichrist when he appears on the scene.
4) Christ will return following these changes being brought to an apex, changes of such a nature that except for Christ’s intervention in man’s affairs once again, no flesh would survive.
5) Then, following Christ’s return, numerous changes will once again occur, though this time the changes will be just the opposite — changes wrought by Christ.
That’s what the parable of the budding of the fig tree and the days of Noah, concluding the Jewish section of the Olivet Discourse, have to do with. Both together carry a person through a time of unparalleled trouble about to come upon the earth (seen in previous verses). But both, as well, look out to that future day when the Son of Man will return as “King of kings and Lord of lords” (also seen in previous verses) and — by and through numerous subsequent events at the time of His return, followed by 1,000 years of judging — straightens the whole matter out.
Two Worldwide Floods
The Flood during Noah’s day is not the first worldwide Flood seen in Scripture. Rather, the opening verses of Genesis provide an account of the first worldwide Flood and God’s restoration of the material creation following this Flood. The Flood in these opening verses of Genesis, in chapter one, occurred during days preceding man’s time on earth, with the restoration occurring immediately preceding man’s creation.
Then, Genesis chapters seven and eight, having to do with events occurring over sixteen centuries later, recount the second worldwide Flood seen in Scripture, the Flood during Noah’s day.
There is a new beginning following the Flood in Genesis chapter one, and there is another new beginning following the Flood during Noah’s day in Genesis chapter eight. And the manner in which God subsequently wrought a restoration of the ruined material creation in chapter eight is the same manner in which He had previously wrought a restoration of the ruined material creation in chapter one. This must be the case, for an unchangeable pattern concerning how God restores a ruined creation was established at the beginning, as seen in the first chapter.
In Genesis 1:2, God used raging waters (the thought conveyed by the Hebrew word tehom, translated “deep”) to destroy the pre-Adamic earth following Satan’s attempt to elevate his throne to a position above his God-appointed position.
And in Genesis 7:11ff, God used exactly the same means to destroy those upon the earth following Satan’s attempt to corrupt the human race by and through the cohabitation of “the sons of God [angels within Satan’s kingdom]” with “the daughters of men [female offspring from the lineage of Adam]” (Genesis 6:1-4).
(For additional information on the cohabitation of “the sons of God” with “the daughters of men,” refer to Chapter 5, “In Those Days,” in the author’s book, Jude.)
Particulars surrounding the way in which God brought about the pre-Adamic Flood and resulting destruction are not given in Scripture. The simple statement is made concerning existing conditions at the time of the Flood — raging waters covering a darkened earth — and aside from commentary such as 2 Peter 3:5, 6 (which provides little more in the way of particulars), God has seen fit to leave the matter unrevealed.
However, God did provide revelation concerning how He went about restoring this ruined earth for man, prior to man’s creation. He devoted almost an entire chapter to details surrounding this restoration, for an evident reason (Genesis 1:2b-25). But revelation surrounding the Noachian Flood is quite different. God saw fit to provide numerous particulars concerning both the way in which He brought this Flood about and the way in which He effected restoration following the Flood. Part of chapter seven is devoted to the former (vv. 11-24), and part of chapter eight, along with Psalm 104:5-9, is devoted to the latter (vv. 1-14).
The destruction produced by water during Noah’s day, the same as seen in chapter one, will be dealt with first; then, the restoration seen during Noah’s day, set alongside and/or compared with the restoration in chapter one, will be dealt with in a subsequent section.
Destruction by the Flood during Noah’s Day
The waters that flooded the earth during Noah’s day came from two sources — from above the atmosphere and from below the earth’s surface (Genesis 7:11). During the restoration of the earth following the previous Flood in Genesis 1:2, God, on the second day of His restorative work, had placed the waters that He later used to flood the earth once again in two locations — above the atmosphere and below the atmosphere (Genesis 1:6-8), with the waters below the atmosphere placed both above and below the earth’s surface.
(The waters above the atmosphere evidently existed in the form of a vapor canopy surrounding the earth. Significant amounts of water in a liquid form would have affected light coming from the sun. And the amount of water content that God placed above the atmosphere could only have been a tremendous amount [evident by the amount of rainfall at the time of the Flood].)
