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The Middle World

The Middle World

Pause and Consider

0613

9.27.17

The Middle World

 

For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: (6) whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: (7) but the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. (2 Peter 3:5-7)

We could refer to the time from Adam to Noah as the ‘first world.’  It was created by God “out of water and through water.”  It was destroyed by water at the Flood.

The ‘middle world’ began after the Flood and continues into the present and on through the Millennial Kingdom.  It began spiritually clean (all non-believers were dead).  It continues to show the marks of the flood: billions of fossils all over the world; marine fossils on the highest mountains; layers of water deposited in sedimentary rock; the oldest trees on earth are no older than the flood (4,500-5000 years old, in California).  This middle world will one day be destroyed by fire as our text declared.

The ‘final world’ will begin after the Great Judgment Day and will last into eternity.  In it will dwell righteousness (2 Peter 3:13).

Noah and his family entered the ‘middle world’ following their exit from the ark. And Noah built an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.  (21)  And the LORD smelled a sweet savor; and the LORD said in his heart, ‘I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more everything living, as I have done.  (22) While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.’ (Genesis 8:20-22)

What was the initial situation for Noah and his family?  Only eight people were alive.  They were all part of Noah’s family, and they were all believers in the God of heaven.  There would be few animals; all young animals ready to reproduce.  Only very young plants would be on the earth, but it would be a world ready to burst with vegetation.  There would be no houses, buildings, industry, or roads.  Because of the removal of the canopy over the earth, there would be a much harsher environment: rain, wind, cold, heat, volcanoes, tornados, earthquakes, etc.

As noted last week, Noah’s response to God as he exited the ark was to worship.  He built an altar and offered animal sacrifices of every clean animal.  This no doubt expressed gratitude for deliverance from the flood and prayer for protection in the new world.

God’s response was three-fold.  First, pleasure—the sacrifice was to Him a sweet or “soothing aroma.”  Second, grace—He extended kindness even knowing man’s evil heart.  Third, God offered promises.  There would be no additional curse on the ground.  There would never be another world-wide flood.  There would be consistent seasons, and the cycle of day and night.  By implication, there would be consistent physical processes that can be studied and that become the basis of biology, chemistry, physics, astronomy, etc. (all having laws).

When the Lord Jesus returns for His own, which could be soon, we will be closer than ever to the last world.  Are you ready to be a citizen of that last world?  It is repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ that ensures a place in God’s Kingdom.

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Noah Worships God

Noah Worships God

Pause and Consider

0612

9.20.17

Noah worships God

 

 

Following the Great Flood, God received worship.  Then Noah built an altar to the LORD, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. (Genesis 8:20)

Noah lived a balanced life.  He walked with God, worked for the Lord, witnessed for Him, waited on God and worshipped the LORD.

This is the first mention of an altar or structure for the purpose of sacrifice.  The altar, just as the ark, is a picture of the Lord Jesus.  “The LORD is now on high, having swept away the Garden and withdrawn His physical presence from the earth.  The altar is erected to point towards His dwelling-place on high.” (Barnes) The offering of 1/7 of the domesticated animals was a true act of thanksgiving, worship and faith.

Following the Great Flood, God reaffirmed the natural order.  And the LORD smelled a soothing aroma. Then the LORD said in His heart, “I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done.  (22) While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease.” (Gen 8:21, 22)

There are several important elements in this promise from God.  First, there is to be no additional world-wide curse.  The Edenic curse (thorns, thistles, the wildness of animals, work being difficult, childbirth being painful) is still in effect, but there will be no additional curse upon this earth.

Second, there will be no more universal flood.  This was the Flood.  Surely there are floods all over the world (TX, LA and FL come to mind), but never will God destroy the world again with a flood.

Third, there will be no interruption of the cycle of nature. The universe operates effectively and consistently under God’s control. Yes, the earth is now subject to storms and severe weather, blazing heat, freezing cold, seismic action, and natural disasters.  Yet the uniformitarianism of the cycles of day and night and the four seasons prevails from the Flood until the Great Tribulation.

Rational man, who does not look to Scripture, cannot really be sure that the sun will come up tomorrow.  He has millennia of experience and data to support the idea that it will come up, but he can’t be sure.  He has no reason to believe that the sun will come up.  But the believer can be sure because God says so!  We can plan our lives around the seasons because God has set them in perpetual motion.  Ships can chart their way by the stars because there is little variance in their orbits and places.  We can set our alarm clocks daily because God is the Father of Time.

