The Judgment of the Flood
May 5th, 1957 @ 8:15 AM
JUDGMENT OF THE FLOOD
Dr. W. A. Criswell
5-5-57 8:15 a.m.
You are listening to the services of the First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas. This is the pastor bringing the morning message, the early 8:30 o’clock morning message, entitled The Judgment of the Flood.
In our last service here, I was speaking of the fact that in this world there is a dual manner of things. There is an eternal conflict. It did not begin with Adam in the Garden of Eden, but it began in those dim, unrecorded – and to a large extent unrevealed – ages before God set the foundations of this earth.
We find that conflict, that dual manner of things, in the very first two verses of the beginning chapter in Genesis. "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" [Genesis 1:1]. And if God did it – and according to His own revelation in the Book of Isaiah [Isaiah 45:18], God did it beautifully, perfectly, just as God would bring to pass anything – then there is something alien and foreign. There is an enemy that sows tares [Matthew 13:25]. There is another principle and another element. There is another sinister personality, and back there in the largely unrecorded and unrevealed ages of the past, there comes into God’s creation void and formlessness and darkness and waste [Genesis 1:2] – both of them there in the great unknown ages of the past.
Then, in the story of the creation of the man and of the Garden of Eden, we find that same duality in the manner of things. After God recreates the world [Genesis 1:3-31], and it is beautifully and perfectly furnished, and the Lord creates the man and his wife and places them in the paradise of Eden [Genesis 2:7-8, 15-25], then, the next thing, in the next chapter, there enters into the life of the man and his wife – there enters the subtle innuendo and sly questioning and smart and ingenuous suggestions of an alien, of a foreigner, of an enemy [Genesis 3:1-8]. The chapter begins: "Now the serpent" – the serpent – "Now the serpent was more subtle than any other of the beasts of the field" [from Genesis 3:1]. And there it is again: that duality of the manner of things, that eternal conflict.
Then, in the curse that God pronounces [Genesis 3:14-19] that also carries in it a heavenly promise for the man [Genesis 3:15]. You have that division in the human race. There are the seed of the woman, and there are the seed of the serpent; and all of this race is forever after divided into those two categories: those that are following after the promise of the Messiah and those that are following after the strange devices of the serpent that the Bible says is the dragon [Revelation 12:9] – that old enemy and arch accuser of mankind [Revelation 12:10], the dragon, the serpent, Satan, the devil.
Then you have the outworking of those two races in the first two children that are born to Adam and to Eve. There is Cain and the Cainites [Genesis 4:1, 7-24], and there is Abel, God’s righteous servant [Hebrews 11:4]. And those two boys, the first two sons that are born into this world, those two boys are following opposite bents and opposite devotions, and their lives are turned in opposite directions [Genesis 4:3-16].
Just like you see it everywhere, a duality of the manner of things and that eternal conflict, you find it there in those first two sons. It says here in the fourth chapter of Genesis that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord [Genesis 4:3]. Then, in the next verse: And Abel brought of the firstlings of his flock an offering unto the Lord [Genesis 4:4]. Now, listen how God looks upon those two men: "And the Lord had respect unto Abel and then to his offering: but unto Cain He had not respect and no respect unto his offering" [from Genesis 4:4-5].
Those men were accepted or rejected by the Lord on the basis of the men themselves, not on the basis of their offering, but on the basis of the men themselves. They were two different kinds of men. They were different types of men. Abel belonged to those who loved the Lord, and Cain belonged to those who loved the world; and you have the two there in the first family.
Now, the thing works itself out. Abel, of course, is slain [Genesis 4:8], and Seth is raised up to take his place [Genesis 4:25]. Then, you have, I say, the working of that duality out in the story of the human family. You have the Cainites, then you have the Sethites – those two different races working out in the story of humanity that duality, that eternal conflict: those that are of the seed of God and those who are of the seed of the serpent.
Now, look as it begins. In the fourth chapter, you have the story of Cain in the sixteenth verse: "And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord and over there in the land of Nod" [from Genesis 4:16]. There, with his wife, he began to build a family himself [Genesis 4:17-24].
