Sunday, July 3, 2016

The Ark, The Rainbow, and True Liberty

"America was established not to create wealth but to realize a vision, to realize an ideal – to discover and maintain liberty among men." – Woodrow Wilson

Then the LORD said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and all your household, for I have seen that you are righteous before me in this generation. Take with you seven pairs of all clean animals,a the male and his mate, and a pair of the animals that are not clean, the male and his mate, and seven pairs of the birds of the heavens also, male and female, to keep their offspring alive on the face of all the earth. For in seven days I will send rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and every living thing that I have made I will blot out from the face of the ground.” And Noah did all that the LORD had commanded him. (Genesis 7:1-5)

Six years in the planning and making, The Ark Encounter exhibit opens July 7, although the word "exhibit" might be understating it a little. The Answers in Genesis Creation Museum just over the state border from Cincinnati in Kentucky has almost completed their life-sized replica of Noah's Ark, ready for thousands and thousands of visitors from all over the world. More from Wikipedia. The Museum itself is about 45 miles from the Ark Encounter Theme Park. Here are a couple of still shots from their May 2016 promo video.



Does it matter whether we believe the creation account and its immediate aftermath literally? Isn't the Gospel of Jesus and His Crucifixion more important, anyway? No. Genesis: Does it Matter?

The opposite of freedom is bondage. The freedom Adam and Eve possessed to commune with God personally was lost when they disobeyed. Their disobedience caused them to fall into bondage. Ever since, all children of men have been born with a nature that enslaved to itself. It distorts our view of God. It rejects holiness. It drives us toward sin. Every time.

But God did not leave humanity in that position. He made a promise to Adam, that a redeemer would come and crush that ole serpent's head. (Genesis 3:15). This is the protoevangelium, First Gospel, Sadly, over time, man's sins piled up so that only Noah, a preacher of righteousness (2 Peter 2:5) was found to be acceptable to God. He ordained that all flesh on the earth should die, told Noah and sons to build an ark, take two of each animal of its kind and when the time was right, God shut the door.

When the flood waters had subsided, God sent His rainbow.

Rainbow over Abaco, Bahamas. Prata photo
"I have set My rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth." (Genesis 9:13)
In the rainbow there is a charm, of which every eye is conscious. It looks forth through the dark windows of the storm, and earth rejoices in the reviving visit. Its lovely hues proclaim that the gloom is past. It spans the clouds, as the fair herald of returning clearness. Its noble form, its various shades of distinct and blended color, surpass all praise. Admiration can only say—it worthily magnifies its mighty Maker. Such delights become us. The book of nature is the penmanship of God. Every line should be a sanctifying lesson. Enlightened piety sings, "The works of the Lord are great, sought out of all those who have pleasure therein." 
But the shining light of the rainbow teaches far more than that our God is excellent to plan, and almighty to perform. To receive its especial instruction we must ponder its birth. Let us go back, then, and take our station by the side of Noah, when it first awakened his grateful thanks. His feet again trod on the solid pavement of earth. But the sound of rushing torrents had left their echo in his ear. The expanse of desolation had not faded from his view. What had been, might be again. Each gathering cloud might mantle the world in final ruin. Each falling raindrop might open the sluices of another deluge. Thus fears would lodge in his breast; and "fear has torment."
From the foreboding patriarch, let us turn to our God. He is glorious in tenderness, and pity, and compassion, and watchful care towards His people. It is His merciful will that they should repose in perfect peace. He invites them to feed by the still waters of confiding love. He would have the wings of each breeze to flutter over them—laden with joy. He would have every shadow to spread the covert of protection. But how will He calm the trembling anxieties of Noah? A word of heaven-sent promise might suffice. But He, who multiplies to pardon, multiplies also to give comfort. His word indeed shall go forth, but it shall go forth sealed with an enduring, ever-speaking seal. He will call a new wonder into being. A smiling offspring of the weeping cloud shall tranquilly assure the earth, that waters have no more a mandate to lay waste. And what is this wonder? An arch, cheering and bright, embraces the skies. On a scroll of variegated light there is inscribed, These storms drop fertility—they break to bless and not to injure.
Thus faith sees the rainbow in the cloud, and adores the Savior on the right hand of God.
But this is not all. The rainbow, which cheers us in the first pages of our Bible, shines brightly to the last. We read in the Revelation, that John was in the Spirit—a door was opened before him in heaven—and behold, a throne was set. But what encircled it? The Rainbow! As the vision advanced, he saw a mighty angel come down from heaven clothed with a cloud, and a rainbow was upon his head. Thus in the fullest blaze of the Gospel, the rainbow continued the chosen emblem of the grace and truth, which came by Jesus Christ. How can we render thanks enough for this super-added pearl in our diadem of encouragements?
Believer, have you, like Noah, been called by God into the ark of Salvation? Then, like Noah, you may trace the rainbow in every trial and discouragement. Go forward undismayed, for you are encompassed with heaven's hosts of covenant-grace. Nothing can separate from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus. You believe that no waters can again destroy this earth. So believe, that neither sin, nor Satan can sweep you to perdition. Your "life is hidden with Christ in God." The eternal God is your tower of security. The arms of Christ are the guards around you. While God is God, mightier than Satan, you are safe. While Christ is Christ, all-sufficient to redeem, you are safe. Behold the rainbow. Satan cannot pluck it from the skies. Behold your Jesus. Satan cannot reach His throne. ~Henry Law, The Gospel in Genesis, 1860, Chapter The Rainbow in the Clouds)

Woodrow Wilson's ideal, that America is a place where liberty among men could be ideally enjoyed, is a noble goal and a political goal that has for the most part, in many cases (The Native American, the Black, and the Japanese-American aside) been met. But even with that, liberty among men can never be truly met unless and until Jesus has removed the old sinful creature within us and given him the Holy Spirit. So, we praise the Lord that TRUE Liberty comes in deliverance of our sins, and reconciling us once again to God.

Rainbow over Danielsville. Prata photo


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Further Reading:

The Sufficiency of Scripture

Does Genesis Matter?

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