Dear friend, God is in complete control of this universe.  There is not a sparrow or butterfly that falls and God is not aware of it.  Each time you breathe, the available oxygen is a gift from a gracious God who sends His sun and rain on the righteous and the wicked.  One day every soul in the universe will bow down and acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord and Master.  Rather than doing so by force one day, why not bow before Him today of your own volition.  His yoke is easy, and His burden is light.  ibcwbmn@centurytel.net.

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The Dry Land Appears

The Dry Land Appears

Pause and Consider

0611

9.13.17

The Dry Land Appears

 

So it came to pass, at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made.  Then he sent out a raven, which kept going to and fro until the waters had dried up from the earth.  He also sent out from himself a dove, to see if the waters had receded from the face of the ground.  But the dove found no resting place for the sole of her foot, and she returned into the ark to him, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth. So he put out his hand and took her, and drew her into the ark to himself.  And he waited yet another seven days, and again he sent the dove out from the ark.  Then the dove came to him in the evening, and behold, a freshly plucked olive leaf was in her mouth; and Noah knew that the waters had receded from the earth.  So he waited yet another seven days and sent out the dove, which did not return again to him anymore.  And it came to pass in the six hundred and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month that the waters were dried up from the earth; and Noah removed the covering of the ark and looked, and indeed the surface of the ground was dry.  And in the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was dried. (Gen 8:6-14)

Previously we found that after 120 days of rain, the ark rested on the mountains on Ararat.  Recall with me that Noah’s name means ‘rest.’  As the ark comes to rest, a new era in the history of man begins.

We find today in our text that the water dried up and dry land returned.  Noah began to send out various birds from the ark in an attempt to evaluate the situation.  He first sent out a raven.  Being an unclean bird, it was right at home among the floating carrion and did not return.

Next, Noah sent out a dove.  This clean bird found no place to land.  After a week, he sent it out again.  This time it returned with an olive leaf in its mouth.  Noah now knew that fresh vegetation had appeared.  An olive tree can bear leaves even under water.  Thus the dove has become the symbol of peace.  It is interesting that this symbol, the dove with an olive branch, is revered even by those who openly reject the authority of Scripture.

One week later, the dove is sent out a third time. When the dove did not return, Noah knew that the ground had dried up.  The seventh month would later be important to Israel—the New Year, the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, the Feast of Tabernacles.

Then God spoke to Noah, saying, “Go out of the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons’ wives with you.  Bring out with you every living thing of all flesh that is with you: birds and cattle and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, so that they may abound on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.”  So Noah went out, and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives with him.  Every animal, every creeping thing, every bird, and whatever creeps on the earth, according to their families, went out of the ark. (15-19)

God rewarded Noah’s faith. The inhabitants of the ark come out onto dry land!  The people were on the ark a total of 371 days.  As they exited the ark, the air would be fresh and pure, yet they entered a hostile world.  The oceans were more extensive.  The earth’s crust was more unstable. The land was initially laid bare and not quite so habitable (but would become fruitful again).  There was an ice-age that followed the Flood.  Morris writes: “The ice-age… would aid in people migrating all over the globe.  Land bridges would have existed across the Bering Strait from Siberia to Alaska and down the Malaysian Strait to New Guinea.”

Next week we will continue our look at the post-Flood era.

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God Remembered Noah

God Remembered Noah

Pause and Consider

0610

9.06.17

God Remembered Noah

 

Then God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the animals that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters subsided.  The fountains of the deep and the windows of heaven were also stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained.  And the waters receded continually from the earth. At the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters decreased.  Then the ark rested in the seventh month, the seventeenth day of the month, on the mountains of Ararat.  And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month. In the tenth month, on the first day of the month, the tops of the mountains were seen.  (Genesis 8:1-5)

Genesis 8 presents God’s ‘mop-up’ operation after the Flood.   There had been 40 days of rain, and a tough 150-day ride with thousands of animals and very rough seas.

God remembered Noah and his family. This act of “remembering” is not that God had not thought of them before.  It is God extending mercy and delivering from death.  The meaning is similar to God answering the cries of someone in distress: Lot in the city of Sodom as the fire began to fall; Rachel in her barren condition.  It means to act in behalf of another.

