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.”
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,” 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”. 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; 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.” 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”.
 Heiser, Michael S. Reversing Hermon: Enoch, the Watchers, and the Forgotten Mission of Jesus Christ (Kindle Locations 107).
 Acts 2:40
 2 Pet 2:1-9, 2 Pet 3:18-20
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