Eight Souls 

There were only eight of them. No more, no less. There was a reason for it and that reason is told to us in the scriptures.
   Because Christ also suffered for sins once,
the righteous for the unrighteous,
that he might bring us to God;
being put to death in the flesh,
but made alive in the spirit;  in which also he went
and preached unto the spirits in prison,
 that aforetime were disobedient,
when the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah,
while the ark was a preparing, wherein few,
that is, eight souls, were saved through water:
  which also after a true likeness doth now save you,
even baptism, not the putting away of the filth of the flesh,
 but the interrogation of a good conscience toward God,
 through the resurrection of Jesus Christ; 
who is on the right hand of God,
having gone into heaven; angels and authorities
and powers being made subject unto him.
(I Peter 3:18-22 [ASV])

  And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.
  In the selfsame day entered Noah, and Shem,
and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah,
and Noah’s wife, and the three wives
of his sons with them, into the ark;
(Genesis 7:12-13 [ASV])
This is in many respects, one of the more amazing and yes, frightening passages of scripture. I say this because in Noahic times and before the flood, men lived to be around 900 years old. Dear readers there must have been a very serious and massive population explosion after Adam and Eve had their first child. Could you imagine our world today if Henry VIII was still around in the prime of life, or Richard the Lion Heart was just now moving into old age; George Washington was still living in Virginia and James Madison is thinking about Running For President in 2018? So I think we need to get it out of our minds that there were just a few people around in those days, there may have been about as many people living in those days as there are today... and probably were with those kinds of lifespans (900 years).

And yet the Lord only saved eight souls. Just eight. Consider that brothers. Consider just how few the Lord actually saved in those days. There were not many, just a very, very small number of people.... less than ten. This is one of those times, these times, these very last days when we need to heed the exhortation of our Savior
  Enter ye in by the narrow gate: for wide is the gate,
 and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction,
and many are they that enter in thereby. 
 For narrow is the gate, and straitened the way,
that leadeth unto life, and few are they
that find it.
(Matthew 7:13-14 [ASV])
And again we come to that pivotal verse that Christ used about the days before his return.
 And as it came to pass in the days of Noah,
even so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. 
They ate, they drank, they married,
they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah
entered into the ark, and the flood came,
 and destroyed them all.
(Luke 17:26-27 [ASV])
Late last week, I posted a story about Gay Marriage and how the Jewish Talmud looked upon what was going on in the days of Noah. They believed that Gay Marriage was indeed part of the social and marital backdrop of those days. I cannot vouch for the veracity of that view, but frankly it would certainly follow. I think there were a great many evils transpiring in those days, some so unspeakable that they did not make it into Holy Writ.

The key here in this passage in Genesis that I think Christ is alluding to is this, when God's grace is done, when that period of God's forbearance for mankind's sin and waywardness is complete, there is no delay. Those who know God and have believed him will continue to do what he commands them and he Commanded them to build the ark and at the end of the Grace Period, they were commanded to get into the Ark.

Now Noah was probably looked upon as some crazy, far out old wacko because he was preaching to the people of his day, probably a long time about water falling from the sky (something that had not happened before) and flooding them out. We do not know how long he preached, many think it was 120 years. The Scriptures are not 100% clear, but it was probably quite a while. Noah knew his God and had faith. We know this because of what the book of Hebrews tells us.
By faith Noah, being warned of God concerning
 things not seen as yet, moved with godly fear,
 prepared an ark to the saving of his house;
 through which he condemned the world,
and became heir of the righteousness
which is according to faith.
(Hebrews 11:7 [ASV])
Noah warned and prepared for what he knew God was going to do. God gave him some specific instructions and Noah followed them. Only his family believed him.

Was Noah a failure as prophet? No, he found grace in God's eyes and God made a special covenant with him. One of the big problems today with Christians is that they think that a successful preacher is one that has a big Church or big following. That is simply not the real measure of success, not to God. It is this, 'Did you do what God commanded you to do?" By the world's standards all of the Old Testament Prophets were failures as they did not save their nation in sinful times. But in reality their ministry was a success in God's eyes because they did what he commanded them to do. As Christians we must learn to look at things through God's rather than man's eyes.

Noah was not a failure, even though the only people who were saved was his family. Everyone one else died and this is the other key lesson. God is very patient and forbearing towards sinners in the hopes that they repent. But once the door and time-span of grace is gone, things (judgment) happen with great rapidity. God does not mess around once grace is over. Like the ancient world, in the last days, destruction comes suddenly, after years and years of warnings.
 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord
 so cometh as a thief in the night.  When they are saying,
Peace and safety, then sudden destruction
 cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child;
and they shall in no wise escape.
(I Thessalonians 5:2-3 [ASV])
This brothers is how our age shall end. Men will not repent, though the prophets will preach only a few souls will be saved.