God also remembered the animals.  This faithful remembering is based on God’s character.  God, not Noah, took care of the animals.  As noted before, likely many of them hibernated.  This is supported by the fact that they did not begin to multiply again until after they left the ark. (8:17)

God renewed His world.  The world began to dry out as the wind began to blow. Before the flood, the uniform temperatures would have prevented great atmospheric wind circulations.  Henry Morris suggests that after the flood, the winds now blowing on the shoreless ocean, would certainly generate gigantic surface waves and tidal surges.

The two sources of the water were stopped—the rain and the fountains of the deep.  As the waters needed to recede, God depressed the ocean floors thus enabling a place for them on the earth. The topography of the earth greatly changed, as the psalmist declared: You covered it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains.  At your rebuke they fled; at the voice of your thunder they hastened away.  They went up over the mountains; they went down into the valleys, to the place which you founded for them.  You have set a boundary that they may not pass over, that they may not return to cover the earth. (Ps 104:6-9) The mountains rose, the valleys sank down (becoming the present-day oceans).  The waters of the canopy would now be stored in the vast ocean basins.

It is important that we understand that this happened in time, in history; that it is reality. As Francis Schaeffer wrote: “The warp and woof of space-time history continued to be woven.  Thus, there was a time when the ark came to rest, and a geographical point at which it happened in the land of Armenia.” (underlining mine)

The ark rested.  There have been many reported sightings of the ark in the last 100 years, but none that have been officially confirmed.  The ark had in a sense now done its work, but it would be another 220 days before Noah and his family could come out.

We will continue our look at the post-Flood situation next time.  But at the time of this writing, our minds go to the situation in Texas, and our hearts go out to those in that part of our country that are experiencing flooding of ‘biblical proportion.’    ibcwbmn@centurytel.net

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The Waters Prevail

The Waters Prevail

Pause and Consider

0609

08.30.17

The Waters Prevail

 

And the flood was forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bare up the ark, and it was lifted up above the earth. And the waters prevailed, and were increased greatly upon the earth; and the ark went upon the face of the waters.  And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills that were under the whole heaven were covered.  Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered. (Genesis 7:17-20)

Henry Morris, (who along with John Whitcomb co-authored The Genesis Flood) said: “Not only would all land animals eventually drown, but the plant covering would be uprooted and rafted away, the soils eroded and finally even the mountains and hills swept away.  Complex hydrodynamic phenomena—tsunamis, cyclic erosion, deposition and a variety of geomorphologic activity took place throughout the year.”  He also contends that the fact there are few human or bird fossils found in the rocks is due to their high mobility to escape burial in sediments.  When eventually they drowned, they would remain on the surface until they decayed.

John Whitcomb wrote: “By the time the Flood attained its maximum depth (in six weeks), the highest mountains were submerged to a depth of at least 15 cubits (23 feet).  Since the Ark had a draught of about 15 cubits when fully loaded (half its height), the Lord covered the highest peak by this amount of water to protect the Ark as it floated over the mountains.  In the light of this passage of Scripture, all the efforts of modern commentators to interpret this as merely a local flood in Mesopotamia must be abandoned as hopelessly inadequate.”

The consequence of this vast amount of water and its attending consequences is that every living thing on the earth died. And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth, and every man: all in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died. And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark. And the waters prevailed upon the earth 150 days. (Gen 7:21-24)

This was a high density of flood waters and it continued for 150 days, or 5 months.  As we look at the fossil record today in the rocks of the earth’s crust, we see the fossil remains of unnumbered billions of plants and animals, buried in water-transported sediments which quickly became stone.

What can we say about these things?  Alexander MacLaren wrote it well: “For a hundred and twenty years the wits laughed, and the common-sense people wondered, and the patient saint went on hammering and pitching at his ark.  But one morning it began to rain; and by degrees, somehow, Noah did not seem quite such a fool.  The jests would look rather different when the water was up to the knees of the jesters; and their sarcasms would stick in their throats as they drowned.”

Just as there was only one ark, there is only one way to be saved.  We must flee to Christ for safety now, for one day it will be too late.   And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many… (Heb 9:27, 28a)  ibcwbmn@centurytel.net

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Noah Obeyed God

Noah Obeyed God

Pause and Consider

0608

08.23.17

Noah Obeys God

 

Previously we considered the instructions that God gave to Noah in preparing the ark for the coming Flood.  We find that Noah fully obeyed God.

