New Testament Reflections: Noah

The Watchers

The second Parashat Shavua of the year is Noach (Noah). Last time, we spoke of Genesis 3 as the crucial chapter for understanding Christian theology: indeed, if we ask any Christian today, Why is there sin in the world?” almost undoubtedly “The Fall” would be the answer. However, it was not always so. “If you asked a Jew living in the Second Temple Period the same question, the answer would be dramatically different. Yes, the entrance of sin into God’s good world occurred in Eden, but the unanimous testimony of Second Temple Judaism is that the Watchers are to blame for the proliferation of evil on the earth.”[1]

In order to understand who these Watchers were, let’s read the infamous beginning of chapter 6 of the book of Genesis (even though these verses formally still belong to the first Torah portion, we will discuss them here, since the story of Noah and the image of Noah in the NT cannot be understood properly without this story). Not many Bible passages raise as many questions as these verses:

… the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose… There were giants on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them…

For centuries, people have debated whether the “sons of God” expression here refers to angels or to men, and who these Nephilim/giants were. Many respected scholars have commented on this topic over the years, and the identity of the Nephilim and the sons of God is still being debated today. Today, the supernatural interpretation of Genesis 6:1-4 is not very popular in either modern Christianity or modern Judaism, however,  this was not the case in Second Temple Judaism: according to its understanding,  the Watchers, or “the sons of God” were clearly angelical beings. Second Temple Judaism saw in these verses not only the story of a supernatural rebellion, but one of the central passages in biblical theology and in understanding God’s plan in history. The Book of the Watchers (first part of the book of Enoch) describes the revolt of the heavenly Watchers, which led to evil on the earth. The Watchers produce giants on earth by their union with human women, and these giants are not only morally evil, but also spiritually destructive. Since the New Testament writers belonged to Second Temple Judaism, this understanding of the Watchers being responsible for the spread of evil on earth, was part of their theology – and the clear reflection of this understanding we find in the New Testament  Scriptures (see for example,  2 Pet. 2:4,5; Jud.1:6).

Be Saved from This Perverse Generation

It is with this horrible corruption as background that the story of Noah – and our Torah Portion – finally begins: in the midst of all this corruption, we see a man who clearly pleased God—who was saved, and through whom humanity was saved. Scripture tells us that Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. Why? What was so special about him? What was the secret of him finding grace in the eyes of the Lord?

After everything we’ve just discussed here, the very first, and the most obvious, suggestion would concern Noah’s bloodline. Various commentators assume that the expression, “perfect in his generations,”[2] might be read, and even should be read, in the sense of his perfect bloodline: Noah was perfect in his genealogy. His bloodline was pure in that it was totally human, and that was the first and the  most obvious reason God chose him.

We have to remember though, that God of the Bible is first of all, God of the hearts. That is why I have no doubt that Noah’s heart was also pure and that he was indeed, righteous before God. Scripture tells us very clearly that Noah ‘walked with God’ (by the way, there are only two people in the whole Bible that are described in this way: Enoch and Noah). Yes, Noah had a pure bloodline, but he was also righteous before God; in fact, these two things are connected and go together: Noah’s bloodline remained uncorrupted because he was righteous. He was completely separated from the sinful world and sinful people (and half-people) around him – and that’s why he was perfect in his generations. Do you know that in Hebrew the word kadosh,קדוש  holy, also means “separated”: the words “at mekudeshet lee,” את מקודשת לי, pronounced by a groom to a bride in the Jewish wedding ceremony under the chuppah, simultaneously mean both, “you are separated to me” and “you are holy to me.”  This is exactly what God would later expect and require from His people: they had to be separated from this world in order to be holy!

In his very first public proclamation of the Messiahship of Jesus, Apostle Peter, turning to the people around “with many other words … testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation[3]. Even though Apostle Peter didn’t refer to Noah here, the very fact that right after declaring the saving faith in Jesus Christ and encouraging his audience to repent and be baptized, the Apostle pleas with them to be separated “from this perverse generation”, certainly reminds us of the story of Noah. Moreover, we do know that Peter refers to Noah several times in his epistles[4]; we understand that for the NT writers, Noah is the exemplary character of the one separated from the corrupt and evil generation and thus being saved. Noah, with his pure heart, was separated from the corrupted world – and as a result of his righteousness, he had a pure human bloodline, not corrupted by the non-human seed. Thus, Noah was a perfect candidate for God’s plan: he found grace in the eyes of the Lord.