When God flooded the earth a second time, during Noah’s day, He broke open “the fountains of the great deep” and opened “the windows of heaven [i.e., ‘the floodgates of heaven’]” (7:11). Subterranean waters began to gush up, and torrential rain (the meaning of the Hebrew word translated “rain” in Genesis 7:12) began to fall through the atmosphere from the opened floodgates above the atmosphere (which could only have resulted from the vapor canopy condensing).
From the account given in Genesis, this continued unchanged for forty days and nights.
Then, at the end of this time, the highest mountain peak on earth was covered to a depth of “fifteen cubits [about twenty-five feet]” (7:12-20). And, except for the eight individuals and the animals in the ark,
. . . all flesh died that moved on the earth: birds and cattle and beasts and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, and every man.
All in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, all that was on the dry land, died. (Genesis 7:21, 22)
The subterranean waters though didn’t cease gushing up at the end of forty days; nor did the torrential rain cease coming down from above at this time. Rather, both continued, with no revealed change, for another one hundred and ten days (7:24-8:2).
It was only after a full one hundred and fifty days that the subterranean waters ceased gushing up and the torrential rain ceased coming down (the same word for “rain” is used in the Hebrew text for rainfall during both the first forty days [7:12] and the additional one hundred and ten days [8:2], which, as previously noted, refers to “torrential rain”).
In this respect, what could only have been vast quantities of water continuing to come up from below and down from above for an additional one hundred and ten days could only have significantly added to the depth of the water that had already accumulated and completely covered the earth at the end of the first forty days. And, from the time involved, possibly almost three times as much more water accumulated on the earth’s surface during the additional one hundred ten days as had initially accumulated during the first forty days.
Thus, at the end of the full one hundred and fifty days, the water level could only have been far above that which is seen at the end of forty days, when the highest mountain peak on earth was covered to a depth of about twenty-five feet. The water depth one hundred ten days later would undoubtedly have been at least hundreds, possibly thousands, of feet above the highest point on earth; we’re not told.
(Note that the topography of the antediluvian earth was quite different than that which exists today. Mountain peaks in the antediluvian world could only have been considerably lower, for reasons which become evident when one views Scripture dealing with how God restored the earth following the Flood.
God’s restoration following both the Flood preceding man’s creation in Genesis chapter one and the Flood during Noah’s day in chapter eight involved the movement of water from one place to another, allowing dry land to appear [cf. Genesis 1:9, 10; 8:5-14], with the water moved to different places in each instance.
Restoration following the Flood that preceded man’s creation in chapter one occurred by and through God placing part of the water above the atmosphere and part below the atmosphere, both on the surface and below the surface of the earth [1:2, 6, 7].
Restoration following the Flood during Noah’s day in chapter eight occurred by and through God raising portions of the land beneath the water [ultimately forming mountainous or high terrain] and lowering other portions of the land [forming mainly ocean basins], with water moving from the land being raised to the land being lowered, as seen in Psalm 104:5-9:
He established the earth upon its foundation,
So that it will not totter [‘move out of its place’] forever and ever.
Thou didst cover it with the deep as with a garment;
The waters were standing above the mountains.
At Thy rebuke they fled;
At the sound of Thy thunder they turned away.
The mountains rose; the valleys sank down,
To the place which Thou didst establish for them.
Thou didst set a boundary that they may not pass over;
That they may not return to cover the earth. (NASB)
Part of the water flooding the earth had come from subterranean sources. It appears evident though that this subterranean supply of water was left on the surface of the earth at the time of the restoration following the Flood, for only about three percent of the earth’s total water supply lies in subterranean sources today. The remainder, about ninety-seven percent, lies on the surface of the earth, mainly in the oceans. And it is evident that none of this water was placed back in the heavens above the atmosphere, for it is not there today.
[These figures — three percent and ninety-seven percent — are derived from The U.S. Geological Survey’s records from past years. The accuracy could be somewhat open to question; though, with today’s technology, the figures are probably fairly accurate.]
Then, concerning the antediluvian mountains, how high would they have been for water to have covered all of them at the end of the first forty days of the Flood? We can know that vast changes in the earth’s topography began to occur at the end of the full one hundred fifty days, immediately following the time that God closed the floodgates of heaven and stopped the subterranean waters from coming up. But, the elevation of antediluvian topography, no one knows; nor can they know, for there is no data to work with.)
