Life-Study of Genesisby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
God's salvation to Noah was not only to save him from God's judgment, but also from his crooked, perverse, and evil generation. In order to be saved from that evil age, he needed to be saved through water. First Peter 3:20 says clearly that Noah was saved through water. What does it mean to be saved through water? In order to understand this, we must know the background of Noah's generation.
Noah lived in a crooked and perverse age. As a result of man's first fall, the evil nature of Satan had been injected into man. In the second fall, man deviated from the presence of God into human culture. The evil nature of Satan which had been injected into man in the first fall developed into a godless human culture in the second fall. In the third fall of man, this culture ushered in an evil generation, producing a crooked, corrupted, and perverse generation. That generation was condemned in the eyes of God. It was into such a generation that Noah was born. Not only did God's condemnation rest upon that age, but there was on earth the evil power of darkness. At the time of man's third fall, that evil power of darkness had corrupted the earth and filled it with violence. As a result, God intervened to judge that generation and to terminate that age. Whoever lived on earth during that age was under two things: God's judgment and the evil power of darkness.
We live in the same kind of age. In Matthew 24 and in Luke 17 the Lord Jesus likened our age to that of Noah. Noah's background was exactly the same as ours; it was a prefigure of our background. Look at the world situation today. Undoubtedly, it is under God's condemnation. It is also under an evil power, a wicked influence. No young person or adult can withstand the evil power or influence of modern society. Christian parents pray for their children even before the children are born. They consecrate the children to the Lord, trying with fear and trembling to help them to know God and to stay away from the influence of this dark world. However, at the age of six, the children must attend school, and once they are in school, they are subject to the evil influence of the darkness of this age. Nearly all of the children are influenced at least to some extent. No one is immune. We can see that there is such an evil power, a wicked influence of darkness, on this earth. Everyone is under God's judgment and under the power and darkness of the evil one. So, God's full salvation not only saves us from His condemnation, but also from the evil power and influence of this dark age. On the day of Pentecost, Peter exhorted people, "Be saved from this crooked generation!" (Acts 2:40).
I say once again that nearly everything in the book of Genesis is a seed that requires further development. To be saved through water is a matter of baptism. First Peter 3:20-21 reveals that the water through which Noah passed was a figure of baptism. It may be considered as the first mention of baptism in the Bible. Thus, it was the seed of baptism. This seed of baptism was firstly developed in the case of the children of Israel passing through the Red Sea. First Corinthians 10:1-2 tells us that their passing through the Red Sea was a baptism. The passing through the waters of the Red Sea was a clear type of the baptism with water. Later, when the New Testament age came, the first thing that transpired to open up this age was baptism with water. God sent John the Baptist to carry this out. He came with the purpose of baptizing people with water.
Let us now consider the case of the Israelites. Although they were God's chosen people, they fell and drifted into Egypt. The whole Egyptian nation was under God's judgment. Since the Israelites also were there, undoubtedly they were under His judgment as well. They were at the same time under the power of Pharaoh and the Egyptians. Their exodus from Egypt was not an escape from God's judgment; it was an escape from Egypt, a deliverance from the Egyptian slavery.
Let us see the salvation the children of Israel enjoyed. Firstly, they enjoyed the redemption of the blood of the lamb. They slew lambs and struck the blood upon the doorposts. In this way the Israelites were covered by the redeeming blood and saved from God's judgment. When God executed His judgment over the land of Egypt, those who were under the blood were saved. The children of Israel were saved by the blood from God's judgment. Following this, they all ate the flesh of the lamb. The purpose of doing this was not to save them from judgment, but to strengthen them to walk out of Egypt. When they ate the lamb, they put on their sandals, held their staffs, and were ready to go out. While they were eating, they were preparing to get out of Egypt.
What delivered the Israelites out of Egypt and out from under the power of Pharaoh? Although God saved them from His judgment, Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, would not let them go. Pharaoh was a type of Satan. Pharaoh, that is, Satan, seemed to say, "You children of Israel have been saved from God's judgment and you have eaten the flesh of the lamb. You are ready to leave. Do you think that it's easy for you to get out? This is my territory. This is my power, my kingdom, and my empire. I have the power here and I will not let you go." Thus, Pharaoh sent his army to hold the Israelites back. But God came in to deliver them, not by sending angels or fire to burn Pharaoh and his forces, but by opening the Red Sea that they might walk through it. After His people had passed through the sea, the Egyptian army followed. While they were pursuing God's people and when they came to the heart of the sea, God told Moses to stretch out his hand over the sea that the waters might come upon the Egyptians (Exo. 14:26). Moses did this, and the sea obeyed him. Pharaoh's army and all the power of the Egyptians were buried. The children of Israel were delivered. What were they delivered from? Not from God's judgment, but from the power of Egypt and Pharaoh, that is, from the power of the world and Satan.
The children of Israel enjoyed a double salvation. The first aspect of their salvation was the redeeming blood, and the second aspect was the judging water. Hallelujah for the redeeming blood and the judging water! We know what the redeeming blood is, but I doubt that very many know what the judging water is. For us, the judging water is the cross of Christ. The death of the Lord Jesus on the cross is the judging water. A line in Hymn 438 in our hymnal says, "I've crossed the Red Sea of His death." The Lord's death was the judging water. Satan and the world were judged on the cross. When the Lord Jesus was about to go to the cross, He declared, "Now is the judgment of this world; now shall the ruler of this world be cast out" (John 12:31). Both Satan and the world were judged on the cross.
The Lord saved His people from the world by His judgment upon it. God executed His judgment upon the Egyptians, and that judgment was a salvation to the Israelites. To Satan and to his world, the cross was a judgment, but to us, this judgment on the cross is a salvation. It is not a salvation from God's condemnation, but from the power of Satan and from the evil influence of this dark age. Since this matter is clear, we may return to Noah's case.
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