Baptism corresponds to the ark story because the arc of that story was death and life. Baptism is the Christian’s public declaration that God has brought us through the waters of judgment. Through union with Christ, we have been brought safely into everlasting life. The Lord Jesus, the true and greater ark, is our refuge. And in Christ, we are delivered and not condemned.
The account in Genesis 6–8 is about a staggering judgment on the world. Everyone who is not on the ark perishes. The flow of the account works like this:
- In Genesis 6, Noah is told to build an ark.
- In Genesis 7, the promised flood comes upon the earth.
- In Genesis 8, the flood waters subside.
Genesis 7 is about the death of the world. We’re told, “The waters prevailed above the mountains, covering them fifteen cubits deep. And all flesh died that moved on the earth, birds, livestock, beasts, all swarming creatures that swarm on the earth, and all mankind. Everything on the dry land in whose nostrils was the breath of life died” (Gen 7:20–22).
When we imagine the world covered by water, we can recall the state of creation in Genesis 1. “The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters” (Gen 1:2). It was from this condition that God brought forth land (1:9–10). Then God made creatures for the land, including people made in his image (1:20–31).
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By David Huffstutler — 2 months ago
Whether at the workplace or in the home, God gives men and women noble work to do. Without anything to do, we could learn to become busybodies and be unduly drawn into the affairs of others, perhaps even criminal in nature. May God help us to mind our own affairs, diligently do what He commands, and, if we suffer, suffer not for sin but for Him alone.
Three verses in the New Testament refer to a busybody—2 Thessalonians 3:11, 1 Timothy 5:13, and 1 Peter 4:15. The following briefly explores the meaning of busybody in each verse.
2 Thessalonians 3:11
For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.
“Busybodies” in this verse stems from periergazomai, a verb meaning “to be intrusively busy” (BDAG). Broken into parts, this verb literally means “to work around” (peri, “around”; ergazomai, “to work”). One commentator puts it this way: “the scornful characterization is produced by the preposition peri, ‘around,’ prefixed to the second participle, ‘working around,’ giving it a bad sense, since that which encircles anything does not belong to the thing itself, but lies outside and beyond it, going beyond its proper limits.”1 In other words, a busybody is someone who busies himself with what does not belong to himself. He goes beyond the proper limits of his own matters to busy himself with the matters of others.
In the context of 2 Thessalonians 3:6–15, Paul’s remedy for this person is simple—this person can either work quietly and earn his own living or not eat (2 Thessalonians 3:10, 12). Diligent work leaves little time for minding the affairs of others. For everyone else, they should avoid this lazy busybody or admonish him to live as he ought (2 Thessalonians 3:6, 13–15).
1 Timothy 5:13
And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.
“Busybodies” in this verse stems from periergos, a noun related to the verb periergazomai above.
By Scott Aniol — 2 years ago
Both God’s natural revelation and his special revelation condemn us. They reveal to us our incompatibility as sinners with the holiness of God and the way he designed his universe to operate for his glory. Scripture explicitly teaches us that the payment for sin is death, it reproves and corrects us. It warns us, as David just affirmed in verse 11. It explicitly teaches us that if we confess our sins, Christ is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 Jn 1:6).
A central doctrine of biblical Christianity is that God has revealed himself, and he has done so in two ways, both of which we can find in the first chapter of Genesis. The opening phrase of Scripture expresses the first form of God’s revelation: “In the beginning God created.” Creation itself is God’s revelation—it is God revealing certain things to us, which is why we sometimes call this God’s Natural Revelation or God’s General Revelation.
But then verse 3 of Genesis 1 expresses the second form of God’s revelation: “And God said.” And again in verses 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24, and 26 of Genesis 1, we find God revealing himself through spoken words. And then in verse 28 after he created Adam and Eve, “God blessed them. And God said to them.” And then in Genesis 6:13, “God said to Noah.” And in Genesis 12, “the Lord said to Abram.” And in Exodus 3, God called to Moses out of the burning bush. And later at the foot of Mt. Sinai, God spoke the words of his law to his people. And as Hebrews 1 tells us, “long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son.” So God has revealed himself not only through what he has made, his natural revelation, but also through what he has said, what is sometimes referred to as God’s Special Revelation. And many of these words were written down by holy men as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit (2 Pet 1:21), compiled into the Holy Scriptures, which Paul says “are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus,” these Scriptures being “breathed out by God” (2 Tim 3:15–16).
