To most people, Noah’s Flood is little more than a folk tale. But the Bible’s account of this earthwide cataclysm is worthy of deeper study.
Believe it or not, the history of God becoming angry with an evil world and wiping out mankind, save one family, in a deluge contains profound insight into current world conditions, and where they are headed.
In Matthew 24, Jesus Christ explained to His disciples the conditions that would prevail in the world just before His Second Coming. In verses 38-39 He said, “For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah 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.”
Jesus stated explicitly that the conditions surrounding His Second Coming would be similar to those that preceded the destruction of mankind in the Flood. Thus, the more familiar we are with that history, the clearer we will see the inevitability and imminence of Christ’s return.
What were the prevailing conditions just prior to the Flood? What activities and trends were so dire that God realized He needed to wipe the slate clean and start again? We must know. The story of the Flood is anything but a fairy tale—it’s a warning to mankind!
The Cause of Noah’s Flood
When God looked down on man before the Flood, He was so mortified by the universal wickedness and destruction that He actually regretted His decision to create humans (Genesis 6:1-6). Christ informs us in Matthew 24 what upset God so much: People were “eating and drinking” (verse 38).
That sounds pretty innocuous, especially since God created humans with the need for physical sustenance. Why was God so upset? Well, He was troubled by the pervasive abuse of food and alcohol. When God scanned the planet, He saw mankind consumed by a self-gratifying “party spirit” that reveled in drunkenness, promiscuity, sexual perversion and violence.
But God was also saddened by the people “marrying and giving in marriage” (verse 38). Again, why would God be upset at this? He created marriage. The reason is, humans were abusing marriage as God intended it. This is obvious if you study the first six verses of Genesis 6. By the time of Noah, interracial marriage and racial conflict had become widespread. In fact, it was so pervasive, the Bible says only Noah remained unblemished, or “perfect,” in his generations, or his ancestry.
An honest and objective study of both Genesis 6 and Matthew 24 shows that race had burgeoned into a major issue by Noah’s day. Notice what the late Herbert W. Armstrong wrote about racial tension in Noah’s time, and the central role it played in God sending the Flood. “[T]he chief cause of the violence and chaos of world conditions [prior to the Flood], was racial hatreds, interracial marriages, and racial violence caused by man’s efforts toward integration and amalgamation of races, contrary to God’s laws” (Mystery of the Ages).
We must push aside sensitivities and prejudices, and consider this towering lesson. Jesus was warning us in Matthew 24 that, just as it was before Noah’s Flood, racial tension and racial violence would be pervasive in this world immediately before His Second Coming.
This world has long been wracked by racial tension and violence. But look around. It’s steadily growing worse, particularly in the United States.
America’s Racial Healer?
As a presidential candidate, Barack Obama sold himself as the antidote to America’s enduring racial infirmities. Many Americans believed Mr. Obama’s election heralded a new era of post-racial political and societal progress. Identity politics would begin to fade into irrelevance; America’s festering race wounds would begin to heal. America, united under its first black president, would now explore new and better frontiers in race relations.
They were wrong. Rather than soothe old wounds and diffuse racial tensions by avoiding race-based politics, America’s president is making them worse.
By “consistently emphasiz[ing] racial identity to further his own advantage,” wrote historian Victor Davis Hanson, Mr. Obama has knowingly, perhaps intentionally, inflamed existing race wounds. Instead of leading America out of its “racial morass,” the president so far has “only pushed us far deeper into it” (National Review, July 27).
President Obama’s sensitivity to the issue of race became fully apparent during a nationally televised address July 22. The speech primarily revolved around the president’s controversial health-care plan, but in the question-and-answer session afterward, he reignited a hot national debate on race.
The president is an intelligent man, well familiar with how combustible the race issue is, particularly when oxidized by the mainstream media. He knew he had been handed a loaded gun when he was asked to comment on the July 16 arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., who is black, by James Crowley, a white sergeant in the Cambridge Police Department. The president was given a choice: Disarm the loaded question (a simple statement saying he couldn’t comment because he did not know the details would have sufficed)—or pull the trigger.
Mr. Obama chose the second option.
After admitting on live television that he was not there and did not know all the facts, the president confidently stated that the Cambridge Police Department had “acted stupidly” in arresting his friend, Professor Gates. He then segued into a short sermon on the problem of racial profiling that he evidently believes exists in America: “[T]here is a long history in this country of African Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately. And that’s just a fact.”