Brothers, I know how hard it is to walk in these times. There are days I read the news and see some of the things going on and I wonder if some new form of mass insanity has struck the globe. Well, it is mass insanity, the insanity of sin and the madness of evil. In times such as these those of us who know our God know that it is not always easy to walk in the light. There are more and more pressures upon us to walk in the darkness and put our trust in people and institutions that are wholly untrustworthy. Redefining those things that God created (Marriage) and abominating it with Supreme Court decisions and now fining Christian's for not putting the stamp of approval on this wicked madness. But these are the times we live in. They are full of wicked men who do wicked things and have no intention of repenting of that wickedness. The worst offenders? Often, it is other nominal Christians! I note that it was the Catholic jurist Kennedy who cast the vote in favor of Gay Marriage. Brothers, your worst enemies are going to come from nominal Christians in the days ahead. You will find as time passes that they don't have the Holy Spirit dwelling in them, but are dead in trespasses and sins and one that revels in evil as they seek to redefine Christianity in satan's image. This is the real enemy that we as Christians need to be aware of, it is that nominal Christian who thinks he's talking to Jesus when he's following after the devil. Brothers, how did Christ put it.
  And Jesus answered and said unto them,
Take heed that no man lead you astray. 
For many shall come in my name, saying,
I am the Christ; and shall lead many astray.
(Matthew 24:4-5 [ASV])
They claim to be Christ's disciples but they are not. They shall (not might) deceive many. We are seeing that today and this sin of homosexuality (but brothers, we must never hate or mistreat anyone, not gays, not even those who persecute us!) has exposed many of the west's false shepherds and denominations for what they are, servants of the world, not Christ. Men and women who crept in unawares for the specific purpose of spreading these doctrines of devils on the Church. Again, Christ is giving us all a major heads up, he is telling us to 'take heed', or as I like to say, Listen Up, this is important!

Now brothers and sisters, I relay these things to you and pray you understand just what these times are going to be like. Deceit is going to be the rule, rather than the exception, the devil has tremendous power to deceive and he is doing it now, with extreme skill. But brothers, the sad thing is that only a precious few can see it. Most just can't or are incapable of it and as time passes I more and more understand that the light to see the truth in these times comes from God. In times like these only he can break past the thick darkness of deceits, misdirections, propaganda, and false narratives that now permeates the minds and hearts of the citizens of this world.

So as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the days of the Son of man. We have the witness of scripture as to what was going on in a very general sense but I think wiser Christians should take some time out and get a feel for what the early Church and others around Christ's time and before thought of those days. I refer to one of the most fascinating books that is not included in the Cannon.

The introduction goes on to talk about just how Ancient Jewish scholars viewed this work. It's importance, while not scriptural is quite significant and I think we do ourselves a grave injustice if we ignore it. Why? Christ is telling us something most significant but then does not spend much time elaborating. He is telling us that when he comes, it will be like the days of Noah. Now it is pretty clear and most scholars agree that Christ was well acquainted with the book of Enoch as any Jewish Rabbi was.

Dear readers, I write on this subject today because as it was in the says of Noah, many very strange things were happening that had never happened before; the  very fabric of life (genetics) was being threatened,  sin was enthroned, men were preaching, fallen angels were very busy, the Lord was patient with man's sins but in the end, men would not repent. Can we learn from Enoch anything? Here is how the book begins.
     C HAP. 1.—The words of the blessing of Enoch where-with he blessed the chosen and just,who will exist on the day of tribulation when all the wicked and impious shall be removed.
2. And then answered and spoke Enoch, a just man, whose eyes were opened by God so that he saw a holy vision in the heavens, which the angels showed to me, and from them I heard everything, and I knew what I saw, but not for this generation, but for the far-off generations which are to come.
3. Concerning the chosen I spoke and conversed concerning them with
the Holy and Great One, who will come from his abode, the God of the world.
4. And from there he will step on to Mount Sinai, and appear with his hosts, and appear in the strength of his power from heaven.
5. And all will fear, and the watchers will tremble, and great fear and terror will seize them to the ends of the earth.
6. And the exalted mountains will be shaken, and the high hills will be lowered, and will melt like wax before the flame.
7. And the earth will be submerged, and everything that is on the earth will be destroyed, and there will be a judgment upon every thing, and upon all the just.
8. But to the just he will give peace, and will protect the chosen, and mercy will abide over them, and they will all be God’s, and will be prosperous and blessed, and the light of God will shine for them.
9. And behold, he comes with myriads of the holy to pass judgment upon them, and will destroy the impious, and will call to account all flesh for everything the sinners and the impious have done and committed against him. - The Book of Enoch
If the book of Enoch is a false work, then why did so many Church fathers look favorably upon it and why did Jude refer to it? But if it is of value, then it would have particular value to we who live in these very last days. Understand this - I am not for an instant saying this book should be included in the cannon, nor should it be used as any kind of basis for Spiritual doctrine. Rather, I think it relays with great care and with extreme skill  and with a fascinating and direct style, just what was going on in those days and why the Lord got so very,  very angry. Something was going on with the very fabric of life itself. If nothing else, we get a feel for just why God destroyed what probably was probably well over one billion souls. I don't think it wise to ignore this book, even if you read it for the purposes of refuting its value and I don't think a spirit filled believer will do that, at least not with all of it.