Thus, at the end of the first forty days of the Flood, the ark rested, floated, on a shoreless ocean, with the water level about twenty-five feet above the highest point on earth. And the ark continued floating on a shoreless ocean, with subterranean waters continuing to gush up from below the earth’s surface and torrential rain continuing to fall from the supply of water above the atmosphere for another one hundred and ten days, which could only have progressively raised the water level higher and higher.
Only at the end of the full one hundred and fifty days did God step in and close both the floodgates of heaven and the fountains of the deep (8:2). Apparently all of the water above the atmosphere had fallen (for, again, none remains there today), though that would not appear to be the case with the water below the earth’s surface (for, as previously stated, about three percent of the earth’s total water supply can be found below the earth’s surface today).
God apparently waited until the entire supply of water above the atmosphere had been depleted, which required one hundred and fifty days of torrential rainfall. Then He closed both the floodgates of heaven and the sources of the subterranean waters.
Restoration Following the Flood
On the one hundred fiftieth day of the Flood, when God stepped in and put a stop to matters (cf. Genesis 7:11; 8:1-4), Scripture locates the ark in relation to a place on the land beneath the water by stating:
Then the ark rested in the seventh month, the seventeenth day of the month, on the mountains of Ararat. (8:4)
Or, is the preceding really what Scripture states?
This is the way that all of the widely-used English translations read, which have seemingly followed one another in the translation of this verse. But how could this be correct if the water level continued to rise for a total of one hundred and fifty days in the manner previously seen, which, from a Scriptural standpoint, is really the only possible way to view the matter?
This fact should have caught the attention of at least some of the translators, for the Hebrew word translated “on” [KJV: “upon”] (al) in this verse can also be understood and translated as “over” or “above.” For example, it is translated “over” in the opening verse of this same chapter (“pass over the earth”), or it is translated “above” back in chapter one (“fly above the earth” [v. 20]).
This Hebrew word has to be understood contextually. And in Genesis 8:4, as is evident from the context introducing this verse (and even more evident from the verses following), the translation should be “above” or “over,” not “on” or “upon.” That is, at the end of one hundred and fifty days, when the supply of water above the atmosphere had evidently been depleted and God stepped in and closed both the floodgates of heaven and the sources of the subterranean waters, Genesis 8:4 locates the ark in relation to a point on the earth beneath the waters, below the ark. This verse locates the ark in relation to the Ararat mountain range (a range that stretches from modern-day Turkey eastward into Armenia).
And that this is the correct way to view Genesis 8:4 is a simple matter to illustrate, not only from Scripture preceding the verse (as has already been shown) but from Scripture following the verse as well.
Genesis 8:1, 3, 5 clearly reveals that God not only closed the floodgates of heaven and the sources of the subterranean waters at the end of one hundred and fifty days but that He also began a restorative work at this same time. Immediately following the Flood waters reaching their highest level on the one hundred and fiftieth day, these waters began to recede. And it took about five and one-half months for the level to drop completely, though almost two more months were required after that for the face of the earth to become dry (cf. 8:1-4, 13, 14).
If the ark came to rest on a mountain peak in the Ararat range on the day that God closed both sources of the Flood waters and began His restorative work, resulting in the waters continually receding, it could not have been too many days before dry land appeared around the ark.
But this didn’t happen. It wasn’t until almost two and one-half months had passed that the tops of the mountains began to appear above the waters (8:5). Then, after another forty days had elapsed, Noah sent forth a dove, which found “no resting place for the sole of her foot” (8:6-9).
That is to say, almost four months after the waters began to recede, there was no dry land around the ark, though seven days later, when Noah sent the dove forth again, the dove did find dry land within flying distance of the ark (8:10, 11).
Where did the ark finally come to rest following the Flood? We’re not told. From the way that the text reads though — Noah having to wait for about two months after the waters had completely subsided for the face of the earth to become dry — the ark apparently came to rest in an unrevealed place in the lowlands.
Also, it could possibly be stated that the ark’s resting place would be somewhere west of where the city of Babylon was built two generations following the end of the Flood, for, to arrive at this location, those who built Babylon migrated eastward to a plain in the land of Shinar (Genesis 10:5-10; 11:1ff). This would only be a possibility though, for there could have been a migration of people to locations away from the vicinity of where the ark came to rest during time covering two generations (note that the direction of migration in Genesis 11:2 should be translated “eastward” rather than “from the east,” as in the KJV and NKJV [ref. NASB, NIV]).