Noah, Type of Messiah

No study of this Torah Portion can be complete without viewing Noah as a type of Messiah. Noah’s very name has a very prophetic meaning. We read in Genesis 5 that Noah’s father Lamech “named him Noah, saying, “This one will provide us relief from our work and from the toil of our hands, out of the very soil which the LORD placed under a curse.”[5] The Hebrew root of the name Noah means ‘rest’ – therefore His father regarded him as the one who should be the rest-giver, and as one who should provide rest and deliverance from the Curse. We know that in Genesis 3, God cursed the land and banished Adam and Eve from the Garden – but He also gave them the promise (in Christianity it is often called Protoevangelium) of the coming savior. It is obvious, from Lamech’s words that even these first generations were already extremely tired of this Curse and waited for the fulfillment of this promise. He looked upon Noah as one who should bring deliverance from the Curse, as one who should provide comfort and rest – just as the Messiah of the New Testament, Jesus Christ, did:  “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”[6].

[1] Heiser, Michael S. Reversing Hermon: Enoch, the Watchers, and the Forgotten Mission of Jesus Christ (Kindle Locations 107).

[2] Gen.6:9

[3] Acts 2:40

[4] 2 Pet 2:1-9, 2 Pet 3:18-20

[5] Gen.5:29

[6] Mt.11:28

I  would like to remind you, dear friends that eTeacher offers a wonderful course, where you can learn from Parashot Shavua commentaries along with their New Testament interpretation. As always, you are welcome to contact me for more information! 

Excerpts from my  books are included in many  posts on this blog, you  can get  my books  from  my page:   https://blog.israelbiblicalstudies.com/julia-blum/  Also,  my last book “Unlocking the Scriptures”, with the Hebrew insights into the Torah and  Jewish Background insights   into NT,  is available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=unlocking+the+scriptures+by+julia+blum&crid=2IHYED6W7ZVYI&sprefix=julia+blum+%2Caps%2C689&ref=nb_sb_ss_i_4_11

About the author

Julia BlumJulia is a teacher and an author of several books on biblical topics. She teaches two biblical courses at the Israel Institute of Biblical Studies, “Discovering the Hebrew Bible” and “Jewish Background of the New Testament”, and writes Hebrew insights for these courses.

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  1. Beth

    Thank you Julia for this wonderful insight. I am thrilled to read so much defence for the Word of God and His only begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. To God be all the glory. I accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my Savior when I was 8years old. Saved from the corruption that awaited me. Praise His holy name.

  2. Rick T

    You quote ( the book of Enoch ) and the watchers , for me I wish there was a true copy of Enoch . It is my understanding that only fragments were found at the Dead Sea and the scrolls . If this is the case ? how can one write a whole book of Enoch ? It is my thinking they wrote from subjection. Without true original we are left with concept . We are on the path of esiegesis. I read your post every time they are sent , I respect what you teach and have grained much , this reply is what I ask all who quotes Enoch , not picking on you .

    1. Julia Blum

      Hi Rick, thank you for your kind words. The book of Enoch is a collection of Jewish apocalyptic texts dating from the last three centuries before the Common Era. Most scholars believe that 1 Enoch was originally written in Aramaic and consider the rediscovery of Enochic Judaism to be one of the major achievements of contemporary research into Second Temple Judaism; I personally also believe that this book was an extremely important step in the development of ancient Jewish thought.

  3. Lazzaro

    @NIck The reading and study of the Scriptures can truly only be understood in their veritable spiritual and physical exegetical context ultimately by spiritual revelation from the authentic austere first century Jesus the Christ in which the spiritual side which is the prime side, He only reveals to them who are His genuine born again from above remnant seed in good ground spiritual redeemed believers. Therefore Brien D.’s position is quite saddening for he does not yet have the spiritual revelation by the authentic austere first century Jesus to perceive how he is spiritually blind to how his very position is built on inherently fatally flawed / self-refuting, self-contradicting foundations and this is irrefutable. As for you being prompted to look deeper into your truer self (by which i presume you mean to be more honest with yourself), beyond “logic” and rational thought, rather it’s more about to truly seek Jesus the Christ in His Holy Writ honestly and faithfully, and if you are truly seeking Him and His Kingdom (Matthew 6:33, Luke 12:31, Colossians 3:1, Hebrews 11:6 [read in proper chapter context) , all else shall be given unto you. You state that there is nothing wrong with “logic”, well, from Jesus’ perspective via His Spirit speaking through Paul in Colossians 2:8-9, actually there is a major problem with using logic because logic is arithmetic and is what philosophers use who base reality on and real life does not work by logic/arithmetic according to the Christ Jesus, hence why His Spirit through Paul declared;

    Col 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after the Christ.
    Col 2:9 For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

    Yes mankind wrestles with the visible world and invisible world even though there are those in mankind who are taught by other segments of mankind to not believe in the invisible spiritual realm or deceive themselves the spiritual invisible realm does not exist. Thus i would tend to agree with you that the Messieh types illustrate in part, this tension in the Scriptures. Regards.