So God has revealed himself, and he has done so both through his Natural Revelation—what he has made—and through his Special Revelation—what he has said.
Perhaps one of the most succinct and, indeed, beautiful articulations of these two forms of God’s revelation is found in Psalm 19. This psalm describes both God’s natural and special revelation in a strikingly vivid poem. In fact, C. S. Lewis wrote, “I take this to be the greatest poem in the Psalter and one of the greatest lyrics in the world.”
Psalm 19 is unique for a number of reasons, not the least of which is its genre. In the Psalter, we might expect to find songs of praise or even songs of lament, but Psalm 19 is neither of those. In fact, it reads more like a Proverb than it does a psalm, which is why it is often referred to as a wisdom psalm. But another unique characteristic is its focus on God’s revelation, his Torah—Law. These unique features are found in only two other psalms in the entire 150, Psalm 1 and Psalm 119. These three psalms are wisdom psalms that focus on God’s revelation.
And so let’s consider what Psalm 19 says about God’s natural revelation and his special revelation, and then notice what it says about the proper responses we should have to God’s revelation.
God’s Natural Revelation
First, verses 1–6 express God’s natural revelation.
The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
This is the natural created order—heavens, skies, what God has made. And as these opening verses poignantly say, what God has made reveals certain things about him—creation is God’s revelation. It reveals his glory and his handiwork. And not just some of creation, all of creation is God’s revelation; the psalmist uses poetic expressions in verse 2 to communicate this:
Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.
From morning till evening, day and night, what God has made reveals his glory and handiwork; nature is God’s speech and knowledge revealed to us. As Maltbie Babcock wrote, “This is my Father’s world . . . in the rustling grass I hear him pass; he speaks to me everywhere.”
But I want to stress one point here that I have said several times but that we often take for granted because we say it so often: Nature is God’s revelation. God created the heavens and the earth, and he did so intentionally to reveal himself. Nature is the voice of God. We know this; we affirm this. But I think sometimes, especially in our modern scientific, naturalistic society, we tend to view nature as apart from God, sort of doing its own thing.
No, nature is God’s revelation just like Scripture is, but it does differ from Scripture in a couple key ways, and they are communicated in this psalm.
First, nature reveals God without words. Notice what David says in verse 3:
There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard.
It’s interesting—he just said in verse 2 that “day to day pours out speech,” so nature is God’s speech, but then he says just two phrases later, “there is no speech” in nature. In other words, David is clarifying what kind of revelation nature is. What God created is like speech—it reveals something about him, but it is not exactly speech. It is not actual words. We do not actually hear the audible voice of God in nature. When we sing, “in the rustling grass I hear him pass; he speaks to me everywhere,” we don’t mean that literally. There’s no audible sound or voice.
But that does not make nature any less God’s revelation. It just reveals God in ways other than words. God’s spoken revelation does do some things that his natural revelation cannot, which we’ll look at in a moment. But the fact that nature reveals God without words actually allows it to reveal God to us in ways that words cannot, which leads us to the next point:
God’s natural revelation is universal. That cannot be said for his spoken special revelation—you have to be able to read, or at least listen to Scripture in order to understand what God wants to reveal through Scripture. But what God reveals through what he has made is universal. This is what David communicates in verse 4:
Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.
There is no place on earth, nor is there any person on earth where God’s natural revelation does not reach—it is universal. In fact, the apostle Paul quotes this verse in Romans 10:18 to argue that Israel has no excuse for rejecting God’s revelation, for
“Their voice has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.”
God’s natural revelation is universal. David uses the image of the sun to picture this beginning at the end of verse 4:
No one can escape the sun; it’s universal.
Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them, and there is nothing hidden from its heat.
The same is true for God’s natural revelation—nothing is hidden from it. Its voice goes out through all the earth, and its words to the end of the world. It is universal, which is why sometimes it is called “general revelation,” meaning it reaches all people in general.
So what then is the nature of this universal, non-verbal revelation from God? Verse 3 says its voice is not heard, but verse 4 says its voice goes out through all the earth. So what is this voice?
Well, the Hebrew word in verse 4 literally means “line,” which is often used of a measuring line, but that doesn’t really make sense in this context. It can also be used for a line of text, like a line of poetry, so that begins to fit a bit better.
But what’s really interesting is how the Greek translators interpreted this word. I mentioned a moment ago that Paul quotes this verse in Romans 10:18, but of course, Paul is writing in Greek, so he’s quoting the Greek translation of the Old Testament, the Septuagint. And the Septuagint (LXX) uses a Greek word for “voice” that means “musical sound.”
In other words, nature communicates revelation from God to us, not in actual words, but more like music—non-verbal communication of the beauty and order of God. Even ancient secular philosophers believed that music is the public demonstration of the harmony of heaven. They recognized an inherent order to the physical universe; they found that natural principles of physics and acoustics and geometry and astronomy all share an amazing unity and that music was one of the best representations of that unity. They believed that music harmonized the universe; the intervals of music ordered all things, even the planets—they called it the “music of the spheres.” They believed that the universe is characterized by a quality of interrelatedness that is highly evident in music.
And Christian theologians have long agreed with those early philosophers and considered music to be a particularly powerful expression of the order and harmony of heaven. One of the earliest theologians of the church, Augustine, defined music as “the art of the well-ordered.” God created the universe with an orderliness that displays his glory and handiwork universally to all people.
Natural Revelation is the music of God, a display of his nature and the order of what he has made, and because it is not dependent upon words, natural revelation is universal. What music communicates is not limited to one group of people like spoken language is; music communicates at a natural level universally because it is part of God’s created order, and this is what all nature does—it communicates naturally to all people regardless of language, ethnicity, or culture.
Paul highlights this universal power of general revelation in Romans 1 when he says,
19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
By Dean Davis — 10 months ago
Who or what is your center? To whom or what are you devoting your life’s time, talent, treasure, and energies as you journey through this world toward the hour of your death or the day of my Son’s return? Have you considered him: his life, his miracles, his teachings, his death, his resurrection, his exaltation, his people, and his book? Is he not, far and away, the world’s best candidate for every man’s true center? Will you not therefore turn aside and see this great sight (Ex. 3:3)?
“But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will wail and mourn and beat their breasts; and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send forth his angels with a loud blast of the trumpet; and they will gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of the skies8 to the other” (Matthew 24:29-31).
These are the words of the Lord Jesus Christ, spoken to his disciples shortly before his death on the cross. In them he promises that he will one day come again to the earth in order effect what theologians refer to as the Consummation of all things. At that time Christ will raise the dead, transform the living saints, judge the world in righteousness, and create new heavens and a new earth, the eternal home of the redeemed.
In the paragraphs ahead I want to highlight the central elements of Christ’s return as they are reflected in his words to the disciples. And then I want to ask a two-fold question: Why has God structured the Consummation this way, and what are we, who continue to make our journey through this life, meant to learn from it?
First, there is a darkening. God literally extinguishes the sun, moon, and stars. The result is thick darkness, the kind that engulfed the earth-in-the-deep at the dawn of creation, and a kind that will recall the spiritual darkness that engulfed all mankind through the fall of Adam (Gen. 1:1-5; Col. 1:13). But as it was in the beginning, so here: The darkness sets the stage for the appearing of light: the Light of the World, the One who will now separate all light from all darkness forever. In that day sinners will recoil from the Light, but the saints will declare that it is exceedingly good (Gen. 1:1-5; Eccl. 11:7; 2 Cor. 4:6).