What difference though does all of this make, and why spend this time showing an incorrect translation and understanding of Genesis 8:4? Actually, it makes a lot of difference, for if an individual follows the incorrect translation and understanding of Genesis 8:4, the door is closed to tremendous biblical truths that can be seen in verses one through four only by viewing verse four correctly.
1) Paralleling Two New Beginnings
As previously seen, Genesis 1:2 and Genesis 8:1 have to do with introductory information concerning new beginnings following two different Floods, one pre-Adamic, and the other post-Adamic. This parallel though is usually missed by following the English translation of Genesis 8:1 and not understanding that the latter must follow that which is previously established in the former.
The Hebrew word Ruach appears in both verses. In Genesis 1:2, this word is translated “Spirit”; but in Genesis 8:1, this word has been translated “wind” and separated from the same parallel thought seen in how God begins His restorative work in this respect, as established back in Genesis 1:2.
(“Wind” or “breath” can be correct translations of Ruach, if the context permits [as “wind” or “breath” can also be seen at times as correct translations of Pneuma, the corresponding word in the Greek New Testament, usually translated “Spirit”]. But there is nothing in the context of Genesis 8:1 that would suggest understanding Ruach as “wind.”
The word Ruach is only used five times between Genesis 1:2 and 8:1 [3:8; 6:3, 17; 7:15, 22]. The last three usages have been translated and should be understood as “breath.” And the other two should probably be understood and translated in a similar manner as well [note, the numerous times Ruach is translated and understood as “breath” in Ezekiel 37:5-10].)
The movement of God’s Ruach over the face of the waters in both Genesis 1:2 and Genesis 8:1 must be understood the same way in both instances, for the pattern concerning how God begins His restorative work involving a ruined creation was revealed and set in an unchangeable manner in Genesis 1:2.
Thus, the beginning of God’s subsequent restorative work in Genesis 8:1 MUST be viewed exactly the same way. The Spirit of God or the Breath of God (which produces life [cf. Genesis 2:7]) MUST be seen moving upon or across the face of the waters in both instances.
(In relation to God’s breath providing life, as introduced in Genesis 2:7 [establishing a First-Mention Principle, which can never change], note ruined man today — another ruined creation, ruined following the restoration of the ruined material creation in Genesis 1:2ff. How does God go about restoring ruined man, who is “dead in trespasses and sins” [Ephesians 2:1]? The answer is seen in these two passages in Genesis [1:2; 8:1]; and the means that God uses to restore ruined man, as seen in these two passages of Scripture, can never change.
The Spirit of God moves upon the ruined creation. The Spirit breathes life into the one having no life, and man passes “from death to life” [John 5:24]. Everything is accomplished entirely through divine intervention. Ruined man today is just as powerless to bring himself out of his ruined state as was the ruined material creation in both Genesis chapters one and eight.
Had God not acted in Genesis chapters one and eight, the earth would still be covered by water today and would forever remain covered by water, apart from divine intervention at some future time.
Had not God acted at Calvary, in the person of His Son, ruined man would forever be left in his present condition — “dead in trespasses and sins.”
And should not the Spirit of God act today, on the basis of Christ’s finished work at Calvary — breathing life into the one who has no life — man could never pass “from death to life.” Man could never move out of his ruined state simply because there is only one revealed way that God restores a ruined creation, and it is either accomplished through God’s revealed way or there is no restoration [Acts 4:12].)
Scripture must be understood and interpreted in the light of Scripture. And, understanding Genesis 8:1 in the light of and in the same respect as previously seen in Genesis 1:2 becomes vitally necessary to properly understand that which is in view in verse four, where another corrected translation is necessary.
2) Over the Mountains of Ararat
At the end of the Flood, after the utter destruction that had affected “all in whose nostrils was the breath of life,” save those on the ark, Noah and his family found themselves at a location above “the mountains of Ararat.”
Then, on this same day, the Spirit of God set about to effect restoration, exactly as previously seen in Genesis chapter one. And also, exactly as previously seen in chapter one, this restoration was for purposes surrounding regality.