And Noah did according unto all that the LORD commanded him. And Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth.  And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood. Of clean beasts, and of beasts that are not clean, and of fowls, and of everything that creeps upon the earth, there went in two and two unto Noah into the ark, the male and the female, as God had commanded Noah. And it came to pass after seven days that the waters of the flood were upon the earth. In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights. (Gen. 7:5-12)

If you feel old today, just remember that Noah was 600 years old when he entered the ark!  His sons would have been at least 100 years old.

Note that Noah did not have to gather the animals, but God supernaturally compelled them to come to the ark (6:20; 7:9).  The fact that ‘they came’ indicates that the animals collected around Noah and were taken into the ark, without his having to exert effort to collect them.  Again, the beasts obeyed God while most of those made in His image did not!

The next few verses (13-16) reiterate that the family obeyed God and took the animals in the ark.  The section ends with this statement: And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the LORD shut him in.

What kinds of animals were taken into the ark?  All that breathe air were taken in.  This would include wild animals, dinosaurs, domesticated animals, creeping things (snakes, rodents, etc.) and flying animals (birds, bats, insects).  Don’t you just wish that Noah had swatted the mosquitos and stepped on the roaches!

The animals were likely all young.  Their size would fit more easily in the ark, and they would need to spend a year in the ark without reproduction and then emerge to repopulate the earth.  After a healthy meal, it is likely that many of the animals would have spent most of the year in hibernation.

And the LORD shut him in (16).  The LORD shut the door.  This has been God’s work from start to finish.  It is appropriate that God’s personal covenant name, Jehovah, is used here.  It was God’s power that kept out the water and kept them safe in the ark.  There was only one door.  It was too late for any more to enter.  It is a good thing that God shut the door, for it is difficult to imagine Noah being able to do it with the cries of those outside.  The closing of the door was an act of judgment for those outside, and an act of grace to those in the ark.  It marked the end of one civilization and the start of another.

As we close today, be reminded that the days of Noah picture the coming of the Lord in the last days.  People eat, drink, marry, are given in marriage, work, and carry on with their lives, unaware or unconcerned about the coming judgment.  Christ Jesus is coming again.  It will be a time of rejoicing for those who know Him, and a time of terror for those who do not.  He is the only door—come to the Father through the Son.

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Enter the Ark!

Enter the Ark!

                                                                                                                                          

Pause and Consider                                                                                                                                                         

0607

08.16.17

‘Enter the Ark!’

 

And the LORD said unto Noah, ‘Come you and all your house into the ark; for you have I seen righteous before me in this generation.  (2)  Of every clean beast you shall take to you by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.  (3)  Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth.  (4)  For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth.’  (5)  And Noah did according unto all that the LORD commanded him.  (6)  And Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth.  (Genesis 7:1-6)

One hundred twenty years earlier, God had told Noah to build an ark in order to escape the coming flood which would destroy all flesh because of flourishing wickedness (6:13, 14).  Noah obeyed God and built the ark; and preached along the way (6:22).  Now, according to God’s command, it was time to enter the ark!

Who entered the ark?  Noah and his household.  Why did they enter the ark?  Because they were righteous.  Their righteousness came by faith.  Also, in addition to the two animals of every kind which entered the ark, God instructed that there be seven of every kind of clean animal.  This would include three pairs for the production of offspring, and one animal for sacrifice after the Flood (8:20).  God must have told Noah which were clean, for the law was not yet given.  These were the primary animals that would be domesticated (cattle, sheep, and goats).

This distinction between clean and unclean animals was only temporary.  Since NT times (Acts 10), at least as far as the Law is concerned, there are no unclean animals.  People regularly now eat pork and shellfish.  However, I don’t know about you, but I’m still not interested in eating snakes, rats, and dogs!

After Noah, his family, and the animals entered the ark, God had them wait for seven days (7:10).  Why these extra seven days of waiting?  Likely Noah and company finished gathering the animals and setting in supplies.  It surely indicates that men measured time even then in a 7-day weekly interval.  But those seven days also gave mankind one last chance to join Noah in the ark.  Perhaps Noah took that time to preach to those gathered about the ark, urging them to escape the coming judgment. After the seven days, the Lord shut the door (7:16).  This was an act of grace to those inside, and judgment to those without.  The opportunity to choose was over.

