The enlightenment teaching of the Essene was known as THE WAY. This teaching became the final interpretation of the Law and the Prophets, as revealed by Yeshua Messiah. The Way became the enlightened transitional teaching of 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, which references the term ‘naked’ in scripture (Gn. 3.7). The god-conscious state is now heavily influenced by the flesh.
*John 10.30, “I and the Father are one.”
It is soon after the ‘fall’ we observe the reestablishment of man’s relationship with God. Through the righteousness of Abel (Righteous Abel) God’s new plan for restoration has begun. Righteousness denotes Abel (Mt. 23.35). Seth then replaces Abel (Gn. 4.25) and assumes the mantle of righteousness. Throughout the generations the fundamental process to complete the plan begins 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, observed by many scholars 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 similarly as we view Jesus as a Nazarene Essene, 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 not only as a man of faith, but he is well directed and faithfully executes his mission. 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 rekindles in the heart of mankind.
In the story of Noah, mankind has thus far 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.
These marriages produce ‘unequal yoking’, godly and pagan. The world itself enters into 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,” means that they chose without godly consideration. They chose by sight and seeing “…that they were fair,” and indicates a general disorder, licentiousness. The breakdown in moral turpitude muddies all lines of clarity. The end result is that those who might convert from paganism will now be provided no clear choice.
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 may have included priests. 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 the pathway, and the consequences thereof, serves many lessons. Among these lessons comes the divergence in consciousness by serving two different masters (Mt. 6.24). Another lesson designates the confusion which will surely result. The mind turns one way and then another, not able to reconcile consequences. 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. For example, if from God we receive, we must also give. We may establish (create), but we must also be responsible. Like Abel, God’s children who have received are required to respond to God’s promptings. Clearly, the relationship’s intent speaks to intimacy, but now all has 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 has reverted 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.
There are a number of attributes that will become diminished as mankind descends once more. A basic faith will become out-pictured, dependent upon the standard of what each person receives in the physical. It will become a world of grasping, lust, and dishonesty, where such attributes as faith, love, and wisdom do not prosper. Manipulation and coercion replace wisdom. Lust replaces the spirituality of both men and women, and grasping and covetousness replace any semblance of honesty. Everything God has given man has become replaced with a counterfeit earthly standard. What remains of godly enlightenment is now becoming shattered.
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’ refer to an abnormal size, perceived to be as equally wicked to their proportion, a perversion of God’s plan for life. The phrase, “and also after that (v.4),” 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. These tribes were already in the land when Abraham began his journey from Haran. This renewal of perversion would later require the eradication 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. At this time in history, mankind disdains everything godly. 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. Intellect and man’s machinations, without wisdom, morals, and ethics, will always come undone. 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, 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.
Noah’s people resided in Mesopotamia and regions north into Anatolia. Most scholars believe Noah lived in the southern reaches of Turkey, and that he would have lived in a well-wooded area, probably mountainous. Scholars recognize Noah’s heritage as ancient Hurrian. Hurrian lands also include the city of Haran, Abraham’s departing place into the lands of Canaan.
Noah’s designation of being singularly righteous intimates that all men and women in Noah’s region received examination. This inspection of each man reveals the personal nature of God, Gen. 6.8, “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” Noah was also deemed a “just man” in v.9, implying an overall sincerity in all of his doings. He is willing to live apart from man, yet close to God.
Accredited with inventing the plow, Noah removes the Adamic curse upon the ground. He undertakes priestly duties and tries to convince men to enter upon the more righteous pathway. Depicted as the man who each day takes one small step in faith and wisdom, Noah stands like a mountain above the now corrupted world. He lives his life with the spirit of a servant.
What defines Noah as the righteous remnant? A strong foundation in faith establishes Noah. Faith knits together all other attributes, providing strength. To the task of building the ark, he remains diligent, Noah is a doer. He serves even as he toils. Noah represents a true luminary in the enlightenment history of mankind. Noah reflects our better man. This righteous remnant God will now preserve.
In Noah’s life, two important matters come to attention. The first concerns Noah’s level of faithfulness. Noah possesses the faith of a prophet. The second reason reflects upon knowledge. His is knowledge and level of understanding and perception that no men around him possess. He can have direct discourse with God. Spiritually speaking, Noah has what others do not.
Noah received the knowledge and wisdom of Methuselah, his grandfather. This training resembles priestly training, serious, perhaps even rigorous at times. The knowledge teaching combined with the wisdom pathway re-forms in the person of Noah. Noah lives the pathway of knowledge and wisdom. Grace bestowed upon him, teaching and pathway become embodied.
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. Previous to Noah all biblical personages are building toward a goal. Noah, however, is preparing for the end, and preparation will be long and arduous. Noah lives by sweat and grit and labor. He is a doer, and for a century-plus twenty years, he toils. Much like us, Noah’s commitments and daily labor define him.
