The enlightenment teaching of the Essene was known as THE WAY. This teaching became the final interpretation on the Law and the Prophets, as revealed by Yeshua Messiah, and became the transitional teaching into the early church.
This article deals with Noah and his times, and discusses the enlightened principle of Grace (Favor).
In the Genesis narrative ‘the fall’ is sometimes referred to as descending into the sleep of the flesh. Instead of maintaining god-consciousness, or oneness,* Adam and Eve lost light and power, and are thus referred to as naked. The god-conscious state is now heavily influenced by the flesh instead of the spirit.
*John 10.30, “I and the Father are one.”
It is soon after we observe the reestablishment of man through the righteousness of Abel (Righteous Abel). Righteousness denotes Abel (Mt. 23.35), and God’s new plan for restoration has begun. Soon the fundamental seeds to complete the plan begin to be sown: ministry is given to us through Enosh, with the ‘Cult of Yahweh’ becoming the first ministry within the Hebrew Bible; Enoch becomes the first true prophet, often observed as the first proto-Christ. The designations of Righteousness-Ministry-Prophet-proto-Christ establish an order of progressive events. That is, proper and successful ministry comes out of righteousness, prophets will come out of ministries, and those rarely deemed proto-Christs come out of schools of prophets.
In the history of the generations Noah fulfills the next spiritual step for mankind. Noah performs within righteous goals. He is not only a man of faith, but his behavior is well directed and faithfully executed—God denotes Noah as one who shall receive Grace. Grace is thus an attribute of character we ourselves cannot practice. We may continue with many actions that lead to receiving grace, as did Noah, and we may ask for grace, but it is not something of itself we can accomplish. Grace is bestowed, and for that reason holds a special place above all other attributes. Grace means to especially favor.
According to the biblical chronology thousands of years have now passed since the garden. In chapter six a true degeneration of mankind has now begun, similar to the original fall. Both the initiating work of Enosh to spread the word of Yahweh, and the prophetic mission of Enoch is now being consumed. A raging fire has been rekindled in mankind.
In the story of Noah, mankind has prospered, “And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them.” Verse two then relates the actions of the mysterious ‘sons of God’: “That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all they chose.” The sons of God are now marrying godless or pagan women, known biblically as the ‘daughters of men’. A long slide into spiritual deterioration now works across the lands of the Sumerians. “Giants in the earth” are mentioned in v. 4; in v. 5 ‘wickedness’, which usually insinuates syncretism of pagan with godly, now abounds. Works of evil become insidious, and in part explains why such hard and fast laws were later given to the Jewish people in the Book of Exodus and Leviticus.*
*Also, Deut. 7.3-4, “Neither shall you make marriages with them…(4) For they will turn away thy son from following me.”
The line of Adam and Eve, through Seth, now begins to marry into the lineage of Cain. Mixed marriages of this kind almost always pull the one down, as the godless corrupts the righteous (see, Gideon’s Doubt), and so the sons of God become embroiled. This dissolution of righteousness can occur within a few generations. The seeds, however, are certain to have been planted many generations before. Once in force the corruption blows like wind through a tattered house. Strong societal and religious boundaries are rent asunder.
As these marriages produce what is referred to as ‘unequal yoking’, godly and pagan, the world itself enters in to a mixed consciousness. Mixing consciousness rarely enhances the low, but always discolors the high. The spiritual pathway God has planned for earth now becomes twisted. The knowledge and teaching base for the enlightenment pathway will become cluttered. Conscience becomes numbed.
The prohibition of mixed marriages within Judaism (Dt. 7.3-5) originates in the story of Noah. For our discussion of Noah the point in v. 2, “…they took them wives of all which they chose,” they chose without godly consideration, but by sight, and seeing “that they were fair,” indicates a general disorder, licentiousness. The breakdown in order muddies all lines of clarity. Souls that may later have converted from paganism into a belief in Yahweh will have less opportunity to do so.
Many lines of probity have by now been crossed. The “men of renown,” mentioned in v. 4, tells us these have become men of great wickedness, and that their wickedness is celebrated, even revered. They may have been worldly powerful autocrats or officials, militarists, and probably included priests as well. They may have pursued wealth by the unrighteous use of weights and measures (see, Cain), and have apparently shunned their godly conscience.