Regality in Genesis chapter one is shown by a direct statement regarding the reason for man’s creation: “. . . let them have dominion [or, ‘…let them rule’]” (vv. 26, 28). The Hebrew word translated “dominion” in these two verses is radah, the same word translated “rule” in Psalm 110:2, where Christ will rule as the great King-Priest after the order of Melchizedek during the coming day of His power (v. 4; cf. Genesis 14:18ff; Hebrews 5-7).
Regality in Genesis chapter eight though is shown by a different fashion than in chapter one. A “mountain” in Scripture signifies a kingdom. And at the end of the Flood (foreshadowing the end of the coming Tribulation), those in the ark (foreshadowing the nation of Israel in that day) found themselves resting in a place of safety above the mountains of Ararat (foreshadowing the nation of Israel in that coming day, resting in a place of safety above all the kingdoms of the world, no longer the tail, but elevated to the head).
The name “Ararat” itself, a transliterated Hebrew word, comes from a root word that means holy ground. And this is exactly where Israel will find herself once the nation has been restored to the land in that coming day.
(The word “holy” is used numerous times throughout Scripture in relation to God. And the same word is used numerous times as well in relation to different things as they pertain to the Jewish people — the people themselves, Jerusalem, the Temple, and the land as a whole [cf. Exodus 19:6; Deuteronomy 7:6; Psalm 2:6; 11:4; 65:4; 78:41; Zephaniah 2:12; 3:11].
The word “holy” carries the thought of set apart [to the Lord]. This is the only way in which the word can be used relative to inanimate objects; and this same meaning would still apply when used relative to the people of Israel, though it could extend beyond this into the thought of purity [which is actually an extension of the thought of being set apart].)
The entire earth is referred to in Scripture as “the holy mountain of God [i.e., ‘the set apart kingdom of God’]” (Ezekiel 28:14). However, Satan, the ruler over this kingdom, because of his aspirations to extend his rule beyond that which God had appointed him to occupy, introduced corruption, resulting in his kingdom being reduced to a ruined state.
Later, after the kingdom had been restored and man had been created to rule the kingdom in the stead of Satan, man’s fall resulted in the same thing. Corruption was reintroduced into the kingdom, and this corruption affected both man and the material creation.
Then, later yet, the nation of Israel was brought into existence and called forth, as a set apart people, to rule in a set apart land, within a theocracy. But the Lord’s name, the people, the Temple, and the land were all later polluted, defiled, profaned by and through a continued disobedience of God’s people (cf. Numbers. 35:33, 34; Psalm 79:1; Ezekiel 14:11; 20:43; 23:38; 36:20; Hosea 5:3; 6:10).
And Israel, the wife of Jehovah, climaxed the nation’s disobedience by taking up unholy alliances with the surrounding Gentile nations — something that God had forbidden in no uncertain terms (cf. Numbers. 23:9; Deuteronomy 7:1-6). And these alliances were viewed in Scripture as harlotry on Israel’s part (cf. Jeremiah 3:1-4; Ezekiel 16:2, 28, 29).
The day came when Israel’s cup of iniquity became full (cf. Genesis 15:16), and God drove His adulterous wife out among her Gentile lovers to effect repentance through persecution at the hands of her lovers, which is exactly where Israel is seen in the world today. Israel today is seen as “the great whore,” residing among her Gentile lovers.
And because of this, Israel is presently seen associated with both Babylon and Jerusalem, but only with Jerusalem in the respect that Jerusalem, during this time, is seen associated with Sodom and Egypt (Revelation 11:8; 17:1-7, 18).
(For a discussion of Revelation chapters eleven, seventeen, and eighteen in the preceding respect, refer to the author’s book, The Time of Jacob’s Trouble, or to Chapters 27 and 28 in the author’s book, The Time of the End.)
The day is coming though when all of this will change. Israel, by and through the judgments of the Tribulation, will be brought to the place of repentance. This will be followed by the harlot being cleansed and restored to her rightful place in a cleansed land, within a theocracy.
Then, that which is foreshadowed by Genesis 8:4 — Noah and his family resting above the mountains of Ararat — will be realized. Gentile world power will have been destroyed (typified by the destruction occurring during the Flood). And Israel, in that coming day, will find herself at rest, placed above all the kingdoms of the world, in a holy place (cf. Zechariah 14:9, 20, 21).