However having said that that does not mean that there are not some who have pointed out textual problems with the work. Indeed I think this work is a spiritual-historical narrative of those times rather than holy writ, but as the ages passed some of the book was re-arranged and other parts were lost. Also, I think Jude's reference to the book was a kind of hint that there is more in that book that the wise student of scripture will look into, albeit with care. I think the same holds true for the Book of Jubilee's, which also was viewed most favorably by the early Church fathers and is considered part of the Cannon in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.

And while all this wickedness was happening, God was still very patient and forbearing, hoping to save some souls. But men will count too much on God's forbearance and will begin to mock and revile God and his prophets as the Lord seeks to delay that which he has no real desire to do.
Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord Jehovah,
 I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked;
 but that the wicked turn from his way and live:
 turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways;
for why will ye die,
O house of Israel?
(Ezekiel 33:11 [ASV])
The Lord did not want to destroy the ancient world, but he did it just the same. God does not want to destroy the people who live in the world today, but he will do it just the same. Of this you can be sure, God does not and will not change his standards. False preachers and prophets will change try and change them for you, but God's standards are eternal. One of the easiest ways I have found to discover a false prophet, preacher, teacher or religious work is to discover carefully how the person views the key points of morality that the Bible outlines. Do they soft peddle sin? Do they allow for things the scripture disallows, or forbid that which God views is good or spiritually 'neutral'? And in our times most importantly what do they think of Christ. For me, the key question for this is also does this person speak truth or can we find carefully hidden lies and or misdirections? Does he tell lies.... even small ones? People who lie consistently are simply not of God. Enoch gives witness to God's holiness, his justice and his ultimate triumph of the Lord over the kingdom of evil.

Brothers, I think it also wise for me to say this as well. Don't get depressed with things go from bad to worse. Don't get down because evil men had taken over the world's governments and banks and are now destroying the world to build up this new system of satanic-mammon.  These things must needs be. Things are going to go from bad to worse to unbearable. Then when things get to a point, the final 42 month system of evil will arise and we Christians will be hunted for not taking the Mark of The Beast. Great tribulations are foretold to the degree that only a few men are left - see
Mar 13:19-20;  Isa 13:10-13; Isa 24:5-6. 

Again, the idea is not that there are teeming billions of people whom God is going to forgive on the last day, but that when Judgment is finished, very few men will even be left alive. What we are talking about is what is commonly referred to as an extinction level event.

You see, God has been doing all he can to separate sin from mankind. But mankind loves his sins and will not part with them, so just like the Ancient world, God has enough of seeing wickedness so totally and thoroughly displayed in mankind and does away with every soul that does evil.
  but unto them that are factious,
and obey not the truth, but obey unrighteousness,
shall be wrath and indignation, 
tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man
that worketh evil, of the Jew first,
and also of the Greek;
(Romans 2:8-9 [ASV])
Brothers, eight souls. That is all God saved in those days. That is a pitiful testament to Mankind's love for righteousness.
  And one said unto him, Lord,
are they few that are saved? And he said unto them,
 Strive to enter in by the narrow door:
for many, I say unto you, shall seek to enter in,
and shall not be able.  When once the master
of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door,
and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door,
saying, Lord, open to us; and he shall answer and say to you,
I know you not whence ye are;  then shall ye begin to say,
We did eat and drink in thy presence,
and thou didst teach in our streets;  and he shall say,
I tell you, I know not whence ye are; depart from me,
all ye workers of iniquity.
(Luke 13:23-27 [ASV])
On that day a whole lot of nominal Christians are going to be beating on the door to get in and the Lord will not let them in and tell them that he never knew them.

 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord,
did we not prophesy by thy name, and by thy name cast out demons,
and by thy name do many mighty works? 
And then will I profess unto them,
I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
(Matthew 7:22-23 [ASV])


Mark S. Watson