The statement touched off a national brouhaha. Police forces and unions across the nation marched to the defense of Sergeant Crowley; liberal elites defended the president. For a man so educated in and sensitive to the race issue in America—not to mention a “post-racial” president supposed to help ease racial tension—President Obama showed a remarkable absence of wisdom by weighing in on this issue in this manner. This was a racially charged situation from its beginning on Mr. Gates’s doorstep, and the president transformed it into a national debate on race. Why?
Two More Examples
With the Gates story still front-page news, Americans got another glimpse of Mr. Obama’s tendency for race-based politics less than a week later when on July 28 the Senate Judiciary Committee approved his nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Judge Sotomayor is renowned for the race-based underpinnings of her moral and judicial thinking, particularly her infamous racially charged remark: “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”
Mr. Obama did not merely select a judge with an undeniable tendency for making decisions based on racial identity. His relative silence on the issue and unwillingness to condemn Ms. Sotomayor’s racist remarks indicates that he more than likely agrees with the judge.
Then there’s Eric Holder, President Obama’s feisty attorney general. In a speech in February commemorating Black History Month, Mr. Holder roasted the American people as a “nation of cowards” for not regularly discussing and confronting America’s racial problems. As the controversy flared, conservatives criticized Mr. Holder’s address to Justice Department employees for being abrasive and provocative, actually representing a partial explanation for people’s unwillingness to discuss race.
In an effort to soothe the controversy caused by the man he appointed, the president told the New York Times that had he been advising the attorney general, “We would have used different language.” During the interview, the Times reported, “the president said that despite Mr. Holder’s choice of words, he had a point” (May 7, emphasis mine).
Already in his presidency, three major instances have arisen where Mr. Obama had the choice to either stoke or douse a racially charged issue. In each instance, the president chose to allow the issue to flare into a firestorm.
Is this really in America’s best interests? Tension between the races has been an enduring problem in American history. These days, with the economy worsening, unemployment rising, and many Americans growing increasingly disgruntled with the administration in Washington, the atmosphere is primed for greater racial strife and social upheaval.
Britain is also being primed for increased racial tension and conflict. In August, 33 people were arrested after a violent race-based riot erupted in the city of Birmingham. “It was chaos,” said Hannah Taylor, from London. “I had only come up to do a bit of shopping, and found myself in the middle of a full-blown riot. People with small children were running into shops for cover. The whole city center just descended into some kind of war zone.”
On August 8 in Glasgow, an Asian man was attacked by a gang shouting racist slogans. Meanwhile, figures released by the Community Security Trust, a Jewish community organization, showed that anti-Semitic hate crimes reached an unprecedented high during the first half of 2009—more than double what had occurred in the first half of 2008.
In the coming months and years, sadly, we should expect racial tension and racial violence to worsen, particularly in the U.S. and Britain. Like so many of the solutions concocted in the minds of men, the antidotes to this world’s race problems offered by our leaders and intellectuals will continue to fail. In many instances, these solutions will exacerbate the tension and make conflict all the more inevitable.
As you watch this phenomenon develop, remember Noah’s Flood and Christ’s prophecy in Matthew 24. Jesus warned that His Second Coming—and the earth-shaking conditions that will accompany that event—will come upon man suddenly and surprisingly, just as the Flood came upon the people in Noah’s time.
But you don’t have to be caught off guard, as so many were when the rains started pouring down in Noah’s time. Perhaps the most beautiful lesson embedded in the history of the Flood is that God always sends prior warning—and then provides an escape for those who love Him and obey His laws.
Today a nuclear flood approaches—and God is providing an “ark” for those who heed His warning. In Scripture He promises to supply a way to escape these terrifying events if we are striving to obey His laws and follow His direction.
In the meantime, racial tension and violence will only grow worse—until God intervenes and sends His Son to Earth to solve such problems. How will He do this? By removing human nature and replacing it with the loving nature of God, imparted by the power of the Holy Spirit. He will create a world where people of all races will prosper and live in peace!
That time is nearly here. Until it arrives, remember the message in Noah’s Flood: Racial tension and violence are a precursor to the glorious return of Jesus Christ!