Through righteousness God had initiated a plan to return man fully unto Him. Now the whole world has become once more corrupted. This divergence from pathway, and the consequences thereof, serves many lessons, among them serving two different masters (Mt. 6.24). Throughout the land the ‘Cult of Yahweh’ is fast disappearing. Toward a man like Noah the world would direct jealousy and spite. Jesus later tells us that the reward is great for those who become persecuted for God’s sake (Mt. 5.12), and so we find Noah in such a situation.
In verse three the statement, “My spirit shall not always strive with man,” is conclusive. God’s willingness to strive on behalf of mankind will at some point be reflected according to man’s response to God Himself. We may receive, but we must also give. We may establish (create), but we must also be responsible. Like Abel we are God’s children who have received, but we are required to give back. It also seems clear from verse three that this relationship with God is intended to be intimately connected, and has now been subsumed within paganism.
The degree of spiritual withdrawal denoted in ch. 6 points to a serious circumstance. “…that he (man) is also flesh,” indicates that mankind has reverted into a complete immersion into the unconscious state. He is not only pagan, but is reverting into the sleep of mortality. The sleep of the flesh, and the concomitant awakening, will later become mentioned often within the Jesus teaching, as referred to in Matt. 13.10-17. To continue to awaken to higher levels of understanding and responsibility is determined in many scriptures, and is a central theme of the Jesus teaching of the Way. Upon the land of Noah there is no remnant of God’s teachings among them.
The withdrawal of God’s spirit unto man is now underway. Verse 4, “Giants in the earth,” and “mighty men which were of old, men of renown,” both of these statements refer to men who conquer and ransack. ‘Giants’ are also a reference to abnormal size, and perceived to be equally wicked, a perversion. The phrase, “and also after that,” refers to a second irruption located primarily in the land of Canaan, ergo Anakites (Anak), Raphaim (Rapha), and the rest of the tribes of Canaan were all infected, and were already in the land when Abraham began his journey from Haran. This renewal of perversion would later require the defeat of the Canaanite tribes.*
*A good Companion Bible with extended appendices can cover this subject more completely.
The immutability of God never wavers, but His holiness may be affronted. Holiness relates to wholeness, oneness, unity, creation. Everything that is God is now being disdained by man. Having searched the hearts and minds of all other men and found them unredeemable, God’s favor points toward Noah. Noah is now the final remnant, set aside with bestowed grace. How important the remnant within the generations will now become.
Mixed consciousness can stand the test of truth for only so long, and then such a mind must fail. In Noah’s time severe alterations must now be completed. The notion of God’s aching heart is first presented: v. 6.6, “…repented of the Lord that he had made man…and it grieved Him at His heart.” God is shown to feel just as we feel, and it is from God’s nature our feelings originate. Yet, at this time in history a violence is upon the land, grieving God greatly. As God views mankind’s sordid behavior there still remains a place for the righteous remnant to live on. Through the man called Noah, God will provide a new beginning for mankind.
In the Noah scripture God is understood as overseeing the people of Mesopotamia and regions north into Anatolia. Noah himself is believed to come from a people known as Hurrians, whose lands include Haran, Abraham’s later starting point. Since only one man has been chosen, it is intimated that all men in Noah’s region have been observed and inspected. This inspection of each man reveals the personal nature of God, Gen. 6.8, “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” The ‘righteous remnant’ God will now preserve.
What defines Noah as the righteous remnant? In Noah’s life two important matters come to attention. The first concerns Noah’s level of knowledge. Noah is understood to have received the knowledge and wisdom of Methuselah, his grandfather.* This knowledge teaching combined with the pathway of wisdom is now re-formed in the person of Noah. Noah lives the pathway of knowledge and wisdom he has been taught, and for this reason Noah has had grace bestowed upon him. Much as is the same for us, teaching and pathway must become embodied.
*Lamech, Noah’s father, is not mentioned in this teaching lineage, though he may have been a part.
Accredited with inventing the plow, Noah removes the Adamic curse upon the ground. He is depicted as the man who each day takes one small step in faith and wisdom, until he stands like a mountain above what has become a corrupted world. He tries to convince men to enter upon the more righteous pathway. Noah is seen as having the spirit of a servant. To the task of building the ark he remains diligent. He serves even as he toils. Noah represents a true luminary in the enlightenment history of mankind. Noah reflects our better man.