This is exactly what is also seen in Revelation 12:1b and Revelation 17:18b.
A woman is seen in chapter twelve as the one possessing “a crown of twelve stars,” with the number “twelve” signifying governmental perfection. Then, allowing Scripture to continue interpreting itself, a harlot is seen in chapter seventeen as “the one having kingly authority over the kings of the earth” (literal translation from the Greek text in v. 18b).
That which is seen in both Revelation 12:1b and 17:18b points to that which awaits Israel following her cleansing (Revelation 17:16, 17; 19:3). That is to say, Israel, also seen as God’s firstborn son (Exodus 4:22, 23), holds this regal position today but cannot exercise this position until after the nation has been cleansed. And the fact that Israel will one day be cleansed and ultimately exercise this position was all foretold back in Genesis 8:4.
3) Shem, Ham, Japheth
Genesis chapter nine then adds to a developing Old Testament word picture. Among Noah’s three sons following the Flood, only one — Shem — was blessed and said to have a God (v. 26). And from Shem descended Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, his twelve sons, and the nation of Israel.
Since Shem is the only one stated to have been blessed and to have a God, in order for the other two sons to have received spiritual blessings, they would have had to go to Shem — something which is stated in the text in relation to Japheth by his having to dwell in the tents of Shem (v. 27).
This is the same position that Shem’s descendant, Abraham, held in relation to the nations; and this is the same position that the descendants of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob have held, continue to hold today, and will always hold relative to the nations. If the nations are to be blessed, it must be accomplished by and through the means that God has decreed — through Abraham and his seed, through Isaac and Jacob (Genesis 12:1-3).
That’s the importance seen in the Noachian Flood and that which occurred following the Flood. And that’s the importance seen in the vast amount of space that God has provided in His Word surrounding that which the Flood foreshadows.
Israel must be brought to the place of repentance. Only then can that which is seen, which is foreshadowed in Genesis 8:4; 9:26, 27 be realized, with blessings flowing from a restored people, in a restored city and land, out to the nations of the earth.
Concluding Thoughts (Meteorology and Hydrology):
(The remainder of this chapter has to do with meteorology and hydrology, dealing centrally with the mechanics of how both acted together in relation to the Noachian Flood.
After writing this material, I asked a long-time friend with a graduate degree in meteorology and some thirty years work in his field above his degree work [with the National Weather Service] to review the chapter in general and the following part of the chapter in particular. His comments involved the following part of the chapter only, though they would reflect on some previous parts of the chapter as well.
These comments may be helpful to some readers. Thus, I have included them at the end of the material [as “End Notes”], with superscript numbers in the text showing the different places to which these different end notes refer.)
A basic understanding of meteorology and hydrology, as different things in these two sciences pertain to that which occurred during the Noachian Flood (and even the previous Flood in Genesis chapter one), will help one to understand that which God brought to pass at this time. And, along with this is “the times of restoration of all things” in Acts 3:21, which fits into the overall scope of the matter as well.
First, meteorological conditions, as we know them today, did not exist prior to the time of the Flood during Noah’s day. Prior to this time, with what was evidently a vapor canopy enveloping the earth, above the atmosphere,1 the entire earth could only have existed in a greenhouse-type setting (though not in a true greenhouse-type setting, for air masses moved about [Genesis 3:8 — translate “cool” as “breeze,” evidently associated with God’s breath; Hebrew: Ruach]). Temperatures would have been fairly uniform throughout the earth, with no polar caps covered with ice, as we know them today.2
And this accounts for man during modern times finding such things as the remains of vast quantities of tropical vegetation and tropical animals encased in ice in the Arctic regions.
With this greenhouse-type setting, meteorological conditions could only have been quite different from those existing on the earth today — a condition that lasted for over sixteen centuries, from the creation of Adam to the Flood during Noah’s day, ten generations later.
During this time there were no weather systems of the nature seen today (high and low pressure areas, frontal zones, developing thunderstorms, etc.). The whole of the earth’s present weather system was set in motion at a time in the past, with this system and the motion of this system both introduced and sustained by two things:
1) First, by the sun producing an uneven heating of the earth’s surface.