    1. Nick

      The reality of our invisible G_d can not be proven, though there is compelling evidence. We know that He exists from a place deep within ourselves – our hidden souls/true self. Reason, logic, and rational thought are very beneficial, but not for proving His existence. I think we agree. Maybe there is a difference between Jesus of Nazareth and Jesus Christ. Maybe Jesus Christ is another name for the Divine Presence that has been sought or ignored throughout history. It is beyond us, but experience of it comes privately and personally as we intentionally build our own “worlds of faith” – harmony with our pure souls/true self. I fail regularly at all of this!!! Thank you my friend Lazaro.

      Sincerely,

      Nick

  4. Angeline

    Great work Julia. May the Lord continue to bless you in your work.

  5. Nick

    So, we have Messiah types Noah and Jesus, as well as the better known David and Joseph types. Yes, these fantastic stories or fables, as Brien D. calls them are seemingly unreal, but they prompt me to look deeper within for my truer self, beyond logic and rational thought – not that there’s anything wrong with logic and rational thought. Human beings wrestle with the visible world as well as the less apparent invisible world. The Messiah types illustrate this tension I think. In my humble opinion……

  6. monique dick

    WONDERFUL INSIGHTS AS ALWAYS THANK YOU FOR YOUR TEACHINGS I AM ALWAYS ENRICHED MONIQUE

  7. ND Motsoane

    Great work! Wish more can be said concerning the Nephilim and the giants because I struggle too in terms of this topic. Some people dismiss as mere myth.

  8. Brien Doyle

    The Bible is a compendium of folk tales and fables
    recounted orally for generations by primitive tribes from the stone age.
    This is the Old Testament.
    The new Testes is hearsay since these gospels were written by the faithful
    not by objective historians at that particular time.

    There are no gods!

    ========

    https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/cogs.12138

    ”…exposure to religious ideas has a powerful impact on children’s differentiation between reality and fiction, not just for religious stories but also for fantastical stories.”

    Keep the Lies about gods away from children!

    Forcing religion onto minors is essentially a form of child abuse, which scars their ability to reason and also limits their ability to consider the world in an unbiased manner.

    1. Petrus

      Brien, you and others only want to see a physical, material reality, and only consider science for your point of view, which in the end is also another kind of mythology — since actual reality goes far beyond what is visible and physical. Everything tthat exists in our three-dimensional realm entirely depends on what operates in the invisible, spiritual realm. All of the meditation masters and yogis in the east have experienced this deeper spiritual reality for themselves, and they know what they know despite science, which can’t go beyond its own limits. Science has no real access to spiritual truths, therefore it has nothing legitimate to say about the spiritual.

      At the very least, religion offers profound wisdom that humans need in order to live in the world together. So, as you are also trying to prevent discussions about religion on a religious website, where it is appropriate, your attempt to censor free speech in our society is unjust. But so many in the world at this time are returning to what is real, and what has been kept intact by conservative values and understanding, so all attempts of selfish people like yourself to oppress others will fail.

    2. Lazzaro

      We are not in the early 19th century but in the 21st century Brien, so no offense, but it is a palpably absurd claim that the Holy Bible “is a compendium of folk tales and fables recounted orally for generations by supposedly primitive tribes from the stone age” when we are in a technological day and age where we are already at least at about 150 years of archaeological study as a operational scientific study that has gathered so much indubitable evidence of the historical stories of the Holy Bible.