Previous biblical stories tell us of specific case histories: Seth receives the branches of knowledge from his parents; Enosh takes that knowledge into the world and begins the ‘Cult of Yahweh’; Enoch is superlative in almost every way, and becomes the angel Metatron. Noah, however, is given a long and arduous task. Noah lives by sweat and grit and labor. He not only knows, he is a doer. For a century plus twenty years he toils. Much like us, Noah’s daily labor defines him.
“…perfect in his generation,” is usually accepted as perfect relative to his generation. Thus, between Noah’s faithfulness and seeking of God, and by righteous attitudes and motives, Noah becomes exceptional, and thus has positioned himself for favor. Spiritual life is always active in the moment, but becomes measured by the long period of time and change, and so with Noah. He refreshes himself with God everyday. His endeavors are wholistic, a unified relationship with God. We can assume Noah asked for God’s favor, protection, benefit for provision, the well-being of his wife and children. In the midst of his life Noah’s heart is right. Attitudes and motives are well measured within Noah.
“None are ruined by the justice of God but those that hate to be reformed by the grace of God.”* There is the state of Grace, which is how most people think of grace, and there is the active principle of grace, which means to ‘find favor’, or to be favored: “He found favor in the eyes of the Lord (6.8, RSV).” Grace is Favor. No one can be considered perfectly righteous. Yet, measured by the standard of continuously moving in the right direction grace descends upon Noah. The Way always prospers the idea of persistence in doing the right thing, regardless of circumstances or temporary outcomes, and Noah is a fine example. Noah has accomplished this good attitude of right thinking and right doing. He must be considered steadfast, or faithful. He can be trusted. He has found favor in God’s eyes, and now favor is bestowed upon him.
*Matthew Henry. Matthew Henry’s Commentary. Vol. 1: 44. six vols. Peabody MA: Hedrickson, 1991. Print.
Certain attributes of character rank high in the teaching of the Way. Faithfulness or steadfastness allows for the continuation of the soul’s progression, and explains why faith is so important. Jesus mentions to let the troubles of the day die with the sunset (have faith), for tomorrow you must continue on. Even if the greater favor arrives only by the spirit within, perhaps through happiness or plain satisfaction, continuation is a powerful attribute of character. Armed with these attributes, and much like Noah, Grace sets upon thee!
Biblically, grace is also mentioned as being found “in the eyes of the Lord.” God sees your pursuit of Him in His eyes, your fealty, and thus bestows. The lesson within the old and new testimonies shows that grace or favor is extended throughout scripture, and thus points to its importance. Proverbs 22.1-2, “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor (from God) rather than silver and gold.” Luke 2.40 refers to Jesus as waxing “…strong in the spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.”
Surely, and at some point, the admission into grace would be set by asking God’s favor, and it should be assumed Noah communed prayerfully for just that purpose. All should seek God’s grace, God’s shelter, God’s favor. In the depicted story of Noah we observe grace as bestowed due to the elements of Noah’s character. Verse 9.1 tells us much: “Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.” This scripture equates Noah with proto-Christ Enoch, as both walked with God, meaning God was ever-present around them. This degree of oneness and blessing appears only upon occasion.
Noah’s inheritance of understanding originates from Enoch, but is handed to him from Methuselah. Verse 6.4 in Genesis is also discussed in chapter 15.2 of Enoch: “Wherefore you have forsaken the lofty holy heaven, which endures forever, and have lain with women; have defiled yourselves with the daughters of men; have taken to yourselves wives; have acted like the sons of the earth, and have begotten an impious offspring (giants)?” Combine this with the understanding entailed in Chapter 82.9: “And potent the vision of thy dream respecting secret sin of the earth. Its substance shall sink into the abyss, and a great destruction take place.” The finality of the portrayal in Genesis ch. 6 and the writings within the Book of Enoch are very similar.
Noah lives in apocalyptic times, and the hope for mankind to regain spiritual consciousness seems dim. Rampant paganism has shifted the world onto a much lower state of consciousness. Many sexual acts within paganism were already known to the sons of Yahweh as anathema, or polluted. Sex is powerful, and mixing pagan and holy can have only one effect. Noah would have been very aware of the disintegration of society. Something far more than just bad behavior or a temporary lapse in the progression of mankind—Noah sees with his eyes, but he interprets what he sees by how he knows God, and thus interprets by the Spirit. In Gen. 6.17, Gods tells Noah He will bring a flood.