2) Then, forces produced by the rotation of the earth governing the movement of air masses resulting from the sun’s uneven heating of the earth’s surface.
Remove the first, the uneven heating of the earth’s surface, and there would be no air masses of the nature under discussion for the forces produced by the rotation of the earth to move (i.e., different pressure systems, frontal zones, etc.). Apart from the first, the uneven heating of the earth’s surface, the complete worldwide weather system, as it exists today, would change completely.3
One will search in vain for any mention of “rain” falling during the period extending from Adam to Noah. There was no uneven heating of the earth’s surface — something necessary to produce conditions that would lift air to higher altitudes, cooling the air until it reached its condensation point, at which time the water vapor in the atmosphere would condense and fall back to the earth as some type of precipitation (rain, snow, etc.).
Apart from this sequence, which begins with the sun producing an uneven heating of the earth’s surface, resulting in conditions that will lift the air (convection, frontal zones, air masses moved over mountainous terrain), there can be no rain or any other type of precipitation.4
These conditions did not exist in the antediluvian world. Thus, there was no “rain” (Genesis 2:5). Rather, God provided for “a mist went up from the earth” to ascend and “watered the whole face of the ground” (Genesis 2:6).
Also during this time, with harmful rays of the sun evidently being filtered out by the vapor canopy above the atmosphere (along with a probable difference in atmospheric pressure from that which exists today, due to the presence of the vapor canopy above the atmosphere), man lived for hundreds of years and could beget children during at least much of this time (e.g., Noah begetting sons at the age of five hundred in Genesis 5:32).
The average life-span of man during this time, covering the ten generations from Adam to Noah (excluding Enoch, who was translated), was nine hundred twelve years.5
But once the vapor canopy had been removed, allowing the sun’s rays to come through unfiltered (with a probable change in atmospheric pressure on earth as well, due to the loss of the vapor canopy above the atmosphere), man’s longevity was cut in half almost immediately (Shem, 600 years; Shem’s son Arphaxad, 438 years; Arphaxad’s son Salah, 433 years). Going on two more generations beyond Salah, man’s longevity was cut almost in half again (Peleg and his son Reu, both 239 years; Rue’s son Serug, 230 years). And by the time of Abraham, three generations beyond Serug, ten generations beyond Noah (350 years from the Flood to the birth of Abraham) — with a continued, progressive genetic deterioration within man — the length of time man lived was down to between one and two hundred years (Abraham, 137 years; Isaac, 180 years; Jacob, 147 years; Joseph, 110 years).
And man today fares worse yet.
Once the waters above the atmosphere had all fallen through the opened floodgates of heaven, doing away with the greenhouse-type conditions that had previously existed on earth, meteorological conditions as we know them today came into existence. An uneven heating of the earth’s surface by the sun — something that had not heretofore existed because of the vapor canopy surrounding the earth — set all of it in motion.6
At this time, Noah and his family were in the ark above the Ararat mountain range, floating on a deep, shoreless ocean. And, apart from any lapse of time (on the 150th day, after God had closed the floodgates of heaven and had stopped the subterranean waters from coming up), He immediately began a restorative work. He immediately began to raise and lower different land masses, causing different bodies of water to move from one point to another.
Some Bible students knowing or understanding that which Scripture has to say about God restoring the earth in Genesis chapter eight, causing dry land to reappear above the waters, often give little thought to “how” this was brought to pass.
Ignoring that which is stated in Psalm 104:5-9, some think in terms of an evaporation of the water over time, which, of course, is not feasible at all. Water doesn’t simply evaporate and then just disappear. Rather, the evaporation of water saturates the atmosphere, and the atmosphere can only hold so much water content before it becomes completely saturated (depending on the pressure and temperature of the air being saturated).7
The atmosphere (regardless of the pressure and temperature) can actually hold very little water content before it becomes completely saturated (an amount equivalent, at the most, to just several inches removed from a given body of water into a given part of the atmosphere).8 Then, once the atmosphere has become completely saturated, the evaporated water (now in vapor form) will, at some point in time, condense and fall back to the earth in the form of rain, snow, etc.
This is the type water cycle existing on earth today — moving evaporated water from the oceans over land areas, with this water vapor later condensing, falling back to the earth, and eventually finding its way back to the oceans via rivers, etc.