      Your certainly uninformed and benighted claims are especially not sound and nonsensical also especially when modern man is still unable to figure out how the enormously heavy megaliths of the Near East like Baalbeck and the Egyptian pyramids were even built by “primitive tribes”. When modern man is still unable to figure out how the massively heavy stones were quarried, lifted and transported by “primitive tribes” when they did not have any of the massive machinery today that exists to lift very heavy objects and even when a certain modern Chinese construction company tried in recent years to reduplicate the building of the Egyptian pyramids with the largest crane and machinery in the world and still couldn’t complete the building of a copy of the pyramids at the same scale those “primitive tribes” did because their crane still could not lift the weight of the heaviest stones used to build the pyramids which those “primitive tribes” obviously had figured out). So your claims in your opening sentence is either a very self-deceived belief that the one offering such a grossly untenable and unlearned perspective on the matter ought to be taken seriously when they have no demonstrable veracious specialized technical seasoned knowledge of the subject in question, or, it is an intentionally mendacious claim which the nature of such a serious falsity is obviously deliberately ignoring the post mid 1800s mountainous compendium of significantly numerous documented and verified archaeological, anthropological, literary artifact finds coupled with verified and documented legal history that renders your position quite unsupportable exactly because ostensibly the foundation of your claims are as a beach-house built on sand right in front of the ocean.

      There are many secular premier Near East archaeologists like Eliat Mazar (who discovered King David’s city within the last 20 year more or less which was thought for so long by other secular historians to be ‘myth’ which many secular historians use to laugh and mock those who actually believed King David’s city existed because they Bible said so) and her late father who consider the Holy Bible indisputably the best history book mankind has. And frankly with how archaeology is a dynamic work with always new discoveries daily, there is always an increasing number of artifacts being discovered in the Near East especially in the land of Israel that further compound the indisputable accuracy and veracity of the Holy Bible history. So much so that today for anyone to audaciously claim what you have, either quite unlearned/uneducated thus foolish to claim such or it is quite dishonest especially if they have internet access at their fingertips today. This is because if one actually spent at least a good year to few years with actual due diligence, competence, fairness, meticulousness, and honesty reviewing and competently investigating all the numerous, well established, well proven discoveries of Bible artifacts that substantiate and solidify the Holy Bible narrative of the origin of man and everything else the Scriptures mention, they would eventually be faced with the ineluctable fact that either they will continue to be dishonest with themselves and others about the profound undeniable veracity of the Holy Bible because they are not truly after authentic truth but a convenient truth, or, because they truly seek transcendent truth and thus they will indeed concede and have their world-view and life dramatically changed for the eternally much better that the Holy Bible is profoundly not folk tales and fables when it is properly read and understood in the way it was intended by the Sole Creator of the universe.

      As for your claims here; “The new Testes is hearsay since these gospels were written by the faithful not by objective historians at that particular time.” – this is yet another quite the profoundly ultracrepidarian and thus self-annihilating and self-disqualifying claim as having long experienced authoritative credibility on such matters when we even have atheist seasoned historians of the history of Scriptures freely admitting the below that directly refutes your claims;

      *”There is no scholar in any college or university in the Western world who teaches classics, ancient history, New Testament… any related field who doubts that Jesus existed.”* – Professor of Religious Studies Bart Ehrman, Freedom from Religion Foundation Lecture, 2014, YouTube, 51:50-52:06.

      “One of the most certain *facts of history* is that Jesus was crucified on orders of the Roman prefect of Judea, Pontius Pilate.” – Bart Ehrman, The Historical Jesus: Lecture Transcript and Course Guidebook 200. p. 162.

      *”Frankly, I know of no ancient historian or biblical historian who would have a twinge of doubt about the existence of a Jesus (the) Christ.”* – Graeme Clarke, quoted in Facts and Friction of Easter, Brisbane Times, 2008 article.

      “Jesus’ death as a consequence of crucifixion is *indisputable*.” – Gerd Ludemann, The Resurrection of (the) Christ: A Historical Inquiry, 2004, p 50 [Gerd is a prominent historian who is a self professed atheist] .. he also stated;

      *”It may be taken as historically certain that Peter and the disciples had experiences after Jesus’ death in which Jesus appeared to them as the risen (the) Christ.”* – Gerd Ludemann, What Really Happened, 1996, pg. 80.

      *”That Jesus’ followers (and later Paul) had resurrection experiences is, in my judgement a fact. What the reality was that gave rise to the experiences i do not know.”* – Ed Perish Sanders, The Historical Figure of Jesus, 1993 [Ed Perish Sanders is a prominent historian who is a self professed atheist]

      – Swedish Scholar Tryggve N. D. Mettinger, a professor of Hebrew Bible at Lund University, Sweden, and a member of the Royal Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities, Stockholm, is who authored one of the most comprehensive works ever written in the field of dying and rising gods called “The Riddle of Resurrection – “Dying and Rising Gods” in the Ancient Near East” in it’s relation to New Covenant faith, he concludes his book by stating the following;

      *”There is, as far as i am aware, no prima facie evidence that the death and resurrection of Jesus is a mythological construct, drawing on myths and rites of the dying and rising gods of the surrounding world. While studied with profit against the background of Jewish resurrection belief, the faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus retains it’s unique character in the history of religions.”* (the proper word here is ‘faith’ since only God/Jesus offered the one and only faith to which when the Devil corrupts it, it becomes religion – man’s utterly futile attempt to save himself).

