The Hebrew Scriptures reveal that the Creator of the Heavens and Earth created human life as the pinnacle of creation. He fashioned the first humans in His own image. The Torah teaches that human life has purpose and dignity because God is a moral being who alone created the entire universe. God expects that just as He is holy, so too humans will be holy. God’s moral nature is a guarantee that He will sustain and protect the world. In order to do so, God gave a moral law and judges humans by its strict standards, meting out reward and punishment accordingly.[i]
This is clearly seen in the stories of Adam and Eve, Cain and Able, and Noah. The story of Noah adds a new lesson to what the previous stories taught – it was the judgment of the entire human population. “The Day of the Vengeance of God” in Isaiah and “The Great Day of Judgment” in Malachi are related to “The Story of the Great Flood.”
In my last email, that is why I said that Jesus used the “The Great Day of Judgment” as “a call to action,” not “an unchangeable ultimatum,” in his teachings. In “The Story of the Great Flood” many people lost their lives, but one family and a pair of each of the animals and winged creatures did not die. Why didn’t they die? The answers are found in Genesis 6:5-9.
● Yahweh saw that human evil (RAH) was great in the earth. (People were doing many things that destroyed lives, harmed lives, made lives less functional and decreased the quality of life.)
● Every imagination of the thoughts of human hearts was only evil (RAH) all day long. (People were imagining and thinking about doing things that would destroy lives, harm lives, make lives less functional and decrease the quality of life all day long.)
● Noah found favor in the eyes of Yahweh. (Noah was chosen so that the blessing bestowed on the first humans [ADAM#1] should be realized in him and in his seed after him).[ii] The Hebrew word translated “blessed” means “to endow and give the capacity to achieve the assigned functions.” The first humans were given the capacity to function as the Creator’s Co-Shepherds over all life on earth, and be the Guardians and Protectors of human lives.)
● Noah was a (TZIDIQ) man. (TZIDIQ is a Hebrew word that in this context means “innocent.”)
● Noah walked with God. (Noah followed God’s instructions.)
Below are key points from The Story of Noah that Jesus and his Jewish followers clearly understood.
1. God punishes guilty people.
The people who died in the flood were guilty of doing acts that were evil (RAH) – acts that destroyed human lives, harmed human lives, made people’s lives less functional, and decreased quality of life of other people.
2. God provides innocent people with instructions for a way to safety.
Noah was an innocent man because he did acts that protected human lives, preserved human lives, made people’s lives more functional, and increased the quality of life of people. The things that Noah did are called “acts of TZEDAQAH” (a word that has no English equivalent).
3. Innocent people must follow those instructions.
God gave Noah instructions for how to build an ark. Noah and his family built it. God did not build it for him. God closed the door of the ark after the animals, Noah’s family, and Noah was safely on board.
This is why I said Jesus used the “The Great Day of Judgment” as “a call to action.” The followers of Jesus viewed him as “a person like Noah.” What they wanted to know was the answer to one question:
What instructions did God give Jesus that
will be a way to safety on “The Great Day of Judgment”?
This is the answer Jesus gave them:
The Kingdom of God is now here!
The ark in the teachings of Jesus is “The Kingdom of God.” The instructions for building it is – “Do TESHUVAH!” (the Hebrew word translated above as, “turn around.”) I will tell you “The Story of TESHUVAH” in my next email.
[i] What Do Jews Believe? The Spiritual Foundations of Judaism by David S. Ariel © 1995; Schocken Books, New York, NY; p. 16.
[ii] A Commentary on the Book of Genesis Part One: From Adam to Noah by U. Cassuto © 1964 The Magnes Press (reprinted 1992), The Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel; p. 307.