Understanding The Bible
STUDY REFERENCE
Clarence E. Mason's "ESCHATOLOGY 1"
SECTION 2C - Genesis 8:15-11:26
THE POSTDILUVIAN AGE and
THE DISPENSATION OF HUMAN RULE (Government)

 

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BY THE AUTHOR
Dr. Clarence E. Mason, Jr.
Philadelphia College of Bible
1970

Edited by Dr. Clarence E. Mason, Jr.


  1. Genesis 8:15-11:26
    THE POSTDILUVIAN AGE and THE DISPENSATION OF HUMAN RULE (Government)
    1. The key personage is Noah. See New Scofield note at Gen. 8:15.
    2. The extent of the period is from the Flood to the call of Abraham.
    3. The general Scripture portion is Gen. 8:15-11:26.
    4. The characteristic or state of man during its course:
      1. In the previous age, Cain and Lamech could murder without fear of what their fellowman would do to them. Thus, "violence" became the key word to describe that period. Noah and his sons knew how fully mankind had failed and had seen God's terrific judgment upon that antediluvian generation.
      2. A new feature now enters. Man, with practical knowledge of the failure under Moral Responsibility (or Conscience), is made responsible to protect the sanctity of human life by the orderly rule of mankind over the individual man and the command of God is now "whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed." Gen. 9:6
      3. The following features indicate the condition of man in this age:
        (1) No additional curse was to be upon the ground nor was there to be fear of another universal flood, Gen. 8:21; 9:11, 15.
        (2) An established order in the elements and seasons of nature was assured, Gen. 8:22.
        (3) Noah and his sons were to be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the earth, Gen. 9:1-7.
        (4) They were to have dominion over all animal life as before. Gen. 9:2.
        (5) The flesh of animals was added to their diet. Gen. 9:3-4.
        (Presumably man had been a vegetarian prior to the flood.)
    5. The special responsibility instituted by God.
      1. The new condition which now comes in and determines the main responsibility of this age is stated in Genesis 9:6. Noah and his descendents are instructed to take human life by legal procedure, if necessary, to maintain order and uproot sin. "Capital punishment is the highest function of human government; it presupposes all forms of legislation, organization, and enforcement." Unless the government has the right to the supreme penalty, its basic authority is questionable and insufficient to properly protect those under its care,
      2. Capital punishment was not man's idea, but God's. Man was accountable to God to use this authority to enforce righteousness (cp. Rom. 13).

        Test:
        "Whether man, by social organization, legislation, and law enforcement, could make himself acceptable before God" (Thiessen) and cause righteousness to rule in the earth. (Some today think man has succeeded, but God made the test long ago and man failed.)
         
    6. The failure of man under the test:
      1. Noah began with "an altar" (Gen. 8:20), but he was soon drunken and unfit to judge and rule. Gen. 9:20-21
      2. (1) In chapter 10, mention is made of:
                (a) Babylon;
                (b) Assyria;
                (c) the Philistines;
                (d) Canaanites;
                (e) Sidon;
                (f) Sodom;
                (g) Gomorrah; etc.
        (2) Chapter 10 shows how the dispersion of the descendents of Noah was carried out (cp. Deut. 32:8). Chapter 11 tells the cause for which it was done. Having gathered together on the plains of Shinar (of course, before the dispersion of chapter 10) in deliberate defiance of God's command, to scatter and refill the earth, they got the idea of human brotherhood and sought to make a name for themselves and chose their own gods (see Rom. 1). This was the great period of idolatry and moral degradation and the key example of failure is rebellion at Babel.
      3. "They cultivated fellowship with man and lost the fellowship of God."
      4. "So man forgot that he should rule for God. Today all the nations are in this condition before God." "For the heathen world there has been no advance in the dispensations since the days of Noah, as is clear from Rom. 2:12." H. A. Ironside, The Mysteries of God, p. 43.
    7. The resultant judgment
      Men, having lost fellowship with God, thought to have strength in union; but God confounded their speech and caused them to scatter as at first commanded (Gen. 9:1). Until the present day, gentile nations are under the obligation to rule as Noah was commanded, but (1) pride, (2) force, (3) greed, and (4) injustice rule in the affairs of the natural man. Still people think that by "purifying politics, " etc., general good will be brought in.
    8. The gracious intervention of God
      Though God scattered man over the earth. He did not make an end of man; He chose Abraham and through him a nation which He sets in contrast with all the other nations of the earth. This nation, Israel, is dealt with till 586 B.C., when she is sent into Babylon in discipline. Forty or fifty thousand returned under Zerubbabel. From the remnant, in due time, Christ was born. Israel rejected Him and her dispersion still continues. The "times of the Gentiles" (Luke 21:24) began with Nebuchadnezzar and will continue till Christ's manifestation as the "stone cut out without hands" when He will put down all gentile power and turn to bless and exalt Israel again.

 

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