Secondly, there is an appearing: above all of the Son of Man, but also of the sign, the power, and the glory that will accompany him. Because of the one Resurrection, every eye will see him (Rev. 1:7). But with the seeing of the eye, there will also be a seeing with the mind. In his Light, all will see light (Ps. 36:9). The spiritual truth that was previously made known to men and nations through creation, conscience, Christ, Scripture, and the proclamation of the Gospel will now appear: palpably, powerfully, and inescapably (Josh. 4:23-24; Is. 45:20-25; Gal. 6:16; Eph. 3:4-6; Phil. 2:9-11; 1 Thess. 1:9; 1 Tim. 3:15).
Thirdly, there will be mourning. It will emanate from all who previously suppressed the knowledge of the truth in unrighteousness (Rom. 1:18). Yes, there will mourning over the loss of the things they worshiped in life, over the final collapse of the City of Man (Rev. 18). But far more dreadfully, there will be mourning over the loss of their eternal souls (Mark 8:36). Scripture itself anticipates their lament: “If only I had sought the Lord when he could be found; if only I had called on him when he was near; if only I had believed and obeyed the light by which God tested my love of the truth. For now the door is shut, and the thing that I feared has come upon me” (Job 3:25-26; Is. 55:6; Prov. 3:20-33; Matt. 25:10; John 1:9; 3:16-21; Acts 17:30-31; Rom. 1:18-19; 2 Thess. 1:8; Rev. 1:7; 18:1-24).
Fourthly, there will be gathering—a gathering of his elect, a gathering of his enemies, and so a gathering of all nations (Matt. 13:30, 24:31, 25:32; Luke 19:27). It is a gathering unto judgment: unto eternal reward and eternal retribution (Matt. 25:31-46). But above all, it is a gathering unto truth: the truth about what each human being did with the light he was given during the days of his pilgrimage upon the earth (Luke 12:47; John 3:16-21; Rom. 2:1-16).
Finally, there will be centering. At the Parousia the luminaries above will be dissolved, and the earth below will be consumed in fire (Is. 34:4; Zech. 14:6; 2 Pet. 3:10; Rev. 20:11). And then the true Center will be revealed: the High King of Heaven, seated on his glorious throne, with all men and all angels gathered before him, awaiting the final disposition of all things. Thus shall all mankind realize that the One now enthroned at the center of the physical universe is the One who has always been enthroned at the center of his Father’s affection, purpose, plan, and work. Thus shall all mankind behold the Son of God for who he is, and for what God appointed him to be: the Alpha and the Omega: the divine Creator, Sustainer, Redeemer, Ruler, Judge, Re-creator, Light and Life of the world.
Do we understand why God has structured the Parousia this way? And do we understand why he has told us all these things ahead of time?
Yes, in so speaking he means to instruct, equip, warn, and encourage his believing people, thereby strengthening faith, inculcating diligence, and instilling hope. But beyond this, he also means to address the unbelieving world: all people who are not yet his people. By structuring the Parousia as he has, and by revealing its structure in his Word and through his Church, he is asking beloved sinners everywhere these all-important questions:
“Who or what is your center? To whom or what are you devoting your life’s time, talent, treasure, and energies as you journey through this world toward the hour of your death or the day of my Son’s return? Have you considered him: his life, his miracles, his teachings, his death, his resurrection, his exaltation, his people, and his book? Is he not, far and away, the world’s best candidate for every man’s true center? Will you not therefore turn aside and see this great sight (Ex. 3:3)? Will you not earnestly inquire as to who he is and why he came? And will you not keep on asking, seeking, and knocking until you have found out for sure (Matt. 7:7-8)?
“Beloved sojourners, I tell you the truth: When the High King of Heaven comes again he will indeed be the absolute center of all things. And no tongue or pen will be able to describe the joy of those pilgrims who sought and found the Truth, and then made him the absolute center of their lives” (John 14:6; Jude 1:24).
Dean Davis lives in Santa Rosa, Calif., and is the Director of Come Let Us Reason.