      “As a matter of fact, however, it may be stated categorically that *no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a biblical reference.* Scores of archaeological findings have been made which confirm in clear outline or exact detail historical statements in the Bible” (Nelson Glueck, Rivers in the Desert, 31).

      “There are no gods!”

      The only God, makes clear there is only one God, His name is Jesus, He makes clear those ‘gods’ of the pagans and heathens are really devils/evil angels feigning to be ‘gods’;

      Galatians 4:8  Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods.

      “””…exposure to religious ideas has a powerful impact on children’s differentiation between reality and fiction, not just for religious stories but also for fantastical stories.””

      You are right that religion has a powerful impact on children’s differentiation between reality and fiction not just for religious stories but also for fantastical stories, and thus consider what the word religion actually means to the ones who coined it;

      The word “religio” etymologically was coined by *Pagan Romans* circa 2100 years ago from Latin. Authored works of that period show the word used in the context to describe in the greater sense what *pagans and heathens do* which is “Some act that a man must do for a ‘god’ or ‘gods’ in order to gain (self) salvation” and with it, it also means “to manipulate by means of deception”, which of course is what religion authentically is since religion is man’s utterly vain futile attempt to save himself by his ‘good works’ , that he can become a little ‘god’, which he can’t ever, and thus, this is why when the Devil corrupts the *one and only genuine faith* of the Holy Bible that God/Jesus brought to man, it becomes “Religion”, ergo man’s absolutely self-deluded and utterly futile attempt to save himself, truly a completely self-deceptive endeavour beyond words. With that definition, when someone asks “What religion are you?” what they really are asking unknowingly is “How have you been manipulated by means of deception?” It’s pagans and heathens who are into religion, not the remnant true Jude 1:1-3 Jesus disciples of every generation who believe and abide in the first century most accurate understanding of the New Testament/Covenant pre 150 A.D., just like Jesus laid out would happen (Matthew 7:13-29). Therefore .. it’s they who are unsaved in the eyes of Jesus who subscribe to *religion* and the biggest one in the world, is the worship of self (auto-deism) which is true diabolism.

      So it’s pagans and heathens in denial and wilful spiritual blindness of the fact it is they who are the real religionists. Seems you are unable to discern that due to your exposure to religion, it has spiritually blinded you to your ability to discern that you are a religionist which in turn has spiritually blinded you to be unable to discern between reality and fiction where it matters most and thus you’re spiritually blinded to your own great moral self-contradiction which is what religion does.

      “Keep the Lies about gods away from children!”

      There is only one God, His name is Jesus, He is perfect thus as the sole Creator it is impossible for Him to lie. He teaches that since He created mankind and knows what is best for mankind, He commands that man teach their children God’s/Jesus’ truth that there are no ‘gods’ for children are precious to Him and must not be lied to, and that they must be taught that there is only one God and His name is Jesus, who is the only omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, omnicompetent, omnijudex, omnipantokrátōr SOLE super-intelligent Creator of the “Time Dimension” who is outside of time, and therefore, since He has no beginning in the dimension of time, He has always existed just like He made clear so many times in Scripture since it’s impossible for Him to lie and thus so He does NOT require a ’cause’ and thus is the only God.

      “Forcing religion onto minors is essentially a form of child abuse, which scars their ability to reason and also limits their ability to consider the world in an unbiased manner.

      Pagans and heathens subscribe to religion as shown above, so because you are indirectly a self-admitted pagan in the religion of auto-deism it would be most prudent for you to really come out of religion so you can stop forcing religion onto minors which is essentially a form of child abuse, which scars their ability to reason and also limits their ability to consider the world in an unbiased manner (only God/Jesus is unbiased hence why seeing the world through His eyes is the only way to truly be unbiased). If and when you finally get out of religion and come into the one and only faith in the factual, authentic, austere first century Jesus the Christ, it will be the best choice you made in eternity and thus you will finally stop being in intense moral self-contradiction/hypocrisy and stop being complicit in what you were doing to children with religion. The choice is yours after all which the only God gave you, choose Him, you choose life eternal, choose His enemy, you choose eternal death. Choose eternal life for you have no idea what is in store for those who do, it will be eternal joy beyond man’s ability to conceive.