In short, had God not acted following His closing the floodgates of heaven and the subterranean sources that had produced the waters flooding the earth, evaporation over millennia of time would never have lowered that water level more than just several inches. Apart from any of that water seeping into the ground, a continuous hydrological cycle would have been going on for the entire time — from Noah’s day to the present day (over forty-three hundred years) — lowering the water level several inches by evaporation and then bringing it back to the same level again as this water vapor condensed in the atmosphere and fell back upon a shoreless ocean as precipitation.9
The manner in which God restored the earth in Genesis chapter eight (though not a restoration to Edenic conditions, as in chapter one) will explain numerous things (e.g., the water-ravaged western United States, particularly the Grand Canyon [evidently formed by water rushing toward the Pacific basin from the Rocky Mountain area as the former was being lowered and the latter was being raised], or the tangled skeletal remains of dinosaurs buried beneath what are today dry river beds in northwestern Colorado [at Dinosaur National Monument], among other places).
But, during “the times of restoration of all things” — when the Messianic Era is ushered in — God is going to reverse all of this. The vast quantities of water that once existed above the atmosphere are going to be placed back up there.
Meteorological conditions will change accordingly, Edenic conditions will once again exist, and man will once again live for centuries.
In fact, man in that coming day will live for the duration of the Millennium, in a natural body, moving right on into the eternal ages in this same type of body.
When Adam was created, he was created in an undying, natural body, designed and created by God to exist forever. And man is going to one day be brought back into that state.
— End Notes —
1 The nature of the water substance in the “waters above the atmosphere” has always intrigued me. There may have been some combination of liquid water along with a deep layer of saturated vapor which completely removed UV wavelengths from the light reaching the surface of the earth. Water vapor is transparent to UV radiation, whereas nearly all UV radiation is absorbed by pure water 40-50 meters in depth. Maybe there was enough liquid depth to remove harmful UV radiation and to support currents of water that distributed heat energy in the waters above the atmosphere.
2 There would have had to be temperature variations to support breezes since pressure equals density times gas constant times temperature (K). If the temperature and density were constant, the pressure would have to be constant. Without a pressure gradient, there would be no wind. Obviously there would be solar radiation differences from the polar regions to the equatorial regions, and the earth must have been rotating since night and day occurred before the Flood.
Much of the energy distribution must have occurred in the water substance above the atmosphere with most of the radiation reaching the earth in the infrared range from the water substance. There would, then, have been only weak temperature gradients, supporting relatively weak flow on the surface of the earth.
With the rotation of the earth, the temperature differences probably would have been concentrated in the central latitudes, as is the case today. Rotation rate of the earth and the strength of the coriolis coefficient [forces produced by the rotation of the earth] are unknown. The rotation rate likely was altered when the waters above the atmosphere were drained. Variation in the coriolis parameter would affect the strength of winds around any pressure systems that did develop.
3 Well stated. The only reason we have weather is to compensate for the uneven distribution of solar radiation on the earth. With the large volume of water substance above the earth before the Flood, much of the solar imbalance likely was removed by the water layer, regardless of its phase.
4 Note also that instability to support things like thunderstorms requires a temperature decrease with height. If much of the heating of the earth’s surface was coming from the large volume of water substance at the top of the atmosphere at that time, the atmosphere below the water layer probably was very stable.
As such, things like thunderstorms as we know them would not have been possible. If there were some kind of forced ascent with areas of low pressure or frontal boundaries, there probably would have been dense fog and heavy drizzle or light rain. Maybe this forced lifting and shallow water droplet formation constituted the “mist from the ground.” It is possible that God had ordained something completely different like a sprinkler system from the vast reservoir of water below the ground. I don’t know...
5 See the previous note about UV penetration in water (end note 1).
6 With the loss of the water substance aloft, UV A and UV B radiation would have reached the earth’s surface, much as occurs today.
7 Absolutely right. Evaporation could not have removed the huge volume of water from the Flood. Regardless of the pressure and temperature, the water molecules condensing on the surface of the liquid and the water molecules achieving enough energy to escape the liquid bonds are in balance at saturation.
8 In the current atmosphere, condensing all of the water vapor would cover the earth with just over an inch of liquid water. In the tropics, precipitable water may reach values of three inches or so.
9 The water would have had to escape to space or return to the subterranean reservoir.