Spiritual life is always active at the moment but becomes measured by the long period of time and change, and so with Noah. “…perfect in his generation,” is usually accepted as perfect relative to his generation. Noah is faithful and seeks God. His attitudes and motives are righteous. Noah’s endeavors help form a unified relationship with God. In the midst of his life, Noah’s heart is right. He refreshes himself with God every day, and over the span of many decades, Noah becomes exceptional.
Those who walk in the Way refine themselves and become a thread of this righteous remnant. Noah has positioned himself for favor.
“None are ruined by the justice of God but those that hate to be reformed by the grace of God.”* Most people think of grace as the state of grace, but the active principle of grace 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, but Noah 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: Hendrickson, 1991. Print.
The Way always prospers the idea of persistence in doing the right thing. As Noah continuously moves in the right direction grace descends upon. Facing adverse circumstances, and regardless of temporary outcomes, Noah continues onward. Noah continues to move forward with this good attitude of right thinking and right doing. Noah’s steadfast and faithful stance allows him to be worthy of trust.
Faithfulness or steadfastness allows for the continuation of the soul’s progression. No matter how small the step, faith in eventual good outcomes is important. Noah demonstrates a consistent faith, and surprisingly a faith that shows works. Faith lifts the burden of constantly straining at a problem, and thus offers peace. The spirit moderates through faith and bring forward a natural adjustment within. Faith lays the foundation upon which all other attributes operate.
Much like Noah demonstrates, faithful continuation is a powerful attribute of character and engenders many positive outcomes. Like the sower of good seed, Noah reinvests his field with good seed each day. Jesus mentions to let the troubles of the day die with the sunset, to have faith in the doings of that day and whether at first perceived as good or ill, for tomorrow you must continue on.
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.
Noah’s inheritance of understanding originates from Enoch, even though handed down from Methuselah. Verse 6.4 in Genesis, referring to laying with the daughters of men, is also discussed in chapter 15.2 of Enoch, as follows: “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 Enoch, 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 understands that he 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. Already known to the sons of Yahweh as anathema or polluted, condemned sexual acts within paganism run rampant. 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, God tells Noah He will bring a flood.
There are many scriptures that 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.
Written by King David, in Psalm 35 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, staying close to God (God walked with him), and to serve as God directs. To tell others to serve God becomes easy, however, to stay close to God in the midst of dire circumstances demonstrates character. Service is the committed life Noah lives.
To some who read or study 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 some degree of enlightenment, but even then grace stands beyond the self.
Grace lends itself to the aspect of eternity—grace will always hold out an abundance beyond the self. Grace extends into unending potential, unending favor, and leads one to at once accept such grace. If all comes from God, then all favor must come from God. The most basic spiritual and religious principles are embodied within grace.
For most studies in the 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 approach remains self-focused as if direct efforts will somehow break through. The latter, however, orients toward letting go of self, thus to allow the spirit to enlighten. This releasing of self is the Middle Eastern tradition even unto this day and is fundamental to all religions and spiritual disciplines.
Too often we strain at the nat on the edge of the cup, while letting go allows the kingdom to manifest from within. The one paces through the field and sows good seed. The other is assertive, aggressive, looking for answers but perhaps subverting truth. The Way is a pathway that removes the self piecemeal to deliver the enlightened message and enlightened mind. Rather it is the spirit within us out-flowing, the king within the kingdom who speaks, and finally, we listen.
For Christians, the born-again experience initiates the enlightened pathway. The Shekinah, the Holy Spirit, means to secure the relationship with the spirit of God, thence to unfold the enlightenment within the daily walk. Many Christians confuse the ending point of ‘born-again’. However, besides the important aspect of securing the soul, its intended effect initiates the enlightenment and continued development upon the pathway of the Way.
In Jesus’ time, no one understood that God lived within. The idea of the spirit animating the soul-mind and the principle of a kingdom within remained hidden. To form a relationship with God, much less receive tutoring from Him, remained a veil not yet lifted—enlightened knowledge remained the province of the Nazarenes, secreted away in the high priesthood and not revealed to the populous. All the population suffered from a great loss of consciousness. In the midst of beseeching, sacrificing and crying out God remained out-pictured.
The dropping down of the Shekinah thus serves to awaken or enliven, to awaken to yourself and your life in a whole new way. Even today Middle Easterners uphold this basic understanding and approach. The pathway Jesus taught always urged others forward, whether by healing, teaching or example, but always sowing seeds of awakening onto the field in which he stood.
Noah does not place faith in his own actions or performance, for even the best of our actions cannot measure the grace God can provide. 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 which then leads to action.
Each person determines his or her own spiritual individuality based on how they proceed on the 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 assists each person in that he may receive guidance. To pray openly allows conversance with God, even though His answer arrives quietly and from within. The habit of a righteous pathway requires attention and must remain integral to daily life. It seems clear that Noah and his family pursue active ministry within 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.” That God’s thinking toward man changed at this critical time in history does not mean that God in his person had changed. He is, ‘I Am That I Am’. It is mankind 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 God’s heart.
Consider the feelings of the Spirit like you consider your own feelings!