How many times have you heard, "Where did Cain get his wife?" That is one of the most inane and silly questions that I’ve ever heard. "Where’d Cain get his wife?" And the fellow that asks that doesn’t ask it for knowledge. He doesn’t ask it for explanation. He asks that question with a sneer, "Ha, ha! Where’d Cain get his wife? Because there wasn’t anybody in the world but Adam and Eve, and then Cain and Abel, and Abel was slain. Where’d Cain get his wife? Ha, ha." Ooh, I don’t understand the thinking of people. I mean, I don’t understand the not thinking of people.
Over here in the fifth chapter of Genesis, you have the little word that you would expect. "And Adam begat sons and daughters, and all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died [Genesis 5:4-5]. I’d like for you to tell me how many sons and how many daughters do you imagine that a man could sire who lived 930 years. Ah, how many sons and daughters has King Saud [1902-1969] over there in Saudi Arabia? He’s got so many that they don’t know how many he has and he hasn’t lived more than sixty years, maybe – sixty years. My soul, if Saud were to live 960, he’d have so many sons and daughters they’d populate all Arabia and they would be having some kind of a famine over there trying to support all of that one family out of the desert in Arabia.
Let me tell you what I read. If you ever look at Clark’s Commentary [Commentary on the Bible, by Adam Clarke, 1831], Dr. Dodd [Rev. Dr. William Dodd, 1729-1777] says in Clark’s Commentary that by the time Cain got ready to marry his wife there could have been at least thirty thousand descendants – sons and daughters and grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Adam and Eve. And he could have taken his pick out of thirty thousand. Then some inane, bird-brain idiot comes and asks me, "Where did Cain get his wife?"
Oh, it takes all the forbearance that God can give you to put up with the inanity of people who want to scoff at the Bible. I don’t understand it. Why, the thing would be so evident – just plain and simple. Out of all of those sons and daughters and grandchildren and nieces and grandnieces, and great, great, great grandnieces, why Cain chose him a wife. And then you have the propagation, I say, of the Cainites.
Then, you have their story here. One of his descendants was Lamech [Genesis 4:17-18], and he was the first polygamist [Genesis 4:19]. And Lamech, Lamech slays a man in his wrath, and he boasts of it to his wives: "I have slain a man. He hurt me. If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, Lamech, seventy and sevenfold" [Genesis 4:23-24].
Then, look at these Cainites as they began to populate this earth: Jubal, the father of such as handled the harp and the organ [Genesis 4:21], and Tubal came, an instructor of every artificer in brass and iron [Genesis 4:22]. You have the Cainites who are inventing all kinds of ingenious things – things to work with, things to build with, things to make music and harmony with – and they are building up this world to make it a pleasant place to live in without God, without God.
That is as true a picture of the Cainites in this world as you will ever find: inventing all kinds of things in order to make the world a pleasant place to live in without God. Invent all kinds of liquors to drink to make this world a place where a fellow can put up with it without God: drown his sorrows and drown the cares of life – just drink them away. Quickest way out of Dallas, quickest way out of Manhattan, quickest way out of Birmingham: just drink your way out of it.
Without God: inventing all kinds of entertainments, every device you can think of, to make this world a happy place and a pleasant place to live in without God. Run all kinds of races. Invent all kinds of ingenious harmonies, invent all kinds of amusements and entertainments – do everything the human mind can think of without God. That’s this world. That is the seed of the Cainites. That is the seed of the serpent, and it works itself out in the story of humanity.
Now, there is another race. There is another kind of people in this world, and they are the Sethites. And here in the fifth chapter of the Book of Genesis, you have the descendants and the story of the Sethites [Genesis 4:26, 5:6-8] – this man that God raised up to take the place of the righteous Abel [Genesis 4:25]. One of his grandchildren, in the twenty-second verse, is Enoch: "And Enoch walked with God" [Genesis 5:22]. And the twenty-fourth verse: "And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him" [Genesis 5:24]. Then, in the twenty-ninth verse: "And there was born to Lamech a son, and he called his name Noah saying, ‘The same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil’" [from Genesis 5:28-29].