As to Noah himself—if Abel gives us righteousness, then one of Noah’s outstanding attributes is obedience, he is faithful. Within his obedience Noah cultured faith as an attribute, and he himself had a heart for faith. It must be considered that Noah had what we today call ‘a good heart’. Noah was a servant, and saw himself as a servant. The attribute of faith leading to grace is carried far past Noah and into the new testimony given by Paul in Rom. 5.2, “By whom we also have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Although Paul is referring to grace by faith in Jesus as Savior, by Noah faith in God seems very well established. God would find no favor in him otherwise.
The extension of grace is examined by observing the preservation of the righteous remnant, in this case Noah. For those who study scripture the righteous remnant bears many similarities to the attribute of grace. The righteous remnant is handed down from generation to generation, preserved. Similarly, grace is bestowed from one person, and then to another, also preserved. Jesus later offers an outpouring of grace to mankind. Grace becomes integral to the Way.
There are many scriptures which relate to the eternal quality of favor, or grace. Psalm 35.27 is very explicit as to how one should understand his life: “Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favor my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the lord be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant.” Noah lives somewhat in that pleasure of prosperity. Noah prospers his family and does whatever good works he might do. He ministers to those who are willing to listen, he reaches out. Psalm 35 is written by King David. In earlier verses David calls out to God because he is being persecuted without cause. Noah finds himself in a similar situation. The world is so corrupt a good man will have to defend himself with faith, righteousness by staying close to God (God walked with him), and to serve as God directs.
To some who are used to reading or studying other enlightenment teachings the idea of grace may seem odd. However, the principle of grace is pristine, for it can come only from God. A person may ascend through his or her own enlightenment studies, and may believe that they themselves have accomplished enlightenment, but grace stands beyond the self. Grace lends itself to the aspect of eternity–grace will always hold an abundance outside of yourself. Grace might be thought of as unending potential, unending favor, and leads one to at once accept such grace as can be bestowed. If all comes from God, then all favor must come from God.
For most studies in enlightenment the question is, how do I become enlightened? In the teaching of the Way the question is, how do I allow the kingdom within to enlighten me? The former is self-focused and how to break through the self. The latter is letting go of self, which then makes room for the spirit. These are fundamental differences. The former being self-centered, then delivered into an omnibus enlightenment; the other is God centered and removes the self piecemeal to deliver the enlightened message and enlightened mind.
For Christians the born-again experience initiates the enlightened pathway, and it is meant to secure relationship with the spirit of God, thence to unfold the enlightenment within the daily walk. Many Christians confuse ‘born-again’ as the ending point, ‘getting saved’ as they relate to it. However, beside the important aspect of securing the person, its real effect is to initiate continued development upon the pathway of the Way. This is the pathway Jesus taught, always urging others forward, whether by healing, teaching or example.
Noah does not place faith in his own actions or performance, for even the best of our actions cannot measure the grace God can give. Noah has heard from God, and through faith that is enough for him. In the teaching of the Way, listening for God’s promptings is an important quality for spiritual progression. There are many ways in which one may listen. Quiet time with God, prayer, a state of mind open to Him, inward inspection, considering quietly what is wisdom, waiting for His Word with expectation. This seems much of what Noah is up to in his daily life. For Noah all of the above attributes manifest as a whole, and then leads to action.
Each person determines his or her own spiritual individuality based on gifts and talents, even weaknesses, and how they proceed on pathway. From time to time all students of the Way should closely consider his or her current pathway. Communing with God and speaking to God puts each person in his proper place so that he may receive. To pray openly allows conversance with God, even though He may answer quietly. It seems clear that Noah and his family pursue active ministry within daily life. The habit of righteous behavior is not plucked like straw, but requires attention and must remain integral to daily life.
What makes man ripe for destruction, and why would that pertain to us or walking in the Way? A key scripture tells us. Verse 6.6 “And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart.” Simply put, ‘repent’ means to change, particularly in thinking. That God’s thinking toward man changed does not necessarily mean that God in his person had changed. He is, ‘I Am That I Am’. It is man that changed and who went rogue into wickedness, similar to the times of Cain’s seventh generation son, Lamech, such that the grievance struck to the heart. Consider the feelings of the Spirit like you consider your own feelings! That practice alone can do much to bring you unto Him.