After the seven days, the waters of the flood began to come upon the earth (7:10).  What was the first source of the flood water?  Forty days of rain.  The water canopy broke up and covered the earth (7:11, 12).

The second source of water came from the fountains under the earth (7:11).  Here is the order of events.  First, the earth’s crust would have broken up.  This fractured earth would have sent magma and dust into the atmosphere, along with gigantic sprays of water, gas and air.  This would all penetrate the canopy, triggering the downpour from the sky.  Over a 40-day period, every living thing on the earth would have been blotted out.  The remains of the plants would eventually become the world’s coal beds.  The coal, and perhaps the oil we use today, came from the devastation of the Great Flood.

There is much more, and we will continue next time.

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Further Details of the Ark

Further Details of the Ark

Pause and Consider

0606                                                                                                                                                      08.09.17                                                                                                                                                                                                        Further Details of the Ark

 

Make yourself an ark of gopher wood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch.  (Gen 6:14)

We are considering the specific instructions God gave to Noah regarding the Ark.  We discussed its size last week.  And this is how you shall make it: the length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. (15).  To review, using 18” for a cubit, it would be 450’ long, 75’ wide, and 45’ high.  This is perfect for a vessel that needs to endure rough water.  Recall that the ark is a chest for floating, not a ship for sailing. It is flat-bottomed, square-sided, having no mast, sails or rudder.

What about the window?  You shall make a window for the ark, and you shall finish it to a cubit from above (16a).  This was probably an opening 18” high all the way around under the roof for ventilation, with a perhaps a covering of some kind to keep out the rain.  Incidentally, the roof may have contained tanks for water storage.

And the door of the ark shall you set in its side; you shall make it with lower, second, and third decks (16b). There were three decks, each 15’ high (minus the support beams).  Would this be enough for Noah, his family and all those animals?  It is calculated that it would provide enough space for 125,000 sheep (an average sheep is larger than an average sized animal), plus all the necessary food.  Suggested uses for the three decks would be: the upper deck for family quarters and possessions; the middle deck for smaller animals and food storage; the bottom deck for larger animals.  And there is a door, but only one door.  Just as Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation and safety from sin, so those who came in the door were safe; those outside were lost.

God clearly explained the purpose and nature of the judgment to come (17).  And behold, I, even I am bringing floodwaters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the earth shall die.  Note that God took full responsibility for bringing the judgment (“I, even I…).  The judgment was to be a world-wide flood.  The purpose was to destroy all flesh that breathes and everything (trees, buildings, mountains) would perish. The Hebrew word for flood is used in Scripture to refer to this flood alone; it was the Flood.

God established His covenant with Noah (18).  But I will establish my covenant with you; and you shall go into the ark—you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you.  God would rescue Noah from the flood and through him Gen. 3:15 would be fulfilled.  This is the first time the word ‘covenant’ is used in Scripture.  It is the first of the great OT Covenants.

God listed the occupants of the Ark (18-20).  Noah and his family and a pair of each kind of animal were to enter the Ark.  It is interesting that the beasts of the earth obeyed their Maker but the people made in His image did not heed their Creator.

God did not forget the food for the Ark.  And you shall take for yourself of all food that is eaten, and you shall gather it to yourself; and it shall be food for you and for them.” (21)  They would need a year’s worth of food for eight people and 1000’s of animals.  As noted, there was plenty of room for this supply.  Up to this time, all humans and animals were vegetarian.

Noah obeyed God. Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did (22).  By faith, Noah believed the propositional promise of God. We can praise the Lord, and be very thankful, for Noah’s obedience and example.

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The Middle World

Pause and Consider 0613 9.27.17 The Middle World   For this they willingly are...
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Noah Worships God

Pause and Consider 0612 9.20.17 Noah worships God     Following the Great...
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The Dry Land Appears

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God Remembered Noah

Pause and Consider 0610 9.06.17 God Remembered Noah   Then God remembered Noah, and...
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The Waters Prevail

Pause and Consider 0609 08.30.17 The Waters Prevail   And the flood was forty days upon...
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Noah Obeyed God

Pause and Consider 0608 08.23.17 Noah Obeys God   Previously we considered the...
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Enter the Ark!

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Further Details of the Ark

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