You see, as the Cainites multiplied on this earth, and as they build great cities, and as they invent ingenious things, these Sethites are having a most difficult and difficult time. So, this father, Lamech, who is of the Sethites, has a son. And because of the terrible and troublest times, he calls his name "Noach," from nacham, "to comfort." Noach, comfort: "The same shall comfort us in our toil and in our work" [Genesis 5:29]. They are having a difficult time. And you listen to me: this world is never a friend of grace – never. This world is never a friend to Seth. It’s never a friend to Abel. It is never a friend to Christ. It is never a friend to the children of God [John 16:33; 2 Timothy 3:12]. They have a hard, hard time. And in those evil days, this boy was born in the household of Seth and they called his name "comfort" – Noach. "For he shall comfort us in our toil and in our work" [Genesis 5:29].
And then, and then, an awful catastrophe overwhelms this world. The catastrophe came about because of a thing that is brought about in our lives. And in our own day, there’s no difference: the same God that judged then judges now. And the same God that controlled the world then is the same God that controls it now.
You look here in the sixth chapter of the Book of Genesis:
And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them,
That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.
And the Lord God said, "My Spirit shall not always strive with man . . . I will give him an hundred twenty years."
[from Genesis 6:1-3]
Then he describes the offspring of the crossing over of those two families. There were "Nephilim." You have it translated "giants" [Genesis 6:4]. Naphal is a Hebrew word for "to fall" – naphal. Nephilim, the plural of the substitute of that verb, means "fallen ones." They were fallen ones, the progeny of this cross.
And when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men and bear them children . . .
And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart were only evil continually.
And it repented the Lord that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him in His heart.
And God said, "I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; man, and beast . . . for it repents Me that I have made them."
What was the thing that happened back there? Well, you will find in your study many, many differing things that scholars say about the sons of God going in unto the daughters of men. I was amazed, absolutely overwhelmed, to find that the great, great, great, great – incomparably great – Hebrew scholar and commentator Delitzsch [Franz Delitzsch, 1813-1890], one of the greatest, I guess, the greatest Hebrew scholar and commentator of all time – Delitzsch says that the sons of God there are fallen angels and that these fallen angels came unto the daughters of men and that gave rise to these progeny I called the Nephilim.
Then there are many, many, many, many of those scholars who think that they are demons and that the only way a demon could express himself was to incarnate himself. And like a musician – a musician is helpless without an instrument. He has to have an instrument on which to play – so a demon has to have an incarnation in order to express himself. And these sons of men, sons of God, that went in unto the daughters of men, were men incarnate – demons incarnate in men. And oh, they have many things like that.
Now, I may be simple-minded, but I tell you, in my humble opinion, when you take Scripture, you ought to let it mean the simplest thing that it can mean and the humblest and the plainest thing that it can mean, not the most far-fetched or the most ethereal or evanescent or intangible or esoteric or mystic; but you ought to let it mean a plain and a simple thing if it can bear that meaning. Just let it say what it says.
Now, in my persuasion, all that says is this: the sons of God or the sons of Seth or the children of the Lord, they were God’s people in the earth, and there was another tribe, and another seed, and another race in this earth, and they were the Cainites. And when God’s people were intermarried with the people of the world, the world swallowed them up – swallowed them up. And the people of God lost their testimony: all of it, all of it.
Well, let’s see if that thing would happen today. Let’s just put a rule. Let’s say whatever God writes in His Book is not a funny or peculiar thing. It’s not true because it’s in the Book. It’s in the Book because it’s true. So what God says there, let’s just see if that’s the way it is. So look around you. You let God’s people marry worldly people and worldly people will swallow up the witness and the testimony of God. You just let it happen; you let it happen.
You never hear such tears and such heartache and such lamentations in your life as when one of our godly Christian girls marries a sorry, no count, worldly – a drunkard, a sorry husband! You just never saw such tears and such laments. If there’s a girl here that wants to fall into hell, I can tell you exactly how to fall into it! You marry a godless boy, and if you are a Christian girl, you’re in it. You’re in it. You’re in it. You say, "Oh, I’ll marry this boy to reform him." You listen to me, if that boy doesn’t reform before you marry him while he’s in love with you like that, he’s sure not going to reform after you marry him. He’s not going to do it. He’s just not.
That thing that happened back there that brought on the awful judgment of God was when God’s people married the Cainites, the people of the world, and they lost their testimony. And the Lord looked out on that earth and there was not a righteous family but one in that whole earth, not one – just one righteous family, not but one, just one.
You know, that’s the reason that I think by God’s grace, by day and by night, we ought to work to create a Christian social group in which God’s young people can find friends and can fall in love and can build their homes. Any way in the world that we can gather together Christian young people and put them in association to pray together, to go to school together, to work together, to be together, in order that they might build their lives together – any way that we could do it, I think we ought to do it.
That’s what that thing is talking about. These sons of God marrying the children of the world, the daughters of men – the Sethites intermingling and intermarrying with the Cainites, and the whole world turned to wickedness. But God looked down and there was Noah. God doesn’t destroy the righteous with the wicked [Genesis 6:12-14]. And the Lord looks down and there was Noah; and the Lord God said to Noah, "Noah, I’m going to destroy this world, and I’m going to do it by flood. I’m going to do it by water. And Noah, you make you an ark."
And then this coming message next Sunday morning, this hour, we’re going to talk about that ark and about that flood. I haven’t time to do it all in just a little piece such as I have at these services. We’ll do that next Sunday morning, but we’re going to talk about how God spared Noah and how the waters covered the face of the earth.
This morning, in this little piece of time, we’re going to talk about that judgment, that judgment. That was an awful judgment, an awesome judgment. The judgments that we’ve known in this world were almost trivial by measure against that one. When that great volcano Vesuvius overflowed right after, oh, it was about 70 AD, 65 AD, something like that, when that great volcano erupted, Vesuvius; and there at Pompeii, Pliny the Elder [23-79 CE] buried Drusilla, the wife of Felix, and their son buried. That was a small thing compared to this. The judgment of God upon the cities of the plain, upon Sodom and Gomorrah [Genesis 19:24-28], that was a small thing compared to this. This was a universal thing [Genesis 7:4]. It destroyed every man. It destroyed every animal that breathes. It destroyed this whole world [Genesis 7:15-24] all except one family, one family. And Noah found grace in His sight [Genesis 6:8].
Now, may I apply that because these things are written in God’s Book not just that we may see them as history or as chronicle, but these things are written in God’s Book that they might be revelations and admonitions to us upon whom the ends of the world have come? [1 Corinthians 10:11] Now, you listen to the Word of the Lord. And Jesus said:
As the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be.
For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
Knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be.
Two shall be in a field; one taken, the other left.
Two shall be grinding at the mill; one taken, and the other left.
Watch therefore: for you know ye not what hour your Lord doth come."
One of the great, eternal revelations from the mouth of Jesus and from every page in that blessed Book is this: that there is a great and final judgment for this world. It is coming. It is coming. It may be delayed, but it is coming. God shall judge this world and God shall judge every man in it! And the Book says that that judgment shall be swift and sudden and sure and certain and immediate, and it’ll come just as it came in the days of Noah.
There will be a triumph apparent of godlessness and materialism and secularism, and there shall be a great waning in the world of Christ-filled, godly men who appeal to heaven, who bow in prayer, whose lives are devoted to our blessed Savior, Christ Jesus. Worldliness with its amusement and inventions, and godlessness with its materialism and secularism, will overflow this world as in the days of Noah. And men will think the Lord is gone forever. "You’ll never see Him again." And men will think God has forgotten us. "There’s not any God as such, just an immaterial, impersonal force."
And they’ll read God out of the world. "Don’t need Him. We’ve got science, and we’ve got man, and we’ve got mind, and we’ve got all of these human instruments that we’re able to see by ourselves." And men shall turn from God and turn to their own devices. And philosophers shall arise and teachers shall arise and great scientists shall arise and teach people that there’s no such thing as a personal God – just a great natural law and an impersonal influence; and people shall turn from the Lord.
And the judgment of God shall come [2 Thessalonians 1:6-10]. The Lord Himself shall bring it. And this world shall be judged in the presence of the great God and our Savior, Jesus Christ. And that judgment is swift and sure and certain as it was in the days of Noah: "And knew not until the flood came, and took them away" [Matthew 24:39]. So shall it be in that awful, awesome day: two in a field, two at the mill, two in a bed, one taken and the other left [Luke 17:34-36].
May I say a word, then I have to quit, about the certainty of the judgment of God? Anne of Austria [1601-1666] said to Cardinal Richelieu [1585-1642], she said, "God does not pay at the end of every day, my Lord Cardinal, but in the end, God pays." There is a certain judgment.
One time, an unbelieving, blaspheming infidel of a farmer wrote to the county newspaper and said, "Dear Editor, I plowed my land on Sunday. I planted my corn on Sunday. I cultivated my crop on Sunday. I harvested my crop on Sunday. I sold my corn on Sunday, and I got the best yield in the county and I got the best price." Last paragraph: "I dare you to print this letter in your newspaper" and signed his name.
In the next issue of the county newspaper, his letter was printed word for word, just as he wrote it. And at the end of the letter, the editor put a little note and it said, "Editor’s note: God does not always settle His accounts the first week in October."
There is a certain judgment. There is an accounting before God, and no man shall escape it [Hebrews 9:27]. "As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the coming of the Son of Man. And they knew not till the flood came and took them away. So shall it be in the coming of the Son of Man. Two in a field, one taken, the other left. Two at a mill, one taken and the other left. Two in a bed, one taken, and the other left. Watch therefore, for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come" [from Matthew 24:37-42].
Oh, these awesome times – these great accountings, the judgments of Almighty God! When I read these things and say these things, what a heaviness and what a responsibility upon God’s witnessing people: we who teach the Word and who belong to the church, and we who believe the Book, warning men of the judgment to come and preaching the good news of an everlasting hope and salvation in Christ Jesus.
My brother, if you haven’t turned to the Lord, would you turn today? If you haven’t found in Jesus a Savior, would you look to Him today? If you haven’t bowed the knee before Christ, would you do it now? If you haven’t opened your heart to the great mercies of God, would you do it now?
How we need an advocate. How we need a champion. How we need a Savior. How we need somebody to stand by us in the awful days that lie ahead. God be merciful to us and save us now and forever.
Now, while we sing this song, while we sing this song, this little moment of appeal, somebody you to give his heart in faith to Christ or somebody you to put his life in the fellowship of the church – a family or just one, anybody you – while we sing the song and make the appeal, would you come down here to the front and stand by me? "Pastor, I give you my hand. I have given my heart in faith and in trust to God." Or, "Pastor, here I am to put my life in the fellowship of the church." Is there one somebody you, or a family you, in this great congregation this early morning hour? While we tarry just long enough to sing the song of appeal, would you come, while we stand and while we sing?
JUDGMENT OF THE FLOOD
Dr. W. A. Criswell
I. The eternal conflict
1. Creation in blessings then a foreign chaotic enemy; between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2
2. Division of the race upon the fall – seed of the woman and serpent
3. Immediately begins to work itself out in first two children – one accepted, one rejected
4. Two lines – children of Cain, children of Seth
II. Reasons for the flood
1. Believers marrying unbelievers
2. Repudiation of Noah’s preaching
3. Withdrawal of the Spirit of God
III. The Judgment of the Flood
1. Judgments small in comparison – Pompeii, Sodom and Gomorrah
2. How much of the earth is covered? Hebrew word sometimes refers to district, region, country, land occupied by human race
IV. Future before the return of the Lord, mankind will behave like the time before the flood
V. God always provides deliverance before His certain judgment